Viduae (widows), a term applied to the deaconesses of the ancient Church, by Tertullian and others, because they were commonly chosen from among the widows, and the office was called viduatus. Even some of the ancient laws required them to be widows, prescribing minutely their qualifications in this regard. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 2, ch. 22. SEE WIDOWS.