by Marilyn Rouvelas
An unprecedented Pan-Orthodox conference, “Renewing the Male and Female Diaconate in the Orthodox Church,” October 6-7, 2017, at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine, CA, will explore how ordained deacons can help serve your community, but also the challenges that they face in doing so. Why don’t we have more male deacons? Why don’t we have any female deacons?
For the first time, distinguished clergy and scholars will look at both the male and female diaconate from an historical, theological, and practical perspective. Impetus for the joint approach comes from Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia who has often said, “We can’t figure out what to do with female deacons until we understand what to do with male deacons.”
In a video, taped in his home library in Oxford, England, Metropolitan Kallistos will open the conference on Friday evening with a message endorsing female deacons and applauding the goals of the conference.
Rev. John Chryssavgis, Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and author of Remembering and Reclaiming Diakonia will give the keynote address, “The Missing Link: A Fresh Look at the Diaconate” Friday evening, October 6. On Saturday, October 7, clergy and scholars will explain and discuss this little understood, under-utilized ministry whose Golden Age was the second and third centuries in the early Church.
The four panels include “State of the Diaconate Today,” “Serving the Body of Christ: Men and Women Engaged in Diaconal Work Today,” “Engaging the Clergy and Faithful about the Diaconate,” and “The Difficulties and Benefits of Ordaining Women Deacons.”
Attendance at this important conference is encouraged in order to learn how and why ordained deacons both male and female can bring new energy to our communities as well as to learn how you can help make this happen. Conference details, including speakers and bios, may be found at St. Phoebe Center for the Deaconess by visiting www.orthodoxdeaconess.org.
Marilyn Rouvelas is the author of A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America.
Email the author: The Hellenic Journal