Archdeacon

An Anglican cleric who has administrative authority of part or all of a diocese delegated to him by his bishop. He is particularly concerned with the proper maintenance of church property and also with a general disciplinary role toward the parish clergy. He must be in priest's orders. In the Eastern and Roman churches the office now has virtually no significance. From the third/fourth century and archdeacon was the chief deacon at the bishop's church with responsibilities for preaching, supervision of the deacons' pastoral and administrative work, and the distribution of alms. With the expansion of the church from the fourth century and the increase in revenue, the archdeacon's role became increasingly important. In the Middle Ages in the West he was second only to the bishop until rivalry led to a radical curtailment of his power.