St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

The Female Diaconate in the Orthodox Church? The State of the Question


On the second Sunday after Pascha (i.e. the Third Sunday of Pascha), we read about the institution of the diaconate in the life of the Church (Acts 6:1–7).  This year, it falls on Sunday, April 22. The diaconate is a ministry of service that has traditionally focused on proclaiming the Word and serving others in the Church, especially in pastoral care ministry.  In its history, the Church has recognized and ordained both men and women for this ministry.  Over time, the female diaconate fell out of disuse.  However, there is no canon or church regulation that suppressed the order and for the past 100 years there have been calls to revive this ministry...  

On Sunday, April 22 after Liturgy and towards the end of Coffee Hour, we will explore this issue further.  If you would like to learn more, please join us for this information talk and discussion of this ministry— "The Female Diaconate in the Orthodox Church? The State of the Question…"

From the Second prayer of Ordination for the female deacon:  

Master and Lord, You do not reject women who offer themselves, and by divine counsel, to minister as is fitting to your holy houses, but you accept them in the order of ministers.  Give the grace of your Holy Spirit to this servant of Yours also, who wishes to offer herself to you, and to accomplish the grace of the diaconate, as You gave the grace of Your diaconate to Phoebe, whom you called to the work of the ministry…