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Author Topic: Deaconess in Coptic and other oriental churches  (Read 7661 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 15, 2005, 02:30:22 PM »

"I am told, however, that ordained deaconesses exist within the Coptic Church of Egypt."
Bishop Kallistos Ware


So is that true and can you tell me anything about it?    And what about the Oriental Churches.   I read an old essay from an Armenian priest Fr. Vasken Mosevian which mentioned that restoring that ministry as well (like the Greek church appears to be thinking about now)
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2005, 02:59:14 PM »

Addai-
I  saw a small pamphlet  at our parish bookstore that seemed to indicate that  there  can indeed be female deacons in our (blended Syriian/Indian) tradition. Those who know better feel free to correct me- Humbly,
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2005, 05:43:57 PM »

One will find that there is a growing number of active deaconesses in Egypt in our present day.  The deaconesses live in communities, much like nuns, but are actively engaged in many church services.  They also apply many monastic ideals to their lives, such as poverty, but their attire varies from that of a nun (all black).  Instead, they wear simple gray clothing and head coverings.  Their duties include assistance with things on the women's side of the church during services (communion, water, head-coverings, etc.), Sunday schools, caring for the sick, needy, and widows, and many other things.  They are celibate in ordination, or if they are widowers, they must be older than 60 years.

This is in contrast to the number of ordained deacons and archdeacons that are currently in the church of Alexandria.  They are rare, and only a handful are in various US diocese and other areas.  One will usually find that ordained deacons are more common in seminaries, but that is commonly prelude to their future ordinations into the priesthood, seeing ast that is the more practical application. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2005, 08:40:15 AM »

The order of deaconesses (ordained) exists in Syriac Orthodox Church. We have TKSO (Liturgy) for it. But it is no longer practiced even in Malankara.
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2005, 11:39:30 AM »

'Grant Her Your Spirit'

America (americamagazine.org), Vol. 192 No. 4, February 7, 2005

By Phyllis Zagano

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece voted in Athens on Oct. 8, 2004, to restore ordination of women to the diaconate. All the members of the Holy Synod-125 metropolitans and bishops and Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the church of Greece-had considered the topic. The decision does not directly affect the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Greek
ecclesiastical provinces of the Ecumenical Patriarchate received their independence from Constantinople in 1850 and were proclaimed the Autocephalous Church of Greece.

While women deacons had virtually disappeared by the ninth century,discussion of the restoration of women in the diaconate in Orthodoxy began in the latter half of the 20th century. Two books on the topic by Evangelos
Theodorou, Heroines of Love: Deaconesses Through the Ages (1949) and The "Ordination" or "Appointment" of Deaconesses (1954), documented the sacramental ordination of women in the early church. His work was
complemented in the Catholic Church by an article published by Cipriano Vagaggini, a Camaldolese monk, in Orientalia Christiana Periodica in 1974.
The most significant scholarship on the topic agrees that women were sacramentally ordained to the diaconate, inside the iconostasis at the altar, by bishops in the early church. Women deacons received the diaconal stole and Communion at their ordinations, which shared the same Pentecostal quality as the ordination of a bishop, priest or male deacon.

Despite the decline of the order of deaconesses in the early Middle Ages,Orthodoxy never prohibited it. In 1907 a Russian Orthodox Church commission reported the presence of deaconesses in every Georgian parish; the popular 20th-century Orthodox saint Nektarios (1846-1920) ordained two women as deacons in 1911; and up to the 1950's a few Greek Orthodox nuns became
monastic deaconesses. In 1986 Christodoulos, then metropolitan of Demetrias and now archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, ordained a woman deacon according to the "ritual of St. Nektarios"-the ancient Byzantine text St. Nektarios used.
Multiple inter-Orthodox conferences called for the restoration of the order, including the Interorthodox Symposium at Rhodes, Greece, in 1988, which
plainly stated, "The apostolic order of deaconess should be revived." The symposium noted that "the revival of this ancient order should be envisaged
on the basis of the ancient prototypes testified to in many sources and with the prayers found in the Apostolic Constitutions and the ancient Byzantine
liturgical books."

At the Holy Synod meeting in Athens in 2004, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Chalkidos initiated discussion on the subject of the role of women in the
Church of Greece and the rejuvenation of the order of female deacons. In the ensuing discussion, some older bishops apparently disagreed with the complete restoration of the order. Anthimos, bishop of Thessaloniki, later remarked to the Kathimerini English Daily, "As far as I know, the induction
of women into the police and the army was a failure, and we want to return to this old matter?"

While the social-service aspect of the female diaconate is well known, the Holy Synod decided that women could be promoted to the diaconate only in remote monasteries and at the discretion of individual bishops. The limiting decision to restore only the monastic female diaconate did not please some synod members. The Athens News Agency reported that Chrysostomos, bishop of
Peristeri, said, "The role of female deacons must be in society and not in the monasteries." Other members of the Holy Synod agreed and stressed that the role of women deacons should be social-for example, the care of the sick.

The vote of the Holy Synod to restore ordination of women to the diaconate under limited circumstances may be the most progressive idea the Orthodox Church can bring to the world. The document only gives bishops the option, if they wish, to ordain senior nuns in monasteries of their eparchies. Bishops who choose to promote women to the diaconate will use the ancient
Byzantine liturgy that performs the same cheirotonia -- laying on of hands -- for deaconesses as in each major order: bishop, priest and deacon.
Even so, some (mostly Western) scholars have argued that the historical ordination of women deacons was not a cheirotonia, or ordination to major orders, but a cheirothesia, a blessing that signifies installation to a minor order. The confusion is understandable, since the two terms were sometimes used interchangeably, but other scholars are equally convinced that women were ordained to the major order of the diaconate. The proof will be in the liturgy the bishops actually use. At present there is only one liturgy and one tradition by which to create a woman deacon in the Byzantine
rite, and it is demonstrably a ritual of ordination for the "servant who is to be ordained to the office of a deacon."

Even the document on the diaconate issued by the Vatican's International Theological Commission in 2002 admits that "Canon 15 of the Council of Chalcedon (451) seems to confirm the fact that deaconesses really were
'ordained' by the imposition of hands (cheirotonia)." Despite the pejorative use of quotation marks here and elsewhere in the document when historical ordinations of women deacons are mentioned, this Vatican commission seems unwilling to deny the history to which the Church of Greece has now newly returned. Further, the Vatican document points out that the practice of,ordaining women deacons according to the Byzantine liturgy lasted at least into the eighth century. It does not review Orthodox practice after 1054.
The rejuvenation of the order of deaconess in the Church of Greece is expected to begin during the winter of 2004-5. The contemporary ordination (cheirotonia) of women provides even more evidence and support for the
restoration of the female diaconate in the Catholic Church, which has acknowledged the validity of Orthodox sacraments and orders. Despite the distinction in Canon 1024-"A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination
validly"-one can presume the possibility of a derogation from the law, as suggested by the Canon Law Society of America in 1995, to allow for diaconal
ordination of women. (The history of Canon 1024 is clearly one of attempts to restrict women from priesthood, not from the diaconate.)

In fact, the Catholic Church has already indirectly acknowledged valid ordinations of women by the Armenian Apostolic Church, one of the churches of the East that ordains women deacons. There are two recent eclarations of unity-agreements of mutual recognition of the validity of sacraments and of orders-between Rome and the Armenian Church, one signed by Paul VI and
Catholicos Vasken I in 1970, another between John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin I in 1996.

These agreements are significant, for the Armenian Apostolic Church has retained the female diaconate into modern times. The Armenian Catholicossate of Cilicia has at least four ordained women. One, Sister Hip'sime, who lives in Istanbul, is listed in the official church calendar published by the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey as follows: "Mother Hrip'sime
Proto-deacon Sasunian, born in Soghukoluk, Antioch, in 1928; became a nun in 1953; Proto-deacon in 1984; Mother Superior in 1998. Member of the Kalfayian
Order." Mother Hrip'sime has worked to restore the female diaconate as an active social ministry, and for many years was the general director of Bird'
s Nest, a combined orphanage, school and social service center near Beiruit, Lebanon. Her diaconate, and that of the three other women deacons, is far from monastic.

The future Catholic response to the documented past and the changing present promises to be interesting. The tone of the International Theological Commission document reveals an attempt to rule out women deacons, but the question is left remarkably open: "It pertains to the ministry of discernment which the Lord established in his church to pronounce authoritatively on this question."

It is becoming increasingly clear that despite the Catholic Church's unwillingness to say yes to the restoration of the female diaconate
as an ordained ministry of the Catholic Church, it cannot say no.

Prayer for the Ordination of a Woman Deacon
O Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of man and of woman, who replenished with the Spirit Miriam, and Deborah, and Anna, and Huldah; who did not disdain that your only-begotten Son should
be born of a woman; who also in the tabernacle of the testimony, and in the temple, did ordain women to be keepers of your holy gates-look down now upon this your servant who is to be ordained to the office of a deaconess, and grant her your Holy Spirit, that she may worthily discharge the work which is committed to her to your glory, and the praise of your Christ, with whom
glory and adoration be to you and the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen."

-Apostolic Constitutions, No. 8 (late fourth century)


Phyllis Zagano is adjunct associate professor of philosophy and religious
studies at Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., and author
of Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in
the Catholic Church (Crossroad, 2000).

Copyright -¬ 2005 by America Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For information
about America, go to www.americamagazine.org. To
subscribe to America, call 1-800-627-9533, or subscribe online at
www.kable.com/pub/amer/subDom.asp
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2005, 02:28:20 PM »

The order of deaconesses (ordained) exists in Syriac Orthodox Church. We have TKSO (Liturgy) for it. But it is no longer practiced even in Malankara.

The Indian church does not practise many rites practised by the SOC.  SOC has festival of lights, which is not practised in India. Similalry there are other variations in rites, such as marriage etc.

According to Coptic Synaxarium and Indian church records, Apostle Thomas ordained only men as Bishops and priests. Concept of deaconess does not exist in India. But women are allowed to read scripture standing outside the Altar and give sermon in the Church during liturgy, but this is only a recent phenomena.

The Armenian Church ordains deaconesses.  Any one read the below book?

The Deaconess in the Armenian Church by Abel Oghlukian, Peter Cowe (Translator)  Publisher: Saint Nersess Armenian Seminary

Paul

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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2005, 06:11:57 PM »


The Armenian Church ordains deaconesses. Any one read the below book?

The Deaconess in the Armenian Church by Abel Oghlukian, Peter Cowe (Translator) Publisher: Saint Nersess Armenian Seminary

Paul




Haven't read that one.  But have read this essay/sermon.  Which covers the deaconess in the Bible, and Armenian Church.


WOMEN IN THE ARMENIAN CHURCH by Fr. Vazken Movsesian Lay Leaders
Retreat, Santa Barbara 22 February 1986
c. 1986 Fr. Vazken Movsesian

http://www.sain.org/dervaz/Wmnchr.txt
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2005, 09:24:05 PM »

A Coptic Church article,
The Third Way
about the successful reintroduction of deaconesses
into the modern life of the Coptic Church
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/479/spec1.htm


 Here is a site with resources on
"The historical Orthodox Deaconess"

http://www.angelfire.com/pa/deaconess/


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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2005, 05:03:28 AM »

Today the Syriac Church has five orders within the diaconate: archdeacon, deacon, subdeacon, lector and chanter. Deacons are ordained by the bishop, serve primarily on the altar, and assist the priest in the celebration of the liturgy. Some teach and instruct the faithful or carry out charitable work. Each archdiocese may have one archdeacon who is called "the right hand of the bishop," working closely with him in administrative and liturgical duties.

Deaconesses were well known in the ancient Syriac church, and the bishop laid hands on them in the rite of ordination. In the sixth century they poured the wine and water into the chalice, read the Gospel in gatherings of women, placed the incense, washed sacred vessels, lit the candles and cleaned the sanctuary. By the end of the seventh century their role was already being restricted and, some scholars would later assert that the ordination of deaconesses was of a different nature from that of male deacons. The ancient order for the ordination of deaconesses is still used today with some adaptation in the Syriac Church, but women are ordained only to the order of chantress, the lowest of the diaconal orders. Their role is to sing liturgical hymns in the church and to teach children in Sunday school. The ancient rite of ordination of deaconesses left out some sections that are present in the rite for the ordination of male deacons, including the invocation of the Holy Spirit over the candidate. Otherwise the wording is almost the same. The deaconesses had no authority in the sanctuary, but fulfilled some duties there in the absence of a priest. They could give communion to women and children, and assisted in the anointing of women at Baptism. The Syrian Orthodox called their deaconesses "Beth Kiomo" - the covenant's daughter; even the priest's wife was so called "priestess".

Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church in India, which is linked to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate, there is some evidence that the women called deaconesses in ancient times were actually the wives of deacons. Until fifty or sixty years ago deaconesses in the Malankara Church were the wives of priests, and assisted with the anointing of women at their baptism.
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2005, 07:20:41 PM »

From everything that I have read.  The Order of the Deaconess was not to serve during the Divine Liturgy.  It was primarily to serve women in the Church.  Early on it was to serve women by baptizing them.  Later on it was to serve women monastics, so that men would not have to enter the monastaries.

The question of whether it is major or minor is a mute point to me.  I think these are western concepts.  In the east, their are many ordinations.  In fact, all faithful are ordained in Chrismation to be Christians (I believe the word "ordain" is actually used in our liturgical text for the service).  If they are ordained, that is fine by me.  But it should be pointed out that their role is and always has been significantly different from that of the(male) deacon.  I think many times when people talk of women deacons they imply that their role would be identical to that of men and that is a misconception.
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2005, 02:56:57 PM »

+Irini nem ehmot

Yes, it's interesting that we have so few Deacons. I think the principal reason for this is that we actually need more priests! Those who are qualified for the deaconate all tend to be qualified for the priesthood, and so we haven't done too much of that.

If I'm not mistaken we have a requirement that a deaconess (different from a consecrated lay or "Mokarassa") must be 40 years or older in the Coptic Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2005, 04:49:06 PM »

I sometimes do not get the age requirement for a certain priesthood rank or for an assistant position like deaconess rank. St.Athanaius was 27 years when he became Patriarch, and he is the best Bishop in the History of the Church.
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2005, 05:07:17 PM »

A Coptic Church article,
The Third Way
about the successful reintroduction of deaconesses
into the modern life of the Coptic Church
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/479/spec1.htm
 

wow thanks a lot for those articles.  Irish hermit! Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2005, 05:13:07 PM »

Just out of curiousity, what are the age requirements for deacons, are there any for priests or bishops ?
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« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2005, 08:52:11 PM »

For the Coptic Church:
There are no age requirements for deacon ranks, except what the Bishop of each diocese believes suitable and also the age related requirements to be able to perform the duties of the rank. For example, a reader must ...read, as evident from the title, so you will never find a reader below 6th years of age. Afterwards, it is usually based on merit and abilities demonstrated in service. However, kids are ordained as chorus chanters (Epsaltos) first and at maybe the age of 12 ordained as readers (Egnustus), after having learned many hymns and responses.

A sub-deaon rank has no age requirement. There should be one deacon in every church, and one-archdeacon for every diocese. Again, I do not know of any age requirement, and both are high ranks.

I do not know of any age requirement for bishops. But the new rules for selection of the Pope of Alexandria(a Bishop himself) require a minimum age of 40 years, which would be applied to the selection of the next Pope. May the Lord give H.H. Pope Shenouda many years.
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2005, 08:43:33 PM »

I have a question concerning Deaconesses. I have attended an Oriental Orthodox Church in Denver where there were women who were Deaconesses. Some were married and some were not. Also, there was an ordained female priest who was called Mother _____ (didn't want to say her name). Where can I find written documentation to support their beliefs in this practice?

Sincerely
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2005, 11:59:31 PM »

Um, if there was an actual female "priest", then you probably did not go to an Oriental Orthodox Church, but perhaps stumbled upon one of the many vagante groups out there. 
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2005, 12:47:33 AM »

Mor-
What does vagnate mean?
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« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2005, 09:07:13 AM »

This is my dilemma. I don't know what is real and what's not real concerning Oriental Orthodox. I don't want to be judgmental and point fingers and accuse them of wrong.' However, I don't want to be led astray - I've been down that road before. I've studied Orthodoxy off and on for years and I know this is the church I desire to be connected to. However, because so many of the churches are seperated by ethnic groups I have yet to find one that I 'fit in' with. The Greeks chant in Greek and the Ethiopians chant in their native tongue. This particular Church catered to the rest of us. The Holy Quarbana was done in English which was great.

I'm no longer at that church nor am I living in that state anymore. However, I was Chrismated into the church. Is my Chrismation real if they prove not to be a real church but merely a sect of some other order? Secondly, where can I find more information on the Oriental Orthodox Church?

Thanks
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« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2005, 04:21:00 PM »

Dear Reconciled,

Without knowing more details, I cannot say much more regarding your situation (I'd need to know the name of the church/denomination, who the bishop was, where it is, etc., and I'm not sure if you want to share that with me, whether publically or privately, although you are welcome to).  If they indeed had a woman they called "Mother" who they recognised as a female priest, then they are not legit.  There are any number of fake churches which are called "vagante".  Irish Melkite has written about them in general several times, and about a specific few when it was warranted.  If you search for his posts on the subject, you and Desertrose will learn much more about these types.  Unfortunately, they often "impersonate" the legitimate Churches and confuse the people.  I'm sorry if this has happened to you; we don't like people pretending to be us, but unfortunately it happens. 

I think there is a thread somewhere in this section with a bunch of links about the Oriental Orthodox Churches (I think it was started by Ghazaros).  If you check those out, you will find out more about the legitimate Churches.       
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« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2005, 05:54:36 PM »

Thanks Mor,

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions. At this time, I don't want to divulge the name of the church, location, and or bishop because I don't think it's fair. The reality is, I don't know enough about the church to make a claim of falsehood. For all I know, I could have understood things incorrectly during my short stay there. Nevertheless, the entire experience has prompted me to pick up my books on Early Church History and trace my way back to truth.

Again, thanks. I'm sure I'll have more questions in the near future. I hope you and others are up to answering them.

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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2005, 09:59:17 PM »

+Irini nem ehmot

Wow, that's pretty disturbing. As Mor pointed out, it is not a legitimate Oriental Orthodox Church if you saw something like that. This is totally outside the Praxis of the Church. If you found a married deaconess, then you were definitely not in a legitimate Coptic Orthodox Church, but I can't speak for the other OO Churches (except the Eritreans and Ethiopians who share our rites concerning these issues)... Deaconesses in our Church cannot be married.

There are plenty of sites out there concernign the particular Oriental Orthodox Churches. If you're in the States it might be best to just simply go to an Oriental Orthodox Church.

A good location finder for Coptic Churches is here: http://www.coptic.org/north_am.htm Though I'm not sure if this has been updated recently (the list seems a little bit short to me). I'm sure some of the other OO here can put up information concerning their Churches.

Please pray for me.
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« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2005, 07:59:27 AM »

Thanks Fortunatas,

This might be a dumb question but I will ask anyway. Are these English speaking churches? I've visited the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and all have done the liturgy in their native tongue. Being that I only speak English, I have found it hard to find a church where I understand...save the one I mentioned.
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« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2005, 08:31:09 AM »

From my own limited experience, it seems that the OO Churches here in America most likely to use English are the Copts and the Indians. 
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« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2005, 01:38:31 PM »

Great! I'll do a search for one here in the Miami area.  I hope I find one so that I can attend on Sunday. I'm going through withdrawals!
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« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2005, 01:41:19 PM »

Perhaps she was an abbess and it is a legit church? Guessing here...
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« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2005, 05:19:16 PM »

Thanks Fortunatas,

This might be a dumb question but I will ask anyway. Are these English speaking churches? I've visited the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and all have done the liturgy in their native tongue. Being that I only speak English, I have found it hard to find a church where I understand...save the one I mentioned.
Sundays and Saturday liturgy is in English in all Coptic churches in the US, with some coptic hymns that are translated in books. During weekdays some late liturgies are held during the Great fast, but they might be mixed with arabic. Your best bet is to go on a Sunday or Saturday.
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« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2005, 06:55:36 PM »

Thanks Stavro
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« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2005, 06:57:35 PM »

What's an abbess?
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« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2005, 09:09:17 PM »

If my research is correct, an abbess is a nun. She is to a convent as an abbot is to a monastery. These priests were definitely not nuns as both are married.

Thanks for listening and responding. It really helps.
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« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2005, 09:01:36 AM »

 

According to Coptic Synaxarium and Indian church records, Apostle Thomas ordained only men as Bishops and priests. Concept of deaconess does not exist in India.

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Dear Paul this is new to me  can you tell where did found the records of Bishops ordined by St Thomas in India  i never heard about any bishops ordined by St Thomas in India
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« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2012, 11:12:30 AM »

I know that this thread is quite old. However for the sake of those stumbling upon this discussion only now I would like to post the following lengthy essay on the diaconate and the priesthood from a Coptic website:

http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/thecopticchurch/sacraments/7_priesthood.html

Regarding female deacons:


Quote
It is well known that the rank of deaconess in church is not a priestly rank. There is no Priesthood for women. St. Mary the mother of the Incarnated God and the Lady of the heavenly and earthly did not have any priestly rank, although she was a spiritual mother for the apostles and was accompanying them in service.

The ranks of deaconesses are similar to those of deacons that is Ognostis, Epideacon, and Deacon, corresponding to Consecrated, Assistant Deaconess, and Deaconess.

The rite is called the ‘Rite of Consecration of the Consecrated.’

The consecration, which is done by a bishop, is performed without the laying on of hands, which is different from priestly ordinations.

These prayers take place in a private mass for women as their service is not for the entire congregation, but for a specific sector of them.

Unlike the deacons, their prayers do not take place after the Reconciliation Prayer, so they are not considered as priestly dedication.

Consecration takes place after the morning raising of incense, and starts by the bishop saying, “...(name), Consecrated / Assistant Deaconess for ... “

The consecration of a Deaconess is accomplished by the bishop saying: “We call you (...name) a deaconess for the Holy Coptic Orthodox Church of God.” But for the rank of Consecrated and Assistant Deaconess, the words “We call you” are omitted.

The signs of the cross are done without mentioning their consecration for a particular church.

If there is a meeting for children or women, she may teach, but cannot teach men in church or a common meeting attended by men. This is according to the commandment of our teacher St. Paul, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man but to be in silence” (1 Timothy 2:12).

In private masses for nuns or consecrated women, they are not permitted to read the epistles, only the priest or deacon may do so.

Consecration of the consecrated is done by the bishop, and the priest has no right for consecration in his church without the knowledge of the bishop, as the bishop is responsible for the consecration, not the priest.
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« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2012, 02:52:51 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I've never heard of this tradition, but considering that in the Coptic Church they have about four dozen deacons a parish its  not surprising Wink

In the Ethiopian tradition Deacons are held to more sacred degree then in other jurisdictions, we treasure them as true clergy, similarly revered (and subsequently over worked) as our priests.  That being said, I do not believe the Ethiopians have any such traditions as Deaconnesses and further, in our tradition, only ordained clergy can enter into our sacred Altar, and women are explicitly excluded.

We do have unordained nuns who sometimes live in convents, but they are not in anyway ordained, they are laity, and many simply live at home with their families.  There are certain orders which they follow and generally belong to a local women's Saints' Association, but again, they do not quite carry the weight of Latin nuns.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2012, 01:31:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I've never heard of this tradition, but considering that in the Coptic Church they have about four dozen deacons a parish its  not surprising Wink

In the Ethiopian tradition Deacons are held to more sacred degree then in other jurisdictions, we treasure them as true clergy, similarly revered (and subsequently over worked) as our priests.  That being said, I do not believe the Ethiopians have any such traditions as Deaconnesses and further, in our tradition, only ordained clergy can enter into our sacred Altar, and women are explicitly excluded.

We do have unordained nuns who sometimes live in convents, but they are not in anyway ordained, they are laity, and many simply live at home with their families.  There are certain orders which they follow and generally belong to a local women's Saints' Association, but again, they do not quite carry the weight of Latin nuns.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Most Coptic churches have no deacons at all. Many do not even have a subdeacon. To be either is a very serious thing. Neither can remarry if their wife dies (and continue serving). Neither should marry after their ordination, though sometimes it is allowed for subdeacons, but certainly not deacons. Deacons cannot work outside of the Church. Deacons wear black, just like a priest, though may not have a beard today.

Because there are so few deacons and subdeacons, the minor orders, chanters and readers, usually serve in their palace in the Liturgy, as well as performing the roles of chanters and readers. Some of these minor orders are ignorant enough to think that they are deacons because, out of need, they are filling the role of deacons. They are not.
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« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2012, 06:41:02 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I've never heard of this tradition, but considering that in the Coptic Church they have about four dozen deacons a parish its  not surprising Wink

In the Ethiopian tradition Deacons are held to more sacred degree then in other jurisdictions, we treasure them as true clergy, similarly revered (and subsequently over worked) as our priests.  That being said, I do not believe the Ethiopians have any such traditions as Deaconnesses and further, in our tradition, only ordained clergy can enter into our sacred Altar, and women are explicitly excluded.

We do have unordained nuns who sometimes live in convents, but they are not in anyway ordained, they are laity, and many simply live at home with their families.  There are certain orders which they follow and generally belong to a local women's Saints' Association, but again, they do not quite carry the weight of Latin nuns.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Most Coptic churches have no deacons at all. Many do not even have a subdeacon. To be either is a very serious thing. Neither can remarry if their wife dies (and continue serving). Neither should marry after their ordination, though sometimes it is allowed for subdeacons, but certainly not deacons. Deacons cannot work outside of the Church. Deacons wear black, just like a priest, though may not have a beard today.

Because there are so few deacons and subdeacons, the minor orders, chanters and readers, usually serve in their palace in the Liturgy, as well as performing the roles of chanters and readers. Some of these minor orders are ignorant enough to think that they are deacons because, out of need, they are filling the role of deacons. They are not.
I see, well at my local Coptic parish literally every young man I know there is an ordained deacons who alternate serving at the altar and when not serving fill in as Cantors, its like the entire basket ball team Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie

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« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2012, 06:48:08 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I've never heard of this tradition, but considering that in the Coptic Church they have about four dozen deacons a parish its  not surprising Wink

In the Ethiopian tradition Deacons are held to more sacred degree then in other jurisdictions, we treasure them as true clergy, similarly revered (and subsequently over worked) as our priests.  That being said, I do not believe the Ethiopians have any such traditions as Deaconnesses and further, in our tradition, only ordained clergy can enter into our sacred Altar, and women are explicitly excluded.

We do have unordained nuns who sometimes live in convents, but they are not in anyway ordained, they are laity, and many simply live at home with their families.  There are certain orders which they follow and generally belong to a local women's Saints' Association, but again, they do not quite carry the weight of Latin nuns.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Most Coptic churches have no deacons at all. Many do not even have a subdeacon. To be either is a very serious thing. Neither can remarry if their wife dies (and continue serving). Neither should marry after their ordination, though sometimes it is allowed for subdeacons, but certainly not deacons. Deacons cannot work outside of the Church. Deacons wear black, just like a priest, though may not have a beard today.

Because there are so few deacons and subdeacons, the minor orders, chanters and readers, usually serve in their palace in the Liturgy, as well as performing the roles of chanters and readers. Some of these minor orders are ignorant enough to think that they are deacons because, out of need, they are filling the role of deacons. They are not.
I see, well at my local Coptic parish literally every young man I know there is an ordained deacons who alternate serving at the altar and when not serving fill in as Cantors, its like the entire basket ball team Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie



Habte, technically we use the word "deacon" loosely.  But truly, the people you see are mostly chantors and readers, not ACTUAL ordained deacons, but consecrated chantors and readers.  In fact, our priest expressed recent sentiment that we should discontinue calling ourselves "deacons" as that confuses people of true ranking.  I can bet money that the young men in your church are not "ordained" in the sense that a full deacon is.
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« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2012, 06:56:00 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I've never heard of this tradition, but considering that in the Coptic Church they have about four dozen deacons a parish its  not surprising Wink

In the Ethiopian tradition Deacons are held to more sacred degree then in other jurisdictions, we treasure them as true clergy, similarly revered (and subsequently over worked) as our priests.  That being said, I do not believe the Ethiopians have any such traditions as Deaconnesses and further, in our tradition, only ordained clergy can enter into our sacred Altar, and women are explicitly excluded.

We do have unordained nuns who sometimes live in convents, but they are not in anyway ordained, they are laity, and many simply live at home with their families.  There are certain orders which they follow and generally belong to a local women's Saints' Association, but again, they do not quite carry the weight of Latin nuns.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Most Coptic churches have no deacons at all. Many do not even have a subdeacon. To be either is a very serious thing. Neither can remarry if their wife dies (and continue serving). Neither should marry after their ordination, though sometimes it is allowed for subdeacons, but certainly not deacons. Deacons cannot work outside of the Church. Deacons wear black, just like a priest, though may not have a beard today.

Because there are so few deacons and subdeacons, the minor orders, chanters and readers, usually serve in their palace in the Liturgy, as well as performing the roles of chanters and readers. Some of these minor orders are ignorant enough to think that they are deacons because, out of need, they are filling the role of deacons. They are not.
I see, well at my local Coptic parish literally every young man I know there is an ordained deacons who alternate serving at the altar and when not serving fill in as Cantors, its like the entire basket ball team Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie



Habte, technically we use the word "deacon" loosely.  But truly, the people you see are mostly chantors and readers, not ACTUAL ordained deacons, but consecrated chantors and readers.  In fact, our priest expressed recent sentiment that we should discontinue calling ourselves "deacons" as that confuses people of true ranking.  I can bet money that the young men in your church are not "ordained" in the sense that a full deacon is.

I didn't say see, I said know as they are my friends, and I am sure you are right that not all of the dozens (after all I was clearly being a bit facetious Wink ) are deacons, but I assure you, at least a dozen actually are, and again, they alternate at serving at the altar.  Do subdeacons and cantors serve at the altar as well dispensing the Holy Communion?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2012, 07:41:04 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I've never heard of this tradition, but considering that in the Coptic Church they have about four dozen deacons a parish its  not surprising Wink

In the Ethiopian tradition Deacons are held to more sacred degree then in other jurisdictions, we treasure them as true clergy, similarly revered (and subsequently over worked) as our priests.  That being said, I do not believe the Ethiopians have any such traditions as Deaconnesses and further, in our tradition, only ordained clergy can enter into our sacred Altar, and women are explicitly excluded.

We do have unordained nuns who sometimes live in convents, but they are not in anyway ordained, they are laity, and many simply live at home with their families.  There are certain orders which they follow and generally belong to a local women's Saints' Association, but again, they do not quite carry the weight of Latin nuns.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Most Coptic churches have no deacons at all. Many do not even have a subdeacon. To be either is a very serious thing. Neither can remarry if their wife dies (and continue serving). Neither should marry after their ordination, though sometimes it is allowed for subdeacons, but certainly not deacons. Deacons cannot work outside of the Church. Deacons wear black, just like a priest, though may not have a beard today.

Because there are so few deacons and subdeacons, the minor orders, chanters and readers, usually serve in their palace in the Liturgy, as well as performing the roles of chanters and readers. Some of these minor orders are ignorant enough to think that they are deacons because, out of need, they are filling the role of deacons. They are not.
I see, well at my local Coptic parish literally every young man I know there is an ordained deacons who alternate serving at the altar and when not serving fill in as Cantors, its like the entire basket ball team Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie



Habte, technically we use the word "deacon" loosely.  But truly, the people you see are mostly chantors and readers, not ACTUAL ordained deacons, but consecrated chantors and readers.  In fact, our priest expressed recent sentiment that we should discontinue calling ourselves "deacons" as that confuses people of true ranking.  I can bet money that the young men in your church are not "ordained" in the sense that a full deacon is.

I didn't say see, I said know as they are my friends, and I am sure you are right that not all of the dozens (after all I was clearly being a bit facetious Wink ) are deacons, but I assure you, at least a dozen actually are, and again, they alternate at serving at the altar.  Do subdeacons and cantors serve at the altar as well dispensing the Holy Communion?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I really don't mean to be argumentative, but I'm afraid that if your friends tell you they are actual ordained deacons, they are themselves confused.

There are no Coptic Orthodox deacons in Canada. There are 2-3 in the L.A. diocese. I have not heard of any in the SUS or Northern U.S., but if there are any, they are no more numerous than in L.A. If your friends were full deacons, they would wear a black cassock, like a priest, at all times when in public. Any Coptic Deacons in North America are either only deacons for a very short period of time before being ordained a priest, or are older, and retired from secular work.

Every Coptic Church has what you describe, a mess of chanters and readers, all dressed as if they were different ranks, with a sanctuary schedule where they serve in the place of real deacons.

The requirements for serving in the place of a deacon in my Church are 12 years old, 1 year or more since first "ordination" (i.e. being made a chanter), and regular attendance and vesting. This is for Sundays, the requirements are more lax on weekdays, where I have served with a 6 year old "deacon" who of course held the cross and chanted the responses (not really chanted at 6...).

The proper way for chanters and readers to dress is with the white tonia (alb) only. It should not have an embroidered cross at the back. However, at some point Readers began dressing like subdeacons, probably because there were none. Now, there is no order. I have seen 6 year old chanters dress as full deacons. When a friend was ordained a chanter, I explained the meaning of the different stoles. An uncle who overheard was shocked that I was making this up, as everyone just dresses in the style they like, there are no rules Sad.

The Coptic minor orders are a mess, and a source of scandal and confusion.

If we knew what it meant to be a deacon, we would stop calling ourselves deacons!

If your friends study or have jobs outside the Church, go outside in street clothes, or are unmarried, or are under 60 years of age (unless about to be ordained a preist), they aren't deacons. I'm afraid they aren't deacons who fill in as chanters, it's the other way around. Unfortunately the Coptic hierarchy was raised with this, and they don't see it as wrong.

Readers, chanters, and subdeacons serve at the altar, exactly like deacons. Readers and subdeacons give sermons. The only duty of the deacon they do not perform in the Liturgy is distributing the Blood.
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« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2012, 07:58:23 PM »

Most Coptic churches have no deacons at all. Many do not even have a subdeacon. To be either is a very serious thing. Neither can remarry if their wife dies (and continue serving). Neither should marry after their ordination, though sometimes it is allowed for subdeacons, but certainly not deacons. Deacons cannot work outside of the Church.

On the EO side, the marriage rules are the same (Deacons cannot marry, or if married at ordination cannot remarry if widowed), but there is no general rule against working outside the Church. In fact, I don't believe there is such a rule for priests either as I've heard of a few mission priests working second jobs to help support their primary ministry. Is that a particular Coptic rule or is it general for OO's?
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« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2012, 08:01:43 PM »

Most Coptic churches have no deacons at all. Many do not even have a subdeacon. To be either is a very serious thing. Neither can remarry if their wife dies (and continue serving). Neither should marry after their ordination, though sometimes it is allowed for subdeacons, but certainly not deacons. Deacons cannot work outside of the Church.

On the EO side, the marriage rules are the same (Deacons cannot marry, or if married at ordination cannot remarry if widowed), but there is no general rule against working outside the Church. In fact, I don't believe there is such a rule for priests either as I've heard of a few mission priests working second jobs to help support their primary ministry. Is that a particular Coptic rule or is it general for OO's?

It is particularly Coptic. Any member of the major orders is fully consecrated to the service of the Church. There are one or two diocese where this rules is laxer or does not exist at all, and there have been a few exceptional cases.
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« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2012, 07:16:45 AM »

This rule does not apply in the British Orthodox diocese of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate otherwise there could be no priests or decaons at all who were no retired or independently wealthy.

I have to work at present to be able to support my family and my ministry. If someone wanted to support me I would happily abandon web development to be able to spend all my time in ministry.
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« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2012, 06:04:36 AM »

in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church there are five orders of servants that get ordained without the laying on of hands
1 Hatsawe hohet/ beregna =the Gate openers/Ushers
2,Anagunistis/anbabi= Readers
3, Nifqe dequna/ teradai= the helpers
4, mezemerenet= the Cantors
5, Deyaqonawit= Deaconess

the order of the deaconess is according to the didache chapter 17, she is a celibate or a woman of 60 years and above, who has lived and exemplary life. her duty is mainly to serve the women in their spiritual and other needs and also  in baptism to help with the anointing of women. as stated in the didache.
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« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2012, 08:58:48 AM »

in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church there are five orders of servants that get ordained without the laying on of hands
1 Hatsawe hohet/ beregna =the Gate openers/Ushers
2,Anagunistis/anbabi= Readers
3, Nifqe dequna/ teradai= the helpers
4, mezemerenet= the Cantors
5, Deyaqonawit= Deaconess

the order of the deaconess is according to the didache chapter 17, she is a celibate or a woman of 60 years and above, who has lived and exemplary life. her duty is mainly to serve the women in their spiritual and other needs and also  in baptism to help with the anointing of women. as stated in the didache.

That's interesting. In the Coptic Church there are 7 minor orders besides the 3 Major orders of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop:

-doorkeeper
-chanter
-reader
-exorcist
-monk
-virgin
-widow

These are found mentioned in the Liturgy, but doorkeeper, exorcist, and widow are in disuse. Nun and Deaconess are arguably two type of virgin. Others say virgin=nun and widow = deaconess. Others argue that virgin = nun, and deaconess is a female deacon. The latter is probably more correct, but confusing today when the Deacon is associated strictly with the Liturgy. The proper role of the deacon is social work... The were ordained in the book of Acts to wait on tables. This role extends to the Liturgy, serving and keeping order. In this context it makes more sense to think of the Deaconess as nothing but a female Deacon, though without the extension of their service into the Liturgy (and thus the priestly orders), but purely in the social realm.

Deacon literally means servant. Today we have no problem thinking of male servants and female servants, both teaching Sunday school, cleaning the church, cooking, organizing activities. But the males who teach are made readers, while the women are not. It doesn't seem like so much of a stretch to have the same mindset in the early Church as we have today... both males and females ordained deacons (servants), with the males being part of the major orders and serving at the altar, and both set aside to serve the social needs of the Church and the community. The fact is that the minor orders are somewhat fluid. They have changed in their understanding and organization throughout the centuries, and certainly between traditions. Where there ever widows and deaconesses at the same time? Did the understanding of them shift so that at some times there were younger deaconesses and at other times only older? Were all legitimate or were some misunderstandings? It's a pretty unclear area. Currently the rule is that a woman must be old to be a deaconess (seeming to associate it with widow), but some bishops get around this by simply calling them "consecrated servants". I'm not sure the difference between consecrating a servant, and ordaining a deaconess (since consecrating and ordaining both mean setting aside, and deaconess and servant mean the same thing). So it seems we're seeing shifting of the orders happening today.
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« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2012, 12:43:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church there are five orders of servants that get ordained without the laying on of hands
1 Hatsawe hohet/ beregna =the Gate openers/Ushers
2,Anagunistis/anbabi= Readers
3, Nifqe dequna/ teradai= the helpers
4, mezemerenet= the Cantors
5, Deyaqonawit= Deaconess

the order of the deaconess is according to the didache chapter 17, she is a celibate or a woman of 60 years and above, who has lived and exemplary life. her duty is mainly to serve the women in their spiritual and other needs and also  in baptism to help with the anointing of women. as stated in the didache.

Interesting, so these Deaconnesses are also like the pseudo-Nuns of our tradition take vows but are not  ordained like the clergy?


I really don't mean to be argumentative, but I'm afraid that if your friends tell you they are actual ordained deacons, they are themselves confused.

There are no Coptic Orthodox deacons in Canada. There are 2-3 in the L.A. diocese. I have not heard of any in the SUS or Northern U.S., but if there are any, they are no more numerous than in L.A. If your friends were full deacons, they would wear a black cassock, like a priest, at all times when in public. Any Coptic Deacons in North America are either only deacons for a very short period of time before being ordained a priest, or are older, and retired from secular work.

Every Coptic Church has what you describe, a mess of chanters and readers, all dressed as if they were different ranks, with a sanctuary schedule where they serve in the place of real deacons.

The requirements for serving in the place of a deacon in my Church are 12 years old, 1 year or more since first "ordination" (i.e. being made a chanter), and regular attendance and vesting. This is for Sundays, the requirements are more lax on weekdays, where I have served with a 6 year old "deacon" who of course held the cross and chanted the responses (not really chanted at 6...).

The proper way for chanters and readers to dress is with the white tonia (alb) only. It should not have an embroidered cross at the back. However, at some point Readers began dressing like subdeacons, probably because there were none. Now, there is no order. I have seen 6 year old chanters dress as full deacons. When a friend was ordained a chanter, I explained the meaning of the different stoles. An uncle who overheard was shocked that I was making this up, as everyone just dresses in the style they like, there are no rules Sad.

The Coptic minor orders are a mess, and a source of scandal and confusion.

If we knew what it meant to be a deacon, we would stop calling ourselves deacons!

If your friends study or have jobs outside the Church, go outside in street clothes, or are unmarried, or are under 60 years of age (unless about to be ordained a preist), they aren't deacons. I'm afraid they aren't deacons who fill in as chanters, it's the other way around. Unfortunately the Coptic hierarchy was raised with this, and they don't see it as wrong.

Readers, chanters, and subdeacons serve at the altar, exactly like deacons. Readers and subdeacons give sermons. The only duty of the deacon they do not perform in the Liturgy is distributing the Blood.

Its not arguing to offer corrections, and I am willing to stand corrected, however confusing this may be.  

Perhaps you can clear this up, because the Coptic websites are equally confusing because for the three ranks of subdeacons: cantors, readers, and subdeacons, are all still referred to as "ordained"..

It is Ordination that is so highly sacred in Ethiopian Tradition, precisely because for over 1500 years our Metropolitans came from Egypt so ordination was a rarer occasion than was truly needed.  But all the websites and Coptic literature I have consulted refers to even the lesser Deaconate orders as being "ordained" as do the deacons I know at my local Coptic parish.  I understand there is a "full Deacon" and "Arch Deacon" within the Coptic Church, these are clearly ordained and are rightfully "clergy" but are these subdeacons also considered "ordained clergy" according to the Divine Mystery of Ordination? If not, why does so much literature confuse English speakers by referring to these specifically as "ordained"? The Subdeacons and Deacons I know from my local parish (who are all young adults in their mid-20s now) were specifically ordained by Bishop Serapion so this only adds to my confusion.

Our lesser orders in the Ethiopian Church, such as the Debtera (scribes/cantors) as well as the lesser orders which sister Hiwot discussed, or NOT clergy, are NOT ordained in the strict sense, and are laity with a special function within the Church, but are not revered as clergy, whereas our Deacons and Monks are rightfully revered to the same depth as Priests and Bishops Smiley

Perhaps a lot of this could be cleared up by not using the term "ordained" (መቀባት)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2012, 01:12:42 PM »

Nuns stay in the convent and are devoted to prayer, while deaconesses (and consecrated servants), live in the world, usually communally, and serve socially (more like post-vatican II RC nuns). This is a recent development. The order of deaconess had fallen into disuse and was revived.

For the rest, It is a very confusing (and confused) topic Smiley

Actually chanter, reader and subdeacon are not three ranks of subdeacon. Subdeacons are among the major orders, with the three types of deacon being subdeacon, deacon, and archdeacon. Chanters and readers are minor orders with specific duties relating to leading they hymns and reading/chanting the readings. However, they have taken on the duties of the deacon, and so been confused as "ranks of deacon", which they are not.

Generally "ordained" is used for everything, whether a minor order or a major order. This is sloppy, just like how the word "deacon" is used incorrectly for the minor orders as well. There is a distinction, the minor orders are "ordained" with the cross on the head, not the laying on of hands. The reader is tonsured (hair cut). But the same word is used throughout, wether referring to a laying on of hands, or what most would call a consecration. Both ordination and consecration mean a setting aside, and are generally used by convention to denote minor or major orders, but the terms are not used this way in the Coptic Church, rather consecration is used for items like the vessels, and ordination for people. I'm guessing there are some translation issues here somewhere Smiley

Any deacons ordained by H.G. should be in the clergy directory. There is one deacon in the directory: http://www.lacopts.org/our-diocese/clergy/list , there are 4 archdeacons (I guess they have added more, last I saw there was only one deacon and one archdeacon)... and 2 consecrated sisters as well.

Subdeacons, readers, and chanters are not listed. While subdeacons are part of the major orders, today we treat them like the minor orders, as they are allowed to hold secular employment, and while they aren't supposed to marry, are often allowed 1 marriage after ordination (if unmarried).

The major orders are definitely ordained, clergy, etc:
-bishop, including rural-bishop, bishop, metropolitan bishop, archbishop, and patriarch
-priest, including presbyter and hegoumen
-deacon, including subdeacon, deacon, and archdeacon (though in practice subdeacon is not treated as such).

The minor orders:
-doorkeeper
-chanter
-reader
-exorcist
-monk
-virgin
-widow

are just that... minor orders. Are they laity or clergy? They do not have the laying on of hands. A monk is called "father" and said to have been ordained a monk... But they did not have the laying on of hands and are not among the priest hood as are the deacon, priest, and bishop (unless also a priest besides being a monk, as is very common). A monk should greet a deacon as clergy (though certainly not a reader who thinks he's a deacon).

The rite for the ordination (or consecration) of a reader lists it as the first rank of the priesthood. The EO text does as well. This is very confusing. They certainly do not have the laying on off hands, and do not participate in the major orders. But they are the first rank set aside or consecrated to the service of the Church. For all intents and purposes they are laity, but they have been set aside for the service of the Church, can give sermons, etc. It was a more serios thing to be a reader in the early Church. You read about them mentioned in Eusebius as caring for the Church books, actually having a function... not just showing up, putting on white, and going home.

Chanters and readers are only consecrated as such by bishops, never priests. There is a rite for it during the Liturgy. But it is with the cross, not the laying on of hands, and it is at a different point in the Liturgy than when a priest would be ordained. This is close enough to confuse people though. When I was made a reader after several years as a chanter, people asked "why are they making him a deacon again, he's already a deacon!?"

Unfortunately today, virtually every Coptic Church just has a mess of chanters, readers, and possibly a few subdeacons, who all do the exact same roles, as if they were just degrees of honour and rank conferred to people doing the same job, rather than specific roles of service people are assigned to. There is very much wrong here, with a mentality of pride and entitlement completely unfitting for servants waiting on others. One chanter at our church used to yell at younger chanters to "drop and give me 20 metonias" as if it was the military with ranks and seniority. A reader things it's his right to dress in any Church he goes to because he was "made" a reader by a bishop, so a priest has no right to tell him not to. No! he was set aside for the service of one altar, at the pleasure of the bishop of that church, and his representative the presbyter. He should not serve in another church without the permission of his priest and the other priest. Unfortunately they think they are ordained, that there is an indelible mark of readership on their soul, and it is their right to be honoured in any church they enter. They think a reader is a rank of deacon. So they go around demanding the respect due a deacon, a member of the clergy, not even realizing they are not, and that a true deacon would not demand such respect.
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« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2012, 01:50:17 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Thank you.

I see it is just this term "ordained" which is being thrown around a bit to freely in the community and literature then which adds to the confusion.  Again, in the Ethiopian tradition our lesser orders or not "ordained" but are indeed set aside, but ordination is reserved solely for the clergies, be they Deacons, Priests, or Bishops, and all ordained clergy are given the due respect and reverence, hence why this confusion is important.  I wouldn't want to over-revere a non-ordained yet special laity, and further I wouldn't want to disrespect an ordained and rightfully reverend clergy Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2012, 02:03:12 PM »

i've got nothing against that...
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« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2012, 02:25:00 PM »

Johnatan thank you for that post, I really enjoyed reading this thread.
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« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2012, 04:29:03 PM »

Nuns stay in the convent and are devoted to prayer, while deaconesses (and consecrated servants), live in the world, usually communally, and serve socially (more like post-vatican II RC nuns). This is a recent development. The order of deaconess had fallen into disuse and was revived.

Approximately when did this revival occur? Curious because when the subject of reviving 'deaconesses' comes up in EO circles, one of the points that regularly gets brought up is that St. Nectarios of Aegina ordained several deaconesses at the monastery he was spiritual father too. This was in 1911 or so. And as we have recently been informed, St. Nectarios was on very good terms with the Coptic Chuch while he was Metropolitan of Pentapolis.
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« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2012, 10:04:36 PM »

The order of deaconesses (ordained) exists in Syriac Orthodox Church. We have TKSO (Liturgy) for it. But it is no longer practiced even in Malankara.

My son's godmother is Malankara Orthodox, and while she was living somewhere with only a Syriac Orthodox parish, she was ordained a deaconess, by the Syriac Bishop, with the permission of the Malankara bishop, who said to keep it quiet, because the bishops were still trying to figure out how to reintroduce Deaconesses to the Malankara faithful in India.

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« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2012, 10:15:53 PM »

Nuns stay in the convent and are devoted to prayer, while deaconesses (and consecrated servants), live in the world, usually communally, and serve socially (more like post-vatican II RC nuns). This is a recent development. The order of deaconess had fallen into disuse and was revived.

Approximately when did this revival occur? Curious because when the subject of reviving 'deaconesses' comes up in EO circles, one of the points that regularly gets brought up is that St. Nectarios of Aegina ordained several deaconesses at the monastery he was spiritual father too. This was in 1911 or so. And as we have recently been informed, St. Nectarios was on very good terms with the Coptic Chuch while he was Metropolitan of Pentapolis.

I believe much more recently than that.

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/479/spec1.htm

"Such regulations are enshrined in the Code for Consecrated Deaconesses, which was drawn up in 1992 by the Holy Synod, headed by Pope Shenouda III"

"a doctor who became a consecrated deaconess in 1980,"

Found it, http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/coptic_1.shtml

"The early Church had women deacons but abandoned this in the 13th century. The Church resumed the ordination of women as deaconesses in 1981 and there are now at least 400 consecrated deaconesses in the Coptic church. Traditionally, a deaconess is either a virgin or a widow."
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« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2012, 10:54:10 PM »

"The early Church had women deacons but abandoned this in the 13th century. The Church resumed the ordination of women as deaconesses in 1981 and there are now at least 400 consecrated deaconesses in the Coptic church. Traditionally, a deaconess is either a virgin or a widow."

That certainly seems to preclude Coptic influence on St. Nectarios action, but it introduces a new question to me. 1981 (which is in living memory for a lot of us) and already up to 400+? That seems surprisingly fast, at least for any change among Orthoeox. Was there any particular impetus that anyone's aware not only for the Copts to revive the order but seemingly to do with such enthusiasm?
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« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2012, 11:02:32 PM »

400 doesn't seem that fast among 10 000 000. There are thousands of monks and nuns, some of whom do end up serving in the world even though that isn't their role, and probably more living ascetic lives in the world who are called to celibacy, but do not wish to leave the world. I would think there would be enough pressure from these two sides.
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