Historical region of Country
Atto, bishop of Vercelli in the 10th c., replying to a priest, Ambrose who asked him how to understand the terms presbytera and diacona that he found in the canons, admitted that women were regularly ordained deacons and presbyters and president of churches in the early church. Johannesburg/East Rand Subway Map Atto also indicates with precision the respective ecclesiastical offices of deacons and presbyters: for the former, ministry and baptism; for the latter, preaching, leading and teaching. The rites for the ordination of male and female deacons were identical. In the Pontifical of Egbert of York 8th c. the ordination of a deaconess is included among those of male deacons. In the Roman-Germanic Pontifical 10th c. the ordination of an abbess or deaconess is included among those of abbots and deacons, and female deacons and female presbyters are mentioned therein along with their male colleagues. Pope Zachariass prohibition against anybody having intercourse with a presbytera, diacona, nonna or monacha 743 imposes celibacy on women presbyters, deaconesses, conventual women and nuns, not on wives of presbyters and deacons.
The same is the case with the prohibitions of popes Leo VII and Gregory II of marriage with a presbytera or a diacona, and again with the analogous prohibition ascribed to Pope Nicolas I 9th c.. These and many more testimonies show that the diaconate continued to be a ministry shared by both men and women for many centuries, with similar functions and identical requirements and ordination rites.
J. Mayer, Monumenta de viduis diaconissis virginibusque tractantia, Bonn 1938; G. Dix, Le minist¨re dans l©glise ancienne, Neuchtel 1955; R. Gryson, Le minist¨re des femmes dans l©glise ancienne, Gembloux 1972; J.M. Barnett, The Diaconate: A Full and Equal Order, New York 1981; A.G. Martimort, Les diaconesses: essai historique, Rome 1982; U. Eisen, Amstr¤gerinnen in fr¼hen Christentum, Gttingen 1996; A. Di Berardino, La chiesa antica: ecclesiologia e istituzioni, Rome 1984; J.N. Collins, Diakonia: Re-interpreting the Ancient Sources, New York – Oxford 1990; P. Sorci, Diaconato e altri ministeri liturgici della donna, in La donna nel pensiero cristiano antico, ed. U. Mattioli, Genoa 1992, 331-364; E. Cattaneo, I ministeri nella Chiesa antica, Milan 1997; G. Hamman, Storia del diaconato, Bose 2004; K. Madigan “ C. Osiek, Ordained Women in the Early Church. A Documentary History, Baltimore – London 2005; E. Petrolino, Diaconato servizio missione, Citt del Vaticano 2006; J. Murphy-OConnor “ C. Militello “ M.L. Rigato, Paolo e le donne, Assisi 2006; I. Ramelli, Donne diacono: fonti e studi recenti sulla Chiesa dei primi secoli, Il Regno 15.III.2006, 171-175; Id., review of Madigan-Osiek, Orpheus 28 2007 338-346; G. Macy, The Hidden History of Womens Ordination, Oxford 2008; Id., review of Macy, SMSR 74,2 2008 347-353; Var. aus., Diaconia, Diaconie. XXXVIII Incontro di Studiosi di Antichit Cristiane, Augustinianum, 8-10 May 2009 SEA, Rome 2010.