List of women Deacons in Gaul, Italy and Dalmatia

First Millenium







St Justina

St Genevieve

gaul St Melania

St Radegunde

St Tryphena





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. St Genevieve

City or province Paris in Gaul
Date Born at Nanterre in 422 AD
details from biographies St. Genevieve consecrated her life to God while still living at home. She served the local poor and when her parents died, she moved to Paris. She was appointed by the Bishop of Paris to look after the welfare of all the consecrated women. She also taught the women catechumens and took care of the poor and needy.
feast day January 3

2. Theodora

tomb inscription from Ticini, Gaul (now in Switserland) 539 AD;
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Berolini 1863sqq. V/2, 6467.
Date 532 – 562 AD
Greek Text  theodora3
Quote from source “Here rests in peace and of blessed memory Theodora, the deaconess, who lived more or less 48 years and died on 22 July 539.”

3. St Radegunde

City or province Gaul
Date 6th century
details from biographies St. Radegunde, daughter of Berthaire, king of a portion of Thuringia, she was probably born at Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany. Her father was murdered by his brother, Hermenefrid, who in 531 was defeated by king Theodoric of Austrasia and king Clotaire I of Neustria, and Clotaire took twelve year old Radegunde captive. Six years later he married her. She devoted herself to the poor, the sick, and captives, founded a leper hospital, and bore Clotaire’s cruelties uncomplainingly until he murdered her brother, Unstrut. She then left the court, received the deaconate from Bishop Medard at Noyon, and became a nun at Saix. About 557. Original text here.
feast day August 13

4. Sigolena

 Literary Source
Life of St Sigolena by anonymous contemporary – More text here
   Date  ca 736 – 769
Place of Deacon Arles in Gaul
Sample text/quote
from source
“The bishop acceded to their decision, imposed hands on her and consecrated her a deacon. But when the Servant of God had received her ordination [lit. blessing] from the bishop and had returned home, she began to desire a pilgrimage . . . ”

5. Hilaria

 Literary Source Testament of St Remigius of Reims
   Date 530 AD
Place of Deacon Reims in Gaul
Sample text/quote
from source
[I leave a bequest] “to my blessed daughter Hilaria, the deaconess.”

6. Ida

 Literary Source Necrology of Remiremont Abbey K.H.Schaeffer, Die Kanonissenstifter im deutschen Mittelalter, Stuttgart 1907, p. 53.
   Date 8th century
Place of Deacon Remiremont near Vosges in Gaul
Sample text/quote
from source
“XVIII kal. mai. Ida migravit abbatissa et diaconissa ex hac luce == On the 18th of May Ida, abbess and deaconess, passed from this light.


7. St Tryphena

City or province Rome
Date 1st century AD
details from biographies St. Tryphena, “a woman who labours in the Lord”, is greeted by St Paul in Romans 16:12. Was a deacon according to legend. Her diaconate status is difficult to prove. Perhaps it was linked in people’s eyes to her ‘labour [=ministry] in the Lord’..
feast day April 14th

8. St Tatiana

City or province Rome
Date 3rd century AD
details from biographies St. Tatiana was a Roman martyr put to death by beheading in Rome during the reign of Emperor Severus Alexander, She was a deacon according to legend
feast day January 12th

9. St Justina

City or province Padua
Date Martyred 340 AD
details from biographies St. Justina was said to have been a young woman who took private vows of chastity and was killed during the persecutions of Diocletian. Legend says she was a deacon. She is the Patron Saint of Padua. Medieval legends described her as a disciple of Saint Peter the Apostle.
feast day October 2nd

10. St Melania ‘The Younger’

City or province Rome
Date 383-439 AD
details from biographies St. Melania ‘the Younger’ was born in Rome. She was married and had two children who died at an early age. She looked after her parents. Later she went to Jerusalem and started to live a solitary life, but she attracted many women to her way of life, some of whom, like herself were deacons. She founded a convent for them. Her diaconate status is indisputed.
feast day December 31st

11. Anna

 Source votary inscription from Rome, 6th century
Carl Maria Kaufman, Handbuch der altchristlichen Epigraphik, Freiburg 1917, p. 294
Latin Text  anna2
Translation “By the gifts of God and of the blessed Apostle Paul, Dometius, Deacon and Treasurer of the holy, apostolic and papal See, together with the Deacon Anna, his own sister, offered this vow to the blessed Paul.”

12. Eufimia

 Literary Source Agnellus, Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennae, De S. Sergio
   Date  755 AD
Place of Deacon  Ravenna in Italy
Quote from source “[Sergius] was a layman and had a wife. When he took upon himself responsibility for the [local] Church [as bishop], he consecrated his wife Eufimia as a deaconess.””

13.Anonymous deacon in Capua

 Literary Source Life of St Nilus JuniorMore text here
   Date ca 1050
Place of Deacon Asermos in Dalmatia
Quote from source “Among them was a deaconess who had been put in charge of a monastery . . . ”


14. Theophila (of Chersonesus)

 Literary Source Life of St Parthenius
4th century AD
Place of Deacon  Constantinople
Quote from source “A certain women deacon (diakonos) named Theophila from Asermos, a village of Chersonesus, and with her Rufina, a lifelong child (aeipais) from the same village who was paralyzed by an unclean spirit, were brought to the holy man.”

15. Ausonia

 Source votary inscription from Doclea in Dalmatia, 6th century
LatinText auson2
Translation “The deacon Ausonia made this in fulfillment of her vow and that of her children.”