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The first in rank of the two Lesser Ministries in the RC Church. Until 1972 acolytes formed one of the four Minor Orders. First mentioned c.251, they were specially dedicated to the service of the altar, administering Communion both inside and outside Mass. With the subdeacon, they absorbed most of the functions of the other Minor Orders at Mass and Baptism. Since 1972 the acolyte may be a layman.

Subjects: Christianity.

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