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.

PERSIA

1. Seven women deacon martyrs

City or Province Persia
Date Early 5th century AD
Details from
biographies
seven women deacon martyrs
Feast Day in liturgical calendar May 16

ARMENIA

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
Sample text/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.”

SYRIA

3. St Platonida

City or Province Syria
Date 4th Century AD
Details from
biographies

St. Platonida
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 in liturgical calendar April 6

4. Elladis

Source sarcophagus inscription from Umm Qeis, Jordan
Greek text
Translation "deaconess Elladis."

5. Publia

Literary source

Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Eccliastical History 3.14

Date

428 AD

Place of Deacon

Antioch in Syria

Sample text/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 (?)

Sample text/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 (?)

Sample text/quote
from source

“To Jannia, deaconess and monastic superior.”

8. Valeriana

Literary source

Severus of Antioch, Letter 7.1

Date

488-512 AD

Place of Deacon

Antioch in Syria (?)

Sample text/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 (?)

Sample text/quote
from source

“To Eugenia, deaconess and monastic superior.”

9. Casiana

Literary source

Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Sirm. Letter 17

Date

423-451 AD

Place of Deacon

Unknown

Sample text/quote
from source

“To Casiana, deacon.”

10. 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 in liturgical calendar October 9

11. Romana

Literary source

The Life of St. Pelagia, the Harlot

Date

5th century AD

Place of Deacon

Antioch in Syria

Sample text/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.”

12. Zaortha

Source inscription from Zebed, north-central Syria.
Date Probably 4th century
Greek transliter-ation of Syriac

ΖΑΩΡΤΑ ΖΑΜΑΣΤΑ

Translation "Zaortha deaconess."

13. Zoe

Source two mosaic inscriptions from a church, from Rihab, Transjordan
Date 594 AD
Greek text
Translation

"For the salvation of Zoe, deac[on] . ."
and
" . . . Of Zoe deac[on] . . ."

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