Fr. Z asks a favor. It’ll take 3 seconds to help with a single click. (shhhhh…. it’s about “deaconesses”…)

Will you do me a favor?

There is a book which I think should be on Kindle and isn’t.

Please click this link HERE to send a message to Ignatius Press that we want this book on Kindle. Flood them with the request.

In case you missed it the first time click HERE.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are saying, as you click the link again and again and again. “What’s the name of the book? Why is the book so important?”

The book is, ladies and gents, by Aime G. Martimort and is entitled:

Deaconesses: An Historical Study


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, The Campus Telephone Pole and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. majuscule says:

    The link took me to a page thanking me for requesting the book be available on Kindle. I wasn’t sure my request has actually been registered so I went to the actual book page and clicked. Again.

    I’ll definitely get it on Kindle when it’s available…er, when Fr. Z let’s us know so we can use his link to purchase it.

  2. revs96 says:

    I don’t know if the book mentions this point, but it should still be shared. In eastern churches (both Catholic & Orthodox), “deaconess” is the title given to the wife of a deacon. Being a deaconess means you’re married to a deacon, not a female deacon, shooting a big hole in the female ordination argument (similarly a presbytera (lit. “priestess”) is the wife of a priest).

    Those on the the left who say that the “deaconesses” of the early church served an actual role, albeit non-liturgical, in the Church would do well to do their homework on the issue, as such titles were given to the wives of clergy and the wives were naturally expected to be active in the parish to some degree and were easy to find volunteers for the clergy when they needed laity for something. The fact that the wives of the clergy were in such a high position would have put people off if they *didn’t* volunteer in the parish and remain model Christians. That fact that the wife was a woman (and thus not capable of being ordained) restricted her to only non-liturgical roles in parish life.

    Such early church accounts aren’t shocking to Byzantine ears, as those titles and expectations for the wives of clergy are still in place today. Things haven’t really changed that much. They can come to a Byzantine Church and see what deaconesses really do.

  3. jhayes says:

    Thomas Aquinas mentions that deaconneses read the homily in churches:

    “Some, however, have asserted that the male sex is necessary for the lawfulness and not for the validity of the sacrament, because even in the Decretals (cap. Mulieres dist. 32; cap. Diaconissam, 27, qu. i) mention is made of deaconesses and priestesses. But deaconess there denotes a woman who shares in some act of a deacon, namely who reads the homilies in the Church; and priestess [presbytera] means a widow, for the word “presbyter” means “elder”?

    That’s from the Summa Supplement which was compiled by a friend of Thomas from others of his writings.

  4. jhayes says:

    Amazon has used copies Gryson’s “The Ministry of Women in the Early Church” available for $5 up (plus shipping). I’ve just ordered one.

  5. Faith says:

    What are your thoughts, Father Z, on the Czechoslovakian women priests, during the Communist rule? [If any such thing ever happened, the attempt to ordain would have been invalid.]

  6. dominicop says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Father for setting this up. Martimort is one of my heroes and the book on deaconesses is essential, but having digital copies of these things makes life so much easier. Are we going to make a regular habit of this?

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: reading the homilies

    This seems to be talking about abbesses/deaconesses, who would read the readings from the Office to their canoness sisters. Possibly I’m wrong about this, but that’s what it sounds like.

  8. Mary Jane says:

    @ Faith – women cannot be ordained priests.

Comments are closed.