Definition of archdeacon in English:



  • A senior Christian cleric (in the early Church a deacon, in the modern Anglican Church a priest) to whom a bishop delegates certain responsibilities.

    • ‘One document acknowledges an archdeacon's grant of the use of his books to a house of Franciscan friars, who were to keep the books when the donor died.’
    • ‘They also had canons to assist them, however the archdeacons were replaced by ‘suffragan’ bishops, from the latin ‘suffragator’, meaning ‘supporter’.’
    • ‘Exeter allowed only bishops and knights to have effigies, whereas Hereford and Wells gave the privilege also to cathedral dignitaries like deans and archdeacons.’
    • ‘There are other important people in the diocese who have to be there too, such as the archdeacons and rural deans.’
    • ‘The young man had displeased both Increase and Cotton Mather, the archdeacons of the Puritan world.’
    • ‘One finds oneself going into a room and meeting an archdeacon, and becoming completely tongue-tied.’
    • ‘Canon Welton, who was appointed first archdeacon of a new archdeaconry comprising East London, Mdantsane and Komga in 1970, will be retiring to Gonubie.’
    • ‘The archdeacon added: ‘These personal debts were accumulated over a period of years.’’
    • ‘In 1072, with the aim of promoting ecclesiastical discipline, he ordered bishops to appoint first archdeacons - again following Norman practice - and then rural deans.’
    • ‘There are at present also five women archdeacons who carry delegated responsibility from bishops.’
    • ‘The archdeacon John Collas will administer the Adelaide diocese until a new archbishop is found early next year.’
    • ‘They hastily gathered three bishops to lay hands on the archdeacon as his successor.’
    • ‘If such a declaration is made, the bishop requests his archdeacon to hold an inquiry and if that inquiry concludes that there is evidence of a breakdown a formal tribunal is held.’
    • ‘But the laity's judgement of its pastors has not always coincided with the priorities of bishops and archdeacons and may not have done so in this period.’
    • ‘In 418, competing camps elected their own popes, Eulalius, an archdeacon, and Boniface I, a priest.’
    • ‘The daughter of an archdeacon and a mathematics teacher, she was ranked continuously in the world top 10 from 1967 to 1979 and was British No 1 for 10 years.’
    • ‘Among the walkers, numbering almost 2,000, were local dignitaries including Councillor Eric Bell, Mayor of Chorley, and the archdeacon of Blackburn.’
    • ‘Theobald put forward his archdeacon, Thomas Becket, the son of a London merchant, who had demonstrated the brilliance of his mind in Theobald's service.’
    • ‘‘I cannot understand why the archdeacon would be surprised or disappointed at our actions,’ he said.’
    • ‘The responses received also included questionnaires filled in by 100 licensed lay workers, 56 archdeacons, 18 bishops, 13 deans or provosts and 61 residentiary canons.’


Old English arce-, ercediacon, from ecclesiastical Latin archidiaconus, from ecclesiastical Greek arkhidiakonos, from arkhi- chief + diakonos (see deacon).