OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 25, 2014, 02:22:55 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 3 All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Women: "Uncleanness" and Baptism and Deaconesses  (Read 9806 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« on: April 08, 2009, 02:03:57 PM »

From the "Met Jonah" thread: 



Quote
3. The diaconate of women should be re-instituted in our Church, according to the ancient, New Testament model.
I don't know that I would be eager to see this happen willy nilly but if the time is right and there is a need for it to be reinstituted then this is worthy of consideration. If I'm not mistaken St. Nectarios tonsured two women into the women's diaconate.  That said it seems most functions of this tonsure have been subsumed by women monastics...I think. 
I would not be eager to see it willy nilly either, but as we have many, many women converting (and we do indeed), then I think there is a need.  I had a priest tell me just the other day that he thinks it's totally inappropriate for a priest to be handling an adult woman at a baptism.  I agree with him.  With the climate of the times being what it is, especially (not that our church practices are determined by the climate of the time, but we do need to take extra care sometimes), we need to be especially careful about our priests handling women.  I say this as one who does NOT want to see her husband accused of something because he baptized an adult woman.  That is just one example of the need.  There are others, but I think even the existence of one (very crucial) need like this is enough.

Firstly, need is assessed by many factors, and not just women entering the church (and how many). 

Secondly, most of the women who are converting are doing so from other Christian denominations.  The GOA (and most other jurisdictions) have protocol as to how they are received into the church, and it's not through re-baptism.  Now, if there were converts from paganism or etc. or if the church decides to be more cyprianic in its mindset, then there would be a need.  As it stands today, I don't think we can make a case that there really is that much of a need. 

I do agree though that one convert who needs to be baptized is too much.  We don't need our priests being brought into scandals.  I wonder though how the early church was able to maintain its dignity.  They didn't start ordaining deaconesses until much later on when the need was immense.  Maybe that is a lesson to us.  Just throwing it out there. 

Quote
Quote
Quote
4. Women should be welcomed to participate in the Liturgy as members of the choir, as chanters and readers. Women should be tonsured for these roles in the same manner as are men.
I was not aware tonsure was required of anyone to sing in the choir. To my knowledge anyone can read if asked/blessed by the priest without tonsure if a tonsured reader is not available. Traditionally speaking male choirs might be preferable but not normally possible at the parish level. This is a decision for Bishops and priests. Tonsuring female readers strikes me as very problematic if it lacks any serious traditional precident. The service for tonsure of a reader is that of a taper bearer and would suggest a right/duty to serve in the altar. This is not right. Even an Abbess who has the right to be in the altar and receive communion there cannot do this so far as I know. One thing is for sure, the door should not be open to female altar servers.
Choirs, in the way we have them here in the US, are a Western innovation, and are foreign to the Church.  Why are male choirs preferable?  Are not women included in the commands we see in the Bible to raise our voices to the Lord?  Why should women be excluded from this?
Why not women altar servers?  Just curious what your thinking is here.  In monasteries the women always serve in the altar.  There WAS a female diaconate, where she was ordained in the altar, received communion in the altar as clergy, and served in the altar.  The precedent is there for allowing women to serve in the altar and there is no theological reason she CAN'T, so I'm curious as to what your thinking is.

I was always under the impression that women serving IN the altar was an "oikonomia" to the canons.  If it's an economy then there must be a reason why they wern't allowed in the first place (other than scheuvanism).  Does that make sense? 

Also...how do you figure then (with this reasoning that I laid out above) that there is no theological reason that a woman CAN'T be in the altar?  Like I said above, what about the iconic role of the priesthood?  I understand that economic examples have been given, like the Panagia, etc.  But those are economy, not the rule.  See my point? 

Quote
Quote
Quote
5. Tonsured women should be welcomed to serve in the Sanctuary as are men.
No they shouldn't unless there is ample precident in the Tradition. I do not like this creeping anti-male feminist gender homogenizing.
See above.  In addition, though, just because a woman has a desire to serve does NOT make her anti-male or a feminist, or gender homogenizing.  Did it ever occur to you that it has nothing to do with you?  Or with men?  At all?  But rather a woman's genuine desire to serve?

What about the standard response of "well there are many other ways you can serve, just not in this particular way".  Also what would you answer to the question "what about men who have the desire to give birth to a child.  And not just any child, but the Son of God?"  .....I'd be interested in your feedback. 

Quote
Quote
Quote
6. Both male and female infants should be Churched in the same way, within the Sanctuary.
No they shouldn't. That is not the tradition, and so far as I know never has been.
I don't personally care whether they're both in the Sanctuary or not.  I don't really even care that they're churched differently.  But I do care that the reason for it does not hold water theologically.

Yah...I covered this above.  Let me know what you think. 

Quote
Quote
Quote
7. The Church must make it clear that natural bodily functions should in no way bar anyone from participation in the sacraments.
  This is utter nonsense. Absolutely not. These bars are on everyone not just women. If a man has an open bleeding wound/sore he should not commune any more than a women in her monthly time. Nor should either if they've had relations the night before.  Such an idea is just unthinkable. For goodness sake, this has nothing to do with sexual discrimination even a little. If a Orthodox person communes within 24 hours of their repose, if they are desanguinated, then that blood has to be saved and buried with them. It's about respect for the Holy Mysteries, not egos.
This is ridiculous.  A woman's menstrual blood does not circulate the way the rest of the blood in the body does, otherwise she would die from blood loss on day one of her period.  But they didn't know that when the canon was written.  Either way, this is a stupid argument that has been hashed and rehashed a million times on the forum.  Suffice it to say:  1.  We should NEVER be teaching our children that something their body does is wrong or bad, that God's creation is not good, or is a mistake.  This is the concern with this issue.  2. It's best to leave it up to one's spiritual father, so there's no point in arguing here.

This is honestly one of the most motivating things i've ever heard/read/experienced from a woman, or anyone for that matter. I just wanted to personally thank you for writing this.  Definitely gave me a reality check.  thanks pres! 

Quote
This is for the most part just modernist ego driven crazy talk so far as I can see, a complete disregard for the Tradition when it becomes "insensative" by modern "standards". 
Look, I'm not in favor of ordaining women to the priesthood, so let's get that out there before going any further.  Because, inevitably, any woman who wants to serve in the church is labeled a "feminist," "anti-male," "modern," etc.  That's a load, and we all know it.  I AM in favor of a female diaconate, should the CHURCH (not you or me) decide that there is a need.  I AM in favor of women being allowed to serve in the altar (as many already do, and with their bishop's blessings) because there is no reason to BAR women from heeding THEIR calling to serve.  At the least, the distinction needs to be made that NO ONE, MALE OR FEMALE, should be in the altar without the priest's/bishop's blessing.  This distinction is always lost. 

It is wrong to say that women are feminists and anti-male for desiring to serve the Lord.  It is unfair.  There are a few women out there, yes, who are a very vocal minority, who have ruined it for the rest of us.  But to ignore these issues and brush them off as "feminist talk" is to ignore and brush off an entire HALF of humanity (whom God ALSO created in His image and likeness), not minister to them, and to set precedents that, no matter the fact that there is NO theological basis for it, women are just lesser than men.  You may say that's stupid, or feminist, or modern or whatever.  I say, I'm tired of hearing men like you brush me off.  I say, it's time to EDUCATE the people and end the mythology.  No, women should not be priests, but let's be clear about the reasons.  I had a Sunday Schooler (a 16 year old) tell me she thinks women shouldn't be priests because Eve ate the apple and women are worse and lesser than men.  This was three weeks ago.  Is this what we should be teaching our children?  No.  We SHOULD be teaching them that the priesthood is not for women.  But we should be teaching them the proper reasons why, and we should be drawing VERY clear lines about what is and isn't proper for women, BASED ON THEOLOGY, NOT ANTIQUATED MISOGYNISTIC MYTHOLOGY.
[/quote]

Instead of going through all of this, I think maybe we should just start by addressing the points I brought up before (above).  Let me know what you think. 
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
si2008
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 96


« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 03:26:35 PM »

Thank you to whoever responded "This is ridiculous.  A woman's menstrual blood does not circulate the way the rest of the blood in the body does, otherwise she would die from blood loss on day one of her period.  But they didn't know that when the canon was written.  Either way, this is a stupid argument that has been hashed and rehashed a million times on the forum.  Suffice it to say:  1.  We should NEVER be teaching our children that something their body does is wrong or bad, that God's creation is not good, or is a mistake.  This is the concern with this issue.  2. It's best to leave it up to one's spiritual father, so there's no point in arguing here."

This topic troubles me greatly, especially when the woman healed of the flow of blood was able to approach the Lord for healing.  And yet it seems to bring up such vehement feelings in men, for some reason, who can choose not to masturbate and who can avoid getting papercuts.  Women cannot choose not to menstruate unless they get below a certain body fat %, which means that they would have far fewer opportunities to commune even if they had said their prayers and prepared their hearts, and genuinely trusted in the Lord to heal them.
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 03:55:07 PM »

This topic troubles me greatly, especially when the woman healed of the flow of blood was able to approach the Lord for healing. 

A great point: she had a flow of blood for years, and actually touched Christ while He walked on the Earth... and she wasn't struck down, or humbled, but rather exalted for her faith.  However, I'm sure someone will dismiss it since she wasn't eating and thus there was "no chance for it to come out in the flow of blood."

I've got a question for the no-communing-during-menstruation crowd: what do you do with the millions of skin cells that, after receiving blood from the body and which die in a continual cycle throughout the day, fall off the body after communion (for hours, days, *gasp* and years)?  What about the hairs that come off the head (and other parts of the body - underarms and face, for example)?
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009, 04:37:43 PM »

Quote
I had a priest tell me just the other day that he thinks it's totally inappropriate for a priest to be handling an adult woman at a baptism.  I agree with him.  With the climate of the times being what it is, especially (not that our church practices are determined by the climate of the time, but we do need to take extra care sometimes), we need to be especially careful about our priests handling women.

The climate of the times does bear consideration with regard to the influx of adult converts needing baptism in recent years.

Quote
Choirs, in the way we have them here in the US, are a Western innovation, and are foreign to the Church.  Why are male choirs preferable?  Are not women included in the commands we see in the Bible to raise our voices to the Lord? Why should women be excluded from this?

I don't think women should be excluded from singing. The resurgance of congregational singing in American Orthodox parishs strikes me as a very good think.  

If I'm not mistaken, I believe to original move to well trained choirs in ages past was in support of the idea of "kallos" beauty. The worship of the Lord should be beautiful both theologically and in its expression. In public worship the male voice can express the depth and sobriety of our worship better than the female voice, generally speaking, since it is more or less restricted to an upper register (if that is the right musical term). It is well to remember both east and west until fairly recently male choirs were the norm in churches, with boys singing the highest note and adult men filling in the middle and lowest notes (granted some men can sing much higher than others). I'm not sure whether this was because of a strong sense of cultural impropriety about allowing mixed choirs, or women being thrust too much in the public eye or whether there is some undergirding theology that supports male only choirs.  Personally I've not seen such theology, though I've heard it alluded to. So my guide at this point is a combination of the tradition that has come to us plus the "artistic" considerations given the natural range of the male voice as to what might be considered preferable.  That said, I not aware of any prohibition of women singing. If the worship is beautiful sing away.

Quote
Why not women altar servers?  Just curious what your thinking is here.  In monasteries the women always serve in the altar.  There WAS a female diaconate, where she was ordained in the altar, received communion in the altar as clergy, and served in the altar.  The precedent is there for allowing women to serve in the altar and there is no theological reason she CAN'T, so I'm curious as to what your thinking is.

A monastery is not a parish. When you say the female diaconate served in the altar in ancient times does that mean they carried tapers, fans, banners, etc. as those who serve there today do?

I am open to the possibility of being wrong on this point, but only if such a thing had strong roots inthe Tradition. That said, even it it is permissible in certain cases I really don't see it as a good thing especially in this day and age. It is wonderful that women are willing to serve, and willing to step in wherever there is need. But today's greatest gender need, if I can speak this way, is women insisting that men do their part and remain active and engaged. If it is easy for a woman to displace a man in these functions, soon enough only women will be doing it at all...the men will either associate it will something belonging more to women than to them or will just view it as another indication that their maleness has little meaning or place in the Church or the world.

I'm speaking on my own, but I think in some manner these gender based service distinctions is part of the way the Church sacramentalizes what it is to be a male, a way of holding men responsible to the theological depths of what it means to be a male and make them accountable for the spiritual leadership of their homes and parishes.  If women step in, like it or not, that element goes out the window.

Quote
In addition, though, just because a woman has a desire to serve does NOT make her anti-male or a feminist, or gender homogenizing.  Did it ever occur to you that it has nothing to do with you?  Or with men?  At all?  But rather a woman's genuine desire to serve?

But it does have something to do with me. I am a male. That maleness is not without theological meaning and not without theological responsibilty. Does it not occur to you that just because a woman can do something that does not mean she should do that thing. Femaleness has theological meaning too and when traditional liturgical roles in the Church get blurred so does that meaning for both genders.

As for desire to serve: If the desire is simply to serve then I'm sure there are a number of opportunities for service in a parish. If the desire is to serve in a particular role...then that risks serious problems.  For example, I might want to be a priest and try everything I can to secure that ordination...but in reality a  pursuit of ordination simply out of my private desire is a very strong reason to suggest that I should not be a priest. So I cannot look upon the service desires on the part of women for specific traditional male roles without at least a little suspicion. The more pushing I see to open this thing or that thing up on purely gender equality concerns, the less I'm inclined to think that its a good thing to do.

Quote
I don't personally care whether they're both in the Sanctuary or not.  I don't really even care that they're churched differently.  But I do care that the reason for it does not hold water theologically.

I would agree. Old custom is not the same as "The Tradition". An undergirding theology needs to be present and sound for the practices of the Church.

Quote
This is ridiculous.  A woman's menstrual blood does not circulate the way the rest of the blood in the body does, otherwise she would die from blood loss on day one of her period.  But they didn't know that when the canon was written.  Either way, this is a stupid argument that has been hashed and rehashed a million times on the forum.  Suffice it to say:  1.  We should NEVER be teaching our children that something their body does is wrong or bad, that God's creation is not good, or is a mistake.  This is the concern with this issue.  2. It's best to leave it up to one's spiritual father, so there's no point in arguing here.

How it flows is irrelevant. It is still blood, and that it is a flow blood from a human body is what is important to this question. Nor is it a question of good or bad body functions. The relations between a man and woman in marriage are not bad, nor any of the body fluids involved. Indeed it can be very good since it can lead to new life.  But new life or not, such activities and their consequential "flows" preclude access to the Holy Eucharist for a set amount of time. This is the Tradition and there is no brooking it in the name of modern sanitary practices and enlightened body function values.

Consider the burial desanguination aspect. The blood of a recent communicant is saved and buried with them. This is because their body received the precious and life creating Holy Body and Blood of Christ our God. The human body tabernacles and ingests/incorporates that priceless gift, and that takes a little time to complete. I've read that if one reposes soon after taking holy communion one is escorted very quickly by many angels to the presence of the Lord. So if this is the case are you prepared to save any of the monthly flow from a day you took communion to be buried with you or else be disposed of in some prayerful and dignified way? Would you hand your priest a bag of your "deposits" for a proper disposal the same way you might an irreparialy damaged icon? If not, why not just follow the Tradition.

Or to illustrate it another way. When I was baptised and given my blessed garment, there were some loose threads that fell on the floor. My god mother picked them all up one by one, put them in a little baggie and told me to take care of them since they were blessed. I still have them after many years. If blessed cotton threads deserved such careful consideration, what of the very "life" of a human body who has recieved the Body and Blood of the Lord. Is it less special? It is treated worthily to trow it away like used sanitary products? No, of course not.

Quote
Look, I'm not in favor of ordaining women to the priesthood, so let's get that out there before going any further.  Because, inevitably, any woman who wants to serve in the church is labeled a "feminist," "anti-male," "modern," etc.  That's a load, and we all know it.  I AM in favor of a female diaconate, should the CHURCH (not you or me) decide that there is a need.  I AM in favor of women being allowed to serve in the altar (as many already do, and with their bishop's blessings) because there is no reason to BAR women from heeding THEIR calling to serve.  At the least, the distinction needs to be made that NO ONE, MALE OR FEMALE, should be in the altar without the priest's/bishop's blessing.  This distinction is always lost.  

I want to be sure I understand you correctly. Are you saying you don't believe in women in the priesthood because of certain labels that might be used for its supporters?  If so then I would be inclined to read your disinclination more at not wanting to face the battle of labeling rather than any particular theologial preference/understanding in favor of an all male priesthood. If not please clairify.

As or what is an inevitable "load of it" that we all know, I must disagree for I do not "know" this.  Of course I'm distinguishing between a desire to serve...and a desire to serve in the altar.

As for the restoration of the female diaconate, I agree is it a decision for the Church and not for either of us, though if the decision is made thoughtfully, prayerfully, and for theologically sound reasons keeping with the Tradition I would be in favor of it.

Quote
But to ignore these issues and brush them off as "feminist talk" is to ignore and brush off an entire HALF of humanity (whom God ALSO created in His image and likeness), not minister to them, and to set precedents that, no matter the fact that there is NO theological basis for it, women are just lesser than men.  You may say that's stupid, or feminist, or modern or whatever.  I say, I'm tired of hearing men like you brush me off.  I say, it's time to EDUCATE the people and end the mythology.  No, women should not be priests, but let's be clear about the reasons.  I had a Sunday Schooler (a 16 year old) tell me she thinks women shouldn't be priests because Eve ate the apple and women are worse and lesser than men.  This was three weeks ago.  Is this what we should be teaching our children?  No.  We SHOULD be teaching them that the priesthood is not for women.  But we should be teaching them the proper reasons why, and we should be drawing VERY clear lines about what is and isn't proper for women, BASED ON THEOLOGY, NOT ANTIQUATED MISOGYNISTIC MYTHOLOGY.

I do not think this is about brushing you off or your half the human race, but about resistance to the denaturing of the meaning of what it means to be male or female in the Church and in society. It is about resistance to a misguided entitlement driven gender focused liturgical egaletarianism.

You say you are tired of being brushed off by men like me. It certainly was not my intent to make you feel brushed aside. But neither was it my intent to pretend there are no differences between male and female and that those differences do have their own particular delimitations and theological role restrictions in the Church. I do not doubt that women find some of it frustrating. But I don't think that kind of frustration is neccesarrily a bad thing. It serves to remind women of trouble that came to the human race because of our mother Eve's ursupation of God's given order. That is not a popular sentiment today, but it is not a condemnation of women any more than a woman's covering in Church is a condemnation of the angels (it is done for the sake of the angels...a reminder to them of the value and safety of submission to God above self will). That submission could be such a gift. Mothers and sisters could insist that their men not shirk their duties within the Church...hold them accountable for being male in a good way...rather than competing with them for what some regard as a trophy of power-equity.

As for your Sunday School teacher's evaluation of Eve's part in the Fall...that's a little wince worthy in my book as well.

As for antiquated mysogenistic mythology, I'm no more for it than I am for modern mysanthropic mythology.  I am a Traditionalist, and I am quite patriarchal, no doubt, in my mindset which I think is entirely proper to faith and to society. No appologies there. I too share your concern for sound theologial foundations for our praxis.

However if in my tone or my ignorance, which I'm sure if greater than I imagine, I ask your forgiveness for this cheifest and most verbose of sinners.
Logged
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009, 04:42:34 PM »

Quote
A great point: she had a flow of blood for years, and actually touched Christ while He walked on the Earth... and she wasn't struck down, or humbled, but rather exalted for her faith.  However, I'm sure someone will dismiss it since she wasn't eating and thus there was "no chance for it to come out in the flow of blood."

Bodily illness in this regard  is a different matter and I believe treated in the canons. I think that for those in this condition economias are authorized.

Besides Christ healed her.

This question regards what is appropriate communing behavior for those women who have more or less normal body function in this respect.

As for "less opportunities to commune" no one male or female has a right to a specific count of communions. Consider the life of St. Mary of Egypt. I don't think she got to commune regularly as did most in her time male or female...and I think it all sort of worked out for her in the end.

Quote
what do you do with the millions of skin cells that, after receiving blood from the body and which die in a continual cycle throughout the day, fall off the body after communion (for hours, days, *gasp* and years)?  What about the hairs that come off the head (and other parts of the body - underarms and face, for example)?

So far as I know the canons only deal with blood and bodily emissions not with hair loss and toenail clippings. Besides, stuff that falls off is dead. Leaking blood is not dead.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 04:47:18 PM by Seraphim98 » Logged
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009, 05:09:20 PM »

This is a slightly different topic but regarding the baptism of adult women-I checked out a link on this forum to the recent National Geographic article on the Russian Orthodox Church. There was a picture of an adult women being baptised wearing nothing but a hot pink bikini! I was totally astounded that any woman would dress that way for baptism-in a church and in front of a man not her husband, but kept my peace, not wanting to appear too "outdated". Sure enough, some non-orthodox acquaintances of mine saw the article and  believe  me, that picture did nothing to boost their opinion of the Church...they called me up and wondered what was  with the Orthodox church for allowing such immodesty. I was very embarrassed.

When I was baptised, I wore a very loose, modest and opaque white gown made for me by my godmother. She actually made a second one for me to change into after the immersion, for modesty's sake. I also discouraged men from attending the baptism, for reasons of modesty.

Why would a woman wear nothing but a bikini for baptism, or want to appear in church in such attire before a man who was not her husband???  Shocked Huh
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 05:10:48 PM by Rosehip » Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
LizaSymonenko
Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
Global Moderator
Toumarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: God's Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Posts: 12,592



WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 05:59:59 PM »


Unfortunately, there are women who like to get "attention" from the opposite sex.  Sad, but, true.  I am surprised that the priest actually went through the baptism with her in that outfit.

For this same reason, I have to agree that men/women don't mix - especially in the Altar.  Even with the best of intentions...why risk the chance of tempting each other - even if it be unintentional?

For years I felt excluded.  That this is a "man's" world.  I understood that Christ picked only male disciples, however, it still stung when I saw men, that I knew had questionable moral standards, go in and out of the Altar, and I could only gaze in awe from the outside.  However, as I matured, I realized, as was mentioned above, that the Altar is ONLY for those who are serving.  MEN are also excluded if they have no business to conduct in the Altar.  In other words, if they are not the bishop, priest, deacon or altar server, they have as little right to be in there as do I.

Needless to say, in time I realized that there is plenty for me to do, outside the Altar.  You don't have to actively "serve" in the Altar to do God's work.  Certainly that is the most visible mean, however, God's work is done in the smallest of tasks.  I have taken on a number of things, that keep me so busy that I sometimes wonder how to do it all. 

I am fine with men serving in the Altar.  I am fine with the role God has given me.  Be happy with what you have...and search for a way to serve with what you have been given.

As for the menstruation thing....I personally, respect Christ enough that I would not dare to approach Him, lest I were prepared.  This means, clean.  Clean conscience.  Bathed, in clean clothes, clean hair, clean nails, and smelling fresh as a daisy.  Unless I am dying, and am in dire need of Communion, I can wait a week.

Why look for issues?  How many women actually Commune EACH and every Sunday?  For that fact, how many MEN do?  So, why argue about every 4th Sunday's eligibility?

If we are simply looking for reasons to "shake" the Faith...this is a truly silly reason....and if I may say...prideful.

Communion is a privilege, not a right.

I have to admit that I am brokenhearted if that time of month falls on a Sunday, especially on Holy Week (barring me from venerating the Holy Shroud-Plashchanitsia)....but, I get over it...

It's not a curse.  It's just life....and it's MY choice to keep my distance.  Nobody knows which woman is menstruating...and nobody dares instruct them whether they may/may not approach. It's the woman's own conscience....her own appreciation of What she is approaching that holds her back.

Makes me appreciate it more when I am able to partake of the Privilege.

Besides, I don't think a person's "judgement" will hinge on whether she Communed or kissed the cross or went to church, etc. 

We will be judged on how we lived and how we expressed our love, not just for each other, but, for Christ....which is manifested in our daily lives and our daily actions.

Just my opinion.

Please nobody take offense.

Peace.


Logged

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2009, 06:06:56 PM »

This is a slightly different topic but regarding the baptism of adult women-I checked out a link on this forum to the recent National Geographic article on the Russian Orthodox Church. There was a picture of an adult women being baptised wearing nothing but a hot pink bikini! I was totally astounded that any woman would dress that way for baptism-in a church and in front of a man not her husband, but kept my peace, not wanting to appear too "outdated". Sure enough, some non-orthodox acquaintances of mine saw the article and  believe  me, that picture did nothing to boost their opinion of the Church...they called me up and wondered what was  with the Orthodox church for allowing such immodesty. I was very embarrassed.

When I was baptised, I wore a very loose, modest and opaque white gown made for me by my godmother. She actually made a second one for me to change into after the immersion, for modesty's sake. I also discouraged men from attending the baptism, for reasons of modesty.

Why would a woman wear nothing but a bikini for baptism, or want to appear in church in such attire before a man who was not her husband???  Shocked Huh

Did it feel weird for you to have the priest see you/look at you?  Just curious. 
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2009, 06:13:52 PM »

Quote

Did it feel weird for you to have the priest see you/look at you?  Just curious. 


Serb, what do you mean? See me, look at me when? Do you mean when I was being baptized? (I just want to clarify before I answer)
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2009, 06:16:51 PM »

Quote

Did it feel weird for you to have the priest see you/look at you?  Just curious. 


Serb, what do you mean? See me, look at me when? Do you mean when I was being baptized? (I just want to clarify before I answer)


Yup that's exactly what I mean.  see you/look at you when you were being baptized. (i don't want to insinuate that he was leering or staring at you...that's why it was kind of confusing). 
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2009, 06:24:55 PM »

Quote

Did it feel weird for you to have the priest see you/look at you?  Just curious. 


Serb, what do you mean? See me, look at me when? Do you mean when I was being baptized? (I just want to clarify before I answer)


Yup that's exactly what I mean.  see you/look at you when you were being baptized. (i don't want to insinuate that he was leering or staring at you...that's why it was kind of confusing). 

Well, to be honest...I didn't really like it very well. The priest who baptised me seems to be a very sober man and he handled it pretty well, I think. But I was conscious of modesty issues the entire time, and it sort of took away from the service.  I remember when I came up out of the water the third time, he made a point of looking the other way...
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 06:25:32 PM by Rosehip » Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2009, 06:51:22 PM »

So far as I know the canons only deal with blood and bodily emissions not with hair loss and toenail clippings. Besides, stuff that falls off is dead. Leaking blood is not dead.

I really couldn't care less about these silly questions about the mythology of blood, but this statement just strikes me as laughable.

'Leaking blood' is not dead? Do you really expect it to start reproducing and growing outside the body? And what exactly makes blood 'alive'. And how is this different from cells in feces or urine? How does ths differ from skin cells that die and fall off AFTER communion? Perhaps the Eucharist isn't as 'life giving' as you would leave us to believe...LOL.

This is a question that has absolutely nothing to do with religion...it's purely a biological one.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2009, 07:04:21 PM »

Quote
'Leaking blood' is not dead? Do you really expect it to start reproducing and growing outside the body?

No.

That said, blood is treated with considerable care in both the OT and NT. Recall that Gentile converts were forbidden by the apostles and the Jerusalem Council to eat blood or the flesh of strangled beasts. The life is in the blood.

This is not a question of simple biology. Nor is it some cranky mythology.

The Church has canons about this and long standing traditional practices with respect to it.

I realize some can go nuts trying to play canon lawyer, but the fact of them remains and they cannot just be simply dismissed as ignorant mythology.
Logged
LBK
Warned
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,160


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2009, 07:19:05 PM »

Quote
I have to admit that I am brokenhearted if that time of month falls on a Sunday, especially on Holy Week (barring me from venerating the Holy Shroud-Plashchanitsia)....but, I get over it...

Dear Liza

Refraining from communion during your period is one thing, but there is no prohibition at all for a menstruating woman to attend church, or to venerate icons or the plashchanitsa. Yes, there are babushki and yiayies who might say otherwise, but that idea is simply wrong.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 07:38:30 PM by LBK » Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2009, 07:30:31 PM »

Quote
'Leaking blood' is not dead? Do you really expect it to start reproducing and growing outside the body?

No.

That said, blood is treated with considerable care in both the OT and NT. Recall that Gentile converts were forbidden by the apostles and the Jerusalem Council to eat blood or the flesh of strangled beasts. The life is in the blood.

This is not a question of simple biology. Nor is it some cranky mythology.

The Church has canons about this and long standing traditional practices with respect to it.

I realize some can go nuts trying to play canon lawyer, but the fact of them remains and they cannot just be simply dismissed as ignorant mythology.

Yes, yes, I played canon lawyer for quite a while...and was pretty good at it when I did. But you're begging the question. I am wondering if you have any 'real world' biology to back up your statements. If they're simply based on Aristotelian Biology and you want to make theology based on that, fine, but at least admit as much.

How is life in the blood? Not that I'm dismissing the importance of blood in maintaining the functionality of various organs, but it's simply a medium to transmit energy which is created and used by other organs. It's like the powerlines of the body, important, yet, but hardly the essence of life. I would think that if we were to say that 'life' is in something we'd be speaking of the brain and neural system.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,124



« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2009, 07:45:11 PM »

Quote
'Leaking blood' is not dead? Do you really expect it to start reproducing and growing outside the body?

No.

That said, blood is treated with considerable care in both the OT and NT. Recall that Gentile converts were forbidden by the apostles and the Jerusalem Council to eat blood or the flesh of strangled beasts. The life is in the blood.

This is not a question of simple biology. Nor is it some cranky mythology.

The Church has canons about this and long standing traditional practices with respect to it.

I realize some can go nuts trying to play canon lawyer, but the fact of them remains and they cannot just be simply dismissed as ignorant mythology.

Yes, yes, I played canon lawyer for quite a while...and was pretty good at it when I did. But you're begging the question. I am wondering if you have any 'real world' biology to back up your statements. If they're simply based on Aristotelian Biology and you want to make theology based on that, fine, but at least admit as much.

How is life in the blood?

Pop open a vein, and you will find out.
Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
Tzimis
Site Supporter
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 2,374



« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2009, 08:47:45 PM »

Quote
'Leaking blood' is not dead? Do you really expect it to start reproducing and growing outside the body?

No.

That said, blood is treated with considerable care in both the OT and NT. Recall that Gentile converts were forbidden by the apostles and the Jerusalem Council to eat blood or the flesh of strangled beasts. The life is in the blood.

This is not a question of simple biology. Nor is it some cranky mythology.

The Church has canons about this and long standing traditional practices with respect to it.

I realize some can go nuts trying to play canon lawyer, but the fact of them remains and they cannot just be simply dismissed as ignorant mythology.

Yes, yes, I played canon lawyer for quite a while...and was pretty good at it when I did. But you're begging the question. I am wondering if you have any 'real world' biology to back up your statements. If they're simply based on Aristotelian Biology and you want to make theology based on that, fine, but at least admit as much.

How is life in the blood?

Pop open a vein, and you will find out.
Actually, life relies on numerous events that link our existence like a chain. If any would be cut it would culminate is non-being. In that respect any of them would be just as vital to life.
Logged

Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2009, 08:52:46 PM »

Dear GreekChristian

Is this an actual serious question?  I assume it is but that it could be is very puzzling indeed.

Quote
Yes, yes, I played canon lawyer for quite a while...and was pretty good at it when I did. But you're begging the question. I am wondering if you have any 'real world' biology to back up your statements. If they're simply based on Aristotelian Biology and you want to make theology based on that, fine, but at least admit as much.

How is life in the blood? Not that I'm dismissing the importance of blood in maintaining the functionality of various organs, but it's simply a medium to transmit energy which is created and used by other organs. It's like the powerlines of the body, important, yet, but hardly the essence of life. I would think that if we were to say that 'life' is in something we'd be speaking of the brain and neural system.

First things first: Here are two very relevant Scripture passages.
Quote
Leviticus 17;14: For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

Acts 15;20: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

As you can see Aristotle has nothing to do with the statement "the life is in the blood". The revelation of God however has a great deal to do with it. Some might object that the prohibition on eating blood was just part of the Mosaic Law that is not so as we see from the Apostles, but even if it were that does not make the reason for the original prohibition a mere ritual didacticism. The reason was moral because the blood of flesh is the the life thereof.  And my point for bringing this up was that if God took animal blood so seriously, even in the NT then that leads us to the very very serious considerations of the following point.

Second:
We are not just talking about blood in general here but about the Holy Mysteries, the Body and Blood of Christ...which last I heard Orthodox believe and understand it to be truly Christ's Body and Blood and not some mere sign of memorial. When we receive them they become part of us (preferably for healing).

We are not talking about the constraints of natural biology but our duty with regard to how we approach and receive the Holy Mysteries.  The canons tells us how to approach both in body and in soul. We are not gnostics for whom mind/soul is all and the body just a temporary meaningless shell.  Our bodies shall be raised by Christ and God willing transformed and transfigured by Him.  Our reception of the Holy Eucharist, the medicine of Immortality as St. Irenaeus called it is intimately connected with our part in the Resurrection.  The canons tells to come to the Holy Eucharist in purity of mind and heart, confessed of our sins, at peace with our fellow man, prayerfully with faith and with holy fear. They also tell us to come prepared in our bodies, with fasting, with sexual purity, and without weeping sores, bleeding wounds, or for women in their monthly time.



 
Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2009, 09:16:31 PM »

How is life in the blood?
Basic Life Support (CPR) primarily requires the artificial circulation of Blood.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2009, 10:00:01 PM »

Dear GreekChristian

Is this an actual serious question?  I assume it is but that it could be is very puzzling indeed.

Serious indeed!

Quote
Quote
Yes, yes, I played canon lawyer for quite a while...and was pretty good at it when I did. But you're begging the question. I am wondering if you have any 'real world' biology to back up your statements. If they're simply based on Aristotelian Biology and you want to make theology based on that, fine, but at least admit as much.

How is life in the blood? Not that I'm dismissing the importance of blood in maintaining the functionality of various organs, but it's simply a medium to transmit energy which is created and used by other organs. It's like the powerlines of the body, important, yet, but hardly the essence of life. I would think that if we were to say that 'life' is in something we'd be speaking of the brain and neural system.

First things first: Here are two very relevant Scripture passages.
Quote
Leviticus 17;14: For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

Acts 15;20: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

As you can see Aristotle has nothing to do with the statement "the life is in the blood". The revelation of God however has a great deal to do with it. Some might object that the prohibition on eating blood was just part of the Mosaic Law that is not so as we see from the Apostles, but even if it were that does not make the reason for the original prohibition a mere ritual didacticism. The reason was moral because the blood of flesh is the the life thereof.  And my point for bringing this up was that if God took animal blood so seriously, even in the NT then that leads us to the very very serious considerations of the following point.

Second:
We are not just talking about blood in general here but about the Holy Mysteries, the Body and Blood of Christ...which last I heard Orthodox believe and understand it to be truly Christ's Body and Blood and not some mere sign of memorial. When we receive them they become part of us (preferably for healing).

We are not talking about the constraints of natural biology but our duty with regard to how we approach and receive the Holy Mysteries.  The canons tells us how to approach both in body and in soul. We are not gnostics for whom mind/soul is all and the body just a temporary meaningless shell.  Our bodies shall be raised by Christ and God willing transformed and transfigured by Him.  Our reception of the Holy Eucharist, the medicine of Immortality as St. Irenaeus called it is intimately connected with our part in the Resurrection.  The canons tells to come to the Holy Eucharist in purity of mind and heart, confessed of our sins, at peace with our fellow man, prayerfully with faith and with holy fear. They also tell us to come prepared in our bodies, with fasting, with sexual purity, and without weeping sores, bleeding wounds, or for women in their monthly time.

You never answered my question, I did not ask for a scriptural or canonical argument, I asked if there was any reasonable biological justification behind your assertions...the correct answer would have been 'no'.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2009, 10:03:34 PM »

How is life in the blood?
Basic Life Support (CPR) primarily requires the artificial circulation of Blood.

Basic life support only requires the artificial circulation of oxygen throughout the body, be it in the form of hemoglobin or perfluorocarbons...the extra cells and proteins in blood, while useful, are not of such immediate importance and some elements, such as platelets can be a double-edged sword (better to have them than not, but they can still bring about premature death).
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
AMM
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Jurisdiction: ACROD
Posts: 2,076


« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2009, 10:21:20 PM »

Basic life support only requires the artificial circulation of oxygen throughout the body, be it in the form of hemoglobin or perfluorocarbons...the extra cells and proteins in blood, while useful, are not of such immediate importance and some elements, such as platelets can be a double-edged sword (better to have them than not, but they can still bring about premature death).

You're just saying stuff like that to impress the ladies.
Logged
SolEX01
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Metropolis of New Jersey
Posts: 10,985


WWW
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2009, 10:47:54 PM »

Basic life support only requires the artificial circulation of oxygen throughout the body,

GiC, air emboli kill people last time I checked.  I never heard of a human being surviving by pure oxygen circulating through the bloodstream.  If you provide such an example, I will believe you.   Smiley  Here is what I found.

Quote
Air bubbles,  which can not only block blood flow if they are large but also prevent the heart from effectively pumping blood. The air bubble may be introduced during intravenous delivery of drugs, nutrients or fluids. An air bubble embolism may also form when a vein is operated on or when a person is being resuscitated because of the force of having pressure put on their chest. Underwater diving can cause an air embolism; the risk depends on how deeply the person dives and how fast he or she returns to the surface of the water.

be it in the form of hemoglobin or perfluorocarbons...the extra cells and proteins in blood, while useful, are not of such immediate importance and some elements, such as platelets can be a double-edged sword (better to have them than not, but they can still bring about premature death).

Without a heart, how would oxygen move throughout a body?   Huh
Logged
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2009, 11:29:16 PM »

From the "Met Jonah" thread: 


I would not be eager to see it willy nilly either, but as we have many, many women converting (and we do indeed), then I think there is a need.  I had a priest tell me just the other day that he thinks it's totally inappropriate for a priest to be handling an adult woman at a baptism.  I agree with him.  With the climate of the times being what it is, especially (not that our church practices are determined by the climate of the time, but we do need to take extra care sometimes), we need to be especially careful about our priests handling women.  I say this as one who does NOT want to see her husband accused of something because he baptized an adult woman.  That is just one example of the need.  There are others, but I think even the existence of one (very crucial) need like this is enough.

Firstly, need is assessed by many factors, and not just women entering the church (and how many). 

Secondly, most of the women who are converting are doing so from other Christian denominations.  The GOA (and most other jurisdictions) have protocol as to how they are received into the church, and it's not through re-baptism.  Now, if there were converts from paganism or etc. or if the church decides to be more cyprianic in its mindset, then there would be a need.  As it stands today, I don't think we can make a case that there really is that much of a need. 

I do agree though that one convert who needs to be baptized is too much.  We don't need our priests being brought into scandals.  I wonder though how the early church was able to maintain its dignity.  They didn't start ordaining deaconesses until much later on when the need was immense.  Maybe that is a lesson to us.  Just throwing it out there. 
I agree with you totally, which is why I said if the CHURCH deems it necessary.  I trust the Church on this one.  I don't know about how the early church handled it.  I'll have to ask Fr. Christos.  He'll know.  I'll get back to you.


Quote
Quote
Choirs, in the way we have them here in the US, are a Western innovation, and are foreign to the Church.  Why are male choirs preferable?  Are not women included in the commands we see in the Bible to raise our voices to the Lord?  Why should women be excluded from this?
Why not women altar servers?  Just curious what your thinking is here.  In monasteries the women always serve in the altar.  There WAS a female diaconate, where she was ordained in the altar, received communion in the altar as clergy, and served in the altar.  The precedent is there for allowing women to serve in the altar and there is no theological reason she CAN'T, so I'm curious as to what your thinking is.

I was always under the impression that women serving IN the altar was an "oikonomia" to the canons.  If it's an economy then there must be a reason why they wern't allowed in the first place (other than scheuvanism).  Does that make sense? 
I understand what you mean, but I don't really have an answer, to be honest.  This is a subject about which I've done a lot of reading, but definitely have a LOT MORE reading to do.  Could you provide a source for me that shows the oikonomia?  I would be grateful.  From what I understand, the oikonomia is not for WOMEN, but for ANYONE who is NOT ORDAINED to be in the altar.  As women were, in fact, ordained to the diaconate, I'm not sure where the oikonomia would come in.  Does that make sense?

Quote
Also...how do you figure then (with this reasoning that I laid out above) that there is no theological reason that a woman CAN'T be in the altar?  Like I said above, what about the iconic role of the priesthood?  I understand that economic examples have been given, like the Panagia, etc.  But those are economy, not the rule.  See my point? 
The iconic role of the priesthood, yes, I'm absolutely with you.  I DON'T believe in women being ordained to the priesthood.  But I think that being in the altar, serving in the altar, and being ordained to the priesthood are all totally different things.  Further, I would say that the example of the Theotokos being presented in the altar was NOT oikonomia.  Her womanhood, her femaleness was the essence of her being, in that it was essential to her being the mother of God.  Thus, it could not be an oikonomia, which is a concession.  Does that make any sense? 


Quote
Quote
See above.  In addition, though, just because a woman has a desire to serve does NOT make her anti-male or a feminist, or gender homogenizing.  Did it ever occur to you that it has nothing to do with you?  Or with men?  At all?  But rather a woman's genuine desire to serve?

What about the standard response of "well there are many other ways you can serve, just not in this particular way".  Also what would you answer to the question "what about men who have the desire to give birth to a child.  And not just any child, but the Son of God?"  .....I'd be interested in your feedback. 
I agree when it comes to the priesthood, as I said.  But my question is where do we draw the line?  I say, we draw the line where the theological support stops.  If (and I say "if" because, as I said, I am not an expert in this area) there is theological support to bar women from entering the altar, then so be it.  I would totally accept that.  I have a problem with cultural traditions and ideology and mythology that have become Orthodox because we have made up reasons for it to be Orthodox.  I would venture to say that there is not theological evidence to bar women from the altar based on the example of the Theotokos, the office of the female diaconate, the service of nuns in the altar (who are still women, are they not?), and the common allowance by many, many bishops of women into the altar for purposes of cleaning and caring for it.  If women are never to be allowed into the altar, then why are there so many bishops who give them the blessing to clean and care for it?

Quote
Quote
I don't personally care whether they're both in the Sanctuary or not.  I don't really even care that they're churched differently.  But I do care that the reason for it does not hold water theologically.

Yah...I covered this above.  Let me know what you think. 
Your turn to tell me what you think, my friend!  Smiley

Quote
Quote
This is ridiculous.  A woman's menstrual blood does not circulate the way the rest of the blood in the body does, otherwise she would die from blood loss on day one of her period.  But they didn't know that when the canon was written.  Either way, this is a stupid argument that has been hashed and rehashed a million times on the forum.  Suffice it to say:  1.  We should NEVER be teaching our children that something their body does is wrong or bad, that God's creation is not good, or is a mistake.  This is the concern with this issue.  2. It's best to leave it up to one's spiritual father, so there's no point in arguing here.

This is honestly one of the most motivating things i've ever heard/read/experienced from a woman, or anyone for that matter. I just wanted to personally thank you for writing this.  Definitely gave me a reality check.  thanks pres! 
Don't thank me, just pray for me, please, my dear friend!

Quote
Quote
Look, I'm not in favor of ordaining women to the priesthood, so let's get that out there before going any further.  Because, inevitably, any woman who wants to serve in the church is labeled a "feminist," "anti-male," "modern," etc.  That's a load, and we all know it.  I AM in favor of a female diaconate, should the CHURCH (not you or me) decide that there is a need.  I AM in favor of women being allowed to serve in the altar (as many already do, and with their bishop's blessings) because there is no reason to BAR women from heeding THEIR calling to serve.  At the least, the distinction needs to be made that NO ONE, MALE OR FEMALE, should be in the altar without the priest's/bishop's blessing.  This distinction is always lost. 

It is wrong to say that women are feminists and anti-male for desiring to serve the Lord.  It is unfair.  There are a few women out there, yes, who are a very vocal minority, who have ruined it for the rest of us.  But to ignore these issues and brush them off as "feminist talk" is to ignore and brush off an entire HALF of humanity (whom God ALSO created in His image and likeness), not minister to them, and to set precedents that, no matter the fact that there is NO theological basis for it, women are just lesser than men.  You may say that's stupid, or feminist, or modern or whatever.  I say, I'm tired of hearing men like you brush me off.  I say, it's time to EDUCATE the people and end the mythology.  No, women should not be priests, but let's be clear about the reasons.  I had a Sunday Schooler (a 16 year old) tell me she thinks women shouldn't be priests because Eve ate the apple and women are worse and lesser than men.  This was three weeks ago.  Is this what we should be teaching our children?  No.  We SHOULD be teaching them that the priesthood is not for women.  But we should be teaching them the proper reasons why, and we should be drawing VERY clear lines about what is and isn't proper for women, BASED ON THEOLOGY, NOT ANTIQUATED MISOGYNISTIC MYTHOLOGY.

Instead of going through all of this, I think maybe we should just start by addressing the points I brought up before (above).  Let me know what you think. 
Over to you!
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2009, 12:53:44 AM »

Quote
I had a priest tell me just the other day that he thinks it's totally inappropriate for a priest to be handling an adult woman at a baptism.  I agree with him.  With the climate of the times being what it is, especially (not that our church practices are determined by the climate of the time, but we do need to take extra care sometimes), we need to be especially careful about our priests handling women.

The climate of the times does bear consideration with regard to the influx of adult converts needing baptism in recent years.

Quote
Choirs, in the way we have them here in the US, are a Western innovation, and are foreign to the Church.  Why are male choirs preferable?  Are not women included in the commands we see in the Bible to raise our voices to the Lord? Why should women be excluded from this?

I don't think women should be excluded from singing. The resurgance of congregational singing in American Orthodox parishs strikes me as a very good think.  

If I'm not mistaken, I believe to original move to well trained choirs in ages past was in support of the idea of "kallos" beauty. The worship of the Lord should be beautiful both theologically and in its expression. In public worship the male voice can express the depth and sobriety of our worship better than the female voice, generally speaking, since it is more or less restricted to an upper register (if that is the right musical term). It is well to remember both east and west until fairly recently male choirs were the norm in churches, with boys singing the highest note and adult men filling in the middle and lowest notes (granted some men can sing much higher than others). I'm not sure whether this was because of a strong sense of cultural impropriety about allowing mixed choirs, or women being thrust too much in the public eye or whether there is some undergirding theology that supports male only choirs.  Personally I've not seen such theology, though I've heard it alluded to. So my guide at this point is a combination of the tradition that has come to us plus the "artistic" considerations given the natural range of the male voice as to what might be considered preferable.  That said, I not aware of any prohibition of women singing. If the worship is beautiful sing away.
Really?  Are you serious?  Men's voices are better?  That's not misogynistic, no not at all!   Roll Eyes (that's the first time in all the time that I've been on this forum that I've ever used the rolling eyes face)

This is a perfect example of taking something that was a cultural norm and "Orthodoxing" it-- finding a reason to make it Orthodox so that we can stay within our comfort zone.

As far as the singing being beautiful, personally, I don't have a problem in that area (I don't say that to be boastful, only to make a point), so does that mean that, in your opinion, it's okay for me to chant?  I do chant AT the chant stand with the men *gasp.*  Does that mean that God appreciates the heartfelt praises of a tone deaf person less than those of a musically gifted person?  That doesn't seem very nice of God.

Quote
A monastery is not a parish. When you say the female diaconate served in the altar in ancient times does that mean they carried tapers, fans, banners, etc. as those who serve there today do?
The Holy Altar is the Holy Altar, my friend, the same in the monastery as in a parish.  Furthermore, we should be educating the laity, not indulging them in baseless, uneducated mythology.  Making a distinction between a monastery and parish in this context doesn't hold water, I'm afraid.  When I say the female diaconate served in the altar, I mean she distributed the Holy Eucharist, she helped with the baptisms of women, etc.  I would say that both of those are more important than carrying fans in the Great Entrance, wouldn't you?  This is another argument that doesn't hold water.

Quote
I am open to the possibility of being wrong on this point, but only if such a thing had strong roots inthe Tradition. That said, even it it is permissible in certain cases I really don't see it as a good thing especially in this day and age. It is wonderful that women are willing to serve, and willing to step in wherever there is need. But today's greatest gender need, if I can speak this way, is women insisting that men do their part and remain active and engaged. If it is easy for a woman to displace a man in these functions, soon enough only women will be doing it at all...the men will either associate it will something belonging more to women than to them or will just view it as another indication that their maleness has little meaning or place in the Church or the world.
I, too, am open to the possibility of being wrong, which is why I said that I follow what the Church decides, not me.  I totally agree with you, as well, that there is a great need to encourage the men to serve.  But this cannot be left to women to do.  I think any married woman would tell you that it is often NOT we who our husbands listen to. Smiley The men need to be encouraging eachother as well. 

Quote
I'm speaking on my own, but I think in some manner these gender based service distinctions is part of the way the Church sacramentalizes what it is to be a male, a way of holding men responsible to the theological depths of what it means to be a male and make them accountable for the spiritual leadership of their homes and parishes.  If women step in, like it or not, that element goes out the window.
I would love to see some theological support for this one.

Quote
Quote
In addition, though, just because a woman has a desire to serve does NOT make her anti-male or a feminist, or gender homogenizing.  Did it ever occur to you that it has nothing to do with you?  Or with men?  At all?  But rather a woman's genuine desire to serve?

But it does have something to do with me. I am a male. That maleness is not without theological meaning and not without theological responsibilty. Does it not occur to you that just because a woman can do something that does not mean she should do that thing. Femaleness has theological meaning too and when traditional liturgical roles in the Church get blurred so does that meaning for both genders.
No, no.  What I mean is that a woman's desire to serve is not based in a desire to displace men.  Her desire is not shaped by men at all.  It is shaped by a heartfelt calling to serve God.  And yes, it DOES occur to me that just because a woman can do something does not mean that she should.  The guys on the forum who know me from HCHC (and there's a bunch of them) will tell you that I am the FIRST person to stand up and say that it is totally inappropriate, unnecessary, and heretical to ordain women to the priesthood.  I absolutely 100% do NOT believe in the ordination of women to the priesthood.  So yes, that DOES occur to me.  It applies to men, though, as well (that just because they CAN do something doesn't mean that they should).  Again, the lines have to be clear, and those lines should be drawn by theology and God's will, not by men's will and men's mythology.

Quote
As for desire to serve: If the desire is simply to serve then I'm sure there are a number of opportunities for service in a parish. If the desire is to serve in a particular role...then that risks serious problems.  For example, I might want to be a priest and try everything I can to secure that ordination...but in reality a  pursuit of ordination simply out of my private desire is a very strong reason to suggest that I should not be a priest. So I cannot look upon the service desires on the part of women for specific traditional male roles without at least a little suspicion. The more pushing I see to open this thing or that thing up on purely gender equality concerns, the less I'm inclined to think that its a good thing to do.
Why does that risk serious problems?  If the lines are clear what a man OR woman may and may not do, where is the risk?  I would abide by whatever the Church decides, personally.

Again, you are not getting it.  It's not about gender equality.  It has nothing to do with gender.  A woman who TRULY desires to serve does NOT desire it simply to be equal to men.  She desires it because she desires to serve God.

Quote

I would agree. Old custom is not the same as "The Tradition". An undergirding theology needs to be present and sound for the practices of the Church.
Cool, I love it when we agree!  Smiley

Quote

How it flows is irrelevant.
I didn't say how it flows.  I said how it CIRCULATES.  The point being that it DOESN'T circulate through the body.  The Holy Eucharist does not enter the menstrual blood because it's not circulating through the body.  The one has nothing to do with the other.

Quote
It is still blood, and that it is a flow blood from a human body is what is important to this question. Nor is it a question of good or bad body functions. The relations between a man and woman in marriage are not bad, nor any of the body fluids involved. Indeed it can be very good since it can lead to new life.  But new life or not, such activities and their consequential "flows" preclude access to the Holy Eucharist for a set amount of time. This is the Tradition and there is no brooking it in the name of modern sanitary practices and enlightened body function values.
Actually, very little of it is actually blood, just so you know.  As I said before, though, this should be determined not by you (or me), but by one's spiritual father.  Even I don't make decisions like that for myself.  It's not up to my conscience.  It's up to my spiritual father, and it's up to me ONLY TO OBEY him.  So, no matter your personal interpretation of how MY body functions and no matter your personal interpretations of the canons, I'll obey my spiritual father on this one.  Smiley

Quote
Consider the burial desanguination aspect. The blood of a recent communicant is saved and buried with them. This is because their body received the precious and life creating Holy Body and Blood of Christ our God. The human body tabernacles and ingests/incorporates that priceless gift, and that takes a little time to complete. I've read that if one reposes soon after taking holy communion one is escorted very quickly by many angels to the presence of the Lord. So if this is the case are you prepared to save any of the monthly flow from a day you took communion to be buried with you or else be disposed of in some prayerful and dignified way? Would you hand your priest a bag of your "deposits" for a proper disposal the same way you might an irreparialy damaged icon? If not, why not just follow the Tradition.

Or to illustrate it another way. When I was baptised and given my blessed garment, there were some loose threads that fell on the floor. My god mother picked them all up one by one, put them in a little baggie and told me to take care of them since they were blessed. I still have them after many years. If blessed cotton threads deserved such careful consideration, what of the very "life" of a human body who has recieved the Body and Blood of the Lord. Is it less special? It is treated worthily to trow it away like used sanitary products? No, of course not.
Those little anecdotes are cute and well intentioned, but not theologically binding, per se.  Either way, as I said, I'll leave it up to my spiritual father.

Quote
Quote
Look, I'm not in favor of ordaining women to the priesthood, so let's get that out there before going any further.  Because, inevitably, any woman who wants to serve in the church is labeled a "feminist," "anti-male," "modern," etc.  That's a load, and we all know it.  I AM in favor of a female diaconate, should the CHURCH (not you or me) decide that there is a need.  I AM in favor of women being allowed to serve in the altar (as many already do, and with their bishop's blessings) because there is no reason to BAR women from heeding THEIR calling to serve.  At the least, the distinction needs to be made that NO ONE, MALE OR FEMALE, should be in the altar without the priest's/bishop's blessing.  This distinction is always lost.  

I want to be sure I understand you correctly. Are you saying you don't believe in women in the priesthood because of certain labels that might be used for its supporters?  If so then I would be inclined to read your disinclination more at not wanting to face the battle of labeling rather than any particular theologial preference/understanding in favor of an all male priesthood. If not please clairify.
No, you aren't understanding.  I'm not in favor of women being ordained to the priesthood because it is not theologically sound, and because there's no precedent for it either in tradition or in the Holy Fathers.  I don't care about the labels.  What I was saying is a "load" is the assumption that women who subscribe to the beliefs that I do (the eradication of misogynistic mythology, the education of the laity, the drawing of clear lines based on theology) automatically favor the ordination of women to the priesthood.  It's simply not true.  Personally, I draw a VERY clear line.  I don't have a problem with women in the altar (as long as they have the blessing).  I don't have a problem with women chanting and reading.  I don't have a problem with menstruating women approaching the chalice.  I don't have a problem with women in the diaconate (as it was originally intended, not some changed, gender-equalized form where a deaconess would go out on the altar and read petitions-- this is not proper).  I have a HUGE problem with the idea of women in the priesthood.  Is that a little clearer?  Sorry if it wasn't before.

Quote
As or what is an inevitable "load of it" that we all know, I must disagree for I do not "know" this.  Of course I'm distinguishing between a desire to serve...and a desire to serve in the altar.
Again, the "load" was the label of "feminist" and "anti-male" applied to any woman with a desire to serve.

Quote
As for the restoration of the female diaconate, I agree is it a decision for the Church and not for either of us, though if the decision is made thoughtfully, prayerfully, and for theologically sound reasons keeping with the Tradition I would be in favor of it.
Cool.  Ditto.

Quote
Quote
But to ignore these issues and brush them off as "feminist talk" is to ignore and brush off an entire HALF of humanity (whom God ALSO created in His image and likeness), not minister to them, and to set precedents that, no matter the fact that there is NO theological basis for it, women are just lesser than men.  You may say that's stupid, or feminist, or modern or whatever.  I say, I'm tired of hearing men like you brush me off.  I say, it's time to EDUCATE the people and end the mythology.  No, women should not be priests, but let's be clear about the reasons.  I had a Sunday Schooler (a 16 year old) tell me she thinks women shouldn't be priests because Eve ate the apple and women are worse and lesser than men.  This was three weeks ago.  Is this what we should be teaching our children?  No.  We SHOULD be teaching them that the priesthood is not for women.  But we should be teaching them the proper reasons why, and we should be drawing VERY clear lines about what is and isn't proper for women, BASED ON THEOLOGY, NOT ANTIQUATED MISOGYNISTIC MYTHOLOGY.

I do not think this is about brushing you off or your half the human race, but about resistance to the denaturing of the meaning of what it means to be male or female in the Church and in society. It is about resistance to a misguided entitlement driven gender focused liturgical egaletarianism.
I didn't mean me personally.  I meant me symbolically as a woman in the church who desires to serve.  But I will say that I think your assertion of "misguided entitlement driven gender focused liturgical egaletarianism" is WAY off base and offensive.  You are assuming that women who desire to serve do so because they desire equality.  That's just wrong.  Equality has NOTHING to do with it.  You'll never be able to bear children.  I'll never be able to be a priest.  Cool.  Who cares?  I just want to serve God.  Make sense?

Quote
You say you are tired of being brushed off by men like me. It certainly was not my intent to make you feel brushed aside.
Don't worry about me.  As I said, I didn't mean me personally.  I meant me symbolically as a woman, and you symbolically as a man (with a certain belief system).

Quote
But neither was it my intent to pretend there are no differences between male and female and that those differences do have their own particular delimitations and theological role restrictions in the Church.
Neither was it my intention to pretend.  There's no pretending going on here, my friend, except on the part of those who say there are theological reasons for women to be barred from entering and serving in the altar.  That's pretending.  Of course there are roles for us.  Did not God make us man and woman?  There's no doubt about that.  Let's just be clear on what those roles are and WHY they are. 

Quote
I do not doubt that women find some of it frustrating.
What we find frustrating is NOT the role limitations.  It is the persistence of the misogynistic mythology behind the improper setting of limitations.  It is running up against men who are set in their ways, threatened by women who desire to serve, unwilling to listen, and unwilling to answer questions.  It is seeing the the limitations applied ONLY to women when they should be applied to men AND women-- such as having a blessing to enter the altar--- no man should be entering the altar without a blessing either, but it doesn't stop them.  You don't see the faithful get scandalized when some random guy wanders into the altar in the middle of the service.  He may not even be Orthodox!  No one says a word.  A woman even goes onto the solea and everyone holds their breath---is she going to go into the altar?  Does she know she's not allowed?  She went in!!!!  *GASP*  Never mind if she had the blessing from the bishop to go in and change the altar cloths (like little Georgia, an elderly lady in my home parish)!  They see a woman walk in and it's, "Panagiamou," with everyone doing their cross like fifty times!  A bit of a double standard, wouldn't you say? 

Quote
But I don't think that kind of frustration is neccesarrily a bad thing. It serves to remind women of trouble that came to the human race because of our mother Eve's ursupation of God's given order. That is not a popular sentiment today, but it is not a condemnation of women...
You bet your baklava it's not popular!!! Why?  BECAUSE IT ISN'T THEOLOGICALLY SOUND!!!!!!!  In case you've forgotten, in the words of Nonna Verna Harrison in the article "Orthodox Arguments Against the Ordination of Women As Priests" (contained in the book Women and the Priesthood, ed. Hopko, SVS Press, 1999, pg 170), "Orthodox Christians believe that the consequences of Eve's sin have been healed and redeemed through the pure, freely chosen and obedient birthgiving of the Mother of God.  Within the life of the Church, she has replaced Eve as the paradigm of womanhood..."

So, there are plenty of reasons for women to be barred from the priesthood.  This ain't one of them.

Quote
any more than a woman's covering in Church is a condemnation of the angels (it is done for the sake of the angels...a reminder to them of the value and safety of submission to God above self will). That submission could be such a gift. Mothers and sisters could insist that their men not shirk their duties within the Church...hold them accountable for being male in a good way...rather than competing with them for what some regard as a trophy of power-equity.
Competing?  Trophy?  Power-equity?  Again, you (not surprisingly) have the wrong idea here.  To reduce this issue to nothing more than power-equity and gender competition is to do a TRUE disservice to men AND women, and is exactly what I was talking about as being frustrating and "brushing off."  You brush it off as being about those things.  It's not.  Why are you so threatened by it, anyway?  Because reducing it to these things is indicative that you don't want to deal with the real issues.  Is that because the answers may be contrary to your narrow world view?  Hmmm.... Smiley

Quote
As for your Sunday School teacher's evaluation of Eve's part in the Fall...that's a little wince worthy in my book as well.
First off, she wasn't my teacher.  She was my STUDENT.  I am her teacher. 
Second, what does a "little wince worthy" mean, anyway?

Quote
As for antiquated mysogenistic mythology, I'm no more for it than I am for modern mysanthropic mythology.  I am a Traditionalist, and I am quite patriarchal, no doubt, in my mindset which I think is entirely proper to faith and to society. No appologies there. I too share your concern for sound theologial foundations for our praxis.
Glad to hear it.

For the record, by the way, I don't really care all that much, personally, about serving in the altar.  I don't feel a strong desire myself to enter the altar to serve.  I chant at the chant stand, which is where I believe God wants me.  My bishop says God gave me ten denarii in my voice, and I must use it.  So I do.  Serving in the altar would keep me from doing that.  I don't believe that's God's will for me.  And truthfully, I've grown up in the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ same as everyone else here, and I'm now married to a priest, so seeing women serving in the altar would freak me out and make me a little uncomfortable (though I know of one parish in our metropolis that has had altar girls for many, many years-- I have never attended it, though, as it is a LONG drive south).  So that said... my problem is not in my personal barring from service in the altar, or in the barring of women in general.  My problem is with the misogynistic mythology that people give as reasons FOR barring women from service.  My problem is with promoting and continuing that mythology, rather than educating and correcting.  My problem is with allowing the will and pride of men to dictate the practices of the Church, rather than sound theology.  If the Church says that the women should be barred from the altar with sound theological reasoning for it, then I will by all means shut my mouth.  But the Church has not said this so far, and yet... here we are.  This is my problem.

Quote
However if in my tone or my ignorance, which I'm sure if greater than I imagine, I ask your forgiveness for this cheifest and most verbose of sinners.
God forgives and I forgive, though it is not necessary.  You have said nothing to offend me.  Things I disagree with, sure.  But we can disagree and still love.

Forgive me a sinner,
Presbytera Mari
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA (Old Calendar)
Posts: 6,789



« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2009, 01:24:02 AM »

I am just wondering if anyone thinks that there is a correlation between the sharp decline in male attendance in Christian churches and how active females are in the leadership process?

I have no ground to hold on why woman should or should not be allowed behind the iconostasis.  I do not understand the history or the issues.  That being said, I rather like it being a boy's club.  But I have been involved in many churches where women were pretty much running the show, even scolding the pastors publicly for this or that.

I know that this may seem awful, but men like being led by men and they like to lead.  When women take the reigns, so to speak, it makes me want to leave.  Forgive me if this is awful of me, but I am just expressing my non-theological gut feeling on these things.

Do most women in Orthodox parishes feel excluded, alienated, or marginalized with the male dominated services?  I am honestly curious.  Also, do the head coverings make women feel this way?

I am also wondering if this is a created problem in our culture based off our our ideals of equality, which in most ways means no gender differentiation, unless the woman is expressing her sexuality.

Please, please do not think that I am being heartless in saying this, but please just consider it:

Should not women be glad to see the men being so active in the first place, as almost all other Christian Churches are dominated by women?  In the Catholic church I grew up in, none of us boys would serve as acolytes because of the girls doing it.  That might have been immature and foolish, but I think as the boys get bigger we retain a lot of the same attitudes in adult form.

Forgive me, the uninformed misogynist catechumen.
Logged
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2009, 01:40:11 AM »

Alveus Lacuna, you're so funny!!!   laugh  No forgiveness needed!!!

I am just wondering if anyone thinks that there is a correlation between the sharp decline in male attendance in Christian churches and how active females are in the leadership process?
Hmmmm.... I'd have to give that one some thought and research, myself.  Never even occurred to me.

Quote
I have no ground to hold on why woman should or should not be allowed behind the iconostasis.  I do not understand the history or the issues.  That being said, I rather like it being a boy's club.  But I have been involved in many churches where women were pretty much running the show, even scolding the pastors publicly for this or that.
That's horrible, that some women scold the pastor publicly!  No one should be doing that, not even the bishop, not even his wife!  Smiley

Quote
I know that this may seem awful, but men like being led by men and they like to lead.  When women take the reigns, so to speak, it makes me want to leave.  Forgive me if this is awful of me, but I am just expressing my non-theological gut feeling on these things.
Lots of guys feel that way.  There's nothing awful about it.  It just speaks of our comfort zone... how we were raised and what we're comfortable with.  There's nothing to apologize for on that.

Quote
Do most women in Orthodox parishes feel excluded, alienated, or marginalized with the male dominated services?  I am honestly curious.  Also, do the head coverings make women feel this way?
I can only speak for myself... I don't feel that way with respect to the services, because I serve the way I want to serve-- by chanting.  That is what I've ALWAYS wanted to do, and God has granted my desire, and I am truly blessed for it.  I think what's more marginalizing and alienating is the general tone of misogyny that often permeates the air.  It never bothered me that I couldn't (or wouldn't) go in the altar, ever.  Until one Sunday when a chanter who doesn't like me (because I'm a woman at the chant stand and am far better educated in my Byzantine music than he, not to mention I can actually carry a tune) rubbed it in my face that I couldn't (read *wouldn't*) go into the altar.  That was the first time I can ever remember it really bothering me.  And it bothered me not so much because I COULDN'T go in, but because he had NO BUSINESS going in.  He had no reason to go inside, he was just going to rub it in to me, and to shoot the breeze once inside.  It's so much more complicated than "male dominated services."  It's the implications of mistaken theology-- that women are lesser than men, somehow lower in God's creation, that we are not as deserving of love in His eyes.  These things come through the way people think, talk, behave, and in our theology (the parts that are incorrect, that is).  They hurt.

Quote
I am also wondering if this is a created problem in our culture based off our our ideals of equality, which in most ways means no gender differentiation, unless the woman is expressing her sexuality.
IMHO, I think it is as you've said for women who desire equality, not for women who genuinely desire to serve.  I have a genuine desire to serve (I'd like to think).  It doesn't bother me that I'm barred from the priesthood.  I serve as God intended for me-- at the chant stand (among other ways-- that's how I serve during the services, though).  Make sense?

Quote
Please, please do not think that I am being heartless in saying this, but please just consider it:

Should not women be glad to see the men being so active in the first place, as almost all other Christian Churches are dominated by women?  In the Catholic church I grew up in, none of us boys would serve as acolytes because of the girls doing it.  That might have been immature and foolish, but I think as the boys get bigger we retain a lot of the same attitudes in adult form.

Forgive me, the uninformed misogynist catechumen.

No forgiveness necessary, my friend.  I don't think you heartless, and I doubt anyone else here does, either.  Sure, we are glad to see men active.  I must say that I swell with pride seeing my husband serve with such love, faithfulness, and zeal (and yes, lest anyone say anything, my spiritual father is quite aware of this pride that I have for my husband).  I love and admire your honesty and your humility.  Please forgive me, a sinner!
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
SolEX01
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Metropolis of New Jersey
Posts: 10,985


WWW
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2009, 02:56:21 AM »

I am just wondering if anyone thinks that there is a correlation between the sharp decline in male attendance in Christian churches and how active females are in the leadership process?

Empirically ... No.  Society has accepted women in leadership positions including those Christian denominations which ordain women as Priests and Hierarchs

Decrease in Church attendance by males is usually attributed to lack of belief in God (e.g. My father died, why did God take him so I'll get 50 piercings, drink lots of alcohol, stay away from Church,...) you get the picture.   angel
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 02:57:21 AM by SolEX01 » Logged
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2009, 08:50:24 AM »

From the "Met Jonah" thread: 


I would not be eager to see it willy nilly either, but as we have many, many women converting (and we do indeed), then I think there is a need.  I had a priest tell me just the other day that he thinks it's totally inappropriate for a priest to be handling an adult woman at a baptism.  I agree with him.  With the climate of the times being what it is, especially (not that our church practices are determined by the climate of the time, but we do need to take extra care sometimes), we need to be especially careful about our priests handling women.  I say this as one who does NOT want to see her husband accused of something because he baptized an adult woman.  That is just one example of the need.  There are others, but I think even the existence of one (very crucial) need like this is enough.

Firstly, need is assessed by many factors, and not just women entering the church (and how many). 

Secondly, most of the women who are converting are doing so from other Christian denominations.  The GOA (and most other jurisdictions) have protocol as to how they are received into the church, and it's not through re-baptism.  Now, if there were converts from paganism or etc. or if the church decides to be more cyprianic in its mindset, then there would be a need.  As it stands today, I don't think we can make a case that there really is that much of a need. 

I do agree though that one convert who needs to be baptized is too much.  We don't need our priests being brought into scandals.  I wonder though how the early church was able to maintain its dignity.  They didn't start ordaining deaconesses until much later on when the need was immense.  Maybe that is a lesson to us.  Just throwing it out there. 
I agree with you totally, which is why I said if the CHURCH deems it necessary.  I trust the Church on this one.  I don't know about how the early church handled it.  I'll have to ask Fr. Christos.  He'll know.  I'll get back to you.

I'd be interested in hearing what he says. 

Quote
Quote
Choirs, in the way we have them here in the US, are a Western innovation, and are foreign to the Church.  Why are male choirs preferable?  Are not women included in the commands we see in the Bible to raise our voices to the Lord?  Why should women be excluded from this?
Why not women altar servers?  Just curious what your thinking is here.  In monasteries the women always serve in the altar.  There WAS a female diaconate, where she was ordained in the altar, received communion in the altar as clergy, and served in the altar.  The precedent is there for allowing women to serve in the altar and there is no theological reason she CAN'T, so I'm curious as to what your thinking is.

I was always under the impression that women serving IN the altar was an "oikonomia" to the canons.  If it's an economy then there must be a reason why they wern't allowed in the first place (other than scheuvanism).  Does that make sense? 
I understand what you mean, but I don't really have an answer, to be honest.  This is a subject about which I've done a lot of reading, but definitely have a LOT MORE reading to do.  Could you provide a source for me that shows the oikonomia?  I would be grateful.  From what I understand, the oikonomia is not for WOMEN, but for ANYONE who is NOT ORDAINED to be in the altar.  As women were, in fact, ordained to the diaconate, I'm not sure where the oikonomia would come in.  Does that make sense? [/quote]

LOL!  Right again.  I could probably try to do a more intense search on this, but I did my canon law project on this canon and I just re-read through it and you're right, all of the "oikonomia" is for people in GENERAL entering the altar.  All of the objections to women (and there are many) ALL have to do with the flow of blood.  I'm gona post it here so you can read through it.  It's not comprehensive, but definitely gives you a place to start to look at it. 

Thinking about it though (outloud...lol) what is the theology that ALLOWS women in the altar?  Because we are all human beings, etc. there is no man nor female, etc. ?  Just curious where you're basing your foundation. 

I plan on reading a book I just found = "Order of Creation, Order of Redemption: The ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church" by Michael Azkoul.  I wonder if there will be any interesting insights there.  Maybe not b/c it's specifically about ordination, but you never know. 

I also found an article "BABY DEDICATION IN TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY:
EASTERN ORTHODOX "CHURCHING"
OF FORTY-DAY-OLDS " by Ron Grove, which I think might add something to this conversation. 

Quote
The iconic role of the priesthood, yes, I'm absolutely with you.  I DON'T believe in women being ordained to the priesthood.  But I think that being in the altar, serving in the altar, and being ordained to the priesthood are all totally different things.  Further, I would say that the example of the Theotokos being presented in the altar was NOT oikonomia.  Her womanhood, her femaleness was the essence of her being, in that it was essential to her being the mother of God.  Thus, it could not be an oikonomia, which is a concession.  Does that make any sense? 

Why do you think that serving in the altar and serving is not connected to the priesthood?  Wern't there different levels of priesthood in the Levitic times?  They were all men.  The people who "served" were also considered "priests" but not "high priests" and etc.  What do you think of this angle...? 

Quote
I agree when it comes to the priesthood, as I said.  But my question is where do we draw the line?  I say, we draw the line where the theological support stops.  If (and I say "if" because, as I said, I am not an expert in this area) there is theological support to bar women from entering the altar, then so be it.  I would totally accept that.  I have a problem with cultural traditions and ideology and mythology that have become Orthodox because we have made up reasons for it to be Orthodox.  I would venture to say that there is not theological evidence to bar women from the altar based on the example of the Theotokos, the office of the female diaconate, the service of nuns in the altar (who are still women, are they not?), and the common allowance by many, many bishops of women into the altar for purposes of cleaning and caring for it.  If women are never to be allowed into the altar, then why are there so many bishops who give them the blessing to clean and care for it?

I'm not sure why the bishops allow it.  Maybe they see a need, maybe they have a particular understanding of our theology, maybe anything.  I would also respond (kind of tongue and cheek) why certain bishops do NOT allow women in the altar.  I was always under the impression that it was because of the iconic role of the priesthood.  But then again the people who have posited this theology have said that the bishop is the one who is the presider of the liturgy and he allows the priest an the altar servers and etc. so I would think "why not then women" if it's just a matter of HIM being the one who is in charge of the Bema.  I'm gona ask around a little bit. 

I think the answer to that would be "it's on his head if he decides to let a woman in there".  I think if we're all on the same page in terms of the theology, then the problem is helping people understand that theology and be OK with it.  I think also the amount of danger that exists in terms of pride and women being in the altar is a HUGE factor.  I remember a few women from HC (you know who they are) who were chomping at the bits to get into the altar.  That kind of mentality is very dangerous, no matter what our theology says. I almost would say "don't let them in" just because of that kind of attitude. 

Anyway, i'm gona read through these articles and that book and i'll try to post some things that I think are relevant.  Otherwise I think you'll find my little paper enlightening.  Let me know what you think. 
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2009, 10:51:50 AM »

Basic life support only requires the artificial circulation of oxygen throughout the body,

GiC, air emboli kill people last time I checked.  I never heard of a human being surviving by pure oxygen circulating through the bloodstream.  If you provide such an example, I will believe you.   Smiley  Here is what I found.

Quote
Air bubbles,  which can not only block blood flow if they are large but also prevent the heart from effectively pumping blood. The air bubble may be introduced during intravenous delivery of drugs, nutrients or fluids. An air bubble embolism may also form when a vein is operated on or when a person is being resuscitated because of the force of having pressure put on their chest. Underwater diving can cause an air embolism; the risk depends on how deeply the person dives and how fast he or she returns to the surface of the water.

be it in the form of hemoglobin or perfluorocarbons...the extra cells and proteins in blood, while useful, are not of such immediate importance and some elements, such as platelets can be a double-edged sword (better to have them than not, but they can still bring about premature death).

Without a heart, how would oxygen move throughout a body?   Huh

Hence my reference to hemoglobin or perfluorocarbons Wink
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2009, 11:20:25 AM »

Dear Presbytera,

I'll try not to create too much of a megapost but just resond to a handful (apparaently a double handful) of your responses to my responses:

Quote
Really?  Are you serious?  Men's voices are better?  That's not misogynistic, no not at all! 


Better suited because of the vocal range available to a male choir. This is my guess as to one of the reasons male choirs arose as normative. And yes, I am serious.  And no it is not myogynistic. That said, I've got no issue with women singing in the parish choir. If they can sing and make the commitment to the choir, then with the priest's blessing sing away.

Quote
far as the singing being beautiful, personally, I don't have a problem in that area (I don't say that to be boastful, only to make a point), so does that mean that, in your opinion, it's okay for me to chant?  I do chant AT the chant stand with the men *gasp.*

Honestly, I've no idea if I should have a problem with it or not. I know it is done. And as for chanting at the chant stand...where else are you supposed to to it?  Trying to stand alone and fumbling with the books would strike me as potentially distracting. What you must understand about my posts on this subject is that I want the Tradition preserved and followed regardless whether all its reasons and nuances are well understood. Granted it is better if there is understanding, but the Tradition doesn't change just because I might have no clue as to its "whys".

What is important in dealing with the Tradition at a community and pastoral level is being sure that it is indeed the Tradition, or at least a tradition of such establishment and good order as to have the force of Tradition.  


Quote
Does that mean that God appreciates the heartfelt praises of a tone deaf person less than those of a musically gifted person?  That doesn't seem very nice of God.
He's probaly fine with it.  The tone deaf singer's neighbor however might have some issues.

Quote
The Holy Altar is the Holy Altar, my friend, the same in the monastery as in a parish. 

But the "who" which is available to assist in the altar is not quite the same between a monastery and a parish.

Quote
When I say the female diaconate served in the altar, I mean she distributed the Holy Eucharist, she helped with the baptisms of women, etc.  I would say that both of those are more important than carrying fans in the Great Entrance, wouldn't you? 

I have not heard that the female diaconate distributed communion and would need some better reference to accept this point. As for assisting with a baptism, or carrying a fan that does not require tonsure (so far as I know).  

Quote
think any married woman would tell you that it is often NOT we who our husbands listen to. Smiley The men need to be encouraging eachother as well. 

We agree on this point. I know our priest often encouages men to help in the altar because he doesn't want to leave the impression that it's just something little boys and teenagers do.

Quote
No, no.  What I mean is that a woman's desire to serve is not based in a desire to displace men.  Her desire is not shaped by men at all.  It is shaped by a heartfelt calling to serve God. 
 

Then I have misunderstood or to narrowly construed this type of desire among women. At least in the specifics of what you are talking about, forgive me.

Quote
Again, you are not getting it.  It's not about gender equality.  It has nothing to do with gender.  A woman who TRULY desires to serve does NOT desire it simply to be equal to men.  She desires it because she desires to serve God.


Forgive me again. This is just an "artifact" of forum posting. If we were having a face to face conversation, you could have corrected my impressions or your statements where they got off track, but in forums conversation is taken by turns...and operating assumptions cannot be corrected or modified midpost based on input from others in the conversation. So there can be mulitple points based on that assumption that get included which might not otherwise.

Quote
I didn't say how it flows.  I said how it CIRCULATES.  The point being that it DOESN'T circulate through the body.  The Holy Eucharist does not enter the menstrual blood because it's not circulating through the body.  The one has nothing to do with the other.
 

Biologically speaking I wasn't aware that it circulated much if any at all, rather I though that it was a blood rich tissue sluffing. By flow I mean how it left the body.

Quote
As I said before, though, this should be determined not by you (or me), but by one's spiritual father.  Even I don't make decisions like that for myself.  It's not up to my conscience.  It's up to my spiritual father, and it's up to me ONLY TO OBEY him.  So, no matter your personal interpretation of how MY body functions and no matter your personal interpretations of the canons, I'll obey my spiritual father on this one.

This is one of those I get where you are coming from and can agree to a point but not totally. Yes, you should listen to the counsel of your spiritual father.  That said, this is not a purely private spiritual matter, it is a question dealt with specifically within the canons and Tradition of the Church.  Understanding the why's of the applicable canons and the Traditoin certainly shapes how they are applied in our time and circumstance, but we do not get to simply disregard them because they are no longer PC or pershaps not well understood.

Quote
Those little anecdotes are cute and well intentioned, but not theologically binding, per se.  Either way, as I said, I'll leave it up to my spiritual father.

Actualy, so far as I know, the bit about desanguination after recent communion is theologically binding.

Quote
At the least, the distinction needs to be made that NO ONE, MALE OR FEMALE, should be in the altar without the priest's/bishop's blessing.  This distinction is always lost.  

We definately agree on this.


Quote
It is seeing the the limitations applied ONLY to women when they should be applied to men AND women-- such as having a blessing to enter the altar--- no man should be entering the altar without a blessing either, but it doesn't stop them.  You don't see the faithful get scandalized when some random guy wanders into the altar in the middle of the service.  He may not even be Orthodox!  No one says a word. 

This is not the case in my parish. We very much do get scandalized if a random person, Orthodox or not attempts to enter the altar without blessed business in the altar.  Not too long ago we had a non Orthodox visitor (a local news cameraman) step into the altar through the holy doors no less (wearing a hat and shorts no less) when the bishop was visiting us. It was quite scandalous. One reader tripped on the bema and fell trying to get to him and once inside the a deacon very quickly saw too it his hat came off and he was escorted out through the back door of the vestry. We were not amused.

Quote
You bet your baklava it's not popular!!! Why?  BECAUSE IT ISN'T THEOLOGICALLY SOUND!!!!!!! 
I can't say I'm convinced of that.

Quote
In case you've forgotten, in the words of Nonna Verna Harrison in the article "Orthodox Arguments Against the Ordination of Women As Priests" (contained in the book Women and the Priesthood, ed. Hopko, SVS Press, 1999, pg 170), "Orthodox Christians believe that the consequences of Eve's sin have been healed and redeemed through the pure, freely chosen and obedient birthgiving of the Mother of God.  Within the life of the Church, she has replaced Eve as the paradigm of womanhood..."


I can't forget what I've never read or even heard of to read. The Theotokos may well have replaced Eve as the paradigm of womanhood, but the biological realities of being a woman have not changed so far as I know, not yet. And until those realities that impose certain canonical restrictions at certain times in a woman's life are healed then there is no good reason to discard the Tradition concerning them.

Quote
First off, she wasn't my teacher.  She was my STUDENT.  I am her teacher. 
Second, what does a "little wince worthy" mean, anyway?

I mean it is an idea that I find as disturbing as you do.  Women are not less than men. Men and women are different but comeplementary and have different though overlapping sets of responsibilities.

Quote
If the Church says that the women should be barred from the altar with sound theological reasoning for it, then I will by all means shut my mouth.  But the Church has not said this so far, and yet... here we are.  This is my problem.

On issues that I don't quite understand I tend to agree with St. John Chrysostom, "Is it the Tradition? Ask no further." What God wants me to know He will lead me to in His own time.

A note in Addendum:

Some of the things we've been talking about do have deep cultural roots, and I suppose one could reasonably ask if just because a practice has strong/persisitant cultural roots is that good enough reason to preserve it, especially if in the the "light" of changing times it no longer seems as relevant as it once did. The specific custom set I'm thinking of is the strong separation that used to exist between the sexes in almost every culture. The only persons of the opposite sex one had regular dealings with were those of one's own family, otherwise men kept with men and women with women. In public situations they kept apart. We see this in the Traditional practice of women standing on the Theotokos side of the temple and men on the Christ side of the temple...not that this is much observed in most places that I know of anymore.  There was a time when I could have cared less about such things, but the older I get it seems they may have been more important than we realized.  For example, in my parents time in larger schools there were still seperate boys and girls entrances. I've even seem to recall boy's and girls water fountains in my childhood...and on the playground at recess there was very little mixing, and that generally brief and businesslike. 

If these social restrictions were still in place in our society, I have come to believe certain of our current social problems would be greatly reduced...especially those that involve the unwise congress of our teens.  There is some forgotten wisdom in having men's spheres and women's spheres of interaction and activity, and the least onerous of that I think tended to be sacramentalized in the Church. And I think we set things like this aside too easily to our peril. I've no "proof" just what seems reasonable or at least not unreasonable from the observations I've made over the course of my life, such as it is. I could be wrong, I know, though at least in some respects of this I don't think so.  Human societies have their traditions for a reason, even if they've been forgotten....this seperation of the sexes has been so historically pervasive, there must be some good deep reason for it, something important, even if we no longer know what it is.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 11:48:38 AM by Seraphim98 » Logged
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2009, 11:34:59 AM »

LOL!  Right again.  I could probably try to do a more intense search on this, but I did my canon law project on this canon and I just re-read through it and you're right, all of the "oikonomia" is for people in GENERAL entering the altar.  All of the objections to women (and there are many) ALL have to do with the flow of blood.  I'm gona post it here so you can read through it.  It's not comprehensive, but definitely gives you a place to start to look at it. 
Can't wait to read it!

Quote
Thinking about it though (outloud...lol) what is the theology that ALLOWS women in the altar?  Because we are all human beings, etc. there is no man nor female, etc. ?  Just curious where you're basing your foundation. 
I think the article I'm posting below will answer that, but I will say first that, again, the precedents have been set-- the Theotokos, the female deacon, and, let us not forget the example of the saints.  Pr. Kyriaki gives an example of just one in the article below. 

Quote
I plan on reading a book I just found = "Order of Creation, Order of Redemption: The ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church" by Michael Azkoul.  I wonder if there will be any interesting insights there.  Maybe not b/c it's specifically about ordination, but you never know. 

I also found an article "BABY DEDICATION IN TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY:
EASTERN ORTHODOX "CHURCHING"
OF FORTY-DAY-OLDS " by Ron Grove, which I think might add something to this conversation. 
Thanks for posting those.  I'm adding them to my reading list (which is like a mile long, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually!)

Quote
Quote
The iconic role of the priesthood, yes, I'm absolutely with you.  I DON'T believe in women being ordained to the priesthood.  But I think that being in the altar, serving in the altar, and being ordained to the priesthood are all totally different things.  Further, I would say that the example of the Theotokos being presented in the altar was NOT oikonomia.  Her womanhood, her femaleness was the essence of her being, in that it was essential to her being the mother of God.  Thus, it could not be an oikonomia, which is a concession.  Does that make any sense? 

Why do you think that serving in the altar and serving is not connected to the priesthood?  Wern't there different levels of priesthood in the Levitic times?  They were all men.  The people who "served" were also considered "priests" but not "high priests" and etc.  What do you think of this angle...? 
I think that we have to remember, first, that the OT examples of the priesthood were fulfilled in Christ, the high priest.  You asked about the iconic role of the priesthood.  We must remember, though, that we are ALL icons of Christ, created in His image and Likeness.  This is not to dispell or devalue His role as man.  Yes, He came in a form we could understand, as a man.  And that does have a huge value.  But we have to look at the deeper theology of that, not just throw out there, "but Christ was a man."  Because without further explanation and deeper reflection, that statement sets up a mythology that teaches that women are somehow lesser.  Christ is the last Adam, and came to save ALL humanity, not just men.  We must remember that.  Again, I'm not refuting or dispelling the iconic argument.  I'm simply saying we have to be careful about how we use it, and use it correctly so that we are clear about the nature of our humanness and what it means to God.  Make sense? 

Beyond the iconic argument, the levels of the priesthood can also be seen as being fulfilled in the minor and major orders of ordination.  As we have seen, the Church saw fit to ordain women to the major order of diaconate.  Pr. Kyriaki below makes the point that the diaconate is in itself a full and complete order, and we must remember that.  To say that it is only a step in the road to the priesthood is incorrect, we must keep them separate.  I think the Church drew the line quite clearly.  The line stops at the diaconate.  Why do we question that and turn it on its head?  Just curious what you think.

Quote
Quote
I agree when it comes to the priesthood, as I said.  But my question is where do we draw the line?  I say, we draw the line where the theological support stops.  If (and I say "if" because, as I said, I am not an expert in this area) there is theological support to bar women from entering the altar, then so be it.  I would totally accept that.  I have a problem with cultural traditions and ideology and mythology that have become Orthodox because we have made up reasons for it to be Orthodox.  I would venture to say that there is not theological evidence to bar women from the altar based on the example of the Theotokos, the office of the female diaconate, the service of nuns in the altar (who are still women, are they not?), and the common allowance by many, many bishops of women into the altar for purposes of cleaning and caring for it.  If women are never to be allowed into the altar, then why are there so many bishops who give them the blessing to clean and care for it?

I'm not sure why the bishops allow it.  Maybe they see a need, maybe they have a particular understanding of our theology, maybe anything.  I would also respond (kind of tongue and cheek) why certain bishops do NOT allow women in the altar.  I was always under the impression that it was because of the iconic role of the priesthood.  But then again the people who have posited this theology have said that the bishop is the one who is the presider of the liturgy and he allows the priest an the altar servers and etc. so I would think "why not then women" if it's just a matter of HIM being the one who is in charge of the Bema.  I'm gona ask around a little bit. 
My question is why WOULDN'T the bishops allow it?  I'm going to post an article below by Presbytera Kyriaki Fitzgerald, which I think will illustrate what I'm trying to say.

Quote
I think the answer to that would be "it's on his head if he decides to let a woman in there". 
My friend, you say that as though it's a sin...

Quote
I think if we're all on the same page in terms of the theology, then the problem is helping people understand that theology and be OK with it.  I think also the amount of danger that exists in terms of pride and women being in the altar is a HUGE factor.  I remember a few women from HC (you know who they are) who were chomping at the bits to get into the altar.  That kind of mentality is very dangerous, no matter what our theology says. I almost would say "don't let them in" just because of that kind of attitude. 
I totally agree with every word of this.  I definitely remember those women, and they are the kind that make this issue so difficult, setting men on their guard (because they are made to feel like the enemy) and setting women in protest (saying, "no, we're not like those women!!!")  They have created an ADVERSARIAL atmosphere in the discussion as a result of pride and hurt feelings.  I, too, have wanted to say "don't let them in" for the same reasons as you.  We have to separate the two.  We have to separate out the women like them and remember that they are human and suffer from pride the same way the rest of us do.  They just suffer more with this particular issue.  And then we have to separate their attitudes from the rest of us women, remembering that we are not all that way.  And we have to overcome and have the discussion because it's an important one that needs to be had.

Quote
Anyway, i'm gona read through these articles and that book and i'll try to post some things that I think are relevant.  Otherwise I think you'll find my little paper enlightening.  Let me know what you think. 
Thanks, my friend!  I can't wait to read it!

In the meantime, here is an article written by Presbytera Kyriaki Fitzgerald.  Of course, she is a prolific writer and has studied this topic at great length, with well documented sources, and with much obvious humility and prayer.  This little article is just a quick summary, but it hits on ALL of the points we have discussed in this thread in the past few days.  I really hope and pray EVERYONE will read it and learn a few things.

Quote
Orthodox Women and Pastoral Praxis
Observations and Concerns for the Church in America
Icon: Jesus Healing the Woman with an Issue of Blood
Jesus Healing the Woman with an Issue of Blood

Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald

This article was published in the St. Nina Quarterly, Volume 3, No. 2. It was excerpted and adapted from a paper given at the Intra-Orthodox Conference on Pastoral Praxis (24-25 September 1985) and subsequently published in Orthodox Perspectives on Pastoral Praxis (Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1988). Reprinted by permission.

The ministry of men and women is a topic that is being discussed in many circles today. It is my intention to identify some of the significant issues related to women and to Church praxis (practice) that need to be addressed.

American-born Orthodox Christians, especially the generation of post-World War II, have been deeply influenced by the attitudes of contemporary society. These attitudes at times may or may not coincide or complement the fundamental affirmations of the Orthodox Christian faith. Much of our sense of self and perceived identity, like that of many Americans, has been significantly shaped by the "teachings" of the surrounding Western culture and society. To analyze these factors lies outside the scope of this paper. It is, however, very important that we recognize that every believer is susceptible to the influence of the diverse values of our society. Women are equally affected. Orthodox women are all too frequently forced to choose between what is often called the "traditional" or the "contemporary" understanding of women. Orthodox women often prematurely assess their position and role in the Church from either one of these two perspectives, long before they can reflect upon the entire theological, historical, and pastoral tradition of our Church. This takes place simply because they have had precious little exposure to this tradition.1

Women and the Diaconate

There has been growing interest in recent years among Orthodox in the historic position of the female deacon and in the possibility of reviving this ministry. Clearly, there has been a very remarkable development in this area of theological investigation. It is now common to find many Orthodox theologians openly discussing this issue. For the most part, they find no doctrinal reason against the rejuvenation of a genuine order of women deacons. Because these theologians see no doctrinal reason to keep the Church from reactivating the diaconate of women, this is a recognition which is, in itself, highly significant.2

The most extensive and fundamental research by an Orthodox scholar on the topic of the order of the deaconess has been done by Professor Evangelos Theodorou of the University of Athens. Through his analysis of Byzantine liturgical texts, Theodorou has clearly demonstrated that the female deacons were actually ordained at the altar and within the context of the Eucharist. While this question was once debated among Orthodox theologians, Theodorou has forcefully shown that the female deacon did not simply receive a blessing (cheirothesia) but received the laying on of hands (cheirotonia) as was the case of the male deacon.3

According to the Byzantine liturgical texts, the ordination of the woman deacon occurred as any other ordination to major orders. It took place during the celebration of the Eucharist and at the same point in the service that the male deacon was ordained. She was ordained at the altar by the bishop and, later in the service, received Holy Communion at the altar with the other clergy.4 Depending upon the need, location, and situation in history, the deaconess ministered primarily to the women in the community in much the same way that the male deacon ministered to men.5 While the expression of the deaconess’ work varied in both form and content throughout the life of the Church, it is important to note that the hallmark of this ministry had always been loving service to others. This is because the female deacon, like the male deacon, was ordained to diakonia or ministry.6 And, as was the case with her male counterpart, she was ordained to unconditional service to the Lord and His Church. The woman deacon had always to be receptive to the many changing needs of the Church and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

There is no clear evidence to explain why the order of the deaconess was gradually deemphasized sometime after the twelfth century. It should be noted, however, that there does not exist any canon or Church regulation that opposes or suppresses the order. Writing in 1954 Professor Evangelos Theodorou noted that one could find at that time convents of the Church of Greece in which there were ordained deaconesses. This observation is certainly an important one.7

Before going any further in our discussion, it is important to emphasize here that we must not misunderstand the diaconate to be merely a stepping stone to the ordained priesthood. This is still a fairly common, yet mistaken, assumption expressed by many within the Church. This kind of thinking is essentially alien to the proper Orthodox Christian understanding of ordination. The diaconate is a genuine and full order in and of itself. It has its own particular justification for existence and its own unique ministry within the life of the Church. While we know that certain male deacons may be called to pass from the order of deacon to the order of presbyter and bishop, the nature and vocation of the ministry of the ordained deacon is permanent, complete, and unique. Yet, the ministry of the deacon does not entail presiding at the celebration of the Eucharist as the father of a community of believers. Thus, it was quite possible for both women and men to be ordained to the order of the diaconate.8

The ordained diaconate is the only ministry of higher orders that has been open to women in the Orthodox Church. Although women have in fact been ordained deacons in the Orthodox Church, they have never been ordained to the orders of priesthood and episcopacy. Those persons who presently believe that there is no need for the diaconate in general and, more particularly, for women deacons, would find the prayers of the Orthodox Church of special interest. In the Orthodox ordination service of the deaconess, the following prayer is offered by the ordaining bishop.

    O God, the Holy and Almighty, You have blessed woman through the birth in the flesh of Your only-begotten Son and our God from the Virgin, and You have given the grace and visitation of the Holy Spirit not to men only, but to women as well; Lord, look now upon this Your servant and call her to the work of Your ministry (es to ergon tis diakonia sou). Send down upon her the rich gift of Your Holy Spirit. Preserve her in the Orthodox faith, that she may fulfill her ministry in blameless conduct according to what is well pleasing to You. For to You are due all honor, glory and worship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


And, as the ordination service continues, the bishop offers this prayer prior to vesting of the deaconess with the diaconal stole.

    O Lord and Master, You do not reject women who are willing to offer themselves, in so far as it is fitting, to minister in Your holy houses, but rather You accept them into the rank of ministers (en taxei leitourgon). Grant the grace of Your Holy Spirit also to this Your servant who desires to offer herself to You and fulfill the grace of Your ministry, just as You gave the grace of Your ministry (charin tis diakonias sou) to Phoebe, whom You called to the work of ministry (ergon tis leitourgias).9


While a full analysis of the service of ordination of the woman deacon is beyond the scope of this paper, studies of these and other prayers clearly indicate that the witness of the liturgical life of the Church does not limit this particular visitation of the Holy Spirit to men only, nor to certain privileged women who lived during a certain time in history, never again to be repeated. There are no constraints imposed upon the Holy Spirit in these prayers! These prayers tell us that the Lord accepts women "into the rank of ministers" with no restrictions as to time and place.

Certainly, there are a number of issues related to the order of the woman deacon that must be studied. Among these are the disciplinary canons that set various ages and conditions of life for the prospective deacon. Yet, these studies should not prevent us from seeing the great good that the rejuvenation of the order of the woman deacon would be for the Church today. We need only look around us and see the spiritual needs that exist within the parishes and in the larger society. Even with the assistance of the most devoted laypersons, our priests cannot be expected to meet the many demands of parish life. Therefore, it can be argued that the present situation requires that we also consider rejuvenating this special ministry for qualified women who, following a genuine discernment of their call, would be willing to make a permanent commitment to the ordained ministry of the Church. A decision by the Church to rejuvenate the order of the women deacons would certainly not be an action contrary to Scripture and Tradition. Rather, such an action would be in complete harmony with the Scripture and Tradition of the Church.

Those who have discussed the possible rejuvenation of the order of the woman deacon do not appear to have a clear perception with regard to how this might take place. Would it be possible, for example, for a particular diocesan bishop to simply begin to ordain women as deacons? This appears to be precisely what St. Nektarios did. He ordained at least two deaconesses for the convent on the island of Aegina for which he was the spiritual father.10 Or, some may argue, it may be necessary for a particular local church, rather than the pastoral initiative of an individual bishop, to make the decision to rejuvenate the order of the deaconess.11 Indeed, some may argue that the decision would have to be made by the entire Orthodox Church. Clearly, the issue is related to an even deeper one regarding the manner in which the Orthodox Church, either locally or internationally, is to act upon important questions that affect her life in the twentieth century.

Women and "Uncleanness"

This issue is probably the most difficult and sensitive topic to be discussed. This is so because of two basic reasons. First, the issue of the pastoral understanding of menstruation is one that personally affects every Orthodox woman during part of her life. And second, it is an issue of pastoral theology that has not been fully explored by Orthodox theologians. Because of this, it is an issue that is little understood and often associated with a form of superstition that frequently passes for Church teaching. Contemporary Orthodox women who are knowledgeable about the functions of their bodies understand the menstrual cycle to be a normal and natural part of their biological identity. These same women, however, are often taught by persons in the Church that the menstrual period is essentially evil and, therefore, unnatural. These women are prohibited by some from receiving Holy Communion during their period of menstruation. There are even those who claim that women during their menstrual period should not attend church, should not receive the blessed bread (antidoron), and should not even venerate icons.

As we have already said, this topic is one that certainly deserves greater examination. However, it is clear that even a cursory examination of the historical evidence indicates that there are divergences of opinion with regard to this issue. Central to this issue, however, appears to be the question of the proper Orthodox interpretation of the Old Testament view that regarded the menstruous woman to be ritually "unclean" because of her loss of blood.

There are two rather obscure canons that deal directly with this topic. These canons were not directly promulgated at an ecumenical synod. Rather, they belong to a collection introduced into the broader canonical corpus through canon 2 of the Council in Trullo in 692. The first is canon 2 of Archbishop Dionysios of Alexandria, a pupil of Origen, who lived during the mid-third century. Apparently answering the question asked of him, Dionysios states in his canon: "Menstruous women ought not to come to the Holy Table, or touch the Holy of Holies, nor come to churches, but pray elsewhere."12 He gives no explanation for his observation. The second canon is also a response to a question put to Archbishop Timothy of Alexandria who lived during the end of the fourth century. In response to the question, "Can a menstruous woman communicate?" Timothy responds, "Not until she is clean."13 Again, as in the first response, there is no reason given for the opinion. Subsequent Orthodox commentators, however, have related these responses to the practices of the ancient Israelites as expressed in the Old Testament.14

Let us compare these canons with other authoritative Church documents. In his commentary on Titus, focusing on the apostolic words "to the pure all things are pure" (Tit. 1:15), St. John Chrysostom condemns those who propagate a superstitious adherence to the uncleanness taboo that would include the restrictions directed against women during their period of menstruation. He goes so far as to accuse these persons of being supporters of myths. In this third homily on Titus, St. John Chrysostom compares many examples of the uncleanness taboo that the Church, under the new, or rather, the fulfillment of the law in Christ, need not follow anymore because, "things . . . are not clean or unclean from their own nature, but from the disposition of him who partakes of them." Further on in this discussion, St. John states that for the Christian:

    all things are pure. God made nothing unclean, for nothing is unclean except for sin only. For [sin] reaches the soul and defiles it. . . . [And] when the soul is unclean, it thinks all things unclean. Therefore, scrupulous observances are no mark of purity, but it is the part of purity to be bold in all things. . . moral. What is unclean? Sin, malice, covetousness, wickedness.


While his discussion on this issue is a general one and does not specifically call attention to a woman’s period of menstruation, St. John Chrysostom’s teaching, nevertheless, seeks to address all of the practices associated with the uncleanness taboo. He affirms that all such observances from the Old Testament period are inappropriate for Christians to follow. With regard to these, St. John relates that, "many forms of uncleanness would be found, if it were necessary to recount them all. But these things are not now required of us." Even more noteworthy, St. John Chrysostom makes no exceptions in this discussion, not even for a woman’s period of menstruation. He even goes so far as to discuss the uncleanness taboo as related to the female birth cycle, that concerns both the generation of life as well as the loss of blood. Referring to the Old Testament practices, he states:

   You see how many forms of uncleanness there are. The woman in child bed is unclean. Yet God made childbirth and the seed of copulation. Why then is the woman unclean, unless something further is intimated? He intended to produce piety in the soul, and to deter it from fornication. . . . But these things now are not required of us. But all [concern] is transferred to the soul.15

This discussion is intimately tied to the Orthodox understanding of natural body functions. If a woman’s period of menstruation is ultimately a good andnecessary aspect of human physiology, then the canonical Epistle of St. Athanasios to the Monk Ammos (Epistle 48) may offer us a more appropriate approach to this issue. It states that natural body functions are not sinful. To this, the text continues with the following discussion on bodily emissions:

    For what sin or uncleanness can any natural excrement have in itself? Think of the absurdity of making a sin of the wax which comes from the ears or of the spittle from the mouth. Moreover, we might add many things and explain how the excretions from the belly are necessary to animal life. But if we believe that man is the work of God’s hand, as we are taught in Holy Scripture, how can it be supposed necessary that we perform anything impure? And if we are the children of God, as the holy Acts of the Apostles teaches, we have nothing in us unclean.16


This fundamental principle related to us by St. Athanasios, that for Christians, "we have nothing in us unclean," may actually prove to be a more solid guideline for us; for if involuntary nocturnal pollutions are not considered sinful or unclean, neither should menstruation be considered unclean. It would seem that admonitions concerning all bodily emissions must be applied evenhandedly to both men and women.17

Women and the Sanctuary

Another issue that is often discussed but seldom reflected upon theologically is that of the apparent restriction of women from the sanctuary. There are those who fervently believe that women are not allowed in the sanctuary merely because they are women and "unclean." And conversely, there are those who with equal ardor believe that men, simply because they are men (sometimes even if they are not Orthodox believers), may enter the sanctuary virtually at will. Both views, of course, are incorrect.

The appropriate restriction placed upon women and men from entering the sanctuary area is actually directed to the laity in general. This is based upon two canons; the first comes to us from a local council held in the fourth century at Laodicea of which Canon 44 relates that, "The altar must not be approached by women." A second canon comes from the Sixth Ecumenical Synod and states that, "No layman except the emperor shall go up to the altar" (Canon 69).18 While some have related this prohibition expressed toward women to reasons of biological uncleanness,19 the more accurate practice applies these restrictions to all those who had no appropriate liturgical or practical business for being in the altar area. This particularly pertains to the offering of the holy gifts during the Divine Liturgy. Because "all lay persons are forbidden such action as lay persons."20

Those men and women who have both ecclesial approval and appropriate reason (e.g. for assisting the clergy with the services or for preparing the sanctuary for worship) are not prohibited from entering the altar area. What was originally intended as a practice to maintain good order and promote piety within the whole worshipping congregation, has all too often been used by some as a way of encouraging attitudes that devalue the vocation of women and their equality before God, merely because they are women.

As with every issue that we have mentioned, it is also necessary for us to consider this concern with full appreciation for the Tradition of the Church as a whole and not simply with an eye upon relatively recent local practices. Thus, we will find that there is more at stake than may have been at first anticipated. As we have already discussed in this study, we have the tradition of women deacons. They were not only ordained at the altar, but also received Holy Communion as members of the clergy within the sanctuary. Also, we have the striking example of St. Gorgonia, the sister of St. Gregory of Constantinople. She was praised by her brother for her courage and faith in God. St. Gregory notes also that when she was "dangerously ill of a malignant disease," she clutched the holy altar and prayed for God to deliver her from her illness. In telling this story, St. Gregory remembers her "declaring that she would not loosen her hold until she was made whole."21 While the story of St. Gorgonia may be somewhat unusual, the very fact that St. Gregory records the incident is a vivid reminder that we must be willing to broaden our appreciation of the various elements of the tradition of the Church that may enable us to see contemporary issues in a better light.

There are some very significant pastoral as well as liturgical concerns that center upon this issue. The first has to do with the Service of the Forty Days at which the newborn child is formally brought to the church. Why in the churching rite of infants, do most priests customarily take male infants into the sanctuary and circle the altar and only bring female infants as far as the royal doors? While some may claim that this is the "traditional" practice, it is necessary to raise the question of whether there is a valid doctrinal reason for the practice. Or is the practice simply conditioned by a cultural view that exalted the male child and devalued the female child?

Some may have heard clergy justify these actions by stating that there is always a chance that the male infant could one day serve at the holy altar as a priest. Others may state that the practice is in accord with the canon that prohibits women from entering the sanctuary. Upon closer investigation, however, both of these arguments have little merit. First, as we have already noted, is the canon that prohibits all laypersons (except the emperor) from entering the sanctuary. Thus, it would appear that even the practice of bringing a male child into the sanctuary violates the letter of the canon. And second, with regard to the "future" of the child, who is to say that perhaps the female infant could one day serve within the holy altar as a deaconess?

Such argumentation both for the male infant and for the female infant, however, leaves much to be desired. Simply stated, the arguments generally put forward in this regard appear to reflect an attitude that is culturally determined and not doctrinally based. The practice of prohibiting female infants from being brought into the sanctuary at the time of their presentation may well be an act of discrimination. Since we view both the female and the male infants as being equally valuable and equally treasured by God, then it would appear that our liturgical practices must reflect this reality.

This leads us to the issue of young girls serving as acolytes. The issue has already been boldly faced by Metropolitan Emilianos of Silybria. He recommends that more women "be admitted to the minor orders such as lectors and acolytes."22 Based upon what has already been said in this paper, especially with regard to the tradition of female deacons, there does not seem to be any doctrinal reason that would prevent girls from serving as acolytes and women as serving as lectors. Indeed, the present custom may be contrary to the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person, and the fundamental equality of the male and female persons.

Certain members of the Church’s leadership may consider the issue of altar girls as unimportant. It is a topic, however, that is discussed by many mothers and their young daughters. This issue is very important to them. Since it is a serious matter for them, so it also must be treated as an important topic by us as well.

Some of the other significant questions we will have to ask regarding this include: how necessary is it for young girls to feel just as much a part of the liturgical life as young boys? How much would an increase in the ways young girls could participate in ecclesial worship affect their future life in the Church? How would this affect the rest of their lives? This is indeed a very important pastoral challenge that we as the Church militant must face.


Conclusions

I have identified in this paper a number of issues that relate directly to the position and the ministry of women in the Orthodox Church today.* Each of them is an issue of great importance and pastoral concern that cannot be ignored. While this paper in no way assumes to be a complete investigation or analysis of these topics, it has been my intention to introduce some of the more important issues.

I would like briefly to conclude these observations by stating that the concern for orthopraxia [right practice] is at the heart of this discussion. Is our praxis as fully Christian as it can be? Do our present actions begin to reflect the full reality of who we are as the body of Christ? Do our current liturgical practices totally correspond to the full Orthodox understanding of masculine and feminine persons? We may need to reflect upon these questions very carefully. If women saw the Lord and ministered to Him, if they were the first witnesses of the crucifixion and resurrection, if they were equally visible in the life of the apostolic Church, then our present constraints on women may reflect a theology very much bound to the assumptions of past cultures. We must be able to reach a point where we can recognize the difference between culturally bound assumptions and those convictions based upon Christian doctrine.

Notes.

1. For an interesting sidelight on this topic, see Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Books, 1980), pp. 467-506.

2. Elizabeth Behr-Sigel, "The Meaning of the Participation of Women in the Life of the Church," Orthodox Women: Their Role and Participation in the Orthodox Church, edited by Constance Tarasar and Irma Kirillova (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1977), pp. 26-27; Bishop Chrysostomos, "Women in the Orthodox Church: Brief Comments from a Spiritual Perspective," The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 26:2 (1989); Metropolitan Emilianos Timiadis, "The Concern for Women in the Orthodox Tradition," Diakonia 12:1 (1977); Alexander Golubov, "On Deacons and the Diaconate: A Response," One Church 5 (1986), pp. 194-200; Sergei Hackel, "Mother Maria Skobtsova: Deaconess Manqué?" Eastern Churches Review 1:3 (1967), pp. 264-266; Bishop Kallistos Ware, "Man, Woman, and the Priesthood of Christ," pp. 32-34; Constance Tarasar and Irma Kirillova, eds., Orthodox Women: Their Role and Participation in the Orthodox Church, p. 50; Evangelos Theodorou, Heroines of Christian Love (in Greek) (Athens, 1949); idem, The ‘Ordination’ of ‘Appointment’ of Deaconesses (in Greek) (Athens, 1954); Militsa Zernov, "Women’s Ministry in the Church," Eastern Churches Review 7 (1975), pp. 34-39. See also my study on this topic in "The Characteristics and Nature of the Order of the Deaconess," Women and the Priesthood, edited by Thomas Hopko (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1983), pp. 75-96. Appreciation for research assistance is expressed to Protodeacon Michael Roshak and Hierodeacon Peter of New Skete Monastery.

3. His highly significant work, The ‘Ordination’ or ‘Appointment’ of Deaconesses (in Greek), and an earlier study, Heroines of Christian Love (in Greek), have become standard texts concerning the study of this issue.

4. Theodorou, The ‘Ordination’ (in Greek), pp. 40-65.

5. E.g. Didascalia Apostolorum (Syriac Version), edited and translated by Richard Connolly (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1929) 4.3.12, p.146, and 4.3.13, p.148.

6. Theodorou, The ‘Ordination’ (in Greek), pp. 55-56.

7. Ibid., pp. 37, 95-96.

8. Tarasar and Kirillova, Orthodox Women, p.50. For an interesting discussion on the nature of the diaconate, see Louis Bouyer, Women in the Church (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1979), pp. 82-87.

9. See "The Ordination Rite of the Byzantine Deaconess," in Theodorou, The ‘Ordination’ (in Greek), pp. 55-56. This service dates from the eighth to the tenth centuries and is taken from the Barberion Codex and the Bessarionos Codex. I have offered a translation of this service in "Characteristics," pp. 93-95.

10. Theodorou, The ‘Ordination’ (in Greek), p. 96.

11. In this case, we note the example of the Armenian Apostolic Church in America, more specifically, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, that recently accepted to authorize the ordination of women deacons: "Diocese of the Armenian Church of America Seeks Ordination of Women to the Diaconate," The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, News Release, July 7, 1986. Cf. "Restoring Women to Their Proper Role in the Armenian Church," Yedvard Gulbekian, Outreach 8 (October 6, 1985).

12. Canonical Letter of Dionysios of Alexandria in The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (henceforth NPNF) (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmanns, 1956), p. 600. However, in Canon 4 he leaves it up to the discretion of the man whether or not to commune, after he had experienced "involuntary nocturnal pollutions."

13. Canonical Answers of Timothy of Alexandria, in NPNF, 14, p.613. I have slightly adapted this and subsequent texts to a more readable style that conforms more readily with the spirit of the original Greek texts.

14. E.g. Leviticus 12:1-5 and 15:19-30.

15. St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Epistle to Titus, Homily 2, NPNF, 13, pp. 529-531. Cf. Women and Men in the Church (New York, 1983), pp. 40-46.

16. Canonical Epistle of St. Athanasios to the Monk Ammos, NPNF,14, pp. 602-603; cf. Leviticus 15.

17. Constance Tarasar, "Woman, Handmaid to the Lord: The Role of Woman in the Church Viewed in Dogmatic and Historical Perspective" (M.Div. thesis, St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary), p. 262.

18. NPNF, 14, pp. 153 and 396 respectively.

19. E.g. Zonaras’ comment regarding Canon 44 of the Council of Laodicea, NPNF, 14, p. 153.

20. Women and Men in the Church, p. 45.

21. Gregory the Theologian, On His Sister Gorgonia, NPNF, 7, p. 243.

22. Timiadis, "The Concern for Women," p. 19.

*Editors' note: Some of the other issues that were covered in the original paper included: Orthodox women and administrative life; women in theology; and theology of the priesthood.

Article can be found at http://stnina.org/journal/art/3.2.2
Emphasis is all mine.


I know I bolded a lot of the article, and I apologize.  But I think she directly refutes and dispells all of the mythology regarding these issues.  When re-reading this, I could not help but notice... The Church has irrefutably declared that women, too, are called to serve the Lord, as Pr. Kyriaki evidenced in the section on the ordination of the female deacon, with special respect paid to the prayers of ordination themselves.  If this is the case, why must women defend so vehemently their desire to serve?  Why is it questioned?  When a man desires to serve, no one says, "well, does he want to serve out of pride?"  Why do we say this of women?  The Church has spoken and said that women are called to service as well.  Who are we to question that?
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2009, 12:02:05 PM »

Dear Presbytera,

I'll try not to create too much of a megapost but just resond to a handful (apparaently a double handful) of your responses to my responses:
Yeah, my posts tend to be really long.  I'm sorry.  I'll just respond to a couple points and ask that you read the article by Pr. Kyriaki Fitzgerald that I posted.  I think it answers a lot of the points that have been offered.

Quote
Honestly, I've no idea if I should have a problem with it or not. I know it is done. And as for chanting at the chant stand...where else are you supposed to to it?  Trying to stand alone and fumbling with the books would strike me as potentially distracting.
LOL!!!  I love this!  Smiley

Quote
What you must understand about my posts on this subject is that I want the Tradition preserved and followed regardless whether all its reasons and nuances are well understood. Granted it is better if there is understanding, but the Tradition doesn't change just because I might have no clue as to its "whys".
I often tend to feel that way as well... I acknowledge very clearly that I don't have all the answers and want the proper traditions to be preserved, whether I know why or not.  But the key word there is "proper."  If a tradition was developed (or lost, for that matter) erroneously, then we should correct, not ignore.  Would you agree?

Quote
But the "who" which is available to assist in the altar is not quite the same between a monastery and a parish.
Maybe I am misunderstanding you here, please correct me if I am.  If we say that difference between a monastery and a parish is the degree of piety of the women (the nuns being more pious and thus more worthy to serve in the altar), then this must also be extended to men, would you agree?  In which case, no one in the parish, male or female, is able to serve in the altar.  What you are implying is that, because there are no tonsured nuns in the parish, women should not be allowed to serve (in other words as far as women, ONLY tonsured nuns are holy enough for the altar, but as far as men, any man, tonsured monk or not, is acceptable).  But non-tonsured men (not monks) SHOULD be allowed?  This sets up a double standard, if it is what you are implying.  You are implying that on the totem pole of holiness, non-tonsured women are at the bottom (the women in the parish), next up would be non-tonsured men (the men in the parish), then tonsured nuns, then (presumably) tonsured monks.  We cannot set up this hierarchy of holiness.  It is not theologically correct and goes back to the baseless and theologically INcorrect argument that men are somehow holier than women.  Am I making sense?  What say you?

Quote
I have not heard that the female diaconate distributed communion and would need some better reference to accept this point. As for assisting with a baptism, or carrying a fan that does not require tonsure (so far as I know).  
She did indeed distribute communion.  Again, I'll direct you to Pr. Kyriaki's article.  But I will also say that my husband is a liturgist (and the guys on here who know him will tell you he knows what he's talking about--- help me out here, Serb1389 Smiley  ), and I have asked him about these things, and in fact he has helped me do some research.  She definitely distributed communion (there is no doubt about this and theologians will tell you that as well), and they participated in baptisms in the manner that the contemporary priest does (the way the deacon then, or now, for that matter, if he's present, would).  That definitely requires ordination.  Further, carrying a fan, or any other thing done in service within the altar, SHOULD be done by one who is tonsured, in a perfect world.  Tonsuring, of course, being a MINOR form of ordination, and thus theologically allowed for women (as the diaconate, a MAJOR order of ordination, was/is allowed for women, it follows that nothing would be wrong with the lesser orders, and indeed, the canons do not forbid it).


Quote
Forgive me again. This is just an "artifact" of forum posting. If we were having a face to face conversation, you could have corrected my impressions or your statements where they got off track, but in forums conversation is taken by turns...and operating assumptions cannot be corrected or modified midpost based on input from others in the conversation. So there can be mulitple points based on that assumption that get included which might not otherwise.
I totally agree with you.  No forgiveness necessary, my friend.

Quote
This is one of those I get where you are coming from and can agree to a point but not totally. Yes, you should listen to the counsel of your spiritual father.  That said, this is not a purely private spiritual matter, it is a question dealt with specifically within the canons and Tradition of the Church.  Understanding the why's of the applicable canons and the Traditoin certainly shapes how they are applied in our time and circumstance, but we do not get to simply disregard them because they are no longer PC or pershaps not well understood.
I'm not afraid of the issue not being PC.  I'll just direct you to what Pr. Kyriaki says in her article.  Please note what St. John Chrysostom said on the subject, as well as St. Athanasios.  I think that answers the question pretty clearly.  I, too, stick with St. John Chrysostom.  Smiley



Quote
I can't forget what I've never read or even heard of to read. The Theotokos may well have replaced Eve as the paradigm of womanhood, but the biological realities of being a woman have not changed so far as I know, not yet. And until those realities that impose certain canonical restrictions at certain times in a woman's life are healed then there is no good reason to discard the Tradition concerning them.
Sorry, I wasn't clear.  I meant the idea when I said, "in case you've forgotten," not Nonna Harrison's exact words.  My bad.  Again, I'll just direct you to the article.

Quote

I mean it is an idea that I find as disturbing as you do.  Women are not less than men. Men and women are different but comeplementary and have different though overlapping sets of responsibilities.
Gotcha.  Agreed.


Quote

On issues that I don't quite understand I tend to agree with St. John Chrysostom, "Is it the Tradition? Ask no further." What God wants me to know He will lead me to in His own time.
I like this.  Smiley
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2009, 12:21:55 PM »

Quote
Maybe I am misunderstanding you here, please correct me if I am.  If we say that difference between a monastery and a parish is the degree of piety of the women (the nuns being more pious and thus more worthy to serve in the altar), then this must also be extended to men, would you agree?  In which case, no one in the parish, male or female, is able to serve in the altar.  What you are implying is that, because there are no tonsured nuns in the parish, women should not be allowed to serve (in other words as far as women, ONLY tonsured nuns are holy enough for the altar, but as far as men, any man, tonsured monk or not, is acceptable).  But non-tonsured men (not monks) SHOULD be allowed?  This sets up a double standard, if it is what you are implying.  You are implying that on the totem pole of holiness, non-tonsured women are at the bottom (the women in the parish), next up would be non-tonsured men (the men in the parish), then tonsured nuns, then (presumably) tonsured monks.  We cannot set up this hierarchy of holiness.  It is not theologically correct and goes back to the baseless and theologically INcorrect argument that men are somehow holier than women.  Am I making sense?  What say you?

I'm saying that at a monastery, if a priest is present and needs help in the altar then only those who are present are available to help. In a women's monastery, this would be women. In a parish both sexes are present (or should be) and the service of the altar as rule is undertaken by men.

Quote
She did indeed distribute communion.  Again, I'll direct you to Pr. Kyriaki's article.  But I will also say that my husband is a liturgist (and the guys on here who know him will tell you he knows what he's talking about--- help me out here, Serb1389   ), and I have asked him about these things, and in fact he has helped me do some research.  She definitely distributed communion (there is no doubt about this and theologians will tell you that as well), and they participated in baptisms in the manner that the contemporary priest does (the way the deacon then, or now, for that matter, if he's present, would).  That definitely requires ordination.  Further, carrying a fan, or any other thing done in service within the altar, SHOULD be done by one who is tonsured, in a perfect world.  Tonsuring, of course, being a MINOR form of ordination, and thus theologically allowed for women (as the diaconate, a MAJOR order of ordination, was/is allowed for women, it follows that nothing would be wrong with the lesser orders, and indeed, the canons do not forbid it).

That would be an interesting article to see. The article that you referenced above was interesting as well. I would certainly agree that the diaconate is a full order unto itself and not just a stepping stone to priesthood. If the ancient rites did indeed follow the same basic model for ordination of deacons with the Bishop laying on hands, then it would seem immenantly reasonable that female deacons would be entrusted to distribute the Holy Eucharist as well. And where there was a requirement to visit elderly or shut in widows in that time it would have certainly reduced the potential appearance of scandal should lone male deacons go to take the Eucharist to them or minister in some other needful way.

I do wonder though what would be the proper vesture for a deaconess, would it include some kind or monasitic like veil or head covering such as an abbess might wear? 

And that said, chavanistic, mysogenistic or not at a personal gut level I am much more comfortable with the idea of ordained deaconesses and tonsured chanters than I am with the idea of altar girls and female readers...at least for the epistles in the Liturgy.  Other scripture readings at other time doen't strike me that way...but that may just be me. call me crazy.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 12:22:24 PM by Seraphim98 » Logged
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2009, 12:53:17 PM »


I'm saying that at a monastery, if a priest is present and needs help in the altar then only those who are present are available to help. In a women's monastery, this would be women. In a parish both sexes are present (or should be) and the service of the altar as rule is undertaken by men.
Ahhhh... I did misunderstand you.  Thank you for clarifying.  I think it can be said, though, that considering the example of the female deacon, the service of the altar was not ALWAYS left only to men.  That is precisely the point.  And Pr. Kyriaki notes that there is no canon DISSOLVING that service.  There is not even a clear reason as to why the role of the deaconess faded out.  But I think she makes good points as to why it should fade back in.


Quote
That would be an interesting article to see. The article that you referenced above was interesting as well.
Yes, the article I have been discussing is the one that I posted in post #90, directed at Serb1389.  I encourage you to read it.

Quote
I would certainly agree that the diaconate is a full order unto itself and not just a stepping stone to priesthood. If the ancient rites did indeed follow the same basic model for ordination of deacons with the Bishop laying on hands, then it would seem immenantly reasonable that female deacons would be entrusted to distribute the Holy Eucharist as well. And where there was a requirement to visit elderly or shut in widows in that time it would have certainly reduced the potential appearance of scandal should lone male deacons go to take the Eucharist to them or minister in some other needful way.
It was indeed a full ordination inside the altar, at the altar table, with the full laying on of hands by the Bishop at the Eucharist.  Yes, I think there are many good reasons to resurrect the office of the deaconess.  The most obvious two being the assistance during baptisms and, as you said, visitation of female shut ins/elderly.  This can be extended as well... The priest must visit the elderly/shut ins when confession is desired.  But having a deaconess with them would also reduce the risk of the appearance of impropriety.  The same can be said when a person comes to the church for confession.  I say this as the wife of a priest, who often has to accompany her husband on visits, or stick around the church "after hours" (so to speak) while her husband meets with people.  It would be nice to have a person who can more appropriately fill that role than me.  Those are just a couple reasons. 

Quote
I do wonder though what would be the proper vesture for a deaconess, would it include some kind or monasitic like veil or head covering such as an abbess might wear? 
The drawings that I have seen (and let us not forget icons of the women deaconesses, such as that of Phoebe), she wears a head covering much like a nun, and she wears an orarion (like a deacon).  Interestingly, I have seen an icon of Olympiada the deaconess (with whom I am not familiar and about whom I would really like to know more) wearing an epitrachelion (which is, of course, the stole worn by the priest).  I am going to try and find out more about her, and see if I can figure out why she's wearing an epitrachelion.

Here is an example of those two icons (Phoebe and Olympiada):



Quote
And that said, chavanistic, mysogenistic or not at a personal gut level I am much more comfortable with the idea of ordained deaconesses and tonsured chanters than I am with the idea of altar girls and female readers...at least for the epistles in the Liturgy.  Other scripture readings at other time doen't strike me that way...but that may just be me. call me crazy.
This doesn't surprise me.  Even I, who am a woman and trying to educate myself further in these matters, feel the same way.  I often question myself, when at the chant stand or reading the Epistle (which I do quite often, and have done in the presence of many bishops over the years, none of whom have ever said anything but praise).  But I remind myself that I have to rise above the feelings of inadequacy as a woman (in my case, not yours), and rise above what I have been conditioned to feel.  I have to rise up to meet my full potential in Christ.  I have to rise up to what I know to be theologically correct, blessed by the Church, and encouraged by my bishop (and other bishops).  I have to rise above even when it means stepping out of my comfort zone.  I try to remember the Theotokos (for whom I am named) as my role model for everything in life.  And I know she was most definitely out of her comfort zone when she responded to the angel, "be it done to me according to your word."  I try to remember this.  Obedience to the will of God and the Church, even when I am uncomfortable, unsure, or even frightened. 

Just as a pleasant side note, I will say that my greatest joy of late was standing side by side with my beloved bishop at the chant stand during some of the Lenten services, with him teaching and guiding me in my chanting.  What a humbling joy and a blessing!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 01:00:43 PM by GreekChef » Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2009, 02:37:09 PM »

For this same reason, I have to agree that men/women don't mix - especially in the Altar.  Even with the best of intentions...why risk the chance of tempting each other - even if it be unintentional?
Out of curiosity, what would you say, then of men and women worshiping together to begin with?  I mean, I agree that there is always a temptation, but what is the distinction of being in the altar?

Quote
For years I felt excluded.  That this is a "man's" world.  I understood that Christ picked only male disciples, however, it still stung when I saw men, that I knew had questionable moral standards, go in and out of the Altar, and I could only gaze in awe from the outside.  However, as I matured, I realized, as was mentioned above, that the Altar is ONLY for those who are serving.  MEN are also excluded if they have no business to conduct in the Altar.  In other words, if they are not the bishop, priest, deacon or altar server, they have as little right to be in there as do I.
It's not about having a right to be in the altar.  No one has a "right."  We are all equally unworthy.  But you are correct that men are equally barred from the altar if they have no business there.  This is a distinction that is almost always lost, and is a huge part of the problem. 

Quote
Needless to say, in time I realized that there is plenty for me to do, outside the Altar.  You don't have to actively "serve" in the Altar to do God's work.  Certainly that is the most visible mean, however, God's work is done in the smallest of tasks.  I have taken on a number of things, that keep me so busy that I sometimes wonder how to do it all. 
I agree with you here.  I personally serve in many capacities outside the altar, my favorite way (where you'll usually find me) is at the chant stand.  But just because I don't feel a personal call to serve in the altar or as a female deacon doesn't mean that all women don't, and I won't discount or devalue that calling.  The Church blessed that calling (see the article I posted in post #90 by Presbytera Kyriaki Fitzgerald for the prayers blessing this calling).  Why would we devalue that or question it in women with a sincere desire to serve?

Quote
As for the menstruation thing....I personally, respect Christ enough that I would not dare to approach Him, lest I were prepared.  This means, clean.  Clean conscience.  Bathed, in clean clothes, clean hair, clean nails, and smelling fresh as a daisy.  Unless I am dying, and am in dire need of Communion, I can wait a week.
Again, please read that article.  The idea that menstruation is somehow sinful and unclean is a sad, mistaken, and theologically incorrect one.  St. John Chrysostom said that (it's in the article, so I won't repeat it here), and the idea of saying God's creation is somehow imperfect or unclean is one I find thoroughly disturbing, personally.  As far as dying and being in dire need of Communion, are we not all dying and in dire need of the Eucharist at all times?  It disturbs me to see the Eucharist flippantly thrown aside (and I don't mean personally by you, just in general) in such a way as this issue causes.  We should all strive to receive the Holy Gifts as often as possible.

Quote
Why look for issues?  How many women actually Commune EACH and every Sunday?  For that fact, how many MEN do?  So, why argue about every 4th Sunday's eligibility?
Very many women do actually prepare themselves through confession, fasting, and prayer to commune every Sunday.  I know many priests (my own spiritual father being one of them) who specifically tell their spiritual children that, unless they have done something to warrant abstaining from receiving (such as breaking the fast), they are to receive at every possible opportunity, so long as they are prepared (which, of course, it is up to the spiritual father to determine if they are prepared).  And personally, I still think it's a fruitless argument, as it should be left up to one's spiritual father (as in ALL things).

Quote
Communion is a privilege, not a right.
Communion is a blessing, that has been given to us by God's grace.  To abstain from it BECAUSE of God's blessing (yes, a woman's menstruation is a blessing), is like slapping God's hand away and saying, "no thanks, I don't think what you created is clean and good enough to receive you."

Quote
I have to admit that I am brokenhearted if that time of month falls on a Sunday, especially on Holy Week (barring me from venerating the Holy Shroud-Plashchanitsia)....but, I get over it...
Liza, honestly, I say all of these things in love, not in an attempt to attack you or create an adversarial atmosphere, or to pontificate or set myself above.  So I ask that you please not take it that way.  But reading this almost made me cry.  Whether you receive when you menstruate or not is, of course, between you and your spiritual father, as is your veneration of the Holy Shroud.  But please, please, discuss this with your spiritual father.  There is NO canonical, traditional, patristic, or dogmatic reason WHATSOEVER for you to abstain from venerating the Holy Shroud while menstruating.  It saddens me so deeply to think that any woman was taught this. 

Just out of curiosity... Do you think that any of the Myrrh bearing women were menstruating when they went to anoint the body of Christ?  We don't know... why don't we know?  Because it wasn't important.  If it was important, if it had some bearing, we would have been told.  We were told of the woman with the flow of blood.  She is mentioned in her uncleanness (because Christ cured her and actually barred her from going through the routine of cleaning herself-- He set the precedent right there, by the way, that the OT laws regarding cleanliness were no longer to be adhered to, and St. John Chrysostom says the same). 

Quote
It's not a curse.  It's just life....and it's MY choice to keep my distance.  Nobody knows which woman is menstruating...and nobody dares instruct them whether they may/may not approach. It's the woman's own conscience....her own appreciation of What she is approaching that holds her back.
I'm afraid I can't agree with this.  I would personally say it is NOT our choice.  For starters, Christ set the precedent by healing the woman with the flow of blood.  Secondly, the Fathers clearly said that the OT laws regarding such things were not to be adhered to.  Thirdly, if it is up to anyone, it is up to our spiritual father.  Our job is to obey.  We don't make decisions regarding our salvation on our own.  That is a Protestant way of thinking. We make decisions only in consultation and with the blessing of our spiritual father.  Then we obey.  I hope you'll forgive me if I'm being too direct.  I've rewritten this like three times because I'm trying to make sure that my words read clearly, and not with a harsh tone, because that is not how I mean them.

Further, to set up our bodies against our souls in this way borders on the Gnostic heresy of dualism, wherein there is a dichotomy between body and soul.  The body is lowered and considered sinful and dirty, the soul elevated.  But we know that by being incarnated, Christ sanctified matter, sanctified our bodies, sanctified His creation, elevated it, and united it with the divine.  Therefore this dichotomy does not exist.  Dualism renders our bodies and souls incompatible, which is exactly what happens as a result of this issue.  Our soul is sacrificed (in that we are barred from receiving the Eucharist) to the perceived sinfulness and uncleanliness of our bodies.  This is wrong.

Quote
Makes me appreciate it more when I am able to partake of the Privilege.
Again, I find this troubling.  The idea that we are somehow punished (that we cannot receive once a month) merely for being women... that no matter how sincerely a woman desires to receive, no matter how well she prepares herself through prayer, fasting, confession, and almsgiving, she STILL will not be allowed to receive simply because her body is functioning the way God intended... It smacks of the idea that women are being eternally punished for Eve's transgression, which of course is not true, as the Theotokos has fulfilled and wiped away the transgression of Eve through her obedient birthgiving to God. 

Quote
Besides, I don't think a person's "judgement" will hinge on whether she Communed or kissed the cross or went to church, etc. 
My friend, of course our salvation rests on our participation in the sacraments.  Otherwise, why do we participate?  God has offered Himself for us through His glorious sacrifice and offers Himself to us every week that we may be united with Him.  And yet, because WE (not God, but WE) have judged that HIS creation (meaning us, our bodies, our bodily functions) is somehow sinful and unclean, we stand before His Holy Altar once a month and REFUSE Him?  We stand and say, "no, I don't think your creation is worthy of you?  I think it is unclean, and therefore I will not come to your table and eat as you have invited me?"

Here's a metaphor that will hopefully describe what I mean more clearly (albeit an oversimplified one).  I go to my friend Rachel's house for dinner.  She makes a beautiful dinner for me, having sacrificed her whole day to cooking, slaving over the stove, and giving from the bottom of her heart.  She set out her most beautiful china (which she paid a LOT of money for) and her beautiful crystal.  I walk into the dining room, and, seeing the table set with this beautiful banquet, I look at her china and say, "you know, I really appreciate the gesture.  Really, I do.  I'm grateful that you did this for me.  But, your china is just not pretty enough.  It's just not good enough quality.  And look, there's a scratch here and a spot there.  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to participate, I'm not going to partake of this amazing meal you made for me.  I'm not going to honor your sacrifice."  Would we do that in our best friend's home?  Never.  Why would we do that before God?

I am familiar with the rebuttal to this scenario.  The common rebuttal is, "well it's not her china that isn't good enough.  It's my china.  My china isn't good enough and I don't feel proper about it."  So I have two questions in response.  Number one... Is it our china?  No, it's God's.  He created it, He bought it, and He lives in it.  It's His.  Number two... even if that were true, that my china just isn't good enough or clean enough, can it EVER be good or clean enough?  Of course not.  Why would we voluntarily throw up another imagined barrier between ourselves and God?  Assuming, on the other hand, that it is our china.... we approach humbly, with our broken, chipped, scratched, spotted old china as best as we can get it, and we ask for His forgiveness for our inability to make ourselves truly worthy, and we accept the sacrifice He has made with gratitude in our hearts, tears in our eyes, and with love.  Hope that makes sense.

Quote
We will be judged on how we lived and how we expressed our love, not just for each other, but, for Christ....which is manifested in our daily lives and our daily actions.
This is, of course true, and beautifully said!

Quote
Just my opinion.

Please nobody take offense.

Peace.
Again, this is only my opinion as well, and I pray you are not offended.  I just noticed this is my third or fourth lengthy post here today.  LOL.  I have some extra time today, thank God.  I sincerely pray I'm not offending you with my words.  I humbly ask for your forgiveness if I am.  I pray you have a beautiful Holy Week and Pascha!

Forgive me a sinner,
Presbytera Mari
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 02:55:42 PM by GreekChef » Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2009, 02:42:52 PM »

With respect to the icon of St. Olympiada and the particularities of her vesture these thoughts occur to me:

1.Maybe there is a technical inaccuracy in the icon.

2. Maybe it is not really an epitrachelion but an orarion worn in a way we are no longer accustomed to seeing. Perhaps wearing it diagonally on a women presents certain anatomical issues...depending on the woman and it was deemed more modest for deaconesses to wear theirs a bit differently. I'm not sure the emphasis given by the 1/2 or full cross your heart bra look in the middle of church would have garnered much approval back in the days of St. Basil or earlier.

3. Maybe at the time of St. Olympiada some aspects of vesture were a little more fluid than they became in later eras.

That's all that occurs to me at the moment.

Logged
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2009, 03:02:37 PM »

Presbytera Mari, I'm so thankful for your imput on this topic of women communing at a "certain time". I was totally dumbfounded upon becoming Orthodox to learn that Orthodox women weren't allowed to receive communion, venerate icons, etc. during their periods! I am not a big fan of modernism, but this seemed to be from the dark ages!!! My parish sounds a lot like Liza's in this regard. My friends linger in the back of the church and whisper to me that they are currently "unclean" and may not venerate icons, etc. At first these seemed like the weirdest conversation to be having in church!! And, I am discovering, there are all sorts of other "interesting" ideas adrift amongst the good women of the church: I was once informed I may not take an expectant friend of mine to visit art galleries, because she might happen to see a picture of a naked human being, which would then cause the unborn child to become in future, a lustful, passion-driven person...sigh...sorry, such notions, belong to the dark ages, i'm afraid...
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 03:32:40 PM by Rosehip » Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2009, 03:20:24 PM »

Presbytera Mari, I'm so thankful for your imput on this topic of women communing at a "certain time".
Glory to God!  Please pray for me!

Quote
I was totally dumbfounded upon becoming Orthodox to learn that Orthodox women weren't allowed to receive communion, venerate icons, etc. during their periods! I am not a big fan of modernism, but this seemed to be from the dark ages!!! My parish sounds a lot like Liz's in this regard. My friends linger in the back of the church and whisper to me that they are currently "unclean" and may not venerate icons, etc. At first these seemed like the weirdest conversation to be having in church!! And, I am discovering, there are all sorts of other "interesting" ideas adrift amongst the good women of the church: I was once informed I may not take an expectant friend of mine to visit art galleries, because she might happen to see a picture of a naked human being, which would then cause the unborn child to become in future, a lustful, passion-driven person...sigh...sorry, such notions, belong to the dark ages, i'm afraid...

Wow... that's UNREAL!  That's yiayialogy rearing it's ugly head, I'm afraid!
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2009, 03:31:15 PM »

Quote
... yiayialogy...

I love it! What's the russian version for this word, I wonder? Aside from "sueveriye"-superstition? Babushology? Babushkisims?
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2009, 03:33:03 PM »

Quote
... yiayialogy...

I love it! What's the russian version for this word, I wonder? Aside from "sueveriye"-superstition? Babushology? Babushkisims?

Oooo, I LIKE Babushkisms!!!!!     laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 03:33:22 PM by GreekChef » Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
admiralnick
Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,880


« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2009, 03:53:21 PM »

This is a slightly different topic but regarding the baptism of adult women-I checked out a link on this forum to the recent National Geographic article on the Russian Orthodox Church. There was a picture of an adult women being baptised wearing nothing but a hot pink bikini! I was totally astounded that any woman would dress that way for baptism-in a church and in front of a man not her husband, but kept my peace, not wanting to appear too "outdated". Sure enough, some non-orthodox acquaintances of mine saw the article and  believe  me, that picture did nothing to boost their opinion of the Church...they called me up and wondered what was  with the Orthodox church for allowing such immodesty. I was very embarrassed.

When I was baptised, I wore a very loose, modest and opaque white gown made for me by my godmother. She actually made a second one for me to change into after the immersion, for modesty's sake. I also discouraged men from attending the baptism, for reasons of modesty.

Why would a woman wear nothing but a bikini for baptism, or want to appear in church in such attire before a man who was not her husband???  Shocked Huh

My wife was baptised in an MP church. She has her blue baptismal bikini from that day in a box along with her baptismal certificate. My relation to wearing the bikini is that it is the closest you can get to being fully immersed naked without actually being naked. Christ was not baptised fully clothed. Neither are children baptised fully clothed. Are you saying that a 40 day old girl or boy is immodest because she or he is baptised without clothes?

The symbolism of nakedness is referential to our state in the Garden of Eden which is where baptism is essentially returning us to. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were naked:

Genesis 2:25. "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." (KJ version)
Genesis 3:7, "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." (again KJ version)

If Adam and Eve were not ashamed why are we? It wasn't until they sinned and fell from their state of perfection that they were ashamed of their nakedness. Baptism is representative of taking off the old self and putting on the new self where the new self is a clean and spotless one with no blemishes.

Now I agree the hot pink might have been over the top, but as for the bikini, I can definately rationalize the symbolism. In addition, the person was not being baptised infront of a "man" as you put, but rather you are being baptised by Christ through his representative on earth. are you receiving communion from a "man" or having your sins forgiven by a "man"? The presence of Christ in the priest transcends being a "man" in this instance.

-Nick
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 04:05:08 PM by admiralnick » Logged

The ORIGINAL: "NULL"
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2009, 04:18:03 PM »

Sorry, I don't buy that "logic" for one minute. The priest is still a real, live human being just like the rest of us. I've heard of cases of priests who were tormented with lust years after baptizing women-if Christ's presence so thoroughly transcends him then why did he suffer from such lust? I for one would not want to be guilty of causing lust unnecessarily in a man. It is my duty as a Christian woman to be modest and chaste as much as possible-which is why we dress in long skirts with long sleeves and headcoverings in church. I have actually never worn nor owned a bikini in my life-why would I suddenly be so immodest for my baptism?  Was your wife commanded to wear a bikini at her baptism? What if she had asked permission to wear a modest, long, full white gown? Would they have refused to honour her resquest? Why is it that at my parish, even adult MEN wear long, full, loose white gowns? We're not a bunch of weird, puritanical americans, either. We're so Russian you hardly know you're on this side of the ocean...

I would not compare an infant's nakedness to that of an adult human being as far as the potential to create lust in the opposite sex is concerned. Of course, there are no doubt exceptions unfortunately, but for the most part, I would not say it would be equivalent.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 04:20:01 PM by Rosehip » Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
admiralnick
Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,880


« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2009, 04:23:10 PM »

Sorry, I don't buy that "logic" for one minute. The priest is still a real, live human being just like the rest of us. I've heard of cases of priests who were tormented with lust years after baptizing women-if Christ's presence so thoroughly transcends him then why did he suffer from such lust? I for one would not want to be guilty of causing lust unnecessarily in a man. It is my duty as a Christian woman to be modest and chaste as much as possible-which is why we dress in long skirts with long sleeves and headcoverings in church. I have actually never worn nor owned a bikini in my life-why would I suddenly be so immodest for my baptism?  Was your wife commanded to wear a bikini at her baptism? What if she had asked permission to wear a modest, long, full white gown? Would they have refused to honour her resquest? Why is it that at my parish, even adult MEN wear long, full, loose white gowns? We're not a bunch of weird, puritanical americans, either. We're so Russian you hardly know you're on this side of the ocean...

I would not compare an infant's nakedness to that of an adult human being as far as the potential to create lust in the opposite sex is concerned. Of course, there are no doubt exceptions unfortunately, but for the most part, I would not say it would be equivalent.

So then by your logic we shouldn't go to confession and confess our sins to a man because he can't forgive sins, only God can.

-Nick
Logged

The ORIGINAL: "NULL"
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2009, 04:28:36 PM »

I always understood that the priest was actually a witness to our confession and that it is God who forgives. But there is a verse about "binding and loosing sins" which is applicable. In general, I view the priest as a witness when I go to confession.

Anyhow, I would be interested in hearing if your wife would have been granted a more modest option for her baptism, had she requested it.

Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
admiralnick
Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,880


« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2009, 04:29:21 PM »

I always understood that the priest was actually a witness to our confession and that it is God who forgives. But there is a verse about "binding and loosing sins" which is applicable. In general, I view the priest as a witness when I go to confession.

Anyhow, I would be interested in hearing if your wife would have been granted a more modest option for her baptism, had she requested it.



I will ask when I get home tonight.

-Nick
Logged

The ORIGINAL: "NULL"
admiralnick
Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,880


« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2009, 04:38:24 PM »

Why is it that at my parish, even adult MEN wear long, full, loose white gowns? We're not a bunch of weird, puritanical americans, either. We're so Russian you hardly know you're on this side of the ocean...

How many Icons of the Nativity have you seen where Christ is wearing a "long, full, loose white gown"? Is there shame in being baptized the same way as Christ?

-Nick
Logged

The ORIGINAL: "NULL"
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2009, 04:39:01 PM »

With respect to the icon of St. Olypiadia I asked over on Monachos about her epitrachelion looking thing and Fr. Deacon Matthew said it was just part of her garment.  

It occuredto me while considering his opinion on the icon that it could that what we are looking at is actually her full liturgical vesture, not just a sign of office like an orarion or omiphor. That would make the epitrachelion looking thing a large vertical swath of brocade than ran from the yoke of the sticherion to the hem, perhaps recalling the cross with the part on the shoulders, the yoke, representing the horizontal bar. It's just a guess I know...but an icon of a deaconess in appropriate vestments is not so far fetched.
Logged
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2009, 04:47:25 PM »

Why is it that at my parish, even adult MEN wear long, full, loose white gowns? We're not a bunch of weird, puritanical americans, either. We're so Russian you hardly know you're on this side of the ocean...

How many Icons of the Nativity have you seen where Christ is wearing a "long, full, loose white gown"? Is there shame in being baptized the same way as Christ?

-Nick

You mean the icons of the Theophany/Baptism of Christ? No, there is no shame, but we live in different times, different cultures. I would like to know how the women were dressed for their baptisms in biblical times. With the prevailing modesty standards for Jewish women, I can't quite imagine them being baptised in a public place in a bikini. It seems deaconesses were utilized to assist in the baptism of women, which seems reasonable, if they indeed had to take off their clothes. A bit like the jewish mikvah attendants-who would be female, of course. All the same, I would not be happy to have to be baptized naked or even in a bikini even if it were performed by a woman(even a woman could be thinking perverted thoughts)! I really hope we can get more historical information on all of this, because it is interesting topic. When did white gowns make their appearance, etc...?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 04:49:54 PM by Rosehip » Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2009, 05:18:13 PM »

With respect to the icon of St. Olypiadia I asked over on Monachos about her epitrachelion looking thing and Fr. Deacon Matthew said it was just part of her garment.  

It occuredto me while considering his opinion on the icon that it could that what we are looking at is actually her full liturgical vesture, not just a sign of office like an orarion or omiphor. That would make the epitrachelion looking thing a large vertical swath of brocade than ran from the yoke of the sticherion to the hem, perhaps recalling the cross with the part on the shoulders, the yoke, representing the horizontal bar. It's just a guess I know...but an icon of a deaconess in appropriate vestments is not so far fetched.

Yah I honestly thought it was just part of her garment, I didn't see it as an epitrahilion.  Plus, wouldn't the "straight" part go over her neck...hence the term "epi-trahili" being "on the neck".  If we are taking the image literally, it looks more like a bishops omophorion b/c it goes around her neck and then down.  So...

Plus, look at this icon of St. Catherine, she's wearing a long piece of cloth down the middle like St. Olympiada, but she definitely was not a priest or deacon:

http://www.holy-icons.com/graphics/s_catherine.jpg

Or the three women unmercinaries:  http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Valentin/Jpeg/full3women.jpg

or even this extremely interesting Icon of the Holy Wisdom which has an angel (or what looks like one) on a throne with an outfit very much looking like St. olympiada's...which might be a connection since the deaconate is connected to the angelic orders...anyway, it's interesting:  http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/images/icons12.jpg
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
LBK
Warned
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,160


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2009, 05:58:00 PM »

Quote

The vestment worn by the two saints on the right is not an epitracheilion, but the monastic schema.
Logged
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2009, 07:12:50 PM »

Quote

The vestment worn by the two saints on the right is not an epitracheilion, but the monastic schema.

Yah I was meaning more the third saint on the right than the other two.  But it's a good point in the sense that a "straight line" coming from the vestments could be anything, including the monastic schema, not being able to see the bottom (in the icon of St. Olympiada)
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2009, 08:48:16 PM »

Thanks, guys!  I love it when I learn something new!
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
username!
Section Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Ukrainian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Pennsylvaniadoxy
Posts: 5,027



« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2009, 08:56:51 PM »

I always understood that the priest was actually a witness to our confession and that it is God who forgives. But there is a verse about "binding and loosing sins" which is applicable. In general, I view the priest as a witness when I go to confession.

Anyhow, I would be interested in hearing if your wife would have been granted a more modest option for her baptism, had she requested it.



somewhere on oc.net I typed the Hapgood form of confession out and put it up for a poster with the prayer of absolution that you are talking about.  This prayer of absolution was added by st. Peter Mogila hence why it appears in the Slavic usage (the form you hear at say the UOC-USA, OCA, ROCOR ( I believe) etc..
Logged

username!
Section Moderator
Protokentarchos
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Ukrainian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Pennsylvaniadoxy
Posts: 5,027



« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2009, 09:00:45 PM »

Presbytera Mari, I'm so thankful for your imput on this topic of women communing at a "certain time". I was totally dumbfounded upon becoming Orthodox to learn that Orthodox women weren't allowed to receive communion, venerate icons, etc. during their periods! I am not a big fan of modernism, but this seemed to be from the dark ages!!! My parish sounds a lot like Liza's in this regard. My friends linger in the back of the church and whisper to me that they are currently "unclean" and may not venerate icons, etc. At first these seemed like the weirdest conversation to be having in church!! And, I am discovering, there are all sorts of other "interesting" ideas adrift amongst the good women of the church: I was once informed I may not take an expectant friend of mine to visit art galleries, because she might happen to see a picture of a naked human being, which would then cause the unborn child to become in future, a lustful, passion-driven person...sigh...sorry, such notions, belong to the dark ages, i'm afraid...

Yes, you never had to give up your cat when your mom was pregnant with your brother because of an old world superstition (this superstition didn't come from my mother).  I can't exactly remember why they wanted the cat gone but it was intertwined with a superstition.  It's funny, I don't remember all of the superstitions but occasionally something will pop up in my memory and make me smile. 
On some level those superstitions I heard for most of the first half of my life have actually kept me from posting who exactly wanted the cat gone.  I reckon some here understand exactly what I'm talking about, while many who weren't from that culture may be scratching their heads.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 09:03:52 PM by username! » Logged

admiralnick
Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,880


« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2009, 08:24:56 AM »

Why is it that at my parish, even adult MEN wear long, full, loose white gowns? We're not a bunch of weird, puritanical americans, either. We're so Russian you hardly know you're on this side of the ocean...

How many Icons of the Nativity have you seen where Christ is wearing a "long, full, loose white gown"? Is there shame in being baptized the same way as Christ?

-Nick

You mean the icons of the Theophany/Baptism of Christ? No, there is no shame, but we live in different times, different cultures. I would like to know how the women were dressed for their baptisms in biblical times. With the prevailing modesty standards for Jewish women, I can't quite imagine them being baptised in a public place in a bikini. It seems deaconesses were utilized to assist in the baptism of women, which seems reasonable, if they indeed had to take off their clothes. A bit like the jewish mikvah attendants-who would be female, of course. All the same, I would not be happy to have to be baptized naked or even in a bikini even if it were performed by a woman(even a woman could be thinking perverted thoughts)! I really hope we can get more historical information on all of this, because it is interesting topic. When did white gowns make their appearance, etc...?

According to my wife, she was told by the priest when she was preparing to be baptised the proper procedures, the necessary documentation and the appropriate form of clothing, which was a bikini. My wife had no problem with that rationalizing that its just the way it is, like a woman going to a male doctor for her health, etc. etc. Even though the deaconesses would assist in the early church with the baptism of women, the priest ultimately had to do the baptism at the end of the day.

-Nick
Logged

The ORIGINAL: "NULL"
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2009, 11:47:26 AM »

^^Wow, that's simply amazing. I would have asked quite frantically for a more modest solution, or I would have done some research to see what other options were available. I realize now how extremely blessed I was without even realizing it. I simply assumed I would be wearing something modest and without even mentioning anything, my godmother, who is as Russian as can be (from Siberia), presented me with the two simple white robes she had made for me. I've been to several baptisms at my church, and have never seen anyone wearing a bikini!
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2009, 11:53:50 AM »

Presbytera Mari, I'm so thankful for your imput on this topic of women communing at a "certain time". I was totally dumbfounded upon becoming Orthodox to learn that Orthodox women weren't allowed to receive communion, venerate icons, etc. during their periods! I am not a big fan of modernism, but this seemed to be from the dark ages!!! My parish sounds a lot like Liza's in this regard. My friends linger in the back of the church and whisper to me that they are currently "unclean" and may not venerate icons, etc. At first these seemed like the weirdest conversation to be having in church!! And, I am discovering, there are all sorts of other "interesting" ideas adrift amongst the good women of the church: I was once informed I may not take an expectant friend of mine to visit art galleries, because she might happen to see a picture of a naked human being, which would then cause the unborn child to become in future, a lustful, passion-driven person...sigh...sorry, such notions, belong to the dark ages, i'm afraid...

Yes, you never had to give up your cat when your mom was pregnant with your brother because of an old world superstition (this superstition didn't come from my mother).  I can't exactly remember why they wanted the cat gone but it was intertwined with a superstition.  It's funny, I don't remember all of the superstitions but occasionally something will pop up in my memory and make me smile. 
On some level those superstitions I heard for most of the first half of my life have actually kept me from posting who exactly wanted the cat gone.  I reckon some here understand exactly what I'm talking about, while many who weren't from that culture may be scratching their heads.

As far as pregnant women avoiding cats is concerned, I think there is scientific reasoning behind it. I can remember hearing from a fairly young age that cats' feces can contain a dangerous parasite which can cause toxoplasmosis-something that can be transferred from mother to fetus.
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
admiralnick
Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,880


« Reply #58 on: April 10, 2009, 12:41:23 PM »

^^Wow, that's simply amazing. I would have asked quite frantically for a more modest solution, or I would have done some research to see what other options were available. I realize now how extremely blessed I was without even realizing it. I simply assumed I would be wearing something modest and without even mentioning anything, my godmother, who is as Russian as can be (from Siberia), presented me with the two simple white robes she had made for me. I've been to several baptisms at my church, and have never seen anyone wearing a bikini!

If you read the following link: http://books.google.com/books?id=5GxFMIEv0C4C&pg=PA271&lpg=PA271&dq=were+women+baptised+naked+in+the+early+christian+church&source=bl&ots=GmStVTCIKG&sig=cflAtlRTO5qWjpgNJWn1P_y1-Oo&hl=en&ei=7XTfSf2zEuninQfoq42zCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#PPA270,M1

On page 270, quotes St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, and St. Cyril of Jerusalem who all concur that baptism occurs with the candidate fully divested (read: naked).

The book is actually called Origines Ecclesiasticæ by Joseph Bingham originally published in 1834.

-Nick
Logged

The ORIGINAL: "NULL"
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #59 on: April 10, 2009, 12:59:07 PM »

I've already read it! Thanks for the link, though! I still think some "modern" improvements were for the best!
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
rwprof
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA now, Antiochian originally
Posts: 294



« Reply #60 on: April 10, 2009, 02:15:30 PM »

I really don't want to get into the middle of this, so please ascribe to me no pro or con stance.  However. There was a married clergy discussion on one Lat Trad blog I read, and most annoyingly, the pro people pulled me in with, "You have married clergy! You tell em!" So a couple of things.

First, we may not know the reason the female diaconate was allowed to fall into disuse, but it was, and presumably, for a reason. When debating whether to revivie it, we should keep this in mind.

Second, well, it's kind of two related things. As for whether Judaic cleanliness restrictions should or should not apply in Orthodoxy, they do here, no matter what St John Chrysostom (or anyone else) said. Orthodoxy is in many ways very Judaic, much more so than Western Christianity. So like it or not, it's there. We're Orthodox. We hate change. You know as well as I do that no matter how much we love St John Chrysostom, you can quote him on this incessantly for the rest of your life and it's not going to change anyone's mind. (I would add a smiley, but it's not necessarily funny.)

The other thing is that ritual cleanliness does not necessarily imply evil or misogyny, and the naturalness of menstruation really has nothing to do with ritual cleanliness. Now, one more time: I am not coming down on either side of this issue. All I would counsel is that we tread lightly, and with much prayer.




Logged

Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #61 on: April 10, 2009, 02:35:58 PM »

Even though the deaconesses would assist in the early church with the baptism of women, the priest ultimately had to do the baptism at the end of the day.

IIRC, when reading about the use of the Deacon and Deaconess, they would indeed perform the dunking of the Baptism: the priests would be in the Liturgy, taking place in the main part of the Church, and thus wouldn't be present for the Baptism proper (taking place in a Baptistry or out in the courtyard).  The Deacon is still permitted to do this part of the service without the Priest, although this practice has fallen into disuse (largely).
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
si2008
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 96


« Reply #62 on: April 11, 2009, 10:39:59 AM »

"Second, well, it's kind of two related things. As for whether Judaic cleanliness restrictions should or should not apply in Orthodoxy, they do here, no matter what St John Chrysostom (or anyone else) said. Orthodoxy is in many ways very Judaic, much more so than Western Christianity. So like it or not, it's there. We're Orthodox. We hate change. You know as well as I do that no matter how much we love St John Chrysostom, you can quote him on this incessantly for the rest of your life and it's not going to change anyone's mind. (I would add a smiley, but it's not necessarily funny.)

The other thing is that ritual cleanliness does not necessarily imply evil or misogyny, and the naturalness of menstruation really has nothing to do with ritual cleanliness. Now, one more time: I am not coming down on either side of this issue. All I would counsel is that we tread lightly, and with much prayer."

It would seem you are in fact coming down in support of banning menstruating women from communing.  And St. John Chrysostom isn't just any old saint; we use his liturgy most Sundays.  I just fail to see, in all of these well crafted arguments FOR the continuation of Judaizing and ritual purity, the mercy of God embodied in Jesus Christ.  Biologically speaking, menstruation is more like elimination than bleeding from the main circulatory system.  And it seems clear to me, although the canon lawyers on this forum may find ways of getting around it, that Christ allowed many sinful, impure, dirty people, sick in body and soul and in many states of being, to come to Him in faith.  There is only so much we can do with our fallen bodies before it becomes Pharisaism and artifice; we are always ritually unclean before God. 

And to those who intimate that because a woman communes while menstruating she doesn't "respect" Christ; I would ask if they know what's in her heart and whether they carry her cross for her.  She is there for healing, and out of love.
Logged
rwprof
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA now, Antiochian originally
Posts: 294



« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2009, 11:15:25 AM »



It would seem you are in fact coming down in support of banning menstruating women from communing.

No, I am not. I would, in fact (to use a great coinage I saw here) term that a "Babushkism." I am, however, coming firmly down against that post-modernist whininess that labels absolutely anything that does not follow party line as "X-ist" (insert your favorite officially oppressed group for the X). As soon as somebody descends to that level of misinformation, we might as well just hang it up.

Ritual cleanliness has no necessary relationship to any "X-ism," and naturalness is not relevant to the concept.


Logged

Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!
si2008
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 96


« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2009, 12:56:47 PM »

I am not whining, I am trying to understand where the mercy is in the argument barring menstruating women from communing.  I am traditional when it comes to the roles of male and female, I call God "Father", and I do not in general complain about my lot in life as a woman.  I understand the special role I was created for, but not why God would say "stay away from Me during that time of the month that I gave you."
Logged
Pravoslavbob
Section Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,180


St. Sisoes the Great


« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2009, 01:06:37 PM »

I am not suggesting that this article is absolutely the last word on the subject, but it seems to me to have an air of authenticity about it.  The best explanation I have yet read, anyway.

The Canons of Ritual Uncleanness and Women in the Orthodox Church

by Maria-Fotini Polidoulis Kapsalis*

For the majority of girls born and raised in the Orthodox tradition, puberty marks the time when our mothers not only set us down to discuss with us the facts of life, the changes that God intended our bodies to experience, and the hope of someday becoming mothers, but also marks the time when our mothers expose us to the tradition of "Ritual Impurity" and the teachings of "Uncleanness". Pious Orthodox mothers all explain to their young impressionable daughters that while they are experiencing the blood of life, they are in a period of uncleanness, and therefore, must never touch anything at all related to the worship of God. This, mothers inform their daughters, includes reading the Sacred Scriptures, venerating icons, lighting candles or lanterns, baking the bread of offering, kissing the hand of a priest, and especially not participating in any Sacrament, most importantly that of Holy Communion. For some girls, this is calmly accepted as a fact of womanhood. For most, it becomes an obstacle to spiritual growth, causing disdain for church practices which to the present day educated woman do not make sense. If God created women to experience the flow of blood at puberty in order to make their bodies capable of bringing forth life, and thus working with God in synergy in His creative energy, why would God then banish women from all forms of worship and piety while experiencing their "blood of life"?

The Old Testament Laws

The Ritual Impurity Laws were first written in the Book of Leviticus, the third book of Moses, found in the Old Testament Canon. The first law dealing with the purification of women of childbirth is found in Leviticus 12. One immediately notices three things about this particular law composing a whole chapter in the book of Leviticus. First, there is a preference to male offspring as a mother is unclean with a male child for the first seven days, and then for thirty-three days following his circumcision, rendering her unclean for a total of forty days. For a female child, she will be unclean for fourteen days plus an additional sixty-six days, for a total of eighty days. Thus, those women bearing a female offspring are to be unclean for twice as long as those bearing a male. Second, women during their period of uncleanness are not allowed to enter the holy tent, the place of worship. They must bring their offering to the door, and meet the priest there. Lastly, being unclean is considered to be equivalent to sin, as she needs to bring in addition to the sacrificial offering, a sin offering. Thus, according to this Old Testament Law of Moses, women who bring forth children are considered sinful, until after they have been cleansed from their blood flow.

The second Old Testament law dealing with Ceremonial Uncleanness is found in Leviticus 15: 16-33. This Law deals with uncleanness in both men and women. There are a few interesting points here, which must be mentioned. First, and most importantly, men are not exempt for the laws of ritual impurity. Any man who has a discharge of semen whether from intercourse or a nocturnal emission is unclean until the following sunset (evening). Also if any man is in contact with a woman who is experiencing her monthlies, or anything that she has touched, whether it be her seat or bed, he is to be unclean again until evening. If a man lies with a woman during her monthlies, and comes into contact with her blood, he is to be unclean for seven days, like a menstruating woman, and every thing that he then comes into contact with will be unclean until evening. However, if he not only lies but also has intercourse with a woman during her monthlies, he is to be cut off from his people (Leviticus 20:18).

The next point to note is that a woman during her regular monthly period is unclean for seven days, and everything and everyone that comes into contact with her is unclean until evening (sunset). A woman, however, who is experiencing a flow of blood which exceeds the seven days allotted for her regular monthly period or who experiences a haemorrhage which is not a monthly period, or at a time when she does not expect her period (i.e. any anomaly to her cycle) is not considered clean until seven additional days have passed. On the eighth day after her affliction she is required to take two turtle doves or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest (like a woman after delivery) to the door of the tent of meeting. The priest will offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, as a woman having an issue of blood greater than her regular cycle is considered to be ill and thus sinful, in need of atonement. Thus, we note, in the Old Testament, there is a strong connection between physical uncleanness, sickness and sin.

The Canons of the Early Church Fathers

This Jewish practice later crept into the New Testament world, and can be found in the Canons of the early Church Fathers. It seems almost incredible that Old Testament Leviticus laws would infiltrate the Church of Christ, especially after the Lord's strong teaching against viewing the letter of the Law as a means to salvation rather than the spirit of the Law,1 and after St. Paul's strong exhortation against Judaizing Christians. 2 Yet, for reasons of practicality, the Church has in its wisdom comprised canons to help in its proclamation of the truth, and in its governing practices. The Canons of the Early Church Fathers can be found in various collections and text, however I have chosen to use the most recent collection of canons of the Orthodox Church known as The Rudder3, compiled and edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain in the late 17th Century, in order to examine these early Patristic writings. There are several canons dealing with the issue of ritual impurity in this collection, and we will examine them in order. The first canon dealing with our topic is the Second Canon of St. Dionysius, the thirteenth Archbishop of Alexandria, who lived, in the mid-third Century. He states: Concerning menstrous women, whether they ought to enter the temple of God while in such a state, I think it superfluous even to put the question. For I opine, not even they themselves, being faithful and pious, would dare when in this state either to approach the Holy Table or to touch the body and blood of Christ. For not even the woman with a twelve years' issue would come into actual contact with Him, but only with the edge of His garment, to be cured. There is no objection to one's praying no matter how he may be or to one's remembering the Lord at any time and in any state whatever, and petitioning to receive help; but if one is not wholly clean both in soul and in body, he shall be prevented from coming up to the Holies of Holies. (Letter, Canon #2)4

3 St. Dionysius declares that not even women, themselves would dare to approach the Chalice while experiencing their "monthlies". However, no explanation as to why is given. Two questions thus arise from this statement: first, did the women of this period hesitate to attend Services and approach the Chalice when experiencing their "monthlies" because of the poor hygiene of their times? Or were these women greatly influenced by the Judaizers of whom Paul had written, who desired to keep the Law? Though Paul argued strongly against this by addressing Circumcision of the male body, still, many women may have been told of these female impurity laws in private, (as my mother had told me,) and thus were passed in this manner into New Testament times. I propose that as poor hygiene practices made women uncomfortable in entering Church buildings and receiving the Sacraments, a canon was written not so much to ban women, but more so to excuse them from not receiving, as Christians in those days received at every Liturgy.

Women living in that historical period were bound to their bed or seat until their periods were over. Their hygiene practices were to stay in one place for seven days to avoid physically defiling areas with which they would come into contact. Had it not been for modern hygiene practices, I am sure women of today would also hesitate to attend Church services or exit their homes like the women in the third century. Lack of sanitary hygiene would seem to be the most probable reason for women in any society hesitating to approach the Chalice. Women today are most fortunate, being able to come and go as they please while their "monthlies" remain undetected.

If Dionysius' reasoning is due to hygiene practices, then his reasoning in today's society would no longer be valid, and the Church would need to re-examine its position dealing with ritual impurity. If, however, his reasoning is due to the Leviticus Law, then the Church has to seriously examine the theological implications this canon puts on the Orthodox teaching of Salvation by Grace. The Church must seriously examine to see if Dionysius' interpretations with regards to ritual impurity is in harmony with the Church's teaching on Creation, and Redemption, not to mention its Sacramental theology, especially dealing with Holy Communion. Dionysius' argument based on the haemorrhaging woman touching the garment of Christ, and not His actual person is unfounded, as women at the time of Christ were not even allowed to speak to men in public, let alone touch their flesh. It must be remembered that this woman was bound to the Old Law, and everything she touched became unclean. Even though she touched only Christ's garment, that in itself was more than enough to render the Rabbi, "ritually impure" until evening (Lev. 15:19-30).

St. Chrysostom's homily about the haemorrhaging woman mentions that in Luke 8:46, Jesus states that He knew He was touched as power went out from Him. His body was definitely affected, and according to the Law, he must have known that as a man he was "impure". Yet, Christ didn't hide this event. He brought it forward, and then proceeded to go to raise the ruler's daughter from the dead (Matt. 9:18-25). Could a ritually impure person do such a deed? No. But then Dionysius would probably say, that Christ was not simply a man, but also fully God, and nothing can defile God. True. Why then should women not approach the Chalice, if they cannot defile God? The Chalice holding within it the great mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ can only heal and purify.

Chrysostom's words are so beautiful here, and so loving. He says in his 31st Homily on the Gospel of St. Matthew, about the haemorrhaging woman: For though she was bound by her affliction, yet her faith had given her wings. And mark how He comforts her, saying, Thy faith hath saved thee. Now surely, had He drawn her forward for display, He would not have added this; but He said this, partly teaching the ruler of the synagogue to believe, partly proclaiming the woman's praise, and affording her by these words delight and advantage equal to her bodily health.... For this cause He brought her forward, and proclaimed her praise, and cast out her fear, (for she came, it is said, even trembling); and He caused her to be of good courage, and 4 together with health of body, He gave her also other provisions for her journey, in that He said, Go in peace. Christ was not defiled, nor did He send this woman away scolding her for not upholding the purification laws. She was accepted as "Daughter."

Also, of great interest is that Jesus made no mention of her condition being sinful? He made no comment to her to go and provide atonement for her sin to the priests, as the Leviticus law prescribes. When healing lepers He does send them to the priests. Why then the omission in the case of the woman? The other question, which is perplexing, is the state in which Dionysius believed one should approach the Chalice of Communion. He said that no one who is not wholly clean in both soul and body should approach and receive. Who then could receive? Is not the Body and Blood of Christ intended to cleanse those who are sinful? If only pious, virtuous and perfect people can approach the Holies of Holies, then why do they need to approach at all? They are already clean, are they not? Yet we know that no one save Christ was wholly clean, therefore, according to Dionysius, no one should dare approach the Chalice. I am sure this is not what St. Dionysius is proclaiming, and that he intends those who approach to be fighting the good fight, and approach the Chalice with the "fear (awe) of God", however, why should one's natural functions affect one's spiritual growth, and reverence for God?

Reading the Prolegomena of the Canons of St. Dionysius, one will discover that he was a pupil of Origen. This is quite interesting, as Origen was condemned due to his unorthodox views of the human body, and sexuality. Nevertheless, this Canon, inspired and written by one man was "indefinitely confirmed by c. I of the 4th, and definitely by c. II of the Sixth Ecum. C.; and by virtue of this confirmation it acquired what amounts in a way to ecumenical force."5 Timothy, Archbishop of Alexandria, in the latter part of the forth century, wrote 18 Canons, also known as " The Questions and Answers". Question 7 asks: "If a woman finds herself in the plight peculiar to her sex, ought she to come to the Mysteries on that day, or not?" Timothy's answer was very short, "She ought not to do so, until she has been purified." The editor Nicodemus interprets and says that this Canon is in agreement with Dionysius. However, what do these Canon writers mean by "purified"? There is no purification practice for a woman undergoing a normal menstrual period in the Leviticus Law. Purification practices as we have read above, existed only for a woman with unusual flows (Lev. 15:30). Did Timothy view her purification to be that of having simply finished her "monthlies", or did he like the Old Testament prophets view her as needing a rite of purification from sin? Did the Fathers view this natural body experience as sinful? The last Canons which deal with the issue of ritual impurity in The Rudder are by St. John the Faster, who lived in the late sixth century. St. John also makes mention of ritual impurity for men experiencing nocturnal emissions. Canon 6 states:

Anyone, who has been polluted in sleep by reason of an emission of semen, shall be denied communion for one day; but after chanting the fiftieth Psalm and making forty-nine metanies, it is believed that he will thus be purified.6

5. Thus, according to the Canons of the Early Church Fathers, men also have periods of ritual impurity, and unlike women have a purification rite. Interestingly enough though, unlike most young girls who are told of the" uncleanness law" at puberty, most boys reaching puberty are not told anything7 Canon 17 of St. John dealing with women's ritual impurity is based on Dionysius' Canon, but with an interesting twist. It states: As for women occupying a separate seat, let them not touch holy things for as many as seven days, the second Canon of St. Dionysius, but in particular the seventh canon of Timothy bids. This is also what the old Law ordered but neither did it permit them to have any sexual intercourse with men; for it happens on this account that the seeds sown become weak and evanescent. Hence it was that divine Moses ordered the father of a defective to be stoned to death, on the ground that on account of his intemperance he failed to await the purification of his wife. But as for a woman, who has been so scornful of the same uncleanness during this period and has touched the divine Mysteries, they bid her to be excommunicated for forty days.8

6. Where men may purify themselves by chanting the fiftieth Psalm and make forty-nine metanies, and then possibly receive Communion, women who dare to receive while on their periods are to be given penance by being excommunicated for forty days. Interestingly enough this is the same penance given for masturbation, and other such sins of physical immorality. It is shocking and perplexing to read that partaking of the divine Mysteries, while experiencing this natural God given function could be equated with physical immorality, which according to Eph. 5:5 and 1 Cor. 6:9-10 deprives one of ever seeing the Kingdom of God. There is obvious misunderstanding on the part of the canon writers on the nature of women's menses, its God given purpose, and the way it affects the spiritual and psychological state of women. This is the time when women need God most of all, as this is the time when they experience pre-menstrual syndrome, physical pain, panic attacks, crying spells, and other hormonal anomalies. This is the time when the soul needs to be doctored by the healing powers of Christ. To punish a woman in need of spiritual healing and nourishment at the time when she needs it most for daring to approach or to touch Christ by banishing her from him for an additional forty days, is not only an act devoid of any Christian compassion, but goes contrary to the very teachings of Christ, Himself.9

Can the Canons of the Fathers then be refuted? The Church of Christ only follows the teaching of the Fathers when they are all found to be in agreement. Interestingly enough, there are Fathers of the Church, such as St. John Chrysostom, who championed strongly against superstition and impurity laws (see below).
The Rudder’s Footnote

The footnote in The Rudder, which seems to have been written by the collection's compiler and editor Nicodemus, attempts to explain why these canons dealing with ritual uncleanness exist. It begins by defining the term "menstruous,10 (Also see Lev. 15:19 Lev. 15:25) and then addresses the question, "Why did God call this natural function which he himself created for woman unclean? The Hand of God created woman, with all her bodily functions, good in the Garden of Eden and thus no part of a woman's physical composition can be considered either as sin or as uncleanness. St Chrysostom, (p. 1059 of vol. I of the series), and Theodore, or Diodorus, (ibid. 1032) both agree with the Apostolic Injunctions (Book VI, Ch. 26) which assert that only impiety and unlawful acts can separate one from the Holy Spirit (in Book VI, Ch. 26). Why then the attitude among the Fathers that Menses is unclean?

As mentioned above, Leviticus 15 describes male and female bodily impurities. Verses 1 to 15 describe how unnatural bodily discharges defile the male. According to numerous modern Commentaries, and St. Chrysostom, these unnatural male discharges were a result of Venereal Diseases or Gonorrhoea. In order to be cleansed, seven days had to pass, and an atonement of two pigeons had to be given. The same applied for the case of menstruous women. Thus, these unnatural bodily discharge caused by wilful promiscuity are equated with a natural involuntary bodily discharge whose function is to bring forth life. Further reading reveals that the Father's probably intended to prevent men from having intercourse with their wives during their monthlies. It was believed that children conceived during a woman's flow were thought to be sickly, or worse carriers of diseases, more specifically, of leprosy.

7. Accordingly, He made it a law that lepers should be chased out of cities and kept away from all association with human beings, as Isidore says, in order that He might prevent parents from having intercourse at such a time, on account of the uncleanness and the leprosy and the ostracism of their children to be born thereafter... Proceeding further forward, God even commands that men who sleep with their wives when the latter are having the menses shall be put to death and exterminated.... (Lev. 20:18).... (Ezek. 18:6). So for all these reasons, wishing to instill reverence and fear not only unto women, but much more into the impetuous vehemence of the natural instinct of men,11 both of old and now again through His saints, God has prohibited these women from coming into the temple proper and partaking of the divine Mysteries...

At this point, it must be stated that medically speaking leprosy is not a genetic illness that is acquired by one's parents engaging in intercourse during the woman's "monthlies." Even those who were conceived "properly" were still susceptible to catching the leprosy bacterium. Dionysius' argument has no medical foundation, as leprosy is an infectious disease caused by the organism "Mycobacterium leprae" and has no connection whatsoever with the method of conception.

Secondly, it is amazing to note how restrictions are put on one gender, to solve problems supposedly caused by the other. It is illogical to put the blame on women for this supposed male lack of control, by labelling women unclean during the time when they experience the blood of life. Thirdly, the phrase "impetuous vehemence of the natural instinct of men" is very harsh not to mention groundless when referring to the male sex. It excuses, condones and labels as normal violent sexual behaviour, which is sinful, rather than promoting virtuous behaviour as found in men who have accepted Christ and have control over themselves.

Theodoret may view this canon as honouring women, as protecting them from the approaches of their uncontrollable husbands, yet in truth, such men are more monsters than husbands are. By expecting all men to be "impetuously vehement" where is the call to love and respect one's spouse which St. Paul writes about in Eph. 5:25-28? Women are not honoured here, but rather, this explanation has made them the scapegoats for certain men, who are ruled by their passions. This explanation may satisfy Nicodemus; however, this cannot be the real reason behind the writing of this canon, for it contradicts basic biblical teachings. The comment made next in the Footnote by Nicodemus holds within it what I feel to be the real reason behind these canons: i.e. the issue of hygiene.

In agreement with these divine Canons, Novel 17 of Leo the Wise also makes a decree providing that women in childbirth as well as those in menstruation, if unbaptized, shall not be baptized; and if baptized, they shall not participate in communion unless they first be cleansed and purified, except only in case they should incur a deadly disease. What is meant here by "women in childbirth" are women who have just given birth and are discarding the blood, which nurtured their babies for the past nine months. This canon obviously is based on Leviticus 12 mentioned above. It is interesting how the Church is willing to make a concession to baptize and Commune a menstruous woman who has been labelled in different places as being "sinful", "dirty" and "unclean", when on her deathbed out of love and compassion. And rightfully so, however, if baptism and Communion is permitted on a woman's deathbed out of compassion, it should also be permitted during life out of compassion. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is needed for us in this life. It was meant to heal us spiritually in this life.

8. If, however, the issue is that of hygiene, then logically as in the case for Communion, a woman experiencing her flow should wait until her flow stops, same as a person with bladder control problems, or one suffering from incontinence of stool, should wait until they are again in control of their body functions, before entering the baptismal font. Not found in The Rudder, is another second century Canon which is accepted as an authentic, authoritative document by our Orthodox Christian Church, the Canon of the Holy Apostles, which pre-dates any of the above mentioned Canons, and it states as follows:

    For if thou think, O woman, that in the seven days of thy flux thou art void of the Holy Spirit; if thou die in those days, thou wilt depart empty and without hope. But if the Holy Spirit is always in thee, without just impediment dost thou keep thyself from prayer and from the Scriptures and from the Eucharist? For if the Holy Spirit is in thee, why dost thou keep thyself from approaching the works of the Holy Spirit? Wherefore, beloved, flee and avoid such observances: for you have received release, that you should no more bind yourselves; and do not load yourselves again with that which our Lord and Saviour has lifted from you. And do not observe these things, nor think them uncleanness; and do not refrain yourselves on their account, nor seek after sprinklings, or baptisms, or purifications for these things.12

This Canon understands that the only way one can make women feel full of the Spirit is to allow them to participate fully in the New Life of Christ, including participation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Naturally, women when continuously told that they are unclean during their monthlies, and are categorised among the unrighteous, would not want to pray, or read a divine book, or practice any aspect of their faith because they have been told that they are unclean and thus unworthy to approach God, and even if they dared to reach out to Him at that time, would not be accepted. Thus, women's behaviour through antiquity has become that of the spiritually wounded. The Church needs to reexamine the effects such canons have on the spiritual growth of women, and Spiritual Fathers/Father Confessors must use their God given gift of discernment when dealing with their female spiritual children. The author of the above Syrian Canon realized the spiritual damage being done, and made a conscious effort to heal these wounds. In this canon one also finds the answer to the question of a purification rite for women. As women are not made unclean from their monthlies, it tells them not to seek purification for these things, and thus does not provide a purification rite for this situation.

Interestingly enough, Nicodemus' Footnote to Dionysius Canon, addresses the second century Syrian Canon which was mentioned above, and agrees with it only in part, refuting its permission to women to receive Communion stating that it was a later addition. Notice that the divine Apostles permit such women only to pray and to remember God, just as this Canon of Dionysius also contains these two permissions verbatim. They do not, however, permit them also to participate in communion or to go to church. For what is written on the side in the margin (in other manuscripts it says, "partake of the Eucharist") has very little if any force, as not being found in the text proper of the Injunctions.

This position, however, raises numerous contradictions. First, all Fathers are in agreement that women who have their "monthlies" are not devoid of the Holy Spirit. All affirm that woman was created by God and must not cease to pray to her Maker. This is in agreement with what was mentioned above, that which God created cannot be unclean. Yet, the writer of this Footnote turns and contradicts himself by stating that even though women are still full of the Spirit during their monthlies, entrance into the Church proper and participation in the Mysteries are forbidden. In other words, the Spirit which dwells within these women is forbidden to enter its own house in which the Spirit moves and guides, and is forbidden to Grace 12 Didascalia Apostolorum ("The Teachings of the Apostles") in Deborah Belonick, Feminism in Christianity: An Orthodox Christian Response (Syosset, New York: Department of Religious Education Orthodox Church in America, 1983), pp. 45-46. 9 the woman within whom the Spirit dwells with its gift of Communion. Yet the Spirit we believe cannot be limited, the Spirit moves where it will, and is free to bring all to Salvation. If the Spirit is present within these women, then the Spirit will move them to a full life in Christ, and that includes participation in Holy Communion. As for that unfortunate insertion in the margin of the original second century Canon of the Holy Apostles, the writer is assuming it is a later insertion. I claim that the possibility exists that it was an original statement which was later removed for unfounded reasons, and again inserted in the margin by someone who realized that the Spirit wherever present moves one to a full life in Christ.

It is amazing how the next section of the Footnote attempts to eliminate any question or argument to this "banning" position, which Dionysius' Canon has taken. It states:

    2) We reply to them with this true and surer answer that we have but one obligation, to obey and follow the Canons with implicit obedience, and not to sit as judges and examiners of what has been commanded by the Holy Spirit, and to keep saying why this? And why that? Lest we incur the exceedingly horrible penalties imposed upon those transgressing the Canons.

It is obvious, that even in its time, there was controversy surrounding this Canon. Otherwise, the author of the footnote would not try to argue against those who were saying "why this? And why that?" His final appeal is to the authority of the Holy Spirit. Yet, if it were truly by the Holy Spirit that this Canon was written, then it would not have so many contradictions, which would prohibit the freedom of the same Spirit. Are not Christians told to test the Spirit to ensure that it is genuinely from God? (1 John 4:1) And how can any one who truly understands these things equate the emissions of men caused by what the Fathers believed to be lascivious dreams, from a spirit full of desire, with the God given blood of life of women.

It is also of interest to note, that he who judged the earlier second century Syrian canon and attempted to refute its validity, would then turn around and state that we must not "sit as judges and examiners...” What if the earlier Canon, written within a hundred years after Christ, expresses a more accurate teaching of our Lord and Saviour? We are not called to follow human opinion. We are called to seek the Truth, and to discern from among the teachings of the Fathers, that which is human and that which is by the Holy Spirit. We must revere the Fathers of our Church, and hold them in high regard. However, we must also remember that they were fallible men who were products of their times. Times in which I believe sanitary hygiene played an important role. As the only logical reason for not permitting women to enter a Church building and participate in the Sacraments was to prevent them from physically dirtying the house of the Lord, and for no other apparent theological reason, and as these issues of hygiene are no longer relevant in this particular day and age, these canons need to be re-examined by the Church. We must understand that these canons were practical for their time period, however, for our society, whose understanding of the body is more advanced, and whose hygiene practices allow women to come and go "clean", the usefulness of these Canons fall under question. It is time that we as a Church put the spiritual needs of women experiencing the blood of life in the forefront. It is time for our Clergy and Spiritual Fathers to use discernment in interpreting these as well as other Canons and to put the spiritual health of all their spiritual children in the fore. Forbidding Communion is a serious and grave thing, which causes not only spiritual, but also psychological and emotional harm. If their spiritual children have cleansed themselves on the inside, repenting and confessing their sins, and if they truly thirst for Christ, then Spiritual Fathers should show mercy and compassion by allowing them "with faith, love and the fear of God, to draw near" to our Saviour's divine mystery.

*Maria-Fotini Polidoulis Kapsalis obtained her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1988. She then attended Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Mass. where she graduated in 1990 with a Master of Theological Studies degree. Returning to Toronto, she attended the University of Toronto's Faculty of Education and in 1991 graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree, and obtained Ontario Teacher's Certification. Presently, she is working part-time for the Scarborough Board of Education as an Occasional Teacher and is also enrolled as a full time Doctoral student at the Toronto School of Theology, at St. Michael's College. Fotini Kapsalis lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, John, and their baby girl, Evangeline.

References

1 See Matthew 23:13,15,23,25,27; Mark 7:6; Luke 11:46,52; and John 5:8-10, 7:19.

2 See Romans 6:14-15; Galatians 2:14-21, 3:3-29, 5:4.

3 D. Cummings (trans.). The Rudder of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Chicago, Illinois: the Orthodox Christian Educational Society, 1957.

4. Ibid., p. 718.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., p. 935.

7 In 1989 while attending Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology I surveyed the male students living on Campus if they were told at puberty of this canon and if they followed it. To my surprise none of the men had been told such a thing by their fathers. Those who even knew of the canon, were told about it years later. Some had just heard of it when they started Seminary. I was shocked to discover that Canons dealing with male ritual impurity were not strictly followed, even by the most devoted of the Orthodox males, while those Canons dealing with female ritual impurity were kept alive through mothers quietly passing it down to their daughters.

8 The Rudder, p. 941.

9. See Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And John 6:37, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."

10 The Rudder, pp. 718-720.

11 My Italics.
Content Copyright 1999-2004, The Independent Greek Orthodox Church of the United States

http://orthopraxis.org/about/2005/purity-of-women.html

« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 01:19:00 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

Religion is a disease, and Orthodoxy is its cure.
si2008
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 96


« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2009, 01:24:59 PM »

Thank you, Pravoslavbob.  I have seen this article in another thread.

The author says:

"Why then should women not approach the Chalice, if they cannot defile God? The Chalice holding within it the great mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ can only heal and purify."

This is my question to all upholding the practice of barring "unclean" women from Communion.
Logged
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #67 on: April 11, 2009, 01:40:02 PM »

I don't think it is a question of defiling the chalice but a consequence of what happens in a woman's body during her time. There is a cyclical discharge of blood. No one, man or woman, is allowed to receive communion if they are bleeding or have open weeping sores.  So if I as a guy cut my finger Saturday night and it is deep enough not to have closed passed easy bleeding Sunday morning, then I can't commune either. It is a matter of respect for the Body of Christ as it is received in our bodies.
Logged
si2008
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 96


« Reply #68 on: April 11, 2009, 01:49:08 PM »

It is not regular bleeding.  It is elimination of tissue in preparation for pregnancy.  It is not connected to her general circulatory system.  How much do you know about human anatomy and physiology.

Your argument reduces the Gifts to purely material things, with no mystical power.
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #69 on: April 11, 2009, 01:58:17 PM »

I don't think it is a question of defiling the chalice but a consequence of what happens in a woman's body during her time. There is a cyclical discharge of blood. No one, man or woman, is allowed to receive communion if they are bleeding or have open weeping sores.  So if I as a guy cut my finger Saturday night and it is deep enough not to have closed passed easy bleeding Sunday morning, then I can't commune either. It is a matter of respect for the Body of Christ as it is received in our bodies. 

The blood she is bleeding is from weeks before the time when it is discharged.  She is not bleeding fresh blood (i.e. blood that was circulating through the system that day or even that week), but instead that blood has been separated from the rest of the circulatory system during the month.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
rwprof
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA now, Antiochian originally
Posts: 294



« Reply #70 on: April 11, 2009, 02:20:29 PM »

I am not whining, I am trying to understand where the mercy is in the argument barring menstruating women from communing.  I am traditional when it comes to the roles of male and female, I call God "Father", and I do not in general complain about my lot in life as a woman.  I understand the special role I was created for, but not why God would say "stay away from Me during that time of the month that I gave you."

I took great pains to avoid taking a pro or con stance, but that was on a different issue than allowing menstruating women to commune. I believe the topic was re-establishing the female diaconate, and allowing women behind the iconostasis.



Logged

Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #71 on: April 11, 2009, 02:24:04 PM »

That doesn't matter. It's not a question of hygiene, science, or biological mechanics. The blood was part of the body and then it flows out. While it is in, it is part of the body regardless of its degree of integration with the circulatory system. From the standpoint of the canons a bleeding body, except for the extremis of immanent death is not considered an appropriate receiver of the Holy Eucharist. We have no authority to set those canons aside because we want the canons regarding the proper physical state in which to receive the Eucharist to justify themselves with respect to the scientific minutia of human biology.
Logged
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #72 on: April 11, 2009, 02:35:29 PM »

I know it's beside the point, but do RCs have the same rules pertaining to menstruating women receiving Holy Communion as does the EO?
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Hypatos
*****************
Offline Offline

Faith: جامعي Arab confesssing the Orthodox Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church
Jurisdiction: Antioch (for now), but my heart belongs to Alexandria
Posts: 37,124



« Reply #73 on: April 11, 2009, 02:36:54 PM »

I really don't want to get into the middle of this, so please ascribe to me no pro or con stance.  However. There was a married clergy discussion on one Lat Trad blog I read, and most annoyingly, the pro people pulled me in with, "You have married clergy! You tell em!" So a couple of things.

First, we may not know the reason the female diaconate was allowed to fall into disuse, but it was, and presumably, for a reason. When debating whether to revivie it, we should keep this in mind.

Second, well, it's kind of two related things. As for whether Judaic cleanliness restrictions should or should not apply in Orthodoxy, they do here, no matter what St John Chrysostom (or anyone else) said. Orthodoxy is in many ways very Judaic, much more so than Western Christianity. So like it or not, it's there. We're Orthodox. We hate change. You know as well as I do that no matter how much we love St John Chrysostom, you can quote him on this incessantly for the rest of your life and it's not going to change anyone's mind. (I would add a smiley, but it's not necessarily funny.)

The other thing is that ritual cleanliness does not necessarily imply evil or misogyny, and the naturalness of menstruation really has nothing to do with ritual cleanliness. Now, one more time: I am not coming down on either side of this issue. All I would counsel is that we tread lightly, and with much prayer.






Just a note: as the CoG has revived the deaconesses, then it is only a question of suppressing or expanding it (perferably the latter).

As for why it disappeared, how much in did the independent deaconate (i.e. not just the service of ordination before priest) survived?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 02:38:22 PM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #74 on: April 11, 2009, 02:39:38 PM »

That doesn't matter. It's not a question of hygiene, science, or biological mechanics. The blood was part of the body and then it flows out. While it is in, it is part of the body regardless of its degree of integration with the circulatory system. From the standpoint of the canons a bleeding body, except for the extremis of immanent death is not considered an appropriate receiver of the Holy Eucharist. We have no authority to set those canons aside because we want the canons regarding the proper physical state in which to receive the Eucharist to justify themselves with respect to the scientific minutia of human biology.
Which Canons say that a bleeding body is not considered a worthy receiver of the Eucharist?
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #75 on: April 11, 2009, 03:45:55 PM »

That doesn't matter. It's not a question of hygiene, science, or biological mechanics.

No?

The blood was part of the body and then it flows out. While it is in, it is part of the body regardless of its degree of integration with the circulatory system.

Don't go there... You've got plenty of things that are in the body when you receive communion that you get rid of, and not in a way that is proper to the Body and Blood of Christ.

From the standpoint of the canons a bleeding body, except for the extremis of immanent death is not considered an appropriate receiver of the Holy Eucharist.

Uh-huh.  If you want, I'll find a few handfuls of canons you're not following.

We have no authority to set those canons aside

We don't, but Father confessors and bishops, while not expressly so disposed as to disregard canons, are the enforcers, and if they choose not to, then that's between them and the Lord, not you (or anyone so counseled) and the Lord or you and them.

because we want the canons regarding the proper physical state in which to receive the Eucharist to justify themselves with respect to the scientific minutia of human biology. 

There's not a single canon that didn't make sense according to the knowledge of the time.  When a canon ceases to make sense according to what we know (or, heck, how about according to the standard of mercy that Christ set down for us), then it's going to naturally be up for evaluation (like, say, married bishops).
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #76 on: April 11, 2009, 04:08:34 PM »

Which Canons say that a bleeding body is not considered a worthy receiver of the Eucharist?

Well, if he's going to answer directly, then he'll bring up canon 2 of St. Dionysios (his canons were ratified by IV.1. and VI.2.)
(All references are from here: http://holytrinitymission.org/books/english/canons_fathers_rudder.htm)

Quote
Concerning menstruous women, whether they ought to enter the temple of God while in such a state, I think it superfluous even to put the question. For, I opine, not even they themselves, being faithful and pious, would dare when in this state either to approach the Holy Table or to touch the body and blood of Christ. For not even the woman with a twelve years’ issue would come into actual contact with Him, but only with the edge of His garment, to be cured. There is no objection to one’s praying no matter how he may be or to one’s remembering the Lord at any time and in any state whatever, and petitioning to receive help; but if one is not wholly clean both in soul and in body, he shall be prevented from coming up to the Holies of Holies.

Interpretation.

When asked about this too, as to whether women in their menses ought to enter the temple of God, the saint replied that there is no need of asking the question, since if the women themselves have a proper reverence for things divine, they will be inhibited by it from daring ever to approach the Holy Table and to partake of the Lord’s body and blood when they are in such a state of their menstrual affairs. For they can recall that woman who had an issue of blood and who on account of the flux of her blood did not dare, because of her great reverence, to touch the body of Christ, but only the hem of His garment. None of them is forbidden to pray, whatever be her predicament (whether she be at home or in the pronaos of the church), by imploring God and asking Him for help and salvation. One is forbidden, however, to go near the Holies of Holies, which is the same as saying to partake of the sanctified portions (i.e., the Eucharistic species) when he is not clean in soul and body, like women who are taken with their menses.

He'll bring up the "Questions" of Timothy of Alexandria (#7, to be exact):

Quote
7. Question: If a woman finds herself in the plight peculiar to her sex, ought she to come to the Mysteries on that day, or not?

Answer: She ought not to do so, until she has been purified.

Interpretation.

Likewise as in the above Canon, the present Canon decrees that a woman must not partake of the divine Mysteries on the days on which she is troubled by the plight pertaining to her sex, but only to partake thereof when she has been purified from it. See also c. II of Dionysius. 

Canon 17 of St. John the Faster:

Quote
17. As for women occupying a separate seat, let them not touch holy things for as many as seven days, the second Canon of St. Dionysius, but in particular the seventh Canon of Timothy bids. This is also what the old Law ordered, but neither did it permit them to have any sexual intercourse with men; for it happens on this account that the seeds sown become weak and evanescent. Hence it was that divine Moses ordered the father of a defective to be stoned to death, on the ground that on account of his intemperance he failed to await the purification of his wife. But as for a woman who has been so scornful of the same uncleanness during this period and has touched the divine Mysteries, they bid her to remain communionless for forty days.

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that those women shall not participate in the divine Mysteries who are having their usual trouble of courses and menstruation, or what are commonly called "monthlies," for at least seven days, just as c. II of Dionysius also decrees, and c. VII of Timothy commands. This same prohibition is found in the old Law, which does not permit such women to have sexual intercourse with their husbands so long as they are having their monthlies, because even the children that are sown and conceived in women who are in such a condition become in consequence weak and defective for the most part. It was for this reason, too, that the Law commanded that the father of a defective child be stoned to death, since on account of his wanton lust he did not have the fortitude to wait for his wife to be purified from monthlies, but slept with her while she was having them, and thus the child sown in her became defective. But if a woman having her monthlies scornfully disregard this fact and partake of the divine Mysteries, they command that she shall not commune again for forty days. Read also c. II of Dionysius.


These are the only ones.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 04:12:38 PM by cleveland » Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #77 on: April 11, 2009, 04:40:32 PM »

These are the only ones.

So bleeding men are OK? (Peptic ulcers?)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 04:42:00 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #78 on: April 11, 2009, 04:48:02 PM »

We have no authority to set those canons aside because we want the canons regarding the proper physical state in which to receive the Eucharist to justify themselves with respect to the scientific minutia of human biology.

This is wrong thinking on so many levels.

First of all, one's spiritual father does, in fact, have the authority to set aside canons (there is a specific canon that states this.  I can't put my hands on it at the moment.  Cleveland, do you know it offhand?).

Secondly, even if spiritual fathers in general didn't have the authority, personally, I would say that St. John Chrysostom DOES have the authority.  Why is it that (and this is also directed at rwprof), on pretty much any subject in Orthodoxy, St. John Chrysostom is revered, read, referenced, and considered the highest authority, yet, when it comes to matters concerning women, the response is, "nobody has the authority," and "you can quote St. John Chrysostom all you want, but...?"  Why is it that the same prolific and amazing saint that is quoted and considered authoritative in pretty much everything else, is simply cast aside on matters such as this?  Just curious...

Thirdly, canons are often set aside.  Here is a perfect example of a canon that has been set aside (and not even for a good reason such as being educated in a subject, like human biology, that we didn't know about before)...
From The Rudder, by St. Nikodemos (pg 177):
Quote
CANON XLVIII (48)
If any layman who has divorced his wife takes another, or one
divorced by another man, let him be excommunicated.68
(Canon LXXXVII of 6th Ecumenical Synod;
Canon XX of Ancyra; Canon XIII of Carthage;
Canons XXI, XXV and LXXVII of Basil)
Yeah, we really adhere strictly to the canons these days, don't we?  On this subject, we say it's "oikonomia" to allow divorce and remarriage.  For the sake of whom?  The people... so that they can remain in communion with the Church.  What would be the purpose of setting aside the canons (which are not, btw, from synods, but rather, from individual saints, whom our Church absolutely believes are individually fallible) regarding menstruation?  So that women can commune... are we seeing a pattern?  Further, in the case of divorce, why are we granting oikonomia to people who HAVE committed a terrible sin, versus menstruation, where women who HAVEN'T committed a terrible sin are granted NO oikonomia?  Is it because of the sheer number of people who are requesting divorce (in other words, if oikonomia weren't granted, the number of people effectively excommunicated would be astronomical)?  But, with the case of menstruation, we're talking about HALF the people of the church (virtually all women, with the exception of young girls, old women, and a few who are unable to menstruate)!  So, surely, it isn't the numbers...  So please, if we're going to adhere so strictly to the canons and ignore completely the role of the spiritual father and oikonomia, explain to me why it is that a serial monogamist (someone married and divorced several times) is allowed to commune, and myself and my sisters in Christ who have prepared ourselves through confession, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, are NOT.  Feel free... go ahead... explain... I'd really like to hear (*read*).  Wink


Fourthly, "justify themselves?"   Huh  [sarcasm] Wow!!!  I absolutely marvel and bow down to your gift of being able to see into my heart and the hearts of those others who think it's okay for a woman to commune while menstruating!!!!!!!  I'm in awe!!! [/sarcasm]  That statement is just dripping with judgment, my friend.  And that judgment, is exactly the misogyny I was talking about.  The judgment is not in the presence of these issues, the desire to discuss them, or even the disagreement over them.  No, friend.  The misogyny is in the judgment.
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #79 on: April 11, 2009, 07:08:49 PM »

First of all, one's spiritual father does, in fact, have the authority to set aside canons (there is a specific canon that states this.  I can't put my hands on it at the moment.  Cleveland, do you know it offhand?).

Usually the answer is VI.102.
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_ecumenical_rudder.htm#_Toc34001973

(Question answered by GiC two posts down...)

Quote
102. Those who have received from God authority to bind and to loose must take into consideration the quality of the sin, and the willingness and readiness of the sinner to return, and thus offer a treatment suited to the sin in question, lest by employing an immoderate adjustment in one direction or the other, they fail in compassing the salvation of the one ailing. For, the diseases called sin are not simple affairs, but, on the contrary, various and complex, and they produce many offshoots of the injury, as a result whereof the evil becomes widely diffused, and it progresses until it is checked by the power of the one treating it. So that a person who is professing the science of treating ailments as a spiritual physician ought first to examine the disposition of the sinner, and ascertain whether he tends to health or on the contrary provokes the malady to attack him by his own actions; at the same time bearing in mind that he must provide against any reversion, and considering whether the patient is struggling against the physician, and whether the ulcer of the soul is being aggravated by the application of the remedy; and accordingly to mete out mercy in due proportion to the merits of the case. For all that matters to God and to the person undertaking pastoral leadership consists in the recovery of the straying sheep, and in healing the one wounded by the serpent. Accordingly, he ought not to drive the patient to the verge of despair, nor give him rein to dissoluteness and contempt of life, but, on the contrary, in at least one way at any rate, either by resorting to extremer and stringent remedies, or to gentler and milder ones, to curb the disease, and to put up a fight to heal the ulcer for the one tasting the fruits of repentance, and wisely helping him on the way to the splendid rehabilitation to which the man is being invited. We must therefore be versed in both, i.e., both the requirements of accuracy and the requirements of custom. In the case of those who are obstinately opposed to extremities, we must follow the formula handed down to us, just as sacred Basil teaches us outright.

Interpretation.

After this Council had decreed concerning many different penances, lastly in the present Canon it leaves everything to the judgment of the bishops and spirituals (i.e., confessors), the authority to bind and to loose, saying that they ought to conjecture, or surmise, both the quality of the sinfulness, whether it be pardonable or deadly, and the disposition of the sinner with respect to repentance, and thus to offer the right treatment for his illness; lest by giving persons who are magnanimous and willing to repent lenient penances, and persons who are more unconcerned and pusillanimous on the contrary extreme penances, they fail to correct either the former or the latter, but rather wind up by losing both. Because sin is so complex and various, and grows so fast, that it resists, that is, overcomes, the power and art of the spiritual physician (or, it may be, so complex and various is sin, and so fast does it grow, before it can be checked and overcome by the art of the spiritual physician). So, for this reason, the physician of souls must first and foremost conjecture the disposition and inclination of the sinner, and discern whether he loves the health of his soul with fervid repentance, or, on the contrary, whether he actually is coaxing sin to attack him, and how he behaves in regard to sin, whether he is not opposed to the salutary remedies which he is giving him (as is done by the demented who are opposed to the salutary remedies of physicians of bodies), and whether he is not actually aggravating, or increasing, the lesion of sin with such measures. The confessor, I say, must first of all make conjectures respecting all these things, and thus with due proportion mete out mercy, mitigating, or lightening, the penances in dealing with the man who is unconcerned and pusillanimous, but intensifying, or making them heavier, in the case of a man who is magnanimous; and doing both for mercy’s sake, in order, on the one hand, to cleanse the magnanimous man from sin, and, on the other hand, to avoid making the pusillanimous man’s case worse. And, generally speaking, the whole aim both to God and to the confessor is simply this, to bring about the return of the straying sheep, to cure the one who has been wounded or hurt by the figurative serpent commonly called the Devil, and neither to drive him to despair by heavy penalties, nor again to let him take the bit in his teeth, like a horse, by light penalties, and hence encourage him to contemptuousness and unconcern, but in every possible way, whether with austere or with mild remedies, to endeavor to restore the sinner to health and free him from the wounds of sin, so that he may taste the fruits of repentance, and with wisdom managing to help him to ascend to the splendor of the Holy Trinity above (which is the kingdom of heaven, according to St. Gregory the Theologian). So, then, the confessor must have knowledge of both requirements (just as is said verbatim in c. III of Basil), to wit, accuracy and custom. In case sinners do not care to observe this accuracy, on account of which they are compromisingly allowed a reduction of years and of penances for their sin, let him at least command them to observe the custom, the entire number of years, that is to say, and the penances prescribed by the Canons.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 07:47:36 PM by cleveland » Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2009, 07:11:08 PM »

For those reading my last two posts and wondering what the code is for (i.e. VI.103; IV.2.; etc.), standard Canonical references for Ecumenical Councils take the form Roman Numeral (Council #) followed by Arabic Number (canon #).  So I.10 is Ecumenical Council I (Nicea), Canon 10.  Using this system, VI is Penthekte/Quintisext/Trullo.  So VI.103 (in my last post) is Penthekte canon 103.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #81 on: April 11, 2009, 07:13:36 PM »

For those reading my last two posts and wondering what the code is for (i.e. VI.103; IV.2.; etc.), standard Canonical references for Ecumenical Councils take the form Roman Numeral (Council #) followed by Arabic Number (canon #).  So I.10 is Ecumenical Council I (Nicea), Canon 10.  Using this system, VI is Penthekte/Quintisext/Trullo.  So VI.103 (in my last post) is Penthekte canon 103.

Has there recently been a 103rd canon added to the Council of Trullo that I didn't hear about? Last I checked there was only 102. Wink
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #82 on: April 11, 2009, 07:46:54 PM »

For those reading my last two posts and wondering what the code is for (i.e. VI.103; IV.2.; etc.), standard Canonical references for Ecumenical Councils take the form Roman Numeral (Council #) followed by Arabic Number (canon #).  So I.10 is Ecumenical Council I (Nicea), Canon 10.  Using this system, VI is Penthekte/Quintisext/Trullo.  So VI.103 (in my last post) is Penthekte canon 103.

Has there recently been a 103rd canon added to the Council of Trullo that I didn't hear about? Last I checked there was only 102. Wink

I suppose that answers the question I posed earlier:

Usually the answer is VI.103.
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/councils_ecumenical_rudder.htm#_Toc34001973

(Or, at least I thought it was 103, but it's numbered 102 in the online copy of the Pedalion)

I haven't gone over my notes or the text from class in awhile (of course, a certain loud New Yorker borrowed my canon law text and never returned it), which would explain the cobwebs.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,522



« Reply #83 on: April 11, 2009, 10:48:36 PM »

This "menstruation equals uncleanliness" business IMHO shows how Roman Catholic some of our thinking has become. I was under the impression that we had the Platonic approach of eschewing certainty when it came to certain matters. Of course, the Romans have that Aristotelian impulse to learn and know everything, and also have built arguments on top of arguments; that is, they took the conclusions of various primary arguments and turned them into the premises of subsequent arguments. After a while, they ended up with the heterodox dogmas of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Papal Infallibility, and the original example of their logic--transubstantiation.

I have come across very few Orthodox theologians that call the Eucharist a sacrament; most of them consider the Eucharist to be a mystery. That is why is we do not believe in transubstantiation, that the wine and bread actually turn into blood and flesh. We know what our Savior said and yet when we eat and drink we also know we are not drinking blood and eating flesh. So, it is a mystery and we are seeing the shadow on the wall. All we know that in a mysterious way the Eucharist unites us with our Savior. And, all of the arguments about our blood being physically infused with the blood of the Savior depend on the doctrine of transubstantiation, must they not? Voila: scholasticism, bad logic, false theology, Western piety and tradition with a small "t."

On the other hand, even if one accepts transubstantiation, it does not follow that the Eucharistic wine, as the blood of the Savior, becomes our blood. We all know that blood is generated in our bone marrows from haematopoietic stem cells. This means that ingested blood cannot stay as blood for long (it is broken up rapidly in the digestive system), nor can it be added to the existing blood supply. So, whether you believe in transubstantiation or not, it is impossible for the Eucharist to become your blood. This is in accordance with God's ongoing miracle of life and processes ordained by Him. It is one thing to believe things as a child (that is ignorant of facts) and another as an adult.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 11:02:12 PM by Second Chance » Logged

Michal: "SC, love you in this thread."
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #84 on: April 11, 2009, 11:37:43 PM »

Quote
So please, if we're going to adhere so strictly to the canons and ignore completely the role of the spiritual father and oikonomia, explain to me why it is that a serial monogamist (someone married and divorced several times) is allowed to commune, and myself and my sisters in Christ who have prepared ourselves through confession, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, are NOT.  Feel free... go ahead... explain... I'd really like to hear (*read*).  Wink

And who is arguing that their rightful authorities and spiritual prerogatives be cast aside?  Consider if it wasn't this particular bodily impediment that wasn't being, not just relaxed, but ignored and it was confession, or repentance, or fasting that was being treated as optional and old fashioned, superstitious even....oh wait, that is happening in some parishes.  I hope you understand, by such lights as I have, I am only standing for the faith and the tradition that I have received, nothing more.

Quote
Fourthly, "justify themselves?"  Huh  [sarcasm] Wow!!!  I absolutely marvel and bow down to your gift of being able to see into my heart and the hearts of those others who think it's okay for a woman to commune while menstruating!!!!!!!
I have no knowledge of your heart or any other's, forgive me for leaving that impression.  If you reread the relevant passage you will see the subject of "justify themselves" was not people, but canons....about trying to force the canons to justify themselves relative to some perceived relevant modern criteria.  It referenced the arguments of those who feel contrary to this Tradition based on some concerns related to details of modern human biology, which are not relevant.

 
Quote
I'm in awe!!! That statement is just dripping with judgment, my friend. 

If so, I fail to see it. Whom have I judged in affirming the Tradition as it has come to us?

Quote
And that judgment, is exactly the misogyny I was talking about.  The judgment is not in the presence of these issues, the desire to discuss them, or even the disagreement over them.  No, friend.  The misogyny is in the judgment.
What misogyny? What have I said that advocates any hatred or disparagement of women? The standard the canon applies to me as well. If I have a cut or a bleeding/weeping sore I do not commune, no matter how much I might want to otherwise. And there have been times when this was so for me.  And if I cut myself or otherwise bleed after receiving communion within the past 24 hours, I try to remember to save all tissues and bandages so that they may be buried or burned. 

Forgive me any offense I've given or providing any temptation to anger in this holy time.
Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #85 on: April 11, 2009, 11:42:05 PM »

If I have a cut or a bleeding/weeping sore I do not commune, no matter how much I might want to otherwise.
Perhaps this is a custom in your church's tradition which is not a universal custom of the Orthodox Church? It doesn't seem to be a requirement of the Canons.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #86 on: April 12, 2009, 01:22:37 AM »

All I know is it is what I have received. I've read the canonical requirement before, don't remember where though, but I've never had reason to question it. It's what I've passed on to my godsons and their families in turn. 
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #87 on: April 12, 2009, 02:00:57 AM »

What misogyny? What have I said that advocates any hatred or disparagement of women?

It suggests that a natural biological process is somehow 'unclean', it's a judgement based on ignorance and superstition. If you want to make that a cornerstone of your beliefs, that's your issue...but it's misogynistic, plain and simple.

Quote
The standard the canon applies to me as well. If I have a cut or a bleeding/weeping sore I do not commune, no matter how much I might want to otherwise. And there have been times when this was so for me.  And if I cut myself or otherwise bleed after receiving communion within the past 24 hours, I try to remember to save all tissues and bandages so that they may be buried or burned. 

So what canon gave you this 24 hour number? I never imagined your god would be so weak and pathetic as to have its immortal blood diluted so completely in a mere 24 hours that it can be thrown out without any consideration. Sorry you serve such an insignificant deity.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #88 on: April 12, 2009, 02:05:04 AM »

All I know is it is what I have received. I've read the canonical requirement before, don't remember where though, but I've never had reason to question it. It's what I've passed on to my godsons and their families in turn. 

Why should anyone, no matter how devoted to your religion, care what you claim to have 'received' if you can't even give a reference for this 'canonical requirement'? Especially considering how absurd it is even from a theological perspective.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #89 on: April 12, 2009, 02:14:45 AM »

Why should anyone, no matter how devoted to your religion, care what you claim to have 'received' if you can't even give a reference for this 'canonical requirement'? Especially considering how absurd it is even from a theological perspective.

Goodness! Thats a little acerbic GiC, isn't it?
Actually, I do care what Seraphim has received, and I can respect it.
For Heaven's sake, there's going to be a dead sheep hanging in my basement on Saturday night because of a custom I received.....I'm hardly in a position to judge anyone! Other strange customs I received include spitting towards the west at Baptisms, cracking eggs that have been dyed red on Pascha, spitting on Brides and infants to wish them well...the list goes on.
None of this makes sense outside of cultural context, but even cultural constructs have a reality.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #90 on: April 12, 2009, 03:05:01 AM »

Why should anyone, no matter how devoted to your religion, care what you claim to have 'received' if you can't even give a reference for this 'canonical requirement'? Especially considering how absurd it is even from a theological perspective.

Goodness! Thats a little acerbic GiC, isn't it?
Actually, I do care what Seraphim has received, and I can respect it.
For Heaven's sake, there's going to be a dead sheep hanging in my basement on Saturday night because of a custom I received.....I'm hardly in a position to judge anyone! Other strange customs I received include spitting towards the west at Baptisms, cracking eggs that have been dyed red on Pascha, spitting on Brides and infants to wish them well...the list goes on.
None of this makes sense outside of cultural context, but even cultural constructs have a reality.

And most are harmless enough...but when they are oppressive and dangerous, like the ones Seraphim insists on inflicting upon others, it would seem reasonable that some justification should be offered beyond 'this I have received'. I would not ask for justification of innocent or beneficial customs, but those who advocate intolerance, oppression, and discrimination should at least be asked to justify justify their claims.

Though I must say, I do miss a whole lamb on pascha, I settle for a leg anymore...probably the one thing from Orthodoxy I miss more than anything else. Wink
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
rwprof
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA now, Antiochian originally
Posts: 294



« Reply #91 on: April 12, 2009, 06:32:10 AM »

Yes, you never had to give up your cat when your mom was pregnant with your brother because of an old world superstition (this superstition didn't come from my mother).  I can't exactly remember why they wanted the cat gone but it was intertwined with a superstition.

I'm sure it's a different superstition, but my grandmother was deathly afraid of cats. She believed that they stole a baby's breath, a superstition brought on by cats licking milk from baby's mouths and the high incidence of crib death.


Logged

Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #92 on: April 12, 2009, 07:17:28 AM »

Quote
The standard the canon applies to me as well. If I have a cut or a bleeding/weeping sore I do not commune, no matter how much I might want to otherwise. And there have been times when this was so for me.  And if I cut myself or otherwise bleed after receiving communion within the past 24 hours, I try to remember to save all tissues and bandages so that they may be buried or burned.  

So what canon gave you this 24 hour number? I never imagined your god would be so weak and pathetic as to have its immortal blood diluted so completely in a mere 24 hours that it can be thrown out without any consideration. Sorry you serve such an insignificant deity.

Oh, quit being so melodramatic.  You know that there is no canon that gives a 24 hour number.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 19,942


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #93 on: April 12, 2009, 07:18:53 AM »

Though I must say, I do miss a whole lamb on pascha, I settle for a leg anymore...probably the one thing from Orthodoxy I miss more than anything else. Wink

Oh, we've had quite the good time on Pascha before, haven't we Wink
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #94 on: April 12, 2009, 01:19:29 PM »

Quote
The standard the canon applies to me as well. If I have a cut or a bleeding/weeping sore I do not commune, no matter how much I might want to otherwise. And there have been times when this was so for me.  And if I cut myself or otherwise bleed after receiving communion within the past 24 hours, I try to remember to save all tissues and bandages so that they may be buried or burned.  

So what canon gave you this 24 hour number? I never imagined your god would be so weak and pathetic as to have its immortal blood diluted so completely in a mere 24 hours that it can be thrown out without any consideration. Sorry you serve such an insignificant deity.

Oh, quit being so melodramatic.  You know that there is no canon that gives a 24 hour number.

Yes, I know that very well, but sometimes melodrama can make an important point that is otherwise lost. The point being that there is no basis for his rubrics he insists upon even within the accepted canons of the Orthodox Church and it doesn't make theological sense to boot.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #95 on: April 12, 2009, 01:20:42 PM »

Though I must say, I do miss a whole lamb on pascha, I settle for a leg anymore...probably the one thing from Orthodoxy I miss more than anything else. Wink

Oh, we've had quite the good time on Pascha before, haven't we Wink

Yeah, I miss those times. Smiley
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #96 on: April 12, 2009, 03:01:47 PM »

And who is arguing that their rightful authorities and spiritual prerogatives be cast aside?  Consider if it wasn't this particular bodily impediment that wasn't being, not just relaxed, but ignored and it was confession, or repentance, or fasting that was being treated as optional and old fashioned, superstitious even....oh wait, that is happening in some parishes.  I hope you understand, by such lights as I have, I am only standing for the faith and the tradition that I have received, nothing more.
You just made my point for me, my friend.  The difference is that confession, repentance, fasting... these are all things we CONTROL.  They are all things that we can effect and are consequences of sin.  But a woman's menstruation is NOT a consequence of sin.  It is the way God created us, and no matter how pious we may be, there is nothing we can do to change it (unlike with confession/repentance/fasting).  Nor should we WANT to change it.  Indeed, God created us perfectly the way he wanted us, and it is wrong to say or imply that he made a mistake, or purposely made us inferior, or that we are somehow lesser/less perfect because of His creation. 

Now, should you like to argue that it is a consequence of Eve's sin, and that all women are now paying for it, then we have come full circle, back to the fact that the Theotokos is the new Eve and Eve's transgression has been wiped out. 

There is a world of difference between ignoring confession/repentance/fasting, and a woman's natural bodily functions, which God created.  Confession, repentance, and fasting are matters of the spirit.  Menstruation is a matter of physiology, not to be changed, or even questioned, as far as I'm concerned.  God created us this way, and we are perfect in His creation.  End of story.  Period.

And, since you mention it, if it is as you say, that confession, repentance, and fasting are being treated this way in some parishes (I don't know which ones you go to, but it certainly isn't that way in the parishes I've attended), then why are we discussing this to begin with?  We'd better get to work on those things, which are FAR more important than menstruation, doncha think?

Quote
I have no knowledge of your heart or any other's, forgive me for leaving that impression.  If you reread the relevant passage you will see the subject of "justify themselves" was not people, but canons....about trying to force the canons to justify themselves relative to some perceived relevant modern criteria.  It referenced the arguments of those who feel contrary to this Tradition based on some concerns related to details of modern human biology, which are not relevant.

If so, I fail to see it. Whom have I judged in affirming the Tradition as it has come to us?

What misogyny? What have I said that advocates any hatred or disparagement of women? The standard the canon applies to me as well. If I have a cut or a bleeding/weeping sore I do not commune, no matter how much I might want to otherwise. And there have been times when this was so for me.  And if I cut myself or otherwise bleed after receiving communion within the past 24 hours, I try to remember to save all tissues and bandages so that they may be buried or burned. 

Forgive me any offense I've given or providing any temptation to anger in this holy time.

There is nothing to forgive.  You haven't offended me.  I just get enthusiastic sometimes.  Smiley
If I misunderstood you, then my sincerest apologies.
While I may have misunderstood you in this case, I stand by my statement that, in general, the misogyny is in the judgment.
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Salpy
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,376


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #97 on: April 12, 2009, 08:46:03 PM »

I'm just curious.  I do not intend to join in the debate, I just want to know something:

Does anyone know what portion of the EO population believes it's OK to commune during menstruation?  Is this a majority opinion?  Have any current EO patriarchs made a statement about this?
Logged

serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #98 on: April 12, 2009, 09:18:56 PM »

I'm just curious.  I do not intend to join in the debate, I just want to know something:

Does anyone know what portion of the EO population believes it's OK to commune during menstruation?  Is this a majority opinion?  Have any current EO patriarchs made a statement about this?

I'd honestly say it's about half and half.  The half who have actually asked their priests about this and the priests who know and answer in the way GreekChef are answering will have that tract.  The other half is either people who didn't ask, take the "recieved tradition" for what it is (as enough) or just can't get over a qualified explanation (such as ones given here).  I've seen all of the above.  Like I said..it's pretty down the middle (I feel)
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #99 on: April 12, 2009, 09:20:38 PM »

There is a world of difference between ignoring confession/repentance/fasting, and a woman's natural bodily functions, which God created.  Confession, repentance, and fasting are matters of the spirit.  Menstruation is a matter of physiology, not to be changed, or even questioned, as far as I'm concerned.  God created us this way, and we are perfect in His creation.  End of story.  Period.

Well, technically it can be changed, I've known some women who haven't menstruated in years, because they stay below 10% body fat (they're either marathon runners or bodybuilders); so, technically, it can be changed. But that's not really the point, the point is that his arguments are superstitious, medieval, and just plain absurd.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #100 on: April 12, 2009, 09:22:23 PM »

I'm just curious.  I do not intend to join in the debate, I just want to know something:

Does anyone know what portion of the EO population believes it's OK to commune during menstruation?  Is this a majority opinion?  Have any current EO patriarchs made a statement about this?

I'd honestly say it's about half and half.  The half who have actually asked their priests about this and the priests who know and answer in the way GreekChef are answering will have that tract.  The other half is either people who didn't ask, take the "recieved tradition" for what it is (as enough) or just can't get over a qualified explanation (such as ones given here).  I've seen all of the above.  Like I said..it's pretty down the middle (I feel)

I can't speak for the world at large, but in the west while it MAY be half and half amongst first generation immigrants not communing during immigrants is almost unheard of otherwise, except amongst a very small cultic sect of extremists.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Lily
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 75


« Reply #101 on: April 12, 2009, 09:23:17 PM »

I'm just curious.  I do not intend to join in the debate, I just want to know something:

Does anyone know what portion of the EO population believes it's OK to commune during menstruation?  Is this a majority opinion?  Have any current EO patriarchs made a statement about this?

I would say the majority, at least among the other Orthodox I know personally,  would not even consider it an issue.  I never heard of this before I came on this forum.  None of this was ever even mentioned to me during the several years I attended Church before I was Chrismated, not by my Priest or the Priests from 6 other jurisdictions that helped teach the Pan-Orthodox catechism classes I took, not by any of the Priest's wives, not by my Godmother (sorry, I can't figure out the Arabic word for that) not even by the nuns at a Skete we attend when visiting my relatives.  (And yes, they were sure to tell us about things like nocturnal emissions, so I doubt that it was a subject that they were embarrassed to bring up)

 
Logged
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,205


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #102 on: April 12, 2009, 09:28:31 PM »

I'm just curious.  I do not intend to join in the debate, I just want to know something:

Does anyone know what portion of the EO population believes it's OK to commune during menstruation?  Is this a majority opinion?  Have any current EO patriarchs made a statement about this?

I'd honestly say it's about half and half.  The half who have actually asked their priests about this and the priests who know and answer in the way GreekChef are answering will have that tract.  The other half is either people who didn't ask, take the "recieved tradition" for what it is (as enough) or just can't get over a qualified explanation (such as ones given here).  I've seen all of the above.  Like I said..it's pretty down the middle (I feel)

I can't speak for the world at large, but in the west while it MAY be half and half amongst first generation immigrants not communing during immigrants is almost unheard of otherwise, except amongst a very small cultic sect of extremists.

Yah I was just thinking of how large of a following all of the Ephraim monasteries have.  I'd say it's a pretty big number, and those people are usually very strict with the canons and "pieties" etc. 

I was also thinking of more "pietistic" or "traditional" areas such as Chicago or NYC or even Canada.  Anyway...that's why I said about half and half. 
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #103 on: April 12, 2009, 09:59:18 PM »

I'm just curious.  I do not intend to join in the debate, I just want to know something:

Does anyone know what portion of the EO population believes it's OK to commune during menstruation?  Is this a majority opinion?  Have any current EO patriarchs made a statement about this?

I would say the majority, at least among the other Orthodox I know personally,  would not even consider it an issue.  I never heard of this before I came on this forum.  None of this was ever even mentioned to me during the several years I attended Church before I was Chrismated, not by my Priest or the Priests from 6 other jurisdictions that helped teach the Pan-Orthodox catechism classes I took, not by any of the Priest's wives, not by my Godmother (sorry, I can't figure out the Arabic word for that) not even by the nuns at a Skete we attend when visiting my relatives.  (And yes, they were sure to tell us about things like nocturnal emissions, so I doubt that it was a subject that they were embarrassed to bring up)

 

Yeah, I have to say I'd never heard word one about it until I went to HCHC, where that "extremest" minority was rather vocal (and nosy, at that!).  Smiley
Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #104 on: April 13, 2009, 10:41:23 AM »

Quote
You just made my point for me, my friend.  The difference is that confession, repentance, fasting... these are all things we CONTROL.  They are all things that we can effect and are consequences of sin.  But a woman's menstruation is NOT a consequence of sin.  It is the way God created us, and no matter how pious we may be, there is nothing we can do to change it (unlike with confession/repentance/fasting).  Nor should we WANT to change it.  Indeed, God created us perfectly the way he wanted us, and it is wrong to say or imply that he made a mistake, or purposely made us inferior, or that we are somehow lesser/less perfect because of His creation. 

Who is argueing that menses are a sin?  Getting a cut is not a sin. Married folk having bodily congress is not a sin, a man's occassional nocturnal emission is not necessarily a sin (though sin can lead/contribute to it), yet all these things have traditionally kept one from communing if they were happened within a day of when one would have otherwise received communion. Eating is not a sin,unless done to excess, but to eat or drink is not allowed within 8 hours of recieving communion...ususally meaning nothing past the throat after midnight the day before liturgy. Yet even though it is not a sin, to break the precommunion fast and to communune anyway without some blessed economia is a sin. 

Quote
Now, should you like to argue that it is a consequence of Eve's sin, and that all women are now paying for it, then we have come full circle, back to the fact that the Theotokos is the new Eve and Eve's transgression has been wiped out. 
The how and why that women have menses vis a vis creation and the fall is something I have no knowledge of. Nor is it relevant.  As for the Theotokos, even she had to leave the Temple into the care of Joseph when it was time for her to begin her womanly cycle. If the Theotokos did not sin in this but willingly submitted to the Tradition regarding it why is her example become onerous?

Quote
God created us this way, and we are perfect in His creation.  End of story.  Period.
What we were before the fall who can say. We know only what we were after the fall...how perfect any particular of that state is for others wiser than I can debate.

Quote
And, since you mention it, if it is as you say, that confession, repentance, and fasting are being treated this way in some parishes (I don't know which ones you go to, but it certainly isn't that way in the parishes I've attended), then why are we discussing this to begin with?  We'd better get to work on those things, which are FAR more important than menstruation, doncha think?
The garment is more important than any particular thread within it. Start tugging out those threads and soon enough the garment falls apart.

Quote
While I may have misunderstood you in this case, I stand by my statement that, in general, the misogyny is in the judgment.
And forgive me for being dense. What misogyny?

« Last Edit: April 13, 2009, 10:47:57 AM by Seraphim98 » Logged
GreekChef
Prez
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Metropolis of Atlanta
Posts: 884



« Reply #105 on: April 13, 2009, 12:12:52 PM »

Quote
You just made my point for me, my friend.  The difference is that confession, repentance, fasting... these are all things we CONTROL.  They are all things that we can effect and are consequences of sin.  But a woman's menstruation is NOT a consequence of sin.  It is the way God created us, and no matter how pious we may be, there is nothing we can do to change it (unlike with confession/repentance/fasting).  Nor should we WANT to change it.  Indeed, God created us perfectly the way he wanted us, and it is wrong to say or imply that he made a mistake, or purposely made us inferior, or that we are somehow lesser/less perfect because of His creation. 

Who is argueing that menses are a sin?  Getting a cut is not a sin. Married folk having bodily congress is not a sin, a man's occassional nocturnal emission is not necessarily a sin (though sin can lead/contribute to it), yet all these things have traditionally kept one from communing if they were happened within a day of when one would have otherwise received communion. Eating is not a sin,unless done to excess, but to eat or drink is not allowed within 8 hours of recieving communion...ususally meaning nothing past the throat after midnight the day before liturgy. Yet even though it is not a sin, to break the precommunion fast and to communune anyway without some blessed economia is a sin. 
Yes, but you must look at the reasons that we abstain from communion in each of the circumstances you named.  We don't just abstain because we blindly follow the law.  That is exactly what Christ forbade.  The difference in all of these (and this is what I was trying to say before, but apparently wasn't saying it well) is that they may have to do with physiology, but they affect the spirit.  The spirit is the reason we abstain in these cases, not the body, but how the body affects the spirit.  If we abstain simply for the body's sake (rather than out of concern for the spirit), then we are a) holding ourselves hostage to the law, in direct violation of Christ's teaching, and b) making dualist heretics out of ourselves (putting the body in direct opposition to the spirit).  In the case of a woman's menstruation, it does not affect the spirit, does not present some spiritual implement toward communing.  Does that make a little more sense?


Quote
Quote
Now, should you like to argue that it is a consequence of Eve's sin, and that all women are now paying for it, then we have come full circle, back to the fact that the Theotokos is the new Eve and Eve's transgression has been wiped out. 
The how and why that women have menses vis a vis creation and the fall is something I have no knowledge of. Nor is it relevant.  As for the Theotokos, even she had to leave the Temple into the care of Joseph when it was time for her to begin her womanly cycle. If the Theotokos did not sin in this but willingly submitted to the Tradition regarding it why is her example become onerous?
The Theotokos was a Jew.  She was therefore bound by the law and the laws regarding the temple.  We are not bound by the law in the way that the Jews were.  We are not bound by the Jewish ideas of ritual cleanliness.

Quote
Quote
God created us this way, and we are perfect in His creation.  End of story.  Period.
What we were before the fall who can say. We know only what we were after the fall...how perfect any particular of that state is for others wiser than I can debate.
I'm not talking about before the fall.  I mean the way we are now.  God made us the way He wanted us.  He created our bodies to function the way they do.  That's not to say we fall can just do whatever we want with it because it's a bodily function (as in the case of the sins involved in a man's nocturnal emissions, as you mentioned).  But to turn away from God's sacrifice in the Eucharist because we think His creation in its natural state (in other words, without having committed a sin that dirties our body, which I think we agreed is not the case with menstruation) is not good enough or clean enough to receive Him... well that just blows my mind, really.  Smiley

Quote
Quote
And, since you mention it, if it is as you say, that confession, repentance, and fasting are being treated this way in some parishes (I don't know which ones you go to, but it certainly isn't that way in the parishes I've attended), then why are we discussing this to begin with?  We'd better get to work on those things, which are FAR more important than menstruation, doncha think?
The garment is more important than any particular thread within it. Start tugging out those threads and soon enough the garment falls apart.
I think that's being a little melodramatic.  Please correct me if I'm wrong (we have seen that I have a knack for misunderstanding things on this thread), but are you saying that you think it's more spiritually dangerous for a woman to commune while menstruating than it is for a person to forsake confession, repentance, and fasting?  I hardly think that the issue of communing while menstruating is going to unravel the entire garment.  This is called slippery slope logic.  And it is a fallacy. 

Quote
Quote
While I may have misunderstood you in this case, I stand by my statement that, in general, the misogyny is in the judgment.
And forgive me for being dense. What misogyny?
You're not dense, my friend.  I'm having a hard time articulating this.  Women's issues are a difficult and important topic about which I feel quite passionate (you might have noticed) and about which I strive to be informed so that, while I don't fall into heresy or judgment, I may still remain balanced and fair.  When I get going, it's hard for me to be clear.

As it is now Holy Week, I am wary of trying to flesh out what I mean anymore.  I don't want to give the evil one any opportunity at all to create misunderstandings and problems, controversies and anger that might interfere with our focus on the services and the journey to our Lords passion and resurrection.  For that reason, I'll just leave the issue of misogyny and how it has infected our church and caused terrible problems to the side until after Pascha.  I don't want to end the conversation, just hold off on this idea.  I might come back to it later, but for now I'd like to leave it to the side.

Just to be clear, as I don't want there to be any problems, the misogyny that I was speaking of (when I said, "in general, the misogyny is in the judgment") was not personal toward you.  I was speaking of the overarching problem that has, unfortunately, taken root in the hearts of many hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and laity.  It's a general theme that I think needs to be discussed.  Lest you think I'm a raging liberal feminist with outlandish ideas of women's ordination to the priesthood, the guys on here that are friends with me can safely vouch for the fact that I'm not like that at all.  Strong minded, yes.  Opinionated, yes (and I know they'll tell you these things, too-- eh, Cleveland and Serb1389?).  But I'm not going to scream about ordaining women to the priesthood and start burning my bra in front of the Church.  I pray I haven't given you that impression.  That is my least favorite type of feminist.  I strive to take a balanced view, educated, with our Lord as guide and the Theotokos as role model, trying to humbly discern which are genuine issues (and then not leave them to the side, but rather address them in love) and which issues are matters of pride.  With that in mind, I do think, IMHO, that these issues are very important ones and need to be discussed.

Forgive me a sinner!

Logged

Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Matthew 18:5
Seraphim98
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 556



« Reply #106 on: April 13, 2009, 01:15:32 PM »

Quote
If we abstain simply for the body's sake (rather than out of concern for the spirit), then we are a) holding ourselves hostage to the law, in direct violation of Christ's teaching, and b) making dualist heretics out of ourselves (putting the body in direct opposition to the spirit).  In the case of a woman's menstruation, it does not affect the spirit, does not present some spiritual implement toward communing.  Does that make a little more sense?

No, actually it strikes me as quite the reverse. It is the attitude that communing the Holy Mysteries is fine if only my spirit is in a proper state of preparedness that seems the more dualist to me since it implies that the body is not important.

The traditional practice says one must come prepared body and spirit, not just spirit only. The whole man must be properly prepared to commune not just the body, and not just the spirit.

Menustration does not pose a spiritual impediment, rather it is a bodily one....but the body matters in Orthodox theology just as the spirit/soul does.

For me the practice that best illustrates the why of this prohibition is the Orthodox funeral practice of keeping and burying the blood of the recently communed if they die within a day of communing and are for some reason to be embalmed. 

That blood is treated special and so should ours if we have received the Holy Eucharist or expect to. If we treat that blood differently for the sake of the Eucharist, we've no reason to not treat our own differently with regard to the Eucharist.  This care affirms how strongly we believe in the incarnation and in the change made in the Holy Gifts as well as the bodily and spiritual change made in us (ostensibly) as the receipiants of those Holy Mysteries. 

In light of this to me the matter is simply self evident. We approch the Holy Mysteries when ready in both body and spirit, not either seperately, but both together. This is incarnational not dualistic.
Logged
Tags: menstruation 
Pages: 1 2 3 All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.525 seconds with 133 queries.