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 Phoebe

City or Province Corinth, Greece
Time when she lived 50-60 AD
Paul's letter to the Romans 16,1-3

"I commend to you Phoebe, the deacon [diakonos] of the church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well."

Feast Day in liturgical calendar September 3

2. St Lydia

City or Province Thyatira
Time when she lived 50-60 AD
Paul's letter to the Romans 16, 14-15 Lydia became Paul's first convert at Philippi. She was baptized with her household, and Paul stayed at her home there.
She was reputed to have become a deacon.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar August 3rd

3. Agrippiane

Source votary inscription in mosaic from Patras, Greece, early Byzantine period
Date Early Byzantine period
Greek text
Translation "The deacon Agrippiane, most beloved, of God, made the mosaic in fulfillment of her vow."

4. Alexandra (of Thrace)

Source funerary inscription from Apollonia, a town in Thrace
Greek text
Translation "Alexandra subdeacon."

5. Athanasia (of Delphi)

Source fifth-century tomb inscription from Delphi in Greece
Image
Greek text
Translation "The devoted deaconess Athanasia, who lived a blameless life decorously, installed as deaconess by the most holy bishop Pantamianos, set up this memorial. Here He her mortal remains. If anyone else dares to open this monument where the deaconess has been placed, may he share the lot of Judas the [betrayer] of our Lord Jesus Christ. . ."

6. Eirene

Source inscription, possibly dating to the fourth century, at the coastal town of Nea Ankhialos, near Volos, Thebes, in Thessaly
Greek text [ KOIMHTHPION]
E]IPHNHC ΔIA
KONON KAI ZΩH
C THC ΔOYΛH
C MOY HN K[YPIOC]
ΠAPEΛABETO]
Translation "[Burial place of] Eirene deacon and Zoe my slave whom the L[ord took up]"

7. Eugenia (of Nicopolis)

Source carved marble monument from Nicopolis in Thrace
Date dated June 12th, 538 AD
Greek text
+Eνθαδε κατκ[ιτε]
Eυγενια η της ευ[λαβους]
μνημης γεναμενη δ[ιακονισσα]
οκοδομησσα δομο[ν του]
ενδοξου αποστολου Α[νδρε]
ου κ(ε) εν σεμνη πολιτια [τε]
λεσασα τον βιον μ(ηνι) Ιουνιω βί ινδ(ικτιωνι) ά βα[σλι]
ας του θιοτ(ατου) κε
ευσεβ(εστατου η[μων]
δεσπο(του) Φλ(αβιου) Ιουστινιαν[ου]
του αιωνιου Αγ(ουστου)
κ[ε] Αυτοκρ[α]
τορος ετους βί υπατιας Φλ(αβιου)
Ιωαννου του λαμπρ(οτατου )+
Translation "Here lies Eugenia of praiseworthy memory, d . . . [stone broken off], who built the house (domo[n], i.e., shrine) of the glorious apostle Andrew in a holy manner, and ended life on June 12 in the first Indiction, in the reign of our godly and reverend ruler (despo[tou]) Flavius Justinianus, eternal Augustus and Emperor, in the twelfth year of the consulship (hypatia) of the noble Flavius John."

8. Unnamed deaconess (of Thasos in Thrace)


Source inscription on 5th-6th century tomb in Thasos
Greek text

“…ανή..ις + διακωνισ[σα] . . . “

Translation ". . . ane..is + deacones[s] . . ."

9. Tetradia (of Thessaly)


Source marble plaque in the south end of the citadel of Volos in Thessaly
Greek text
KOIMHTHPION
TETPAΔIAC
ΔIAKONOY H
TIC AYTO AN
YΞI ΠAPEΞEM
OY ΔAΠANY
CI AYTON
ΠYPOC EΩ
NIOY ΔHKH
Translation "Tomb of Tetradia deacon. If anyone opens it except me, it will cost him the punishment of eternal fire."

ACHAIA

10. Alexandria (of Elis)

Source fourth-century inscription at Elis in the Peloponnesus
Greek text
ENΘA[__________________]NOΓEN[__]
ET(ΩN)KГ ΘYГA[_____________]ΔPIAΣ ΔIA[K]
ANAΘPEΨAMENH Σ[_________]AΛIΦΘIΣA[__]ΠO TOY EMOY
Π(AT)P(O)Σ EPENIANOY EN TOIΣ ΣΠAPΓ ANOIΣMOXΘΩ KAI
EYXEΣ EΛΠIΔI TOY YIГEMOY TAΦHNE ΩΣ ΔE O Θ(EO)Σ HΘE
ΛHΣEN THN OΔON TAYTHN ΠPO AYTHΣ EΠΛHPΩΣA INΔ IΔ ΣEΠTEMBPIOY
Translation "Here lies [————] only child, twenty-three years old daughter of [————] and Alexandria deacon, raised and taken in by my father Erenianos in swaddling clothes, in distress and pleas, buried in hope by me. As God wished, I fulfilled this path for her in the fourteenth Indiction, September 13."

11. Andromacha

Source sixth-century mosaic inscription on the left side of the main altar of the basilica of St. Leonidas, in Klauseios, Achaia
Greek text
ΠΟΛΤΗΡΟΣ Ο
ΕΥΛΒΕΣΤΑΤ[Ο]Σ
ΑΝΑ[ΓΝΩΣΤΗΣ] ΚΕ ΑΝΔΡΟ
ΜΑΧΑ Η ΘΕΟΦΙΛ[Ε]Σ
Τ[ΑΤΗ] ΔΙΑΚ ΥΠΕΡ ΕΥ
ΧΗΣ ΑΥΤΩΝ Ε
ΚΑΛΙΕΡΓΗΡΑΝ
Translation "Polygeros the most reverend lector and Andromacha the most beloved deacon[ess] of God, because of their vow, beautified [the place]."

12. Nikagora

Source tomb in the monastery of Karea at Mount Hymettus, Athens
Greek text
Translation "I, Neikagorë deaconess, lie here"

MACEDONIA

13. Agathe

Source inscription on a tomb near the fifth-century Christian basilica at Philippi in Macedonia
Greek text
Translation "[resting place] of Agathe deacon and John treasurer and linen-weaver"

14. Axia

Literary source

Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Letter Patmos 48 (44)

Date

423 - 451 AD

Place of Deacon

Cyrrhus (?)

Sample text/quote
from source

“To Axia, deacon.”

15. Agathokleia

Source inscription from Edessa in Macedonia.
Date Fifth to sixth century
Greek text
Translation "Memorial of Agathokleia, virgin and deacon."

16. Matrona (of Stobi)

Source inscription in a paved public area in Stobi, Macedonia . An exedra is a small public rest area with seats.
Date 4th or 5th century
Greek text
Translation In fulfilment of a vow, Matrona, the most reverend deaconess, paved the exedra."

17. Posidonia

Source marble stele, Philippi, Macedonia
Date From fourth—fifth century
Greek text
Translation "Illustrious graves of Posidonia deacon[ess] and Pancharia, the least canoness."

18. Theodosia

Source tomb stone at the fifth-sixth-century monastery of Hagia Triada, in Edessa, Macedonia
Greek text
Translation "Memorial of Theodosia deacon and Aspilia and Agathokleia, virgins."

19. Theoprepia

Source Inscription from Bonitsa, Macedonia
Date Late 4th century
Greek text
Translation “Here lies the slave of the Lord, Theoprepia, perpetual virgin and deacon[ess?] of Christ, who has completed a life ascetic, zealous, and distinguished in the Lord God.”

Moesia

20. Celerina (of Novae)

Source dedicatory inscription on the lower part of a marble column in the episcopal basilica of Svistov, ancient Novae
Date Probably from the time of the reconstruction of the basilica under Justinian (527-565)
Greek text
Translation "Of Celerina deaconess"

GREEK ISLANDS

21. Agaliasis

Source family funerary inscription from the island of Melos in the Cyclades, Aegean Sea
Date 4th century
Greek text
Translation "In the Lord: the presbyters worthy of every commemoration, Asclepis and Elpizon and Asklepiodotos and Agaliasis the deacon and Eutychia and Klaudiane, virgins, and Eutychia their mother lie here. Since this tomb is full, I adjure you by the angel located before it that no one dare bury anyone else here. Jesus Christ, help the one who writes this and his entire household."

22. St Xenia

City or Province Island of Kos
Time when she lived 5th century
Details from
biographies
St. Xenia, ‘the Merciful’ Born in Rome as ‘Eusebia’, the only daughter of a senator, she refused to marry as her parents desired. She fled to Kos with two servants where she started a community for women. She adopted the name ‘Xenia’ locals had given her (= ‘stranger’). She ministered as a deacon. She proved a great teacher of the faith.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar January 24

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