Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
See also Woman Bishops, Germany Ecclesiastical Territories, Netherlands Substates, Switzerland Ecclesiastical Territories and Belgium Eccleastical Territories
The earliest abbesses were ordained. Later they were only blessed by a bishop.
A 2nd or 3rd century Christian inscription in Egypt for Artemidoras, whose mother is described as "Paniskianes, being an elder" (presbytera)
A memorial from the 3rd century for Ammion the elder (presbytera)
398 Fourth Synod of Carthage "A woman, however learned and holy, may not presume to teach men in an assembly...A woman may not baptize."
352 Council of Laodicea Women were forbidden from the priesthood. They also were prohibited from presiding over churches. They decided that "One ought not to establish in the church the women called overseers (presbutidas)....women must not approach the altar."
A 3rd or 4th century burial site on the Greek island of Thera contains an epitaph referring to Epiktas, a "presbytis" (priest or presbyter). Epiktas is a woman's name.
A 4th or 5th century Sicilian inscription referring to Kale the elder. (presbytis)
An ancient mosaic which shows four female figures. One is identified as Bishop Theodora. The feminine form for bishop (episcopa) is used.
451 Council of Chalcedon Canon nr. 15 of the Council states: 7 "No woman under 40 years of age is to be ordained a deacon, and then only after close scrutiny." Apparently, the council wanted to start restricting the ordination of deaconesses, which must have been a common practice at the time. And, of course, anyone ordained to the Holy Order of Deacon would be eligible for later ordination to the priesthood as well.
Until the 9th century ordained women Deacons in the East Church
1758 The Herrnhuts in Bohemia ordained 14 "sisters" with the right to preach in front of women. After the death of the founder of the domeniation, Ludwig von Zinzendorf in 1760 no more women were ordained.
1853 Antoinette Brown was ordained by the Congregationalist Church
Refused ordination at first because of her sex, she held a Congregationalist pastorate in South Butler, N.Y for four years; she became the first ordained woman minister in the United States on her ordination on Sept. 15, 1853, but was dismissed in July 1854, evidently by her own wish. She later became a Unitarian. In 1856 she married Samuel C. Blackwell and they settled in New Jersey, where she frequently preached in Unitarian and othe rliberal pupits. Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell lived (1825-1921).
1862 Anglican Church unordained deacons, 1965 ordained deacons and from 1970 it has been possible for the provinces which so wishes to ordain women priests.
1863 Olympia Brown was ordained by the Universalist
Minister in various parishes and active in the suffrage movement. She was married to John Henry Willis, mother of two children, and lived (1835-1926).
1865 Armenian Church in Lebanon ordains deacons
1876 Christian Science ordains women ministers
1880 Methodist Preachers, 1920 Ministers, 1956 Priests ((SA)
1888 Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) Deacons, in 1966 Elders
1888 The Disciples of Christ, American Restoration Movement, also known as the Stone/Campbell movement first ordained Clara Hale Babcock. Less certain is Ellen Grant Gustin and Ema B. Frank both in 1873 and Mellissa Garrett in 1867.
1889 The Nolin Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church ordained Louisa Woosley
1890 The Mariauiten Church in Poland was founded by the nun Felicia Kolzlowska (Mother Maria Franziska) and has ordained female priests and bishops from sometime in the 1920s.
1911 Menoits/Algemeen Dopgezinde Societet in the Netherlands female priests
1915 Remonstrante broderschap, the Netherlands female priests1914 Assemblies of God was founded and ordained its first woman clergy
1918 The Evangelian Churches of Czech Bretheren female deacons, and the first woman priest in 1956
1918 The Reformed Church of Zürich, Switzerland female priests. In 1956 also in Base
1918 United Free Church of Scotland ordains woman deacons. In 1929 also Elders and Ministers
1918 Northern Baptist Convention in USA1920 Episcopal Church in the USA deacons and in 1974 priests
1926 Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Nederland ordains female priests
1927 Evangelical Church in Germany accepts Pfarrhelferinnen (Assistants to Priests), 1930s woman Vicars. In Eastern part of Germany women took more and more over as actual priests during WW2, and remained so after the war. 1960 Women priests in West Germany and 1978 total equality with male priests.
1929 Catholic Church of the Maravites in Poland
1930 The Reformed Church of Alsace-Lorraine, France woman priests
1930 United Church of Christ in Japan
1930 Evangelical Church of Argentina
1935 the first woman rabbi worldwide was
ordained in Berlin: Regina Jonas
(she died in Auschwitz)
1936 United Church of Canada
1937 Protestant Church of Indonesia priests
Before 1938 Lutheran Church in Austria Vicars
1938 Eglise de la Confession d'Augsbourg d'Alsace-Lorraine in France Priests
1939 United Methodist Church (African Methodists had ordained women for decades previously)
1940 Methodists in India woman deacons
1941 Anglican communion, Hong Kong. Florence Li Tim Oi was ordained as Diacon on an emergency basis. In 1944 she was ordained as a full Minister. She lived (1907-92).
Before 1946 The Convention of the Younger Jesus in USA
Before 1946 A.M.E. Zion
Before 1946 The Church of the Nazareres
1947 Czechoslovak Hussite Church
1947 Presbyterian Church in West Africa elders
1947 Methodist Church in China deacons and the next year Elders
1948 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark
1948 The Lutherans in Schlesia
1948 Christi Church of China priests
1949 Reformed Church in France
A fusion of a number of churches in 1938
1948 Methodists in Sweden deacons, elders in 1954
1949 Old Catholic Church (USA)
1951 The Lutherans in Slovakia
1952 Congregationalists in New Zealand
1952 Congregationalists in Australia
1952 United Church of Japan
Around 1952 Presbyterian Church in Chile elders
1955 Presbyterian in Church South Africa
1956 Presbyterian Church (USA)
Deacons since 1923.
1956 Baptists in Sweden
1956 Presbyterian Church in the United Kingdom
1956 Presbyterians in Ghana Ministers and elders
1956 Presbyterians in Thailand Ministers and elders
1956 Presbyterians in Taiwan Ministers and elders
1957 Greek Orthodox Church deacons
Around 1957 The Methodists in Cuba
1958 Presbyterians in the Netherlands
1960's Autocephalous Church Movement (The Catholic Apstolic Church/Old Catholics) ordaines the first women priests.
Around 1960 Methodist Church in South Africa
Around 1960 Methodist Church in South Korea
Around 1960 Methodist Church in South America
Around 1960 Methodist Church in Ireland
1960 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sweden
1961 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Norway
1961 Methodist Church in Fiji
1964 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium
1967 Presbyterian Church in Canada
1968 Vrijzinnig Hervormd Kerk in the Netherlands
1970's Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
1971 Anglican communion, Hong Kong. Joyce Bennett and Jane Hwang were the first regularly ordained priests.1972 Reform Judaism in USA
1972 Swedenborgian Church
1972 Methodist Church in Poland
(Pastor Ewa Dolej)
1973 Anglican Church in Wales
1974 Methodist Church in the UK
1974 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iceland
1975 Reform Judaism in United Kingdom
1975 Anglican Church of Canada - first ordinations were 30 November 1976.
1976 Church of Ireland (Anglican)
1976 Free Wesleyan Church (Methodist) of Tonga's first female preacher was Siona 'Ungatea Fonua
1976 Episcopal Church (11 women were ordained in Philadelphia before church laws were changed to permit ordination)
1984 Church of North India
1985 Conservative Judaism first rabbi in USA
1986/88 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
1988 Indonesian Lutheran Church
1990 The Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa
1990 Rabbi in France
1990 First female Methodist Minister in Tonga (Sela Taufatofua Manu)
1992 Church of England
1992 Anglican Church of South Africa
1992 Anglican Church of Australia
1994 Church of England
1994 Southern Baptists in USA
Decided to leave it to the Local communities
1995 Seventh-day Adventists (Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park VA ordained three women in violation of the denomination's rules)
1995 The Christian Reformed Church voted to allow women ministers, elders, and evangelists. In 1998-NOV, the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) suspended the CRC's membership because of their decision
1995 First female Rabbi in Germany
1996 The first women priest in the Old Catholic
Church in Germany were
1997 The Philippine Independent Church ordained its first woman priest
Rosalina Villaruel Rabaria became the first female priest in the church, which is in full communion with all the Churches of the Anglican Communion.
1998 first female priests in the Old Cahtolic
Church in Austria
1998 General Assembly of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church in Japan)
1998 Old Catholic Church in the Netherlands
1999 Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (ordination of clergy and elders)
2000 The Baptist Union of Scotland voted to allow their churches to either
allow or prohibit the ordination of women
2000 The Mombasa diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya
2000 The Church of Pakistan ordained its first women deacons. It is a united church which dates back to the 1970 local merger of Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and other Protestants
2000 Evangelical Church in Ethiopia
Two female priests Hirut Megersa and Bekure Daba
2001 Evangelican Church in Cameroon ordained five female priests.
2001 first female priests in the Old Catholic Church in Switzerland.
2003 The Evangelical-Reformed Church (The Evangelian Church of Czech Bretheren) in Poland
(Pastor Wiera Jelinek)
2003 Dutch Reformed Church of Botswana (Monnie Kgosiemang)
2005 The Calvinist Protestant Church in South Africa (Jeanéne Matthyse)
Last update 05.08.08