A subdeacon’s sex-change

Carolyn Osiek, and Kevin Madigan, Ordained women in the early church: a documentary history (Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), 70, note an inscription dedicated to “Alexandra, subdeacon.” They comment: “The office of subdeacon is known for men, but is otherwise unknown for women.” This intrigued me sufficiently to check the reference, which is given as BE (1963): 152. Sure enough the name of the subdeacon is given there as “Alexandra”. However, a full reference is given to Georgi Mihailov, “Epigraphica”, Bulletin de l’Institut archéologique bulgare 25 (1962), 205-209, here at 208-209. There Mihailov reads ὑποδιακάνον Ἀλέξαν[δ]ρος. Jeanne and Louis Robert in BE appear to have subjected him to gender re-assignment!

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