pushed the envelope of women’s ordination by suggesting that it was an open question. Not that they were necessarily asserting that women should be ordained, you understand. No, no. They were just asking the question. Those declaring that the Biblical and universal practice of the Church for two millennia should be upheld were scolded for not being willing to give the whole question the rigorous, searching examination it required. After all, one must not be too hasty or premature in one’s judgments.
the presence of the whole Church, during the Divine Liturgy at the same time as the male deacon’s ordination” or that then the “two prayers of epiclesis of the Holy Spirit, ‘Theia Charis’ (‘the Grace Divine’) (are) proclaimed by the bishop, as with every ordination”. Such similarity of detail does not prove that a male deacon and a female deaconess belong to the same order. History reveals they did not. Deaconesses existed largely to minister to women during baptism (for everyone was baptized naked in those early days) and during sickness. It was obvious to all that a man could not anoint the naked body of female baptismal candidate, nor visit her in her sickroom to bathe her. That was the task of the deaconess, and when adult baptism at length gave way to infant baptism, the order of deaconess was no longer needed. That was why it died out, after becoming for a time merely honourific.
To hear Fr. Lawrence's interview with Fr. Chad Hatfield, Dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary, click here.