It might be mean to pick on them, since they’re seriously ill (spiritually, and hopefully not mentally), but this was too funny to pass up:
“Womenpriests.org” has a webpage on women deacons, who they allege existed in history. What they’re (not subtly) trying to do is creep into the priesthood via the deaconate. The idea is this: we now have altar girls, why not deaconesses, and then priestesses? The problem is that deacons and priests are Holy Orders, while an altar server isn’t. There have been women referred to as “deaconess,” but not in relation to an ordained role — they were just women who ministered to other women spiritually (certain jobs, like dressing cathecumens in baptismal robes, were deemed more appropriate for women). The term diakonia just means “servant” in Greek; so just like my saying a woman “ministered to other women” in the previous sentence doesn’t make that woman an “ordained minister,” the term diakonia doesn’t always mean that someone (male or female) was an ordained deacon. In short, a “deaconess” was no more an ordained minister than an altar server, even though both performed an important function for the Church – early Church documents make this really clear for anyone without a political axe to grind.
Anyways, taking the “deaconess” historical half-truth and running with it, Womenpriests.org has put together a list called “Women Deacons we know by name.” You should read it here, because it’s pretty good. My favourite entries on the list of “Women Deacons we know by name” were:
- Daughters of Count Terentius
- Two women deacons
- Unnamed (of Thrace)
- Unnamed deacon
- Unnamed deaconess
Pretty interesting “names,” to say the least. What, you expected someone who can’t tell an ordained from non-ordained ministry to be able to tell the difference between people we “know by name” and people who are “unnamed,” or whose names we don’t know?