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The Ordination of Women Deacons / Deaconesses according to the Apostolic Constitutions

The Ordination of Women Deacons / Deaconesses
according to the Apostolic Constitutions

This part of the Apostolic Constitutions, Book VIII, probably dates from around 500 AD. It may contain traces of an older ritual, in an abbreviated form.

Ordination of a male Deacon Ordination of a woman Deacon
“Thou shalt ordain a deacon, O bishop, by laying thy hands upon him in the presence of the whole presbytery, and of the deacons, and shall pray, and say:- ” “O bishop, thou shalt lay thy hands upon a deaconess in the presence of the presbytery, and of the deacons and deaconesses, and shall say:-”
“O God Almighty, the true and faithful God, who art rich unto all that call upon Thee in truth, who art fearful in counsels, and wise in understanding, who art powerful and great, hear our prayer, O Lord, and let Thine ears receive our supplication, and "cause the light of Thy countenance to shine upon this Thy servant," who is to be ordained for Thee to the office of a deacon; and replenish him with Thy Holy Spirit, and with power, as Thou didst replenish Stephen, who was Thy martyr, and follower of the sufferings of Thy Christ. Do Thou render him worthy to discharge acceptably the ministration of a deacon, steadily, unblameably, and without reproof, that thereby he may attain an higher degree, through the mediation of Thy only begotten Son, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to Thee and the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen.” “O Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of man and of woman, who didst replenish with the Spirit Miriam, and Deborah, and Anna, and Huldah; who didst not disdain that Thy only begotten Son should be born of a woman; who also in the tabernacle of the testimony, and in the temple, didst ordain women to be keepers of Thy holy gates,-do Thou now also look down upon this Thy servant, who is to be ordained to the office of a deaconess, and grant her Thy Holy Spirit, and "cleanse her from all filthiness of flesh and spirit," that she may worthily discharge the work which is committed to her to Thy glory, and the praise of Thy Christ, with whom glory and adoration be to Thee and the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen.”
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For a historical record of some of the many women who were ordained as deacons in the early church click here


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Women Deacon Texts
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