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.

GAUL

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 in liturgical calendar January 3

2. Theodora

Source
tomb inscription from Ticini, Gaul (now in Switserland) 539 AD;
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Berolini 1863sqq. V/2, 6467.
Latin text
Translation “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 AD
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 in liturgical calendar 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.

 

ITALY

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 in liturgical calendar April 14

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. Was a deacon according to legend.
Feast Day in liturgical calendar January 12

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 in liturgical calendar October 2

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 in liturgical calendar December 31

11. Anna

Source votary inscription from Rome, 6th century
Carl Maria Kaufman, Handbuch der altchristlichen Epigraphik, Freiburg 1917, p. 294
Latin text
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
Sample text/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 Junior - More text here

Date ca 1050
Place of Deacon Capua in Italy
Sample text/quote
from source

“Among them was a deaconess who had been put in charge of a monastery . . . ”

 

DALMATIA

14. Theophila (of Chersonesus)

Literary source Life of St Parthenius
Date 4th century AD
Place of Deacon Asermos in Dalmatia
Sample text/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
Image  
Latin text
Translation

"The deacon Ausonia made this in fulfillment of her vow and that of her children."

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