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Deaconesses in the Eastern Orthodox Churches

The Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, Egypt, introduced in November 2016 the “order of deaconess”. According to patriarchateofalexandria.com in February 2017 it was “the first time in the …More
The Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, Egypt, introduced in November 2016 the “order of deaconess”. According to patriarchateofalexandria.com in February 2017 it was “the first time in the history of missions in Africa” that such a “consecration” took place.
Since then, the validity of this decision has been questioned. On October 24, nine liturgists and theologians published a letter of support on panorthodoxcemes.blogspot.com. The letter claims that contemporary Greek bishops have ordained deaconesses, "In fact, the Church of Greece established a School of Deaconesses, which in the end developed into a school for social workers.”
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BrTomFordeOFMCap
Any serious research I have ever read on deaconesses has concluded that they were not the female equivalents of deacons but were more like our modern active sisters. They were there to assist in the catechising of women and children, in the baptism of women (usually by immersion back then) and in caring for those who were sick, elderly etc and had no one else to care for them. If women could be …More
Any serious research I have ever read on deaconesses has concluded that they were not the female equivalents of deacons but were more like our modern active sisters. They were there to assist in the catechising of women and children, in the baptism of women (usually by immersion back then) and in caring for those who were sick, elderly etc and had no one else to care for them. If women could be admitted to the actual diaconate then there would be no theological reason to exclude them from the presbyterate and episcopate since they form one single Sacrament in three degrees or orders. Calling these women deaconesses is unfair to them and unfair to the people of God. It sows confusion and fosters division. Acknowledge the good they do and give it a place in the Church but do not let them be confused with clergy. There was enough of that in the past with 'choir sisters' and 'lay sisters.' It did no lasting good.