Difference Between Deacon and Priest

Deacon vs Priest

In different religions, there are various orders within the clergy or the men chosen to do religious service. In Anglican Church, there is a clear division of the clergy with different roles and responsibilities to fulfill by every order. There are, however, several denominations in the church with variations in responsibilities of a particular order or ministry. This becomes confusing for people especially when asked to differentiate between a priest and a deacon though both happen to be clerics doing service in the church. This article attempts to find out the differences between these two holy orders.


A priest is a common name found in most religions of the world, to describe religious men performing rituals. These are men who are deemed to be the contact of humans with God and hence they command respect. In Anglican Church, the highest order of the clergy that is ordained is that of priests. Priests belong to ordained clergy which means that they have undergone ordination, a process that makes them eligible to perform sacred rituals. The word priest comes from Greek Presbuteros. A priest in a Christian denomination is a religious man who is expected to govern, teach, and perform rituals in the church. Priests can perform sacraments.


Deacon is an important post in the ministry of the church being subordinate to priest. The word comes from ancient Greek word that literally means servant. The order is said to have evolved with Stephen who was among the seven men chosen to do charitable work of the church in the early period.

Deacons serve under the bishops and serving food in the church is their primary responsibility under the ministry of charity. They are also required to teach, explaining text from the bible. Deacons are the third in the holy orders after bishop and priest. They explain gospels at the Mass under the ministry of word and perform the work of a minister of the Holy Communion under the ministry of liturgy.

What is the difference between Deacon and Priest?

• Priest and deacon are two of the three holy orders in the Christian clergy that is ordained.

• Priest observes celibacy whereas a deacon can be a married man.

• A deacon assists priest in many services of the church.

• Priest can hear confessions whereas a deacon cannot do so.

• A deacon cannot consecrate bread and wine that is the job of a priest.