St. Ignatius of Antioch (Feb. 1), writes words of congratulations to the Antiochans at the end of the persecution:
"Since, according to your prayers, and the compassion which you feel in Christ Jesus, it is reported to me that the Church which is at Antioch in Syria possesses peace, it will become you, as a Church of God, to elect a deacon to act as the ambassador of God [for you] to [the brethren there], that he may rejoice along with them when they are met together, and glorify the name [of God]. Blessed is he in Jesus Christ, who shall be deemed worthy of such a ministry; and you too shall be glorified. And if you are willing, it is not beyond your power to do this, for the sake of God; as also the nearest Churches have sent, in some cases bishops, and in others presbyters and deacons."
- St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Philadelphians, Ch. 10 (source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0108.htm)