...for the Holy Coptic Synod is vested with the authority from none other than Christ Himself to either re-apply a certain canon according to their own re-interpretation of it (as Cleveland has himself pointed out more than once in this thread), or even to produce their own canons regardless. WHOA
[/i]. So, in other words, the Coptic Synod is the Vicar of Christ on Earth and whenever they speak it is ex cathedra
and infallible?? Umm, I smell a HUGE problem with that. Honestly
. If this is so then in every point in which the other Orthodox churches do not agree with the Coptic Synod (and there exists more than a few issues) then it would logically follow that the other Orthodox churches do not have the Holy Spirit. Either that or we call the Holy Spirit a hopelessly confused psychopath. Not to mention the fact that if this is the case then the Coptic Orthodox Church will thereby cease to be Traditional and Apostolic, and hence cease to be Orthodox, and become nothing more than the Coptic Church, an organization with as much authority as the nearest Protestant church, the only difference being is that they have some vague sense of being "Egyptian". Have you talked to your bishop about this issue?
So I fail to see your point, for the fact remains that you do not have precedent to support your notion of an ordained sub-deaconess in Coptic practice. Period.
My point, as I believe I made myself absolutly clear when I brought this up, is that there is a growing pracitce of vesting females as epsaltos. If they are not actually blessed
as such then it is the same problem as exists in the EO churches at the moment. But I suppose that neither of us really now the details of this practice since neither of us live in the diocese where it takes place. What I do know, speaking from personal experience
, is that I once, in the presence of a Coptic archbishop, had a tonya put on me and walked in a procession. Make of that what you will.
First of all, neither the Holy Coptic Synod nor His Grace Bishop Mettaous explicitly appealed to the Nicaean canon to justify their decision; I drew the connection myself. In any event, your remarks pertaining to what may possibly or even probably have been the initial intent of that particular canon are irrelevant,
And as I made abundantly clear you applied the canon quite wrongly, which is why I grow more convinced day by day that canons should only be dealt with by either skilled canonists or priests in pastoral issues. And there is no "possibly" or "probably", Canon 19 in full says:
CONCERNING the Paulianists who have flown for refuge to the Catholic Church, it has been decreed that they must by all means be rebaptized; and if any of them who in past time have been numbered among their clergy should be found blameless and without reproach, let them be rebaptized and ordained by the Bishop of the Catholic Church; but if the examination should discover them to be unfit, they ought to be deposed. Likewise in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled among their clergy, let the same form be observed. And we mean by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity.
ANCIENT EPITOME OF CANON XIX.
Paulianists must be rebaptised, and if such as are clergymen seem to be blameless let then, be ordained. If they do not seem to be blameless, let them be deposed. Deaconesses who have been led astray, since they are not sharers of ordination, are to be reckoned among the laity.http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/Canon%20Law/Nicea/CanonsCouncilNiceae.htm#CANON%20XIX
But I wonder why you appealed to the canon anyways, since you obviously believe that such canons are irrelevent because the only infallible statements come from the Coptic Synod, the only source on all truth.
You do understand the distinction between the royal priesthood and the ministerial priesthood don’t you? The only orders recognised by the Coptic Church as those pertaining to the ministerial priesthood are: Deacon (as opposed to deaconess), Presbyter, and Bishop. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III wrote a whole book explaining why the COC does not allow the ordination of females or homosexuals into the priesthood.
There is amply evidence from the early church that deaconesses/female deacons were also a ministerial. The assissted at the baptism of women and distributed the Eucharist to women who couldn't come to church (which in those days likely meant that they touched the Body in some way). Not even Readers can do these things! Let's be clear on what we mean here and not reject facts because of over-generalizations. Having deaconesses be ministerial does not mean that they are a Priest, they never prayed the epiclesis and took little part in the prayers done at the altar, but that fact alone does not mean that they were not "ministerial". The did
minister, and they were fully ordained to that ministry. Hence the statement, "Women were never ordained" is simply not true. A true statement would be "Women were never ordained as priests
". Not that this would seem to matter to you since you believe the Traditional practice of the Christian faith is only very secondary to what a modern meeting of a few bishop in Cairo say.
An EO professor of dogmatics recently uncovered for me the reason why women are not ordained as Readers. This is because in the Book of Needs the ordination service for Readers includes the line,"Child, the first degree of the Priesthood is that of Reader. Therefore it is fitting for you to read every day in the Divine Scriptures...." (The Great Book of Needs
vol. 1, St. Tikhon's Monastery, p. 242). Now, the popular voice on this thread raised a loud cry when my OP implied that higher orders imply lower orders, since the general thought it that each order is self-sufficient to itself and not "stepping-stones". Yet here in the Book of Needs this is exactly what it says! And this is why women aren't ordained as Readers?
The self-same dogmatics professor stated himself that this line is very wrong, himself being "just a Reader" going on 28 years, and that it comes from the same place where we get the "I absolve you" in the absolution of Confession, and that such clericalism should be eradicated completely. Until, however, such is done, it is my suggestion to make a "different" service for the ordination of a female reader, where all is the same except this line is changed to something like "Child, the order of Reader is a service to the Church. Therefore is is fitting for you to read every day in the Divine Scriptures...." This is, likely, closer to the original wording of this service anyways.
I found something interesting on the web the other day, simply as an appendix to a paper, but it raises interesting points which should be given further study:
"Epilogue: Women as Readers and Cantors
Whether in the early Church there were women in the offices of lector or cantor is
(perhaps surprisingly) a subject of some debate. From the point of view of the Orthodox
Church as it is today, in which even the fairly well-known office of deaconess has largely
fallen into disuse, the minor clergy are associated so closely with the major clergy that
one might assume that women were never to be seen serving in the office of reader or
cantor, especially after they came to be understood as set apart offices rather than simply
a ministry by literate laymen.
Apparently the Arabic version of the Canons of the Apostles indicates that lectoral
duties could be performed by women:
In this work, we find the enumeration of deaconesses, subdeaconesses and
lectresses. One and the same person very often performed the offices of
both cantor and lector, as was quite natural in the smaller churches. It is
thus entirely plausible that the lectresses were also cantors (Quasten, 80-
Quasten also notes, however, that “the singing of women in church did not enjoy the
same good favor everywhere. The protests that forbade it became increasingly louder
until such singing ceased completely” (ibid., 81). Patristic literature is replete with the
prohibition against women singing in church, largely, as Quasten points out, due to the
association of women singing with pagan worship and immorality.
Those looking to the ancient record for direct comment on whether women should
be allowed to sing in church today or even to be regarded as readers or cantors will
probably be frustrated if a thorough examination is made. Certainly, one can find many
direct prohibitions on women participating in such roles, but there are also plenty of
witnesses to their participation being considered normal. Aside even from that variety,
the cultural context in which participation or the forbidding thereof no longer exists in
our world. That is, a woman singing is not usually assumed in the modern world to be a
prostitute or pagan priestess.
The question goes much deeper, however, than the relatively surface issue of
whether to permit women to serve in these roles. Even the debate over whether to
tonsure them is fairly meaningless in the light of the traditional understanding of
Orthodox spirituality—that is, it is practical and existential rather than legal and
formalist. (If they are going to serve in these public roles, what existential difference
does it make whether they are tonsured?)
The depth of the question is regarding the nature of the minor orders. Can we
hearken back to the ancient days of the Church and “deformalize” the minor orders,
regarding them essentially as practical offices which serve a functional purpose? After
all, they are not orders instituted directly by Christ or His Apostles, and they certainly
have changed over the years, their duties even being permitted in some places to be
performed by catechumens! A further complication in the Church today is that the order
of cantor is regarded by some as an “official” minor order, while in more chorally focused
traditions, only two minor orders are recognized, subdeacon and reader. Even then, there
are “blessed subdeacons” as distinct from “ordained subdeacons,” with the accompanying
debate as to whether they should be allowed to marry. The other path that may be taken
is to associate the minor orders more closely with the major clergy, which would certainly
thus bar women from their inclusion but may also serve to foster clericalism in the
In any event, the historical and present reality is that, while all Orthodox
Christians agree on what it means to be a bishop, priest, or deacon, the minor orders are
and historically have been much more fluid in their function, understanding, and even
vesting, especially regarding the orders associated with Church music. Perhaps this
question may be raised at the long-awaited great synod of the Orthodox churches, and the
issue of what and who exactly constitutes a reader or cantor could be either universally
decreed or left to the particular tradition of each church. May God grant our hierarchs