Political parties: the name strategy

A deaconess in Zimbabwe

While Pope Francis has just closed the door to the diaconate for women, the Orthodox Church of Zimbabwe offered an interesting counterexample a month ago. On May 2, Angelic Molen was ordained a deaconess in this southern African country. A first? Not really, since the ministry of deaconesses existed throughout the first millennium, attested from the epistles of Paul, and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, on which Zimbabwe depends, ordained in 2017 six pennies -deaconesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The change lies, here, in that the new ordained woman will fulfill strictly the same role as her male counterpart in the Orthodox Church: proclamation of prayers and distribution of communion during liturgical celebrations, pastoral missions, etc.

In the ancient times of the Church, where men and women lived clearly separated, the tasks assigned to the deacon and deaconess were more specifically linked to their gender. The Metropolitan of Zimbabwe has not been afraid to innovate to meet the growing needs of his growing communities, in a societal context where women are increasingly accustomed to fulfilling functions similar to those of men.

Such a decision is received differently in the Orthodox world, because the fact that women can have access to an ordained ministry is far from being a given there. If several major Orthodox theologians demonstrated, during the 20th century, that there was no theological argument against this ordination, the question of whether the reluctance is simply cultural or has a true theological basis is still under debate.

This vision must still make its way into people's minds and be correctly understood by all if we want this female ministry to fully fulfill its role: to be, just like the male ministry, at the service of the needs of the faithful. Let us hope that the initiative of the Metropolitan of Zimbabwe does not add an additional difficulty in the rapprochement with the Catholics.

Similar Posts