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  1. Alvin J. Schmidt

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1078

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Schmidt, A. J. 2011. Phoebe. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


In Romans 16:1–2, the apostle Paul highly commends Phoebe who was a diakonos (deacon in Greek) in the church at Cenchreae, not a “deaconess” or “servant” as found in many English translations of the Bible. The feminine form of diakonos in Greek is diakonissa. But this word did not exist in any literature until almost 300 years after St. Paul wrote his epistle to the Christians in Rome. Diakonissa first appears in ad 325 in Canon 19 of Nicaea, and later (in about 375) it appears in The Apostolic Constitutions.


  • phoebe;
  • feminine form of diakonos in Greek, diakonissa;
  • phoebe, a prostatis (Rom. 16:2), or “a helper”