Do Anglicans have the minor orders of subdeacon, acolyte, exorcist, lector, and door-keeper (porter), like in the Catholic Church (cf. Council of Trent ses. 23 ch. 2), and the major order of deacon? (I know they claim to have the priesthood.)

2 Answers 2


Yes, Anglicans do have deacons, and while there are people who perform the tasks of some of the minor orders, particularly acolyte, and lector, and while they often have some training in the role they serve, they are not officially sanctioned "minor orders" in the sense of being provided for in canon law. The only official orders in the Anglican church besides Deacon are Bishop and Priest.

  • Any citations on that? Sep 8, 2014 at 3:09
  • I know the canons of the Episcopal Church in the US provide canons relative to Bishops Priests, and Deacons. I know that the other are not official by experience, as an Anglo Catholic in the US who has resided in various regions. I'm not aware of any canon that "we don't have minor orders", or the equivalent.
    – brasshat
    Sep 8, 2014 at 4:35
  • Is what you say also true for the original Anglicans or just modern-day Anglicans? thanks
    – Geremia
    Sep 8, 2014 at 5:13
  • 3
    It's going to depend upon how you define "original Anglicans". The Anglican Church before Henry broke with the Bishop of Rome had these minor orders. The Anglican Church after the Accession of Elizabeth I to the throne did not. Odds are that they were deprecated after Henry died, restored with the reigh of Mary, and done away with after Elizabeth began her reign. I've seen references to some of the functions in the Church of England, but have not investigated the canons as thoroughly as in the US Episcopal Church.
    – brasshat
    Sep 8, 2014 at 6:06
  • @brasshat: "Original Anglicans" = those in the era of Henry VIII.
    – Geremia
    Sep 8, 2014 at 6:23

The Anglican equivalent of these minor orders are various and do not map well to their catholic equivalents. Members of the laity can become lay readers: these are quite common in England. I can't speak of the rest of the Anglican communion.

Lay readers are capable of carrying out most functions of a priest barring carrying out sacraments/sacramental rites. Bear in mind that a number of Anglican church services do not involve any sacraments (Evensong, Matins etc.).

There are also a few of other positions which are more modern which are worth mentioning: firstly there are Ordained Local Ministers (OLMs). An OLM is an ordained person (complete with all the abilities and all the study that implies) but their work is confined to a single parish and they are generally unpaid often supporting their church work through a secular job or in my experience using a pension.

There are also Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) who are charged with the task of assisting the clergy with administering the Eucharist and with its administration to the sick and others unable to attend church.

The final position worth mentioning are the Authorised Lay Ministers (ALMs). ALMs are trained and commisioned to work in their church by the bishop (like OLMs, ALMs are only authorised to work within their parish). Generally they are specialists in a particular area (worship, pastoral care etc.) and co-ordinate their efforts with the ministry team within their parish in the area they are trained in. This is a bit less time consuming than an OLM position and has less training.

The Anglican church does have deacons. Today, most deacons are actually curates (a kind of priest in training).

  • We used the term "Lay Eucharist Minister" or LEM instead of ALM Oct 30, 2014 at 14:02
  • I was not aware of Lay Eucharist Ministers and will include that in my answer. However, this is not the same as an ALM. Oct 30, 2014 at 14:18
  • Or at least it does not appear to be from any description I have come across. Oct 30, 2014 at 15:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .