Sunday 26 December 2010

S. Stephen, Proto-Martyr, Deacon

Who needs Bristol Cribbs Causeway shopping centre and turkey curry on "Boxing Day", when we could be having this:

Deacons in the Armenian church wear mitres on the feast of S. Stephen, and on other great feasts whenever there are seven deacons present. The Deacon's mitre is, as you can see, closer to a Byzantine Bishop's mitra than the Armenian Bishop's mitre, which I believe derives its shape from the Latin mitre. These ones are also holding small church-like structures which remind me of a Coptic icon of S. Stephen I have at home. In this image he is entirely localised to Egypt, carrying an Egyptian censer, a small church structure and wearing an ornamented alb and Coptic "mitra"(even though, to my knowledge, Coptic Deacons never wear mitres). These Armenian Deacons are living icons of the Greatest Deacon and the first to die for Christ.


  1. Mitred deacons at St. Magnus next?

    A happy and blessed Octave of St. Stephen (and of the Nativity, and St. John, and the Holy Innocents, and St. Thomas)!

  2. The church-like structures are arks (boats) for the incense. They are especially ornate in the Armenian Rite.

    Thank you for the kind post about our customs.

  3. Mor Severus,

    What are the vestments the two deacons holding the arks are wearing which look like the fanon (in the Roman rite)?

    Could you please tell us what the middle deacon is holding - I assumed that was an incense boat.

    Please do tell us more about the wonderful Armenian rite, it is not that easy to find information.

    A blessed Theophany on January 6th (or 19th if you are Old Kalendar)!

  4. Marvellous! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  5. All three are holding arks (boats) for incense. Sometimes these take the form of miniature churches, which can be seen here.

    I am happy to discuss our liturgical tradition but the subject is so vast that I would prefer specific questions before moving into a more general discussion.