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Historical region of Country

The Apostolic Constitutions devote a whole section, VIII 17-18, to deacons. Likewise, Ambrose devotes a section of his De officiis ministrorum II 28 to deacons. Brisbane Subway Map Pelagius, In Rom. 16,1, at the beginning of the 5th c. attests that in his day the ministry of diaconissae consisted in the administration of baptism and teaching, esp. women. The Acts of Philip 4th-5th c. mention diako,nissai along with dia,konoi, and presbu,tidej along with presbu,teroi, among the clergy. Likewise, in the Martyrdom of Matthew 28, a converted king is ordained presbu,teroj, his wife presbu,tij, his son dia,konoj, and his wife diako,nissa: that the female titles cannot possibly be interpreted as “wife of the presbyter” and “wife of the deacon” here is proved by the ordination of all four of them and their inclusion in the priestly dignity or i`erosu,nh.

Ps.-Dionysius presents deacons, presbyters and bishops as the steps of the ecclesiastical hierarchy that imitate the celestial one in his De ecclesiastica hierarchia. Justinian’s Novellae explicitly include deaconesses within the clergy and says that they are ordained though ceirotoni,a. These documents also attest that that they administered baptism to men as well, and partook in the arcane rites avpo,rrhtoi and the most holy and venerable mysteries sebasmiwta,toij musthri,oij, i.e., the Eucharistic consecration. Even at the end of the 7th c., the Trullan synod considered women deacons to be ordained ceirotonein and to belong to the priestly order i`eratikh, as well as male deacons and presbyters. Similarly, in the Testamentum Domini nostri, widows and women deacons and presbyters are all included in the clerus and located together with the bishop behind the veil at the moment of the Eucharistic sacrifice at Mass.

Their ordination is indicated by the same word that designates the ordination of male deacons, presbyters and bishops. Some wealthy deaconesses, such as Olympia in Constantinople, used their riches in support of the church and for charitable works. Epigraphical as well as literary evidence of both men and women deacons in Late Antiquity is abundant, in the East and in the West.

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