Also, why do Greek Orthodox oppose women in these positions while the rest of world Orthodoxy has no problem with them?
Simply because the Greek Orthodox are far more conservative in this respect.
This is simply not true. I have been in several Greek Orthodox parishes that have female chanters and allow women to read the Epistle. These were all GOAA parishes; so whether you are referring to Old Calendar GOC parishes, I am not sure, but women are allowed to chant and read in GOAA parishes. (The GOAA parishes I visited were also in different parts of the country so I can't say "Well, Bishop X in Y city allows it, but Bishop A in B city doesn't.") Furthermore, as GreekChef
will be happy to tell you, there are no canons forbidding this.
In the UOC-USA (EP) parish I grew up in and currently attend, women are allowed (and encouraged!) to sing in the choir. Although we currently have several ordained readers who take turns reading the Epistle, when I was in High School, the girls of HS age were encouraged to volunteer to read the Epistle on Sundays in rotation with the boys. It was the parish's attempt to involve the kids during the Liturgy, and to help them feel more engaged.
So as another poster said, what may seem nontraditional, seems to be "the norm" in most parishes throughout the US.
I will, indeed, be more than happy to tell you this.
Even though I'm pretty sure we've had this conversation several times on this forum...
We need to be clear about several things, because operating under misassumptions, generalizations, misinformation, and mere fantasy and opinion does nobody any good.
Starting at the beginning (with Scripture)... Christ revealed Himself first to the Samaritan woman (ironic that we're having this discussion two days after reading that Gospel!), showing the importance of women in the Church (which I don't think anyone here is denying). Then when He resurrected, the first person to find out was Mary Magdalene, whom He specifically instructed to spread the good news to the Apostles. This begs the question, if He didn't want women spreading His good news in Church, why would He have set this precedent?
Secondly, looking at the deaconess, whose presence in the early church was both commonplace and important... Someone mentioned earlier that sources are unclear on her liturgical function. This is true. However, they are VERY clear (the Barberini Codex, the earliest known source) that she was ordained in the altar.
Ordination in the altar is indeed that-an ordination. It signifies the higher ranks of the priesthood- deaconess, deacon, priest, bishop. The bestowing of a rank at the throne is a tonsuring, not an ordination, and the highest tonsure was/is that of the sub-deacon. So we know she was ordained, not tonsured. And reading the prayers contained in the Barberini, it is clear that the SAME prayer of ordination was read for her as was read for the deacon.
Now, that being said, as I mentioned before, her liturgical function is unclear. We know she did not go out and read petitions on the solea like the deacon does. And I am personally very uncomfortable with any assumptions that she DID serve a liturgical function, as it just cannot be proven. BUT, we do know that she served during the sacrament of baptism for women, and that she distributed the Holy Gifts outside of the Church (like in hospitals and people's homes).
So in my mind, this begs a few questions... We know that she was given a higher rank of ordination, so we therefore can conclude that it was acceptable for her to receive a tonsuring as well (since we don't skip ranks in the Church). So why the objection to women being tonsured as chanters, readers, or acolytes? Speaking of being tonsured an acolyte... we know that she was in the altar in some capacity, so why the objection to women in the altar? We also know that she was given the grace of the Holy Spirit at ordination and was entrusted with the Holy Gifts, so why the freaking out about women serving in lower, less important capacities, like chanting or reading?
Before anyone freaks out (I always have to issue this disclaimer), I am NOT in favor of women being ordained to the priesthood. I think that is a role that the Church has indeed historically set out for men. But as there were women deaconesses, I am in favor of the restoration of that office (though I myself am a chanter and would not feel called to serve as a deaconess) as well as the acceptance of women readers, chanters, and acolytes. The reason for this is that I think it can be quite damaging to a girl's image of God, her relationship with God and the Church, to be told that she cannot serve in the capacities that the Church has already said
she could serve in simply because it makes some men uncomfortable. This is why I draw the line at the priesthood. The Church has historically said
a woman can serve in the tonsured positions and in the position of deaconess. Therefore what right do we have to deny that calling to a person properly suited? The Church HAS NOT said a woman can or should serve as a priest, and it would be only for the artificial purposes of pride that we would allow a woman to be ordained to the priesthood, obviously not the right reason.
And before anyone says "the office of deaconess is no longer needed," I am the wife of a priest who serves in a parish with over 800 families. I can tell you it is DEFINITELY needed. Hospital calls are nearly impossible where we live. It often takes him five hours to do three 15-minute hospital visits because the city is so large and people are so spread out. He can only go once per week at the most. And we have no deacon here, and no men willing to be ordained to the deaconate. But I can name several pious women who I know would serve. And that is just the "hospital visit" part of the deaconess position. Maybe sometime I'll give my opinion about the akwardness inherent in a male priest baptising a grown woman. A deaconess would be a HUGE help.
Just my $.02.