Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church

The order of ordained women deacons “never totally disappeared in the life of the Orthodox churches” and there are strong signs of a desire to renew it, an Orthodox theologian told a largely Catholic gathering on Jan. 20.

Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald, a theologian, outlined the history and Orthodox theology and practice regarding deaconesses in the 2006 Isaac Hecker Lecture at St. Paul’s College in Washington. The lecture series is named after the founder of the Paulist religious order. FitzGerald, author of the book Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church: Called to Holiness and Ministry (1998), said Orthodox perspectives on deaconesses “are important to Catholics, as Catholicism not only recognizes the validity of Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox sacraments [but] the Orthodox Church is also considered as a ‘sister church’ by Rome.”

Here’s the rest of that article, a review in St Nina’s Quarterly, and an interview with the author in the same.

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