In every Symbolic Lodge, there are two officers who are called the Senior and Junior Deacons. In America the former has been appointed by the Master and the latter by the Senior Warden, both have been elected according to the respective Codes of the Jurisdictions, Pennsylvania, for example, has the Deacons appointed, Ohio has them elected; in England both are appointed by the Master. It is to the Deacons that the introduction of visitors should be properly entrusted. Their duties comprehend, also, a general surveillance over the security of the Lodge, and they are the proxies of the officers by whom they are appointed Hence their jewel, in allusion to the necessity of circumspection and justice is a square and compasses. In the center, the Senior Deacon wears a sun, and the Junior Deacon a moon, which serve to distinguish their respective ranks. In the English system, the jewel of the Deacons is a dove, in allusion to the dove sent forth by Noah. In the Rite of Mizraim the Deacons are called acolytes.
The office off Deacons in Freemasonry appears to have been derived from the usage's of the primitive church. In the Greek church, the Deacons were always the wvxwpoí, the pylori or doorkeepers, and in the Apostolica Constitutions the Deacon was ordered to stand at the men's door, and the Subdeacon at the women's, to see that none came in or went out during the oblation In the earliest rituals of the eighteenth century, there is no mention of' Deacons, and the duties of those officers were discharged partly by the Junior Warden and partly by the Senior and Junior Entered Apprentices, and they were not generally adopted in England until the Union of 1813. Brother W,J. Chetwode Crawley has some comments upon the subject in Caementaria Hibernica (Fasciculus i, pages 9-10). He advises that:
"We must carefully distinguish between the Deacon of the early Scottish Minute Books, and the Deacon of Irish ritual. The former occupied almost, if not altogether, the highest post among his Brethren, and having precedence over the Warden and presiding over the meeting when occasion required. The latter corresponded to the Dean-that is Deacon-of Faculty ; the latter to the lost order of the Ministry, the Deacon in Ecclesiastical parlance. The similarity does not go beyond the name.
The appointing of Deacons served in latter days, as a distinction between Irish and English work, for the Lodges under the Constitution of the Ancient naturally followed the Irish use. It must be observed that the office of Deacon was confined to supporting Lodges. During the first one hundred and twenty years of its existence, the Grand Lodge of Ireland never elected Grand Deacons . When their services were required they were selected for the occasion from the Masters then present. Their first appearance as prominent Grand Officers is in the addition of the Irish Constitutions, promulgated in 1850, though thirty-seven years previously the United Grand Lodge of England had adopted the office, in deference to the usage of the Ancient.