This page will give information about the research project "Reassessing the Leading Functions of a Deacon".
This research project aims to determine whether John Collins’ philological scrutiny of “diakonia,” providing new insight into the role of the deacons in the New Testament, applies to the early eastern church orders and whether it may assist us to identify different editorial levels within it. This goal is motivated through an ongoing paradigm shift in the understanding of “diakonia,” modern discussions about the role and functions of ministries in the early church, recently documented misunderstandings of patristic material, as well as fresh technical avenues of research, including the gender aspect. Outside academic research, there is also a growing interest in topics like this, not only when discussing assistant leadership.
The objective of this project, therefore, is to characterise in a new, reliable way, how the status, role, and tasks of deacons are described in two early eastern church orders, namely the Apostolic Constitutions (Constitutiones Apostolorum, AC) and the Testamentum Domini (TD), focusing on the former and using the TD as an aid for interpretation. This analysis will especially concentrate on openly examining different editorial positions on the role of the deacons and the presbyters. A part of this project is to see how the tasks and role of female deacons differ from the male deacons, if there are indeed any differences to be found.