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Rites and Rituals of the Coptic Orthodox Church

Dictionary of Coptic Orthodox Church Terms and Terminology

Deaconess

 

* A maid that had devoted her life to serve God, and to prayers as well.

* St. Paul mentioned Phoebe as a deaconess (Rom. 16:1).

She is officially in charg of certain duties in the church. She helps the priest in serving women, particularly the sick and needy, besides at their baptism. She is not to be ordained but raised.

In the early church, deaconesses were recognized as a distinct order of women who were vowed to perpetual chastity. They were, nevertheless, allowed to perform only certain duties in the care of women, and no sacerdotal services in the church.

 

* See also: deacon.

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