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Blessing
Question from Eric Condic on 5/27/2004:

Anthony,

My daughter is going to be operated on in July and the surgeon happens to be a Deacon of St. Maryís of Livonia, Antiochian Orthodox Diocese. I have always had great respect for our Orthodox brothers and would be honored if he said a blessing over my child just before he operates. I have a couple of questions though:

1) Is it appropriate to ask an Orthodox deacon to perform a blessing?

2) In general would an Orthodox deacon refuse to bless a Catholic, i.e. is there something in their cannon law which would forbid it?

I would like to ask but I also don't want to put him in an uncomfortable position where he would feel compelled to refuse the request.

Thank You and God bless. I so admire your work on this list!!!

Answer by Anthony Dragani on 5/29/2004:

Eric,

I hope that your daughter's surgery goes well.

1) You have, by accident, stumbled upon one of the major differences between the role of a deacon in the East versus in the West. In the Roman Catholic Church deacons can give blessings. In Eastern Christianity deacons cannot. In the Eastern Churches, whether Catholic or Orthodox, blessings can only be performed by priests or bishops.

2) In general, Orthodox priests are very willing to bless Catholics. I have received many blessings from Orthodox priests and bishops. There is nothing in their canon law to forbid this.

Although the surgeon cannot give an official blessing, you can still ask him to say a prayer over your daughter. I doubt that he will refuse.

God Bless, Anthony

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