The ministry of women in the early church [2d ed.]

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The ministry of women in the early church [2d ed.]

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Translated 6Dy) The Bishop of Llandaff the Ri. Revd. Glyn Sinton D.D.





The Ministry of Women in the Early Church

The |iinisiey of Women


an the Early Church /






Translated from an article in La ‘Maison-Dieu, No. 61, 1960 by THE


The Rt. Revd.



Glyn Simon, v.v.

AMP S4 i






BR 15



© Jean Daniélou, 1961 Translation © by Dr. Glyn Simon,



x | heology |_ib rany




My thanks are due to Mr. W. A. Sullivan, of the French Department in the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, for his kindness in reading this article through and making valuable suggestions and corrections. iG...

I LN considering the question of the part played by women in the ministry of the Church we have to take into account two primary pieces of evidence. On the one hand, there has never been any mention of women filling strictly sacerdotal offices. We never see a woman offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice, or ordaining, or preaching in the Church. On the other hand, all Christian history —and particularly in the first centuries—shows that women have played a considerable part in missionary work, in worship and in teaching. The difficulty that we are faced with when we ask ourselves this question is that the status of the ministry exercised by women has never been clearly defined. The forms it has taken have varied with the particular time and country concerned. Its characteristics have changed according to differing needs. Sometimes it has been integrated into the ordained ministry and sometimes it has been regarded as a lay activity. That is why a historical study alone will enable us to pick out the constant factors in it and to note such points as call for question. The New Testament—and in particular S. Paul’s Epistles— present us with various facts which we must examine in order. The first piece of evidence which we find shows the importance of the missionary role-played by women. In the Epistle to the ‘Romans i6: 1-16°S. Paul gives us the names of a number of “women who have worked with him, It is important to note the terms he uses. The first name he gives is that of ‘Phoebe, our

sister, who is a servant (didKovos) of the Church at Cenchreae. She has often been a helper (tpoa7arus) both to myself and to many others. Greet Prisca and Aquila my fellow workers (cvvepyovs) in Christ Jesus, . . . Greet Mary who has worked so much (éxoziacev) for us.’ In the same way “Tryphzna Tryphosa and Persis labour (komvtav) in the Lord.’ In Philippians ‘4:2 there is a reference to ‘Euodia and Syntyche who have

‘struggled together with me in the Gospel (év r@ evayyediw) - with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers (cvvepyav).’ We must not infer from these texts more than is in them. The word 7

SuaKovos, applied to Phoebe, does not really carry with it the

_sense of a precise ministerial function which it will have later

where women are concerned. It has here the general sense of ‘servant,’ which is normal in the New Testament (cf. Eph. 6: 22). In the same way TPOOTATLS does not mean here the position of head of a community, as the context shows. But in other respects these passages must not be played down. The words ouvepyos, duaKovos, as used by S. Paul_mean,

so far as men

are concerned, a participation in the work of evangelism, There _ 1s no reason why the case should be different here, Moreover, in the case of Euodia and Syntyche, it is explicitly stated that . they take their share ‘in the proclamation of the good news.’ In \ the same way, the expression ‘to work in the Lord’ can only refer to apostolic tasks. There are some further pieces of evidence which lend support to this suggestion that women shared, in the days of the Apostles, in the work of evangelization, The Acts of Paul and Thecla, if we could depend on it as reliable, would be an essential text. Tertullian (de Baptismo 17: 4) warns us that it is the invention — of an Asiatic priest. But Tertullian, as we shall see, reacts very vigorously where the ministry of women is concerned; we may suspect that his condemnation of the work is exaggerated and that an authentic tradition may well underlie it. In it we see Thecla, by her confession before the judge at Antioch, converting Tryphzna and a group of women, going to Tryphzna’s house, and staying there for eight days “Instructing her (kaTnyHoac-a) in the Word of God, so that most of her servants believed’ (Acts of Paul and Thecla 38-9). We should note both that Thecla’s missionary work was confined to women and that it was exercised{privately and not in the Christian congregation. This links up with the way in which Clement of Alexandria describes the evangelistic role played by women in apostolic times: “The Apostles, giving themselves without respite to the work of evangelism (kypvymua) as befitted their ministry (Suaxovia), took with them women, not as wives but as sisters, to share in their ministry (cvvdtakévovs) to women living at

home: by their agency the teaching (d.0acKaAia) of the Lord reached the women’s quarters (yovatKwvirts) without arousing suspicion’ (Strom. ITI, 6, 53). This is a valuable quotation, both because of its positive statements, and because of the limitations 8

with which it qualifies them. This feminine missionary work was concerned essentially with the ministry to women and was dis-

charged inside private houses. We should note that S. Paul often connects the women whom he mentions with the missionary work carried on in their houses (Rom, 16: 5; 1 Cor. 16: 15). Prophecy represents a second aspect of the part taken in the ministry by women in apostolic times. There is good evidence for the existence of female prophets in the primitive communities. The Acts of the Apostles tell us of the four daughters of Philip the Evangelist who ‘prophesied’ (Acts 21: 9). Moreover S. Paul, in a text of the first importance, writes: ‘Every man who prays (tpoo-evydpmevos) or who prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head. Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonours her head’ (1 Cor. 11: 4-5). Prophesying by a woman is here on the same plane as prophesying by a man. The word bears the same sense for the one as for the other. Moreover, the prophet, in the New Testament sense, is not simply someone inspired ; he is someone who fills an office

within the community. S. Paul places him between the apostle and the teacher (1 Cor. 12: 28). The Didache (11: 3) puts him in close connection with the missionary apostle (a4mécroAos). His precise status is difficult to define. Audet (Théologie du fudeo —Christianisme, pp. 406-9) refuses to see in him a minister properly so called, but this seems to me arguable. 1 Cor. 11: 4-5 shows, moreover, that the prophetic function was exercised in the Christian congregation assembled together. A number of other texts also witness to this fact. Audet (La Didache, instruction des Apéotres, pp. 432-3) shows clearly the link between the prophet and ‘the giving of thanks,’ in connection with the Didache (10: 7, ‘Let the prophets give thanks as they will’). We can see the question raised by this. Up till now we have been looking at the part taken by women in the evangelistic work of the apostles, in missionary preaching and catechizing, essentially in connection with women. We have also carefully noted that these activities were performed outside the official

gatherings of the community. But here we are face to face with a text which deals with the part played by women in the Christian congregation itself. It is a new question that confronts us. The problem is complicated by the fact that there are other

texts which seem to dispute the right of women to take any part 9

in the Christian congregation, and the very first of these texts is to be found in this same First Epistle to the Corinthians. It is the well-known 1 Cor. 14: 34-5, ‘As in all the churches of the saints, women should keep silent in all the churches. They are not permitted to speak (AaAeiv) but should be subordinate, as the Law also says. If there is anything they wish to learn, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to speak (AaAeciv) in the congregation.’ The text seems plainly to contradict chapter 11: 4-5. We cannot say that these are the proceedings of two different communities, since the two texts occur in the same Epistle. There have been many attempts to explain this contradiction. For my part, it seems to me that we are dealing with two different activities. One thing is certain, women are not allowed to teach in the Christian congregation. Perhaps this was something which had actually taken place, which explains why S. Paul forbids it. Yet it seems to have been altogether and always excluded. It is expressly this preaching of the Word to the congregation that is indicated by AaAciv, a high-flown style of word which emphasizes the sacred and . liturgical character of the preaching (cf. Hebrews 13: 7). Moreover, S. Paul’s exposition is precise. A woman ought not to undertake the role of a teacher. He returns explicitly to this subject

in a passage in the First Epistle to Timothy (1 Tim. 2: 11-12), ‘Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness (é7o07Téyn)

As for the giving of instruction (6da4c0Ketv) I do not allow it to a woman.’ It is then the office of teaching that is envisaged here. The word trorayy is interesting. In effect it implies that women must not belong to the ordained ministry strictly so called, to which belong the privileges of presiding in the congregation, of © teaching authoritatively and of offering the Eucharist. But the role of the prophet in the Church is not primarily that of giving instruction: this is the duty of the teacher. The

prophetic role is essentially concerned with prayer. If we look again at the text from 1 Corinthians we notice that it speaks of ‘every man or every woman who prays (tpomevydpevos) or prophesies.’ Even if the giving of instruction is thus forbidden to women, it does not seem that they would be prevented from pray-

ing aloud in church. We should note that in the First Epistle to

Timothy, Paul deals first with the question of prayers : ‘I desire that women should pray dressed in a seemly way, conducting themide)

selves modestly and sensibly, not with braided hair, or gold orna-

ments or pearls, or expensive clothes, but adorned by a life given to good works’ (1 Tim. 2: 8-9). And the text continues, ‘Women are to receive instruction in silence.’ The first part, like the second, seems clearly to refer to the Christian congregation. The allusions to dress, too, seem to make it plain that we are concerned with a congregational gathering. If so, then this text, also, provides an argument in defence of the right of women to take part in the prayers in public worship. There is, moreover, further confirmation of this conclusion available to us. Tertullian himself is opposed to any participation by women in the worship of the congregation. Even after he has become a Montanist, and keenly interested in prophesyings, he tells us of a young girl who, having had a vision during a church service tells him about it only after the service is over (De Anima 13). Meanwhile he writes, with reference to S. Paul, that ‘while he imposes silence upon women in the Christian congregation for fear lest they should say something with a view to teaching (docendi), he nevertheless makes it plain that they have the right to prophesy, since he directs that women should be veiled, even when they prophesy’ (Adv. Marcion 5: 8). We can see, however, how Tertullian wrests the texts to suit himself : he makes them say that though women have in theory the right to prophesy during congregational worship, Paul condemns them to silence for fear that they should wish to join in the instruction as well. A final text, taken from the Teaching of the Apostles, well sums up the general picture which we have seen up to this point. Let us not forget that, by a pious fiction, it is an Apostle who is deemed to be speaking: ‘We do not allow women to teach

(8u8dc-Kewv) in the Church, but only to pray (tpocebyeo Oat). In fact, our Master and Lord Jesus having sent us, the Twelve, to teach the people and the nations never officially sent women to preach, although they were available to him: actually, we had with us Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome. But if it had been necessary for women to teach

(Su8ackewv), he would himself have commanded them also to

instruct (karnyetv) the people’ (15: 124). The whole scheme is here clearly defined: women take their part in the instruction | | given outside the congregation ; they share in the public prayers II


of the congregation ; they are forbidden to teach there. It remains to be said that it is difficult to be precise about this participation of women in the official prayers of the Christian congregation. It could never have been the Eucharist, properly speaking ; this all tradition reserves to the priest. It does not seem even to constitute a ministry in the strict sense of the word. But it does express the right to an active share in the liturgical prayer of the assembly. And just as the role of women in catechising and evangelistic work corresponds closely to that with which we are familiar to-day, so likewise Tradition, instinctively, while not allowing a woman to preach in a church, makes no difficulty about allowing nuns to conduct and perform the choir music in a liturgical office and, finally, permits a woman to lead the

community in prayer when a parish is without a priest, but not to go up into the pulpit. This perhaps needs to be recalled since, in a recent study, Mer. Romita has endeavoured to show that beneath the evolution of ideas, which cannot be disputed, the ancient principles of the separation of the clergy and the laity—women above all— remain unaffected so far as sharing in the liturgical chant is concerned, for, in the strict interpretation of the word, liturgical means only that which is done by the clergy. Moreover, he argues that it could only be in a spirit of charity and toleration that the transition could be made from the absolute prohibition of singing by women inter ambitum ecclesiae to the actual ecclesiastical arrangements as they are to-day. Dom Olivier Rousseau, to whom I owe this outline, rightly disputes the principles on which it is based. He is absolutely correct. The participation of women in liturgical prayer is in a high degree traditional. The duty of singing the choir office conferred upon a woman makes her to-day simply the successor of the veiled prophetesses of S. Paul. ( Up to now we have seen women sharing in the ministry of ‘_the apostles and prophets, but not, however, of teachers. But

alongside these ministries we shall meet in the apostolic com-




of local



their elders

(tpea Bbrepor), bishops (étioKomot) and deacons (814Kovol). The special prerogatives of these different groups only become clear little by little. Already, as we know, in the Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch they constitute a proper ordained ministerial 12

order. Now just as we have seen women associated with the evangelistic or missionary ministries, we shall also see them associated with the local ministries. And just as these local ministries absorb the missionary ministries, apparently at least, as far as men are concerned, so will it be where women are concerned, so that the problem we now come to deal with will be important for the future.

The first question is that of the Widows (yfpat). Already in Lo the New Testament the word can denote three different but not ,. unrelated entities, The Acts of the Apostles (6: 1-2; 9: 39) inform us that the ‘aged widows’ were cared for by the community. Here it is simply a question of widows in the ordinary sense of the word. But as early as the Epistle to Titus we see these widows playing a particular role in the community : ‘The ) aged women (zpeo-Birides) must conduct themselves as befits / a holy calling; they must not be given to slander or drunken habits: they must teach what is good (kadoduS8éacKadot) and ) iWiter train the young women to love their husbands and children’ (Titus 2: 3-4). Here it is a question of widows in general and not of an office properly speaking. But on the one hand the widowed state seems to imply a demand for perfection, and in other respects to imply some kind of a mission directed to the young women of the community. Their role appears, in the framework of an established community, to resemble that of the women who worked with the Apostles in the missionary community. In fact Origen (Com. Rom. 10: 17) compares the Phoebe of the Epistle to the Romans with the widows of the Epistle to Titus. The First Epistle to Timothy confirms what we have found so far and provides in addition some precise details: ‘Honour

widows who are “widows indeed”. . . . A widow indeed is one } who has put her trust in God and perseveres day and night in | the intercessions and the prayers. Before she can be inscribed on \ the role (karaAéyewv) a widow must be sixty years old at least, once married, one who has practised hospitality, washed the feet’ of the saints and been given to all good works’ (1 Tim. 5 : 3-10). Here the stress is laid on the ascetic and contemplative side of the life the widows lead, rather than on their functions within the community. But the interesting point is the enrolment on a register and the conditions it implies, for this makes it plain that we are concerned here not with all the widows, but with some of 13

their number who constitute a special category of the community. | This is the first indication we have of an order of Widows, parallel

to the other orders. The existence of an order of Widows of this kind is confirmed for us by very early ecclesiastical literature.


(Phil. 4: 3) is the first to call them ‘the altar (@vovacrnptov)

of God, a phrase which will appear often and is an extension of Paul’s phrase about their spiritual intercession. Ignatius (ad Smyrn, 13: 1) speaks, using a strange expression, of ‘the virgins called widows,’ an expression which shows clearly that the word ‘widow’ has passed from its ordinary sense and is being used in the sense of an ecclesiastical order. Simple references like these do not provide us with information about what the ministry of widows involved, but Hermas (Vis. 2: 3) shows us a woman called Grapte, whose task it is to impart knowledge of the revelation he has received to the widows and orphans, whereas Hermas himself is to read it before the elders. Grapte in all probability belongs to the order of Widows. This passage confirms us in thinking that the principal responsibility of the Widows was that of giving instruction to women. Already, in the New Testament and the Apostolic Age, it is plain that we have confronting us, alongside the Widows and in an order quite distinct from them, the existence of deaconnesses. In a passage in which he is dealing with the word ‘deacon’ in its technical sense, S. Paul writes: ‘Deacons must be men of grave behaviour; they must be examined and if found blameless may afterwards serve as deacons. The women must be of grave behaviour, not slanderers, temperate, in every respect faithful. Deacons must be married only once’ (1 Tim. 3: 8-12). It seems clear that by ‘the women’ in question, who are clearly distinguished from the wives of the deacons while the description of them is parallel to that of the deacons, we must understand

deaconesses. Here the word has a technical sense. It indicates a {ministry which forms part of the ordained ministry itself. It would seem, if we recall what we have said of female apostles, of prophetesses, of aged women, that each male ministry had a sort of female counterpart, of a subordinate character and connected with the extension of this ministry to women. Pressing this’

line of thought to its limit, I would say that in the beginning/ some male ministries were accompanied

of a less important kind.

by a female ministry

os 14


The passage from S. Paul does not contain the word 8udKovos applied to women, but another very early witness seems to imply it. The point is raised in the letter written by the younger Pliny to Trajan at the beginning of the second century concerning the Christians of Pontus. This is what Pliny writes: ‘I have judged it necessary to obtain information by torture from two serving women (ancillae) called by them “deaconesses” (ministrae).’ The word ministra seems to be a translation of SudKovos. In the passage from Pliny the word has a technical sense. It signifies women who had a definite ministry in the community. On the other hand we note that the word ancilla seems to denote some kind of inferior office. We are far from the context of reverence which surrounds the Widows. Moreover, where the deaconesses are concerned, it is the quality of service that seems to be the essential point. It would seem then that we are dealing with an inferior ministry of the Church. If to this we add, finally, that the ministerial work of deacons very often involved assisting the bishop in the religious offices connected with Baptism, congregational worship and the sick, it seems plain that from as early as this period the reason for the existence of deaconesses was to assist the bishop and the deacons in those of their religious duties which were concerned with women. What follows will confirm this theory. The apostolic community, then, shows us women taking a very large share in the different ministerial offices of the community and under various forms. But this did not take place without things sometimes going to extremes. The large part played by women in the first expansion of the Church could lead them to want to exercise functions to which they had no right or to abuse those which were accorded to them. We find an echo of this in the second century in the heresies of that time, but we know too how difficult it is sometimes in this matter to make clear the frontiers between orthodoxy and heresy. The most interesting example is that of the Marcionite Church, which claimed to be the successor of the Pauline communities. It is this church which Tertullian has in mind when he writes : ‘What effrontery we find amongst these female heretics! They actually dare to give the church’s teaching, to engage in disputations, to practice exorcism, to promise cures, perhaps even to baptize!’ (Praescript 41: 5; see also de Baptismo 17: 4). It is worth remarking that the claim 15

of women to baptize would have seemed extravagant even amongst the Marcionites. In this connection Tertullian firmly lays down that so far as the strictly sacerdotal ministry is concerned women are excluded : ‘Women are not permitted to speak in the church,’ he writes, ‘but equally they are forbidden to give the official teaching, to baptize, to make the Offering or to lay claim to any function (munus) of men, or of the sacerdotal ministry (officiumy (Virg. vel. 9: 1). But while the question of the possible sharing by women in the strictly priestly ministries of official teaching or the administration of the sacraments is never seriously raised, on the other hand, as we have seen, their role in missionary work and in prophecy is indisputable. Here they continued in a sphere that was open to them. But-it is quite clear that even this gave rise

to some abuses, It is, in fact, in the contemporary heretical move-

ments that we find women playing a predominating role in apostolic times, We note first of all the part that women play in apocryphal works of Gnostic tendencies. In Pistis Sophia, Mary Magdalen; in the Egyptian Gospel, Salome; in the Gospel of Mary, Mary;

all are the bearers of secret revelations. Moreover,

the Gnostic leaders are accompanied by women playing a very important role. Such is the case with Helen who is the companion of Simon,

or of Marcellina




or of

Philomena and Apelles. Again, the role of the prophetesses in Montanism is well known to us. Here the problem is a much more delicate one. In many respects indeed the role played by these women is identical with that played by women in the primitive community. Hippolytus in his Commentary on the Song of Solomon calls Mary Magdalene ‘the Apostle of the Apostles.’ A tradition, unhistorical perhaps, but surely not heretical, makes Martha and Mary, with Lazarus, missionaries to Provence. When the Acts of Philip show us Marianne accompanying Philip on his missionary work, they go no further than what we are told in the Acts of Paul and Thecla. But two things stand out: on the one hand, there is a tendency on the part of these female prophets to magnify their privileges; on the other hand, the heresiarchs exploited them. : The answer of the Church lay in turning the ministry of

women into an institution—it is this which is the chief distinguishing feature of the second period in the history of the 16

ministry of women, which begins with the third century. To begin with, the attempt is made to absorb it in an institution already in existence, that of the Widows, The great period in the history of this institution is the beginning of the third century. What we saw outlined in S. Paul’s writings has become an Order of the Church ; we see it listed after bishops, priests and deacons. Thus already we have Clement of Alexandria (Paed. 3: 12, 97) setting Widows after the three male Orders amongst the ‘persons of distinction’ (éxAexra mpdcwra). It is the same with Origen (Or. 28: 4). There he states that if the role of the widow consisted solely of feet-washing, which could be done by servants and domestics, there would have been no reason for ranking them (karareradyOa1) with those enjoying a definite ecclesiastical

status (€xxAnovacriK Tin).

There are numerous texts which bear witness to this incorporation of the Widows into the ordained ministry. Origen in his Homily on Luke 17, writes again, ‘Not only fornication but also second marriage, are a bar to ecclesiastical dignities. Indeed neither bishop, priest, deacon nor widow is allowed a second marriage.’ In his Commentary on Romans 16: 1-2, he speaks of the mznsstry (ministertum) of Widows and in his Homily on Isaiah 6: 3 of their ‘ecclesiastical honours. The PseudoClementine * writings mention ‘The Order of Widows,’ following the three male orders (Hom. g, 36: 2) and think of it as a

ministerium. (Rec. 6: 15). In Africa Tertullian (Virg. Vel. 9: 2) mentions a virgin who has shared for twenty years in the duties of ‘the Widowhood’ (viduatus). He recalls that a Widow cannot be enrolled in the ‘Order’ if she has been married twice (Ux.

I, 3, 4). He reckons the Widows with the three male Orders, describing them as a guild (secta) (Mon. 11: 1). These four groups constitute ‘Church Order (11: 4), the Clergy’ (12: 1). He bears witness to the presence of the Widows alongside the presbyters in the congregation (Pud. 13: 4). All this evidence proves the existence of the Order of Widows,

but it contains but few indications on the questions which interest us. Is it a question of an Order, strictly speaking? What are its

functions? We have, however, other sources which will provide us with more details about it. There are the various Constitutions 1Strecker:



in den Pseudo-Klementinen,


p. 116.

which go back in part to the third century. We have, too, various documents which derive from the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. This, the original of which we no longer possess, is according to J. M. Haussens (La Liturgie d’Hippolyte, Rome, 1959, p- 508) of Egyptian origin. All these documents mention the Order of Widows, The Church Order, the so-called Egyptian Church Order, exists in several versions. Widows are enumerated in it after bishops, priests and deacons, before or after readers and sub-deacons, ‘A Widow may be instituted as such by word alone and is to be counted amongst the Widows, but she is not to be ordained, because she does not offer the oblation nor has she a ministry. Ordination is for the clergy, because they perform the liturgical services, while the Widow is instituted for prayer, which is a function of all Christians.’ The Apostolic Canons mention Widows after readers and before exorcists. They lay down that for entry into the Order of

Widows (karaidooec Gat eis 76 xNpiKdv) a widow must have lived for some time without reproach after the death of her husband. She may not receive the laying on of hands (Epitome 16). As for the Canons of Hippolytus they make no mention of widows being ordained, but specifically include them as part of the ordained ministry. Their special duties here are ‘constancy in

prayer, care of the sick, and frequent fastings’ (59, Achelis, 75).? With the Apostolic Church Order we are confronted with a different arrangement. It speaks of the appointment of three widows, “Two to devote themselves to prayer on behalf of all who are tempted, and to revelations (4oxadtwWets) to whatever extent is necessary, one to succour women who are sick.’ “They must be ready to help, they must be temperate and make the necessary reports to the priests’ (21, Harnach, 735). We have in this text a number of valuable pointers. The Widows are not ordained, their teaching role is reduced; their function is above all one of prayer, which is constantly regarded as a function of

the Widow. It does not seem to be simply prayer that is involved, but a sharing in the liturgy, continuing the function of the Pauline prophetesses. It is no doubt to them, too, that the revelations (47oxadtweus) have reference. Moreover care of the sick

implies not only material assistance, but religious ministrations as well. Finally, in Syria, about the middle

of the third century we

2Die Altesten Quellen des Orientalischen Kirchenrechts



have the Didascalia Apostolorum (Teaching of the Apostles). Here we are in the presence of very considerable developments in all that concerns the Order of Widows. Their mission is to pray

(tpomevyeo Oat) for benefactors and for the whole Church. So far as their missionary activity is concerned, however, we have

to recognize that the text is somewhat restrictive: ‘If asked questions she will not reply immediately, unless the question is concerned. with justice or faith in God. She will refer questioners to those in charge (sjyotmevor) (XV, 123): the text gives the reasons, ‘If non-Christians hear those who proclaim the Word of God failing to do so rightly, especially where the Incarnation and the Redemption are concerned, they will jest and mock

instead of praising God’s Word. And the Widow (zpeoBirus) will incur severe penalties for having been the occasion of this , blasphemy’ (XV, 129). It is not then a question of the prohibition ‘

of a right, but of the limitation of it, for practical reasons. It is accompanied by a general instruction on the question of the refusal of permission to women to teach: ‘It is neither necessary nor desirable for women to teach for they were not appointed to teach but, and this applies especially to Widows, to pray. A woman should know that she is the altar of God’ (XV, 124). In addition Widows may lay hands on the sick: “They may not lay» hands on or pray over any one except by direction of the bishop and the deacon’ (XV, 127). The Widow who is undisciplined ‘is careless about fasting and praying over her members and laying hands on them’ (XV, 128). On the other hand, ‘We do not permit a woman to baptize, or to be baptized by a woman, for it is contrary to order. If it had been lawful to be baptized by a woman, our Lord and Master would have been baptized by Mary, his mother, whereas he was baptized by John’ (XV, 129). Note the almost exclusively restrictive character of this

passage. The establishment

of Widows

up to the end of the fourth

century at Antioch is attested by S. John Chrysostom (Hom. on Matthew 66). But from the second half of the third century decay was beginning to set in. At the time even of Chrysostom the Apostolic Constitutions bear witness to its decline. In fact, at the end of the fourth century it disappeared: it died of its own ambiguities. Up to the end, however, it kept the various aspects which it had had in S. Paul’s time. It is first of all the general 9


body of aged women whom the community succours ; their title

gives them charitable rights which they sometimes abuse. In the

second place, it constitutes an ideal of perfection; but in this area the ideal of perfection in widowhood is very quickly met by the triumph of the similar ideal in Virginity. (In the third century the latter attains a pitch of fame which was to go on steadily increasing.) Finally, the distinguished place sometimes allowed to Widows in the community tempts them to venture to make pronouncements on theological questions without sufficient preparation ;hence the suspicions cast upon the instruction given by women. But at the moment when the institution of Widows declines, another female institution, that of the Deaconesses, comes to take its place, and with the promise of a happier fortune. We have seen that the first indications of this may be found in apostolic times, though it was a matter then of an altogether inferior office. In the middle of the third century there was a sudden expansion. It benefited at first from the rise of the ideal of Virginity with which it was associated (Apostolic Constitutions, VI, 17, 4). Moreover, the functions discharged by the Deaconesses assumed increasing importance in the third century with the growth of the Church. Finally, while the Widows constitute a sphere that is to some extent autonomous and independent, the Deaconesses are much more in the hands of the clergy who bring them forward against the Widows. This transition, however, may be seen under varying aspects according to the documents concerned. A first group maintains the old arrangement while adapting it to new requirements. This is what we find in the Apostolic Church Order (24-8) which rejects the Order of Deaconesses as an innovation. We must now

refer to a text which we have left on one side—The Testament of our Lord Fesus Christ. This is one of those documents which

derives from the Apostolic Tradition. Here the evolution comes about by the transformation of the institution of Widows, who retain the name but are in fact Deaconesses. They number three (Testament I, 34, 83; cf. Apost. Church Order). They occupy an eminent place (praecedentium sessionis) in the community. They are mentioned immediately after the Deacons. They sit during the liturgy to the left of the Bishop, parallel with the Deacons who sit to his right (I, 23, 17). They make their communion first after


the deacons (I, 23, 47). They are ordained, without imposition of hands (I, 41, 99). They combine with the ancient privileges of the Widows the functions of the Deaconesses; in particular, they assist the Bishop at the Baptism of women (II, 8, 129). Moreover, for certain of the functions discharged elsewhere by the Deaconesses, these women have the assistance of women who keep order in the church, These latter have their place near the door (I, 19, 27). They make their communion at the head of the women (I, 23, 47). They carry the Easter communion to women who are sick (II, 20, 143). We have here a singular state of affairs. The only female Order is still that of the Widows; they maintain their former prestige and assume the principal new functions that emerge. As for the less important duties, these are left to women who form no part of the ordained ministry. It is a situation the reverse of that in the Didascalia. It is these less important non-clerical duties which appear to be well-nigh the special domain of the primitive female diaconate. As we have seen, the Teaching of the Apostles shows us the institution of Widows in its decline. On the other hand it bears witness to the rise of the Deaconesses. An early passage puts them parallel with the Deacons: “The Deacon has the place of Christ and you will love him. You will honour the Deaconesses in the place of the Holy Spirit. You will look on the Widows and the orphans as the altar’ (IX, 82). The same parallelism appears later on: “That is why, O Bishop, thou dost choose for thyself assistants who will lead thy people unto life. Thou wilt choose and establish as Deacons from all the people such as thou wilt please, a man to do the numerous things that are necessary, and a woman for the service of women’ (XVI, 136). The reason for and the scope of this ministry then follow: ‘For there are houses where thou; canst not send the Deacon to the women’s quarters, because of | the heathen: thou wilt send there the Deaconesses’ (XVI, 134). This was already the general reason for the existence of a ministry of women in Clement’s writings : ‘In many other matters besides, it is necessary to employ a Deaconess. First of all, when women descend into the water for baptism, it is necessary that those who thus descend should be anointed with the oil of unction by the Deaconess. When no women, and above all, no Deaconesses, are available, then it is inevitable that he who performs the baptism should anoint her who is baptized’ (XII, 134, 5). The minister 21

normally only anoints the head where women are concerned ; it is the customary role of the Deaconess to anoint the body. Her ministry does not confine itself to that: “When she who is baptized comes out of the water, the Deaconess shall receive her, instruct her, and look after her, to the end that the unbreakable seal of baptism may be impressed on her with purity and holiness’ (XV, 135). Thus, the Deaconess inherits part of the

role of the teacher as discharged by women. Finally, ‘the ministry

of the Deaconesses is still necessary for thee, for a number of things. Where Christian women live in heathen households it is necessary that it should be the Deaconess who goes there and visits women who are sick’ (XVI, 135). Thus the Deaconesses, apart altogether from their strictly liturgical functions, are the inheritors of the pastoral duties of the Widows. The Apostolic Canons show us a situation analogous to that of the Didascalia. They underline several important features. The Deaconesses have a distinguished role to play. They are mentioned immediately after the Deacons. Above all, we meet here — an actual Ordination of Deaconesses. The particular Ordination — formula is given us in the Epitome (10) : “Thou shalt lay thy hands upon her in the presence of the Presbyters, the Deacons, and the Deaconesses, saying, “Thou who didst fill Deborah, Hannah and Huldah with the Holy Spirit, thou who in the Temple didst appoint women to keep the holy doors, Look upon thy servant

chosen for the ministry (d:axovia), and give to her the Holy Spirit that she may worthily perform the office committed unto her?? 3 We are in the presence of an Ordination of Deaconesses, which makes them into an actual minor order. This Ordination is witnessed to by some other texts of the period. Canon 19 of the Council of Nicea seems to bear witness to it,

whatever Kalsbach may say of it.* In any case, canon 15 of the Council of Chalcedon is explicit: ‘A woman

may not be

ordained (yevporovetc Oat) under forty years of age.’ The word xetporovia is the technical one for Ordination. It is not just a question of any sort of laying-on-of-the-hands, or of a blessing.

We shall see, too, that it is carried on belatedly in the Byzantine Church and amongst the Nestorians. In the West, Venantius Fortunatus tells us that Bishop Medard consecrated Deaconess Radegonde by the laying-on-of-hands (Vita Radegonda 12). The 3 Jahrbuch fir Liturgiewissenschaft II, 1931, p. 374.


opposition encountered in the West by this Ordination of Deaconesses, which is Eastern in origin, is evidence that the custom was tending to spread. Thus in the Council of Orange (441) we read : “Deaconesses should not be in any way ordained.’ (At Byzantium the Ordination allowed laying on of hands, clothing with the 6papuov (the deacon’s robe), and delivery of the Chalice.) The Apostolic Canons also provide evidence for the role of Deaconesses not only in Baptism, but in the congregation: “The Deaconess does not bless or carry out any of the functions of priests and deacons, but she keeps the doors and assists the priests when they baptize, for the sake of the proprieties’ (19: 5; Funck 84). Here the part played in worship by the Deaconesses, apart from the assistance they render at Baptism, consists also of inferior duties, analogous to those of the door-keepers in the congregation, that is to say they superintend the female part of the congregation. This we meet with again in the Apostolic Constitutions in the relevant sections : “The door-keepers should stand at the entries for men, the Deaconesses (6udKovot) at those for women, as the officials responsible for their orderly movements (vaveroAdyou) (II, 57, 10). (See also Synod of Laodicea, 5, 7.) The Deaconesses are the intermediaries between women and the clergy :‘No woman should approach the Deacon or the Bishop unaccompanied by the Deaconess’ (II, 26, 6). If any woman, be she poor or rich, is without a place, the Deaconess must find her one (II, 58, 7). She is the Deacon’s assistant in all matters affecting women and should say or do nothing apart from him (II, 26, 6). The Constitutions are acquainted, too, with an Ordination

(yetporovia) of Deaconesses by the Bishop (III, 11, 3). The importance of Deaconesses in the East in the fourth or fifth centuries is confirmed both by the extant literature and by inscriptions. S. Basil knows of women who are consecrated


(Epist. 199, 44) Epiphanius explains that in

matters affecting women the clerical rank (réypa) is extended to Deaconesses (Pan. 79, 2). John Chrysostom speaks of women raised to the dignity (4£iwua) of Deaconesses (Baur 1, 120). We know that Olympias, who was a friend of Gregory of Nyssa and of S. John Chrysostom, was a Deaconess (Sozoméne: Hist. Eccles. 8, 9). The same is true of Sabiniana, aunt of S. John Chrysostom (Pallad., Hist. Laus., 41, 4). It seems that it would 23

be true, too, of Macrina, sister of Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., 46, 465, A). He tells us also of one Lampadion who presided over a group of virgins and was in the order (Ba00s) of Deaconesses (46, 988 1). Jerome likewise testifies to the employment of Deaconesses in the East (10, 1 Tit.; P.L. 30, 922), a passage which also goes to show that they did not exist in the West. In addition, Kalsbach has collected a number of fourth and fifth century inscriptions which mention Deaconesses CFL Ws ttt; 1931, col. 277-8). The female Diaconate was to have an important development in women’s Communities, which would come to be presided over by a Deaconess; this we have seen already in the case of Lampadion, Palladius speaks of the Deaconess of a local community (Hist, Laus. 70,-3). In the same way the Life of Saint Nil le jeune mentions a Deaconess (ijyoupévn ovacrnpiov) (p. 135) ‘head of the convent.’ It is this ‘Head Deaconess’ who will later be called ‘abbess,’ as several authors explicitly state. In Nestorian religious

communities these Deaconesses will be given astonishing powers.

They will be allowed to have access to the ambon (G70) to read © the Gospel ; they will have the right to cense, but not to bless the incense ; they will be permitted, in the absence of the priest, to administer the communion to the nuns. In a community of Sisters, in the absence of the priest, or the deacon, they may take the sacrament (uvo-rypia) in the sanctuary (Asemani, Bibl. Or. III, 2, p. 851), but not on the altar, to give it to their Sisters and to young children. It remains for us to note that in the West we do not meet with this making of the ministry of women into an institution. The Order of Widows, in the writings of Tertullian and Hippolytus,

does not admit of any ministerial duties and disappeared after Cyprian’s time. At Rome, in J. M. Hanssen’s judgment, it was not even in existence at the beginning of the third century (op. cit., pp. 3'72ff.). We see nothing of the institution of Deaconesses before the end of the fourth century, and when it does appear, it is under Greek influence. Moreover, it is more a matter of its being then an honorary distinction and office rather than a ministry (Kalsbach : op. cit., col. 924-7). All this leads us to a certain number of conclusions. The first

is that women are excluded from the priesthood strictly so-called. 24

This is a plain fact. The justification of it is not so easy. In September 1958 I was present at the Assembly of the Lutheran Church in Sweden where the question was discussed. The main argument of those who were in favour of extending the priesthood to women was that their exclusion from it was linked in the beginnings of the Christian Church with the general status of women at that period, but that at a time when women could be doctors, lawyers, members of Parliament, mayors or ambassadors, there was no longer any reason for preventing them from exercising the priestly office as well. It must be recognized that a good proportion of the arguments advanced by the theologians do not hold against this argument and are prompted by a judgment on the status of women of a sociological kind. But in other respects the argument from Scripture and Tradition has an impressive solidity about it. Such then is the situation as we meet it at the beginning. We have mentioned already the Teaching of the Apostles (15, 124): ‘We do not permit women to teach . . . in fact our Master and Lord, Jesus, having sent us, the Twelve, to teach the people and ] the Gentiles, never sent women to preach, although there were women at hand for him to do so. There were indeed Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome.’ Thus the only argument here is the positive appointment by Christ of the Twelve Apostles, who were men. The Teaching of the Apostles applies the same reasoning to the question of Baptism: ‘If baptism by a woman had been lawful, our Lord and Master | would have been baptized by Mary, while in fact he was baptized by John’ (15, 129). We have a little treatise on the question, the oldest we have, in the works of Epiphanius. It is concerned with the Collyridian

heresy, a word which comes from the Greek koAAvpiovov, sig-

nifying ‘a little loaf.” The women offered some sort of worship to the Blessed Virgin, in the course of which these loaves were

offered on a table. Epiphanius begins by an attack on women in

general: ‘Who are there that teach such things, apart from women ? In very truth, women are a feeble race, untrustworthy and of mediocre intelligence. Once again we see that the Devil knows how to make women spew forth ridiculous teachings, as he has just succeeded in doing in the case of Quintilla, Maxima and Priscilla? (79, 1). We have already met this distrust of 23

feminine intelligence in Tertullian and in the Teaching of the ; Apostles. Epiphanius then proceeds to deal with the heresy strictly speaking : ‘Some women decorate a sort of bench or rectangular litter, spreading a linen cloth over it, on an annual feast day, placing on it a loaf (4prov) and offering (4vapépovcr) it up in the name of Mary; then all communicate in that loaf’ In another passage he gives a similar description : “They tell us that certain women, come here from Thrace, from Arabia, make a loaf in the name of the Ever-Virgin, assemble together in one selfsame place and carry out quite irregular actions in the name of the Blessed Virgin, undertaking to do something blasphemous and forbidden and performing in her name, by means of women, definitely priestly acts (iepovpyetv) (78, 23). F. J. Dolger (Die eigenartige Marienverehrung der Philomarianiten oder Kollyridianer in Arabia) has made a lengthy study of all the details of this singular sect. The (kovpikdév) [sic] ‘Lord’s table’ seems to be a sort of stool or square seat (rerpaywvov didpov). The ‘collyris’ is a little loaf of pure flour such as is given to children. . The feast day is perhaps an ancient Marian festival. The text in any case is evidence of some form of irregular devotion to our Lady; the sect itself is, according to Epiphanius himself, of Thracian origin. No doubt we have represented in it some sort of symbolic action, where Mary takes the place of a goddess and the women exercise some kind of priesthood. It is worth noting, however, that the cult is located in Arabia, for as Dolger has pointed out, in the Koran Mahomet brought against Christians the charge of Mariolatry. It is possible that he was familiar with strange forms of Christianity where such worship was indeed expressed, In relation to all this Epiphanius proceeds to deal with the question of women. and the priesthood. He does not fail to bring tothe subject an aggressively masculine approach: ‘Courage, servants of God,’ he writes, ‘let us invest ourselves with all the qualities of men and put to flight this feminine madness (javia).’

“These women repeat Eve’s weakness and take appearance for reality. But let us get to the heart of the subject’—‘Never, anywhere, has any woman acted as priest (iepdrevoe) for God, not even Eve; even after her fall she was never so audacious as

to put her hand to an undertaking so impious (ac-¢ePés) as this; 26

nor did any of her daughters after her ever do so.’ Epiphanius then lists the men in the Old Testament who offered sacrifices : “But nowhere has a woman exercised the priesthood’ (79, 2). This then is the Old Testament evidence. Epiphanius continues: ‘I come now to the New Testament. If women had been appointed to act as priests on behalf of


God, or to perform official liturgical acts (kavovuxdv) in the Church (€xkxAyoia), it must surely have come about that Mary herself, who received the privilege of carrying in her bosom the Sovereign King, the heavenly God, God’s Son, would in the New Testament have exercised the priestly office. But she did not judge such action to be right. She was not even entrusted with the bestowal of Baptism, since the Christ himself was baptized not by her but by John.’ Epiphanius then demonstrates

how it was the Apostles who were entrusted with these ministries | and they appointed their successors. He goes on: ‘Never has a woman been appointed amongst bishops and priests. But, someone will say, there were the four daughters of Philip, who

prophesied. Yes, but they did not exercise the priestly office (ieparevd). And it is true that there is the Order of Deaconesses (rayua dtaxovicc-@v) in the Church (éxxAnoia). But they are not permitted to act as priests (iepareveuv) or have anything to do with that office’ (79, 3). Epiphanius goes on to justify the role played by Deaconesses on grounds of propriety, it may be in connection with the care of women who are sick, it may be in connection with the Baptismal Rite. ‘That is why,’ he concludes, ‘the Word of God

does not permit a woman to teach (AaAciv) in the Church, or to lord it over men.’ Thus the distinction between priestly functions properly so called and the assistance that women can bring to them is founded on the New Testament. Epiphanius here

assembles the whole of the official teaching on the question, finding his sanction for the exclusion of women from priestly functions in divine and apostolic authority. To these arguments he adds arguments from Tradition. He bids us note that any claim to be part of ‘church order’ (éxxAnovacriKov Téypa) extends only as far as Deaconesses. Holy Scripture mentions in this connection Widows and amongst them those whom it calls ‘ancient’

(rpeo Brides), ie. the eldest in point of age; nowhere does it set up priestesses (tpeoBurepides f tepiooas). Moreover, even 27


Deacons do not see themselves as entrusted, under ecclesiastical ordinance, with the actual performance of any sacrament (uvornptov); they are only concerned with assisting (duaKovetv)

at the celebration (érureAobpeva) of any sacrament (79, 4). The

distinction between the performance of sacerdotal actions and the giving of assistance at such actions, is here very plain, and marks clearly the line of demarcation between the priesthood and the lower orders of ministry. The second point Epiphanius makes is that throughout the whole Tradition what we see is women assisting bishops and priests when their ministry brings them in contact with women. The importance of this collaboration varies. It depends upon what the particular need is. It is certain that in the particular case of the assistance given in connection with Baptism it is related to the special situation involved, which is that of Baptism by immersion. Its importance varies, too, with the locality concerned. In this connection it is certain that the Eastern Church has given and still gives more place to women in ecclesiastical duties than does the Church of the West. It is equally certain that this is due to particular currents of thought. Some degree of antifeminism, very obvious in a Tertullian for example, which one finds in the Middle Ages, and which derives from a somewhat contemptuous attitude towards women or for their lower status (sociologically speaking), certainly had the effect, at certain periods, of putting restrictions upon even the legitimate female ministries. On the other hand, the development of religious orders of women revived some functions which seemed to have perished. If we attempt to summarize the principal duties discharged by women we observe that from the first they include everything which concerns the giving of religious instruction, as apart from the giving of official teaching to the Church, This includes first of all the preaching of the Gospel to heathen women, the strictly missionary work of the apostolate ; it includes in the second place, preparation for baptism and the catechumenate, which is well attested for Deaconesses ;it includes some kind of spiritual direction, as Fr. Hausherr has shown in his Direction spirituelle en Orient



it includes

the giving of religious

instruction to adolescents and children; it includes some kind of instruction given within the religious communities, as was done as early as Grapte’s time. Next, there is the group of functions 28

connected with worship, First is the assistance given to the bishop

during the baptism of women, which included the pre-baptismal

anointing of the body and doubtless other ceremonies such as the putting on of the white robe, as the Didascalia suggests when it

speaks of the reception after Baptism. Then there is the office

of door keeper to the congregation, which is similar to the minor order of the same name amongst men. This includes superintendence of the women’s group in the congregation, and the regulation of the movement of the gathering, particularly in connection with the Kiss of Peace when given to women (Baur). This does not exhaust their duties in connection with worship. The right to prepare the chalice, to pour the wine into it, to communicate themselves with the chalice, are mentioned (Oppenheim). In the setting of the conventual congregation the Deaconess, in the absence of priest and deacon, has, finally, the

right to ascend into the ambo (B70) to cense the Book and the Sisters, and to read the Gospel. We note, too, that in the absence of the priest she may distribute the communion to women and children. In the third place, we have to include everything to do with the care of women who are sick. From one aspect this is simply the discharge of a charitable duty. We must remember, however, that the care of the sick is clearly also amongst the duties of the Deacons and has therefore a certain ministerial side to it as well. Moreover, this assistance involves liturgical actions, such as the laying-on-of-hands. It is in this context that we must examine the sacrament of Extreme Unction, It is plain that it could not be administered to the sick woman by priest or deacon. Ought we not then to think that in fact it was administered by the Deaconesses and that it is this which is meant when we have aliusions to the laying-on-of-hands by them ? Epiphanius’ formulation of it is full. He writes : ‘Because of feminine modesty (cepuvorns), it may be at the time of Baptism, it may be in

connection with the care of the sick, it may be on every occasion on which the female body has to be uncovered, the Deaconess is delegated by the priest to perform his ministry for him, so that the decorum and discretion which are appropriate to the Church may be safeguarded in such degree as her Law allows’ (79, 3).

There is, finally, everything connected with liturgical prayer, in particular the chanting of the Psalms. This constitutes the mpocevyy (supplication). On this point tradition seems unani29

mous. S. Paul is absolutely clear about a woman’s right to prophesy in the congregation. The mpocevx7 is essentially the duty of the Widows. They are ‘the altar,’ that is to say, in the symbolic language of the Christian congregation they represent its prayer. There is nothing here, moreover, that ought to astonish us. We have already seen in Philo’s day the antiphonal choirs

of Therapeutae and Therapeutides.* The choral chant of the

nuns will be a form of development of this sharing by women in the official prayer of the Church, and this implies that the conducting of that prayer may be safely undertaken by a woman. I would say then that I see none of the duties of the minor orders which, so far as the female aspect of them is concerned, cannot be, and in fact have not been, undertaken by a woman. However, at least in the West these female ministries are not constituted in minor orders, and attempts made to bring this about have miscarried. This brings us to a last consideration, the variety of forms under which these female ministries have been regulated and the extreme fluidity which they have presented in the Church. ~ It would seem that the Church has always been opposed to conferring upon them too definite a status, that she has rather left initiative to develop on its own according to needs. Thus we see such and such a form of these ministries appearing and then disappearing; different forms coexisting at certain times, with similar functions. It seems as if this may well be a permanent and normal feature of the ministry of women. Here let us once more gather together the facts which we have met with. We see in the apostolic community a very great degree of variety, in which, on the one hand, we find women who seem simply to be layfolk, and are often married

women, like Priscilla, who assist the Apostles in their apostolic

work, particularly where it brings them into contact with women. Alongside them, we see, beginning with this period, the setting up of the institution of Widows. This is an institution which from the beginning has about it the look of a definite ministry, particularly where liturgical prayer and the visitation of the sick are concerned, Within this institution we may see the

emergence of a hierarchy. Certain Widows, zpeoBirides (sancti-

if ee De Vita Contemplativa: they appear to have been pre-Christ ian mixed monastic Communities, given over to asceticism and regular worshi Near Alexandria, (Trans.) ; He =

PB-C0423 FF



moniales, ‘holy women’) have a precedence over the others. They hold high rank in the congregation, In certain areas they assist the clergy where the Baptism of women is concerned. The most determined attempt to assimilate the female ministry to the male minor orders is that of the Deaconesses. In their case we have them assuming in the congregation definitely liturgical functions. Above all, in the East, we are face to face with Ordination rites which include a laying-on-of-hands, clothing with the deacon’s vestments and the delivery of the chalice, offering remarkable parallels to the Ordinations of men. It appears that there was very strong pressure in this direction at the beginning of the Byzantine epoch. We meet it at the same time in the East and in Gaul (France), and it will continue to persist for some time, for the most part in Nestorian and Monophysite circles. In the Byzantine world, and in the Middle Ages in the West, it is the nuns who inherit the chief privileges of the Deaconesses and the Widows. Abbesses exercise an extensive ministry in this direction in the women’s communities. They thus opened the way to what would become, in fact, the solution adopted in modern times, Since the end of the Middle Ages, with the development of the Third Orders for women, until the nineteenth century, which saw the great increase in the numbers of women’s communities devoted to missionary work, to religious education, to the care of the sick, to auxiliary work in the parishes, we may say that it is the Religious who have in fact provided the answer to those needs which throughout remain unchanged. We have thus three possible ways of ordering the Ministry of Women: lay, clerical, religious. It can be said that all three are

equally traditional.



BR195.W6 D313


_ Danielou, Jean.

The ministry of women in the early chur

BR 195

Daniélou, _ The



of women

in ‘the






«No. 61, 1960, by Glyn Simon. London, Faith Press; New York, Morehouse-Barlow (c1961] 3lp..


1. Women Women

from an article in La 'Maison-Dieu,'

in Christianity--Early

as ministers.

‘I. Title.



THE, author writes: Women are excluded from the priest-

‘hood strictly so-called. This is a plain fact. The justification of it is not so easy. In September 1958 I was present at the Assembly of the Lutheran Church in Sweden where they, question was discussed. The main. argument ‘of those who ae