Deacon Justin was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos on Sunday, April 18, 2021. He is a 2020 graduate of Deaconate program at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Deacon Justin is currently the Second Vice President of the Board of Directors for Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center. He also assists the Metropolis with various legal matters and is a key member of the Metropolis COVID-19 Parish Support Team.
Deacon Justin graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and is a partner in a law firm in Oakland, CA. In addition, he earned a post-graduate Certificate from the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, UK and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is currently studying toward a Master of Theology from the University of Balamand.
God has richly blessed Deacon Justin and his wife, Diakonissa Annemarie with four amazing (and devout) children: Judi (Markella), Joseph, Gregory, and Natalia.
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Our Lord and the sun were shining on the faithful at the Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church as Justin Bosl was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos. Also participating in the service were His Grace Bishop Ioannis of Phocaea, Rev. Father Niko Bekris, Rev. Father Thomas Zaferes, Rev. Father Photios Dumont, and Rev. Father Panagiotis Sotiras. This was only the second ordination held at the Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church since its inception in 1971.
From the earliest Christian community (Acts 6:1-6) to the present, deacons have played an integral part in the life of the Church. Perhaps not as visible and prominent as they once were, the ministry of the diaconate is an integral part of the Church’s ecclesial identity, being one of the three ordained offices of the Church. As the name implies (διάκονος = “servant”), the diaconate is the office of service par excellence, and the deacon serves at the behest of the local Metropolitan both liturgically and pastorally in the life of a community. All higher clergy, priests and bishops, must first be ordained and serve as deacons. Because Christ came not to be served, but to serve, so, too, all those who receive the grace of the Holy Spirit to Holy Orders must begin their service as deacons.
At the conclusion of Orthros the candidate is brought before the bishop at the throne, and the symmartyria (canonical testimonial) is read. The bishop then makes the sign of the Cross three times over the candidate, saying:
Bishop: In the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. (3)
Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.
Bishop: Lord, our God, Who through the one and same Holy Spirit distribute gifts
of grace to each one whom You have chosen; Who have given to the
Church different orders; and have established different degrees of ministry
therein for the service of Your holy, pure Mysteries; and Who through Your
ineffable foreknowledge have ordained this Your servant (Name) worthy to
serve in Your holy Church. Preserve him, Lord, uncondemned in all things.
Grant that he may love the beauty of Your house, standing before the
doors of Your holy temple, and lighting the lamps of the dwelling place of
Your glory. Plant him in Your holy Church like a fruitful olive tree bringing
forth the fruits of righteousness. Make him Your perfect servant at the time
of Your Second Coming, that he may receive the reward of those who are
pleasing in Your sight. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the
glory, of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and always, and
to the ages of ages.
The newly-ordained subdeacon stands before the bishop, holding a pitcher of water in his right hand, and a bowl in his left, with a towel placed over his left arm. The bishop washes his hands, and then splashes water in the face of the subdeacon. While he does these things, the subdeacon intones:
Subdeacon: All who are faithful. (3)
The newly-ordained subdeacon is led before the icon of the Lord Jesus Christ to prayerfully await the moment of ordination to the Diaconate.
A deacon’s ordination takes place after the consecration of the Holy Gifts during a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, by virtue of the fact that he does not participate in the consecration himself. After being led around the altar thrice, he kneels on one knee at the altar to await the laying on of hands.
During the Liturgy, after the Hierarch has intoned “And may the mercies of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ be with you all,” two Deacons exit, and bring the Subdeacon before the Hierarch. They stand on the solea, facing the Hierarch who stands in the Beautiful Gate.
1st Deacon: Command
2nd Deacon: All command
1st Deacon: Command, Holy Master, the one who presents himself before you.
Bishop: In the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. (3)
The subdeacon addresses the bishop, then the bishop counsels the subdeacon. Afterwards, the subdeacon is brought into the sanctuary, and led by the deacons, circles the altar three times while the clergy sing:
Clergy: Hear us, you martyred Saints who have fought the good fight and received
crowns, entreat the Lord, to have mercy on our souls. Glory to you, Christ
our God, the Apostles’ boast and pride, the Martyrs’ fervent joy whose
preaching is the consubstantial Trinity. O Isaiah dance with joy, for the
Virgin is indeed with child and brought forth a son, Emmanuel. Who came
both as God and man, Day-at-the-Dawn is his name, and by magnifying
him, we call the Virgin blessed.
They bring the Candidate to the Hierarch at the front of the Altar. The subdeacon kneels before the Altar placing his hands on the Altar and his head upon his hands. The Hierarch makes the sign of the Cross three times over his head. After the Deacon proclaims, “Let us be attentive!” the Hierarch places his hand on the head of the Subdeacon and recites the Prayer, “The Divine grace…”
Deacon: Let us be attentive.
Bishop: The divine grace, which always heals that which is infirm and completes
that which is lacking, ordains the most devout Subdeacon (Name) to the
office of Deacon. Let us, therefore, pray for him, that the grace of the All
Holy Spirit may come upon him.
The clergy in the Holy of Holies say:
Clergy: Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.
Bishop: Lord our God, in Your providence You send your Holy Spirit upon those
who are ordained by Your unsearchable power to become servants to
minister Your Pure Mysteries, do You Lord, look upon this man whom You
have consented to be ordained by me to the service of the Diaconate and
preserve him in all humility, that he may hold the mystery of the faith with
a pure conscience. Grant to him the grace which You gave to Stephen,
Your first martyr, whom You called first to the ministry of Your
Diaconate. Make him worthy to please You as he serves You in the office
which you, in your goodness, bestowed upon him. For those who minister
well prepare themselves for good reward; and proclaim him Your perfect
servant. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, of the Father,
the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and always, and to the ages of ages.
The first deacon recites the following petitions in a low voice while the clergy in the Holy of Holies slowly respond “Lord, have mercy.”
1st Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord. For the peace from above and the
salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. For peace in the whole
world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all,
let us pray to the Lord. For our Archbishop (Name), and our Bishop
(Name) for his priesthood, sustenance, sojourn, peace, health, salvation,
and for the works of his hands, let us pray to the Lord. For the servant of
God (Name of the new deacon), who has now been ordained a deacon,
and for his salvation, let us pray to the Lord. That God who loves mankind
will grant to him a pure and blameless diaconate, let us pray to the Lord.
For this parish and this city, for every city and country, and for the faithful
who live in them, let us pray to the Lord. For our deliverance from all
tribulation, wrath, danger, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord. Help us,
save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by Your grace.
Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most-blessed, and glorious Lady, the
Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit
ourselves and one another and all our life to Christ our God.
Chanters: To You, O Lord.
Bishop: For to You belong all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father and to the
Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always, and to the ages of ages.
While the 1st deacon intones the petitions, the bishop reads the following prayer with his hand still on the new deacon’s head:
Bishop: O God our Savior, by your immortal voice You established the office of the
diaconate through Your Apostles and showed forth the First martyr
Stephen whom You elected first to fulfill the work of a deacon. It is written
in your holy Gospel, “whoever would be first among you, let him be your
servant.” Lord of all fill this, Your servant, whom you have consented to
enter the ministry of a deacon with the totality of faith, love, power, and
sanctification by the descent of Your Holy and Life-giving Spirit. For not
through the laying on of my hands, but by the divine visitation of your rich
mercies grace is bestowed upon your worthy ones; that he, liberated from
every sin, may stand blameless by You in the awesome Day of Judgment
and receive the true reward of Your promise. For You are our God, and to
You we ascribe glory, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now
and always, and to the ages of ages.
Everyone stands and the bishop proclaims the newly-ordained Deacon “Axios!” (worthy) to which the congregation responds “Axios!” The bishop will hold up each item of the deacon’s vestments and again proclaim “Axios!,” each time to which the congregation also responds “Axios!” and vests the new deacon.
The vestments of the deacon are the sticharion, the orarion, and the epimanikia.
All degrees of clergy wear the sticharion.
The sticharion is a long-sleeved tunic that reaches all the way to the ground. It reminds the wearer that the grace of the Holy Spirit covers him as with a garment of salvation and joy. For deacons, the sticharion has wide sleeves and is made of a heavier fabric than that of the priest and bishop, who wear their sticharia under other vestments.
The distinctive vestment of the deacon is the orarion.
The orarion is a narrow band of material that the deacon wears wrapped around his body and draped over his left shoulder. It represents the grace of the Holy Spirit that in ordination anoints the deacon like oil. It is the principal vestment of the deacon and without it he cannot serve.
When the deacon leads the people in prayers or invites them to attention he holds one end of his orarion in his right hand and raises it.
The final parts of a deacon’s vestments are the epimanikia. The epimanikia are cuffs that are worn around the wrists, tied by a long cord. These are also worn by the bishop and priest. They serve the practical purpose of keeping the inner garments out of the way during the services. They also remind the wearer that he serves not by his own strength but with the help of God. Only those in major orders wear the epimanikia.
The deacon ministers to the priest and bishop in the divine services. This includes:
- Preaching the Gospel of Christ (with the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop)
- Assisting in the celebration of the all Holy Mysteries of the Church
- Leading the people in the litanies
- Reading from the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy
- Keeping the decorum of the public worship, including calling people to attention at appropriate times
- Assisting in the distribution of Holy Communion during Liturgy
- Taking the Sacraments to the sick and shut-ins
- Other charitable, pastoral, and educational tasks related to Church life, with the blessing and direction of his priest or bishop.
Deacons wear a cassock; this is done as a sign of his suppression of his own will and desires, and his canonical obedience to God, his bishop and the liturgical and canonical norms of the Church. Deacons are also permitted to wear the exoraso (or riassa). In jurisdictions that utilize clergy shirts, deacons generally wear a clergy shirt with collar.
In addition, to complete his duties, the deacon is permitted to touch the Table of Oblation, the Altar, and to move through the Royal Doors.
The place of a deacon is to serve the community and to lead prayers. He must have the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop to put on his vestments and serve. A deacon may not celebrate the sacraments by himself; he may not give blessings; he may not consecrate the Holy Gifts.
Education and Training
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology offers a three-year program in Diaconate Studies. Through an intensive mentoring program, distance learning offerings, and three summer sessions on the campus of Holy Cross, the Diaconate Program introduces candidates to the theology, history, liturgical practices, pastoral approaches, and canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church.