A lector (reader) in the West is a clerk having the second of the four minor orders. In all Eastern Churches also, readers are ordained to a minor order preparatory to the diaconate

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

     Catholic_Encyclopedia Lector
    A lector (reader) in the West is a clerk having the second of the four minor orders. In all Eastern Churches also, readers are ordained to a minor order preparatory to the diaconate. The primary reason for a special class of readers was the need of some persons sufficiently educated to be able to read the books in church, for the Christians continued the Jewish practice of reading the Sacred Books publicly. The first mention of a Christian liturgical reader is by Justin Martyr (d. about 165) in I Apol., lxvii, 3, 4. The homily known as "II Clem. ad Corinthios" also contains a reference to a lector, anaginoskon (xix, 1). The position of reader was honourable and dignified. It involved a higher standard of education than that of most offices. Although Justin says that the bishop preached the sermon, it appears that the reader himself often went on to expound what he had read. As the idea obtained that a special blessing and dedication should be given to everyone who performs an office for the Church, the reader too was instituted by prayers and some ceremony. Readers were blessed and set apart, as were the fossores who dug graves, the notarii who kept registers, and widows. All the group of rituals that depend on the "Apostolic Constitutions" contain the rite of ordaining readers. "Apost. Const.", vii, xxii, tells the bishop to ordain a reader by laying on his hand and saying a prayer, which is given. The derived documents however forbid an imposition of hands. ("Epitome Const. Ap.", xiii; Funk, "Didascalia", Paderborn, 1905, II, p. 82; see also the "Egyptian Church Order", V, ib., p. 105).
    During the first centuries all the lessons in the liturgy, including the Epistle and Gospel, were read by the lector. Cornelius I (251-53) in a letter to Fabius of Antioch mentions that the Church of Rome has forty-two acolytes and fifty-two exorcists, readers and doorkeepers. (Denzinger, "Enchiridion", n. 45). In the fourth century in Africa the Church of Cirta had four priests, three deacons ( see Deacons ), four subdeacons, and seven readers. The account of the persecution ("Gesta apud Zenophilum" printed in the appendix to Optatus of Mileve in the Vienna edition of "Corp. Script. eccl. lat.", XXVI, 185-97) describes how the readers kept the sacred books which the magistrate demanded to be given up (p. 187). An old set of Western canons, ascribed (wrongly) to a supposed Council of Carthage in 398, but really of the sixth century, gives forms for all ordinations. Canon 8 is about our subject: "When a reader is ordained let the bishop speak about him (faciat de illo verbum) to the people, pointing out his faith and life and skill. After this, while the people look on, let him give him the book from which he is to read, saying to him: Receive this and be the spokesman (relator) of the word of God and you shall have, if you do your work faithfully and usefully, a part with those who have administered the word of God" (Denzinger, op. cit., n. 156). But gradually the lectorate lost all importance. The deacon ( see Deacons ) obtained the office of reading the Gospel; in the West the Epistle became the privilege of the subdeacon. In the Eastern Churches this and other lessons are still supposed to be read by a lector, but everywhere his office (as all minor orders) may be supplied by a layman. The lector is still mentioned twice in the Roman Missal. In the rubrics at the beginning it is said that if Mass be sung without deacon ( see Deacons ) and subdeacon a lector wearing a surplice may sing the Epistle in the usual place; but at the end he does not kiss the celebrant's hand (Ritus celebr. Missam", vi, 8). On Good Friday the morning service begins with a prophecy read by a lector at the place where the Epistle is usually read (first rubric on Good Friday).
    Everywhere the order of reader has become merely a stepping-stone to major orders, and a memory of early days. In the Roman Rite in is the second minor order (Ostiarius, Lector, Exorcista, Acolythus). The minor orders are conferred during Mass after the first Lesson; but they may be given apart from Mass, on Sundays or doubles, in the morning. The lectorate involves no obligation of celibacy or of any other kind. The Byzantine Office will be found in the "Euchologion" (Euchologion to mega, Venetian 8th edition, 1898, pp. 186-87). The Armenians (Gregorian and Uniate) have adopted the Roman system of four minor orders exactly. Their rite of ordaining a reader also consists essentially in handing to him the book of the Epistles.
    WIELAND, Die Genetische Entwickelung der sog. Ordines minores in den 3 ersten Jahrhunderten in Römische Quartalschrift, Suppl. no 7 (Rome, 1892); HARNACK, Über den Ursprung des Lectorats u. der anderen niederen Weihen in Texte u. Untersuchungen, II, 5.
    Transcribed by Thomas J. Bress

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.

Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lector — is a Latin term for one who reads, whether aloud or not. In modern languages the word has come to take various forms, as either a development or a loan, such as fr. lecteur, en. lector, pl. lektor. It has various specialized uses:;Academic: The… …   Wikipedia

  • lector — lector, ra adjetivo,sustantivo masculino y femenino 1. Que lee: público lector. Las bibliotecas públicas tienen pocos lectores. 2. [Persona] que es profesor de su propia lengua en un centro de enseñanza extranjero: Trabaja como lector de español… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • lector — lector, ra (Del lat. lector, ōris). 1. adj. Que lee o tiene el hábito de leer. 2. Que lee en voz alta para otras personas. U. m. c. s.) 3. Dicho de un dispositivo electrónico: Que convierte información de un soporte determinado en otro tipo de… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Lector — Lector, lector lat., der Leser, Vorleser; an Universitäten der Lehrer für lebende Sprachen; L. at, eine der sieben Weihen des kathol. Priesters, welche die Vollmacht enthält, aus dem lectionarium in der Kirche öffentlich vorzulesen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • LECTOR — tertius est e 7. ordinibus Eccl. Primus enim in Clericis, teste Hier. tomo 4. Fossariorum ordo est: Secundus Ostiatiorum: Tertius Lectorum. Quartus Subdiaconorum: Quintus Levitarum s. Diaconorum: Sextus Sacerdotum: Septimus Episcoporum. Hinc… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • lector — late 14c., reader, a cleric in one of the minor orders, from L.L. lector reader, agent noun from L. legere to read (see LECTURE (Cf. lecture)). Related: Lectorship …   Etymology dictionary

  • Lector — Lec tor (l[e^]k t[o^]r), n. [L. See {Lection}.] (Eccl.) A reader of lections; formerly, a person designated to read lessons to the illiterate. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lector — (lat.), 1) Leser, Vorleser; bes. 2) (Anagnostes), in der alten Kirche, welcher das Amt des Vorlesers der biblischen A bschnitle u. den Lectionen (s. Lection 6) hatte. Dergleichen Beamte kommen schon im zweiten Jahrh. vor u. wurden gleich anderen… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • lector — ▌ lector óptico sustantivo femenino escáner (anglic.). * * * Sinónimos: ■ leedor, leyente Antónimos: ■ analfabeto Sinónimos: ■ profesor, maestro, catedrático, con …   Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos

  • lector — [lek′tər] n. [LME < L, reader (in ML(Ec), church officer) < lectus: see LECTERN] 1. a person who reads the Scripture lessons in a church service 2. Eccles. one of the four MINOR ORDERS, the special function of which is to read the… …   English World dictionary

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.