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READER — A reader, also called a lector (in Greek, ??????????, anagnostis or anagnostes; in Slavonic, ?????, chtets) is one of the minor orders of the Orthodox Church, a sub-clerical order to which a man is tonsured, setting him apart as blessed by the bishop to read the epistle readings in the Divine Liturgy. He may also serve as a cantor, catechist, or in other leadership roles in the local parish community.

This order is higher than the doorkeeper (now largely obsolete) and lower than the subdeacon. The reader’s essential role is to read the Old Testament and Epistle lessons during the Divine Liturgy and other services, as well as to chant the Psalms and the verses of certain antiphons. There is a special service for the tonsuring of a reader, although in contemporary practice any layman (LAY READER) may receive the priest’s blessing to read on a particular occasion. The office of a reader subsumes that of a taper-bearer, and the service of tonsuring a reader mentions both functions.