Asia Minor during the first millennium

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. Eusebia (of Constantinople)

Literary source Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History (9.2)
Date 340 AD
Place of Deacon Constantinople
Sample text/quote
from source

“A certain women by the name of Eusebia, a deacon of the Macedonian sect, had a house and garden in the front walls of Constantinople.”

2. Amproukla

Literary source John Chrystotom, Letters 96,103, 101
Date 404 AD
Place of Deacon Constantinople
Sample text/quote
from source

Letter 191: “To Amproukla deacon.”
Letter 96 and 103: “ To Amproukla deacon and those (women) with her.”

3. Saint Olympias

Literary source 1.Anonymous author – Life of Olympias (6)
2. Palladius, Dialogue on the Life of John Chrysostom (10.50-67)
3. Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History (8.9)
Date 5th century AD
Place of Deacon Constantinople Olympias was a friend of St John Chrysostom. She was ordained a deacon by him and was put in charge of all the deacons assigned to the great Church of St Sophia in Constantinople. She supported John when he was exiled by the Emperor on false charges. John addressed his letters to her as: “the reverend God-Loved deacon Olympias”.
Sample text/quote
from source

1.“Then by the divine will she was ordained deacon of the holy and great Typechurch of NameGod and built a monastery at the south corner of it..”
2. “Going into the baptistery, he (John Chrysostom) called Olympias, who was constantly in the church, with, Pentadia and Procla, that is, the three deacons (diakonai), and also Silvina, wife of the blessed Nebridius..”
3. “For this woman (Olympias) was from a prominent family and although she was a young widow living a virtuous life according to the law of the church, Nectarius (her) deacon.”

Feast Day July 25

4. Elisanthia, Martyria, and Palladia

Literary source Life of Olympias (c. 7)
Date 395-419 AD
Place of Deacon Constantinople
Sample text/quote
from source

“He also ordained (cheirotonei) deacons (diakonus) of the holy Church her three relatives, Elisanthia, Martyria, and Palladia for the monastery, so that by the four diaconal services (diakonia), the established procedure might be carried on by them unbroken and without interruption.”

5. Celerina

Literary source Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Sirm. Letter 101
Date 448 AD
Place of Deacon Constantinople
Sample text/quote
from source

“To Celerina deacon.”

6. St Irene

City or Province Constantinople
Date 9th century
Details from
St. Irene ‘of Chrysovalantou’
It was intended that she wed the Emperor, but she went to the monastery of Chrysovalantou, and immediately engaged herself in vigils and prayer. She then replaced the Abbess very early on, and increased her spiritual struggles, with great trust in God to guide the community properly. She was noted as a worker of miracles and for her holiness of life.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar July 28


7. Two women deacons

Literary source Pliny the Younger, Epistle to Trajan
Date 110 AD
Place of Deacon Bithynia & Pontus
Sample text/quote
from source

during the persecution of Christian groups “I believed it was necessary to find out from two female slaves (ex duabus ancillis) who were called deacons (ministrae) what was true – and to find out by torture (per tormenta).”

8. St Macrina

City or Province Annisa, (Annesi), Pontus
Date 324 - 379 AD
Details from
St. Macrina, ‘the great teacher’ Macrina was the eldest of ten children, sister of the great Cappadocian Church leaders Sts Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and Peter of Sebaste. Gregory has left a description of her life. First she looked after the rest of her family. Then she founded a Annisa of Pontus. In the Orthodox calendar she is venerated as a deacon.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar July 19

9. Lampadion of Annesi

Literary source Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Macrina

4th Century
Place of Deacon Annesi
Sample text/quote
from source

There was one in the diaconal rank who was leader of the choir of virgins, Lampadion by name, who said she knew exactly what Macrina wanted for her burial.

10. Aeria

Source inscription on a stone with cross in the middle, near Amisos
Date 532 - 562 AD
Greek text
Translation "Here rests the ever-remembered servant of Christ, Aeria, who was a deacon of the holy ones, friend of all. She came to rest in the tenth Indiction in the month of January, being thirty years old, in the year 594. God-bearer [help?]."

11. Basilike

Source Neoclaudiopolis in Pontus, a marble plaque embedded into a wall of the church
Greek text
Translation "[Deaco]ness Basilike lies here."

12. Matrona (of Cosila)

Literary source Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History 7.21
Date 379 AD
Place of Deacon Cosila in Bithynia
Sample text/quote
from source

“The only one who opposed the move was Matrona, a holy virgin, who was its deacon and guardian.”


13. Daughters of Count Terentius

Literary source Basil of Caesarea, Letter 105
Date 372 AD
Place of Deacon Cappadocia
Sample text/quote
from source

“To the deacons, daughters of Count Terentius.”

14. St Theosebia (of Nyssa)

City or Province Nyssa
Date Died 385 AD
Details from
St. Theosebia.
She was the wife of St Gregory of Nyssa, the Doctor of the Church. She was ordained as a deacon after her husband had been ordained a bishop in 371, and she remained with him during his ministry and shared it with him. She had a great influence upon her husband and she herself was known as a great teacher of the faith, also by her example of the Christian life.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar January 10

15. St Gorgonia

City or Province Nazianze
Time when she lived approx. 330 - 369 AD
Details from
St. Gorgonia
She was the daughter of Bishop St Gregory of Nazianze and St Nonna. She married and had three children. She dedicated her life to the study of scripture. She was ordained a deacon and developed a ministry to the needy by opening her house to the poor to feed them and provide shelter. She lived in fourth- century Bithynia.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar February 23

16. St Nonna (of Nazianze)

City or Province Nazianze Asia Minor
Time when she lived about 290 - 374 AD
Details from
St. Nonna, wife of St. Gregory, Bishop of Nazianze
Born around 290 in Cappadocia (now part of Turkey) she married Gregory and converted him to Christianity. He went on to become a Bishop and they had three children who all became saints. By her example of Christian living and her ministry as a deacon she set an example of what it is to be a mother and Christian minister.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar August 5

17. Maria (of Archelais)

Source inscription on grey marble stone, from Cappadocia.
Date Sixth century
Greek text

Translation "Here lies Maria the deacon of pious and blessed memory who, according to the saying of the Apostle, raised children, exercised hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, and distributed her bread to the needy. Remember her, Lord, when she enters into your kingdom."

18. Basilina

Literary source Cyril of Scythopolis, Life of John the Hesychast 218.21-219.7; 219.19-220.4
Date 543-558 AD
Place of Deacon Cappadocia
Sample text/quote
from source
“A certain woman from Cappadocia named Basilina, a deacon of the great church of Constantinople, came to Jerusalem with a high-ranking nephew who was otherwise devout but not in communion with the Catholic Church, since he belonged to the Severan sect. The deacon was trying hard to change his mind and bring him into union with the Catholic Church . . .”

19. Dionysia (of Melitene)

Literary source Cyril of Scythopolis, Life of Saint Euthymius (8.20-9.9; 10.5-14; 10.22-11.2)

543- 558 AD
Place of Deacon Melitene in Cappadocia
Sample text/quote
from source
“But blessed Dionysia, since she was so devoted to God and the things of God, he ordained deacon of the holy church.” (10.22-11.2)


20. Eusebia (of Mylasa), also called Xene

Literary source Caria, Vita Sanctae Eusebiae (5th century)
Date 1st century AD (according to story)
Place of Deacon Mylasa in Caria Province
Sample text/quote
from source
“After a long time when the bishop Cyril died in the Lord, the elected in his the lord Paul, and he was ordained bishop of that place. So going into the women’s monastery, the lord Paul persuaded lady Xene and ordained her deacon (diakonon).”

21. Arete

Source votary inscriptionfrom Aphrodisias in Caria
Greek text
Translation "[In fulfillment of ] a vow of Theodorus and Arete [his])daughter, deaconess."


22. Athanasia (of Korykos)

Source inscription on a stone with cross in the middle, near Amisos
Greek text
[’A]θανασίας διακόνου +
κ(α ι) Mαρίας θρεπτης αυτης
....φιλω. [Σα]πρικης.......
......Σε]ργίου [K]υδ[ά]ρου?
Translation "[Tomb] of Athanasia deacon and of Maria her foster-child . . ."

23. Charitina

Source inscription on a sarcophagus lid, from Korykos, Cilicia
Greek text
Θήκη Xαριτ(ίνης)
θυγατ(ρος) ’Eπιφα
Translation "Tomb of Charitina deacon[ess?], Samaritan, daughter of Epiphanus."

24. Theodora (of Korykos)

Source inscription on a sarcophagus from Korykos in Cilicia
Greek text
Translation "Cleansing [?] of Theodora . . . deacon."

25. Theophilia

Source inscription on a sarcophagus lid from Korykos, Cilicia
Greek text
Translation "[Of] Theophila deacon."

26. Timothea

Source inscription over the entrance of a tomb chamber in Korykos, Cilicia
Greek text
Translation Burial chamber of Timothea deacon of the h[oly] monastery . .."

27. Unnamed female deacon (from Iconium)

Source fragmentary inscription on a tomb
Greek text
Translation "... [if you want to know] who lies here peacefully, of distinguished life and shining ways, who lived a long time [or, who lived fully], unstained in judgment, dripping divine grace, completely reverent, of honored habits, who obtained the honor of the diaconate (diakonia), with brilliantly shining reputation. Simplicius is the name [of the one who placed her here], with [his] sister and children much loved in many ways. We rejoice eternally . . ."


28. Domna

Source funerary inscription
Greek text
Translation "Domna deacon, daughter of Theophilos the presbyter, set up the memorial to her own father-in-law Miros and to her husband Patroklos."

29. Nonna (of Galatia)

Source inscription in a longitudinal rectangular framed panel
Translation "Alexander presbyter erected [this monument] to the memory of his dearest mother Nonna deaconess."

30. Philogonis

Source inscription from Galatia
Possibly 6th Century
Greek text



Translation “Here lies the honorable(timeios?) and reverend (geraros?), most pious presbyter Joulianos, whose memorial his own wife Agousta erected, and the presbyter Hypatis and the deacon Philogonis erected to their own father, in loving memory."


31. Basilissa

Source funerary inscription from Iconium in Lycaonia
Greek text
Translation "Quintus, son of Heraclius, first man of the village, with his wife Matrona and children Anicetus and Catilla, lie here in the tomb. The wife of Anicetus, the deacon Basilissa, erected the pleasant tomb with her only son Numitorius, still a child."

32. Goulasis

Source inscription, from Cesme in ancient Lycaonia
Greek text
Translation "Aurelius Loukios and Aurelia Vaca in memory of their sweetest sister Goulasis deaconess."


33. Epiphaneia

Source marble plaque from Daldis in Lydia; probably fourth century
Greek text
Translation "Vow of Asterius the devoted deacon ... [and] of his mother [Epipha]n[e]ia deaconess of Christ and of his son Asterius and of all his household. Fulfiled... "

34. Lampadia (of Smyrna)

Source inscription on a marble block, re-used as a stepping stone for a house
Greek text
Translation ""Of Lampadia virgin, daughter of Pactolius, deacon. Hello, hello—you, too."


35. Unnamed deaconess (from Phrygia)

Source inscription in eastern Phrygia
Greek text
Translation ". . . [an]d the [. . . dea]cones[s . . . ]"

36. Aurelia Faustina

Source commemorative stone from the town Laodicea Combusta, 4th century
Greek text
Translation "Here lies Appas lector, the younger, well-raised son of Faustinas, to whom his mother Aurelia Faustina the deacon erected this monument to his memory."

37. Kelsa

Source funerary inscription from Tyriaion in eastern Phrygia
Greek text
Translation "[Ke]lsa deaconess to Septimius Pomponius Mnesitheus [her] husband and Septimius Pomponius Mnesitheus [her] father and Septimius Trophimus and .... and for herself while still living, for a memorial."

38. Dipka

Source inscription on polished white marble, 4th —6th century
Greek text
Translation "[For a vo]w and salvation of Dipka deacon."

39. Eistrategis

Source inscription on a stone with cross in the middle, near Amisos
Greek text
Translation "Eistrategis deacon with my son Pancratius erected [the monument] to the memory of my husband Menneas, my sister-in-law Alexandria, and my son Domnus."

40. Elaphia

Source inscription in two side-by-side panels from Laodicea Combusta in Phrygia
Greek text
Translation "Aurelius Antonius, son of Miros,
together with his aunt Elaphia deaconess of the Encratites . . [the text is broken off ]:"
right side
"I Elaphia, deaconess of the Encratites, have set up this monument as memorial to the presbyter Peter together with his brother Polychronios."

41. Magna (of Laodicea Combusta)

Source limestone funerary monument
Greek text
Translation Aurelia Nestoriane with my son Domnus set up this inscription to my sweetest husband, Euethios as a memorial. Magna the most pious deacon. Now I also signify death; swallowed up along with Paulos and Chrysanthos, I left behind the end of life.

42. Masa

Source inscription on bluish limestone from ancient Laodicea Combusta in Phrygia
Image click to enlarge
Greek text
+Aρ. Σαρ-
ματος ‘υπο-
ος Mάρκου
σας τω Θε-
σα μνήμης
χάριν +
Translation "Frontinos presbyter, Masa [woman] deacon, [and] Aurelios Mamas, children of Rhodon, presbyter, we erected this monument for ourselves while living and with purpose. In memory:"

43. Matrona (of Axyfos)

Source inscription on a stone with cross in the middle, near Amisos
Greek text
Translation "Eugenis deacon with my son Menneas, we erected [the monument] to my wife Thekla and my mother Matrona, deaconess, and my sister Leontiana, and my children Matrona and Epiktethe, in memory."

44. Mesalina

Source funerary monument for someone called Nexis; these lines indicate who set up the monument
Greek text
Translation "Diotrephes, stepson [?] and priest, constructed this as a memorial, with [his?] sister the deaconess Mesalina and [his? her?] lawful children, and set it up."

45. Nune

Source 5th or 6th century inscription
Greek text
+ ‘υπερι ευ
χης κε σω
τηρίας Kάσ
τωρος πρε.

ς ‘ο κτήσας τον
‘άγιον Kύρικον
κε Nυνης (sic) δη
ακοννύσης θυ(γατρος)
Kάστωρος κε Δη

μητρίου Bουσιου
Translation "Because of a vow and the salvation of Kastor presbyter who erected [the monument?] [to] St. Cyrikos, and of Nune deaconess, daughter of Kastor, and of Demetrius Bousios."

46. Paula

Source inscription in poetic hexameters, from Laodicea Combusta in Phrygia; the monument speaks to us
Image click to enlarge
Greek text
Translation "Paula, deacon most blessed of Christ. She built me as tomb of her beloved brother Helladius, outside the homeland, constructed of stones as guardian of the body until the terrible sound of the trumpet wakes the dead as God has promised."

47. Pribis

Source inscription on grey limestone from Axylos, eastern Phrygia
Greek text
Translation "Aurelia Leontiane with my mother Pribis deacon and my son Anencletus erected [the monument]. . ."

48. Severa

Source inscription from Hadrianopolis, eastern Phrygia
Greek text
Translation ". . . deaconess Severa to mother . . . . [of t]he pointed forwards (?) "


49. Kyrie

Source inscription concerning one Kyrie, deaconess, wife of the priest Conon.
Greek text (No text is available just now)

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