Deaconesses: A Tradition for Today and Tomorrow has been published by Holy Cross Orthodox Press. This collection of 21 essays by well-known scholars examines the issue of the ordination of women to the diaconate in the Orthodox church and other Christian churches from multiple perspectives: historical, patristic, archeological, theological and liturgical. The collection makes a persuasive argument for the restoration of the order of deaconesses in the Orthodox Church today.
Included in the collection is a chapter by Weekly contributor Knarik O. Meneshian entitled, “A Nearly Forgotten History: Women Deacons in the Armenian Church.” Meneshian’s contributions refer to two of her articles first published in the Weekly: “The Remnants of Armenia’s Pagan Past” (November 2019) and “Women Deacons in the Armenian Apostolic Church Revisited” (April 2014).
Most of the essays in the collection were presented at an international symposium, “Deaconesses: Past-Present-Future,” organized by the Center of Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies (CEMES) and the International Hellenic University and held at the University of Thessaloniki in Greece from January 31 to February 2, 2020. The symposium received messages from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
In his foreword to the new book, His All-Holiness writes, “We believe that the effort to rekindle the order of deaconesses must continue, especially given that since the time of the apostles, deaconesses have proved a vital and invaluable part of the edification of the faithful, who always honored and respected them.”
The book is available from Holy Cross Bookstore.