Source: Orthodox Christian Laity
April 11, 1997
During the December 2, 1996, Orthodox Christian Laity Executive Board Meeting with His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Timi Loomos Freshman was asked by His Eminence to prepare a paper on the Female Diaconate so that he could further study the issue. Mrs. Freshman has been in touch with Valerie Karras, Demetra Jacquet and Dr. Ellen Gvosdev as well as a network of faithful Orthodox Christian women in the Los Angeles area. Together they compiled research and articles on the subject. Mrs. Freshman coordinated and wrote this short paper on the topic. It is presented to His Eminence in Christian love so that those baptized into Christ feel united in His Church. The dynamics of Orthodox Christian life in our times and place contribute to the logic of restoring the ancient orders of the female and male diaconates. We are confident that the hierarchy and clergy will work together with laypersons so that the diaconate serves to reach out to our brothers and sisters in this land.
The positive role of women in the life of the Church can be strengthened by using our liturgical services to educate the faithful. The period of Lent when the Church offers us the services of the Akathestos Hymn is a perfect time to teach and reflect upon the meaning of the Theotokos and how Orthodox Christianity teaches that as the new Eve she brought a new consciousness to the world about the role of women in the life of the Church, family, and community. These services are a time to teach these understandings.
If we rely on the liturgical life of the Church and our tradition, the female diaconate as in the ancient Church can contribute to the spiritual renewal of our life and times.
We submit this study with the hope that it will bring Christ closer to all those who seek Him in love and understanding.
George Matsoukas, President
Orthodox Christian Laity