Deaconesses In The East?

americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=3997

If the Eastern Churches have valid holy orders…how does this effect the Catholic position that women are invalid matter for the Sacrament of Holy Orders?

Good question.

I frankly don’t follow the Eastern Churches too closely. I struggle keeping up with everything in the RCC and the ACC (American Catholic Church) which may or may not be the same as the RCC.

It does seem to me that I did read something a few months ago about the Orthodox Churches doing away with these practices?
But I’m not certain of this.

This being said, as the late Great Pope John Paul II, expalined, in specific detail (if you want me to find it for you, let me know), that
it is NOT that the RCC is choosing not to Ordain Wpomen to the Priesthood, rather, it is because the RCC “CANNOT” , not WILLNOT, allow this practice.

Among the reasons given were:

Holy Orders is a Sacrament, instituted by Jesus Christ Himself, so mere man cannot override it.

The priest acts “in the very person of Christ,” who indispuitably is “male-gender.” Therefore one who is NOT “male gender” cannot, physically, cannot stand in for “the very Person of Christ!”

Note the clarity of acting “in the person of Christ,” not, I repeat, not merely a represenation, BUT “the very person of Christ!”

There were additional reasons, but these two are irefruitable.

There are multible reasons why the Eastern Churches remain in schism. Let us pray that soon all of Christ Brethern will be united as was God’s plan.

Merry Christmas,

PJM m.c.

Deaconess isn’t just simply a female deacon it is a completely separate path. They are ordained deaconesses, but that ordination and their holy orders are different than that for a male.

For a man, deacon is the first step of a path. For a deaconess, it’s the end of a path.

Not quite so. The diaconate is not necessarily a transitional step. Yes, it is the first of the Major Orders, but it is a Holy Order in and of itself.

Well I know in the Coptic Church the deaconess is not considered analogous to the Deacon. It is not a major order/rank of the priesthood (and that is true for the ancient church as well). It actually does the work that many nuns do in the Western Church.

Coptic articles

weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/479/spec1.htm

copticchurch.net/topics/thecopticchurch/sacraments/7_priesthood.html

THE OFFICE OF DEACONESS (early Church)

philosophy-religion.org/diaconate/chapter_7.htm

Yes, technically you are correct, however I am pointing out that there is a difference between a deaconess and deacon.

I have asked Greek and Russian Orthodox clerics about the exact article you cite. They both feel the contents of the article is very misleading. First try to verify the veracity of the article. I think that will answer your question.

The ban on women’s ordination doesn’t specify sacerdotal, but presbyteral ordination.

Deacons have sacerdotal ordination, but not presbyteral.

The wording was chosen to leave the door open, as the question of sacerdotal ordination affixing to the deaconess isn’t even settled fully in Orthodoxy.

Minor orders do not possess sacerdotal ordinations.

Deaconesses are either the lowest sacerdotal order or the highest non-sacerdotal order, based upon placement between deacons and subdeacons in the ancient church’s liturgical placements. (We don’t know exactly what they did, but we do know where they stood, in a literal sense…)

Here is the Byzantine service for ordaining a Deaconess. I won’t comment upon the parallels with the service of ordaining a male deacon here. Many of them are pointed out by the translator; the others should be obvious to those familiar with the Byzantine ordinal.

anastasis.org.uk/ordinations.htm

BTW, St. Necatios of Pentapolis ordained a few. St. Elizabeth the New-Martyred Abbess wished to revive the practice in the Russian Church; one of the bishops in the Holy Synod was against it, but changed his mind after her martyrdom.

And St. Dorothy of Kashin is depected holding a censer, the iconographic attribute of a Deacon.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.