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Author Topic: History of the Ordination of Women  (Read 2145 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 17, 2013, 01:24:55 AM »

Disclaimer: This is not to start a debate. I've been trying to research this issue on HISTORICAL grounds and many sources online are clearly biased or just not very useful. In short, I'm looking for sources...not arguments. Now, on to the meat of my OP...

I have a friend who's Episcopalian. She's cradle Anglican, but is just now coming back into her church to be confirmed...she's in her mid-20s. We met recently, as she is in this process, and we've talked a lot about Episcopalianism vs. Orthodoxy, etc. She's been reading, and I've done a good deal of listening from her about her thoughts, and what the Episcopalians teach (with which I'm vaguely familiar, having considered Anglicanism briefly before learning about Orthodoxy). However, she is unfortunately rather liberal on the same issues that the Episcopalians have departed from the historic Faith, including women's ordination. I feel like this will eventually be an issue we talk about.

For me, in converting to Orthodoxy, this wasn't a big issue and I didn't research it very much. As I'm probably going to have to address this now, I'm looking more for historical information about the ordination of women in various Christian groups. I know the Orthodox Catholic Church has never ordained women to the priesthood, only the diaconate, but I'd like to know about certain sects, outside of modern Protestantism, that have ordained women. I feel like I've heard about Gnostics ordaining women, and perhaps other similar early groups. I'd like to know as much as about this, with sources, that I can. I know it's not the easiest to learn, as heretical teachings were often burned, but that's why I'm asking you knowledgeable folks for help! Let me know what you know...I look forward to seeing what awesome things you all dig up!
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 02:52:00 AM »

Some stuff to get the ball rolling...

Quote
They cite many texts pointlessly, and give thanks to Eve because she was the first to eat from the tree of wisdom. And as scriptural support for their ordination of women as clergy, they say that Moses' sister was a prophetess. What is more, they say, Philip had four daughters who prophesied. "In their church seven virgins with lamps often come in, if you please, dressed in white, to prophesy to the people. They deceive the congregation with a show of some sort of inspiration and make them all weep by shedding tears and pretending to mourn fo rhumankind, as though to encourage them to the mourning of penitence. They have woman bishops, presbyters and the rest; they say that none of this makes any difference because "In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female." This is what I have learned [about them]. However, they call them Artotyrites because they set bread and cheese on the altar in their mysteries and celebrate their mysteries with them.

But every human illusion <comes of> deserting the right faith and opting for something impossible, and for various frenzies and secret rites. For if they do not cling to the anchor of the truth but entrust themselves <to their own reason>, their minds are always maddened, and bring them [to frenzy] for any reason at all. Even though it is because of Eve that they ordain women to the episcopate and presbyterate, they should listen to the Lord when he says, "Thy resort shall be to thine husband, and he shall rule over thee." And they have overlooked the command of the apostle, "I suffer not a woman to speak, or to have authority over a man," and again, "The man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man," and "Adam was not deceived, but Eve, deceived first, fell into condemnation."

-- St. Epiphanius, Panarion, 49.2.2-3

Quote
For to begin with, to whom is it not immediately obvious, <if he will> investigate the whole scope of the past, that their teaching and behavior are devilish, and their departing a deviation? Never at any time has a woman been a priest--Eve herself, though she had fallen into transgression, still did not dare to undertake anything so impous. Not one of her daughters did...

[St. Epiphanius then goes on to give further examples from the Old and New Testaments...]

- St. Epiphanius, Panarion, 79.2-3

Female priests are apparently also mentioned in St. Ireneaus (Against Heresies, 1.13.2), but he doesn't give much of a description, or refutation.
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 09:32:20 PM »

I know it won't be in my lifetime, but here's hoping one day there'll be female priests standing "in the flame." 
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 10:07:17 PM »

I know it won't be in my lifetime, but here's hoping one day there'll be female priests standing "in the flame." 

It's hard to stand still when you're being burned alive, unless you're tied to a post.
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 10:08:28 PM »

I know it won't be in my lifetime, but here's hoping one day there'll be female priests standing "in the flame." 

It's hard to stand still when you're being burned alive, unless you're tied to a post.
come again?
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 10:23:51 PM »

I know it won't be in my lifetime, but here's hoping one day there'll be female priests standing "in the flame." 

It's hard to stand still when you're being burned alive, unless you're tied to a post.

Ouch!  Shocked laugh
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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 10:55:30 PM »

I know it won't be in my lifetime, but here's hoping one day there'll be female priests standing "in the flame." 

It's hard to stand still when you're being burned alive, unless you're tied to a post.
come again?

You said you hoped that one day female priests would be standing "in the flame." I merely extrapolated on how rare it is for people being burned alive to stand still.
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2013, 11:01:45 PM »

I know it won't be in my lifetime, but here's hoping one day there'll be female priests standing "in the flame." 

It's hard to stand still when you're being burned alive, unless you're tied to a post.
come again?
You said you hoped that one day female priests would be standing "in the flame." I merely extrapolated on how rare it is for people being burned alive to stand still.
very amusing
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2013, 08:32:15 PM »

   In the Anglican world (which Episcopalians fit into- despite all the political and praxis issues in the communion), the first female ordination was during WWII in Hong Kong and it was irregular.  It wasn't made regular until the late 70's after the fact, even though the Chinese woman had, after the war, given up her ordination as invalid.   The first Episcopal ordinations were irregular as well, in the late 70's, and were not made licit until the General Synod changed its mind (I think around 1978).

   Martin Luther, hardly a feminist himself, seems to have argued that a woman's subordinate status was due to the fall, and women had the ability to perform the sacramental functions a man could in the church.   His logic was based on anti-sacerdotalism and the priesthood of all believers; if a woman could baptize in an emergency then there wasn't any special magic in a priests hands, rather the power resided in God's promises to the Church in general through the Word.  

  It seems to me harder to argue from a Protestant, even high church Protestant, perspective for having an all-male priesthood- I've seen arguments go back and forth between Anglicans, and even Episcopalians (There are a few that aren't comfortable with female priests now days, but they aren't so uncomfortable they leave).   Continuing Anglicans left the Episcopal Church over women's ordination, rejecting it as an innovation they could not abide by, along with other changes in the Episcopal Church.   They have similar reasoning as the average Orthodox Christian traditionalist on this issue, rejecting the idea that a female priest is an issue of the dignity of women or a comment on their salvation viz. a viz Christ's assumed human nature.
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2013, 08:45:48 PM »

At least the Anglicans don't do stuff like this (WARNING: tiddays)
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2013, 09:21:21 AM »

There is a new book coming out in October by a scholar based on her doctoral thesis:



Woman, Women, and the Priesthood in the Trinitarian Theology of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

Quote
This item will be released in October. The hardback price is steep, but the good news is that there will be electronic copies of it available for around $40. It is an excellent overview of the evolution of the thought of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, an Orthodox theologian in France. Behr-Sigel starts out following Paul Evdokimov's gender essentialist views of men and women, but eventually moves to a different position that allows her to advocate for women in the priesthood.

Anyone interested in the 20th century dialogue around the role of women in Eastern Orthodoxy (with some names that remain in the conversation like Fr. Thomas Hopko and Valerie Karras, and a shout-out to Maria McDowell) should take a look. And if you've ever wondered about the so-called "Paris School" of Russian theologians, this book provides a lot of helpful background as well. I highly recommend it!

(If your library has access to ProQuest dissertations, you can also check out the original dissertation.)

  Woman, Women, and the Priesthood in the Trinitarian Theology of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel

www.amazon.com


 

 
 
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2013, 10:02:57 AM »

I feel uniquely qualified to offer my opinion on this topic (unlike other topics where I offer my opinion without any qualifications! Grin)

This was a huge obstacle for me during my conversion, since I had already been accepted into the Lutheran seminary to become an ordained pastor. So Orthodoxy totally changed my life in a very real sense. I did a lot of research (on the one hand this, on the other hand, that...) and really didn't find much evidence for the ordination of women, except for the deaconesses (and I pray that the Church in Her wisdom will see fit, if she thinks it is needed, to restore the order of deaconess.) ISTM that Fr. Schmemann's letter is a good summary http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/SchmemannOrdination.php

But ultimately, when it was time to fish or cut bait, I decided to trust the Church. The Orthodox Church has everything else right, the fullness of the faith, and I realized that this just must be something that I don't yet understand. FWIW.
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2013, 12:09:34 PM »

I feel uniquely qualified to offer my opinion on this topic (unlike other topics where I offer my opinion without any qualifications! Grin)

This was a huge obstacle for me during my conversion, since I had already been accepted into the Lutheran seminary to become an ordained pastor. So Orthodoxy totally changed my life in a very real sense. I did a lot of research (on the one hand this, on the other hand, that...) and really didn't find much evidence for the ordination of women, except for the deaconesses (and I pray that the Church in Her wisdom will see fit, if she thinks it is needed, to restore the order of deaconess.) ISTM that Fr. Schmemann's letter is a good summary http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/SchmemannOrdination.php

But ultimately, when it was time to fish or cut bait, I decided to trust the Church. The Orthodox Church has everything else right, the fullness of the faith, and I realized that this just must be something that I don't yet understand. FWIW.

Thanks for sharing that, Katherine!

Especially the bolded part I noted above. That's essentially what I ended up doing with my few remaining reservations. I wanted some scholastic, intellectual reason for everything, and Orthodoxy just refuses to do that. It's not at all a bad thing, but it takes some getting used to in order to finally accept the mystical, revealed Tradition of the Faith when you're used to an intellectual, detached answer. I think this is, ultimately, the first small steps of acquiring an Orthodox phronema.

For me, I decided, as you did, to trust the Church. In time, my doubts and questions evaporated. I just, came to understand. I wasn't even conscious of my change in mindset, until one day I realized I didn't believe like I did before. I didn't understand my faith like I did before. I had become Orthodox and, by the grace of God, I'm still becoming Orthodox.
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2013, 12:18:14 PM »

Also, in addition, I found a guest blog post on Mystagogy from a couple years ago titled, "Why Women Were Never Priests."

The author is a former Episcopalian priestess who gave up her "holy orders" and became Orthodox. She is also an anthropologist who has done a good deal of research on the Afro-Asiatic priesthood vs. shamanism vis-a-vis the Christian priesthood. Her blog is Just Genesis, where much of her original work is posted.
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 01:58:33 PM »

I feel uniquely qualified to offer my opinion on this topic (unlike other topics where I offer my opinion without any qualifications! Grin)

This was a huge obstacle for me during my conversion, since I had already been accepted into the Lutheran seminary to become an ordained pastor. So Orthodoxy totally changed my life in a very real sense. I did a lot of research (on the one hand this, on the other hand, that...) and really didn't find much evidence for the ordination of women, except for the deaconesses (and I pray that the Church in Her wisdom will see fit, if she thinks it is needed, to restore the order of deaconess.) ISTM that Fr. Schmemann's letter is a good summary http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/SchmemannOrdination.php

But ultimately, when it was time to fish or cut bait, I decided to trust the Church. The Orthodox Church has everything else right, the fullness of the faith, and I realized that this just must be something that I don't yet understand. FWIW.

Thanks for sharing that, Katherine!

Especially the bolded part I noted above. That's essentially what I ended up doing with my few remaining reservations. I wanted some scholastic, intellectual reason for everything, and Orthodoxy just refuses to do that. It's not at all a bad thing, but it takes some getting used to in order to finally accept the mystical, revealed Tradition of the Faith when you're used to an intellectual, detached answer. I think this is, ultimately, the first small steps of acquiring an Orthodox phronema.

For me, I decided, as you did, to trust the Church. In time, my doubts and questions evaporated. I just, came to understand. I wasn't even conscious of my change in mindset, until one day I realized I didn't believe like I did before. I didn't understand my faith like I did before. I had become Orthodox and, by the grace of God, I'm still becoming Orthodox.

Exactamundo, my dear Benjamin. Well said. That's exactly what happened to me. I didn't even notice when it changed. I wonder if this is not the biggest hurdle for Protestants, accepting the mystical, revealed Tradition of the Faith, and trusting the Church - no matter if the obstacle is the veneration of the Theotokos, or the ordination of women or whatever.
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2013, 02:16:08 PM »

I feel uniquely qualified to offer my opinion on this topic (unlike other topics where I offer my opinion without any qualifications! Grin)

This was a huge obstacle for me during my conversion, since I had already been accepted into the Lutheran seminary to become an ordained pastor. So Orthodoxy totally changed my life in a very real sense. I did a lot of research (on the one hand this, on the other hand, that...) and really didn't find much evidence for the ordination of women, except for the deaconesses (and I pray that the Church in Her wisdom will see fit, if she thinks it is needed, to restore the order of deaconess.) ISTM that Fr. Schmemann's letter is a good summary http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/SchmemannOrdination.php

But ultimately, when it was time to fish or cut bait, I decided to trust the Church. The Orthodox Church has everything else right, the fullness of the faith, and I realized that this just must be something that I don't yet understand. FWIW.

Thanks for sharing that, Katherine!

Especially the bolded part I noted above. That's essentially what I ended up doing with my few remaining reservations. I wanted some scholastic, intellectual reason for everything, and Orthodoxy just refuses to do that. It's not at all a bad thing, but it takes some getting used to in order to finally accept the mystical, revealed Tradition of the Faith when you're used to an intellectual, detached answer. I think this is, ultimately, the first small steps of acquiring an Orthodox phronema.

For me, I decided, as you did, to trust the Church. In time, my doubts and questions evaporated. I just, came to understand. I wasn't even conscious of my change in mindset, until one day I realized I didn't believe like I did before. I didn't understand my faith like I did before. I had become Orthodox and, by the grace of God, I'm still becoming Orthodox.

Exactamundo, my dear Benjamin. Well said. That's exactly what happened to me. I didn't even notice when it changed. I wonder if this is not the biggest hurdle for Protestants, accepting the mystical, revealed Tradition of the Faith, and trusting the Church - no matter if the obstacle is the veneration of the Theotokos, or the ordination of women or whatever.


For me, it's nice to hear that someone else, somewhere did it the same way I did. And with women's ordination! I don't know, I've always seen that particular issue as being a pernicious one for many a potential convert. I've spoken with people who sometimes have only one (what I think is a minor) hang up about the Faith, and it kept them from converting, so they ended up Anglican or Lutheran instead of Orthodox or Catholic. Women's ordination seems to be one of those concepts that people really hold on to.

I think it is a big hurdle. To let go of your own reasoning and trust Christ. That's tough enough for so many, but then many Protestants struggle with going further in equating trusting the Holy Church as being the true, visible and historical Body of Christ Himself. So many folks have lost a sense of Church as such, due in no small part to Western (particularly "American") individualism (in my opinion), they won't trust any "organization." Remember the "I love Jesus but hate religion" video from last year...
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2013, 03:06:34 PM »

Martin Luther, hardly a feminist himself, seems to have argued that a woman's subordinate status was due to the fall
So did St. John Chrysostom in his homilies on Genesis IIRC.
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2013, 03:36:49 PM »

For me, it's nice to hear that someone else, somewhere did it the same way I did. And with women's ordination! I don't know, I've always seen that particular issue as being a pernicious one for many a potential convert. I've spoken with people who sometimes have only one (what I think is a minor) hang up about the Faith, and it kept them from converting, so they ended up Anglican or Lutheran instead of Orthodox or Catholic. Women's ordination seems to be one of those concepts that people really hold on to.
In my own Baptist upbringing, the idea of women’s ordination was one that was viewed as being as silly as a man wearing a dress. The only deaconess we ever had was one who transferred membership from an American Baptist church, and she was never given an active role in the deaconate.

But there were a number of women who were given the near authority of an ordained preacher as long as what they did was considered “women’s ministry” based on a very strict reading of the passages about women teaching men. From what I have seen, nuns leading church retreats are given a freer rein in that regard.
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2013, 03:48:52 PM »

Martin Luther, hardly a feminist himself, seems to have argued that a woman's subordinate status was due to the fall
So did St. John Chrysostom in his homilies on Genesis IIRC.

Found it:

"Your yearning will be for your husband, and he will be your master.'

As if to explain his reasons to the woman, the loving God said this, meaning, In the beginning I created you equal in esteem to your husband, and my intention was that in everything you would share with him as an equal, and as I entrusted control of everything to your husband, so did I to you; but you abused your equality of status. Hence I subject you to your husband: 'Your yearning will be for your husband, and he will be your master.' Because you abandoned your equal, who was sharer with you in the same nature and for whom you were created, and you chose to enter into conversation with that evil created the serpent, and to take the advice he had to give, accordingly I now subject you to him in future and designate him as your master for you to recognize his lordship, and since you did not know how to rule, learn well how to be ruled. 'Your yearning will be for your husband, and he will be your master.' It is better that you be subject to him and fall under his lordship than that enjoying freedom and authority, you would be cast into the abyss. It would be more useful also for a horse to carry the bit and travel under direction than without this to fall down a cliff. Accordingly, considering what is advantageous, I want you to have yearning for him and, like a body being directed by its head, to recognize his lordship pleasurably."

-From St. John Chrysostom's homilies on Genesis
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2013, 07:28:53 PM »

This was a huge obstacle for me during my conversion, since I had already been accepted into the Lutheran seminary to become an ordained pastor.

Forgive me, I think I responded to this in a previous thread. It's important to remember that the ELCA is not representative of Lutheran theology, but because they're the most numerous they've been made the standard. If you pulled an average Christian off the street and asked him what Lutherans believed, he's probably say at some point, "Open Communion" and "Women's Ordination". Of course, if you read the LCMS and WELS's defenses against women's ordination, you'd likely find it's copy-pasted from the Baptists and other conservative Protestant groups.

(and I pray that the Church in Her wisdom will see fit, if she thinks it is needed, to restore the order of deaconess.)
It's also important to remember that Deaconesses weren't Women Deacons, but essentially nuns with a blessing to serve in the altar and administer (in a very limited function) sacraments to women. If Deaconesses were to be restored, I'd pray that they are an attempt to recreate the ancient rite and not appease the modernists. (In convents, nuns are allowed to still serve in the altar and assist the priest with a blessing from the Abbess.)

Greek Fest 2010: I was doing a church tour and I mentioned that only men with a blessing may serve in the altar. This group of older women sitting in the front, claiming to be nuns, started to debate me on that point. One finally said, "It's a shame that such a beautiful place is closed off to half the congregation." I found out later that this group was, or rather were, nuns. The schismatic group adopted women's ordination and even entered a legal battle with the Catholic Diocese of Madison. But, I digress.
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2013, 07:36:02 PM »

It's also important to remember that Deaconesses weren't Women Deacons, but essentially nuns with a blessing to serve in the altar and administer (in a very limited function) sacraments to women.

It's important to remember that no one knows what exactly were the roles of female deacons. There are only some rites of ordination that are very similar to the male deacons'.
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2013, 09:17:23 AM »

It's also important to remember that Deaconesses weren't Women Deacons, but essentially nuns with a blessing to serve in the altar and administer (in a very limited function) sacraments to women.

It's important to remember that no one knows what exactly were the roles of female deacons. There are only some rites of ordination that are very similar to the male deacons'.

As Michal points out, it can be difficult to say with any degree of certainty what exactly was the role of the female deacon. I think that we can say, with more certainty, that while women served in a wide variety of roles, there were not female priests, as we understand it.
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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2013, 10:41:16 AM »

There's also the Didascalia Apostolorum, dated around the middle of the third century:


Chapter XV [[142]] That a woman should baptize, or that one should be baptized by a woman, we do not counsel, for it is a transgression of the commandment, and a great peril to her who baptizes and to him who is baptized. For if it were lawful to be baptized by a woman, our Lord and Teacher Himself would have been baptized by Mary His mother, whereas He was baptized by John, like others of the people. Do not therefore imperil yourselves, brethren and sisters, by acting beside the law of the Gospel.


In light of this, I think men should be prohibited from baking the prosphora ;-)
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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2013, 11:25:47 AM »


In light of this, I think men should be prohibited from baking the prosphora ;-)

Oooo, then the saints who were prosphora-bakers are in trouble ....  laugh
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2013, 11:44:28 AM »

    Martin Luther, hardly a feminist himself, seems to have argued that a woman's subordinate status was due to the fall, and women had the ability to perform the sacramental functions a man could in the church.   His logic was based on anti-sacerdotalism and the priesthood of all believers; if a woman could baptize in an emergency then there wasn't any special magic in a priests hands, rather the power resided in God's promises to the Church in general through the Word.  


I remember reading an article by a Lutheran theologian, but I do not recollect the details. The article discussed Luther's view of the royal priesthood of believers and concluded that Luther did not infer from this that lay persons share in the ordained priesthood.
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2013, 01:10:00 PM »

There is a new book coming out in October by a scholar based on her doctoral thesis:



Woman, Women, and the Priesthood in the Trinitarian Theology of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

Quote
This item will be released in October. The hardback price is steep, but the good news is that there will be electronic copies of it available for around $40. It is an excellent overview of the evolution of the thought of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, an Orthodox theologian in France. Behr-Sigel starts out following Paul Evdokimov's gender essentialist views of men and women, but eventually moves to a different position that allows her to advocate for women in the priesthood.

Anyone interested in the 20th century dialogue around the role of women in Eastern Orthodoxy (with some names that remain in the conversation like Fr. Thomas Hopko and Valerie Karras, and a shout-out to Maria McDowell) should take a look. And if you've ever wondered about the so-called "Paris School" of Russian theologians, this book provides a lot of helpful background as well. I highly recommend it!

(If your library has access to ProQuest dissertations, you can also check out the original dissertation.)

  Woman, Women, and the Priesthood in the Trinitarian Theology of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel

www.amazon.com

That could be the problem: the Trinitarian Theology of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel.

Not that of the Church.
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« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2013, 02:44:26 PM »

I may have found the article I was talking about:

http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/nagelnlutherpriesthoodallbelievers.pdf
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« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2013, 02:41:04 PM »

I may have found the article I was talking about:

http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/nagelnlutherpriesthoodallbelievers.pdf
Is this from Concordia University in Montreal?  The Dean of the faculty of Theology there is Orthodox.
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« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2013, 08:31:53 PM »

Disclaimer: This is not to start a debate. I've been trying to research this issue on HISTORICAL grounds and many sources online are clearly biased or just not very useful. In short, I'm looking for sources...not arguments. Now, on to the meat of my OP...

I have a friend who's Episcopalian. She's cradle Anglican, but is just now coming back into her church to be confirmed...she's in her mid-20s. We met recently, as she is in this process, and we've talked a lot about Episcopalianism vs. Orthodoxy, etc. She's been reading, and I've done a good deal of listening from her about her thoughts, and what the Episcopalians teach (with which I'm vaguely familiar, having considered Anglicanism briefly before learning about Orthodoxy). However, she is unfortunately rather liberal on the same issues that the Episcopalians have departed from the historic Faith, including women's ordination. I feel like this will eventually be an issue we talk about.

For me, in converting to Orthodoxy, this wasn't a big issue and I didn't research it very much. As I'm probably going to have to address this now, I'm looking more for historical information about the ordination of women in various Christian groups. I know the Orthodox Catholic Church has never ordained women to the priesthood, only the diaconate, but I'd like to know about certain sects, outside of modern Protestantism, that have ordained women. I feel like I've heard about Gnostics ordaining women, and perhaps other similar early groups. I'd like to know as much as about this, with sources, that I can. I know it's not the easiest to learn, as heretical teachings were often burned, but that's why I'm asking you knowledgeable folks for help! Let me know what you know...I look forward to seeing what awesome things you all dig up!
If you can get it on Interlibrary Loan or somehow, you might look at Ordained Women in the Early Church:  A Documentary History, ed. and trans. by Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 2005.   It surveys the literary and insriptional evidence for female deacons and presbyters.  

However, the change in our policy was not based on ancient precedents, but on first principles. In legalistic terms, God has as much right to call a woman to his service as to call a "waepman", a male.  The change in policy is simply that, if a woman claims to have a call from God to serve as a Presbyter, her call is tested on the same basis as a male applicant's would be. She will be accepted, or denied, admission to the next part of the process on the same basis as her brother's.   And many applicants are denied--in some dioceses, possibly the majority--for no one has a "right" to be ordained.
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« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2013, 10:03:39 AM »

However, the change in our policy was not based on ancient precedents, but on first principles. In legalistic terms, God has as much right to call a woman to his service as to call a "waepman", a male.  The change in policy is simply that, if a woman claims to have a call from God to serve as a Presbyter, her call is tested on the same basis as a male applicant's would be. She will be accepted, or denied, admission to the next part of the process on the same basis as her brother's.   And many applicants are denied--in some dioceses, possibly the majority--for no one has a "right" to be ordained.

   Isn't ancient precedent important?   The first principles you are talking about seem
more from feminism than from Christian tradition.  Feminist rhetoric on women's ordination is often all about a woman's rights to "authority" or representation: accept those presuppositions is a serious distortion of the nature of the priesthood.  I don't have a problem with the idea of women being able to have the charism necessary to be a priest, but I do question the presuppositions and "first principles" that made "women's ordination" an issue at all: was the church defective for thousands of years without women priests?

  In truth, it's not unfair to see culture as driving the push to ordain women, but this is common with many issues in the Episcopal church (the latest general synod's approval of a provisional rite for same-sex blessings is a good example- it lacks the theology necessary to be in the Prayer Book and implies some sacerdotal, magic power to bless, rather than to have the priest merely affirm what God already blesses- because the actual issue of whether God blesses same sex unions is highly debatable, having shown little warrant in Scriptures or Tradition so far). Yet, if popular culture is where we hear and find God's voice, what drives the agenda and speaks the Missio Dei, why even have the Church anymore?
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« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2013, 07:31:17 PM »

However, the change in our policy was not based on ancient precedents, but on first principles. In legalistic terms, God has as much right to call a woman to his service as to call a "waepman", a male.  The change in policy is simply that, if a woman claims to have a call from God to serve as a Presbyter, her call is tested on the same basis as a male applicant's would be. She will be accepted, or denied, admission to the next part of the process on the same basis as her brother's.   And many applicants are denied--in some dioceses, possibly the majority--for no one has a "right" to be ordained.

The first principles you are talking about seem
more from feminism than from Christian tradition.  Feminist rhetoric on women's ordination is often all about a woman's rights to "authority" or representation: accept those presuppositions is a serious distortion of the nature of the priesthood.
Please read what I wrote.
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« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2013, 08:57:57 PM »

  Isn't ancient precedent important?  
Ancient precedent is important, but I am not sure that it should always be the deciding factor. For example, slavery was allowed according to Scripture, but today it is taught that slavery is immoral.
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« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2013, 12:05:51 PM »

  Isn't ancient precedent important?  
Ancient precedent is important, but I am not sure that it should always be the deciding factor. For example, slavery was allowed according to Scripture, but today it is taught that slavery is immoral.

Not necessarily.  This I think is a common misunderstanding, something I used to think.  In Scripture, we see a concession made to masters to be reminded that they also have masters in heaven, but in reality destroying the very fabric of the system of slavery.  In other words, you're no different than your slave.  It doesn't necessarily mean "slavery is allowed", but that if you do have slaves, this is how you should treat them.  In fact, St. Paul commanded masters something more provocative than "treat them as equal".  He told the masters to treat the slaves in the same way as he commanded the slaves to treat the masters!  In reality, he is telling the master to be a slave to the slave, since the slave is reminded to serve you as he/she is serving Christ.

In the epistle to Philemon, St. Paul starts the appeal of St. Onesimus with an interesting "hint hint": "Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love."  In other words, "you and I both know, in true Christian love and spirituality, you should not have slaves. And now that he's Christian, and one who has my heart, if he has done you wrong, then I did you wrong, not he.  But if you great me as a dear brother, do the same to him also!"

See what St. Gregory of Nyssa says:

335,5. I got me slaves and slave-girls. What do you mean? You condemn man to slavery, when his nature is free and possesses free will, and you legislate in competition with God, overturning his law for the human species. The one made on the specific terms that he should be the owner of the earth, and appointed to government by the Creator—him you bring under the yoke of slavery, as though defying and fighting against the divine decree.

335,11. You have forgotten the limits of your authority, and that your rule is confined to control over things without reason. For it says Let them rule over winged creatures and fishes and four-footed things and creeping things (Gen, 1,26). Why do you go beyond what is subject to you and raise yourself up against the very species which is free, counting your own kind on a level with four-footed things and even footless things? You have subjected all things to man, declares the word through the prophecy, and in the text it lists the things subject, cattle and oxen and sheep (Ps 8,7-8). Surely human beings have not been produced from your cattle? Surely cows have not conceived human stock? Irrational beasts are the only slaves of mankind. But to you these things are of small account. Raising Fodder for the cattle, and green plants for the slaves of men, it says (Ps104/103,14). But by dividing the human species in two with 'slavery' and 'ownership' you have caused it to be enslaved to itself, and to be the owner of itself.

336,6. I got me slaves and slave-girls. For what price, tell me? What did you find in existence worth as much as this human nature? What price did you put on rationality? How many obols did you reckon the equivalent of the likeness of God? How many staters did you get for selling the being shaped by God? God said, let us make man in our own image and likeness (Gen 1,26). If he is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? Who is his seller? To God alone belongs this power; or rather, not even to God himself. For his gracious gifts, it says, are irrevocable (Rom 11,29). God would not therefore reduce the human race to slavery, since he himself, when we had been enslaved to sin, spontaneously recalled us to freedom. But if God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God's?


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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2013, 12:30:23 PM »

How many slave owners actually did that? The community of slave owners who would have been willing to listen to St. Paul wouldn't have been so large or influential, given that Christianity was a persecuted religion in the early centuries. If they actually had 'loved' each other, and treated the slaves with dignity, why did anyone say that slavery was such a degrading institution?

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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2013, 12:58:06 PM »

I may have found the article I was talking about:

http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/nagelnlutherpriesthoodallbelievers.pdf
Is this from Concordia University in Montreal?  The Dean of the faculty of Theology there is Orthodox.

It is the Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, under the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
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« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2013, 03:56:27 PM »

   Isn't ancient precedent important? 
Ancient precedent is important, but I am not sure that it should always be the deciding factor. For example, slavery was allowed according to Scripture, but today it is taught that slavery is immoral.

Not necessarily.  This I think is a common misunderstanding, something I used to think.  In Scripture, we see a concession made to masters to be reminded that they also have masters in heaven, but in reality destroying the very fabric of the system of slavery.  In other words, you're no different than your slave.  It doesn't necessarily mean "slavery is allowed", but that if you do have slaves, this is how you should treat them.  In fact, St. Paul commanded masters something more provocative than "treat them as equal".  He told the masters to treat the slaves in the same way as he commanded the slaves to treat the masters!  In reality, he is telling the master to be a slave to the slave, since the slave is reminded to serve you as he/she is serving Christ.

In the epistle to Philemon, St. Paul starts the appeal of St. Onesimus with an interesting "hint hint": "Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love."  In other words, "you and I both know, in true Christian love and spirituality, you should not have slaves. And now that he's Christian, and one who has my heart, if he has done you wrong, then I did you wrong, not he.  But if you great me as a dear brother, do the same to him also!"

See what St. Gregory of Nyssa says:

335,5. I got me slaves and slave-girls. What do you mean? You condemn man to slavery, when his nature is free and possesses free will, and you legislate in competition with God, overturning his law for the human species. The one made on the specific terms that he should be the owner of the earth, and appointed to government by the Creator—him you bring under the yoke of slavery, as though defying and fighting against the divine decree.

335,11. You have forgotten the limits of your authority, and that your rule is confined to control over things without reason. For it says Let them rule over winged creatures and fishes and four-footed things and creeping things (Gen, 1,26). Why do you go beyond what is subject to you and raise yourself up against the very species which is free, counting your own kind on a level with four-footed things and even footless things? You have subjected all things to man, declares the word through the prophecy, and in the text it lists the things subject, cattle and oxen and sheep (Ps 8,7-8). Surely human beings have not been produced from your cattle? Surely cows have not conceived human stock? Irrational beasts are the only slaves of mankind. But to you these things are of small account. Raising Fodder for the cattle, and green plants for the slaves of men, it says (Ps104/103,14). But by dividing the human species in two with 'slavery' and 'ownership' you have caused it to be enslaved to itself, and to be the owner of itself.

336,6. I got me slaves and slave-girls. For what price, tell me? What did you find in existence worth as much as this human nature? What price did you put on rationality? How many obols did you reckon the equivalent of the likeness of God? How many staters did you get for selling the being shaped by God? God said, let us make man in our own image and likeness (Gen 1,26). If he is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? Who is his seller? To God alone belongs this power; or rather, not even to God himself. For his gracious gifts, it says, are irrevocable (Rom 11,29). God would not therefore reduce the human race to slavery, since he himself, when we had been enslaved to sin, spontaneously recalled us to freedom. But if God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God's?



Leviticus 25:44-46
As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

Titus 2:9-10 
Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.


In the 16th century, Romanian Orthodox monasteries held slaves (ţigani mănăstireşti).
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2013, 04:25:02 PM »

It's important to remember that the ELCA is not representative of Lutheran theology, but because they're the most numerous they've been made the standard.
They are maybe not representative of Martin Luther's theology, but they are representative of Lutheranism as it exists throughout the world, and especially the large "ethnic Lutheran" churches in Germany and Scandinavia are just like the ELCA. Only in Latvia, archibishop Janis Vanags has broken with the Lutheran World Federation, abolished women's ordination and become close to the LCMS.
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« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2013, 07:19:19 PM »

continuing the slavery topic here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,2122.msg916695.html#msg916695
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