thetablet.co.uk - 'The reinstitution of the female diaconate does not constitute an innovation..but the revitalisation of a once functional ministry'
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa is to reinstitute the ancient order of women deacons, in order to better serve the pastoral needs of the Patriarchate, which serves the entire continent of Africa.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria is currently meeting for its two-day synod, where participants led by Pope Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, are discussing “The very essential African issue: Ecclesiastical Marriage in African Affinity."
A group of nine prominent Greek Orthodox liturgists – who describe themselves as active and emeriti professors of liturgics and liturgical theology at various theological schools and seminaries in Greece and the US – has since issued a statement in support of the move.
“The reinstitution of the female diaconate does not constitute an innovation, as some would have us believe, but the revitalisation of a once functional, vibrant, and effectual ministry in order to provide the opportunity for qualified women to offer in our era their unique and specific gifts in the service of God’s people,” they write on their blog, Panorthodox Cemes.
The group point out that the restoration process requires that the role and functions of the deaconess be “identified, properly defined, and clearly stated”. They also suggest that the public attire and the method of assignment and removal of the deaconess must be addressed.
In May last year, Pope Francis told an international group of women and men religious that the Catholic Church needed women’s voices, input, and experiences.