“Catherine’s Vision,” an international, pan-Orthodox fellowship, issued a call to Patriarch Bartholomew and the council of the Orthodox Church about a year ago:
This is the first I’ve heard of it, but it may be that others are aware of it. Are there any updates on how it has been received? It has been issued in advance of a planned Synod in 2016, so it may be food for study and prayer at this point, and too early for responses. It is interesting, at any rate, that the Orthodox are discussing this.
The statement is amply documented and well worth a read.
This summary of examples from history was particularly interesting:
In offering these observations, we call to mind the many deaconesses and their ministries that the Church honors and commemorates. We especially remember: St Phoebe (1st century), “a deacon (diakonon) of the Church of Cenchreae” and “Equal to the Apostles” 6 Limouris, p. 31-32. 7 Syriac Didascalia, III: 12. 4 whom Saint Paul referred to as “a benefactor of many and of myself as well” (Rom. 16 1-2); St. Olympias (4th century), abbess, evangelist, friend and confidant of St. John Chrysostom whom he highly respected; St. Nonna (4th century), the wife of “the elder” St. Gregory of Nazianzus, parents of St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Gorgonia, who was also a deaconess. St. Gorgonia is praised for her love of Christ, study of Scriptures, love of psalmody, and after raising her family, developed a ministry to the needy by opening her home to the poor. St. Theosevia (4th century), devoted wife of St. Gregory of Nyssa, was ordained to the diaconate right after her husband was consecrated a bishop in 371 and remained with him thereafter. Also St. Irene of Chrysovalantou (9th century), abbess, spiritual mother, intercessor and wonder-worker. Before installing her as abbess of her monastery, St. Methodios the confessor for the faith and Patriarch of Constantinople, enthusiastically “ordained (cheirotonein) Irene as a deacon (diakonon) of the Great Church of St. Sophia.”
A veritable cloud of witnesses. There are modern examples too.