The Church once had deaconesses. So what?

For many people, the fact that the Orthodox Church once had deaconesses, somewhere at sometime, is enough to justify having them again. After all, they say, we Orthodox believe in tradition, and deaconesses are part of the tradition.

Are they really part of our tradition? Or are they merely part of our history?

Here’s the answer:

  • History is not tradition.
  • History only becomes tradition when it is handed down. That’s what the word tradition means.
  • Deaconesses have not actually been handed down to us. We only read about them in ancient texts and history books.
  • If they had been handed down to us, the present controversy would not exist.
  • If they had been handed down to us, we would know what they are and not object to them.
  • The liturgists’ statement that people need to be schooled on deaconesses (see here) is an admission that deaconesses are not tradition.
  • If deaconesses had been handed down, we would need no such schooling.
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