Married bishops and deaconesses: They belong in the past and not in our future? You stated this so categorically, I was for one nano-second tempted to accept it as definitive. Well, it is your turn to explain to me why it is not to be.That they are in the past of the Church is easily verified.
That the Church stopped both practices long ago (since before the Seventh Council, perhaps?) is quite apparent (although I'm not about to go looking to determine exactly when this occurred).
Do you believe that the Church is being guided by the Holy Spirit?
If so, then the Church reached a point where these offices were not needed. That point is now in our past and we are moving further away from it.
If we will need them in the future, than the Church made a mistake by eliminating both practices. In which case either the Church isn't lead by the Holy Spirit and committed an error, or the Holy Spirit lead us astray (I don't think so!). If you believe that either of those options are viable, well then, I don't really know what to tell you.
I grant you that this is a very difficult problem for us. I do think, however, that the choices are not restricted to the two that you cited. I believe that the choices include the possibilities that the Holy Spirit blessed the choices made in changing the Church's practice because a particular change may have been beneficial at that time. Let's take the issue of married bishops chronologically:
1. At first, the Apostolic Church was vehemently opposed to separating a husband from his wife in accordance with the Lord's commandment (see my response to Father George above).
2. At the same time, bishops (like priests and deacons) were single or married men, who maintained their status upon ordination. This was based on 1 Timothy 3 ( 1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil) and the Apostolic Canon 6 (Let not a bishop, a priest, or a deacon cast off his own wife under pretence of piety; but if he does cast her off, let him be suspended. If he go on in it, let him be deprived."
3. At the Trullan Council (692 AD) that was called by Emperor Justinian II to put his religious policies into effect, the Fathers enacted Canon 12, which I am quoting in full:
"Moreover this also has come to our knowledge, that in Africa and Libya and in other places the most God-beloved bishops in those parts do not refuse to live with their wives, even after consecration, thereby giving scandal and offence to the people. Since, therefore, it is our particular care that all things tend to the good of the flock placed in our hands and committed to us,—it has seemed good that henceforth nothing of the kind shall in any way occur. And we say this, not to abolish and overthrow what things were established of old by Apostolic authority, but as caring for the health of the people and their advance to better things, and lest the ecclesiastical state should suffer any reproach. For the divine Apostle says: “Do all to the glory of God, give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, nor to the Church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye imitators of me even as I also am of Christ.” But if any shall have been observed to do such a thing, let him be deposed."
So, somewhere between the 3rd and 7th centuries, the Holy Spirit guided the Church, through the person of a layman (Emperor Justinian II) and the Fathers assembled at Trullo, to change long-standing policy and practice, even though it was explicitly against the commandments and prescriptions of the Lord, His Holy Apostle Paul and the Apostolic Era Fathers who composed the Apostolic canons. And yet, we do not have an outright ban of married bishops, just the forceful separation of the married bishop from his wife.
4. Between 692 AD and now, there are no ecumenical canons (actually no canon that I am aware of) that has updated Trullan Canon 12. Yet, this canon was further changed by practice so that we now have no married bishops period (we do have widowers). I happen to think that this is a more humane way and this way also does not cause a violation of the Lord's commandment or of Apostolic Canon 6.
So, if we are to accept your argument that the Holy Spirit guided us to where we are today, you must be open to the idea that the holy Spirit may guide us in a different direction tomorrow. This is not a matter of the Church being in error. Let me put it this way:
If continuing revelation (guidance by the Holy Spirit) is reality, changes are a possibility.
If not, we must stick with the primary sources. Period. (This is the Protestant approach by the Way--sola scriptura).
One cannot say that the Holy Spirit guided us through serious changes and yet assert that changes are a thing of the past. So, you are correct: your two options are viable but the third option that I presented is more in line with Orthodox theology.