This article forms part of the series
Clergy (Christian)
Russian Orthodox Episcopal Ordination
Major orders
Bishop - Priest - Deacon
Minor orders
Subdeacon - Reader
Cantor - Acolyte
Other orders
Chorepiscopos - Exorcist
Doorkeeper - Deaconess
Episcopal titles
Pope - Patriarch - Cardinal - Catholicos
Archbishop - Metropolitan
Auxiliary bishop -

Chorbishop - Titular bishop
Major Archbishop

Priestly titles
Archimandrite - Protopresbyter
Archpriest - Protosyngellos
Diaconal titles
Archdeacon - Protodeacon - Hierodeacon
Minor titles
Monastic titles
Abbot - Igumen
Ordination - Vestments
Presbeia - Honorifics
Clergy awards - Exarch
Proistamenos - Vicar

A doorkeeper, or porter, is an extinct office within the minor orders of clergy in the Church. The doorkeeper's duty in the Early Church consisted of the opening and closing of church doors, guarding the church building proper, and ensuring that no unbaptized persons entered during the Liturgy of the Faithful.


Porters, during the time of the Romans, were men, usually slaves, who held the duty of guarding the entrances of homes. Most Roman homes of the upper class had an ostiarius, or doorkeeper, whose duties were usually considered inferior to that of the other house slaves.

During the times of Roman persecution of the Church when liturgies were held in the homes of the faithful, it became necessary to mimic this secular tradition. This was to guard the faithful and the Sacred Mysteries. Doorkeepers are first referred to in the letter of Pope Cornelius to Bishop Fabius of Antioch, written in 251, where it is said that in Rome there were 46 priests, seven deacons, seven subdeacons, 42 acolytes, and 52 exorcists, readers, and doorkeepers.[{{fullurl:{{wikipedia:FULLPAGENAME}}}}#endnote_1] According to the statement in the Liber Pontificalis, a porter named Romanus suffered martyrdom in 258 around the same time as St. Lawrence of Rome.[{{fullurl:{{wikipedia:FULLPAGENAME}}}}#endnote_2]

References to the doorkeeper's duties still exist within the life of the Church. For example, before the recitation of the Creed, the deacon or priest says, "The Doors! The Doors! In wisdom let us attend." Traditionally, at that point in the service, any unbelievers or remaining catechumens were ushered out. This was the order given by the clergy to the doorkeeper to seal the church.


  • ^  Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 43. [1]
  • ^  Liber Pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, I, 155. XXV, 3


Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.