------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

300 - 400 AD


from a perspective of women in the Church


 

Timeline

before Christ
0-100 AD
100-200
200-300
300-400
400-500
500-600
600-700
700-800
800-900
900-1000
1000-1100
1100-1200
1200-1300
1300-1400
1400-1500
1500-1600
1600-1700
1700-1800
1800-1900
1900-1950
1950-2000
2000-2050

In 313 Constantine announced toleration of Christianity in the Edict of Milan. He removed penalties for professing Christianity (under which many people had been martyred in previous persecutions of Christians) and returned confiscated Church property.

Bishops from all over the Christian dioceses came together at the Council of Nicea (325 AD), under protection of the Emperor, to discuss questions of faith and Church discipline.

The Council laid down some church laws to protect the rights of women.

It also explicitly mentions women deacons, stipulating that Paulianist deaconesses, followers of Paul of Samosata, on their conversion, need to be rebaptised and to be reordained by a Catholic bishop.

St Gregory of Nyssa (335-94) was married to Theosebia , a woman deacon. His sister, Macrina, was also a deacon and he wrote a description of her life. Similarly Emperor Theodosius (347-95), Pelagius (354-418) and Theodore of Mopsuestia ( 350-429) all mentioned deaconesses or women deacons in their writings.



from icon by Nicholas Papas


Women Deacons 300 - 400

Thousands of women deacons ministered in parishes, especially in the eastern mediterranean areas of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor and Greece.

The ordination of women deacons in the early Church

Historical research proves abundantly that they received a full sacramental ordination.

The oldest ordination rite for women deacons known to us comes from the Apostolic Constitutions (AD 380). It tells us that while the bishop imposes his hands on the candidate for ordination, he says:

“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.”

 

290-374
Wife of St. Gregory, Bishop of Nazianze. She had converted him to Christianity.
324-379
She founded a monastery at Annisa of Pontus. In the Orthodox calendar she is venerated as a deacon. Sister of Sts Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and Peter of Sebaste.
330-369
Daughter of Bishop St Gregory of Nazianze and St Nonna
340
Of Constantinople, Deacon
d.340
Martyred. Patron Saint of Padua
372
Deacons. Cappadocia
379
from Cosila in Bythinia
d. 385
Wife of St Gregory of Nyssa, the Doctor of the Church
380-410
Egypt. Deacon

383-397
Deacon
395
Gaza in Palestine. Deacon
4th century
Deacon
4th century
Deacon
4th century
Deacon(ess)
4th century
Deacon
4th century
Deacon
?4th century
Deaconess
?4th century
Deacon
4th century
Deacon
4th century
Deacon
4th century
Deaconess
4th century
Deacon
4th century
Deacon
4th - 5th century
Deaconess
4th - 5th century
Deacon(ess)

Fathers of the Church 300 - 400

Their writings exhibit the standard cultural prejudices of their time. These included prejudices against women. The Latin speaking Fathers attribute to women the low status accorded to them by law in the Roman Empire.

 

4th century
Latin
314 - 403
Greek
(329-379)
Greek
344 - 407
Greek. He ordained St Olympias, the well known woman deacon in Constantinople
347-419
Studied in Rome but spent most of his later life in Palestine

Local Church Synods and Councils

When women are mentioned in new regulations, the concern is usually to reduce their involvement in the Church.

 

about 350
In Paphlagonia, Asia Minor
363
In Phrygia, Asia Minor
345-419
Legislated on "orders that should abstain from their wives"

 


This website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

See our Documented Appeal to Pope Francis to Request the Re-instatement of the Ordained Diaconate for Women.

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

Dear visitor, you are welcome to use our material. However: building up and maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but find it difficult to pay our overheads. Please, become a Friend or support us with a donation. Also, as some of you recommended to us, we are exploring how to generate income by advertising. Please, support us in this effort and send us your suggestions.
John Wijngaards

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

Miriam Duignan


Please, support our campaign
for women priests

Visit our new websites:

Natural Law and Conscience

Synod on the Family 2015

Catholics and Contraception

Join our Women Priests' Mailing List
for occasional newsletters:
Email:
Name:
Surname:
City:
Country:
 
An email will be immediately sent to you
requesting your confirmation.