Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Can women hold or have ever held positions of authority such as deaconess or priest-ess in your church?

In our Church a woman can hold the position of a deaconess but not a priestess. We define a deaconess as a maid that has devoted her life to serving God and to prayers as well. St. Paul mentioned Phoebe as a deaconess (Rom 16:1).

A deaconess is officially in charge of certain duties in the church. She helps the priest in serving women, particularly the sick and needy, as well as in conducting baptism to them. She is not to be ordained but raised. In the early church, deaconesses were recognized as a distinct order for women who took a vow of perpetual chastity. They were, nevertheless, allowed to perform only certain duties in the care of women, and no sacerdotal services in the church.
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