The question of restoring women to the ordained diaconate surfaced during the Second Vatican Council and continued to resound in academic and pastoral circles well after Pope Paul VI restored the diaconate as a permanent state for the church in the West in 1967.
Available for the first time in English, these two documents by Cipriano Vagaggini, OSB. Cam., on the historical details of women ordained as deacons in the Greek and Byzantine traditions demonstrate that women were sacramentally ordained to the major order of deacon over the course of many centuries in many parts of the Greek and Byzantine East. Vagaggini introduces the conclusions to his study by noting that "in Christian antiquity there were different beliefs and tendencies distinguishing between ministry and ministry, ordination and ordination, with regard to the nature and significance of the respective orders or ranks."
Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University and founding co-chair of the Roman Catholic Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion. The author or editor of sixteen books in religious studies, including Catholic Press Association and College Theology Society book award winners, Zagano is also the series editor of the Spirituality in History Series published by Liturgical Press.