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More than Serving: The Tasks of Female Deacons in The Apostolic Constitutions and The Letters to Olympias

More than Serving: The Tasks of Female Deacons in The Apostolic Constitutions and The Letters to Olympias

Pauliina Pylvänäinen
University of Eastern Finland

Abstract: In The Apostolic Constitutions, the female deacons are commanded to perform tasks, which traditionally have been translated as “serving”. The recent findings of John N. Collins challenge us to restudy them, since he concluded that the deacons should be primarily understood as agents, not as servants. In this paper, I figure out the tasks in section AC 3.19.1 of The Apostolic Constitutions and parallel them with the usages of the words made by St John Chrysostom in his letters addressed to deaconess Olympias. These documents can be read together, because both authors lived in
the Antioch area around the 380s.