The Alexandrian Orthodox Church is going to restore the institution of deaconesses, the official website of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
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The question of the revival of the Institute that existed in the first centuries of Christianity, considered at the meeting of the bishops participating in the Synod, chaired by Patriarch Theodore II. A presentation was made by Metropolitan Gregory of Cameroon.
Following the meeting, the Synod approved a proposal to restore the institution of deaconesses. Their Ministry must be missional. A careful study of the issue will be a Committee of three bishops, formed at the meeting.
The Institute of deaconesses existed in the Eastern Church until the middle Ages. The Deaconess assisted in the baptism of women, was present at the communion of the priest with women to help them avoid ambiguity, kept order in the women’s half of the temple, when there was such a division, and visited the sick women.
Gradually the duties of the deaconesses moved to the superiors of monasteries. The honorary title of Deaconess continued in the Byzantine era, and then in the West they were called Abbesses, and in the East – ihamaniemi.