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Author Topic: Deaconess and the sacrament of holy orders  (Read 2575 times) Average Rating: 0
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danman916
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« on: January 13, 2009, 04:01:18 PM »

Hello,

Hopefully this question is appropriate for this particular sub forum.

I am trying to understand how the ordination of a deaconess can be considered a sacrament of holy orders.
Perhaps my difficulty lies in the different understandings that Catholics and Orthodox seem to have about many things.

For Catholics, if I understand correctly, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is one sacrament with different degrees of fullness so that the Bishop receives the fullness of the sacrament by his consecration and that a deacon receives the first order of that sacrament. The priest being of the 2nd order.

How does the deaconess fit into this?
Does the ordained deacon receive the same sacrament as the deacon, priest, or Bishop?

Do the Orthodox hold, as the Catholics, that there is an indellible mark on the soul upon one receiveing the sacrament of holy orders?

Because Catholics hold that there is only one sacrament of holy orders (not three for each elvel of clergy), it seems difficult for me to reconcile that a deaconess can receive the same sacrament as the deacon, priest or bishop, since they cannot become deacons, priests, or Bishops, but have a fundamentally different role.

How do the Orthodox reconcile, what seems to be a contradiction?

And one other historical question, have deaconesses ever administered the sacrament of anointing of the sick, proclaimed the gospel at the divine liturgy, or performed the liturgical roles of the deacon at the divine liturgy?

Thanks in advance for helping me to understand.

Dan
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 04:13:49 PM »



Dan,

Please check the other thread which you started becasuse I have put some solid information on there about deaconesses.
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 04:21:24 PM »

Do the Orthodox hold, as the Catholics, that there is an indellible mark on the soul upon one receiveing the sacrament of holy orders?

No Indelible Mark of the Priesthood in Patristic Teaching

"....no evidence concerning the indelible mark theory can be found in
Patristic teaching. On the contrary, the canonical data leave no doubt that
a defrocked priest or bishop, after the decision of the Church to take back
his priesthood, returns to the rank of the laity. The anathematized or the
defrocked are in no way considered to maintain their priesthood."
___________________________________________

"Christian Priesthood and Ecclesial Unity: Some Theological and Canonical
Considerations"

By Professor Constantine Scouteris
School of Theology of the University of Athens

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/canon_law/scouteris_priesthood\
_unity.htm


This.... comes to point that the priest does not possess in himself an
indelible mark as if it were a magical seal which grant him a private
efficacy to perform the Eucharist or any other liturgical action, apart from
the ecclesial body. The priestly ministry is rather a charismatic gift to
serve and edify the body of the Church. It is a permanent rank of service
only in union and by the discerning authority of the Church.

The doctrine of the "indelible mark" attained at ordination to the
priesthood seems to have originated in the Scholastic period of the Western
Church. This same conception was at times borrowed by Eastern theologians
thereafter. The teaching purports the grace of ordination as an indelible
irrevocable mark upon the soul of the ordained individual that sets him
apart for priestly service analogous to the Levite rank and the priesthood
according to the order of Melchizedek in the Old Testament. It is
interesting to mention here that the sixth Ecumenical Council in its 33rd
canon condemns the practice of Armenian Christians who had embraced the Old
Testament custom concerning the Levitic rank and did not accept for the
priesthood anyone who was not of this so called "priestly lineage". The
reasoning for the adoption of the Old Testament typology in both cases seems
to be that an identification mark is a constitutive element of priesthood.
In the later case it is conceived as an inherited trait, while in the former
which concerns us here, it is viewed as irrevocably and individually
attained at the ordination rite.

The logical conclusion of the "indelible mark" is that the ordained
individual possesses forever this peculiar mark of priesthood which can
never be removed by anyone nor can it be surrendered in any circumstance. It
is evident that such a doctrinal consideration absolutizes and isolates
priesthood from the event itself of the ecclesial communion. Priesthood here
is distortingly objectified and over-estimated assuming a totalitarian
magnitude. It is imposed over the Church which is unable to deprive the
ordained. individual of its characteristic mark, even if he is unworthy to
maintain the ecclesial grace. In fact this doctrine concerning the indelible
mark divorces the priesthood from its organic context of the ecclesial life.
Thus the ordained person possess a self sufficient power which is higher
than the Church itself And the Church is not able to take back the indelible
mark from an individual even if he is defrocked and excommunicated.

Interpreting the 68th Apostolic Cannon which refers to the impossibility of
repeating the sacrament of ordination16, St. Nicodimos the Agiorite explains
that ordination cannot be repeated because it is done according to the Type
of the First and Great Priest who entered once and for all into the holy of
holies and there granted eternal salvation. Yet, he unswervingly rejects the
doctrine of the "indelible mark" of priesthood and attests that it is the
"invention of scholastics"17. Nevertheless, according to St. Nicodimos, the
doctrine is borrowed by Nicholas Bulgaris, Koresios and many other
theologians of the past century and some still somehow adhere to it today.

Despite the fact that the indelible mark theory acquired dogmatic
formulation in the Council of Trent18, in most circles of the Roman Catholic
Church, after the Second Vatican Council, the foundational framework of
effecient causality and ex opere operato, which gave rise to such an
understanding of priesthood, is reckoned as belonging to a bygone age and
abandoned for a more dynamic and ecclesiological approach of sacrament19.

It should be mentioned in this connection that as far as we know, *** no
evidence concerning the indelible mark theory can be found in Patristic
teaching.*** On the contrary, the canonical data leave no doubt that a
defrocked priest or bishop, after the decision of the Church to take back
his priesthood, returns to the rank of the laity. The anathematized or the
defrocked are in no way considered to maintain their priesthood. The
canonical tradition that in the case of his ministerial rehabilitation this
person is not re-ordained does not imply a recognition that he was a priest
during the period of his punishment20. It simply means that the Church
recognizes that which had been sacramentally performed and the grace of
ecclesiastical ministry is restored upon his assignment to an ecclesial
community with no other sacramental sign or rite.




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danman916
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 04:25:01 PM »

Thank you Irish hermit.

I think I may know you from another forum?
If so, it is good to speak with you again.

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danman916
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2009, 05:21:37 PM »

Irish Hermit,

On another forum there was a reference to this document:


The Service of Ordination of a Deaconess
in the Roman Catholic Church
in the 10th century

From the Ordo Romanus in Hittorp:

"Ordo ad Diaconam faciendam"



I was wondering if you, perhaps, had this document, and could either send it to me, or post it here if it isn't too terribly long.

my email is danman916 [at] aol [dot] com


Broke e-mail down to protect it.  -- Neb
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 10:12:11 PM by Nebelpfade » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 07:13:40 PM »

^ Friend, please don't post your e-mail address in a public forum for spammers may grab hold of it and do nasty things.

Instead, please PM your e-mail address to those interested.  Welcome to the forum.   Smiley
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 07:14:17 PM by SolEX01 » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 09:08:05 PM »

Irish Hermit,
On another forum there was a reference to this document:
The Service of Ordination of a Deaconess
in the Roman Catholic Church
in the 10th century
From the Ordo Romanus in Hittorp:

"Ordo ad Diaconam faciendam"

I was wondering if you, perhaps, had this document, and could either send it to me, or post it here if it isn't too terribly long.

I had that text but it is on my now defunct former hard drive.  Sorry
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2009, 10:58:51 PM »

Thank you Irish hermit.

Yes, thank you, Father Ambrose.  A very informative post.
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danman916
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2009, 10:09:36 AM »

Fr Ambrose,

thanks for the info anyways.


hmm, perhaps i should not have given my email.

 
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2009, 12:25:05 PM »

Thanks for the informative post, Father.

I'm working on posts for Cleopas' thread on Apostolic succession.  I'll mention here that I make the point that there is one priesthood, Christ's, that the bishops share in/take part in and to them is a share or portion, but they do not possess the episcopacy, which is an ontological whole.
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2009, 01:40:18 PM »

So you are sayinig that there is a distinction to be made between possessing the episcopacy and sharing in the episcopacy?

Bishops share in the episcopasy, but do not possess it?

Forgive me for being unable to draw the conclusion from this, but then what does that mean for the priest, deacon, and deaconess?
Do they also share in this episcopacy in a lesser way without possessing it, or not at all?

In short, is there a distinction in something that a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon has that the Deaconess has not?


Thank you

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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2009, 05:30:34 PM »

So you are sayinig that there is a distinction to be made between possessing the episcopacy and sharing in the episcopacy?

Bishops share in the episcopasy, but do not possess it?

Forgive me for being unable to draw the conclusion from this, but then what does that mean for the priest, deacon, and deaconess?
Do they also share in this episcopacy in a lesser way without possessing it, or not at all?

In short, is there a distinction in something that a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon has that the Deaconess has not?


Thank you

Some of these questions are addressed in the other thread.
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2009, 10:02:43 PM »


The Modern Coptic Orthodox Deaconess

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/479/spec1.htm

"The third way

"Monasticism and service in the community have traditionally fallen on opposite sides of the Coptic Church's walls, but a revived movement is proving otherwise. Mariz Tadros investigates a religious way of life that is gaining increasing popularity.

"Marriage or monasticism? For a long time, these were the only options available for women in the Coptic Orthodox church. But in recent years, more women are opting to become consecrated deaconesses. Dressed in grey robes, with a pale grey head-scarf and a small leather cross, consecrated deaconesses are being seen more and more in churches, on the streets, and in work places across the country......"

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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2009, 11:54:25 PM »

So you are sayinig that there is a distinction to be made between possessing the episcopacy and sharing in the episcopacy?

Quote
Yes.  Bishops share in the episcopacy, but do not possess it.

Quote
Bishops share in the episcopasy, but do not possess it?

Yes.

Quote
Forgive me for being unable to draw the conclusion from this, but then what does that mean for the priest, deacon, and deaconess?
Do they also share in this episcopacy in a lesser way without possessing it, or not at all?

They partake of it, as do the laity (which is why they can evangelize and perform emergency baptisms).  That is why the bishop must bless the chrism.  The bishop serves as the conduct and locus of this charism, hence why priests do not ordain deacons and priests, in Orthodoxy, are not alter Christus but the delegate of the bishop, a sort of minister pro tempore. Deacons do not serve as the delegatge of the bishop.

Quote
In short, is there a distinction in something that a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon has that the Deaconess has not?

The difference between the bishop and priest and the deaconess is as the difference between them and the deacon.  Between the deacon and deaconess, the biggest present difference is that the deacon can go on to the higher orders:whether this is a dogma or not, I'm not so sure.  It's been a while (nearly 20 years) since I looked through all the data, but bottom line, if there is a laying on of hands, it's an ordination of some sort.  Btw, when I looked at it, the typical explanation was that the deaconesses grew out of the widows of the NT, not out of the deaconate of Acts directly.
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2009, 09:03:48 AM »

I see.

Thank you very much. That explains it well.
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2009, 11:10:02 PM »

I get the feeling that neither of you (Ialmisry and Danman) looked at what I posted in the other thread, or simply don't agree with it.  That's fine.  I think there is some good information in Ialmisry's post, but I don't think that it tells the whole story.  I disagree strongly with the idea that "the deacon is not the bishop's delegate."  He is very much so, just not in a Eucharistic sense.  Anyway, perhaps that is all that Ialmisry is saying.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2009, 11:55:25 PM »

I get the feeling that neither of you (Ialmisry and Danman) looked at what I posted in the other thread, or simply don't agree with it. 

Not at all.  In fact I liked this:

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. 

Quote
That's fine.  I think there is some good information in Ialmisry's post,

Thank you.

Quote
but I don't think that it tells the whole story.
No it doesn't.  It's been quite some time since I last looked at all the data on the question at hand.  Since this has been very much in the realm of the theoretical, my interest since them has solely been a)the restoration of the permanent deaconate, which is happening b) restoration of the deaconess.  However, since I've been in the U.S. most of the time, and I didn't/don't support her restoration here at this time (the environment of "femecuminism" is toxic here), and the historic patriarchates hadn't stepped up to the plate and I had little reason for imput, that remained theoretical.  In other words, a full discussion I think might be further than I'd be ready to walk on water for.


Quote
I disagree strongly with the idea that "the deacon is not the bishop's delegate."  He is very much so, just not in a Eucharistic sense.  Anyway, perhaps that is all that Ialmisry is saying.

Something like that. I was trying to make a contrast between the priest and the deacon.  Vicar might (as in the sense the Vatican calls itself the Vicar of Christ).  Basically the priest does everything on the bishop behalf and name, ordination being the sole exception and even then a priest can in unusual circumstances tonsure a reader.  Basically, the deacon can do none of these (chrismation, Eucharist, marriage, absolution, anointing of the sick (?)). Baptism would be only an emergency like a layman (I like the "ultimate layman" idea), and of course he can in no way ordain.

Once I get organized and posting on Cleopas' Apostolic succession, I hope to show I think that the word used for the "ministry" of the Apostleship and episcopacy is literally "deaconate" bears a lot of meaning.  I also think the deaconate bears a resemblance to the patriarchate, in that both are entirely creations of the Church (as opposed to the episcopacy, which was founded directly by Christ and the Holy Spirit, and not indirectly through the authority of the Church).

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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2009, 12:07:06 PM »

Thank you for the clarification, Ialmisry.  It's difficult to distill every opinion and nuance when discussing this rather complex subject.   For example, even though I affrim that the deacon has no sacerdotal function, this is stretching things to make a point, since you have  (indirectly) pointed out that all the people of God share in the consecration of the Gifts.   

I think the evidence shows that the waters were quite muddy regarding holy orders in the early Church.  (Not to say that the Holy Spirit didn't sort things out and was all along guiding things!)  I am reluctant to say that the episcopacy was founded directly by Christ.  I am also reluctant to affirm that "apostles are bishops" in the way that some posters have insisted.  A lot more can be said about this, but I suppose that this is for another thread. Wink
« Last Edit: January 16, 2009, 12:18:21 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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