The Early Coptic Papacy: The Egyptian Church An...
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The early Church had women deacons but abandoned this in the 13th century. The Church resumed the ordination of women as deaconesses in 1981 and there are now at least 400 consecrated deaconesses in the Coptic church. Traditionally, a deaconess is either a virgin or a widow.
They were not there just to distribute candy though. As I grew older, I understood the significance of their visits and the courage and the vision of anba Athanasius to both allow their visits and encourage and bless that kind of collaboration and true unity. In discussions with my father, I confirmed that the visitors came from different churches and backgrounds. One group that was particularly energetic was a part of a Mennonite mission in Egypt that is still active to this day. This social relief project grew and transformed the local community in part due to the organizational support of such missionaries as the Mennonite Central Committee. The boys and girls in Beit El-Shamamsa grew up to be doctors, teachers, and priests whose positive impact is clearly evident today in the small community of Beni Suef and its rural surroundings. Walking in the steps of St. Athanasius, bishop Athanasius understood when to join hands and when to walk away. 781b155fdc