Definition of deacon in US English:



  • 1(in Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Churches) an ordained minister of an order ranking below that of priest.

    • ‘In fact Watson has been ordained a deacon in 1856 and he took priest's orders two years later.’
    • ‘In 1984 he was ordained a Catholic deacon and is currently a member of the pastoral staff at St. Colman Parish.’
    • ‘While the Irish Church does not yet have married permanent deacons, they are present elsewhere around the world as ordained deacons in the Catholic Church.’
    • ‘His eldest son John was ordained as deacon, serving as curate under his father at Llangeitho.’
    • ‘Rachel T. Keeney is a seminary graduate and ordained deacon who currently ministers as a church secretary for a small urban congregation.’
    • ‘He studied theology at Cambridge University before being ordained as a deacon and priest in 1979.’
    • ‘In 1861, after some hesitation, he was ordained deacon in the Anglican Church but never chose to advance to full priesthood.’
    • ‘The spokesman said the Archbishop wanted a solution to the issues before almost 30 priests and deacons are ordained at the Minster later this month.’
    • ‘I give the homilies in our church, and we do workshops with other priests and deacons and Protestant ministers on this subject.’
    • ‘In our diocese most of the prison ministry is done by the deacons, with two priests who offer Mass on a regular basis, and two more my wife and I recruited as occasional fill-ins.’
    • ‘Whitefield was converted in the spring of 1735, ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1736, and preached his first sermon.’
    • ‘I remember many years ago attending the service when a friend was ordained as a deacon in her Episcopal church.’
    • ‘Whether we are lay or ordained as bishops, priests, or deacons, we are all called in our baptism to servanthood as the foundation of ministry.’
    • ‘Strong organizations for priests, deacons, pastoral ministers, and other groups, including lay groups, are indispensable.’
    • ‘The Eastern Orthodox churches have always allowed their priests and deacons to marry before ordination, though not after, and their bishops must be celibate.’
    • ‘Mr Blake said yesterday: ‘We shall be ordaining about 10 deacons and priests to serve in various parts of the church in the UK.’’
    • ‘In certain respects, lay ministers and ordained deacons have an advantage over priests in counseling prisoners.’
    • ‘Eddie will be gaining pastoral experience while he works in the parish and hopes to be ordained a deacon in December and a priest next summer.’
    • ‘My denomination also speaks of four ‘orders’: bishops, priests, deacons and laypeople.’
    • ‘Ensuring that Father's Day wasn't purely a male celebration, three women were also ordained deacons by the Church of Ireland.’
    1. 1.1 (in some Protestant churches) a lay officer appointed to assist a minister, especially in secular affairs.
      • ‘The recognition that women could perform such work led the churches to appoint female deacons to undertake similar functions.’
      • ‘Being a deacon is really about serving the community, the people in your church.’
      • ‘The Consistory and Geneva's church structure in general - based on the offices of pastor, elder, deacon, and teacher - served as models for many Reformed communities.’
      • ‘We are seeking to meet our current spiritual needs more effectively by appointing elders and deacons (men of pastoral care and mercy, according to the New Testament pattern) from within the congregations.’
      • ‘A Baptist church deacon, he prays each day his stage four lung cancer won't take him.’
      • ‘There are also volunteer elders, deacons, ‘doctors’ (teachers of Gospel), and ministers who head Bible study sessions.’
      • ‘Liberally supported by Drummond, the new body developed a hierarchy of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors, with deacons to superintend material needs.’
      • ‘The church ministry is now divided according to different age groups and administered by the pastor and six deacons elected by the congregation.’
      • ‘J. T. P. Christian and B. B. Reams were elected deacons and T. S. Christian, Sr. was elected clerk.’
      • ‘At the end of the communion service members give an alms offering to the deacon, the only time that offerings are collected in Amish services.’
      • ‘Mr Kora was an active member of the Cook Islands Christian Church and has served as deacon and Boys Brigade Warrant Officer.’
      • ‘In a member-led church, all of the members in the congregation generally elect the board or deacon members.’
      • ‘She had become a deacon of a deaf church.’
      • ‘The bespoke-suited pillar of his community - he had been a deacon in his local Baptist church - was used to dealing with criminals and knew what the inside of a cell looked like.’
      • ‘The Korean church now has six elders who head departments and 132 deacons who assist them, but the clergy maintain significant authority.’
      • ‘In fact there were a few evangelicals sprinkled here and there - a deacon from Alabama, a minister from Maryland, or a faith-based community service leader in a few states.’
      • ‘Rev Heath said DC Oake was: ‘A fine Christian, a deacon, a worship leader and a prayer group leader at Poynton Baptist Church, Stockport.’’
      • ‘He was the first deacon when the First Congregational Church of Haverhill was organized in 1790, and in 1801 he was instrumental in securing a charter for the Haverhill Social Library.’
    2. 1.2historical (in the early church) an appointed minister of charity.
      • ‘New Testament deacons serve the Lord by conducting the caring ministry of the church.’
      • ‘Elders carry out the work of Christ as Shepherd and deacons the work of Christ as Servant.’
      • ‘An argument in the faith community over the care of widows raised such concern that the office of deacon was created to resolve it.’
      • ‘The deacon found and served Christ in the poor, the hungry and thirsty, the stranger and the naked, the sick and imprisoned.’


[with object]
  • Appoint or ordain as a deacon.

    • ‘However the end of his first year brought the news that Mr Mahaffey could not be deaconed, due to his age.’
    • ‘I was deaconed in 1992 in Salisbury and was the last group of women who were deaconed without knowing whether they would ever be allowed to be priests.’
    • ‘He was deaconed in 1853 and priested in 1854 in the Diocese of Newcastle.’


Old English diacon, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek diakonos ‘servant’ (in ecclesiastical Greek ‘Christian minister’).