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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Explanations of the Diocese of Zimbabwe on the ordination of a female Deaconess

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    Ε&xi ;ηγειτρπσΖιμπμποε ;ιηροννακδικ ;ισσας

    Announcement of the Holy Diocese of Zimbabwe on the subject of Deaconess ordination

    The Holy Diocese of Zimbabwe has issued an announcement regarding the ordination of Deaconess Aggeliki-Phoebe.

    He explains, among other things, that for the ordination he is sent on behalf of Rev. Metropolitan of Zimbabwe and Angola Mr. Seraphim related request at the beginning of the year 2023. “The preparation of the candidate started fourteen years ago. The Patriarchal blessing and canonical permission was given by the Patriarch of Alexandria in April 2023”.

    This is the announcement:

    With the paternal blessings of A.Th.M. of the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and of all Africa and our Spiritual Father and Primate of the African Continent, etc. Theodore II, we inform the pious Christian crew of the following clarifications, praying for the strengthening of our Missionary Ministry and the strengthening of our visible Unity and social mutual support.

    In order for an ordination to take place in our Patriarchate, the High Priests of the Alexandrian Throne request in writing the Patriarchal blessing and canonical permission of the A.Th.M. of the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa etc. Theodorou II. So also for the ordination of Deaconess Aggeliki-Phoebe is sent on behalf of Rev. Metropolitan of Zimbabwe and Angola Mr. Seraphim related request at the beginning of the year 2023. The preparation of the candidate began fourteen years ago. The Patriarchal blessing and canonical permission was given by the Alexandrian Primate in April 2023. In the application of Zimbabwe Seraphim it was emphasized that he was asking us to implement the decisions of the Holy Synod of our Patriarchate that we had been delaying for 15 years due to the fear of the reactions of conservative powerful circles.< /p>

    It was also emphasized in the frequent briefings of Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe, to our Alexandrian Primate, that the purpose of ministerial ordination is to create special cadres with ecological education and training for teaching in our Schools and Ecclesiastical Schools Ecological education for the Protection of the Environment and clear initiatives to protect destitute and orphaned children from having drinking water, food, going to school and medical care. This year is the twenty-seventh anniversary of the election of our Patriarch and as a gift from God it is the name given to him by the needy children of Africa who are protected calling him “the Patriarch of Love” for his paternal sensitivity to protect the needy and orphans in every way children of Africa as their visible loving Father.

    We must clarify that the Alexandrian Primate in the Patriarchal Letter of the Patriarchal blessing and canonical permission for the ordination of Deaconess Angeliki – Phoebe clearly emphasizes that the ordination should be the Ancient Church Apostolic Tradition.
    Without Rev. Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe has the intention of not implementing this clear Patriarchal directive, he considered that he implemented it fully adapted to the new social conditions of our time, the process of reviving this institution with the process and wishes that Saint Nektarios the Miracle Worker implemented in the twentieth century .

    In order not to create unnecessary misunderstandings in the future for the revival of the institution of Deaconesses in the Patriarchate of Alexandria, at the proposal of the Alexandrian Primate Mr. Theodorou, the Holy Synod will in due course prepare uniform Synod decisions that will be applied to all the Holy Metropolises and Dioceses of the Alexandrian Throne.

    The unanimous decision to revive the institution of Deaconesses of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and of all Africa after the proposal of the Alexandrian Primate in the African Continent etc. Theodorou II took place in 2009.

    When in the annual reports of High Priests of the Throne to the A.Th.M. and the Members of the Holy Synod, for their pastoral ministry in their provinces, there were reports that native clergy were scandalized when they put the blessed oil on young women in the Holy Sacrament of Baptism. Immediately upon the proposal of our Patriarch to the Holy Synod, it was decided to examine the issue of the Revival of the institution of the Deaconesses of the Apostolic times. An elected Member of the Holy Synod was appointed to prepare for this purpose a special memorandum for the annual work of the Holy Synod of the year 2009 entitled “The Position of the Patriarchate of Alexandria for the Priesthood of Women”. After the presentation of this Memorandum, a fruitful discussion followed, which concluded with a unanimous Synodal decision following a proposal by the Alexandrian Primate for the Revival of the institution of Deaconesses. Gradually in the life of the Church, with the adoption of infant baptism, the pastoral need for the ordination of Deaconesses began to fade. In the area of ​​the Mission, where we have the pastoral need for the catechetical preparation of adult women for the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, it is shown again as in the apostolic years when most of the catechists were adults.

    Meanwhile Synod Members emphasized that it is better to delay the implementation of the Synodal Decision because most of those who financially support our Missionary ministry are conservative and would stop helping us at the risk of the collapse of our Missionary ministry.

    From 2009 when we had the Synodal Decision until 2016 when the Holy and Great Synod was convened after more than 1000 years on this, nothing was done in this direction. In the meantime, Orthodox Conferences organized by Local Churches, as well as Theological Conferences emphasized the importance of the Revival of the institution of Deaconesses in the pastoral life of our Church.

    The Holy and Great Synod of Crete contributed the most for this historic initiative of our Alexandrian Primate, Mr. Theodorou B’ for the revival of the institution of the Deaconesses of the Apostolic Age.
    Among other things, in the proceedings of the Holy and Great Synod, it was decided through lengthy discussions of all the High Priests of the Local Churches that participated, but also taking the positions of the Churches that were absent, that for matters not mentioned in the Dogmatic Faith of the Church, such as regarding Persons of the Holy Trinity and the Person of our Virgin Mary, each Local Church through its competent Synodal Body has the responsibility, based on the pastoral needs of their Members, to regulate matters of Moral and Pastoral and Catechetical Ministry, such as the matters of Marriage, Fasting, second marriage clergy when they are not responsible for their divorce and in this spirit and the pastoral responsibility of the Local Church through the Holy Synod to revive any of its institutions that was ever abolished by the Ecumenical Synod. And this also happens with the rules of the Ecumenical Synods that refer to the ordination of Deaconesses. Simply historically, it seems that when infant baptism began to be adopted, the institution of the Deaconesses of the first centuries also began to be limited. In the Byzantine years, however, it functioned again. Therefore, in the area of ​​our ministry of the Orthodox Mission in Africa because we have adult women every day for their catechetical preparation and the celebration of the Holy Sacrament of Baptism, the pastoral necessity of reviving the institution of Deaconesses was necessary as in the Apostolic years which had to continue adult women should also be prepared.

    From the first century to the twentieth century many things changed in the world. The Apostles call the slaves to be faithful to their Masters but at the same time they emphasize the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we are all equal because we are created in the image of God. In our time, in the field of modern society, no one can come to terms with the institution of slavery.

    That is why Saint Nektarios, when for pastoral reasons he proceeded to revive the institution of the ordination of deaconesses, he proceeded to ordain them as is done with the ordination of deacons and with the same pastoral and catechetical responsibilities of deaconesses that deacons have. After all, through the sufferings of the First World War when the men who lost their lives young were more than those who lived, he proceeded to revive the Deaconesses without asking for a Synodal Decision because he knew that he would be applying something provided for by the sacred rules of Ecumenical Synods and which they were never varied or abolished Simply when they did not apply.

    Rev. Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe for the implementation of the unanimous decision of the Holy Synod, after the Patriarchal blessing and normal permission simply followed the pastoral process of Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis. Even if we had a Synodal Decision to be sure that we follow the Apostolic Tradition of our Church, we see what the holy Fathers of our Church have done for similar important pastoral initiatives and the last of the saints who showed us the way to initiate this revival of institution of Deaconesses is Saint Nektarios, the miraculous saint who was ordained on the Alexandrian Throne as Metropolitan of Pentapolis.

    The revival of the apostolic institution of the ordination of Deaconesses in the Orthodox Church has been requested by Di-Orthodox Theological Conferences and organized Orthodox Centers for the last forty years. With the providence of God, the Alexandrian Church has always with God's help been at the forefront to direct the whole Church in humiliation with its Alexandrian Apostolic Theology but also for issues such as in the past with the annual festive letters of Saint Athanasius the Great for the date of the celebration of Easter, or for the establishment of the new Calendar by the blessed leading Alexandrian Primate Meletios Metaxakis and in our time by the proposal of the successor of the Alexandrian Primate Mr. Theodore for the revival of the ordination of Deaconesses as applied by Saint Nektarios at the beginning of the twentieth century.

    With the revival of the institution of Deaconesses, we re-emphasize the importance of the Person of our Virgin Mary in the case of our Salvation in Christ. Our Virgin Mary on behalf of Humanity on the day of the Annunciation responds with obedience and humility “Behold, the servant of the Lord was born to me according to your word”. That is why Saint Nektarios proceeded to revive the apostolic institution of the ordination of Deaconesses, writing the well-known Church Hymn “Agni Parthene Despoina, Achrante Theotoke”.

    The revival of the institution of Deaconesses during the Apostolic years in the Patriarchate of Alexandria does not bind any Local Church to follow its example. Each Local Church through the Holy Synod is responsible for this matter.

    Good-willed serious open discussion is welcome on all matters concerning our Church.

    Each Bishop has a sacred duty to implement the decisions of the Holy Synod to which he belongs in order to protect the visible unity of our Church.< /p>

    In the case of the ordination of the Deaconess Angeliki-Phoebe, in the attempt to have the Metropolitan of Zimbabwe rely on the Standard of the ordination followed by Saint Nektarios, the opposite impression was given. We apologize for this and assure the pious crew of our Holy Church that the ministry of Deaconess Angeliki-Phoebe will be referred to the clear instructions of our Holy Patriarchal Synod that the A.Th.M. will propose to its plenary session. the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Mr. Theodore II, of whom the Orthodox everywhere know his sensitivity and his love for the visible unity of the Church and its People to be saved and protected everywhere and always.

    Source: cyprustimes.com

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