Women deacons in the Orthodox Church
Called to holiness and ministry
by Dr. Kiriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald
To contact the author, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998; ISBN 1-885652-22-4 (pbk.)
This is a wonderful book, academically reliable as well as spiritually profound. It provides many data on the history of women deacons and discusses the issue of their sacramental ordination. Written from an Orthodox point of view, it is eminently Catholic in its feel. It is the best book on women deacons I have seen.
TABLE OF CONTENTS (with some of my comments)
* Letter from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
* Prologue by Evangelos Theodorou
Prof. Theodorou is the pioneer theologian who from the 1930s declared that women deacons had been validly ordained.
Chapter 1. Early Development
Traces the earliest history of women deacons in Scripture and writings of the Early Fathers.
Chapter 2. The Identity of the Deaconess
Reconstructs the tasks of the woman deacon as found in the Didascalia and the Apostolic Constitutions.
Chapter 3. The Witness of the Women Deacon Saints
Describes the work and life of the woman deacon as it becomes evident from hagiographical testimony. Unique and absorbing data!
Chapter 4. The Charism of Women Deacons: The Apostolic Constitutions Rite
An analysis of the earliest extant ordination rite, the rite found in the Didascalia, compared to sayings from contemporary Fathers of the Church.
Chapter 5. The Charism of Women Deacons: The Byzantine Ordination Rite
A detailed theological and liturgical assessment of the ordination rite used for 6 centuries by the universal Church.
Chapter 6. The Ordination Issue
A report on the two opposing views of prominent Orthodox theologians: Prof. John Karmiris who maintains that women deacons were merely installed and Prof. Evangelos Theodorou who maintains they were sacramentally ordained. The reasons why the author believes Theodorou is right. A chapter with wonderfully perceptive discernment.
Chapter 7. The Decline of the Order
A description of the many factors that may have contributed to the decline of women deacons in the West and the East.
Chapter 8. Towards the Restoration of the Order of Women Deacons
The history of the re-discovery of women deacons by both theologians and Church leaders in the Orthodox Church.
Chapter 9. Women Deacons: Ecclesial Memory or Spiritual Opportunity?
A plea to restore women's diaconate fully, for the sake of Christ's Church.
* A Concluding Commentary
* Appendix A. A Partial list of Women Deacon Saints
Very interesting! Twenty-two Women Deacon Saints listed by name.
* Appendix B. The Byzantine Ordination Rite of the Deaconess
* Appendix C. Excerpts from The Place of Woman in the Orthodox Church and the Question of the Ordination of Women
Texts from the Inter-Orthodox Theological Consultation, Rhodes 1988.
* Appendix D. Discerning the Signs of the Times Women in the Life of the Orthodox Church, Damascus 1996
* Appendix E. Discerning the Signs of the Times Women in the Life of the Orthodox Church, Istanbul 1997
The book can be ordered from:
Holy Cross Orthodox Press,
50 Goddard Avenue,
Brookline, MA 02445,
Tel.: +1 - 617 - 731 3500.
ISBN 1-885652-22-4 (pbk.)
Price $ 14.94.