The Disappearing Deaconess

The Disappearing Deaconess

Guest Post by Protodeacon Brian Patrick Mitchell 

The whole Church has never had a tradition of having deaconesses, but the whole Church has had a tradition of not having them.” — The Disappearing Deaconess examines not just the history of deaconesses but also patristic teaching on male and female and the evolution of ministries within the early Church to conclude that the order of deaconess was inherently problematic for early Christians because it appeared to elevate women over men in the hierarchy of the Church, contrary to Christian beliefs about both the natural order and the divine economy.  

The bulk of this book is my master’s thesis completed in 2018 at the University of Winchester. To that, the book adds two important appendices broadening the scope to include current efforts to create a new order of “deaconesses” (nobody is proposing an order like the old one) as well as the fundamental issue of male and female as understood by the Orthodox Church. Available now in hardback and paperback from all major retailers (e.g., AmazonAlibrisBarnes and Noble).

Brian Patrick Mitchell is a former soldier, journalist, and speechwriter and the author of many books and articles on politics and religion, including, most recently, Origen’s Revenge: The Greek and Hebrew Roots of Christian Thinking on Male and Female, just released by Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock. He also recently published a scholarly analysis of the disappearance of deaconesses from the early Church, entitled The Disappearing Deaconess. Other books include a work of descriptive political theory that has been used to teach politics at Yale and elsewhere (Eight Ways to the Run the Country) and an epic historical romance (A Crown of Life: A Novel of the Great Persecution).

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