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Author Topic: Women: "Uncleanness" and Baptism and Deaconesses  (Read 9888 times) Average Rating: 0
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« 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
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« 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.


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« 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.
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« 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
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« Reply #94 on: April 12, 2009, 01:19:29 PM »

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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.
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« 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
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« 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.
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« 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?
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« 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)
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« 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.
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« 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.
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« 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)

 
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« 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. 
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« 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
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« 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?

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« 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

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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.

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« 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.
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Tags: menstruation 
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