OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 01, 2014, 08:43:08 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 »   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Female Sub-Deacons and Readers  (Read 26076 times) Average Rating: 5
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Xaira
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 28


I'm tickled pink too.


« on: September 28, 2005, 02:52:43 PM »

So the Orthodox churches have been going on and on about restoring deaconesses and so on and so forth, and the church of Greece gave official approval to this about a year ago.........but with very few tangible results. I have been thinking, and it seems that the problem in the EO is that there are no female sub-deacons. I mean, for males one is normally a sub-deacons before becoming a full deacon, yet people seem to have the idea that female deacons don't need this "leg-up" and should just be jumped into being a full deacon without any problems....and then we sit around wondering why we don't see any. Now I know that some OO have a female sub-diaconate of sorts going on (see http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2003/03-133.shtml) and I am wondering about the possibilites, on a real tangible level, of having something like this in the EO churches.

It has been my observation, at least, that females already fill many roles which are, technically, roles of a sub-deacon, such as chanting, choir director, or reader. Add on to this the times when females will just jump in and help out with various things during a liturgy, like candles, the antidoron, or the offerings. It seems very strange and odd to me that we would allow people, of whatever sort whether male or female, to do these sub-diaconal things without being properly blessed by the priest and accepted by the people to serve in these areas.

So this leads to the question, if there are female sub-deacons what will they do and how will they be robed? My thoughts, they can be given tasks in the nave and narthex, many such tasks they already do, like chanting or reading. The ancient task of female deacons during the liturgy, to keep order in the women's section, may still apply to those churches will still have seperated seating, but even without that the female sub-deacons can help keep the line for Communion orderly, something which the male deacons are unable to do because they get caught up helping the priest at the front. Also for looking over the things happening "in the back" such as children playing in the narthex during a service or etc., also something which the male deacons, all stuck behind the iconostasis for the most part, are unable to see or control. As for robes, I am in favor of the same vestments of male sub-deacons. But at least a cassock, which is a non-liturgical garment anyways. This not only signifies that that person in particular has the blessing of the priest to fill a specific function, it makes the whole "I was distracted by what the girl reading the Epsitle today was wearing" complaint unnecessary. If a cassock is too hard to swallow, then perhaps a modified form of the female monastic robes, with head covering styles subject to juridstictional expectations.

My whole thought behind this is simply the issue of respect. I feel that in many parishes that many women are simply "expected" to do certain things, like bake the prosphora or keep the candles stocked or do the matins prayers, and they are not given any specific blessing or recognition. But if a male is asked to do those things he is immediately given a rank in the church, a blessing for that rank, and the insigna to identify himself as such. Of course, any good servant is a humble servant, so many females who see the discrepincy simply do not question it because they think to do so would be the same as demanding recognition for themselves. As a disclaimer, I currently do not serve in church in any way, because of factors related to the fact that for a while I attended a church in a foreign country where I did not understand the language, I have now just moved, and I am still learning how to chant. So I am taking advantage of the situation to speak for those who refuse to speak for themselves. Basic philosophy is: the workmen is worthy of his hire. If females are "hired" to do things in church they should receive the same "wage" as a male fulfilling the same function.

Any ideas or feedback, or further information on this issue would be appreciated.
Logged
authio
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 369



« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2005, 07:41:54 PM »

I offer you my rhetorical support!  If I was a hierarch, I'd be right with you on this one.
Logged

Christ is risen!
Cristo ha resucitado!
Христос Воскресе!
Χριστός Ανέστη!
 المسيح قام
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2005, 05:17:09 AM »

Quote
My whole thought behind this is simply the issue of respect. I feel that in many parishes that many women are simply "expected" to do certain things, like bake the prosphora or keep the candles stocked or do the matins prayers, and they are not given any specific blessing or recognition. But if a male is asked to do those things he is immediately given a rank in the church, a blessing for that rank, and the insigna to identify himself as such. Of course, any good servant is a humble servant, so many females who see the discrepincy simply do not question it because they think to do so would be the same as demanding recognition for themselves.

I guess some people will always try to turn everything into an "us vs. them" battle....

I'll start out by pointing out that I am a male.  I'm the primary prosphoro baker at my parish.  I arrive long before Orthros on Sunday morning to do assorted tasks such as cleaning, candle stocking etc.  I read/chant Orthros until the Doxology as the real chanters (i.e the ones that actually have any musical ability - Fr. put me out there to chant, simply because I show up) begin to show up towards the end of Orthros.  I'd say three or four people know that I bake prosforo and do the other things I do.  I've never been tonsured a reader or to serve at the altar or any such thing - and I am quite anonymous as my work schedule prohibits me from going to coffee after church most Sundays.  I suppose I could clamor and whine that it is a racial issue, since I'm not Greek and it is a Greek parish, but all I see it as is a nice blessing to have some quiet time in the church.
Logged
Michael
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 225


« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2005, 09:50:44 AM »

I suppose I could clamor and whine that it is a racial issue, since I'm not Greek and it is a Greek parish, but all I see it as is a nice blessing to have some quiet time in the church.

When you say a Greek parish, do you mean Greek Orthodox or ethnically Greek in the make-up of the church community?

I only ask because most of my experience of Orthodox worship has been in two parishes.  One is Antiochian and is predominantly white British converts, including the priest, with some Greeks and some black British and West Indian converts.  The other is Russian, where the priest and his family are white British converts, as are some of the church community.  The subdeacon is black West Indian.  The rest of the congregation is Russian, Romanian, Lithuanian, Greek and Ukrainian.  I would describe the first parish as an "Antiochain parish" and the second as a "Russian Parish" because of the jurisdictions, but nobody would in any way stand out for not being Arabic or Russian.  I only ask because what you said struck me as odd and it dawned on me that I might be understanding "Greek parish" in a different way from what you mean by it.

Many thanks.
Logged
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2005, 11:58:47 AM »

I offer you my rhetorical support!  If I was a hierarch, I'd be right with you on this one.

Add me to your support group, Xaira.  Smiley

I'd also like to see girls assume some roles in the liturgy as well. Perhaps not entering the altar area, but I can't see why they could not join in the entrances (Great and Small) once it passes from the altar to the nave. And as such, have acolyte vestments as well. Currently our girls take the role of looking after the antidoron and keeping the wine vessels filled.

I'd also like to see a renewal of the office of deaconess. It's long, long over-due, but then there are so many things that are needing our attention (i.e. married episcopate to name but one). If only... if only we Orthodox could get our spiritual butts in gear and call an ecumenical council. It's soooo over-due it's an embarassment.
Logged
observer
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 546

Vivre die Raznitsa!


« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2005, 12:11:44 PM »

deaconesses are not female deacons.   The rank of subdeacon can hardly apply to them, since subdeacons assist the bishop in the Altar.  As for girls taking part...I suppose it is inevitable that feminism will creep into Orthodoxy eventually.  Girls sing/read, bake prosfora, cook for the parish, clean, do the flowers etc.. a great service but nothing to do with any liturgical office (except reading and chanting - done with the priest's blessing). I have known boys do the same.  Some get ordained readers, so do not. The Church isn't grade school or any other kind of secular organization. 
Logged

Thou shalt not prefer one thing to another (Law of Liberalism)
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2005, 01:57:00 PM »

You make the crucial mistake of equating the church with the secular world of work.  Church isn't some sort of democracy where you get to vote on issues such as these.  So I guess you want some sort of woman's suffrage movement in Orthodoxy?  What jurisidictions do you people belong to?? 





So the Orthodox churches have been going on and on about restoring deaconesses and so on and so forth, and the church of Greece gave official approval to this about a year ago.........but with very few tangible results. I have been thinking, and it seems that the problem in the EO is that there are no female sub-deacons. I mean, for males one is normally a sub-deacons before becoming a full deacon, yet people seem to have the idea that female deacons don't need this "leg-up" and should just be jumped into being a full deacon without any problems....and then we sit around wondering why we don't see any. Now I know that some OO have a female sub-diaconate of sorts going on (see http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2003/03-133.shtml) and I am wondering about the possibilites, on a real tangible level, of having something like this in the EO churches.

It has been my observation, at least, that females already fill many roles which are, technically, roles of a sub-deacon, such as chanting, choir director, or reader. Add on to this the times when females will just jump in and help out with various things during a liturgy, like candles, the antidoron, or the offerings. It seems very strange and odd to me that we would allow people, of whatever sort whether male or female, to do these sub-diaconal things without being properly blessed by the priest and accepted by the people to serve in these areas.

So this leads to the question, if there are female sub-deacons what will they do and how will they be robed? My thoughts, they can be given tasks in the nave and narthex, many such tasks they already do, like chanting or reading. The ancient task of female deacons during the liturgy, to keep order in the women's section, may still apply to those churches will still have seperated seating, but even without that the female sub-deacons can help keep the line for Communion orderly, something which the male deacons are unable to do because they get caught up helping the priest at the front. Also for looking over the things happening "in the back" such as children playing in the narthex during a service or etc., also something which the male deacons, all stuck behind the iconostasis for the most part, are unable to see or control. As for robes, I am in favor of the same vestments of male sub-deacons. But at least a cassock, which is a non-liturgical garment anyways. This not only signifies that that person in particular has the blessing of the priest to fill a specific function, it makes the whole "I was distracted by what the girl reading the Epsitle today was wearing" complaint unnecessary. If a cassock is too hard to swallow, then perhaps a modified form of the female monastic robes, with head covering styles subject to juridstictional expectations.

My whole thought behind this is simply the issue of respect. I feel that in many parishes that many women are simply "expected" to do certain things, like bake the prosphora or keep the candles stocked or do the matins prayers, and they are not given any specific blessing or recognition. But if a male is asked to do those things he is immediately given a rank in the church, a blessing for that rank, and the insigna to identify himself as such. Of course, any good servant is a humble servant, so many females who see the discrepincy simply do not question it because they think to do so would be the same as demanding recognition for themselves. As a disclaimer, I currently do not serve in church in any way, because of factors related to the fact that for a while I attended a church in a foreign country where I did not understand the language, I have now just moved, and I am still learning how to chant. So I am taking advantage of the situation to speak for those who refuse to speak for themselves. Basic philosophy is: the workmen is worthy of his hire. If females are "hired" to do things in church they should receive the same "wage" as a male fulfilling the same function.

Any ideas or feedback, or further information on this issue would be appreciated.

Logged
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2005, 02:02:15 PM »

Quote
I only ask because what you said struck me as odd and it dawned on me that I might be understanding "Greek parish" in a different way from what you mean by it.

The vast majority of people in my parish are ethnically Greek.  I'm not. 
Logged
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2005, 02:40:05 PM »

You make the crucial mistake of equating the church with the secular world of work.  Church isn't some sort of democracy where you get to vote on issues such as these.  So I guess you want some sort of woman's suffrage movement in Orthodoxy?  What jurisidictions do you people belong to?? 


Not really... but, you're entitled to your opinion. Anyway, I'm OCA. Been in the Church now for fifteen + years and it seems to me that many, other than newer and rabid converts, favor a greater participation of females in the Church. I don't see this as feminism at all. Mind you, I'm not advocating women in the altar nor am I suggesting they ever assume liturgical leadership roles. But I can't see why girls couldn't partially participate in the entrances. And I'm not suggesting female deacons but it is time, it seems to me, for a renewal of the office of deaconess.

Additionally, I'd like to see a complete stop to churching males only in the altar. Either church both males and females in the altar or church them both at the royal gates. Making this differentiation, it seems to me, is just plain wrong.

Anyway... peace, brother. Let's not get worked up about it. It will come if the Lord wills it.  Smiley




« Last Edit: October 01, 2005, 02:40:53 PM by Stamfordguy » Logged
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2005, 04:49:32 PM »

Haha, why don't you work on bigger problems  before you start worryin about deaconesses and females having a more "active role" in the church.  How about trying to get people to a) come to church on time b) come to church at all c) getting new people to come?Huh

Sounds like a bunch of misplaced priorities if you ask me.



Logged
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2005, 04:55:37 PM »

ISTM that both observer and Jim Beam have a good handle on this pseudo-issue. The ecclesiastical offices of deacon and deaconess are not, nor ever have been , equivalents. To interpolate them in some fashion to the sub-deacon level smacks of the stuff that most converts here are actually fleeing.
That said, women have always had the most vital role in the Church. Perhaps not where it is readily apparent, but it has always been the ladies, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, who have imparted Orthodoxy to the next generation. To us Greeks during the time of the Ottomans, to the Rus, the recent scourge of the atheist communists.

For the record, in both my GOA parish and my wife's ACROD parish, we men prepare the prosfora and cook alongside the ladies as needed to raise funds.
And we make many unsung contributions as the women do...landscaping, painting, general maintenance - all without official recognition. These things are just part of our service - our ministry.

Demetri (apprentice weed-puller, lawn raker, turkey feather plucker, holupki roller, and galactobouriko taster)
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2005, 06:49:54 PM »

Haha, why don't you work on bigger problems  before you start worryin about deaconesses and females having a more "active role" in the church.  How about trying to get people to a) come to church on time b) come to church at all c) getting new people to come?Huh

Sounds like a bunch of misplaced priorities if you ask me.





Bigger problems, you say? That judgment depends on your own set of priorities. Perhaps if your name were Sandra or Janet, you might have a completely different outlook on things.

I entirely agree, that the office of deacon and deaconess are not equivalent. And I also understand the whys and wherefores of the impossibility of female subdeacons. BUT... I see no reason for our not re-instituting the office of deaconess and I feel strongly that ALL children should be churched in the altar and no distinction made between male and female in that regard.

However, these are simply my own personal views. Granted, I've only been Orthodox for fifteen years and perhaps after a life-time of being Orthodox I'll see things differently, but I somehow doubt that. As I mentioned before, in my talks with other Orthodox I've found that the most intractible ones in regards to male and female roles in the Church are the newly converted, particularly those from fundamentalist backgrounds and or having a fundamentalist outlook (regardless of their former church's denomination).

Regards
Logged
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2005, 07:04:31 PM »

I'm sure the ECUSA is looking for new members.  They especially like people with an axe to grind and feel strongly that the traditions are the church are all wrong. 
Logged
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2005, 07:42:02 PM »

I'm sure the ECUSA is looking for new members.ÂÂ  They especially like people with an axe to grind and feel strongly that the traditions are the church are all wrong.ÂÂ  

Since proponents of the pro-deaconess/sub-deaconess position do not seem to have proposed an anti-traditional conception of the deaconess, or the proposed role of sub-deaconess (i.e. one which holds them equivalent to the roles of deacon and sub-deacon, respectively), I fail to see how such a comment applies.

Quote
The Coptic Church is now in the process of restoring the female diaconate in three orders: the female reader for women (now called “devoted one”), sub-deaconess (now called “assistant deaconess”) and deaconess. The Coptic Holy Synod has made it clear that deaconesses may not in any way participate in service of the altar or sacerdotal service. The rite of initiation into the female diaconate is performed by a bishop without the laying-on-of-hands but with a signing of the cross three times over the candidate. In their ministry they are to work exclusively with women and children. They assist at the baptism of women, visit sick women in hospitals, supervise women’s activities in parishes, and clean the church building except for the sanctuary area which they may not enter.

Source (linked to in Xaira's post): http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2003/03-133.shtml


What's the problem here? The harshest criticism one may reasonably offer to the idea of dividing the role of the deaconess into three orders, and hence the consequent creation of the role of “sub-deaconess”, is not that it is anti-traditional, but rather that it is a superfluous attempt to revive the undoubtedly traditional position of the deaconess.

Am i missing something?

Peace.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2005, 08:44:58 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2005, 08:03:41 PM »

Bigger problems, you say? That judgment depends on your own set of priorities. Perhaps if your name were Sandra or Janet, you might have a completely different outlook on things.

Why don't we ask some of the women on the board what they think??

Logged
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2005, 08:56:29 PM »

Xaira,

Quote
...to do these sub-diaconal things without being properly blessed by the priest

What do you mean by this exactly? What constitutes being “properly blessed” for you? I think the article you linked us to regarding the OO position on the matter made a very important point with respect to the Holy Coptic Synod’s decision:

Quote
“The rite of initiation into the female diaconate is performed by a bishop without the laying-on-of-hands but with a signing of the cross three times over the candidate.”


If by “blessed” you mean ordained, as opposed to initiated, then that would be a problem.

Peace.
Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2005, 10:29:22 PM »

I'm sure the ECUSA is looking for new members.  They especially like people with an axe to grind and feel strongly that the traditions are the church are all wrong. 

What a nasty thing to say. Because someone happens to have a difference of opinion with you, Sir, you believe you can deal with him/her with such suggestions? Who are you to make such suggestions? You have no authority whatsoever, particularly to suggest to another Orthodox Christian, that he/she would be better advised to find a home outside the Church because he/she happens to see things differently from you. You've a lot to learn and in spite of all the books you're reading, I can see you've still a long way to go in putting those truths into effect. Y'all have a wonderful Lord's Day and bear in mind that not every Orthodox Christian happens to see things YOUR way and that YOU and YOUR views are not the measure of things.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2005, 10:34:24 PM by Stamfordguy » Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,053


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2005, 10:40:49 PM »

The dub-deaconate is not a "stepping stone" to the deaconate, but rather a ministry in the Church that stands on its own (even if its not used as much today).  The newer tradition of ordaining deacons subdeacons first to fulfill the technicalities of the canons should not change our view on the issue. 

Therefore, the idea that there should be female subdeacons is misplaced and misleading, since there is no tradition of a female subdeaconate.  The office of the deaconess was also a role in the church, and not a stepping stone, and thus the very few feminists (in proportion to the majority of the females) should not look upon it as a means of getting women into the priesthood.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2005, 11:42:11 PM »

Quote
Therefore, the idea that there should be female subdeacons is misplaced and misleading, since there is no tradition of a female subdeaconate.

I would agree that the idea that there should (implying necessity) be female subdeacons, is misplaced and misleading; however, the idea that there could (implying possibility within an Orthodox context) certainly isn’t.

Peace.
Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
yBeayf
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 708

/etc


« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2005, 01:27:49 AM »

So what would a female subdeacon actually *do*, then? In the Byzantine rite, the subdeacon's main role is to assist the deacon and the bishop in the altar. The Western rite subdeacons have a rather greater liturgical function, chanting the epistle at mass, carrying the gospel book, and holding the paten during the anaphora. In either case, their role is primarily liturgical, and since women cannot serve in the altar it would seem that there's little point in tonsuring a female subdeacon.
Logged
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2005, 02:23:02 AM »

Quote
What a nasty thing to say. Because someone happens to have a difference of opinion with you, Sir, you believe you can deal with him/her with such suggestions?


Actually I didn't say you nor anyone else should join the ECUSA.  I was merely pointing out a parralell spirit between renovationism within the ECUSA (which has had diastrous results) and renovationism of members of the Orthodox Church.  But if I do regret something in that post it was painting the whole ECUSA as a liberal renovationist group - there are still pockets of devout believers there, some even post on this board.

Also ironic to this is that Xaire was advocating in another thread that people whose only tie to the church was hearing their native language should leave. 

Quote
Who are you to make such suggestions?

Let's turn this around - who are you to make the suggestions that the Orthodox practice of churching infants should be changed?

Quote
You have no authority whatsoever, particularly to suggest to another Orthodox Christian, that he/she would be better advised to find a home outside the Church because he/she happens to see things differently from you.

For one thing, I never claimed to have any authority.  Secondly I never suggested anyone leave the Orthodox Church - I made a comparison, and apparently it hit a nerve.  Thirdly I actually have quite a large spectrum in my beliefs and friends within the church, as I have to straddle a ROCOR and a GOA parish due to transportation and scheduling issues - so to imply that I am narrow or rigid in my view of Orthodoxy would be quite false. 

Quote
You've a lot to learn and in spite of all the books you're reading, I can see you've still a long way to go in putting those truths into effect.

I'm not quite sure how the number of books I have read is relevant to that thread (or how you would even know how many and which books I am reading for that matter).  I haven't cited any books in this thread, only some person experience - that the so called work done by unsong women (with the implication of sexism) was done by me (a man) at my parish.  I also pointed out the similarity of thinking a long standing tradition in the Orthodox Church in the practice of churching has to be overturned to the thinking predominate in the ECUSA. 

As to the latter part of that - it is absurd on several levels.  You do not know me.  You resorted to an ad hominem.  And what precisely does my personaly morality have to do with the discusion (and for that matter I've never claimed to have any moral high ground - in fact I'd say it is likely the things I struggle with on a daily basis are much worse than average).  And lastly perhaps it is good I am not applying the truths I am reading.  Currently sitting on my desk is the Qu'ran, a few other books about Islam, a book on Taoism, books on Buddhism and one Orthodox book (I like to get my money's worth out of the public library system). 

Quote
YOU and YOUR views are not the measure of things.

And precisely where did I claim this to be so?  By saying a traditional practice of the church should be radically altered is making your views the measure of things. 


Logged
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2005, 04:03:38 AM »

yBeayf,

Since I have never heard of anything related to the sub-deaconess apart from what is written in the article referred to in Xaira’s initial post, I can only go by that. In that article, sub-deaconesses are also referred to as “assistant deaconesses”; I would thus assume that whilst doing the very same activities as the deaconess (which are specifically outlined in the aforementioned article, and all of which involve functions grounded in the female deaconate’s traditional role), the difference is that primary responsibility pertaining to those very activities is displaced from the position of the sub-deaconess.

The Holy Coptic Synod does not make decisions for no reason, however, even if, as it stands - according to what is thus far known, and hence in the absence of reason — the creation of such a position within the female deaconate seems superfluous, there is still nothing inherently wrong with it, and it is certainly not anti-traditional as some have thus far asserted. 

I certainly don’t understand the significance of xaira’s concerns nor recognise the cogency of her reasons behind such concerns, but that does not make the concern itself illegitimate. I would therefore agree as far as Jim beam’s post goes, regarding the triviality of such an issue, but would strongly disagree as far as Silouan’s post goes, regarding its being anti-traditional.

Peace.
Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2005, 04:24:10 AM »

Quote
renovationism of members of the Orthodox Church.


I assume your patron saint was a renovationist then. Btw how do you actually define renovationism?

Peace.


 
Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Xaira
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 28


I'm tickled pink too.


« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2005, 08:52:17 AM »

Xaira,

What do you mean by this exactly? What constitutes being “properly blessed” for you? I think the article you linked us to regarding the OO position on the matter made a very important point with respect to the Holy Coptic Synod’s decision:
 

If by “blessed” you mean ordained, as opposed to initiated, then that would be a problem.

Peace.

What I mean by blessing is to be given the blessing of the office which the female is doing. In many churches a female is allowed to read the Epistle reading. Which is the duties of a Reader. If a female does the epistle reading and is not a Reader then something is off, and the church itself is being irresponsible for having a person do a duty which they are not blessed to do. And I believe it has been made quite clear in various studies that in antiquity women were, indeed, ordained, not just blessed, when made deacon. And, what, precisely, is the difference between ordination and blessing anyways? A mere linguistic turn to placate the fundamentalist masses, imo.

I am not saying here that women should do everything that a male-subdeacon does, I think I made that quite clear in my OP. My point is that many females are already doing liturgical things, like Reading, or being in charge of handing out the antidoron and wine immediately after communion, and so on, usually just do those things be "jumping in to help". Which is fine, except for that fact that in Orthodox ecclesiology every servant for a particular liturgy needs the blessing of the priest of that day to "help" and needs the permission of the bishop (Igantius' "let no one do anything without the permission of the bishop" referring, specifically, to matters of church rites and worship). The other day I saw a girl "jump in to help" with the antidoron, and she happened to be wearing a speghetti strap tank top. I could tell that many people were annoyed that she was wearing that, but, hey, she was just doing a service which no one else could do (the deacons were needed elsewhere). We can compain about it all day, but we just need to realize that we are creating our own problems.

As for sub-deacons not being a stepping stone to full deacon, yes, I know. But how many full deacons do you know that were not sub-deacons first?HuhHuh
Logged
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2005, 09:18:28 AM »

Quote
And, what, precisely, is the difference between ordination and blessing anyways? A mere linguistic turn to placate the fundamentalist masses, imo.

I think the basis of the Holy Coptic Synod’s decision to initiate female deaconesses through the mere thrice making of the sign of the cross, as opposed to ordaining them by the laying of hands, can be found in Canon 19 of the Council of Nicaea 325:

Quote
“Similarly, in regard to the deaconesses, as with all who are enrolled in the register, the same procedure is to be observed. We have made mention of the deaconesses, who have been enrolled in this position, although, not having been in any way ordained, they are certainly to be numbered among the laity"


An alternative translation of it:

Quote
“Similarly with regard to deaconesses and all in general whose names have been included in the roll, the same form shall be observed. We refer to deaconesses who have been granted this status, for they do not receive any imposition of hands, so that they are in all respects to be numbered among the laity.”

Sorry I do not have the direct sources of these two different translations, I will find them and paste them later if you require (I believe one comes from Schaff's work).

Peace.
Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2005, 11:06:12 AM »

I'm sure the ECUSA is looking for new members.  They especially like people with an axe to grind and feel strongly that the traditions are the church are all wrong. 

This is what you said and it does not take a rocket scientist to see what you are suggesting. You can try to put any spin on your words which you like, but I'm sure that all can see, just as easily as I, what you were implying. You know... I'm losing all respect for you as you try to cover up what you said by putting this current spin on your words. You're a young man, right? I've a sneaking suspicion that I'm old enough to be your father. In fact, I've probably been Orthodox for most of your life. It's usually the young and the relatively recently converted who are the most intractible in their position on all-things Orthodox.

Given the nature of your last post, I think it best that we ignore one another from this point forward. I recognize that you have been here long before I came and have no doubt your own cheering section. Thus, I'm probably on thin ice with a number of your friends for saying these things to you. I'll stand my ground, however, in light of your unwillingness to admit to the implication of your words and the intent in even posting them. I've reported this and it's in the hands of the moderator. I'm looking for an Ignore option in this forum so that I no longer need to concern myself with your posts and if there is such an option I would strongly suggest you do likewise.

Regards
Logged
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2005, 11:40:22 AM »

Quote
I assume your patron saint was a renovationist then. Btw how do you actually define renovationism?

Peace.

Nope - St. Nektarios was hardly renovationist.  I didn't touch the topic of the deaconess in this thread; it is something that I admit readilly that I don't know much about.  The two points in this thread that I have taken issue with is that such jobs are relegated as church cleaning, candling preperation, prosfora baking etc. are relagated to women who go unnoticed and the attitude that the (EO) practice of churching needs to be changed. 

Quote
You know... I'm losing all respect for you as you try to cover up what you said by putting this current spin on your words.

Oh I don't deny that in English it is possible to imply one thing and state another.

Quote
You're a young man, right? I've a sneaking suspicion that I'm old enough to be your father. In fact, I've probably been Orthodox for most of your life.

I see - I compared one of your posts to ECUSA style renovationism and you respond with ad hominem. 
Logged
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2005, 12:34:38 PM »

It appears there is no option to put another member's posts on ignore. So, with that limitation I'll simply say that our communication with one another is finished. You have put a spin on your words that demonstrates (for me at least) something not becoming a brother in Christ. And you are unwilling to face this. Therefore there really is no point in our continuing any communication whatsoever. This is my last word directly to you so you will have the opportunity to respond (although I won't be reading your posts ... and yes ... I can determine to do such a thing  Wink).  I hope for your sake at least that you can come to a place where you are at least honest with yourself. Good-bye.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2005, 12:36:00 PM by Stamfordguy » Logged
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2005, 01:30:20 PM »

an ignore option is forthcoming
Logged
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2005, 01:35:30 PM »

And just to make it clear...

Deaconessess are NOT deacons.. so stop trying to change the traditions of the church.

Logged
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2005, 01:39:26 PM »

« Last Edit: October 02, 2005, 01:41:44 PM by Jim Beam » Logged
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2005, 02:56:22 PM »

Nope - St. Nektarios was hardly renovationist.ÂÂ  I didn't touch the topic of the deaconess in this thread; it is something that I admit readilly that I don't know much about.

Well, if that is truly the case then I apologise for reading that which was unintended into your statements; though I still believe however, given the general nature of your responses and that of the posts to which you were responding, that it was hardly an unreasonable implication to read.

Regarding what I know of Nektarios of Aegina, he not only initiated certain females (context: nuns at a particular women's monastery I believe) as sub-deaconess, but he in fact ordained them during the Divine Liturgy by the laying of hands contra to the above stipulated Nicaean canon (I am simply stating the facts as I know them, and would gladly acquiesce to any contextual factors to the situation which redeem it of any negative implications), and vested them with the clothing of the deaconate. Their ordination followed the same order of prayers that is undergone at the ordination of a deacon, and their position was described by him as possessing functions similar to that of a sub-deacon. I believe the motivation behind such ordinations was for the purpose of utility, in recognition of the fact there were few ordained clergymen to carry out the ministry assigned to these "sub-deaconesses", in that particular monastery.

I know I had quite a credible source accounting for all the above information, but I cannot seem to find it at the moment; I will post it here once I do though.

Peace.
Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2005, 03:55:17 PM »

The version of events regarding St. Nektarios that I've heard omitted the vesting as deacons (but they recieved some sort of tonsure, I think similar or the same to a reader).  But I think a solid source is hard to find as there are such strong agendas on both sides, and more people are interested in proving their agenda than what the saint actually did.  The practice of the women's monastery in Safford, AZ (which is Serbian) is to have the nuns serve in the altar during liturgy, but I have no idea if they recieve some sort of tonsure or not.  They remain vested in their normal monastic clothing - as do monks when they serve in the altar at the monasteries I am most familiar with (athonite tradition).  Although in pictures I've seen of Russian monasteries serving monks wear the same vestments as altar boys in parishes.   

The practice of churching that I was referring to is that male infants are taken into the atlar area and the priest circles the Holy Table carrying the infant, whereas with females the priest stops at the gates.  The only calls to change this that I have seen are from the same people that also advocate women's ordination (to the priesthood) and other major changes.  Unlike the issue of the deaconess this has no practical application and solely about ideology.   
Logged
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,053


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2005, 04:01:36 PM »

As for sub-deacons not being a stepping stone to full deacon, yes, I know. But how many full deacons do you know that were not sub-deacons first?HuhHuh

The number of deacons that were subdeacons first has no bearing on this discussion: the Church at present sees things fit to have each member of the clergy step through the different roles and ranks before they reach their end-state, mainly to appease the letter (but not the spirit) of the canons.  But it still doesnt mean that its a stepping stone.  In pure theory, one could be ordained straight to the deaconate, priesthood, or episcopasy without being in the other orders first; its not like the Holy Spirit can't do it, and in fact the ancient Church on occasion did do it.

The women who became deaconesses did not have any other orders that they needed to be initiated into before the deaconess, other than having the universal ordination (Baptism and Chrismation).  If you want to say that another ordination is required for the others, its Chrismation (which used to be the laying on of hands from the Bishop in ancient days).  That is the universal ordination, the one that initiates all of us into the Royal Priesthood.

If the order of deaconess was to be resurrected in full, there would be no need for a sub-deaconess... its really bad ecclesiology.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2005, 04:18:18 PM »

Silouan,

Sorry I cannot find the exact quote, but I do have a reference:

Evangelos Theodorou as quoted in FitzGerald, K.K., Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church: Called to Holiness and Ministry (Holy Cross Orthodox Press: 1998), pages 151-152.

My notes make a specific point regarding Nektarios of Aegina ordaining these deaconesses (which he apparently refers to as "sub-deaconesses" himself) with the orarion, though I'm not sure if the above reference specifically makes mention of this or not - my notes on the matter are quite poorly organised i'm afraid.

Peace.

Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Silouan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 818

Bogurodzica dziewica zbaw nas


« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2005, 04:59:48 PM »

Very interesting.  I'll see if I can find a copy of that book somewhere.  I think it is safe to assume though that St. Nektarios did not act out of any sort of idealogy, but out of practicality - it is a women's monastery, the nuns ought to serve.  I also happen to personally know one of the women tonsured by Metr. Anthony of SF (GOA) - he tonsured her because at that time no man in the parish was willing to help out the priest taking at all.  Same bishop as the pic that Robert linked, different woman though. 

I think the roots of the problem are much deeper and lie in a certain unhealthy clericalism.  I think the RCC can be blaimed (round up the usual suspects, right?) for creating the idea that the priesthood was a personal thing, an expression of personal piety.  i.e an RCC priest could simply have a desk job yet say mass everyday privately, and have no real congregation.  And recently especially there is a very low percentage of non-ordained male religious in the Catholic Church.  Whereas an Orthodox monastery usually only has enough priests to serve its liturgical needs.  Thus the problem of people who are jumping on this cause and tieing it into the feminist cause is that they see the priesthood as personal piety and not service. 

Whereas if you were to ask any athonite who the two greatest Athonties of the 20th century were I think it would be almost unanimously St. Silouan and Elder Joseph - neither were priests.  Then there is also Elder Paisios of recent times who was quite saintly - not a priest.  And I think most would agree Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi (they aren't too original with names...it is either Joseph or Ephraim!) is the greatest living spiritual father on the Holy Mountain - not a priest.   
Logged
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2005, 07:04:26 PM »

And just to make it clear...

Deaconessess are NOT deacons.. so stop trying to change the traditions of the church.



Where have I said that deacons and deaconesses are equivalent? Please... do NOT put words in my mouth. Read what I say... carefully. Thanks.
Logged
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #37 on: October 02, 2005, 07:34:39 PM »

Stamfordguy:
Dude, you take everything personally.  If I had so desired to address you, I would have prefaced my post with your name.  Stop being so defensive.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2005, 07:34:55 PM by Jim Beam » Logged
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2005, 08:12:29 PM »

Ah...well... you didn't specify the person to whom you were speaking and given the criticism I received from another certain poster it was only natural that I would conclude you were referring to me. I think you can appreciate that it was a natural mistake. So...who were you referring to in your post?

As for defensive posturing... when I'm told to seek out another church (i.e. ECUSA) by a fellow Orthodox poster who misrepresents what I post, it is only natural that I would defend myself.  Undecided
Logged
Stamfordguy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 127



« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2005, 08:13:47 PM »

Anyway... I think I'll withdraw from this particular thread. I've made my point and it would seem I belabored it a bit too much. Sorry.
Logged
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2005, 09:35:57 PM »

I think it is safe to assume though that St. Nektarios did not act out of any sort of idealogy, but out of practicality

Well yes, that would be safe to assume; it is the very assumption I myself made in my recollection of the facts pertaining to the situation in the first place:

I believe the motivation behind such ordinations was for the purpose of utility, in recognition of the fact there were few ordained clergymen to carry out the ministry assigned to these "sub-deaconesses", in that particular monastery.

Indeed, the Coptic Orthodox Church herself has revived the ancient practice in Egypt for the purpose of practicality: See here for an article concerning the issue written in Egypt’s secular Al-Ahram newspaper; it states:

Quote
According to Anba Moussa, the deacons and deaconesses are "the eyes and hands of the priests," giving 24-hour service, seven days a week. "We are glad to have this type of life and service back in our church. Consecrated deacons and deaconesses are able to confront unmet needs, doing a lot of the work priests cannot do," he asserts.


I have been attending Coptic Orthodox Church’s here in Australia all my life, and although that may not be considered much for some (approx. 19 years), I have been to at least 15 different Churches, and not once have I encountered a deaconess; I would think it superfluous if there were females initiaited into the deaconate here, considering the number of parishes vs. clergy available to serve. Considering the fact therefore, that the revival of the deaconess is one that is really only popular in a land--Egypt, where feminism is not even a concern or issue within the socio-cultural context of that land - as it may be considered here in the West — I would find it hard to see how anyone can interpret the decision made by the Holy Coptic Synod as one motivated by an ideological or political agenda.

Peace.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2005, 09:39:23 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Xaira
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 28


I'm tickled pink too.


« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2005, 10:30:46 AM »

 Roll Eyes

I kinda meant this to be an open inquiry into the roles in which females already serve in the church......and instead it downgrades into mere polemical tirades......but I've come to expect no better from Orthodox discussion boards of late, so its not like I should be suprised at all.

Females were ordained as full deaconesses, I think that's clear. See http://www.corpus.org/page.cfm?Web_ID=510 . The Council of Chalcedon says:
Council of Chalcedon (452 AD) Canon 15 (From Greek text in Harduin II,
1714, cols 607-08):

     "A deaconess is not to be ordained ["cheirotoneisthai"] before
     the age of forty and this with diligent examination.But if she
     received the imposition of hands and for some period stayed in
     the ministry, she gives herself to marriage, she has scorned the
     grace of God. Such a one is to be anathematized along with the
     one joined to her."

Then this raises the question: are sub-deacons and readers ordained? Since these orders do not, usually, require the presence of a bishop, is it safe to assume that their "ordination" is of a different kind? So that the ordination which Chalcedon speak of here for deaconesses, and the ordination given to male deacons and priest and bishop is different from that which is given to sub-deacons and readers then why is there even an argument going on about whether female sub-deacons should or should not be "ordained"Huh

And also, why is sub-deaconesses being lower step of full deaconesses bad ecclesiology? Last time I checked a lot of males I knew were on the "3-year program". 1 year as sub-deacon, 1 year as full deacon, and then at the 3rd year as priest. This seems to be pretty standard. Is this, then, bad ecclesiology too? Let's say a female becomes Orthodox (example could be me or any other cradle or convert female, doesn't matter), she spends a few years just going to church faithfully, she then gets involved more, joining the choir and getting on the list for making the prosphora. During this time her husband becomes a reader, then a sub-deacon. She learns how to chant too, and she goes to the priest to ask to read in church, he examines her, her abilites, motivations, pureness of mind, etc., she gets his approval and one sunday she is presented to the church as a new reader, the church accepts her, knowing her to be of good character and spiritual uprightness, the priest blesses her as a reader. She get more and more assignments from the priest, first reading the hours before liturgy, then epistle readings. She figures out the choir isn't really her thing, the choir director is always asking her to read instead of singing, she gets the hint. Now when she isn't reading she notices other things in the church which need to be done during the service, the door to be baby room gets left open frequently and many children just go in there to wrestle eachother during the service and end up hurting eachother, she tells her husband after church and he says "I can't do anything, I have to help the priest at the altar, we're hurting to get everything done as it is, next week you take care of it, you are a Reader after all, they should listen to you." The next week she watches the door closely, and makes sure it is closed and that children are not misbehaving. When she does that she notices that there is a group of teenage girls hanging out in the foyer, just talking, she talks to them and discovers that they aren't in the liturgy because they just don't see the point of it all. She listens and tries to explain to them why liturgy is important and convinces them to come in for the rest of the service, some do. Afterwards she gives the girls her email address, and they set up a tenative time to meet to read the Bible together. Later she tells the priest what she did and asks for direction, he promises to pray for her in this and gives her the phone numbers of a few other teenage girls who she can try to contact as well. The next week she also notices that the offerings are not being brought up to the front, her husband, looking very stressed and busy, motions for her to bring it up to the door, she goes and gets it and brings it to her husband. Later she notices that no one is bringing out the table for the wine and antidoron, wait, someone is, a 5-year-old girl is pulling it out by herself. She goes over and help her bring it out, when the deacon brings out the wine and bread she helps the little girl make the table and pour the wine. During the week the priest gets a call from an elderly parishioner complaining that what she was wearing that sunday was "too flashy" and "distracting" for someone reading the epistle and manning the table. She is hurt by this, because she thought what she was wearing was quite modest considering that everything else available in the department stores that season were much more revealing. After discussing this with the priest, they decide that she is to wear a modified cassock on the days which she is a Reader so as not to be a distraction from the message of Scripture. When she wears the cassock she notices that the girls from her Bible study group show up to church more, and give her more respect. When she asks them why they say "well, you're, like, really involved and stuff". She points out to them that she has been "involved and stuff" long before she was given the cassock and they say "yeah, but before when you just read, we thought, well, that you were just reading stuff, because the guy wearing the robe was someplace else". Rolling her eyes she tells this to the priest, he thinks over it, and realizes that when Scripture is read it should be read with honor and respect and with glory, meaning that whoever is reading on Sunday liturgy should also wear the Stikharion, so that everyone knows that the words coming from the mouth of the Reader is full of beauty and light. She is doubtful about this, but agrees to wear it when she does the epistle reading, stepping into the baby room briefly to put it on before she reads and then taking it off again when she is done. Some of the girls in her bible study group try to help her in this. Seeing their eagerness to serve she convinces most of them to join the choir. This goes on for quite a few years, she continues to read prayers and Scripture, she cleans icons from baby drool and purple lipstick, she runs the offerings back and forth when needed, she runs the table for the wine and bread. On days when there is a visiting priest and not enough deacons she jumps in to be the second holder of the communion napkin. Her priest looks at her doubtfully when she does this, but later asks her if she would consider being ordained a sub-deacon, she considers and accepts. The priest ordains her with the stole on Sunday and the congregation, seeing her good service and continuing spiritual character, accepts her. The priest allows her to light the oil lamps on the iconostasis and gives her more prayers to chant, she becomes the spiritual advisor to many more teenage girls and becomes the godmother of quite a few of their babies. More years go on, her husband is now a full deacon, her own children are now nearly grown up and are in good standing in the church. She sees many of those same teenage girls she first found talking out in the foyer become nuns, choir directors, and seminarians, others are Readers themselves. The priest sees all this and asks her if she would consider being ordained a full deaconess. After much prayer she accepts, she is given the full stole and the congregation accepts her with "Axios" having seen her spiritual nourishment of the community over the years. The priest gives her the duty of cleaning the altar area and repairing some of its furnishings. She is also allowed to pray for the names on the offerings at the side table, which happens to be outside of the altar area at this church. She is also given tasks to help the priest for panakedia's and becomes a vital servant on the days when the church celebrates a feast on a mid-week and most of the regular deacons have to be at work.

The above story is hypothetical, but many of the situations are problems are real. Perhaps a lot of people are stuck in complacency, "church goes fine now withou female sub-deacons running around, why change it?" What I'm saying is that church could be so much better with female sub-deacons, that once we have them we'll all sit around saying "how did we ever do church without allowing the women to do what they do now?" The above examples are the ways in which I see female sub-deacons contributing positively to the liturgical and spiritual ministry to the church. Yes, women already do many of the tasks in the story above, but if they are doing them without the guidance of their priest and the acceptance of the congregation then their ministry, sadly, causes more strife and jealousy than spiritual edification. What's more, often when women do their tasks they feel very uncertain about it, "should I be pouring the wine into the cups?? is this someone else's job?? people are staring at me, am I doing something wrong??" are all the thoughts which runs through a woman's head everytime she jumps in to help out, simply because, no, they should not be serving unless the priest and the people ask them to serve. And then you have the opposite problem, women trying to also "jump in to help out" who most emphatically should not be doing so because of their own sin problems and tendency towards pride and jealousy. But because the priest can not control which females "jump in to help out" because none of them are recognized by him as servants, then there is a continual struggle going on.

I wouldn't expect any of you posting here to understand this, becuase you're not female. The only way you can know is to listen to what females have to say and take it seriously. Let's turn it upside down and see if it helps you see things, let's say the church was, traditionally, run by females, female bishops and priests and deacons and so on. But you try not to feel left out, after all, males are people too, just like females. You feel pretty odd though confessing to a priest who is female, after all, you have a lot of male problems, but the priest is special trained (sometimes) to understand you so it's ok. But for spiritual direction, wow, you'd really like someone to explain stuff to you on a male-to-male basis. You look around and, ummm, there's a few males who are allowed to chant prayers every once in a while. And a few guys who make the candles. Maybe you should ask one of them for spiritual guidance. But you're not sure, most of them are so busy with their jobs, it's hard to say which one you should go to. You kinda ask you priest, but she doesn't give you an answer, so now you just go to church and don't do much, you try to have a prayer life, but you're just not sure how to fit it into your work schedule, or even which prayer rule would be the best to follow and then........ I could go on, I'm having fun with this make believe world. But I think you get the point, this is a situation which is wrong and spiritually damaging, yet this is the world which a vast majority of Orthodox females have to deal with every day. All I'm asking for here is to give females a way to serve and grow in the church in a spiritual and liturgical manner which makes them not the best baker of cookies but the best encourager of the spiritual life of 1/2 of the church population. Being recognized as Readers and Subdeacons is a way to accomplish this which does not break any of the traditional rules concerning the place of women in the church. So I really don't know why some insist on turning this issue into a great big polemical problem.
Logged
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2005, 11:44:35 AM »

Because the church has traditionally been run by males...has been doing so for the past 2000 years...has no need to "change" gears and do otherwise...and I don't understand why you feel the need to have recognition for everything you do.  There are many ministries in the church that people do (including males) that earn them no recognition.  Sometimes its work in secret that is most beneficial for the soul.

Maybe you should step back and look at your agenda here.  From my viewpoint it doesn't seem rather godly, seems more along the lines of justifying some agenda you have.  But who am I to judge.

Nevertheless, there are canons (I do not have them handy, perhaps someone can be more specific) that forbid women to be in the altar.
Logged
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2005, 11:50:59 AM »

Quote
Then this raises the question: are sub-deacons and readers ordained? Since these orders do not, usually, require the presence of a bishop, is it safe to assume that their "ordination" is of a different kind? So that the ordination which Chalcedon speak of here for deaconesses, and the ordination given to male deacons and priest and bishop is different from that which is given to sub-deacons and readers then why is there even an argument going on about whether female sub-deacons should or should not be "ordained"

Xaira,
Sub-deacons and Readers ARE minor orders and ARE ordained by the bishop. Those who serve the function in many parishes of 'reader' may or may not be ordained, that is the call of the bishop.
And, once again, the office of "sub-deaconess" does not exist; hence the argument 'for or against ordaining' an office that does not exist is moot, irrelevant.
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,053


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2005, 02:32:43 PM »

I kinda meant this to be an open inquiry into the roles in which females already serve in the church......and instead it downgrades into mere polemical tirades......but I've come to expect no better from Orthodox discussion boards of late, so its not like I should be suprised at all.

And I don't think it should degrate into polemical tirades... which is, thankfully, where we agree.

Females were ordained as full deaconesses, I think that's clear. See http://www.corpus.org/page.cfm?Web_ID=510 .

At this point, I think it would be best to interject something: there is no such thing as "male deacon" or "female deacon," "male priest" or "female priest" or "female subdeacon."  There is no gender specification to any of the orders in the prayers or the ordinations ("make this male..." or "make this female..." isn't present).  Trying to specify "female subdeacon" versus "male subdeacon" asserts two things, that a) equality means sameness, and b) that the two offices are either unequal at present and should be equal,  or are equal at present and should be unequal.  All of the offices of the Church are equal, there is no pyramidal hierarchy (despite the way people treat the Church's orders).  There exists no inequality, so b is false on its face.  And as for a), we've already read St. Paul say you can't have everyone be a prophet or a speaker of tongues or etc... Each person has their own role to serve.  So you can have a deaconess and a deacon, but the two do not serve the same roles; they are equal without being the same.  Therefore the use of the phrases "female deacon" or "male deacon" is an insult to the office (unintentional, I'm sure).

Then this raises the question: are sub-deacons and readers ordained? Since these orders do not, usually, require the presence of a bishop, is it safe to assume that their "ordination" is of a different kind? So that the ordination which Chalcedon speak of here for deaconesses, and the ordination given to male deacons and priest and bishop is different from that which is given to sub-deacons and readers then why is there even an argument going on about whether female sub-deacons should or should not be "ordained"Huh

Everyone in the Church is ordained.  All the laity are ordained through Chrismation, which is a substitute for the laying on of hands of the Bishop invoking the Holy Spirit.  Readers, Cantors, and Subdeacons, amongst other offices that have been disused for so long, are all ordained outside the context of the Divine Liturgy and all done (at present) outside of the Sanctuary.  (I only specify at present to signify that I have no idea where these ordinations would have occured in the past, considering that the Bishop's throne outside the Sanctuary is a remnant of the governor's throne, and wasn't used by the Bishop for half of Christianity's existence).

And, by the way, technically the order of Subdeacon cannot fulfill all its roles without the presence of the Bishop.  After the 4th century, with the explosion in size of the Church, the deacons and subdeacons were allowed to serve with the presbyters in the parishes when the Bishop was absent, but it doesnt negate the fact that both these orders (deacon and subdeacon) are in fact dependent on the Bishop for their function... Here is a place where the deaconess differs, in that her function and role does not depend on the presence of the Bishop in the parish, since her office does not revolve around the bishop.

I'm not going to argue about what kind of ordination was given to deaconesses, but I will say that I have never encountered texts for the ordination of subdeaconesses.  So the argument as to whether or not "female subdeacons" should be ordained is moot: the office doesn't exist.

And also, why is sub-deaconesses being lower step of full deaconesses bad ecclesiology? Last time I checked a lot of males I knew were on the "3-year program". 1 year as sub-deacon, 1 year as full deacon, and then at the 3rd year as priest. This seems to be pretty standard. Is this, then, bad ecclesiology too?

Thinking of the Orders of the Church as a pyramid the way we normally do is bad ecclesiology.  So, to answer your second question, about the so-called "3-year plan," yes it actually is.  People are shuttled through the orders in succession out of both ignorance of the nature of ordination and out of blind obedience to the canons.  The subdeaconate is not a preparation for the deaconate; the deaconate is not a preparation for the priesthood; the priesthood is not a preparation for the episcopacy.  To the contrary, each office has different roles to play than the others, and therefore has nothing to do with one another.

My original statement, though, was directed towards my perception of a possible reasoning behind ordaining subdeaconesses (whether I perceived rightly or wrongly - I didn't mean to put words in your mouth) which would be that "since you need to be a subdeacon before a deacon, its logical that you need to be a subdeaconess before a deaconess" - and it is that thought that I was criticizing.  The idea that one office of the clergy is necessary before another is actually foreign to the ancient Church tradition, and to the ecclesiology behind the orders.  Each of the orders is supposed to represent a different member of the Heavenly Liturgy, with their own roles: the bishop is Christ, the presbyters the Apostles, the deacons are the ministering angels (thrones, cherubim, seraphim, archangels) and the subdeacons the angels.  None of these members of the heavenly Liturgy aspires to be another; each one fits within its own role. 

We do, however, practice succesive ordination for two reasons, at present:

- the first is that the Church has never restricted her pool of choices for each of the ranks of clergy through the exclusion of other ranks; therefore, it has always been possible to chose a presbyter from the deaconate; but there was a point at which the norm was to chose presbyters from the laity; and we have documented cases of bishops being chosen from the laity.  The ordination prayers do not restrict the ordainee's rank as necessary; therefore it is theoretically possible to ordain a layman a bishop in one day.

- the second reason is to safeguard the church by having her overseers (episkopi) and her presbyters prove their dedication to the Church and to have the community approve their worthiness for the offices at which they are needed.  We should be careful, the thought is, and have them prove themselves as deacons before becoming presbyters (and the same for bishops).  This is part of the reason why the succession was provided for in the canons of the Church.  Nowadays, we follow this succession legalistically, forsaking the spirit of the canons for the letter, and thus see people ordained deacons one day and priests the next.

Now, as to your stories:

I am going to respond to part of the concerns with this: my bishop has made women readers, and I agree with him on everything he does, so I agree with him on that, because he has been ordaining people and taking the responsibility on his own soul for these decisions longer than I.

As for "female subdeacons": just because you clean and read and direct and guide does not mean you need to be a subdeacon.  The subdeacon has a role that they serve when the bishop is present; at other times, they are fish out of water.  They have roles that were given to them ("guard the doors" and whatnot), but those actually had their own people in ancient days; the subdeacon assumed those roles as time went on.  Being blessed as a reader is just fine; that's all the "altar boys" (a reprehensible term in my opinion) have, is being blessed as readers.  And the functions, such as holding the communion cloth, can be performed by these.

(As an aside, today in Sacramental Theology we learned that the term we often use for "altar boys" - acolyte - used to be an office that would consist of having a group of boys at the hierarchical liturgy for the region, and each would take a piece of the consecrated bread given to them by the bishop and run - really run - to the other churches of the same diocese that could not have the bishop that day, and give them to the priest to use in the chalice - a visible sign of the unity under the one bishop who is empowered to offer the Liturgical sacrifice).


None of the above is meant to be polemical; but I would like for us to be prayerfully critical (not criticizm) of everything that would constitute a change in sacramental theology or ecclesiology in the Church.  If the proposed changes stand the test of time and of the consciousness of the Church, then the Holy Spirit has done its work.  If not, then they weren't meant to be.
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Tags: deaconess deacons readers subdeacons 
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 »   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.169 seconds with 71 queries.