Author Topic: Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?  (Read 593 times)

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Offline NicholasMyra

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« on: December 13, 2013, 04:40:14 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 05:30:01 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?

Because only clergy should go behind the iconostasis. Even an Altar Boy is ordained or blessed in minor orders. Women cannot be ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Fr. John W. Morris

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 05:41:20 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?

Because only clergy should go behind the iconostasis. Even an Altar Boy is ordained or blessed in minor orders. Women cannot be ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Fr. John W. Morris

I have also heard that practically there was a fear of pollution by menstrual blood in early times.  I have heard of old women (and nuns) who are blessed to go back there and clean.  But I have been told that no one, not even a priest, can enter without a reason.   

Offline LBK

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 05:43:57 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?

Is this a serious question? It's been discussed here more than once.  :P
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Offline mike

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 06:20:52 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?

Because only clergy should go behind the iconostasis. Even an Altar Boy is ordained or blessed in minor orders. Women cannot be ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Fr. John W. Morris

I have also heard that practically there was a fear of pollution by menstrual blood in early times.  I have heard of old women (and nuns) who are blessed to go back there and clean.  But I have been told that no one, not even a priest, can enter without a reason.   

At this part of the world we already have these:

Hyperdox Herman, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - fb, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - tt

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Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 06:26:59 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?

Because only clergy should go behind the iconostasis. Even an Altar Boy is ordained or blessed in minor orders. Women cannot be ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Fr. John W. Morris

I have also heard that practically there was a fear of pollution by menstrual blood in early times.  I have heard of old women (and nuns) who are blessed to go back there and clean.  But I have been told that no one, not even a priest, can enter without a reason.   

At this part of the world we already have these:



So do we.  But tradition, even with a small t, is what it is.  Although that aspect could change.  Who knows?  And women not being of the clergy would have few reasons to enter the altar.  That women cannot serve as clergy is another topic but a related one. 

Offline podkarpatska

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 06:35:40 PM »
On OC.net, one should never, NEVER ever think that they've seen it all.

Offline LBK

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2013, 06:39:01 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?

Because only clergy should go behind the iconostasis. Even an Altar Boy is ordained or blessed in minor orders. Women cannot be ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Fr. John W. Morris

I have also heard that practically there was a fear of pollution by menstrual blood in early times.  I have heard of old women (and nuns) who are blessed to go back there and clean.  But I have been told that no one, not even a priest, can enter without a reason.  

At this part of the world we already have these:



Yet even a priest who cuts his hand accidentally cannot serve at a DL until the wound is healed.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 06:39:30 PM by LBK »
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Offline mike

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2013, 06:40:59 PM »
Yet even a priest who cuts his hand accidentally cannot serve at a DL until the wound is healed.

I've heard of priests that make a pause to throw up and then they come back to serve the DL.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 06:41:11 PM by Michał Kalina »
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Offline LBK

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2013, 06:43:03 PM »
Yet even a priest who cuts his hand accidentally cannot serve at a DL until the wound is healed.

I've heard of priests that make a pause to throw up and then they come back to serve the DL.

Vomit and blood are quite different things. The issue of blood, whether through menstruation or injury, is significant when it comes to liturgical service.
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Online Deacon Lance

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2013, 07:31:04 PM »
Some blessing crosses, particularly those which are engraved, rather than in bas-relief, are double-sided. One side shows the Crucifixion, the other the risen Christ. During the Paschal season, a priest with such a cross simply presents the "resurrectional" side for veneration.

Never seen anything like that.

You haven't lived as long as I have.  ;)

I've managed to visit a few places already.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24118.msg1039193.html#msg1039193

And yet, in none of them did you see a double-sided priest's cross, yet they exist.  :police:

In Ukrainian, and with it Rusyn, tradition, the Paschal Blessing is done with the hand cross. Many of the faithful probably would never look closely enough to notice the two sides.

I tire of the 'this is the right way, you're doing it wrong' based upon separate cultural development over two millenniums in some parts of the world and at least one in the other. Most of this stuff is  cultural 'window dressing' and doesn't go to the heart of rubrics, ritual or dogma. Yet it is one of the real obstacles to organic Orthodox unity in America at least......People will line up to fight to the spiritual death over such matters.
In fact it is the only time the priest blesses with the hand cross in the Rusyn tradition I think.  Some have adopted the paschal trikirion for this.
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2013, 10:16:09 PM »
Wait, what?!?  I was always told by my priest that a female may not go behind the iconostasis.  How can they be altar servers?  ???
Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?

Because only clergy should go behind the iconostasis. Even an Altar Boy is ordained or blessed in minor orders. Women cannot be ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Fr. John W. Morris

I have also heard that practically there was a fear of pollution by menstrual blood in early times.  I have heard of old women (and nuns) who are blessed to go back there and clean.  But I have been told that no one, not even a priest, can enter without a reason.   

That is correct, no one not even a Priest can enter the Altar without a reason. It should be kept as a holy place and respected as such.
Since women cannot be ordained, they should not enter the Altar. Of course a woman's monastery is a different place that operates accoding to different rules, so a nun can enter the altar.

Fr. John W. Morris

Offline NicholasMyra

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 07:54:54 PM »
So it is improper to say that women cannot enter the altar.

But rather, that nobody who isn't there for an approved purpose can enter the altar.
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2013, 09:07:04 PM »
So it is improper to say that women cannot enter the altar.

But rather, that nobody who isn't there for an approved purpose can enter the altar.

There are always exceptions. I suppose that if we needed something like the sink in the sacristy repaired or the wall painted and one of the workers was  woman, she could enter Altar.

Fr. John W. Morris

Offline LBK

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Why would females not be allowed behind the iconostasis?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 11:51:33 PM »
So it is improper to say that women cannot enter the altar.

But rather, that nobody who isn't there for an approved purpose can enter the altar.

There are always exceptions. I suppose that if we needed something like the sink in the sacristy repaired or the wall painted and one of the workers was  woman, she could enter Altar.

Fr. John W. Morris

... and the apse in the altar of the church I attend was painted by a female (layman, not monastic) iconographer, with the blessing of her bishop, because of her particular skill in painting on curved surfaces. The other iconographers who painted this church were an abbot and one of his monks.

However, she only did her work when a service was not in progress. She was not serving in the altar as altarboys do.
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