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Author Topic: Female Altar Servers??  (Read 15969 times) Average Rating: 0
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #360 on: September 21, 2013, 01:00:19 PM »

Wow, you guys really do just make every single thread out there really weird. I didn't come here to read middle aged men slobber over women, I came to read outrage about sponges and leather shoes.

Sponges and leather.  Kinky.

Sponges definitely have a chequered past. See origins of the expression 'getting the wrong end of the stick'.

William, this is what happens when you let your dirty mind control your typing.  Tongue
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« Reply #361 on: September 21, 2013, 01:22:48 PM »

Well, for Bambi's sake I'm glad.   Smiley

This would have been Bambi with fangs... 



All the better for Bambi to fight off the musk-hunters.   Smiley
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« Reply #362 on: September 21, 2013, 01:23:28 PM »

This thread has gotten WAAAY off topic. I think that female altar servers are not acceptable, because the only men who were allowed into the altar were minor-order clerics such as taper-bearers and higher. Each man would thus be a current or potential clergyman. Because women cannot be elevated to higher orders, then they are not allowed to be ordained in the previous orders. It is like attempting to register in a higher-level physics class without having taken the prerequisites, it can't be done.
No, your analogy is like saying a person cannot enroll in a lower lever physics class because it's a prerequisite to a higher level physics class she may want to take two years from now.
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« Reply #363 on: September 21, 2013, 02:10:38 PM »

This thread has gotten WAAAY off topic. I think that female altar servers are not acceptable, because the only men who were allowed into the altar were minor-order clerics such as taper-bearers and higher. Each man would thus be a current or potential clergyman.

Not "or potential".  If the only men who were allowed into the altar are minor clerics, then they are current, actual clergymen.  There's nothing potential about them. 

Quote
Because women cannot be elevated to higher orders, then they are not allowed to be ordained in the previous orders.

Unless you want to claim that the order of deaconess is not higher than the orders of subdeacon, reader, taper-bearer, etc. (and I don't really think you can claim this seriously), this statement is wrong. 

What I would say is that deaconesses are "higher" than subdeacons, but being a subdeacon is not a prerequisite for ordaining someone a deaconess the way it is a prerequisite for ordaining someone a deacon.  Therefore, ordaining deaconesses does not imply that they can perform the duties of ranks to which they weren't ordained.  The traditio instrumentorum, though it takes different forms in the various liturgical rites, is, IMO, important in this regard.

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It is like attempting to register in a higher-level physics class without having taken the prerequisites, it can't be done.

This is all well and good, but fails when it comes to justifying male altar servers who are not also ordained to one or more of the minor orders. 
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« Reply #364 on: September 21, 2013, 02:16:38 PM »

This thread has gotten WAAAY off topic. I think that female altar servers are not acceptable, because the only men who were allowed into the altar were minor-order clerics such as taper-bearers and higher. Each man would thus be a current or potential clergyman. Because women cannot be elevated to higher orders, then they are not allowed to be ordained in the previous orders. It is like attempting to register in a higher-level physics class without having taken the prerequisites, it can't be done.

Isn't deaconate :higher order"  Roll Eyes?
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« Reply #365 on: September 21, 2013, 02:19:01 PM »

It would be impossible to take that class, because they are unsuitable to the job. It would be like saying that because women cannot be Navy SEALs they cannot participate in Navy SEAL training, to which not all soldiers are admitted. Even in Navy SEAL training, about 95% of those training drop out, and they are the best 5% of the army. The priesthood is similar to the army in that sacrifices have to be made and that the service is difficult. Why would someone train for a job that they are forbidden from attaining. I might want to play hockey or take nuclear physics, and no one can forbid me, but with the priesthood, the nature of the job is such that women cannot perform it effectively. Priests would kill animals in sacrifices, at least in the past. Since a woman gives life, it would be inappropriate and an aberration of her role to take life away, even if the taking away of life is only symbolical. Now, Christ Himself is the one being slain and rising from the dead. If women cannot be admitted to the priesthood, why admit them to a stage that is a stepping stone to the priesthood. Even though not all men who become acolytes will advance further, acolytes are the pool of selection for future minor and major order clerics. The rector will usually write recommendation letters to seminaries for acolytes who could be ordained. Why then admit women as acolytes if they can never be ordained. Even the deaconess was not a liturgical role in the way that the male deacon was and is; there were no liturgical actions specifically within the purview of the deaconess.
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« Reply #366 on: September 21, 2013, 02:21:15 PM »

Except the stuff they did when they were part of the Church.   Roll Eyes

They did exist, and for a reason. No matter how much you may not have liked it.
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« Reply #367 on: September 21, 2013, 02:25:34 PM »

Women attended universities for decades without being awarded degrees. I wouldn't say the experience was wasted.
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« Reply #368 on: September 21, 2013, 02:33:19 PM »

Why then admit women as acolytes if they can never be ordained. Even the deaconess was not a liturgical role in the way that the male deacon was and is; there were no liturgical actions specifically within the purview of the deaconess.

Proof?
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« Reply #369 on: September 21, 2013, 02:45:15 PM »

Proof?

Documents like the Didascalia Apostolorum make quite a clear distinction between the role of deacons vs. that of deaconesses.

The view that a deaconess was a female deacon is what needs proof. Deaconesses were a unique ministry in the Church, which catered for the needs of women in a heavily segregated society. If you brought them back today, they'd largely be out of a job, unless the Church got a foothold in Saudi Arabia.
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« Reply #370 on: September 21, 2013, 02:54:09 PM »

...but with the priesthood, the nature of the job is such that women cannot perform it effectively. Priests would kill animals in sacrifices, at least in the past. Since a woman gives life, it would be inappropriate and an aberration of her role to take life away, even if the taking away of life is only symbolical.

Actually, I think this is worth discussing. 

Quote
If women cannot be admitted to the priesthood, why admit them to a stage that is a stepping stone to the priesthood.

Orders are not stepping stones to the priesthood.  This is a fundamental error. 

Quote
Even though not all men who become acolytes will advance further, acolytes are the pool of selection for future minor and major order clerics. The rector will usually write recommendation letters to seminaries for acolytes who could be ordained.

Maybe this is ROCOR's practice, but it's certainly not a contemporary universal Orthodox practice, even if it is a good one.  Of course, you have to define what you mean by "acolyte".  If it is a taper-bearer, then it is a clerical order.  If it's a layman wearing a robe and pretending to be a cleric to fulfill a clerical role, that's another matter entirely.  In fact, that's an important distinction IMO.   

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Even the deaconess was not a liturgical role in the way that the male deacon was and is; there were no liturgical actions specifically within the purview of the deaconess.

Define "liturgical role" or "liturgical action". 
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« Reply #371 on: September 21, 2013, 02:57:37 PM »

Proof?

Documents like the Didascalia Apostolorum make quite a clear distinction between the role of deacons vs. that of deaconesses.

The view that a deaconess was a female deacon is what needs proof. Deaconesses were a unique ministry in the Church, which catered for the needs of women in a heavily segregated society. If you brought them back today, they'd largely be out of a job, unless the Church got a foothold in Saudi Arabia.

The similarities between ordination rites imply roles were not very distinct.

And, AFAIK Didascalia do not mention liturgical roles of the female deaconate and not say there weren't any.

And there are other clues:

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

http://www.angelfire.com/pa/deaconess/olympa.jpg
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« Reply #372 on: September 21, 2013, 03:03:24 PM »



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« Reply #373 on: September 22, 2013, 10:47:16 AM »

It would be impossible to take that class, because they are unsuitable to the job. It would be like saying that because women cannot be Navy SEALs they cannot participate in Navy SEAL training, to which not all soldiers are admitted. Even in Navy SEAL training, about 95% of those training drop out, and they are the best 5% of the army. The priesthood is similar to the army in that sacrifices have to be made and that the service is difficult. Why would someone train for a job that they are forbidden from attaining. I might want to play hockey or take nuclear physics, and no one can forbid me, but with the priesthood, the nature of the job is such that women cannot perform it effectively. Priests would kill animals in sacrifices, at least in the past. Since a woman gives life, it would be inappropriate and an aberration of her role to take life away, even if the taking away of life is only symbolical. Now, Christ Himself is the one being slain and rising from the dead. If women cannot be admitted to the priesthood, why admit them to a stage that is a stepping stone to the priesthood. Even though not all men who become acolytes will advance further, acolytes are the pool of selection for future minor and major order clerics. The rector will usually write recommendation letters to seminaries for acolytes who could be ordained. Why then admit women as acolytes if they can never be ordained. Even the deaconess was not a liturgical role in the way that the male deacon was and is; there were no liturgical actions specifically within the purview of the deaconess.
But why look at the lower orders as necessarily a pool of candidates for ordination to the higher orders? Why not look at the lower orders as ministries in and of themselves, even if a person in one of those orders has no plans whatsoever for moving upward?
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« Reply #374 on: September 22, 2013, 01:28:56 PM »

And, AFAIK Didascalia do not mention liturgical roles of the female deaconate and not say there weren't any.

Not liturgical as such, but it does describe certain roles of the deacon, e.g. performing baptisms, which it explicitly prohibits for deaconesses, which indicates that the latter was not simply a female counterpart of the former.
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« Reply #375 on: September 22, 2013, 01:31:19 PM »

But why look at the lower orders as necessarily a pool of candidates for ordination to the higher orders? Why not look at the lower orders as ministries in and of themselves, even if a person in one of those orders has no plans whatsoever for moving upward?

I agree, although this might have something to do with it:

"Bishop: My son (NAME), the first degree of the Priesthood is that of Reader. It behooveth thee, therefore, to peruse the divine Scriptures daily, to the end that the hearers, regarding thee, may receive edification, that thou, in nowise shaming Thine election, mayest prepare thyself for a higher degree."

From the order of tonsuring a reader.

I'd be interested if anyone has any info as to when that particular line made it into the Euchologion.
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« Reply #376 on: September 22, 2013, 03:40:53 PM »

It would be impossible to take that class, because they are unsuitable to the job. It would be like saying that because women cannot be Navy SEALs they cannot participate in Navy SEAL training, to which not all soldiers are admitted. Even in Navy SEAL training, about 95% of those training drop out, and they are the best 5% of the army. The priesthood is similar to the army in that sacrifices have to be made and that the service is difficult. Why would someone train for a job that they are forbidden from attaining. I might want to play hockey or take nuclear physics, and no one can forbid me, but with the priesthood, the nature of the job is such that women cannot perform it effectively. Priests would kill animals in sacrifices, at least in the past. Since a woman gives life, it would be inappropriate and an aberration of her role to take life away, even if the taking away of life is only symbolical. Now, Christ Himself is the one being slain and rising from the dead. If women cannot be admitted to the priesthood, why admit them to a stage that is a stepping stone to the priesthood. Even though not all men who become acolytes will advance further, acolytes are the pool of selection for future minor and major order clerics. The rector will usually write recommendation letters to seminaries for acolytes who could be ordained. Why then admit women as acolytes if they can never be ordained. Even the deaconess was not a liturgical role in the way that the male deacon was and is; there were no liturgical actions specifically within the purview of the deaconess.
But why look at the lower orders as necessarily a pool of candidates for ordination to the higher orders? Why not look at the lower orders as ministries in and of themselves, even if a person in one of those orders has no plans whatsoever for moving upward?
The lower orders are valuable in and of themselves, but bishops will select candidates for higher orders from the lower orders, because they might not know other people who may be suited to the job. I was not saying that the lower orders do not exist for their own sake. 
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« Reply #377 on: September 22, 2013, 04:37:25 PM »

It would be impossible to take that class, because they are unsuitable to the job. It would be like saying that because women cannot be Navy SEALs they cannot participate in Navy SEAL training, to which not all soldiers are admitted. Even in Navy SEAL training, about 95% of those training drop out, and they are the best 5% of the army. The priesthood is similar to the army in that sacrifices have to be made and that the service is difficult. Why would someone train for a job that they are forbidden from attaining. I might want to play hockey or take nuclear physics, and no one can forbid me, but with the priesthood, the nature of the job is such that women cannot perform it effectively. Priests would kill animals in sacrifices, at least in the past. Since a woman gives life, it would be inappropriate and an aberration of her role to take life away, even if the taking away of life is only symbolical. Now, Christ Himself is the one being slain and rising from the dead. If women cannot be admitted to the priesthood, why admit them to a stage that is a stepping stone to the priesthood. Even though not all men who become acolytes will advance further, acolytes are the pool of selection for future minor and major order clerics. The rector will usually write recommendation letters to seminaries for acolytes who could be ordained. Why then admit women as acolytes if they can never be ordained. Even the deaconess was not a liturgical role in the way that the male deacon was and is; there were no liturgical actions specifically within the purview of the deaconess.
But why look at the lower orders as necessarily a pool of candidates for ordination to the higher orders? Why not look at the lower orders as ministries in and of themselves, even if a person in one of those orders has no plans whatsoever for moving upward?
The lower orders are valuable in and of themselves, but bishops will select candidates for higher orders from the lower orders, because they might not know other people who may be suited to the job. I was not saying that the lower orders do not exist for their own sake. 
May have been true for most of Church history, but what of the many convert priests that were never readers a day of their lives?
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« Reply #378 on: September 22, 2013, 05:31:58 PM »

May have been true for most of Church history, but what of the many convert priests that were never readers a day of their lives?

In a very technical sense, Ilya is right: anyone ordained to major orders is always selected from among those in minor orders, even your hypothetical convert priests: I've seen many people go from layman --> reader --> subdeacon in ten minutes, and then deacon an hour or so later. 

But if I'm understanding his idea as he intends it, I'd say that it's not a hard and fast rule.  Perhaps some local Churches or jurisdictions seek out potential priests and deacons from among those already in minor orders, but it has happened differently throughout history and even now.   
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« Reply #379 on: September 22, 2013, 08:40:35 PM »

It would be impossible to take that class, because they are unsuitable to the job. It would be like saying that because women cannot be Navy SEALs they cannot participate in Navy SEAL training, to which not all soldiers are admitted. Even in Navy SEAL training, about 95% of those training drop out, and they are the best 5% of the army. The priesthood is similar to the army in that sacrifices have to be made and that the service is difficult. Why would someone train for a job that they are forbidden from attaining. I might want to play hockey or take nuclear physics, and no one can forbid me, but with the priesthood, the nature of the job is such that women cannot perform it effectively. Priests would kill animals in sacrifices, at least in the past. Since a woman gives life, it would be inappropriate and an aberration of her role to take life away, even if the taking away of life is only symbolical. Now, Christ Himself is the one being slain and rising from the dead. If women cannot be admitted to the priesthood, why admit them to a stage that is a stepping stone to the priesthood. Even though not all men who become acolytes will advance further, acolytes are the pool of selection for future minor and major order clerics. The rector will usually write recommendation letters to seminaries for acolytes who could be ordained. Why then admit women as acolytes if they can never be ordained. Even the deaconess was not a liturgical role in the way that the male deacon was and is; there were no liturgical actions specifically within the purview of the deaconess.
But why look at the lower orders as necessarily a pool of candidates for ordination to the higher orders? Why not look at the lower orders as ministries in and of themselves, even if a person in one of those orders has no plans whatsoever for moving upward?
The lower orders are valuable in and of themselves, but bishops will select candidates for higher orders from the lower orders, because they might not know other people who may be suited to the job. I was not saying that the lower orders do not exist for their own sake. 
May have been true for most of Church history, but what of the many convert priests that were never readers a day of their lives?
Per saltum ordination does not exist in the Orthodox Church. You have to be ordained to all ranks preceding and including your own in order. People may be blessed to act as sub-deacons, but even in the case of those who were ordained as deacons from the laity, they still had to be ordained reader and sub-deacon. In addition, laity who are ordained usually had other functions within the community that were not necessarily clerical roles, such as warden. For example, Deacon George Temidis in Mahopac was the Starosta before he was ordained reader, sub-deacon, and deacon in one day. The Bishops tend to choose people already placed in the minor orders or seminarians because those people are better known. Even though a man can be ordained a bishop in three days, this does not happen because the Bishops want a candidate for ordination to grow into and be familiar with the jobs and natures of each of the ranks that Postulant Peter is being installed into.
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« Reply #380 on: September 23, 2013, 04:17:20 AM »

Even though a man can be ordained a bishop in three days, this does not happen because the Bishops want a candidate for ordination to grow into and be familiar with the jobs and natures of each of the ranks that Postulant Peter is being installed into.

I know about a 40 days case from 0 to bishopric.
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« Reply #381 on: September 23, 2013, 04:27:12 AM »

Even though a man can be ordained a bishop in three days, this does not happen because the Bishops want a candidate for ordination to grow into and be familiar with the jobs and natures of each of the ranks that Postulant Peter is being installed into.

I know about a 40 days case from 0 to bishopric.

St. Photius did it even faster. Six days.
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« Reply #382 on: September 23, 2013, 05:02:35 AM »

Even though a man can be ordained a bishop in three days, this does not happen because the Bishops want a candidate for ordination to grow into and be familiar with the jobs and natures of each of the ranks that Postulant Peter is being installed into.

I know about a 40 days case from 0 to bishopric.

St. Photius did it even faster. Six days.

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« Reply #383 on: September 23, 2013, 05:10:37 AM »

Don't recall how fast it happened, but St. Nektarios of Constantinople also went from catechumen to archbishop in less than a week. I remember reading that his predecessor, St. Gregory, had quite a few problems with him, but the speed of his rise wasn't one from what I recall (though I could be forgetfully remembering).
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« Reply #384 on: September 24, 2013, 04:13:57 PM »

I think we got off topic again, but the minor orders were not intended to be short-term stepping-stone roles, regardless of the historical counterexamples. My point was that since women cannot be ordained to the priesthood, why should they be allowed to pursue roles that are regarded as preparatory to the priesthood, even though not all minor order clerics have an intention of advancing?
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« Reply #385 on: September 24, 2013, 04:19:08 PM »

Is (female) deaconhood priesthood or not?
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« Reply #386 on: September 24, 2013, 04:21:46 PM »

I think we got off topic again, but the minor orders were not intended to be short-term stepping-stone roles, regardless of the historical counterexamples. My point was that since women cannot be ordained to the priesthood, why should they be allowed to pursue roles that are regarded as preparatory to the priesthood, even though not all minor order clerics have an intention of advancing?

 Huh I don't think a single person in this thread has advocated the position you're arguing against.

Edit: Also, minor orders are not just preparatory steps to priesthood. IMO your argument suffers when you keep going back to this point. It's like saying: "Since a Bachelor's is regarded as preparatory for a Master's Degree, why should people who are not going pursue post-graduate education go for a Bachelor's degree?"
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« Reply #387 on: September 24, 2013, 05:16:22 PM »


I know many deacons that have no intention of moving on to become priests.
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« Reply #388 on: October 05, 2013, 08:11:37 PM »

I think we got off topic again, but the minor orders were not intended to be short-term stepping-stone roles, regardless of the historical counterexamples. My point was that since women cannot be ordained to the priesthood, why should they be allowed to pursue roles that are regarded as preparatory to the priesthood, even though not all minor order clerics have an intention of advancing?

I would agree with this, and to be completely honest, if I start to see this in an Orthodox church, I would consider that parish to be infected.  Sorry if that sounds harsh, but if I look up and see anyone at all in, on, around, by, near, in front of, or behind the altar, I want that to be a male person.  When you want something like this to go through--female clergy--you necessarily don't crash the front gate...you try to walk it in quietly through the back door.  And if anyone's asking, I'm female.  I don't see this as sexist at all, and I definitely do not see it as being non-scripturally based.  Women have the most important function in the entire human race, and in my opinion, God knows that and wants us occupied with other things.  Having females anywhere in the altar area would just be yet another thing we do to blur the lines between the genders.  This entire society has GID.  That's the consequence of stuff like this.  

God expressed his first and most basic will for me and my life when he made me female.  Who am I to tell him what he wants for me isn't good enough for me?  Love ya, God, but I want more?  Yes, they're only altar servers, but yes, I'd also call it a stepping-stone kind of a thing, and it doesn't matter that every altar boy didn't/doesn't ultimately go into the priesthood.  When we emasculate men, we weaken the whole society and our whole race as human beings.  I'm sure I'll take lawn darts to the forehead for that, but there ya go.  The Orthodox Church is supposed to be the UNchanging church, just as God is unchanging, and we aren't supposed to be changing church to what we want or need it to be.  Church is supposed to change us.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 08:13:26 PM by newtoorthodoxy » Logged

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« Reply #389 on: October 16, 2013, 10:22:59 AM »


I know many deacons that have no intention of moving on to become priests.
Is this a North American thing?
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« Reply #390 on: October 16, 2013, 10:27:14 AM »


I know many deacons that have no intention of moving on to become priests.
Is this a North American thing?

Maybe.  In the OCA, we have permanent deacons;  usually men who are not planning on going to seminary or are older men that serve.  The deacon at my church is an older man, a retired schoolteacher, but he's been a deacon for, oh, maybe 15-20 years.
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« Reply #391 on: October 16, 2013, 11:31:43 AM »


I know many deacons that have no intention of moving on to become priests.
Is this a North American thing?

Not really.
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« Reply #392 on: October 16, 2013, 11:49:05 AM »


I know many deacons that have no intention of moving on to become priests.
Is this a North American thing?

Not really.

Ditto. We have those too.
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« Reply #393 on: October 16, 2013, 12:58:56 PM »

The practice of allowing women to serve in women's monasteries is an exception. The female altar servers in monasteries have a more limited role relative to male altar servers (they bring out a candle for the little and great entrances and prepare the censer but no other functions). In male monasteries, the brotherhood provides their own servers and clergy, so no problem on that front. However, we should not generalize a practice that exists in female monasteries out of necessity to a place where it is not needed, where male servers are available.
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« Reply #394 on: October 16, 2013, 01:03:56 PM »

The practice of allowing women to serve in women's monasteries is an exception. The female altar servers in monasteries have a more limited role relative to male altar servers (they bring out a candle for the little and great entrances and prepare the censer but no other functions).

Other functions like?
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« Reply #395 on: November 01, 2013, 07:20:00 PM »

The practice of Priests going to a seminary may be the American thing.
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« Reply #396 on: November 01, 2013, 08:52:33 PM »

What about in traditional Orthodox countries? Do some priests do apprenticeships and others go to seminaries? Anyhow, female servers do not use the ripidi (Male servers use the ripidi if there is an even number available for that). I don't remember what other functions male servers do that female servers do not.
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« Reply #397 on: November 01, 2013, 09:16:57 PM »

What about in traditional Orthodox countries? Do some priests do apprenticeships and others go to seminaries? Anyhow, female servers do not use the ripidi (Male servers use the ripidi if there is an even number available for that). I don't remember what other functions male servers do that female servers do not.

No one here uses fans almost.
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« Reply #398 on: November 01, 2013, 09:19:11 PM »

What about in traditional Orthodox countries? Do some priests do apprenticeships and others go to seminaries? Anyhow, female servers do not use the ripidi (Male servers use the ripidi if there is an even number available for that). I don't remember what other functions male servers do that female servers do not.

No one here uses fans almost.

Russians and most other Slavs only use them when a bishop is serving. Greeks, and those whose tradition mainly follows the Greek, use them at every liturgy.
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« Reply #399 on: November 01, 2013, 09:44:16 PM »

I would say that women do not have any less of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit than men, so why would there be a restriction at the altar? Is it Orthodox Church thing or is there dogma about it?
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« Reply #400 on: November 02, 2013, 01:18:52 AM »

I would say that women do not have any less of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit than men, so why would there be a restriction at the altar?
The level to which one is indwelt with the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with our restrictions at the altar. Everyone may be indwelt with the Holy Spirit to the same level, but that does not diminish the fact that some are gifted differently from others by the same Holy Spirit.

Is it Orthodox Church thing or is there dogma about it?
Why set the two in opposition to each other as if what the Orthodox Church proclaims isn't dogma?
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« Reply #401 on: November 02, 2013, 05:50:18 AM »

What about in traditional Orthodox countries? Do some priests do apprenticeships and others go to seminaries? Anyhow, female servers do not use the ripidi (Male servers use the ripidi if there is an even number available for that). I don't remember what other functions male servers do that female servers do not.

No one here uses fans almost.

Russians and most other Slavs only use them when a bishop is serving.

Not used them with a bishop present either.
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« Reply #402 on: November 02, 2013, 07:59:42 AM »

What about in traditional Orthodox countries? Do some priests do apprenticeships and others go to seminaries? Anyhow, female servers do not use the ripidi (Male servers use the ripidi if there is an even number available for that). I don't remember what other functions male servers do that female servers do not.

No one here uses fans almost.

Russians and most other Slavs only use them when a bishop is serving.

Not used them with a bishop present either.

Same with us.
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« Reply #403 on: November 03, 2013, 05:43:20 PM »

What about in traditional Orthodox countries? Do some priests do apprenticeships and others go to seminaries? Anyhow, female servers do not use the ripidi (Male servers use the ripidi if there is an even number available for that). I don't remember what other functions male servers do that female servers do not.

No one here uses fans almost.

Russians and most other Slavs only use them when a bishop is serving. Greeks, and those whose tradition mainly follows the Greek, use them at every liturgy.
In ROCOR, ripidi are used at the entrances and at the gospel, if the parish has them. It depends on the parish, but from what I have seen, ROCOR uses ripidi.
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