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People's Dictionary of the Bible
Deaconess. Mention is made, Romans 16:1, of a "servant" (Greek diakona) of the church of Cenchrea; and notices are scattered through several of Paul's epistles of women who were engaged in Christian ministrations. Romans 16:3; Romans 16:12; Philippians 4:2-3; 1 Timothy 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:9-10; Titus 2:3-4. If these texts do not refer to a distinct class, they seem to indicate the beginnings of such a class. And it is certain that, a few years later, deaconesses were a recognized body. Pliny, in his famous letter to Trajan, lib. 10, ep. 97, speaks of two whom he put to the torture, in order to extract information from them respecting the Christians; and ecclesiastical writers from a very early date frequently refer to them.
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Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Deaconess'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/rpd/d/deaconess.html. 1893.