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Author Topic: Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church  (Read 187512 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. David
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« Reply #1080 on: September 30, 2007, 11:43:14 PM »

I find it difficult to understand why [Bishop Kallistos'] opinion on this matter should be given such undue weight.

Because he's one of the few (and I mean FEW) out there who even bother to dangle the carrot of *possibility* out there and tantalize those (whether he means to do this or not, I don't know) who *want* this to be open.  The rest, in step w/Metr. PHILIP, know what the Church has said.

Society gets more "progressive" but the Church's active and believing members are turning more traditional.

This is what I see as those who stay in the Church, stay in the Church and keep the traditions.  Those who want more progressive stuff that's out of step with the patristic norm are leaving.

Will we be a smaller Church? Perhaps.

Honestly?  Couldn't care less if it does.  I do have to wonder, though, lubeltri -- how does what you said jibe with your sig of "If this is what it takes to fill our churches, so be it"?  What's the *this* you're referring to?
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« Reply #1081 on: September 30, 2007, 11:46:23 PM »

Quote
Couldn't care less if it does.  I do have to wonder, though, lubeltri -- how does what you said jibe with your sig of "If this is what it takes to fill our churches, so be it"?  What's the *this* you're referring to?

It is somewhat of a legend now among traditional Catholics.  An old guard liberal said that after allowing a Tridentine mass for the first time in decades and it was PACKED. 
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« Reply #1082 on: September 30, 2007, 11:46:46 PM »

Even beyond that, there is essentially no social stigma to not being religious in the developed world.  So a good chunk of the old guard liberals (and their kids) that got fed up at the pace of change are simply gone.  Add to that a low birth rate and a low retention in the faith rate for liberals in the developed world and they are quickly becoming irrelevant.  OTOH, the Catholic population is exploding in the developing world and tends to be very conservative. 

You are right. Gone are the days when you were supposed to go through the motions at church on Sundays for respectability. So they are now free to take up and leave---their baggageless grandkids or great-grandkids will come back (or, in my case, their children!).
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« Reply #1083 on: October 01, 2007, 12:43:18 AM »

And before you laugh or scoff, do you honestly think things are moving in that direction now? The whining of the graying and waning children of the Sixties are falling on deaf ears in the younger generation. They had their chance and failed. Society gets more "progressive" but the Church's active and believing members are turning more traditional. Will we be a smaller Church? Perhaps. But in the future we will be there and ready when the misguided souls start abandoning the modernist/secularist barge in droves when it founders in the black waters. It is taking on ever more filthy water with each passing year.

The fundamentalist wing is already celebrating their victory, but what have they really gained? What changes have been revoked? The tridentine mass was never forbidden, basically they're saying, 'if you can get a large enough group of people who want it together, go ahead, we never said you couldn't...there's just never been enough interest to bother before.' So people will pack churches to see this novel and different mass, for a few months anyway. But the reforms of the last generation still stand, both in Orthodoxy and in Catholicism...certain processes are slowed, but nothing is rolled back, we're holding on to the progress we've made.
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« Reply #1084 on: October 01, 2007, 12:48:37 AM »

Even beyond that, there is essentially no social stigma to not being religious in the developed world.  So a good chunk of the old guard liberals (and their kids) that got fed up at the pace of change are simply gone.  Add to that a low birth rate and a low retention in the faith rate for liberals in the developed world and they are quickly becoming irrelevant.  OTOH, the Catholic population is exploding in the developing world and tends to be very conservative. 

The developing world won't remain developing forever...religion aside, in time they will yield to economic pressure and will become as the west is. The fundamentalists may have found a strategy to put off the inevitable for a while, by outsourcing religion to the third world, but a time will come when not even this will work and when reality must be faced. Of course, this strategy is more viable for the latins who have vast segments of population in the developing world...whereas the majority of Orthodox nations are on the very edge of the developed world and moving quickly in that direction. In a far shorter time we will be compelled to face reality.
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« Reply #1085 on: October 01, 2007, 01:12:10 AM »

In a far shorter time we will be compelled to face reality.
And what is this reality, as you see it?
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« Reply #1086 on: October 01, 2007, 01:19:02 AM »

And what is this reality, as you see it?

That he is no longer "Secret Agent for the Phanar"  but now "Secret Agent for Canterbury"?
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« Reply #1087 on: October 01, 2007, 03:00:15 AM »

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The developing world won't remain developing forever...religion aside, in time they will yield to economic pressure and will become as the west is.

I wouldn't be so certain of that.  I think you and I will both be long dead before we see the real emergence of the developing world - especially the Catholic areas of Africa and Asia.   

Quote
Of course, this strategy is more viable for the latins who have vast segments of population in the developing world...whereas the majority of Orthodox nations are on the very edge of the developed world and moving quickly in that direction. In a far shorter time we will be compelled to face reality.

The Catholic world underwent a full scale transformation because of Vatican II there really wasn't that large of fuss.  OTOH, the Orthodox Church of fame condemned Karadzic's introduction of the heretical letter "j" into the Serbian alphabet, the Greek Church and your beloved Phanar seems nothing short of terrified of simply following orthographical reforms and the Russian church is beating its drum to the basest and most reactionary elements in society.  Remember, I've spent most of my life as a Roman Catholic - I've had many encounters with clergy imports from Africa and Asia.  Almost without fail, they have been far more erudite, educated and progression than European Orthodox clergy.  So while the elites of Eastern Europe are rapidly becoming one with Western European society, the Orthodox church will live on as a curiosity not unlike American snake handlers. 
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« Reply #1088 on: October 01, 2007, 04:37:57 AM »

the best approach is what was done by the Church of Greece, make real steps quietly. Then, given enough time for people to become comfortable with that step and move on.
Exactly. Just as everyone "knows" now that the "Traditional" "Orthodox" way to receive Communion is with a Spoon, (despite the fact that the Canons and the Fathers say otherwise), and the "Traditional" "Orthodox" way to light the Polyeleos is with a light switch. Cheesy
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« Reply #1089 on: October 01, 2007, 07:08:31 AM »

On the use of 'fundamentalist' as an indiscriminate swear word by people like GiC:

Quote
In Christianity, of course, the "F-word" is fundamentalism. It's the cheap slur of "enlightened" and "civilized" religion, used against anyone who insists on any hard limits to theological statements.

The real Fundamentalism is a particular Protestant theological system, and many American preachers commonly associated with it are not in fact fundamentalists, by this strict standard.
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« Reply #1090 on: October 01, 2007, 07:29:43 AM »

On the use of 'fundamentalist' as an indiscriminate swear word by people like GiC.
And the term has also bee discussed in numerous threads on this forum:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12504.0.html
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,5648.0.html
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7831.0.html

And here's a blurb I wrote on the subject in one of those threads over two years ago, and I still stand by it:
"Fundamentalism" in the modern sense of the word, as I understand it, has nothing to do with "the fundamentals of the faith", rather, it is the behaviour of those who lack discernment but believe they posses it. In the case of Orthodox Christianity, we sometimes forget that although the Fathers were firm in their convictions, they also had the gift of discernment.
When we plant a young fruit tree, we tie it to a pole with soft cord (a woman's nylon stocking works well). We don't use wire which will cut into the tree and wound it. Fundamentalism uses wire to do a job that a woman's stocking would do much better and leads to an abundant yeild of good fruit. The Fundamentalist gardener lacks the discernment to see that although a young tree needs to be firmly supported, it is more harmful to use strong, unyeilding methods to acheive this.
An example of the discernment of the Fathers which springs to mind is that of a Hagioritan Father who's gentle demeanour managed to convert a fierce pirate who had attacked the Holy Mountain. The Pirate (an Orthodox Christian) made his confession and was so relieved to hear the words "do not be troubled any more by the evil you have done" after confessing, that he asked to recieve Holy Communion immediatley.. With his gift of discernment, the Father told the ex-pirate to fast every day and come to him to Commune daily for forty days. However, the Father simply administered ordinary, unconsecrated, bread and wine to him each day until the fortieth day when he gave him the Holy Gifts.
What makes a Father a Father is discernment.
When I lack discernment, but believe I am holding to the "fundamentals" of the faith "without compromise", I am in fact filled with ego without knowing it. When this is the case, I act with disrespect towards even my fellow Christians, and a person who is disrespectful lacks humility. I think this is what Paradosis meant by describing one of the symptoms of fundamentalism as a lack of humility. This lack of humility, I think, stems from a lack of discernment, and leads to an even further lack of discernment. A humble person is logical and rational, an arrogant person is illogical and irrational.
If I was living when Christ walked among us, and was one who held to the "fundamentals" of the faith without compromise and wiithout discenment, I would have said that Christ was a heretic and/or a Man of compromise, since one of the fundamentals of the Faith is the Fourth Commandment of the Decalogue which came directly from God- to keep the Sabbath Holy by resting, yet He allowed his disciples to reap grain on the Sabbath and said "the Sabbath was made for man's sake, man was not made for the Sabbath". Surely I couldn't be accused of "legalism" in this scenario, since the Law is obvious and indisputable to everyone- God Commanded us to rest on the Sabbath- I am simply keeping the Commandment of God as my forefathers have. The problem is, of course, that I lack the discernment Christ has, and I do not accept His discernment.
A person who lacks discernment cannot see that in the example of the Hagiorite Father and the repentant Pirate above, the blessed Father gently and wisely prepared the ex-Pirate for Holy Communion and tended his soul. Instead, they would simply see this as a wicked deception. Both the Hagiorite Father and his undiscerning critics are holding to the fundamentals of Holy Tradition, but the Father is doing it with discernment, whereas the critics are holding to the fundamentals without discernment, so I think the title "Fundamentalist" is quite fitting- in that they hold the "fundamentals" and nothing else, leaving no room for the Gift of discernment.
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« Reply #1091 on: October 01, 2007, 11:39:07 AM »

On the use of 'fundamentalist' as an indiscriminate swear word by people like GiC:

I am well aware of the history of doctrine. But I am also familiar with the history and evolution of the English language, I'm sure I could compile a rather long list of words that carried one connotation a couple centuries ago and today carry a fundamentally different one. Often both the new and old uses of the word can both be used, at times modern usage has nearly completely eclipsed the traditional use. Heck, I'm sure I'm one of the few people in the anglophone world who still uses the word 'awful' in a positive sense. Wink
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« Reply #1092 on: June 30, 2008, 09:43:47 AM »

Goodmorning to everybody. I beg your pardon for my English. I'm an Italian citizen, born Roman Catholic, who am deciding for conversion to the Orthodox Church. I'm studying a lot about the true Church of Christ and I'd like to show my point of view on this topic.
I spent my first years wondering if it were just that God excluded women from the Holy Orders. That lead me temporarily to appreciate Protestantism (which I later rejected because of its lack of Tradition, unity and Apostolic Succession), then I was attracted by Old Catholicism (Utrajectine tradition). But when I had the occasion, on this year's Pascha, to listen to a Russian Divine Liturgy, I was finally driven to a new understanding of religion. I was already taking some information on Orthodoxy as I'm studying Russian language and culture at University, but now I finally came to a conclusion on this point which, at least up to some months ago, forbade me to convert.

In my opinion, there's no real *sacramental* reason to forbid the Holy Orders to women; but Canon Law is more important. Why? Because if every single Orthodox Church could "choose" to freely introduce women ordinations, chaos would reign and Orthodoxy would be destroyed. It is more or less the same that happened with the Schism with the Latin Church: when the Papists began to change things without an explicit consent of the other Patriarchs and bishops, a Schism was inevitable.
I always pick Saint Vincent of Lerins' criteria for Catholicity as my belief: a doctrine must be shared by all, at any time at everywhere to be truly Catholic. But as we can see, many "Catholic Churches" like Romans, Anglicans or Old Catholics have voluntarily violated the ancient Canons expressed in the Oecumenical Councils. While Local Synods cannot pretend a universal recognition (especially as what Canon Law is concerned), Oecumenical Councils must be respected by all Christians. As many "separate brethren" (sometimes I abhorre this expression) in Anglicanism and Old Catholicism introduce female bishops, presbyters and deacons but the Orthodox and Roman Catholics don't, it is clear that there's no real consent over the issue. What is common? Obviously male ordinations. What is uncertain? Female priesthood. What shall we profess? What is common, i.e. male ordinations. Only a TRUE Oecumenical Council, with representatives charged by all Catholic traditions could change this!

Another aspect I'd like to underline is that in Southern Italy, under Gelasis Pope of Rome, there were Orthodox bishops who ordered female priests. How to judge this? I think they began ordaining women by oikonomia, but the practice at those time had become so usual that even Gelasius could'nt respect, in fact in the Orthodox Church akrivia should be the rule, and oikonomia the exception to be practiced by imminent danger or necessity. A lack of ministers allowed those bishops to intervene with the ordination of female priesthoods until they exchanged that for a licit and ordinary practice.

In conclusion, I think that a duty for Orthodoxy is to preserve the Canons unchanged. If unity could one day be possible, then women priest could be an obstacle. Better stay firmly united in our common faith and WAIT: if the Holy Spirit would like to have female ministers, he will choose and tell it in a validly established Oecumenical Council. The Orthodox Church, on the other side, should work to restore Minor Orders to women, especially to increase the duties of deaconesses and open to the institution of altar girls (girls have no apparent impurity due to menstruation!). I thank you for your attention.

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #1093 on: June 30, 2008, 11:19:28 AM »

Welcome, Alex! Your English is very good.

Southern Italy is an interesting place for Catholic-Orthodox relations, and we have many on this forum who are Italian or of Italian descent. Your perspective will be very much appreciated.
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« Reply #1094 on: June 30, 2008, 12:40:00 PM »

Thank you! To tell the truth, I'm from Northern Italy, in Bergamo, the town where died one of the most beloved Italian saints, named like me Alexander. He was martyred in the very first centuries of Christendom in Italy and belonged to the Theban Legion.
Recently the Orthodox Church has begun to develop very well in Italy. The Patriachate of Bulgaria has founded a local Church trying to unify (but not absorb) the other traditions, and Bergamo is a well-established see for Russian Orthodox Churches thanks to immigration from Russia. I think this is another sign of the times as the Orthodox Church attracts more and more people: once again Traditions win over indiscriminate reformations, even here where Roman Catholicism is more or less an official religion.
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« Reply #1095 on: June 30, 2008, 01:21:47 PM »

Good to hear! Italians have long been Orthodox, and it's good to see some of them returning to their roots.

In addition, these threads might be of interest to you:

Pilgrams from Italy

St. Nicholas Church in Bari, Italy, given to MP

Most of our discussion of Italy involves politics, though, which here has its own private, by-request-only forum, so I haven't listed those threads. If you would like to join in some of the political discussion of Italy, you can PM our administrator, FrChris, and ask him to give you access. Otherwise, the non-political, religious discussion of Italy is in the public fora, which you already have access to. Enjoy!
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« Reply #1096 on: June 30, 2008, 02:34:31 PM »

Thank you for your suggestion! Just did it!

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #1097 on: June 30, 2008, 05:30:39 PM »

Is Metropolitan Kallistos' article on the ordination of women online?  I read it from a book, and it was thought-provoking indeed.

I have a question, perhaps new perspectives and questions.  Has there been a history in the Orthodox Church in having female spiritual advisers, not necessarily "mothers of confession" (even though we know priests don't only forgive sins but can also act as spiritual advisers)?

Another question:  Could we possibly have this question emerge mostly in the West not because of culture of women and leadership (though this might be a factor) but the idea that all priests should be celibate? (after all, a priest's wife in the Greek churches is literally called a "priestess." Would such a lack force debate on the issue?)  Could it be lack of women involvement and empowerment in the Church that also bring up these questions?

And also, when one separates liturgical roles from extra-liturgical roles, can one compare the idea of male-only priesthood to water-only baptism, that all restrictions in liturgical roles are not necessarily roles that extend to life outside the liturgy and sacraments (for example that all people are according to Revelations "priests and kings" but not necessarily so in the liturgy).

God bless.
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« Reply #1098 on: June 30, 2008, 11:43:11 PM »

I had thought that the ordination of women to the priesthood was not allowed in the Orthodox Church, but perhaps there is the possibility in a few Eastern Churches of an exception for a female diaconate. However, I would venture a wild guess that if the Orthodox Church were to permit the ordination of women in the future, then the RCC would follow and allow it also.
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« Reply #1099 on: June 30, 2008, 11:54:10 PM »

I had thought that the ordination of women to the priesthood was not allowed in the Orthodox Church, but perhaps there is the possibility in a few Eastern Churches of an exception for a female diaconate. However, I would venture a wild guess that if the Orthodox Church were to permit the ordination of women in the future, then the RCC would follow and allow it also.

RCC already has lay women distributing the Eucharist.  I don't know how that is sacramentally allowable.

Ordaining Women to anything would amount to anathema - No precedent in Scriptures; No precedent in Holy Tradition.  The concept of deaconesses is akin to Social Services for women back in the ancient times.
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« Reply #1100 on: July 01, 2008, 12:14:31 AM »

Ordaining Women to anything would amount to anathema - No precedent in Scriptures; No precedent in Holy Tradition.  The concept of deaconesses is akin to Social Services for women back in the ancient times.

I have to disagree with this.  There is quite a lot of good evidence to show that there were female deacons.
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« Reply #1101 on: July 01, 2008, 12:18:56 AM »

While I'm not Orthodox, I have to say... I'm looking to join the ORTHODOX Church, which has PRESERVED THE APOSTOLIC TRADITION... I'm not looking to join the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church, a Baptist Church, a Charismatic Church, an Anglican church, or anything...

I chose the Orthodox Church because it is Orthodox, and it has preserved the Apostolic Tradition... Allowing the ordination of women and other things would simply be killing off the tradition of the church that has otherwise been preserved for so long.
I don't want to join and then find out what I believed was the True Church and find out it's just a mock "True" Christian church like all the others. If there is no True Church, then my faith is in vain.

However, thank the Lord that it is the True Church, and there will be never any destruction of the Apostolic Tradition.
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« Reply #1102 on: July 01, 2008, 12:33:18 AM »

I have to disagree with this.  There is quite a lot of good evidence to show that there were female deacons.

I realize that the subject has been beaten to death.  As stated, the only mention of female deaconesses in the Epistles were those who tended to menstruating women, dressed women, took care of infants and children, visited households akin to modern Social Services, etc.

So, a lay woman distributing the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church is perfectly canonical?   Huh

If the Orthodox wish to emulate the Anglicans and ordain women to Holy Orders, I might as well receive Communion in a Catholic Church.  After all, believing in God is all the same.   Angry  The Virgin Mary saw the water being turned to wine at Cana; I never read any Holy Father nor any Holy Tradition stating that the Virgin Mary blessed and distributed the bread and wine and said that these were her Son.   Huh
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« Reply #1103 on: July 01, 2008, 12:51:31 AM »

As of 40 years ago, Women weren't elected to Parish Councils never mind serve as Presidents.  So, if one gender anachronism (e.g. women keeping silent in Church) was shattered, why not shatter the rest of them?

Do the female graduates of Seminaries need jobs so bad that they must be ordained as deaconesses because they have the "requisite" education completed?  I think HCHC graduated about 15-20 women in both Divinity and Undergrad Programs according to June 2008 Orthodox Observer.  I don't know about female graduates from St. Tikhon's nor St. Vladimir's.

Why haven't nuns and other female monastics asked for Holy Orders?  What has changed?
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« Reply #1104 on: July 01, 2008, 02:49:48 AM »

RCC already has lay women distributing the Eucharist.  I don't know how that is sacramentally allowable.

Ordaining Women to anything would amount to anathema - No precedent in Scriptures; No precedent in Holy Tradition.  The concept of deaconesses is akin to Social Services for women back in the ancient times.

Grab a copy of the Rudder.  It would disagree with your armchair declaration of anathema.
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« Reply #1105 on: July 01, 2008, 07:37:05 AM »

While I'm not Orthodox yet, I would have to say it'd pretty much be IMO apostasy, blasphemy, heresy or would equal anathema to allow women into the priesthood. At least in Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #1106 on: July 01, 2008, 08:35:14 AM »

Fortunately, there's nothing to worry about. It won't happen. The only time I ever hear this talked about is on the Internet. We have much more important things to worry about right now.
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« Reply #1107 on: July 01, 2008, 12:45:17 PM »

Quote
The only time I ever hear this talked about is on the Internet.

Here's a thread where I mentioned a book which discusses the issue. I'm not sure how much time Met. Kallistos spends online talking about it. Cheesy


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We have much more important things to worry about right now.

True that.
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« Reply #1108 on: July 01, 2008, 12:45:52 PM »

Grab a copy of the Rudder.  It would disagree with your armchair declaration of anathema.

I have read the Rudder online.  The anathemas would stand if a Woman were Ordained to the Holy Priesthood or higher like the Anglicans, Protestants and others who have gone down that road.  Reinstating the ancient deaconess wouldn't give me a heart attack - just something I would have to get used to.   Smiley

After 1100 posts, no one can agree as to what a deaconess did in the Early Church.  So, using a review written by Marilyn Rouvelas, here is a sample of what women deaconesses did?

Presvytera Valerie Zahirsky presents the life of St. Olympias (361- 419?) in the context of the Orthodox Christian practice of deaconess. For a long period of time qualified women were ordained to the diaconate in the Orthodox Church. They served by helping with baptisms and funerals, educating others about the faith and ministering to the sick.

Note, no distribution of the Eucharist.
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« Reply #1109 on: July 01, 2008, 01:23:33 PM »

So, a lay woman distributing the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church is perfectly canonical?   Huh

Mods, please think about locking this thread because others have commented that there are more things to discuss and the topic has thoroughly been exhausted with over 1100 posts and no interest in resuming debate on potentially new valid reasons to ordain deaconesses.
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« Reply #1110 on: July 01, 2008, 02:15:40 PM »

Mods, please think about locking this thread because others have commented that there are more things to discuss and the topic has thoroughly been exhausted with over 1100 posts and no interest in resuming debate on potentially new valid reasons to ordain deaconesses.

I engaged in this debate quite a bit.  If my memory serves well, the questions I just asked are fairly new in my opinion.
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« Reply #1111 on: July 01, 2008, 03:09:04 PM »

I engaged in this debate quite a bit.  If my memory serves well, the questions I just asked are fairly new in my opinion.

No one has commented on them, so far.... 
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« Reply #1112 on: July 01, 2008, 03:24:43 PM »

OK, here's a comment: The Church of Greece is re-instituting (or discussing doing so) the office of deaconess. I see no problem with that and note it is NOT a liturgical office.
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« Reply #1113 on: July 01, 2008, 04:23:01 PM »

OK, here's a comment: The Church of Greece is re-instituting (or discussing doing so) the office of deaconess. I see no problem with that and note it is NOT a liturgical office.
What will be the duties and responsibilities of a Greek Orthodox deaconess?
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« Reply #1114 on: July 01, 2008, 05:51:15 PM »

No one has commented on them, so far.... 

True, but locking a thread would prevent someone in the future from actually commenting on them.
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« Reply #1115 on: July 01, 2008, 05:59:26 PM »

True, but locking a thread would prevent someone in the future from actually commenting on them.

Yes, I made the suggestion given the sheer number of posts and lack of consistent discussion on the subject.   Smiley
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« Reply #1116 on: July 01, 2008, 08:45:15 PM »

I realize that the subject has been beaten to death.  As stated, the only mention of female deaconesses in the Epistles were those who tended to menstruating women, dressed women, took care of infants and children, visited households akin to modern Social Services, etc.

So, a lay woman distributing the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church is perfectly canonical?   Huh

If the Orthodox wish to emulate the Anglicans and ordain women to Holy Orders, I might as well receive Communion in a Catholic Church.  After all, believing in God is all the same.   Angry  The Virgin Mary saw the water being turned to wine at Cana; I never read any Holy Father nor any Holy Tradition stating that the Virgin Mary blessed and distributed the bread and wine and said that these were her Son.   Huh


Sheesh, would you please just relax.  I am not advocating that women distribute communion.  I am not for the ordination of female priests. 

You said in your original argument that there was no precedent in Scripture or Holy Tradition for ordaining female deacons.  You may or may not be right on the scriptural side of things, but clearly there were female deacons on large scale in some parts of the Eastern Church in the first millenium, even on a very small scale up until about 1200 or so.  Your contention that there is no precedent for their presence as far as Holy Tradition is concerned is bogus. There is good evidence to show that they were ordained at the altar, in a manner similar to (but by no means identical to) male deacons. So  they probably  were deacons, not a kind of subdeacon as some have supposed, and hence members of the "major" order of deacon, just like their male counterparts.  However, as has already been pointed out, their liturgical role appears to have been  minimal or non-existant.   They appeared to have had a special social ministry with women and a role in baptising women, for the sake of modesty. 

I see that you even admit that there were female deacons.  So why did you say words to the effect that "there is no precedent in Tradition" for female deacons?  Huh
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« Reply #1117 on: July 01, 2008, 11:51:57 PM »

Sheesh, would you please just relax.  I am not advocating that women distribute communion.  I am not for the ordination of female priests.

OK, I was frustrated.  I'm cool.   Cool 

You said in your original argument that there was no precedent in Scripture or Holy Tradition for ordaining female deacons.  You may or may not be right on the scriptural side of things, but clearly there were female deacons on large scale in some parts of the Eastern Church in the first millenium, even on a very small scale up until about 1200 or so.  Your contention that there is no precedent for their presence as far as Holy Tradition is concerned is bogus. There is good evidence to show that they were ordained at the altar, in a manner similar to (but by no means identical to) male deacons. So  they probably  were deacons, not a kind of subdeacon as some have supposed, and hence members of the "major" order of deacon, just like their male counterparts.  However, as has already been pointed out, their liturgical role appears to have been  minimal or non-existant.   They appeared to have had a special social ministry with women and a role in baptising women, for the sake of modesty.

Brother, May God Bless You for pointing out what I said earlier was bogus.   Wink  I was attacking the idea of Ordaining Women as Priests and Bishops and citing that Holy Tradition did not have examples of women acting in these clerical roles.  If the Orthodox started ordaining women to the priesthood, I threw down the anathemas.   Smiley

I see that you even admit that there were female deacons.  So why did you say words to the effect that "there is no precedent in Tradition" for female deacons?  Huh

My heated point was that there was no precedent in Holy Tradition for female priests and I cited the hypothetical example of the Virgin Mary distributing Communion in a clerical role.  Forgive me for not being more specific....   Cheesy
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« Reply #1118 on: July 02, 2008, 01:05:33 AM »

OK, I was frustrated.  I'm cool.   Cool 

Brother, May God Bless You for pointing out what I said earlier was bogus.   Wink  I was attacking the idea of Ordaining Women as Priests and Bishops and citing that Holy Tradition did not have examples of women acting in these clerical roles.  If the Orthodox started ordaining women to the priesthood, I threw down the anathemas.   Smiley

My heated point was that there was no precedent in Holy Tradition for female priests and I cited the hypothetical example of the Virgin Mary distributing Communion in a clerical role.  Forgive me for not being more specific....   Cheesy

Thanks for clarifying your position.  I'm sorry if I was frustrated or surly too.  Smiley
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« Reply #1119 on: July 02, 2008, 01:14:09 AM »

Thanks for clarifying your position.  I'm sorry if I was frustrated or surly too.  Smiley

Apology accepted and all is well, as usual.   Wink  Would you consider closing the thread since it's been pretty much beaten to death?  Maybe give a warning like the thread on EO's being banned from Catholic forum or something like that?
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« Reply #1120 on: July 02, 2008, 02:34:16 AM »

Yes, I made the suggestion given the sheer number of posts and lack of consistent discussion on the subject.   Smiley

 Sad
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« Reply #1121 on: July 03, 2008, 12:47:51 AM »

Apology accepted and all is well, as usual.   Wink  Would you consider closing the thread since it's been pretty much beaten to death?  Maybe give a warning like the thread on EO's being banned from Catholic forum or something like that?

I don't know....it's an interesting topic for discussion.  I would have to look over the thread a bit more when I have a little more time.  It seems that Minasoliman still wants to talk about it, so I'm not sure.
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« Reply #1122 on: July 03, 2008, 01:04:57 PM »

Is Metropolitan Kallistos' article on the ordination of women online?  I read it from a book, and it was thought-provoking indeed.

Bishop Kallistos' gave an interview with the Antiochian Women's auxillary, The Order of St. Nina, where some items regarding the role of women were discussed:

Link to Interview with St. Nina's.

I have a question, perhaps new perspectives and questions.  Has there been a history in the Orthodox Church in having female spiritual advisers, not necessarily "mothers of confession" (even though we know priests don't only forgive sins but can also act as spiritual advisers)?

Unless one happens to be a lay youth adviser, I would say no.

Another question:  Could we possibly have this question emerge mostly in the West not because of culture of women and leadership (though this might be a factor) but the idea that all priests should be celibate? (after all, a priest's wife in the Greek churches is literally called a "priestess." Would such a lack force debate on the issue?)  Could it be lack of women involvement and empowerment in the Church that also bring up these questions?

If we are to believe that Christ fulfilled the Old Testament Prophecies and that nothing is to be added or subtracted from the Orthodox praxis, then changing how women are treated in the Church would be a deviation from the Orthodox praxis.  In the above interview, Bishop Kallistos comments about why men aren't purified at the 40 Day Blessing along with the woman.  In the context of those words, one has a difficult time discerning if Bishop Kallistos was being serious or sarcastic.

And also, when one separates liturgical roles from extra-liturgical roles, can one compare the idea of male-only priesthood to water-only baptism, that all restrictions in liturgical roles are not necessarily roles that extend to life outside the liturgy and sacraments (for example that all people are according to Revelations "priests and kings" but not necessarily so in the liturgy).

Back to Orthodox praxis, Christ was baptized in water and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a Dove.  The Church has made some modifications out of Economia like allowing Baptism with sand if there's no source of water or oil nearby only if the person is near death and is expected to die.  Revelations refers to all righteous people being "priests and kings" in the presence of the Lamb, Christ Himself.  We are not "priests and kings" in this secular world at this moment.
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« Reply #1123 on: July 03, 2008, 05:22:46 PM »

Bishop Kallistos' gave an interview with the Antiochian Women's auxillary, The Order of St. Nina, where some items regarding the role of women were discussed:

Link to Interview with St. Nina's.

Unless one happens to be a lay youth adviser, I would say no.

If we are to believe that Christ fulfilled the Old Testament Prophecies and that nothing is to be added or subtracted from the Orthodox praxis, then changing how women are treated in the Church would be a deviation from the Orthodox praxis.  In the above interview, Bishop Kallistos comments about why men aren't purified at the 40 Day Blessing along with the woman.  In the context of those words, one has a difficult time discerning if Bishop Kallistos was being serious or sarcastic.

Back to Orthodox praxis, Christ was baptized in water and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a Dove.  The Church has made some modifications out of Economia like allowing Baptism with sand if there's no source of water or oil nearby only if the person is near death and is expected to die.  Revelations refers to all righteous people being "priests and kings" in the presence of the Lamb, Christ Himself.  We are not "priests and kings" in this secular world at this moment.

I Read this interview.

It made me see how far we have come in the Orthodox Church and the life of "orthodoxy" over the last 2000 or so years.

It is strictly my opinion that the interview was inappropriate and disrespectful to Bishop Kallistos. In a few areas he seemed rather uncomfortable as if on the defensive. He even used 'ignorance' as his reason for not having an answer in a few cases.

The interviewer noted the judaic or hebraic elements that may be behind certain 'orthodox christian traditions. Bishop Kallistos as should most orthodox christians know that the Church of Christ is first Holy, then Universal (catholic if you like), and Apostolic in the Lord Jesus the true Messiah or as we say "Christ". This basic fact of orthodoxy reads plainly that we are certainly keeping with many so-called "judaic" and "hebraic" elements since we know that the Apostle preached the Gosple of Christ using the Torah (or old testament). They did not have the benefit of what we call the new testament today in book form to use as a reference. The very words they used to teach with at the time were being inpired by God through the Holy Spirit and became the books of the new Testament. Thus the words of the new Testament are older than the book itself. Bishop Kallistos seemed rather agreable when the interviewer noted these elements as if the point she was making may be a point to consider....A point to consider?

I feel very sad for us orthodox today.

The issue of women not having enough to do in "the church" is to me more secular and socio-economic than real spiritual need, denial or lack thereof. Seems the idea is that "if women can be president of the USA (which they may) than why not have this hope be real in their religious faith....maybe they can also be bishops and archbishops"?

Women have a full plate already in Gods true Church.

The Alter is not a place to 'thirst to be' it is holy and rightious. We are called by God to stand in its midst. There is no tradtion of women serving God in the Holies or the Holy of Holies. Women are very prominant in 'serving' God and and His Church on earth in very important ways. All aspects of our lives are "in-the -church". What part of our lives are outside the church? I hope the answer is 'no part'.

Women are given full blessing by God to serve in her 'nature'. Women are allowed to pray with their heads covered just by virtue of her being a women. A man MUST be ordained at the highest level for deacon and beyond before he is allowed to pray with his head covered. A man is not granted this by virtue but by strict order; as we say 'holy order'. I often watched my wife prepare for prayer. I used to wonder what her ritual must be like. I finally learned once I became a deacon.

The orthodox women is a symbol of the new Eve; the mother of us all.

The orthodox women is the symbol of the mother of God who served the Lord first by bearing all things and interceding as a faithful mother to Him for us all.

The orthodox women is the pride of the Lord Christ the center, protector and keeper of His most important act and gift to mankind which is true love. He kept her (not him) for himself. She is thus pre-ordained and crowned with Glory. She is the blessed alter which holds the blessed sacraments...she is 'The Church'. Christ spoke the truth with regard to her..." I am the Groom and the Church is my bride".

A bride is taken. She has her place.

The Orthodox women is the true symbol of Gods completed work. She is the Sabath day. In the women there is order, descency and rest. Completeness!

Christ while suffering for us all on the cross spoke 'The Seven Words on the Cross'. The Seventh being "It is finished". This is a powerful message to mankind that that He who lives forever died assuring us the comfort of His grace. The women is the finsiher. Adam was not complete without Eve. it was not due to creation but so that it can be manifested in US that we have women. This is not the nature of Adam who was created by God from the soil and breath of life. But the women who became a by product of Adam the first born of the flesh.

There is so much more to this point.

Women are mothers...NOT fathers. This is Gods plan; NOT the plan of men to subvert women. The idea that men are subverting women in the holy church is a trick of satan the devil that this assumption is testing our holy fathers and the holy church in this age.

I hope it is clearer that the women is not less but more for not being required to bare the blessed body and blood. She is part of that which is holy. She is the true mother of us all. The church. The Church is thus served by us through the priest order. The man is 'given' this glorification and it can also be taken away. He gets it since men have no other place by which to serve the church. It is the last positon. She (the church, our mother) is high position; higher than all the holy orders which were established by God to confine the service she (the Church) requires to those who are called and made ready. A bridge that only some men will cross which provides the means of our holy bond with that which is our mother the holy church since she can not serve herself. This does not include all men symbolically or otherwise.

Thus it is an important symbolism regarding women serving in her nature and men serving by permission only (and then only certain men NOT ALL men) through ordaination. This is also represented in Holy Matrimony where the couple become ONE flesh. For us each orthodox marriage is a symbol of the Holy Church which can not be defeated.

I am not explaining this that well but I want us to understand the power of the Holy Church which is mystical but is in perfect order. WE are not always going to know the justification so clearly.

Women has, is and will always be a central element in Gods church. It is not an issue as to whether we should have ordained women. The issue really is that it is not necessary at all. Each grape has a distinct color and flavor but all work together to form a perfect bouque. The grape is not credited with this perfection. The vine is.

I am saying that the Church whole and orthodox in peace is what matters. At the end of the day let us have strived with each other so that we leave our fathers house in order when he returns just the way He left it. He is the vine.

It is sad that we are confused today.

Our lives, our thinking and perspective is not holy and orthodox anymore. Thus is why many may not see my point.

Many of our most important representation of the Holy Church 'our women' read Cosmo. These programs are symbols of life in the world today particularly in America and much of the west.

The examples I shared can not be truely understood by persons who are in ways liberal, mainstream or secular in thier thinking and views. My points are trying to encourage us to think 'holy' orthodoxy. We can not do this with our minds out of sinct with the holy way of life lived by the generations long gone before us.

Women have so much to do in the holy church and always have. Women have to want to keep and preseve the great gifts and talents bestowed on her. Wear your crown proudly with joy. That is what the head covering is. Not some degrading act of dismissal or contempt for you. This view is a bad joke, a trick. Live Holy and keep to prayer. Be an example of the the great and holy church in all your ways which come to you by nature. This will be hard wearing see through pants and leaving lip stick on the consecrated Icon, bibles etc not to mention adding 'llipstick' and other facial make-up to the Holy Qurban while partaking. I am not saying this is the case with all women but so many keep a very loose appearance and way of life (missing the greatness she pocesses). As well as men of course. But the issue here is the women who I already stated are the blessed among the blessed in a matter of speaking. This should follow in lifestyle. Orthodox women are dignified by her holy nature and love of God.

Orthodox women are not fashioon models niether walk around in provocative clothing. But modest servants of the church. Intelligent, edcuated, strong, holy, virtuous, humble, set aside from the frivilousness of this world.

Aquiring the above noted is work indeed. Especailly in American and the west. But this is good work that will help to increase the glow of the light of holy church and add salt to its flavor.

Let us not let the world trick us orthodox into thinking that we are lost and have not the way.

WE have the way....Thank God!

Selaam
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« Reply #1124 on: July 05, 2008, 02:48:28 AM »

Bishop Kallistos' gave an interview with the Antiochian Women's auxillary, The Order of St. Nina, where some items regarding the role of women were discussed:

Link to Interview with St. Nina's.

I was talking about the article featured in this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Women-Priesthood-Thomas-Hopko/dp/0881411469

Quote
Unless one happens to be a lay youth adviser, I would say no.

That would be strange.  It would seem that deaconesses held such an important role for females in the ancient Church that it might have been possible.  I've also read in some article about this Orthodox man who had a nun as a spiritual adviser.  I would assume the idea of a "godmother" or "godfather" had some roots in choosing your primary spiritual adviser.

Quote
If we are to believe that Christ fulfilled the Old Testament Prophecies and that nothing is to be added or subtracted from the Orthodox praxis, then changing how women are treated in the Church would be a deviation from the Orthodox praxis.  In the above interview, Bishop Kallistos comments about why men aren't purified at the 40 Day Blessing along with the woman.  In the context of those words, one has a difficult time discerning if Bishop Kallistos was being serious or sarcastic.

The reason I asked is because the question of ordination of women doesn't come up in the Orthodox Church.  Women seem to be content with the idea of a male-only priesthood.  The question only comes up in Western Apostolic churches where priests are celibate or where literalistic approach of the Bible historically have put women as a "subhuman" category.

Quote
Back to Orthodox praxis, Christ was baptized in water and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a Dove.  The Church has made some modifications out of Economia like allowing Baptism with sand if there's no source of water or oil nearby only if the person is near death and is expected to die.  Revelations refers to all righteous people being "priests and kings" in the presence of the Lamb, Christ Himself.  We are not "priests and kings" in this secular world at this moment.

This is where my question gets interesting.  First, it comes to a surprise about the idea that sand was used to baptize people when water wasn't available.  I never knew that, but I would like to look more into that.  Second, I thought maybe there should be a certain consistency in our liturgical practices, a strictness that echoes that of the "traditionalist" churches, maybe not to the point of dogma.  It seemed to me that the early church canons were written for that purpose, to keep order and consistency in liturgical and spiritual practices.  If we allow maybe a slight "exception" to the rule, it would seem to me there can be exceptions to any rule where necessary.  If you read this thread early on, some exceptions include women entering the sanctuary for cleaning purposes, and giving the Eucharist to women.

So is there a line to be drawn on exceptions?  I mean sure I used to think that anything other than water was where the line was drawn until you mentioned sand.  So perhaps, the question should be, "How exactly should we treat liturgical canons and practices?  What should we do if the tools necessary for a certain mystery were not available, like water for baptism or wine for the Eucharist?  How does this relate to what "matters" to God?  Does it matter for the Trinity if you used other means?  Why or why not?" (someone suggested to me that the answer might lie in St. Ignatius of Antioch's letters, where he talks about roles in the liturgy and the priesthood)

If you read the article by HE Metropolitan Kallistos Ware that I showed you, he doesn't necessarily advocate a position, but he does prepare you for the questions that may come in the future if it plagues the Orthodox Church one day.  And these questions are very thought-provoking.

And I am personally not advocating a position either (actually I tend to advocate a male-only priesthood, but there are questions I wish I can address and be answered).  I'm simply extending the discussion to a certain level that I don't think was discussed before.  Sorry for those who feel I've resurrected something they're personally tired of (truthfully, this comes up again with me because of a recent debate I had with my sister).

God bless.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2008, 02:51:13 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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