Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Deacon, deaconess
(827 words)

Over the course of late antiquity and the middle ages, the diaconate (Lat. diaconatus, “Service [in the Church],” office of the deacon; from Greek diákonos, “servant [of the Church]”) -- an office restricted to men -- emerged as the lowest degree of clerical office and as an interim role on the road to priesthood. The modern Roman Catholic Church maintains this structure. On the other hand, the thinkers of the Reformation rejected it for two reasons: they dismissed the concept of a hierarchical order, with its implication of degrees of consecration. On these …

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Wendebourg, Dorothea, “Deacon, deaconess”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 26 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018280>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170626

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