"The Warden," "Rev" and now "Grantchester." (Yes, I cheered).
Why is it that archdeacons are always portrayed as callous, cold-hearted, self-serving, controlling, scheming, greasy pole climbing megalomaniacs in books, in films and on TV?
My guess is that it is probably something to do with the fact that almost every single one of them is a callous, cold-hearted, self-serving, controlling, scheming, greasy pole climbing megalomaniac in real life. I have known only one archdeacon who I would describe as a decent, compassionate human being and she packed the job in and went back to being a parish priest because she hated the nastiness that goes hand in hand with the post.<
The really worrying thing is that a high proportion of our bishops in the Church of England were previously archdeacons. It really shows. I asked one new bishop (previously a very efficient archdeacon) for her help a couple of months ago and she just ignored me. She couldn't even be bothered to say "no."
In Trollope's "The Warden" the archdeacon insists on being called archdeacon even by his wife when they are in bed together. That sort of uniquely ecclesiastical arrogance is what allows some holders of high office in the Church of England to treat anybody below their rank as if they are nothing but an annoyance to be brushed off like dog shit from their shoes.
Why do some priests become archdeacons?
It's not for the money and I am certain it is not out of love for their brothers and sisters in Christ.