(1) The name given to the places where food and alms were distributed to the poor by the deacons of the Church of Rome, consisting of a hall in which the distributing took place, and an oratory or chapel annexed. Over each diaconia a deacon presided, and the archdeacon superintended them all. The original diaconia has given place to another plain, where the hall is dispensed with, and the chapel has become a church; of these there are now fourteen, each assigned to a cardinal-deacon.
(2) The word was also used, as by Gregory the Great (Ep. ad Joann, 24), for. that part of the deacon's office which consisted in dispensing food and money to the poor.
(3) The word was used for monastic almsgiving in the earlier days of monachism. Diacoillca, certain short prayers in the liturgy recited by the deacons, called also εἰρηνικά, as being prayers for peace.