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The acolyte had no clearly defined function in the liturgy of the early church. Pope Damasus Epigr. 18: PL 13, 392 speaks of the martyr Tarcisius who carried the Eucharist to sick members of the community. Best vacations USA The tradition remained even after the persecutions, but in a different way: the acolyte brought the fermentum to the titular churches of Rome on Sundays, as Pope Innocent writes to Bishop Decentius of Gubbio Ep. 25 ad Decentium: PL 20, 556. A later development of the role of acolyte is described by Isidore in De eccl. off. I, 2,24, where he writes that acolytes lit the candles and carried them during the reading of the gospel and the offering of the sacrifice or canon of the Mass. Later sacramentaries such as the Gelasian, the Gregorian and their revisions speak of the ordination of acolytes.

The office of lector may be considered one of the oldest liturgical roles. Since Justin I Apol. 67 indicates the lector not by a noun, but a participle tou avnaginw,skontoj it is clear that he was a welldefined person. All Justin says is that the lector read the memoriae of the apostles or prophets for as long as time permitted, before the homily by the president of the assembly. Tertullian’s De praescr. haer. 41: CCL 1,222 shows that, unlike the heretics, the Catholic church considered the lectorate as a stable office, not to be confused with others: “Itaque,” he writes of heretics, “alius hodie episcopus, cras alius: hodie diaconus qui cras lector; hodie presbyter qui cras laicus.” Hippolytus distinguished the ministry of lectors from those of bishop, presbyter and deacon, using the word kaqi,statai instead of ceirotiqeitai of their institution: “The lector is instituted when the bishop consigns him the book; he receives no laying on of hands” Botte, La Tradition Apostolique, LQF 39,30. In Hippolytus’s hierarchy the lector comes after confessors and widows, but before virgins and subdeacons, an order reflecting that of contemporary Egypt.

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