In the early Church there was an established order of deaconess. For a while it seems that the order fell into disuse in various parts of the Christian Church, but in Eastern Christianity there has been a revival of the order. In 2004 the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church restored the female diaconate, and prior to this it was restored by the Coptic Orthodox Church, which was later followed by the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
Sankt Ignatios College introduces for the first time a two-year educational program for deaconesses, with a particular focus on either charitable or pedagogical leadership. In the first year candidates for the order of deaconess study together with priest candidates. In the second year students on the program choose one of two specialisations, namely pedagogics or charitable leadership. The first option offers specialization in Sunday school education and youth leadership while the second offers training and education in the management of homes for the elderly, centers for the homeless and other charitable work e.g. international aid. Part of the education involves taking a closer look at the history of deaconesses; the sources, its rites of ordination, its biblical background and the recent discussion about the revival of the order.
The program is organised in cooperation with Stocholm School of Theology (University College Stockholm).