Historical region of Country
DIACONATE minor ministries. Doorkeepers, exorcists, acolytes, lectors and subdeacons. Until the reforms of Pope Paul VI they were called minor orders, and were conferred on candidates for the priesthood as phases of the ecclesiastical gradus Mohlberg, Liber sacramemtorum, 115-116. Toledo Metro Map In times of persecution, the doorkeeper lat.: aeditus, ianitor, ostiarius; Gr. pulwro,j must have acted as a kind of security guard to prevent pagans and ill-wishers from entering Christian meeting places. After the persecutions, he was entrusted with the care and custody of churches and oratories. At the same time he had the duty of keeping order and tranquility during the celebration of the liturgy, as Epiphanius attests Pan. III, 2,21: PG 42, 825. In the Byzantine liturgy, the words for sending away catechumens were probably addressed to him: ta.j qu,raj ta.j qu,raj. The doorkeeper had other not strictly liturgical roles: St. Ambrose entrusted him with the task of enforcing his prohibition of refrigeria in cemeteries, as Augustine attests in Confessions 6, 2: Cum ad memorias sanctorum, sicut in Africa solebat, pultis et panem et merum attulisset Monica, atque ab ostiario prohiberetur.
In the early church until the 3rd c., the exorcist was not necessarily an ordained or instituted minister. Exorcism was a function of any Christian called to cast out the evil spirit from a possessed person Tertull., Apol. 23. Cyprian also spoke of exorcism in the sense of casting demons out of persons who were possessed, and described the powers and dramatic effects of demons on the possessed Ad Demetr. 14. Origen declared that demons are expelled not by magic rites or incantations, but by prayers and abjurations C. Cels. 6, 4. Cyril of Jerusalem encouraged his catechumens to receive willingly and devoutly the exorcism he had conferred by breathing on them Procat. 9. In the cited references, emphasis is more on the office than on the minister himself. The first trace of ordination of exorcists is found in the Gelasian Sacramentary Mohlberg, Liber sacramentorum, 116, 118.