The Restoration of the Ministry of Deaconesses

The Restoration of the Ministry of Deaconesses


On November 21, 2016, Pravoslavie reported that Holy Synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria will restore the diaconate to women.

Recently, Saint Catherine’s Vision shared Evangelos Theodorou’s response to the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria’s decision to proceed with the restoration of the ministry of deaconesses as an aid in the Orthodox mission field.

Theologian and Emeritus Professor Evangelos Theodorou of the University of Athens School of Theology, a respected authority of liturgical theology and the historiography of the ordination of deaconesses, is recorded as stating:

This is a timely and wonderful development. No doubt, the Orthodox Church in Africa has been growing and making profound inroads in many places. We have much to learn from them. Growth also implies new challenges and opportunities. We know through the Church’s history how unforeseen pastoral, educational and other needs, naturally arise as the Church grows. Inspired by the grace of the Holy Spirit, through this, as well as other pastoral decisions, the hierarchs of the Church in Africa are wisely acknowledging and responding to the needs of the Church.

Their statement further ascertains that

The need for the ministry of deaconesses is not new. The Scriptures, the Fathers and the ancient liturgical texts in the life of the Church affirm in various ways how ‘the ministry of a woman deacon is especially important and necessary.’ Certainly, this ministry may be needed more in some places than in others. This has always been the case in history.

Saint Catherine’s Vision invites everyone to join us in prayer that God reveal His holy will on this important issue for the Church. For further information about Saint Catherine’s Vision, please visit our website:


Saint Catherine’s Vision (SCV) is an international, Pan-Orthodox fellowship of women theologians and other lay servant-leaders addressing contemporary concerns from an Orthodox Christian perspective. Founded with hierarchical blessing in 2001, SCV is an endorsed organization of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.  St. Catherine’s Vision has produced two books on women saints, Encountering Women of Faith, Volume I and Encountering Women of Faith, Volume II. Most recently, SCV sponsored a major Conference on Divine Compassion and Women of the Church: Theological Perspectives. Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia was the keynote speaker.


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Orthodox Christian News

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