According to the folklore of Podlachian Belarusians St. Anne day (Old Style) marks the beginning of autumn. There is great wisdom in our ancestors' sayings because September 7 there was a huge thunderstorm and since then it's raining all the time and the temperature does not break 20o
C. What is more, Patriarch Cyrill has come to Poland and the situation is similar to the one featured in one Soviet (nomen omen) joke:- I'm taking the newspaper - Stalin on the first page. I'm turning on the radio - Stalin is speaking. I'm switching on the TV - Stalin is the one I see. I'm afraid to open the fridge.
If you replace Stalin with Patriarch Cyrill you'll get some picture of the situation going here. I can not wait, when he goes. Finally, I'm doing my student placement and I have to wake up 4:50 every morning for a month.
Thanks God I can improve my mood with reading July 2012 Posts of the Month. There are 3 of them because the mods team couldn't decide which one of them is the best one (again). If you also have bad humour, you can make use of them too.
The first one (in alphabetical order) post is the one by HabteSelassie
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
It is no surprise that you are coming to a Latin conclusion because like the Latins, you are thinking way to scholastically, not spiritually enough. The Church is filled with Mysteries, which only God can explain. The concept of Infallibility is a bit comical if you ask me, it tries to make the Holy Spirit a matter of reason, logic, mathematical precision. That is silly and borderline anthropomorphic..
The Bible is not infallible neither are the priests nor the Councils in the legalistic or scholastic sense, which is to say, that word for word, letter for letter, punctuation mark for punctuation mark the perfection of God. The economy of the Holy Spirit is not so simple, it is a process, an event, a becoming, a verb. That means that the Bible or the Councils become infallible in prayer, through a direct communion of the Holy Spirit. The words, letters, and pages themselves are realistically no different than any other book, which is why they can be damaged, burned, scoffed, or disregarded. If the words and writings themselves were infallible, they would also be indestructible. They are paper, like we are flesh and blood. It is the Holy Spirit behind and underlying the words which is infallible. We connect with the Holy Spirit when we read and meditate and pray on the words, but it is the Holy Spirit that speaks to us, not necessarily the words themselves. The doctrine of Scriptural Infallibility when taken in a fundamentalist perspective, assumes that the words are perfect, and we are not, so we readjust our lives to the perfect words. The reality is the words were written, recorded, and transmitted by imperfect human hands, and so they rightfully and naturally reflect this same human imperfection. The Economy of God is to act in synergy with our imperfections through His own inherent perfection. So, again, God is perfect (infallible) and everything else is in a process of becoming infallible by Grace (i.e. synergy). We get closer to God when we read and pray on the Bible, but the Bible is not perfect aside from God. We connect to the perfect God when we pray and meditate on the Scriptures.
Second one is a short but insightful masterpiece by JamesRottnek
I'm so glad we have posters on OC.net who are willing to correct the errors of bishops who do things like permit altar girls, most likely with the knowledge of other bishops in their synods, when the synod is too stupid or heretical to be bothered with the correction.
Praise God from the heavens, praise him for OC.net where we are all able to be properly taught the truth, where our bishops have failed.
And finally, LizaSymonenko
Okay, so here's how I see it.
Women, including young girls, have no place in the Altar. From old this was the case, and this is why it was so extraordinary that the Theotokos was allowed in to the Holy of Holies (a place where the priest (always a male) only entered but once a year).
Why? Well, there are many reasons mentioned in the OT and the NT. To me personally, the most poignant lesson that women are not to enter the Altar, which is reserved for the clergy, is Christ choosing men to be His disciples, and therefore bishops, priest, etc. He picked 12 men, and not a single woman. Why did He do that? Who knows? I also don't know why God created mosquitoes, but He did. I'm sure He knows best and has a reason for all He has done.
That's one reason. Another might be that women have their monthly cycles, but, we won't go there because that has been covered ad nauseam.
What about when she's a mother....who will watch her children when she's busy in the altar? I can't picture daycare behind the iconostasis.
Finally, on a completely non-theological note....I don't care what you say, girls love to flirt. With the odd exception, they will fluff their hair, redden their cheeks, elongate their lashes and giggle when a boy comes within sight. Boys love to flirt with girls, as well. Isn't it bad enough that the boys spill the wine, almost set the church on fire when lighting the censor, etc.....without the added burden of having to smile and impress girls at the same time.
Mt. Athos is forbidden to women, and we should respect that. Granted in emergencies women have been permitted on the island, and in emergencies with permission, women have been allowed in the altar. Women have a million places they "can" be and a million things they "can" be doing....we don't "need" to do everything and go everywhere. ....and yet we have those who complain about this restriction...that the monks need to be strong enough to handle seeing a woman, etc. Who says they aren't....but, it's an unnecessary distraction. Why make them feel uncomfortable? Isn't that why women often go to female exclusive gyms? So that they don't worry about what is showing or bouncing, and that some guy is eyeing them? What's wrong with the sexes being segregated if they wish to be? Not everything needs to be equalized.
As for the women keeping quiet, not teaching and not reading in church, etc....which is mentioned in the Scriptures....these things have changed with the times. Women were forbidden to speak, but, women also didn't work, nor vote. Now we do, and our roles and responsibilities have changed in the life of the Church.
The "silence" portion wasn't even completely true in the time of the Apostles, as many women went out and preached from the get go....and many found favor in the eyes of God for their preaching.
Therefore, having women read the Epistle, serve on the church council and act as Sunday School teachers is the norm. It's rare to find a man who is even interested in filling the role of Sunday School teacher, and therefore, the women have taken it on, as it's better to have a woman teach your children, then let them out in the world with no knowledge of their Faith.
As for the reading of the Epistle, I have seen both women and children read it...and it didn't upset me. As the norm, it's the reader, or another man. However, I don't honestly see anything wrong with women or teens reading. They are not entering the Altar, they are simply reading within the Nave. I've seen one teenage boy read the Epistle in Ukrainian, and a teenage girl read the same one in English after he had finished. They read beautifully....even better than the man who usually reads...who yells so loud, one can't even understand what is being said.
As long as they are not being disrespectful, and are not in the Altar, I don't see the harm with older children taking an active role in the services.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mark 10:14
In my parish, men have ruled for 65 years! Women played no role whatsoever. How disheartening to be a woman in such a situation. The men held the candles, the men got to carry the banners, the icons, the......you name it. Why? You know there are women in the parish who are by far more faithful and yet they can't even carry an icon. Why?
A few years back I saw other churches where women got to carry the banners out of the church when greeting a bishop. Wow, I thought. Really? So, at Pascha I asked my priest if he would mind...and he said he saw no issues with women carrying things outside the Altar. So there I was....the first woman in the history of my parish to carry the banner of the Theotokos around the church on Pascha! When I gathered in the center of the nave with the men, you could hear the whispers....and then I glanced at the choir which had gathered near the door, waiting to exit and sing....and the women were all giving me a thumbs up.
Why shouldn't I carry the banner? I have carried ever since....and to be honest....I only carry it out of principle...because that thing is HEAVY!!!! Oh my gosh!!!! I can't wait for the end of the third time around....and then climb the steps....man! I don't know how the guys do it....I can hardly keep it balanced!
Let's not forget the Incarnation only occurred due to a woman. Women are not disliked or discarded in the Church. We simply have different roles from men. Jobs need to be delegated to different individuals, otherwise, everyone would squabble over one duty, while completely neglecting another.
There are plenty of things for women to do in the Church. Even kitchen duty is an honor. We get to feed our people. We get to teach the kids. We get to keep peace in our families. We nurture, we love, we clean, we make this world a better place.
Leave the altar to the men. They have little enough to do otherwise.