List of women deacons in Armenia and Syria

Armenia and Syria

Seven martyrs


St Platonida





 syria2 Jannia



St Poplia




Sources: “Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua”, vol. I – VIII, Manchester 1928 – 1962; Ute E. Eisen, “Amsträgerinnen im fruhen Christentum”, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1996; Kyriaki Karidoyanes Fitzgerald, “Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church”, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline 1998; John Wijngaards, “Women Deacons in the Early Church. Historical Texts and Contemporary Debates”, Crossroad, New York 2002; Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek, “Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History”, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2005.


1. Seven women deacon martyrs

City or province Persia
Date Early 5th century AD
details from biographies seven women deacon martyrs
feast day May 16


2. Sabinia

 Literary Source 1. John Chrysostom, Letter 13 (& Letter 6 to Olympias) 2. Palladius, Lausiac History 41
   Date 404-407AD
Place of Deacon Armenia
Quote from source 1. “My lady Sabinia, the deacon (diakonos) arrived the same day that we did, worn out and overwhelmed with fatigue, for she is of an age when it is difficult even to move.”
2. “I encountered at Antioch a distinguished woman who conversed with God, the deaconess (diakonissa) Sabinia, aunt of John bishop of Constantinople.”


3. St Platonida

City or province Syria
Date 4th Century AD
details from biographies St. Platonida was at first a deacon, but afterwards withdrew into the Nisibis Desert, where she organized a women’s monastery.
The Rule of her monastery was known for its strictness. The sisters partook of food only once a day. When they were not praying, they spent their time in monastic labors and various obediences.
St. Platonida was for all the sisters a living example of strict monastic asceticism, meekness, and love for neighbor. Having reached a great old age, St. Platonida died peacefully in the year 308.
feast day April 6

4. Elladis

 Source sarcophagus inscription from Umm Qeis, Jordan
Greek Text
Quote from source deaconess Elladis.”

5. Publia

 Literary Source
Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Eccliastical History 3.14
428 AD
Place of Deacon Antioch in Syria
Quote from source Title of the Chapter: “About Artemois the official, and Publia the deacon, and her godly boldness (parresia).”

6. Anastasia

 Literary Source Severus of Antioch, Letters 69, 70, 71, 72
   Date 518 AD
Place of Deacon Antioch in Syria (?)
Quote from source All four letters are addressed: “To Anastasia the deaconess.”

7. Jannia

 Literary Source  Severus of Antioch, Letter 7.2
   Date 488-512 AD
Place of Deacon  Antioch in Syria (?)
Quote from source “To Jannia, deaconess and monastic superior.”

8. Valeriana

 Literary Source  Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History (9.2)
   Date 488-512 AD
Place of Deacon Antioch in Syria (?)
Quote from source “To Valeriana, deaconess and monastic superior.”

9. Eugenia

 Literary Source Severus of Antioch, Letter 110
   Date 518 AD
Place of Deacon Antioch in Syria (?)
Quote from source “To Eugenia, deaconess and monastic superior.”

10. Casiana

 Literary Source Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Sirm. Letter 17
   Date 423-451 AD
Place of Deacon Unknown
Quote from source “To Casiana, deacon.”

11. St Poplia

City or province Antioch
Date 4th century AD
details from biographies St. Poplia ‘Confessor of the Faith’
Poplia lived during the fourth century in Antioch. She was married and gave birth to a son who became a priest. After her husband died, she herself was ordained into the diaconate. She was a gifted leader of women and the local church. During persecution she was tortured for her Christian belief.
feast day October 9

12. Romana

Literary Source The Life of St. Pelagia, the Harlot
Date 5th century AD
Place of Deacon Antioch in Syria
Quote from source “And her sponsor (pater spiritualis) was the holy lady Romana, first of the deaconesses, who took her and went to the place for catechumens.”

13. Zaortha

Source inscription from Zebed, north-central Syria
Date Probably 4th century
Quote from source “Zaortha deaconess.”

14. Zoe

Source two mosaic inscriptions from a church, from Rihab, Transjordan
Date 594 AD
Greek Text
Quote from source “For the salvation of Zoe, deac[on] . .”
” . . . Of Zoe deac[on] . . .”