The Two New Testament Deacons

twodeaconsLeft Window Pane

Two laymen in the Early Church were selected as subjects for the windows in the balcony stairway of the main narthex. They are two of the seven deacons in the Church mentioned in the Book of Acts.

The Apostles (who correspond to bishops) found that their followers had multiplied to so great a number that they could not minister to them adequately. For this reason they chose seven men to be deacons. These men would handle the dispensing of charity. Among these men were Stephen and Philip (Acts 6). Stephen made a stunning defense of Christianity by showing an extensive knowledge of tradtional Judaism. This so inflamed his detractors that they stoned him to death. He thus became the first Christian martyr. He closed his eyes on this world with the prayer that God would not hold this act against his enemies.

Right Window Pane

Philip became much more than a deacon. He was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he went to Samaria to proclaim Christ. He was even empowered by the Spirit to perform miracles in the Savior’s Name.

It was then that the Lord sent an angel to tell Philip to go to Gaza. While traveling in that direction, he came upon an Ethiopian eunuch from the court of Queen Candace. The Ethiopian was riding in his chariot and studying the Scriptures. Philip volunteered to explain the writing after which the man requested Baptism (Acts 8:26-39). In the window Philip is shown kneeling on the shore and the eunuch is shown in the water.

In the panel above each of the two deacons is shown a dalmatic. This is a garment which was traditionally worn by deacons.