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Author Topic: Does the ordained deaconess receive the sacrament of Holy Orders?  (Read 3621 times) Average Rating: 0
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danman916
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« on: January 13, 2009, 01:39:24 PM »

Hello,

What do the Orthodox hold as to the ordination of the deaconess?
What I mean is; Is their ordination considered to be the sacrament of holy orders like the Bishop, Priest, and Deacon receive, or is their ordination considered to be not the same as the sacrament received when a man is ordained a deacon?

I am Roman Catholic, so I suppose that I should qualify my question by asking, do Roman Catholics have the same understanding of the words, "ordain" and "sacrament" as the Orthodox?
If not, can you clarify what the orthodox meaning of these terms is?


Thanks

Dan
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 01:58:24 PM »

Yes, she does. I've read a text written by one Polish priest (so I cannot quote it) and he wrote that deaconess during her ordination receive the sacrament.

He quoted the ordination's rite of deaconess from old Byzantine Euchologion called Euchologion of Goar and it's very similar to the rite of ordaining a male deacon: the candidate stays in the altar in front of bishop bowing down hear head. The bishop prays one prayer aloud. After that bishops lays his hands on her and prays two prayers silently while another deacon is praying a litany for the woman being ordained. Finally bishop puts on her an orarion and hides it's ending under the maforium (some kind of headscarf).
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 01:59:20 PM by mike » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 02:10:46 PM »

Hi Dan!

Although at one time women could be ordained as a Deaconess, this office is no longer used in the Orthodox Church. The function of the Deaconess was used at a time when adult baptisms were performed naked, and the Deaconess would be used to baptize women for the sake of modesty. Today, adults generally wear a swimsuit and a white robe when being baptized so a male bishop/priest/deacon can perform the baptism. (Just as in the RCC, infants are also baptized in the EOC. I refer to adult baptisms in the case of converts.)

The EOC understanding of sacraments (or "holy mysteries" as we prefer to call them) is that they are both inward and outward in character. Redeeming and sanctifying grace is transmitted to the individual through visible means. More can be read about the EOC's interpretation of the sacraments here: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7106

Also, like the EOC, the ordination of a member to the clergy involves the laying of hands, and the continuation of apostolic succession. When the office of the deaconess was used, the sacrament of ordination was implemented.

Hope this answers your question.

Take care,

Maureen
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 02:22:10 PM »

Although at one time women could be ordained as a Deaconess, this office is no longer used in the Orthodox Church.

I can't agree with this. In 1911 St. Nectarius Bishop of Aegina ordained a nun to the deaconess*. Votes for ordaining female deaconesses were said on Conference "Place of woman in the Church" which took place on Rhodos in 1988** organised by patriarch Demetrios I. Since 1952 there is a Deaconess Institute in Greece however it's graduates aren't ordained yet. I hope that it would change.

*K. Fitzgerald, The Characteristics and Nature of the Order of Deaconess,  Women and the Priesthood, ed. T. Hopko, Crestwood N. Y., 1993, pages: 90-91.
** La place de la femme dans l’Église orthodoxe et la question de l’ordination des femmes. Conclusion du Congres théologique interorthodoxe (Rhodos, 30 octobre-7 novembre 1988)
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2009, 02:26:39 PM »

Thanks for your responses.

So if I am understanding correctly, the deaconess receives the sacrament of holy orders. But this leads me to 2 different questions:

1) The rite of ordination seems to indicate that the deaconess is ordained to the work of service whereas the deacon is ordained to assist in the service of the most pure mysteries. Doesn't this make the deacon and deaconess fundamentally different in their role?

2) Why isn't the ordained deaconess able to be ordained as a priest? I understand that there is no Tradition for this, but sacramentally, since the deaconess has received the sacrament of holy orders, isn't this considered the same sacrament as the priest and Bishop, only to a different degree?

I am not trying to argue for women's ordination to the priesthood. I am only trying to reconcile something that seems contradictory to me.

Thanks again
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 02:31:39 PM »

I can't agree with this. In 1911 St. Nectarius Bishop of Aegina ordained a nun to the deaconess*. Votes for ordaining female deaconesses were said on Conference "Place of woman in the Church" which took place on Rhodos in 1988** organised by patriarch Demetrios I. Since 1952 there is a Deaconess Institute in Greece however it's graduates aren't ordained yet. I hope that it would change.

*K. Fitzgerald, The Characteristics and Nature of the Order of Deaconess,  Women and the Priesthood, ed. T. Hopko, Crestwood N. Y., 1993, pages: 90-91.
** La place de la femme dans l’Église orthodoxe et la question de l’ordination des femmes. Conclusion du Congres théologique interorthodoxe (Rhodos, 30 octobre-7 novembre 1988)

If I am wrong, I apologize, as I did not intend to mislead. The office of Deaconess being no longer used is what has been told to me by priests of several jurisdictions.

The closest I've come to finding any kind of "official" documentation is this small definition from goarch.org:

Deaconess. A pious lay woman assisting in the church as a caretaker or charity worker. The practice of using deaconesses in the Church was very ancient; however, it gradually disappeared. (http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8049)

Again, I apologize if I was wrong.
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 02:49:49 PM »

  The closest I've come to finding any kind of "official" documentation is this small definition from goarch.org:

Deaconess. A pious lay woman assisting in the church as a caretaker or charity worker. The practice of using deaconesses in the Church was very ancient; however, it gradually disappeared. (http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8049)

 

hmm, so if a deaconess is a lay women, she cannot have received the sacrament of holy orders, otherwise she would not be in the lay state anymore, but would, in fact, be in the clerical state. Once one has received the sacrament of holy orders, one is no longer a lay person. Correct?


Still confused.
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 02:58:11 PM »

1) The rite of ordination seems to indicate that the deaconess is ordained to the work of service whereas the deacon is ordained to assist in the service of the most pure mysteries. Doesn't this make the deacon and deaconess fundamentally different in their role?
The original task for deaconess were to assist by woman's Baptism and Confirmation. They also carried Holy Communion for those women who couldn't come to a Church. They also guarded the Church's gates and distributed charity. IMHO it's not far away from deacon's task. There's also important that deaconesses received Holly Communion by drinking from the Chalice in the same way as other ordained.

2) Why isn't the ordained deaconess able to be ordained as a priest? I understand that there is no Tradition for this, but sacramentally, since the deaconess has received the sacrament of holy orders, isn't this considered the same sacrament as the priest and Bishop, only to a different degree?

I've heard that presbyter is a father of his parish. Deaconess can't play his role because she's female. That's all but maybe I'm wrong. There's also 11th canon of Synod in Laodicea: Presbytides, as they are called, or female presidents, are not to be appointed in the Church.

@HandmaidenofGod Even on orthodoxwiki there are plenty of evidences of modern deaconesses. There's written that ordaining of deaconesses has already started in some Churches.

On the GOARCH's dictionary the've must have made mistake.
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2009, 03:12:45 PM »

This is one of the cases where the Roman Catholic communion and the Orthodox Church use similar vocabulary but the meanings are different.  This is the biggest problem I see between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians when they are discussing issues online, in person or any other media.  Sometimes both sides don't fully understand each other's definitions when they're both using the same term. 
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2009, 03:14:34 PM »

mike,

Considering that I don't think anyone on this site who is Eastern Orthodox knows any (serving) deaconesses, I would say that the article on Antiochian.net (the source of the wiki) is overstated.
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2009, 03:28:38 PM »

Thanks for your responses.

So if I am understanding correctly, the deaconess receives the sacrament of holy orders. But this leads me to 2 different questions:

1) The rite of ordination seems to indicate that the deaconess is ordained to the work of service whereas the deacon is ordained to assist in the service of the most pure mysteries. Doesn't this make the deacon and deaconess fundamentally different in their role?

Their roles are different, but complementary, and they overlap.  The deacon is also ordained to the work of service.  The diaconate is one.  There is not one diaconate for men and another for women, according to the most convincing scholars that I have read.

Quote
2) Why isn't the ordained deaconess able to be ordained as a priest? I understand that there is no Tradition for this, but sacramentally, since the deaconess has received the sacrament of holy orders, isn't this considered the same sacrament as the priest and Bishop, only to a different degree?

No, not at all the same thing.  The diaconate is a full, equal and distinct order in its own right.  The deacon does not have a sacerdotal function in the same way that a bishop or a priest does, but is ordained to a role of service.  This role of service can be liturgical, administrative, and social in the case of a male deacon, and especially social in the case of a female deacon.  (Female deacons did assist at baptisms of women as Handmaiden already mentioned, but they also did social work with female Christians.)   You might want to look into some of the other threads we have here on OC.net that discuss the diaconate.  I would recommend the book by James M. Burnett: The Diaconate: A Full and Equal Order for a really excellent and thorough discussion on the history of the diaconate in both the East and the West.

Here is one post I made in another thread with regards to how the function of a deacon differs from that of a priest. 

I am trying to understand what you are saying. Are you saying

1) Deacons are not ordained to the first degree of priesthood
2) Deacons are not clergy?

If so, how did you arrive at that conclusion?

I assume when you speak of "the first degree of priesthood" you are referring to the pseudo-Dionysius inspired idea that each clerical order is a progression on a kind of ladder leading to a more "enlightened" position that is attained each time someone is ordained to a "higher" order.  By this way of thinking, it is not the diaconate that is the "first degree of priesthood", but rather the position of reader.  In fact, this kind of thinking strongly influenced an exhortation which is given  by the bishop to the freshly minted reader immediately after his tonsuring and is present today in the texts:

"My son, the first degree in the Priesthood is that of Reader.  It behooves thee, therefore, to peruse the divine Scriptures daily, to the end that the hearers, regarding thee may receive edification; that thou in nowise shaming thine election, mayest prepare thyself for a higher degree.  For by a chaste, holy and upright life thou shalt gain the favour of the God of loving-kindness, and shalt render thyself worthy of a greater ministry, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory unto ages of ages.  Amen."

I really don't agree with this idea at all.  It is by no means the only view present in the Orthodox Church regarding the nature of the various clerical orders, nor is it even the dominant one, IMHO.  Each order has a role to play, its own specific function.  I think it's quite wrong to attribute sacerdotal or other "priestly" qualities to the role that the reader plays, and also to subdeacons and deacons.  I think that they have quite different roles, each one needed to build up the body of Christ and to manifest the presence of Christ within his Church. 

The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus is one fairly early document that, according to Florovsky, makes a sharp distinction between the role of service fulfilled by the deacon and the sacerdotal role fulfilled by bishops and priests.  According to the Tradition, deacons are not clergy at all.  However, I think this really has to do more with how one defines "clergy."  I think it's quite fine to refer to deacons as clergy, as they are chosen from the laos and set apart from them (while, however,  never leaving their ranks) in the same way that bishops and priests are set apart while still remaining part of the people of God.  It's just that deacons have a quite specific ministry of service that has nothing to do with being a priest. 

In a sense, the confusion around the whole distinction between "clergy" and "laity" is at the heart of my assertion that the deacon is like an "ultimate layman" in his specific role of and why I think an invigoration of the diaconate is necessary to help the laity feel more enfranchised, and to contribute to the health of the Church. 

James Barnett opens his book The Diaconate with this paragraph:

"The principle of the diaconate as an office and function of the Church is rooted in the nature of the Church itself as it was originally founded and lived in the pre-Nicene world.  The first principle of that Church as it come into being was that it was laos, the people of God.  The Church was called into being by God and made 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people'.  All were laos.  There was no word to distinguish, in the sense of today, between clergy and laity.  The clergy were laity along with the others who belonged to the people of God."
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2009, 03:33:58 PM »

  The closest I've come to finding any kind of "official" documentation is this small definition from goarch.org:

Deaconess. A pious lay woman assisting in the church as a caretaker or charity worker. The practice of using deaconesses in the Church was very ancient; however, it gradually disappeared. (http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8049)

 

hmm, so if a deaconess is a lay women, she cannot have received the sacrament of holy orders, otherwise she would not be in the lay state anymore, but would, in fact, be in the clerical state. Once one has received the sacrament of holy orders, one is no longer a lay person. Correct?


Still confused.


There are indeed some lay women referred to as deaconesses, and at some point(s) in the 20th century at least,  some have been blessed to the order in a way comparable to that of the male minor order of subdeacon.  But AFAIK, the best evidence we have shows that they were ordained up until the 12th or 13th century in the Greek Church at the altar in a manner similar to male deacons, though not in an identical way.  If course, by the 12th or 13th century, there were only a few token female deacons around.  The female diaconate seems to have lost its vigour somewhere around the sixth century, or maybe a little earlier or later, I am not sure.
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2009, 03:35:54 PM »

Hello,

What do the Orthodox hold as to the ordination of the deaconess?
What I mean is; Is their ordination considered to be the sacrament of holy orders like the Bishop, Priest, and Deacon receive, or is their ordination considered to be not the same as the sacrament received when a man is ordained a deacon?

I am Roman Catholic, so I suppose that I should qualify my question by asking, do Roman Catholics have the same understanding of the words, "ordain" and "sacrament" as the Orthodox?
If not, can you clarify what the orthodox meaning of these terms is?


Thanks

Dan
Welcome to the forum, Dan. Grin

Honestly, I see your questions addressing two separate, mostly unrelated subjects that would be much better discussed in two separate threads.  The former addresses a subject internal to the Orthodox faith, so it's perfect for the Faith Issues board.  The latter question, however, requests more of a comparison between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox practice, which is really not consistent with the mission of the Faith board.  I notice that you're new here, so you may not yet be aware that we have a separate board for Orthodox-Catholic Discussion; this is really the best places for such inquiries as the one asking us to compare our understanding of ordination to yours.  What I recommend you do, then, is start a new thread in the Orthodox-Catholic board and copy and paste the text of your second question into the OP of that thread.  If you have trouble doing this, please send me a message via our private messaging system, and I'll do what I can to help.


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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 03:45:03 PM »

Dear Danman,

Take a look at some of the articles on this website

"The Historical Orthodox Deaconess"

http://www.angelfire.com/pa/deaconess/


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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2009, 03:49:42 PM »



ORDER FOR THE ORDINATION OF A WOMAN DEACON

http://anastasis.org.uk/woman_deacon.htm

The explanatory notes are interesting
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2009, 03:51:41 PM »

  Welcome to the forum, Dan. Grin

Honestly, I see your questions addressing two separate, mostly unrelated subjects that would be much better discussed in two separate threads.  The former addresses a subject internal to the Orthodox faith, so it's perfect for the Faith Issues board.  The latter question, however, requests more of a comparison between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox practice, which is really not consistent with the mission of the Faith board.  I notice that you're new here, so you may not yet be aware that we have a separate board for Orthodox-Catholic Discussion; this is really the best places for such inquiries as the one asking us to compare our understanding of ordination to yours.  What I recommend you do, then, is start a new thread in the Orthodox-Catholic board and copy and paste the text of your second question into the OP of that thread.  If you have trouble doing this, please send me a message via our private messaging system, and I'll do what I can to help.


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thank you. I will do that. While i created an account a long time ago, i have not really posted much at all. So i guess i am still a newbie then.

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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2009, 03:57:08 PM »



In October 2004, the Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church voted for the restoration of the order of deaconess and gave the bishops the authority to ordain deaconesses as they see fit.


http://westernorthodoxy.org/pdf/restored.pdf

This decision is a practical implementation of the pan-Orthodox decision on deaconesses taken at Rhodes in 1988.
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2009, 05:28:00 PM »

I asked my husband about this, who is a liturgist in the process of writing his thesis on the development of the altar boy-- which comes from the deacon, so he has, in fact, studied this at some length.

There are two issues at work here:

1) It is unclear, according to Barberini 336 (the oldest euxologion in existence) whether the deaconess was in fact ordained or just tonsured (I myself have read the Barberini 336 with my husband translating, so I can attest to this as well).  While the prayer of ordination for the deaconess has survived, the place is still unclear.  All major orders (being deaconate, priesthood, episcopacy) are done inside the altar with the laying on of hands.  The minor orders (reader, chanter, subdeacon, modern day- altar boy) are done outside the altar either at the Bishop's throne or at the Royal Gates.  The deaconess, however, remains unclear.  The Barberini 336 is also unclear with respect to the manner which she was ordained-- laying on of hands versus tonsuring.  Now, there may be another euxologion in existence which is clear, but the Barberini 336 is the oldest, so any others would be either innovations or could go along with Barbarini 336 with added rubrics.

2) Her role, based on the prayer from the Barberini 336, was different from that of the deacon.  She fulfilled the roles that people have already mentioned before.  This is why it fell widely into disuse.  There was no longer a need for her.  The biggest, and most important difference, was that she played no role LITURGICALLY.  She did not go out on the Solea and read petitions, like a deacon, etc.  My understanding is that it is disputed as to how she received communion.  If she received in the altar, this would indicate that she was indeed ordained clergy.  If she received as a layperson, this would indicate that she was tonsured. 

I would say that the goarch website's characterization is the "safe" one.  Since so much of her role is still unknown, they went the safe route so as not to ignite controversy.

Mike, may I ask what your source is for knowing in what manner she received communion?  My husband wanted me to ask, just in case he somehow missed a good source for his work.

Hope this helps!!!

In Christ,
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2009, 07:10:14 PM »

Thank you for your post Presbytera Mari.  It pretty much hits on all the points I've seen.
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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2009, 08:36:09 PM »

1) It is unclear, according to Barberini 336 (the oldest euxologion in existence) whether the deaconess was in fact ordained or just tonsured (I myself have read the Barberini 336 with my husband translating, so I can attest to this as well).  While the prayer of ordination for the deaconess has survived, the place is still unclear.  All major orders (being deaconate, priesthood, episcopacy) are done inside the altar with the laying on of hands.  The minor orders (reader, chanter, subdeacon, modern day- altar boy) are done outside the altar either at the Bishop's throne or at the Royal Gates.  The deaconess, however, remains unclear.  The Barberini 336 is also unclear with respect to the manner which she was ordained-- laying on of hands versus tonsuring.  Now, there may be another euxologion in existence which is clear, but the Barberini 336 is the oldest, so any others would be either innovations or could go along with Barbarini 336 with added rubrics.

In fairness to Barberini, it doesn't actually say where the deacon is ordained, but it is implied - what is interesting in the text is that it explicitly says that the deacon kneels while the deaconess only bows her head.  There is no mention of tonsure, but two instances of "hand on head" appear in the service for the deaconess.  (And, by comparing the two, one actually finds typographical errors, either in the printed edition (unlikely), or, more likely, in the Barberini itself.)
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« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2009, 09:44:09 PM »



In October 2004, the Synod of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church voted for the restoration of the order of deaconess and gave the bishops the authority to ordain deaconesses as they see fit.


http://westernorthodoxy.org/pdf/restored.pdf

This decision is a practical implementation of the pan-Orthodox decision on deaconesses taken at Rhodes in 1988.

While I would never leave the Church or a parish over it, I hope this is something that is not widespread in use.

With everyone trying to effeminize everything else in society and the "women's lib" movement what it is, I for one enjoy having an all male clergy. I think it's healthy and is a strong point of the Church.

I know it existed in the early days of the Church, but I also know the practical need for it back then. I personally just don't see a need for it today.

I will trust the Bishops in their decision to use it, but I'm not crazy about it.

That's just my $.02
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2009, 10:49:28 PM »

In fairness to Barberini, it doesn't actually say where the deacon is ordained, but it is implied - what is interesting in the text is that it explicitly says that the deacon kneels while the deaconess only bows her head.  There is no mention of tonsure, but two instances of "hand on head" appear in the service for the deaconess. 

Yes, I think this is interesting, despite Fr. Ephrem Lash's contention that it is not significant.   I might disagree with him on this. It's interesting that, in the modern usage at least, when priests are ordained, they are ordained kneeling on both knees.  Deacons are presently ordained kneeling on one knee.  I am not sure what the scenario was at the time of the Barberini usage for male deacons and priests: was it the same as today?  Wouldn't it be interesting if what was called for was the same as the current usage: the priest ordained on both knees, the male deacon on one knee, and the female deacon simply bowing?  I suppose if this is the case, one thing that might be extrapolated from this is differences in service to the altar, in a sense.  The priest is basically totally linked to the altar in sacerdotal service.  The male deacon has many liturgical duties and has many responsibilities in terms of looking after the gifts in various ways (eg consuming the gifts after communion, raising the gifts at "thine own of thine own" etc.) and the female deacon has not much to do with the altar in her work. 
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2009, 01:08:26 AM »

Thanks for your responses.

So if I am understanding correctly, the deaconess receives the sacrament of holy orders. But this leads me to 2 different questions:

1) The rite of ordination seems to indicate that the deaconess is ordained to the work of service whereas the deacon is ordained to assist in the service of the most pure mysteries. Doesn't this make the deacon and deaconess fundamentally different in their role?

2) Why isn't the ordained deaconess able to be ordained as a priest? I understand that there is no Tradition for this, but sacramentally, since the deaconess has received the sacrament of holy orders, isn't this considered the same sacrament as the priest and Bishop, only to a different degree?

I am not trying to argue for women's ordination to the priesthood. I am only trying to reconcile something that seems contradictory to me.

Thanks again


Part of this is the reduction of the deaconate to only being a stepping stone to the priesthood.  Permanent deacons are an office in their own right.  To hold otherwise, it would follow that the priesthood is only a stepping stone to the episcopacy, which is not the case.
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« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2012, 03:42:29 AM »

Quote
1) The rite of ordination seems to indicate that the deaconess is ordained to the work of service whereas the deacon is ordained to assist in the service of the most pure mysteries. Doesn't this make the deacon and deaconess fundamentally different in their role?

Though they serve in different capacities, the role of male and female deacons is not ontologically different. They were both appointed by the Apostles to serve the Church, primarily in the role of helping the widows and orphans, helping the poor and sick by distributing alms, etc. I think that the scripture is clear that, regardless of however the role may have developed in regards to their role in the Divine Services, the primary role for deacons is and continues to be this. Women deacons are ordained in the altar, but like readers who only wear the short-phelonion for a very short time and are then traditionally only used for service in the altar whenever there is a need, women deacon's liturgical service is likewise short. This is particularly for sake of propriety in following the exhortation by St. Paul in regards to male and female use of gifts in the liturgy. (Noter: women are permitted, by apostolic approval by their bishop of course, to serve in the altar when there are no men present as in the case of a women's monastery, but never to fill the role of the priest or bishop). They are coordinators, the hands of the bishop  to serve the poor and downtrodden and subsequently keep order in the local parish church (this is also, ironically, why the male deacon stands before the Royal Doors on the ambo during the litanies appointed for him in the Divine Services; at one time to lead the people in prayer and at another to protect and guard the Holy Gifts as a sentry).

Quote
2) Why isn't the ordained deaconess able to be ordained as a priest? I understand that there is no Tradition for this, but sacramentally, since the deaconess has received the sacrament of holy orders, isn't this considered the same sacrament as the priest and Bishop, only to a different degree?

The deacon(ess) is different because his/her role is ontologically different than that of the priest. Though they all possess Holy Orders, the Orders that they possess differ.

A bishop is the icon of God the Father. Only through him can ordinations be made, rites approved, discipline be established, etc in the same way that it is only through the Father's will that the Word speaks and the Spirit is breathed and proceeds from the Father. This is because the Will of the Father is the same will as the Son and the Spirit for they are united under the monarchical headship of the Father. As St. Ignatius of Antioch says "Where the Bishop is, there is the Church."

The priest lifts up and makes sacrifice to God the Father as a servant of the Bishop. He is the ontological icon of Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh. Nothing that he does, can he do apart from his Father. In the same way, the priest does not ordain, consecrate chrism, approve rites, establish discipline for his flock but in all things must rely on the will of the Bishop (who being in the icon of the Father has the role of Creator). They share many similarities since as the Lord says, "truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise." Also, the priest has been deligated certain prerogatives by the Bishop such as serving the liturgy in his place, hearing confessions for him, administering the chrism which he has consecrated etc because as the Scripture says of Christ "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." As he is the Son of the Father, he cannot, by ontological nature be a daughter. Hence, we have an all male priesthood and episcopacy. Otherwise the icon would be corrupted and the balance of roles skewed (regardless of how much some women in the feminist movement would love to usurp the role of men where it is not physically allotted to them, there are biological and, we would argue spiritual, differences. Complimentary differences, but differences none-the-less, which I will get into when I speak of the deacon(ess).

The deacon, likewise continues to share in the possession of Holy Orders. The particular role of the deacon as expressed above is to serve and comfort. For this same reason we address the Holy Spirit as the "comforter." The Holy Spirit is also referred to as The Helper. Because women, in the role given to them by God in the garden of Eden are also referred to primarily as helpers/assistants to men (albeit while being equal to them in dignity as God's creations, just as the Holy Spirit is equal in essence to God the Father and God the Son) and having proceeded from man by the taking of a rib (as the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father as like a breath), it can be considered proper for females to serve in the role of deaconesses while never having the possibility of being elevated to the priesthood or episcopacy.

Unfortunately Holy Orders have come to be understood as an order of power. Bishop, then Priest, then Deacon. This is not the case. They all equally share in the ministry of the apostles and are all equally an icon of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit just as God is One, and undivided; but they also possess different ontological roles that compliment and support one another.
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« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2012, 09:52:53 AM »

This web site is a good portal for anyone interested in the ministry of women in the Orthodox Church:
http://stnina.org/
and their journal:
http://stnina.org/printed-journal


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Hosts International Conference for
Orthodox Women
http://stnina.org/print-journal/volume-1/volume-1-no-4-fall-1997/ecumenical-patriarch-bartholomew-hosts-international-

Quote
There were also discussions regarding the rejuvenation of the female diaconate. The delegates were encouraged to reflect deeply upon this tradition. In his welcoming address of Patriarch Bartholomew reminded the participants that "Here, at the Great Church of Hagia Sophia, a number of devoted women such as St. Olympias, served as deaconesses . . . To both women and men, to both clergy and laity, these women saints continue to be a source of inspiration, for it is written, 'God is revealed in His saints!'" His Holiness also noted the "call for the full restoration of the order of women deacons . . . The order of women deacons is an undeniable part of tradition coming from the early Church. Now, in many of our Churches, there is a growing desire to restore this order so that the spiritual needs of the people of God may be better served. There are already a number of women who appear to be called to this ministry."

"Perhaps one of the most remarkable results of these two international Orthodox conferences, [the other conference was "Discerning the Signs of the Times" held in Damascus Syria, October, 1996]" stated FitzGerald, "is that, now, at least at a symbolic level, we have for the first time a global consensus regarding a number of the important concerns that affect Orthodox women. This indeed, may prove to be of immediate and future service to the Church."


See also this book published after the conference in 1997:
http://www.womendeacons.org/discussion/kyriaki.shtml
Women deacons in the Orthodox Church
Called to holiness and ministry
by Dr. Kiriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald
Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998; ISBN 1-885652-22-4 (pbk.)

The book also includes the proceedings from these Pan-Orthodox conferences:
Texts from the Inter-Orthodox Theological Consultation, Rhodes 1988.

* Appendix D. Discerning the ‘Signs of the Times’ Women in the Life of the Orthodox Church, Damascus 1996

* Appendix E. Discerning the ‘Signs of the Times’ Women in the Life of the Orthodox Church, Istanbul 1997

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« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2012, 04:26:27 PM »

I would read that St. Nina Quarterly with a nearby ton of salt...
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« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2012, 04:31:49 PM »

I see that answers are all over the place.  Is there a definite answer to this?  Did deaconesses receive the same Holy Orders as the deacon?  Was this at a time when the role of a deacon isn't the same as they are today which would mean it was somewhat a different ordination?
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« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2012, 04:48:27 PM »

Did deaconesses fulfill a liturgical role?
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 04:48:34 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2012, 05:19:35 PM »

I see that answers are all over the place.  Is there a definite answer to this?  Did deaconesses receive the same Holy Orders as the deacon?  Was this at a time when the role of a deacon isn't the same as they are today which would mean it was somewhat a different ordination?

Find it yourself in Goar's Euchologion and ccompare.

Did deaconesses fulfill a liturgical role?

God knows.
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« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2012, 06:32:30 PM »

Quote
This web site is a good portal for anyone interested in the ministry of women in the Orthodox Church:
http://stnina.org/
and their journal:
http://stnina.org/printed-journal

This outfit also stridently promotes altargirls. Utter rubbish.  Tongue Tongue Angry
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« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2012, 06:35:18 PM »

I see that answers are all over the place.  Is there a definite answer to this?  Did deaconesses receive the same Holy Orders as the deacon?  Was this at a time when the role of a deacon isn't the same as they are today which would mean it was somewhat a different ordination?

Find it yourself in Goar's Euchologion and ccompare.

Can I get a simple "yes" or "no" instead? Wink
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« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2012, 07:51:56 PM »

Quote
This web site is a good portal for anyone interested in the ministry of women in the Orthodox Church:
http://stnina.org/
and their journal:
http://stnina.org/printed-journal

This outfit also stridently promotes altargirls. Utter rubbish.  Tongue Tongue Angry

I did not see much stridency. Instead, there was advocacy done in a serious and thoughtful manner. I do not agree with them but it is only because I am 67 years old and am leery of too many changes. I do not have reasons good enough to rebut their reasoning.
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« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2012, 08:15:05 PM »

I see that answers are all over the place.  Is there a definite answer to this?  Did deaconesses receive the same Holy Orders as the deacon?  Was this at a time when the role of a deacon isn't the same as they are today which would mean it was somewhat a different ordination?

Find it yourself in Goar's Euchologion and ccompare.

Can I get a simple "yes" or "no" instead? Wink

The rites are very similar.
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« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2012, 08:15:45 PM »

Did deaconesses fulfill a liturgical role?

Did the deacons?
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« Reply #34 on: November 28, 2012, 08:17:29 PM »

Did deaconesses fulfill a liturgical role?

Did the deacons?

What is "a liturgical role"?
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