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« on: July 20, 2008, 09:37:36 PM »

Sorry guys I know this is off topic, but I was asked a question that I didnt know how to answer.

Why is the alter area of our Church restricted to Priest and a selected few?

Why are not women generally allowed back there?

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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2008, 09:58:08 PM »

Sorry guys I know this is off topic, but I was asked a question that I didnt know how to answer.

Why is the alter area of our Church restricted to Priest and a selected few?

Why are not women generally allowed back there?

Lord Have Mercy
Why not start another thread to ask this question? Wink
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 10:12:14 PM »

Why not start another thread to ask this question? Wink

Please start new threads when the question being asked has nothing to do with the topic on hand.
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2008, 10:17:03 PM »

Sorry,  Embarrassed

What can be said about these questions?

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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 01:53:20 AM »

Anyone (male or female) who is given a blessing to enter the Holy of Holies (altar area) can do so, but this blessing is given for a specific purpose.
Rather than think of it as being a rule about who is or isn't "worthy" to enter, we should rather think of it as a mark of respect for what is Sacred. Just like we wouldn't tread on someone's grave. Not treading on it is a mark of respect.
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 04:36:10 AM »

The general rule is that only males (with the appropriate blessing) are allowed into the altar area. This would include clergy, altarboys, the warden/verger/neokoros/starosta of the church, readers of the epistle, and any other male deemed to have a legitimate reason to enter this area.

In the rare case of a female epistle reader who have been blessed to do so, she does not enter the altar area to receive or hand back the epistle book. She simply stays wherever the choir or chanters stand, and reads the epistle from there. Or, she may stand at the northern deacon's door to accept the epistle book from the priest, then proceed to the kliros, or wherever the epistle is normally read in that church. After the reading, she then approaches the southern deacon's door, where she hands over the book, and accepts the blessing from the priest.

In the church I have been attending for the last 12 years, a female iconographer was given a specific blessing to paint icons on the curved walls of the apse in the altar area, as she had a particular talent for painting on curved surfaces. The other two iconographers who painted many of the other icons in this church, master iconographers that they were, knew they didn't have quite the same level of skill on curved walls as she did. So she got the gig in the altar, as it were.
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 07:10:03 AM »

The general rule is that only males (with the appropriate blessing) are allowed into the altar area. This would include clergy, altarboys, the warden/verger/neokoros/starosta of the church, readers of the epistle, and any other male deemed to have a legitimate reason to enter this area.

No, the rule is:

Anyone (male or female) who is given a blessing to enter the Holy of Holies (altar area) can do so, but this blessing is given for a specific purpose.
Rather than think of it as being a rule about who is or isn't "worthy" to enter, we should rather think of it as a mark of respect for what is Sacred. Just like we wouldn't tread on someone's grave. Not treading on it is a mark of respect.

Now, for some relevant references (both taken from the texts online at www.ccel.org):

Quote
Canon LXIX - Council of Trullo (Quintisext)

It is not permitted to a layman to enter the sanctuary (Holy Altar, Gk.), though, in accordance with a certain ancient tradition, the imperial power and authority is by no means prohibited from this when he wishes to offer his gifts to the Creator.

This one is pretty straight-forward: laymen are not permitted in the Altar, with the exception of the Emperor himself, who was practically not a layman.

Now, for the fun one:

Quote
Canon XLIV - Council of Laodecia,

Women may not go to the altar.

Notes.

Ancient Epitome of Canon XLIV.

The altar must not be approached by women.

The above canon was promulgated at a local synod, but the synod was given Ecumenical authority by Canon II of Trullo (emphasis mine):

Quote
It has also seemed good to this holy Council, that the eighty-five canons, received and ratified by the holy and blessed Fathers before us, and also handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles should from this time forth remain firm and unshaken for the cure of souls and the healing of disorders.  And in these canons we are bidden to receive the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles [written] by Clement.  But formerly through the agency of those who erred from the faith certain adulterous matter was introduced, clean contrary to piety, for the polluting of the Church, which obscures the elegance and beauty of the divine decrees in their present form.  We therefore reject these Constitutions so as the better to make sure of the edification and security of the most Christian flock; by no means admitting the offspring of heretical error, and cleaving to the pure and perfect doctrine of the Apostles.  But we set our seal likewise upon all the other holy canons set forth by our holy and blessed Fathers, that is, by the 318 holy God-bearing Fathers assembled at Nice, and those at Ancyra, further those at Neocæsarea and likewise those at Gangra, and besides, those at Antioch in Syria:  those too at Laodicea in Phrygia:  and likewise the 150 who assembled in this heaven-protected royal city:  and the 200 who assembled the first time in the metropolis of the Ephesians, and the 630 holy and blessed Fathers at Chalcedon.  In like manner those of Sardica, and those of Carthage:  those also who again assembled in this heaven-protected royal city under its bishop Nectarius and Theophilus Archbishop of Alexandria.  Likewise too the Canons [i.e. the decretal letters] of Dionysius, formerly Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria; and of Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria and Martyr; of Gregory the Wonder-worker, Bishop of Neocæsarea; of Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria; of Basil, Archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia; of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa; of Gregory Theologus; of Amphilochius of Iconium; of Timothy, Archbishop of Alexandria; of Theophilus, Archbishop of the same great city of Alexandria; of Cyril, Archbishop of the same Alexandria; of Gennadius, Patriarch of this heaven-protected royal city.  Moreover the Canon set forth by Cyprian, Archbishop of the country of the Africans and Martyr, and by the Synod under him, which has been kept only in the country of the aforesaid Bishops, according to the custom delivered down to them.  And that no one be allowed to transgress or disregard the aforesaid canons, or to receive others beside them, supposititiously set forth by certain who have attempted to make a traffic of the truth.  But should any one be convicted of innovating upon, or attempting to overturn, any of the afore-mentioned canons, he shall be subject to receive the penalty which that canon imposes, and to be cured by it of his transgression.

And Trullo was given authority by Canon I of the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicea (look that one up).

So why am I qualifying this second canon?  The canon was passed by a Synod of the 4th century, but did not have ecumenical authority until the end of the 7th century; and in the intervening time, it would not have gotten ecumenical authority precisely because deaconesses were able to enter the sanctuary.

Nowadays, there is no 100% prohibition on women entering the sanctuary: there are monasteries and parishes alike who have women blessed by the bishop to enter the sanctuary.  What there should be more of a prohibition on is random dudes entering the sanctuary: no one should go in unless they are Deacon/Priest/Bishop, or have the blessing to enter.  Why bring judgment upon oneself for our carelessness or poor attitude?

{Rant}
Finally, the whole "altar boys" thing is a sham.  When tonsured, they're tonsured as Readers, which is not an office requiring entry into the Holy of Holies.  The duties they perform should be performed by a host of Subdeacons. {/Rant}
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2008, 07:59:30 AM »

When did we switch to 'boys' anyway? My parish has alterservers who are men (adults) which I took as being more traditional.
Sorry for side question.
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 08:25:59 AM »

When did we switch to 'boys' anyway? My parish has alterservers who are men (adults) which I took as being more traditional.
Sorry for side question.

I have no idea when the switch was made... You should ask GreekChef, whose husband did a thesis on the the Altar Boy (I think).  I am personally in favor of having adults as the servers, and they should be made subdeacons (in the Greek fashion - ordained after marriage if they wish to be married, ordained while single only if they wish to remain celibate).
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2008, 11:52:16 AM »

When did we switch to 'boys' anyway?

Just a guess, but it seems to me that young altar servers must have come on to the scene in villages. Only one priest in the whole area, no deacons or sub-deacons, and someone needs to light the censer. For example, Papa Dimitri Gagastathis writes about serving in the altar as a little boy in his village circa 1910. I've heard similar stories from older Greek villagers. Could have even started much earlier, during the years of Tourkokratia in which there were very few clergy of any kind.

My parish has alterservers who are men (adults) which I took as being more traditional.

Certainly so, if one looks back to the great Cathedral churches of the early Patristic or Byzantine era. Although in those cases, the altar was filled with multiple priests, deacons & sub-deacons, so there was no actual NEED to have unordained people back there to light a candle or hold a censer.

Even in those times, there were plenty of taper-bearers and other tonsured offices that had various liturgical roles -- just not ones that required entering the altar area proper (cf. the canon that cleveland mentioned).

Of course, we should keep in mind that for most of the Patristic period (and beyond), not even the clergy went into the Holy Altar area for liturgical services other than the Divine Liturgy. Other services (e.g. Matins, Vespers, Baptisms, Vigils) were celebrated in specified areas of the cathedral compound (e.g. the atrium, the baptistery, the exo-narthex, the narthex) -- not even necessarily in the nave, much less the Holy Altar. Mt. Athos still preserves some of that tradition. Each sacred space had its own liturgical function, and the Holy Altar was reserved for that greatest celebration of the Church: the Eucharist.

Such specificity requires (a) lots of clergy and (b) a physical layout different from the average village chapel or parish church of later times.
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2008, 02:50:50 PM »

{Rant}
Finally, the whole "altar boys" thing is a sham.  When tonsured, they're tonsured as Readers, which is not an office requiring entry into the Holy of Holies.  The duties they perform should be performed by a host of Subdeacons. {/Rant}

As I understand it, the office to which they should traditionally be tonsured is that of Tape-bearer/Ecclesiarch. Since this is generally no longer in use (just like exorcist or door-keeper), the prayers for tonsuring a Reader incorporates those for tonsuring a Tape-bearer.

Tape-bearers may perform many of the duties of the Subdeacon, but not all (handing the dikiri and trikiri to the Bishop for example). And, of course, Subdeacons may not marry after ordination in many/most jurisdiction whereas Readers may.

Is this correct?
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2008, 03:14:00 PM »

As I understand it, the office to which they should traditionally be tonsured is that of Tape-bearer/Ecclesiarch. Since this is generally no longer in use (just like exorcist or door-keeper), the prayers for tonsuring a Reader incorporates those for tonsuring a Tape-bearer.

Tape-bearers may perform many of the duties of the Subdeacon, but not all (handing the dikiri and trikiri to the Bishop for example). And, of course, Subdeacons may not marry after ordination in many/most jurisdiction whereas Readers may.

Is this correct?

Yup. Although, at least in the U.S., it seems that those Bishops who ordain a lot of Subdeacons don't pay much heed to the fact that the canons prohibit Subdeacons from getting married after ordination. I've met many a young, unmarried, newly-minted Subdeacon who has no intention of remaining celibate.
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2008, 04:39:27 PM »

I have no idea when the switch was made... You should ask GreekChef, whose husband did a thesis on the the Altar Boy (I think).  I am personally in favor of having adults as the servers, and they should be made subdeacons (in the Greek fashion - ordained after marriage if they wish to be married, ordained while single only if they wish to remain celibate).

You know, Father Christos and I were just discussing this yesterday.  Only our line of discussion was not as to when the change was made.  I'll have to ask him.  I'll get back to you.
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2008, 05:25:22 PM »


Honestly, it drives me CRAZY to see random men wandering in and out of the altar during Divine Liturgy!  It also drives me nuts that the mythology that says "you can enter the altar if you are a man" still prevails.  When I was working in my home parish as the director of sales and catering, this was a major problem.  When I first started working, the thermostats for the sanctuary were located in the altar.  This was a problem because I (a lowly woman...) was in charge of the facility, and during events, I had to be able to control the temperature.  At first, I was calling people to come up to the church, go into the altar, and turn down the temperature.  But this was (obviously) ridiculous.  So I spoke with the Priest (who presumably spoke with the Bishop), and received the blessing to go into the Holy Altar to change the temperature (there were occasional other reasons that I would have to enter the Altar as well, because of the way the building was laid out, etc).  He left it up to my discretion to use my judgement to know when I needed to enter the Altar.  And I was in constant contact with both him and my father confessor.  I took that as a heavy responsibility.  But then I would turn around and see random guys in the parish going in and out of the altar, cutting through the altar to get into the vestry (instead of going around like the rest of us), etc and so forth.  And they think they can do this because they are men.  And nobody corrects them!  That's what kills me!  And it is like this in pretty much every parish I've ever been in!  Oh, and by the way, in order to prevent the same problem happening with the girl that took my place when I left my home parish to go to the seminary, my priest actually MOVED the thermostats out of the Altar!  The reason was because there were some people in the parish who did not like that I had been given a blessing to go in the Altar... because I was a woman. 

Please don't get me wrong.  Lest I be accused of being some scary left wing woman who is going to go requesting ordination, let me be clear in stating that I do not believe in women being ordained, etc.  However, I find some of the attitudes regarding women in the Holy Altar thoroughly offensive and insulting.  This feeling did not come from anything said here, though.  It is based on experiences such as the following: About two months ago I encountered a certain gentleman at a chant stand who, upon meeting me, made it very clear that he disapproved of me being at the chant stand, and he was totally disrespectful of both myself and my husband (who was celebrating the Divine Liturgy that day).  I was at the chant stand through all of Orthros and into the Liturgy.  After the Epistle, the male chanters (some of whom I knew did not have a blessing to be in the altar) all went to hang out and chat in the altar for the rest of the Liturgy, and I went to sit down in the pew.  As I did so, the attitude the gentleman gave me was so insulting, and triumphalist, and was based totally on the fact that HE was allowed to enter the Altar because he was a man, and I couldn't because I was a woman.  He went as far as to laugh at me in front of the entire congregation.  Obviously his nannny-nanny-boo-boo attitude was childish, and I knew it, but I was actually embarrassed!  I was embarrassed to be a woman!  I was embarrassed that I could not enter the Altar!  I felt like a child being punished for something that I couldn't help!

The other experience that comes to mind: I was actually teased by a priest because I could not enter the Altar to venerate the relics he had in the Altar because I was a woman.  My husband, God bless him, was kind enough to bring them to the altar door so that I could venerate them.  Again, I was humiliated (and in front of several priests-- none of whom stood up for me), and was feeling lower than dirt for being a woman.  What are we to do when our clergy themselves are furthering this type of thinking?  This is the exact type of thinking that makes women in the Church feel that they are worth less than men, to feel that the Church has no place for them, to have all kinds of negative feelings that even I, who obviously know better, have struggled with. 

Anyway, I would love to hear other peoples' thoughts on this.  This is a really difficult subject for me (which is why my post is so long... sorry!) and I would really like to hear what everyone else thinks.

By the way, I just want to say also that it's really nice to be back on the forum.  I've been gone for several months, because my husband and I transferred (we are now happily located in warm and sunny Atlanta! at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation) and have been extremely busy.  I missed this forum a lot, and it's good to be able to get back on and catch up now!!!!  I missed you all!

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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2008, 05:39:16 PM »

Quote
Could have even started much earlier, during the years of Tourkokratia in which there were very few clergy of any kind.

Nonsense. How does this explain the presence of altarboys in other countries such as Russia?
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2008, 07:06:33 PM »

After the Epistle, the male chanters (some of whom I knew did not have a blessing to be in the altar) all went to hang out and chat in the altar for the rest of the Liturgy,

People hang out at the altar to chat during the liturgy?  What?     Shocked
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2008, 07:11:10 PM »

People hang out at the altar to chat during the liturgy?  What?     Shocked

Yes, you can imagine... They go back and forth between the Altar and the vestry, to be exact.  But from where I was sitting I could see through the Altar and into the vestry where they were, and they were just standing and chatting (and this is routine, by the way, from what I understand).
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2008, 07:21:27 PM »

I have been taught that those authorized to enter the sanctuary, the altar area, are those who have a purpose for being there, i.e. the celebrants, bishops and priests and those who serve or assist them in the performance of the Divine Services and in maintaining or caring for the sanctuary.  Female monastics, who have a purpose, such as cleaning the sanctuary, are likewise authorized to be there.  The authorization must come from the presiding priest.
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2008, 07:32:43 PM »

I have been taught that those authorized to enter the sanctuary, the altar area, are those who have a purpose for being there, i.e. the celebrants, bishops and priests and those who serve or assist them in the performance of the Divine Services and in maintaining or caring for the sanctuary.  Female monastics, who have a purpose, such as cleaning the sanctuary, are likewise authorized to be there.  The authorization must come from the presiding priest.

Exactly!  That is exactly what I was trying to say.  It is anyone who has a purpose for being there and a blessing.  Not just any guy who feels like going inside.
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2008, 09:13:30 PM »

Yes, you can imagine... They go back and forth between the Altar and the vestry, to be exact.  But from where I was sitting I could see through the Altar and into the vestry where they were, and they were just standing and chatting (and this is routine, by the way, from what I understand).

I could tell you stories that would make you spit out your  Turkish  Greek Coffee.
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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2008, 09:32:06 PM »

Honestly, it drives me CRAZY to see random men wandering in and out of the altar during Divine Liturgy!

After reading your story, I can see why.  This kind of gross sexism and disrespect for the altar  has no place in the Church whatsoever.  What more can be said.   This is really shocking and very sad to hear of.

In my parish, the attitude seems mostly to be that no one goes to the altar unless they need to go there.  But in the culture of my parish (which is a Canadian OCA parish) there is no discipliine enforced to the effect that you need a blessing to go into the altar area.  You just don't go there unless you need to, no matter who you are.  Except that some little boys were going there for a while because they "could".  The parish seemed to police itself on this after a while, and this doesn't seem to go on anymore.  I should say that we don't allow women in the altar area except for a couple who need to go there  sometimes, but no one uses this to taunt women or girls.  In fact, I think one woman who had permission  to go there doesn't go so much anymore because she seemed to be flaunting the fact that she was able to go back there and doing it unnecessarily here and there.....that's the impression I have, anyway.
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2008, 09:40:25 PM »

Honestly, it drives me CRAZY to see random men wandering in and out of the altar during Divine Liturgy!

Presbytera Mari this is very sad. Lord have mercy. As George said the no one is worthy or allowed to enter the holy of holies and ALL must be given a dispensation to enter.
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2008, 01:57:13 AM »

In Reference to Reply #13:

1.  I would hope that your husband stood up for you to the other Priests and anyone else who teased, humiliated you, etc.  I suppose if I were a woman given my polemical ways, I would refuse the task of controlling the temperature if it meant going inside the Altar to do so.

2.  Such petty/jealous/whatever attitudes among the "Men" of the Church is just one of many reasons for the decline in GOA membership.  A young woman who doesn't feel welcome in the Orthodox faith will find ANY faith (and ANY man) which will welcome her.  I realize that the last sentence is a subject for another thread except that the Altar isn't an extension of the AHEPA Room and the presiding Priest has the responsibility for enforcing the sanctity of the Altar.

3.  I'm not a fan of Atlanta and that's for a different thread.   Wink
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2008, 02:28:39 AM »

Honestly, it drives me CRAZY to see random men wandering in and out of the altar during Divine Liturgy!  It also drives me nuts that the mythology that says "you can enter the altar if you are a man" still prevails.  When I was working in my home parish as the director of sales and catering, this was a major problem.  When I first started working, the thermostats for the sanctuary were located in the altar.  This was a problem because I (a lowly woman...) was in charge of the facility, and during events, I had to be able to control the temperature.  At first, I was calling people to come up to the church, go into the altar, and turn down the temperature.  But this was (obviously) ridiculous.  So I spoke with the Priest (who presumably spoke with the Bishop), and received the blessing to go into the Holy Altar to change the temperature (there were occasional other reasons that I would have to enter the Altar as well, because of the way the building was laid out, etc).  He left it up to my discretion to use my judgement to know when I needed to enter the Altar.  And I was in constant contact with both him and my father confessor.  I took that as a heavy responsibility.  But then I would turn around and see random guys in the parish going in and out of the altar, cutting through the altar to get into the vestry (instead of going around like the rest of us), etc and so forth.  And they think they can do this because they are men.  And nobody corrects them!  That's what kills me!  And it is like this in pretty much every parish I've ever been in!  Oh, and by the way, in order to prevent the same problem happening with the girl that took my place when I left my home parish to go to the seminary, my priest actually MOVED the thermostats out of the Altar!  The reason was because there were some people in the parish who did not like that I had been given a blessing to go in the Altar... because I was a woman. 

Please don't get me wrong.  Lest I be accused of being some scary left wing woman who is going to go requesting ordination, let me be clear in stating that I do not believe in women being ordained, etc.  However, I find some of the attitudes regarding women in the Holy Altar thoroughly offensive and insulting.  This feeling did not come from anything said here, though.  It is based on experiences such as the following: About two months ago I encountered a certain gentleman at a chant stand who, upon meeting me, made it very clear that he disapproved of me being at the chant stand, and he was totally disrespectful of both myself and my husband (who was celebrating the Divine Liturgy that day).  I was at the chant stand through all of Orthros and into the Liturgy.  After the Epistle, the male chanters (some of whom I knew did not have a blessing to be in the altar) all went to hang out and chat in the altar for the rest of the Liturgy, and I went to sit down in the pew.  As I did so, the attitude the gentleman gave me was so insulting, and triumphalist, and was based totally on the fact that HE was allowed to enter the Altar because he was a man, and I couldn't because I was a woman.  He went as far as to laugh at me in front of the entire congregation.  Obviously his nannny-nanny-boo-boo attitude was childish, and I knew it, but I was actually embarrassed!  I was embarrassed to be a woman!  I was embarrassed that I could not enter the Altar!  I felt like a child being punished for something that I couldn't help!

The other experience that comes to mind: I was actually teased by a priest because I could not enter the Altar to venerate the relics he had in the Altar because I was a woman.  My husband, God bless him, was kind enough to bring them to the altar door so that I could venerate them.  Again, I was humiliated (and in front of several priests-- none of whom stood up for me), and was feeling lower than dirt for being a woman.  What are we to do when our clergy themselves are furthering this type of thinking?  This is the exact type of thinking that makes women in the Church feel that they are worth less than men, to feel that the Church has no place for them, to have all kinds of negative feelings that even I, who obviously know better, have struggled with. 

Anyway, I would love to hear other peoples' thoughts on this.  This is a really difficult subject for me (which is why my post is so long... sorry!) and I would really like to hear what everyone else thinks.

By the way, I just want to say also that it's really nice to be back on the forum.  I've been gone for several months, because my husband and I transferred (we are now happily located in warm and sunny Atlanta! at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation) and have been extremely busy.  I missed this forum a lot, and it's good to be able to get back on and catch up now!!!!  I missed you all!

In Christ,
Presbytera Mari

Thanks for sharing your story Presbytera Mari and thank you to everyone for their responses.
At my parish a lot of what Presbytera Mari I can relate to. People go in and out of the alter area simply to go and hang out and chat.
 If the Parish Priest does not apply order in the Holy of Holies than what can one do. I understand it to be a very sacred place but it sacredness is undermined when people come in and don’t respect their surroundings. It also looks scandalous to the laity who can see into the Alter area.

BTW Why do we call it the Holy of Holies? (Sorry for the uneducated questions)

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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2008, 09:24:51 PM »

I thought the "Holy of Holies" comes from the Old Testament reference to the sanctuary.
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« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2008, 09:53:31 PM »

How does this explain the presence of altarboys in other countries such as Russia?

As mentioned above, altar boys were not part of the Patristic era. In the Byzantine era, I suppose it's hard to tell b/c of the radical changes in ecclesiastical architecture and liturgy. Never seen them attested though.

I'm not very familiar with innovations post-1589 in Slavic liturgics or teleturgics, so I couldn't say. Do Old Believers have them?
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« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2008, 10:16:33 PM »

BTW Why do we call it the Holy of Holies? (Sorry for the uneducated questions)

I think that's a pious tradition, for the reason Basil 320 mentioned.

However, I don't think it's actually the proper name. Cleveland would be the one to confirm this, but, off the top of my head, I can't remember any official liturgical texts that call the area behind the Iconostasis "Holy of Holies." Only "altar" (thisiastirion) or the "holy table" (agia trapeza).
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« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2008, 12:11:01 AM »

pansateomnia, Isn't "Iero" also the Greek word for the altar area, i.e. the Holy area?
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« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2008, 12:37:24 AM »

panateomnia, Isn't "Iero" also the Greek word for the altar area, i.e. the Holy area?

Sure! That's definitely the most common word that is used in speech. Excellent adjective, but it's really just a short-hand way of turning "to iero thisiastirion" (the holy altar) into a handy substantive adjective.

Can't recall if the substantive is ever used on its own in the official liturgical books. cleveland? Even so, it refers to thisiastirion, which is a good Hellenistic/Patristic/Byzantine word.
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« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2008, 05:53:22 PM »

I've only seen or heard it called "Holy of Holies" in the context of discussions like these (i.e. casual).  The Holy Altar (Thisiastirion) is what I've normally seen (in canons and texts) for the whole area, and some specific place names (Iero Bima - Holy Door, Ano Kathedra - The High Place or High Seat, Snythronon - The Together Seat or Concelebratory Seat, Agia Trapeza - Holy Table, Prothesis, etc.).
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« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2008, 05:06:18 PM »

Hi

Someone raised the topic of Sub-deacon in one of there chats.

I got married on Oct. 2001 and now I’m planning on becoming a Sub-deacon. If I were to loss my wife it would be hard for me to stay and remain celibate; but I will obey Church teaching and stay and remain celibate. GOD will help me serve HIM faithfully and HIS Orthodox Church.

I want to reassure all of you that I will obey Church in this and all others. I’m looking forward to be ordained next year.

I feel that anyone who becomes a religionist in the Orthodox Church should have eyes open and heart direct toward GOD. The canons that are written to prohibit actions taken by religionist or the ranking file Orthodox Christians are there for a reason.

Right now I serve as an Acolyte at the Altar of my Church and find it very rewarding for me as a Christian. I hope to serve GOD people faithfully to the end of my life.

I feel that the Altar is for men and not for women. I feel if GOD willed women to serve. HE would have made the Theotokos a priestess if HE wanted her to be so. Let us not add or subtract from the faith.

Have a great day and GOD bless all of you.
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« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2008, 06:03:47 PM »

Hi

Someone raised the topic of Sub-deacon in one of there chats.

I got married on Oct. 2001 and now I’m planning on becoming a Sub-deacon. If I were to loss my wife it would be hard for me to stay and remain celibate; but I will obey Church teaching and stay and remain celibate. GOD will help me serve HIM faithfully and HIS Orthodox Church.

I want to reassure all of you that I will obey Church in this and all others. I’m looking forward to be ordained next year.

I feel that anyone who becomes a religionist in the Orthodox Church should have eyes open and heart direct toward GOD. The canons that are written to prohibit actions taken by religionist or the ranking file Orthodox Christians are there for a reason.

Right now I serve as an Acolyte at the Altar of my Church and find it very rewarding for me as a Christian. I hope to serve GOD people faithfully to the end of my life.

I feel that the Altar is for men and not for women. I feel if GOD willed women to serve. HE would have made the Theotokos a priestess if HE wanted her to be so. Let us not add or subtract from the faith.

Have a great day and GOD bless all of you.


Welcome to the forum, Frank...

Let's not jump the gun.  There is a huge difference between women who have the blessing to enter the altar, and ordaining women to the priesthood.  If you were to read my previous posts on OC.net, you would see that I am in NO WAY in favor of ordaining women to the priesthood.  I do object, however, to the furthering of chauvinistic, NON-ORTHODOX ideas regarding women that abound in the Church right now.  It makes me very sad to see, and it's no wonder that so many women, who have not been properly educated by people who actually know what they are talking about, leave the Church after having encounters such as the ones I described above. 

As far as being ordained, why would you have to lose your wife?  And what exactly does "lose" mean, anyway?  The canons don't allow divorced men to be ordained, but they do allow married men to be ordained.  Thus, "losing" your wife wouldn't be necessary.  Are you going to put her in a convent?  How does she feel about that?

I have to say, also, that I do not believe that there is such a thing as "rank and file" Orthodox Christians.  The canons are there for everyone.  And we are all part of the Royal Priesthood- clergy and laity alike.  Making such a distinction that puts any Orthodox Christian below another (such as clergy) is not Orthodox.

I pray I'm not offending.  I just feel strongly about this issue. 

In Christ,
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2008, 07:10:48 PM »

I feel that the Altar is for men and not for women. I feel if GOD willed women to serve. HE would have made the Theotokos a priestess if HE wanted her to be so. Let us not add or subtract from the faith. 

I guess you'll have to be the one to tell the Theotokos that she shouldn't have gone into the Holy of Holies as a child; that she shouldn't have actually been the Holy of Holies through her giving birth to God Incarnate.  Otherwise, I'll defer to her wisdom, and the wisdom of the Fathers and the Church.
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« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2008, 07:43:43 PM »

I guess you'll have to be the one to tell the Theotokos that she shouldn't have gone into the Holy of Holies as a child; that she shouldn't have actually been the Holy of Holies through her giving birth to God Incarnate.  Otherwise, I'll defer to her wisdom, and the wisdom of the Fathers and the Church.

Dead right, Cleveland. Don't mess with God's Mother!  Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2008, 01:08:35 AM »

I got married on Oct. 2001 and now I’m planning on becoming a Sub-deacon. If I were to loss my wife it would be hard for me to stay and remain celibate; but I will obey Church teaching and stay and remain celibate. GOD will help me serve HIM faithfully and HIS Orthodox Church.

Married men can be ordained to the Holy Orders without forced divorce - except Episcopal Ordination is off limits to Married men.  What is your Orthodox Jurisdiction ?

I want to reassure all of you that I will obey Church in this and all others. I’m looking forward to be ordained next year.

I'm sure your Hierarch will determine when you're ready for Ordination.   Smiley
 
I feel that anyone who becomes a religionist in the Orthodox Church should have eyes open and heart direct toward GOD. The canons that are written to prohibit actions taken by religionist or the ranking file Orthodox Christians are there for a reason.

Religionist?  I prefer the term believer or adherent or even follower.  After all, Christ told his Disciples to follow Him.

Right now I serve as an Acolyte at the Altar of my Church and find it very rewarding for me as a Christian. I hope to serve GOD people faithfully to the end of my life.

As a teen-ager, I did serve in the Altar on a few occasions when there was an Acolyte shortage.  I remember eating a lot of Antidoron.   Cheesy

I feel that the Altar is for men and not for women. I feel if GOD willed women to serve. HE would have made the Theotokos a priestess if HE wanted her to be so. Let us not add or subtract from the faith.

Pretty good argument against Ordaination of Women except that some Christian Denominations have added and subtracted from what Christ taught with impunity and indifference.

Have a great day and GOD bless all of you.

Amen!!
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« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2008, 01:24:17 AM »

Married men can be ordained to the Holy Orders without forced divorce - except Episcopal Ordination is off limits to Married men.  What is your Orthodox Jurisdiction ?
His question seems to be about "remaining celibate" which suggests an issue with re-marriage, not ordination per se (or perhaps with remaining a sub-deacon and re-marrying).
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« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2008, 01:30:54 AM »

^ If he became a widow, then his concern is remaining celibate as a sub-deacon (or greater) vs. remarrying as a sub-deacon (or greater) - OK, thanks.   Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2008, 11:40:47 AM »

if he became a widow it would truly be a miracle

with apologies for the levity - but I could not resist
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« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2008, 11:47:15 AM »

^ If he became a widow, then his concern is remaining celibate as a sub-deacon (or greater) vs. remarrying as a sub-deacon (or greater) - OK, thanks.   Smiley 

If he became a widower as a subdeacon, he stated that his desire would be to get remarried, but he would not, in accordance with the Church's canons on the subject.

Married men can be ordained to the Holy Orders without forced divorce - except Episcopal Ordination is off limits to Married men.  What is your Orthodox Jurisdiction ? 

One can be deposed or defrocked for divorcing their wives as a clergyman.  One cannot be ordained a bishop if one has divorced his wife.  So there is no such thing as a forced divorce for someone who wishes to be ordained.  Episcopal ordination is off limits to those currently married, btw: widowers can in fact be ordained to the episcopacy ("husband of one wife" still applies, of course)
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« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2008, 12:56:33 PM »

^ I thought I said the same thing - sorry for the confusion regarding forced divorce which does not exist in reality.   Wink
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« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2008, 10:38:45 PM »

If he became a widower as a subdeacon, he stated that his desire would be to get remarried, but he would not, in accordance with the Church's canons on the subject.

One can be deposed or defrocked for divorcing their wives as a clergyman.  One cannot be ordained a bishop if one has divorced his wife.  So there is no such thing as a forced divorce for someone who wishes to be ordained.  Episcopal ordination is off limits to those currently married, btw: widowers can in fact be ordained to the episcopacy ("husband of one wife" still applies, of course)

Actually, if I remember correctly, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow was briefly married during the 1950's, and he and his wife divorced.
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« Reply #41 on: August 11, 2008, 08:22:28 PM »

Actually, if I remember correctly, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow was briefly married during the 1950's, and he and his wife divorced.

If you do remember correctly, then there must have been some economy or exception granted in his case (i.e. she was mentally unstable, abusive, became an atheist, or something off like that).  I'd love to see a reference to this...
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