Provide a place

Daily Reading for October 10

You bishops, gather the faithful with much patience, and with doctrine and exhortation, as ministers of the kingdom everlasting. Hold your assemblies with all decent order, and appoint the places for the brethren with care and gravity.

And for the presbyters let there be assigned a place in the eastern part of the house; and let the bishop’s throne be set in their midst, and let the presbyters sit with him.

But of the deacons let one stand always by the oblations of the Eucharist; and let another stand without by the door and observe them that come in; and afterwards, when you offer, let them minister together in the church.

And if any one be found sitting out of his place, let the deacon who is within reprove him and make him rise up and sit in a place that is meet for him. And let the deacon also see that no one whispers, or falls asleep, or laughs, or makes signs.

For so it should be, that with decency and decorum they watch in the church, with ears attentive to the word of the Lord. But if, while young men or women sit, an older man or woman should rise and give up their place, do thou, O deacon, scan those who sit, and see which man or woman of them is younger than the rest, and make them stand up, and cause him to sit who had risen and given up his place; and him whom thou hast caused to stand up, lead away and make him to stand behind his neighbours: that others also may be trained and learn to give place to those more honourable than themselves.

But if a poor man or woman should come, especially if they are stricken in years, and there be no place for such, do thou, O bishop, with all thy heart provide a place for them, even if thou have to set upon the ground; that thou be not as one who respects the persons of men, but that thy ministry may be acceptable with God.

From the Didascalia Apostolorum, quoted in Deacons and the Church: Making Connections between Old and New by John N. Collins. Copyright © 2002. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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