Jonathan Gress wrote:
OK well we probably have different ideas of what counts as "tradition". If one bishop decides to do something un-traditional, like have women read the epistles even when there are men around who can do it, and then people get used to that and forget how they did it before, then sure from their point of view it's "traditional" to have women read the epistle, even though if you take a longer historical view it's not traditional but an innovation. Now if you have examples from a hundred years ago before feminism got started and you can find examples of Orthodox churches letting women read the epistle, then that would be interesting, but examples like these are not really convincing on their own. I've never been to a traditionalist Orthodox church (like in the GOC or ROCOR) where women reading the epistle was the norm, which suggest that it is not an authentic tradition.
In the same way, lots of Protestants and Catholics think having organs and instruments in church services are "traditional" because that is not only what they remember from their childhood, but their parents too and their parents, often going back many generations. It's only on exposure to Orthodox practice that they realize that organs are not traditional at all from the point of view of authentic Christian tradition going back to the Apostles.
Actually, Orthodox churches of the West were using organs as part of her worship as early as the 7th century, but before that, no record of it. So, going back to the Apostles? No, but a lot of things in the Orthodox church do not go back to the Apostles. For instance, the use of a spoon to administer communion. Apparently there is a canon against the use of any utensil to administer the holy mysteries, but was instead placed in the hand (on a cloth). Later there arose a need, so tradition was broken to innovate.
There are those in the TOC groups who do not allow women to chant/sing, ignoring certain traditions allowing such to take place in our worship, but does that mean they are doing it correctly by not allowing women to chant? No. TOC does not denote a "puritanical" practice in all they do, in fact they have plenty of innovation of their own.