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3. Of Acolyths

Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER IV. Inferior officers of the church

3. Of Acolyths

The word * denotes a servant. The office corresponds to that of the Roman apparitor. or pedellus, bedellus, a beadle. The word is evidently of Greek origin. Hesychius defines it by a servant or personal aitendant.* With this view of the origin of the word, it is remarkable that it was, for four hundred years, an office of the Latin church, and adopted from them by the Greek at a late period. This may have arisen from the fact that the subdeacons in the Greek church have a close analogy with the acolyths in the Latin, and that name was commonly retained. But the term * was also familiar in the Greek church, and is explicitly mentioned by Eusebius and others. Eusebius relates that an inconceivable number of presbyters, deacons, acolyths and others attended the bishops at the council of Nice.

The acolyths, as their name implies, were the immediate attendants and followers of the bishop, especially in public processions, and on festive occasions, and were employed by them in errands of every kind. Their duties in regard to religious worship, as specified by the council of Carthage, were to light the candles, and to bring the wine and water for the eucharist. 

Euseb. h. c. lib. vi. 43. Vet. Const. M. lib. iii. c. 8; Concil. Carthag. 4. c. 6; Cyprian ep. 7, 34, 52, 59, 77, etc.

Concil. Carthag. 4. c. 6.

(* denotes Greek text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)


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