Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Deaconess, in the Primitive Church, was an elderly woman chosen to assist persons of her own sex at baptism, and apparently admitted to the office with some kind of religious ceremony. The office disappeared in the Western Church before the fifth century, though it continued till the twelfth in the Eastern. In 1836, however, Pastor Fliedner established a religious order of trained nurses at Kaiserwerth on the Rhine, which took the name, and many similar orders now exist in Protestant churches. The best known in England are perhaps the "Mildmay Deaconesses," whose headquarters are in North London. In the Anglican Church, however, sisterhoods bearing more resemblance to the Roman Catholic orders are more common. The Church of Scotland has formally recognised the office of deaconess.