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Author Topic: Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church  (Read 168637 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. David
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« Reply #315 on: May 04, 2006, 11:38:36 AM »

The problem I think is that some people on this thread assume I am pushing for women's ordination, so rather than looking at what is said, it is immediately dismissed and assumed that the opposite must be true.

Well, I would hope that I hadn't been that "jumpy," but perhaps I was.  If I was, George, forgive me.  I did catch all those times when you said, "Let's just LOOK at it."

Quote
I've said from the start: I know that the Church from the beginning to the present has not ordained women to the Priesthood or Episcopy. However, I don't know whether a male-only priesthood is dogma or not. And the arguments that people use to say it is dogma I find questionable, not  because they are a hinderance to women's ordination, but because I think they are a distortion of Orthodox doctrine.

Well, this, I think, will be my last post on this subject (unless the dialogue takes a different turn of sorts), but the issues for me seem to be this:

1) St. Paul states explicitly that women are not to teach or hold authority over men within the Church, and gives theological reasons for it: The Father as the head of Christ, Christ as the head of man, man as the head of woman.  To discount the theological reasonings of an Apostle as cultural bias (as some have done, both within and without the Orthodox Church) is to open the door for discounting any and all other such theological reasonings.

2) Fathers since the beginning, have maintained this tradition (for one reason or another).  As has been mentioned, St. Ignatius said (I'm obviously paraphrasing) that a parish's willingness to obey the bishop was the same as obeying Christ...the bishop's office as parish president quickly evolved into one of diocese president, with "presbyter" becoming a separate term for those clergy under him.  This equalling the bishop and/or those there in his stead as "Christ" shows a very real parallel between the presbyter and Christ; the idea of priest as icon of Christ as well as icon of Ecclesia, it seems, is not that unknown.

3) The role of the presbyter, as icon of Christ, is to re-enact and thereby participate in both the act of the initial Mystic Supper and the reality of Golgotha as a true amnesis memorial.  This, of course, means the presbyter offers the sacrifice of Him of Whom he is an icon for his own sins as well as those of the parish, but since he stands as a sort of dual icon, this is to be expected.  It is, however, my understanding (as well as that of the majority of the Church at this time) that, as Christ is also the representative of Christ to the people as well as that of the people to Christ in the liturgy, he needs to be male, as has always been the case in Church history.

4) The only reason I can see for the bishops to decide on ordaining women--and thus make it a valid part of our tradition--would be because society today demands it.  To me, this is no reason to change, especially when the scriptures, the fathers, and the current role of the presbyter as understood by many (though not all, of course) in the Church goes against this trend, as they do against many other societal trends.
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« Reply #316 on: May 04, 2006, 12:40:02 PM »

Yah what if society finds out that monkeys actually are human beings?  Are we going to accept that and start ordaining them?   Wink
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« Reply #317 on: May 04, 2006, 12:53:24 PM »

Yah what if society finds out that monkeys actually are human beings? ÂÂ Are we going to accept that and start ordaining them? ÂÂ  Wink

Nah. Don't worry, you are safe!  Cheesy Grin
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« Reply #318 on: May 04, 2006, 12:58:37 PM »

Not according to some scientists....remember that guy who tried to prove that Jesus didn't actually walk on ice... Wink
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« Reply #319 on: May 04, 2006, 05:54:19 PM »

Exasperating, isn't it? Welcome to my world.  Cheesy

Tell me about it...it's why I haven't been keeping up with the conversation like I would want to...some of these 'google scholars' have too much free time on their hands, and I really have neither the time nor energy nor desire to teach Roman/Greek Civ 101. So I've decided not to bother disproving the absurd.

But I believe that I can safely say that anyone who has an open mind and looks at this thread will come to support the ordination of women out of the pure absurdity of the arguments that have here been presented against it. I personally don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Quote
The problem I think is that some people on this thread assume I am pushing for women's ordination, so rather than looking at what is said, it is immediately dismissed and assumed that the opposite must be true.
I've said from the start: I know that the Church from the beginning to the present has not ordained women to the Priesthood or Episcopy. However, I don't know whether a male-only priesthood is dogma or not. And the arguments that people use to say it is dogma I find questionable, not  because they are a hinderance to women's ordination, but because I think they are a distortion of Orthodox doctrine.

Reasonable discussion and academic debate? NEVER, did the fathers debate theology? ok, bad example...but you get the point. The zealot is to blinded by emotion to discuss a matter with an open mind. They are right because they believe they're right, and they'll proof text to prove it Wink (at least they haven't brought up so-called monastic elder such-and-such yet...but I'm sure it's comming).
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« Reply #320 on: May 04, 2006, 05:58:08 PM »

Yah what if society finds out that monkeys actually are human beings? ÂÂ Are we going to accept that and start ordaining them? ÂÂ  Wink

When you can convince me that monkeys are intelligent creatures made in the image and likeness of God, I'll make the case for their ordination Wink
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« Reply #321 on: May 04, 2006, 06:36:14 PM »

There is no mere re-enacting, but also prayer.  I don't say take everything to the extremes, and I agree that the priest consecrates by the Epiclesis, but what is so necessary about repeating Christ's words if it was just memorial? .......The fact that the priest says "Do this in memory of me," is he not repeating Christ's words to himself?  Whatever "Do this in memory of me" means does not disprove the re-enactment that's being done.
No, the Priest is not repeating Christ's words to himself, he is repeating them to The Holy Trinity.
Christ's words form part of the prayer the Priest is offering. And if you actually read what the priest is saying, he is narrating a story, not re-enacting it or roleplaying it. In the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the prayer is:
"Together with these blessed powers, merciful Master, we also proclaim and say: You are holy and most holy, You and Your only-begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You are holy and most holy, and sublime is Your glory. You so loved Your world that You gave Your only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. He came and fulfilled the divine plan for us. On the night when He was betrayed, or rather when He gave Himself up for the life of the world, He took bread in His holy, pure, and blameless hands, gave thanks, blessed, sanctified, broke, and gave it to His holy disciples and apostles saying: "Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins." "
The words of Christ are therefore recalled in the context of a prayer in preparation for the Epiclesis because the Eucharist is a memorial, and the Priest is recalling at Whose command we undertake this memorial. If it were a re-enactment, the Priest would simply say the words as Christ said them.


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« Reply #322 on: May 04, 2006, 06:39:17 PM »

Well, this, I think, will be my last post on this subject (unless the dialogue takes a different turn of sorts), but the issues for me seem to be this:

On this, at least, I can't blame you. Wink

Quote
1) St. Paul states explicitly that women are not to teach or hold authority over men within the Church, and gives theological reasons for it: The Father as the head of Christ, Christ as the head of man, man as the head of woman.  To discount the theological reasonings of an Apostle as cultural bias (as some have done, both within and without the Orthodox Church) is to open the door for discounting any and all other such theological reasonings.

As Arius used this pericope to defend his theology so now the opponents of the ordination of women use it to defend theirs. Further, various historical arguments that have already been presented aside, I submit that for this verse to have the implications that you suggest one must adopt an Arian Christology. For the fathers teach that the Son is Constubstantial to the Father, yet you would create a dichotomy of authority between the Divine Persons, subjugating the Son to the Father, who is surely, by your reading of the verse, as high above the Son as the Son is above man, and as man is above woman. Furthermore, as we continue on this analogy, we must conclude that since woman is to man as man is to Christ, the authority that man has over women is comprable to the authority a god has over his creation. So with this we can reasonably establish that Christ's crucifixion was salvation only to men and the salvation of women comes not directly through Christ, but only through a man and then through Christ...wow, I think I just developed Islamic Anthropology from Arian thought, which would make sense considering the Arian influence on Islam. So I guess you can keep your male-only priesthood, all you have to do is overturn the Synod of Nicea, restore 'Saint' Arius, and condemn the 'heresiarch' Athanasios, or you could just make it easier on yourself and become an Islam...I mean, what the heck, only the father is truly a god anyway, Christ is really just a demigod, perhaps the brother of Lucifer...oh wait, that's another religion, but not by much.

If you believe this pericope manifests an ontological distinction between male and female then you are an Arian, there no way around that, if on the other hand one views it as a distinction based on culture and casual observation, with the point being the pastoral and not theological end, it may be slopy theology and betray a strong cultural bias, but we can at least avoid the conclusion that Paul was an Arian, and though I disagree with Paul here and there I really have no desire to see things taken that far.

Quote
2) Fathers since the beginning, have maintained this tradition (for one reason or another).  As has been mentioned, St. Ignatius said (I'm obviously paraphrasing) that a parish's willingness to obey the bishop was the same as obeying Christ...the bishop's office as parish president quickly evolved into one of diocese president, with "presbyter" becoming a separate term for those clergy under him.  This equalling the bishop and/or those there in his stead as "Christ" shows a very real parallel between the presbyter and Christ; the idea of priest as icon of Christ as well as icon of Ecclesia, it seems, is not that unknown.

3) The role of the presbyter, as icon of Christ, is to re-enact and thereby participate in both the act of the initial Mystic Supper and the reality of Golgotha as a true amnesis memorial.  This, of course, means the presbyter offers the sacrifice of Him of Whom he is an icon for his own sins as well as those of the parish, but since he stands as a sort of dual icon, this is to be expected.  It is, however, my understanding (as well as that of the majority of the Church at this time) that, as Christ is also the representative of Christ to the people as well as that of the people to Christ in the liturgy, he needs to be male, as has always been the case in Church history.

OK, 2 and 3 seem to be, essentially, the same point, so I'll address them together. The priest is an Icon of Christ, for the sake of argument let's go with that assumption for a while...ok, we're going with it...still going with it...I'm sorry, I'm lost, how does this support an exclusionary priesthood? A human being leading the community in prayer, I can see the analogy to Christ, mind you every human being is an Icon of Christ, Christian, Atheist, Hindu, Male, Female, Rich, Poor, White, Asian, etc....To say that only a male can be an Icon of Christ is to create an ontological distinction between Male and Female...to say that Only the male is Created in the Image and Likeness of God...and the female? Is she not also in the Image and Likeness of God? Truly she is. So to deny that a female is just as much an Icon of Christ as a male is to deny the Divine Image in her, the Denial of Presence the Divine Image is the ultimate Blasphemy against the Divine Image, which is ultimately and act of Blasphemy against both God and His Creative Nature, by whom and in whose Image we were Created.

Quote
4) The only reason I can see for the bishops to decide on ordaining women--and thus make it a valid part of our tradition--would be because society today demands it.  To me, this is no reason to change, especially when the scriptures, the fathers, and the current role of the presbyter as understood by many (though not all, of course) in the Church goes against this trend, as they do against many other societal trends.

It would be far from the first Change the Church has made on account of society and the demands of reality, often on issues with a real theology against the change. Consider marraige, Initially the Church would only bless the First Marriage, giving penance, not blessings, to subsequent marriages. But when Leo Vi made the Church the only legitimage means within the Empire for a Christian to marry, the Church had to conform to reality and bless second and even third marriages. Likewise, in violation of the Canons of Oecumenical Synods, the reality of the Situation compelled them to conduct marriages between Christians and non-Christians.

The Ordination of Women does not have nearly as many Canonical and Theological difficulities as the changes in the administration of the Sacrament of Marriage had and in time the socal pressure may far stronger than it ever was in the case of Marriage.


As a last note, when I said that the theological arguments against the Ordination of Women were poor, I didn't simply mean weak or absurd, which they are, but also heretical, as I demonstrated above.
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« Reply #323 on: May 04, 2006, 06:48:59 PM »

1) St. Paul states explicitly that women are not to teach or hold authority over men within the Church,
Then I ask again: Why did St. Paul allow women to prophesy in Church?

2) Fathers since the beginning, have maintained this tradition (for one reason or another).  As has been mentioned, St. Ignatius said (I'm obviously paraphrasing) that a parish's willingness to obey the bishop was the same as obeying Christ...the bishop's office as parish president quickly evolved into one of diocese president, with "presbyter" becoming a separate term for those clergy under him.  This equalling the bishop and/or those there in his stead as "Christ" shows a very real parallel between the presbyter and Christ; the idea of priest as icon of Christ as well as icon of Ecclesia, it seems, is not that unknown.
If, as the Fathers say of the Incarnation: "only what has been assumed can be saved", the idea that "The Icon of Christ" must be male means that Christ did not assume the humanity of women, and therefore women are not saved. Unless of course, by "Icon of Christ" we simply mean an Icon of His physical appearance.....which seems at best useless, and at worst, absurd

3) The role of the presbyter, as icon of Christ, is to re-enact
Well, I think you know I have a problem with that doctrine!


4) The only reason I can see for the bishops to decide on ordaining women--and thus make it a valid part of our tradition--would be because society today demands it.  
I would be the first to oppose this as a reason to ordain women. But vox populi has often made the Church examine and clarify her teachings, and indeed, is how Saints are glorified in the Church. Clarification is what is needed, and vox populi is the catalyst which makes the Church clarify her teachings.
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« Reply #324 on: May 04, 2006, 07:10:43 PM »

I'll try to be (uncharacteristically) brief.

1) The Eucharistic Anaphora is, above all, eschatological.

2) Basic point of sacramental theology: Reality IS symbol. After the first three centuries (wherein the liturgical emphasis is almost exclusively eschatological), the Patristic tradition understands liturgy as symbolic (not re-enactment!) in this precise way. Need I quote from Fr. Hopko's introductory catechism?
Quote
Thus, the bread of the Eucharist is Christ's flesh, and Christ's flesh is the eucharistic bread. The two are brought together into one. The word "symbolical" in Orthodox terminology means exactly this: "to bring together."

This Orthodox understanding of "symbol" is still quite eschatological, because it places things in an eternal present.

3) Stop the anachronism! When the Fathers say a Bishop (or, later, a presbyter) is Christ, they are talking about (a) the AUTHORITY that stems from the office, (b) the purity of his TEACHING (i.e. it's the same as Christ's), and (c) that Bishop's moral/spiritual excellence. They are NOT talking about the fact that said Bishop's gender is the same as Christ's and the Bishop is therefore able to "represent" Christ as an Icon.

It's just fine to talk about the priest in persona Christi, especially if one uses the concept as do the early Fathers. But to apply the idea to this debate is to add an entirely different set of theological/liturgical concepts to the phrase -- and then to anachronistically claim that's what the Fathers meant!
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« Reply #325 on: May 04, 2006, 07:32:16 PM »

If, as the Fathers say of the Incarnation: "only what has been assumed can be saved", the idea that "The Icon of Christ" must be male means that Christ did not assume the humanity of women, and therefore women are not saved. Unless of course, by "Icon of Christ" we simply mean an Icon of His physical appearance.....which seems at best useless, and at worst, absurd

I wouldn't say it is absurd, in so far as there are some standards for how one goes about making iconography. However, as a theological argument for why half of human nature is categorically and ontologically unfit for ordination, it seems rather weak and ad hoc.

If one wants the concept of priest in persona Christi to be more substantial than the idea that an Icon must at least minimally reflect its Prototype in a physical sense, then one has to answer the following: If Christ assumed HUMAN nature, in what way -- ontologically -- do males have the exclusive, categorical ability to "represent" Christ?
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« Reply #326 on: May 04, 2006, 08:23:10 PM »

As Arius used this pericope to defend his theology so now the opponents of the ordination of women use it to defend theirs. Further, various historical arguments that have already been presented aside, I submit that for this verse to have the implications that you suggest one must adopt an Arian Christology. For the fathers teach that the Son is Constubstantial to the Father, yet you would create a dichotomy of authority between the Divine Persons, subjugating the Son to the Father, who is surely, by your reading of the verse, as high above the Son as the Son is above man, and as man is above woman. Furthermore, as we continue on this analogy, we must conclude that since woman is to man as man is to Christ, the authority that man has over women is comprable to the authority a god has over his creation. So with this we can reasonably establish that Christ's crucifixion was salvation only to men and the salvation of women comes not directly through Christ, but only through a man and then through Christ...wow, I think I just developed Islamic Anthropology from Arian thought, which would make sense considering the Arian influence on Islam. So I guess you can keep your male-only priesthood, all you have to do is overturn the Synod of Nicea, restore 'Saint' Arius, and condemn the 'heresiarch' Athanasios, or you could just make it easier on yourself and become an Islam...I mean, what the heck, only the father is truly a god anyway, Christ is really just a demigod, perhaps the brother of Lucifer...oh wait, that's another religion, but not by much.

If you believe this pericope manifests an ontological distinction between male and female then you are an Arian, there no way around that, if on the other hand one views it as a distinction based on culture and casual observation, with the point being the pastoral and not theological end, it may be slopy theology and betray a strong cultural bias, but we can at least avoid the conclusion that Paul was an Arian, and though I disagree with Paul here and there I really have no desire to see things taken that far.
GiC, let me know if I've interpreted your above arguments correctly.  Are you suggesting to those who use St. Paul's theology to support an all-male priesthood that we shouldn't place so much stock in St. Paul's theological arguments?  I can actually agree with this.  Through the Acts of the Apostles and his own Epistles, it appears that Paul saw himself first as a missionary and a pastor and saw theological argument only as a way to carry out his evangelical duties.  He appears to me to just not have the mind for high theology that his colleague St. John the Apostle and Theologian showed.  The high Christology that we see throughout St. John's Gospel is very articulate and detailed and is therefore worthy to be used as the foundation for Nicene Christology in combat against Arianism.  I just don't see St. Paul's theology being anywhere near this articulate, so any theological reasoning that he puts forth to support his pastoral practice should be scrutinized a bit in light of the more articulate theology of both St. John and later theologians.  What we shouldn't argue with, however, is St. Paul's understanding of the pastoral needs of Christ's sheep--I'm not implying that you are--since he seems to understand this better than any of the Apostles.

Quote
It would be far from the first Change the Church has made on account of society and the demands of reality, often on issues with a real theology against the change. Consider marraige, Initially the Church would only bless the First Marriage, giving penance, not blessings, to subsequent marriages. But when Leo Vi made the Church the only legitimage means within the Empire for a Christian to marry, the Church had to conform to reality and bless second and even third marriages. Likewise, in violation of the Canons of Oecumenical Synods, the reality of the Situation compelled them to conduct marriages between Christians and non-Christians.

The Ordination of Women does not have nearly as many Canonical and Theological difficulities as the changes in the administration of the Sacrament of Marriage had and in time the socal pressure may far stronger than it ever was in the case of Marriage.
Again, how does the above sentiment reconcile with St. Paul's admonition that we not be conformed to this world?  Pastoral concerns may require that the Church adjust her method of economia to minister best to the needs of a particular people in a particular place at a particular time, but I don't see this as adopting the world's way of thought.  It often seems to me that you would go farther and actually encourage us to even adopt the world's ways of thinking.

Quote
As a last note, when I said that the theological arguments against the Ordination of Women were poor, I didn't simply mean weak or absurd, which they are, but also heretical, as I demonstrated above.
As far as I can see, you only "undermined" two of the theological arguments made to support an all-male priesthood.
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« Reply #327 on: May 04, 2006, 09:03:35 PM »

Other than the mass chaos that betraying your priest would cause, this would be the most hilarious scenario EVER!   Grin

Sorry I couldn't pass this one up!  Cheesy
Sort of like a heirarchal Divine Liturgy with a novice deacon and inexperienced sub-deacons!  Grin
Now, if you want to talk about play-acting, go to a heirarchal Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox Church of Russian recension in this country.  Let's dress up and play 19th century Tsarist Rus!  Wink
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« Reply #328 on: May 04, 2006, 09:09:36 PM »

No, the Priest is not repeating Christ's words to himself, he is repeating them to The Holy Trinity.
Christ's words form part of the prayer the Priest is offering. And if you actually read what the priest is saying, he is narrating a story, not re-enacting it or roleplaying it. In the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the prayer is:
"Together with these blessed powers, merciful Master, we also proclaim and say: You are holy and most holy, You and Your only-begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You are holy and most holy, and sublime is Your glory. You so loved Your world that You gave Your only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. He came and fulfilled the divine plan for us. On the night when He was betrayed, or rather when He gave Himself up for the life of the world, He took bread in His holy, pure, and blameless hands, gave thanks, blessed, sanctified, broke, and gave it to His holy disciples and apostles saying: "Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins." "
Another argument for the "silent" prayers of the priest to be read audibly.  Once again, lex orandi, lex credendi.  (You've got to love all this Latin on an Orthodox forum!  Wink )
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« Reply #329 on: May 04, 2006, 09:16:40 PM »

But I believe that I can safely say that anyone who has an open mind and looks at this thread will come to support the ordination of women out of the pure absurdity of the arguments that have here been presented against it. I personally don't know whether to laugh or cry.
An open mind in the Orthodox Church?  That would make you Protestant like ozgeorge!  Move over George, I'm taking the seat in the pew next to you!
Reasonable discussion and academic debate? NEVER, did the fathers debate theology? ok, bad example...but you get the point. The zealot is to blinded by emotion to discuss a matter with an open mind. They are right because they believe they're right, and they'll proof text to prove it
GiC, I couldn't agree with you more.
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« Reply #330 on: May 04, 2006, 09:39:56 PM »

I'd noticed that you had never said anything about pushing it; you were looking at the subject.  It was interesting to see the jumping to conclusions/assumptions.  "You bring up Z? You must want Z." ÂÂ

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« Reply #331 on: May 04, 2006, 09:41:21 PM »

Exasperating, isn't it? Welcome to my world.  Cheesy
The problem I think is that some people on this thread assume I am pushing for women's ordination, so rather than looking at what is said, it is immediately dismissed and assumed that the opposite must be true.
I've said from the start: I know that the Church from the beginning to the present has not ordained women to the Priesthood or Episcopy. However, I don't know whether a male-only priesthood is dogma or not. And the arguments that people use to say it is dogma I find questionable, not  because they are a hinderance to women's ordination, but because I think they are a distortion of Orthodox doctrine.
As noted with Ebor, then you admit wishing to 'speculate' for its own sake, something you claim that's not happening. If you were here to ask 'why' then perhaps you'd have welcomed evidence that shows 'why?' (as in why we have only male priests). You have not.
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« Reply #332 on: May 04, 2006, 09:46:28 PM »

As noted with Ebor, then you admit wishing to 'speculate' for its own sake, something you claim that's not happening. If you were here to ask 'why' then perhaps you'd have welcomed evidence that shows 'why?' (as in why we have only male priests). You have not.
We're still waiting for the evidence that shows why.
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« Reply #333 on: May 04, 2006, 10:49:23 PM »

We're still waiting for the evidence that shows why.
Indeed, so much for the 'genuine' search for the truth claim.

It's quite strange that some enter this thread to 'discern 'why?'' and ignore all evidence that is cited for that very reason; claiming it is speculation - irony being the very asking 'why?' is to begin speculation.
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« Reply #334 on: May 05, 2006, 01:33:21 AM »

    Just for clarity's sake, allow me to summarize some of the main arguments of this thread. I'm sure I'm missing some, but these seem to be the six major areas that require further study/proof on both sides. Some of these arguments are strong, some are weak, some are simply a priori statements, while other are strongly a posteriori.

    Again: These are not my arguments. The arguments I have summarized for female priests are longer than the ones against because most people on this forum (and in general) seem to be quite aware of all of the arguments AGAINST any such office, but not familiar with the actual arguments in favor.
    Thank you, Pensateomnia, for offering this accurate and balanced summary of the arguments on both sides of this controversial yet necessary discussion.  I hope that maybe we can enrich our discussion by examining these points.  I hope nobody minds me offering my two cents on a few of these arguments.  I'm not going to address every one, since I consider myself knowledgeable enough to only address a few.

    Quote
    Against Female Priests

    1) Ain't never happened. There is no Scriptural, Patristic or canonical text in the entire corpus of venerated Orthodox literature that speaks favorably of female priests. There are, however, various texts in this corpus that speak against it.
    Just appealing to the fact that it's never happened before is not a very convincing argument for me.  Do we have a sound theological reason for never having ordained women to be priests and bishops?  The fact that we've never done it before does convince me, however, that we must not abolish our current practice of excluding women from the priesthood without first considering the issue with extreme care, prayer, and ecumenical (as the term is used in 'Ecumenical Council') discussion.

    Quote
    2) St. Paul forbids women to teach and to hold authority over men.
    No argument with this.  However, I think GiC has done a great job of pointing out the difficulty of following St. Paul's theological reasoning behind his prohibition. "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3)  I won't accuse St. Paul's theology of being faulty, for such attitude would be truly presumptuous on my part.  But I must recognize that St. Paul was first a missionary and pastor for whom articulate theology was a secondary or tertiary concern; therefore, his theology was not very thoroughly developed, nowhere near as much as was that of St. John the Theologian.  The lack of clarity in St. Paul's theology allows a lot of freedom for misinterpretation, such that the theology may not serve as a good foundation for a definition of the churchly role of women to forbid women's ordination.

    Quote
    5) The priest is an Icon of Christ, who was male, and therefore the priest acts "in persona Christi."
    Is the Holy Trinity male in His very Divine Essence?  This is totally unknowable because we can never know the transendent Essence of God.  The male names that God has revealed to us, "Father" and "Son," are what He has chosen to reveal to us; they don't necessarily mean that God is male in His Divine Essence.  When the Son of God became human, He was born MALE.  What significance to us does His choice of gender have?  AFAIK, He could have become male merely because He needed to become fully male or fully female in order to be fully human--androgyny is really not fully human precisely because it is neither male nor female.  For the "priest as icon" argument to convince me, the Church needs to articulate a much clearer understanding than I have provided of why Christ is MALE.

    Quote
    6) Christ and the early Church were not afraid to go against social norms. Thus, one cannot claim that the Church's practice was motivated by cultural bias.
    "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

    Quote
    For Female Priests

    1) The early Church's female diaconate entailed a full-fledged ordination (cheirotonia). The canons dealing with female deacons use the term cheirotonia, as does the actual prayer of female-diaconal ordination. While no text explains in detail the liturgical and/or ministerial role of female deacons, there are a number of texts that show that the deaconesses were numbered among the clergy (see, for example, the work of Evangelos Theodorou, et al.) Cheirotonia is a major ordination, and the diaconate is considered to be the "first level" of the ordained priesthood. Thus, there is precedent for women sharing in one of the levels of priesthood.

    2) There are many examples in Church history of women teaching men (even clergymen!) about theology, spirituality and prayer. There are, for example, various women who are called isaapostolos, equal to the apostles, in the Church's hagiography and hymnography, e.g. St. Thekla, various Empresses and St. Nina of Georgia, who evangelized and taught thousands.
    St. Mary Magdalene, who was really the first apostle, for she was commissioned to tell the disciples that Christ had risen from the dead.

    Quote
    2) The Fathers emphasize that Christ became human, not that he became male (cf. the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, etc.). Our shared human nature is what allows us to imitate, represent and even become Christ -- not our particular gender. Furthermore, all genders are one in Christ; they are equal in the eyes of God. Thus, the gender of the individual, theologically speaking, is irrelevant.

    3) At the most important priestly moment, the epiklesis, the Orthodox priest does NOT act as an Icon of Christ for the people (qua Roman Catholic ideas of the priest being in persona Christi at the words of Institution); rather, he acts in persona Ecclesiae, as a representative not of Christ, but of the Church, which is portrayed in feminine terms as the Bride of Christ. Thus, the argument that the priest is a physical Icon of Christ and therefore must be male holds no water.

    4) Bishop Kallistos Ware, of course, has said the issue deserves to be examined (not that it is settled), and, perhaps, other Bishops can be construed to support looking at the evidence, since they have sponsored official theological dialogues on related topics, e.g. women and authority in the Church, and female deacons.

    5) The Church has often changed practices and introduced novelties in liturgy, theological expression and cultural traditions. Some examples:

    a) Apostolic Canon 9 and Canon 2 of the Council of Antioch (from the 4th century) require everyone present at a liturgy to receive the Eucharist, and yet the Medieval Church forbade regular reception ("traditionalists" still do). [/li][/list]

    b) The Canons also strictly prohibit the transfer of bishops (and, often, even clerics) from one area to another. In general, many of the canons dealing with local synods, ecclesiastical appeals, episcopal authority, etc. have been radically re-interpreted or have simply not been applied for centuries.

    c) The "Endemousa" Synod of Constantinople discussed and rejected (as heretical?) the adoption of the “Gregorian” calendar in the 1580s. In the 1920s, however, that decision was reserved, and a sizable number of Orthodox Churches switched over.

    d) Although there was no clear or authoritative canonical basis on which to do so, another Endemousa Synod defined autocephaly as the official administrative principle of the Orthodox Church circa 1850. This responded to the social and political reality (e.g. Russia’s autocephaly in the 16th century), but the idea of “autocephaly” as we understand it today — the very way in which we organize the Church! — is markedly different from both the primitive Church’s structure and the Imperial.

    e) The rubrics, most of the hymns and the very structure of the liturgical services have changed considerably since the early Church (cf. the Cathedral Rite, the Studion Reform, the liturgical reforms after the Hesychastic controversies, etc.), and they continue to change. Many popular services and practices date no earlier than the Medieval Period (e.g. the Lamentations on Great Friday) or even as recent as 1888, when Constantinople issued a new Typikon that universalized several new rituals for the services of Holy Week and Pascha (e.g. the Un-Nailing Service).

    6) Matters of Dogma and morals are unchangeable, but liturgy, practice and organization do change according to the Spirit and the needs of the Church. There is no dogmatic decree against female priests.

    ---------------

    Now, have at it!...and feel free to fill in the blanks. If we're going to talk about this — despite the fact that it isn’t going to happen!! — then we might as well have some sort of idea of what each side is saying.
    Right now, the argument that convinces me most strongly to oppose women's ordination is my recognition of where the movement for women's ordination is rooted.  The push today for the ordination of women to the priesthood is ultimately rooted in a secular feminist movement that has its own anti-Christian, anti-traditional interests in mind and has no concern for Truth.  This is not the work of the Holy Spirit.  If the movement for women's ordination was to come entirely from within the Church and was perfectly consistent with Holy Tradition, then I might consider opening my mind to the idea, seeing in its churchly nature the work of the Holy Spirit.  This is not what I see happening right now.
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    « Reply #335 on: May 05, 2006, 01:54:32 AM »

    Indeed, so much for the 'genuine' search for the truth claim.

    It's quite strange that some enter this thread to 'discern 'why?'' and ignore all evidence that is cited for that very reason; claiming it is speculation - irony being the very asking 'why?' is to begin speculation.
    What makes the speculation "speculation"? Huh

    Please be careful to not let your natural dogmatism lead you to proclaim that your limited knowledge of truth, Orthodox as it certainly is, is the fullness of truth and the final word on the issue.

    You are very strong in your convictions.  Are those who understand Tradition differently from you wrong merely because they disagree with you?  Is the faith of another weak and undeveloped simply because they aren't as convinced as you are?  What makes you even qualified to judge the faith of another?
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    « Reply #336 on: May 05, 2006, 02:48:36 AM »

    Just to chear things up:

    Quote
    Ain't no mountain high enough
    Ain't no valley low enough
    Ain't no river wide enough
    To keep me from getting to you babe

    This was meant for the Suns fans.

    Woops, I think I didn't chear up the Lakers fans... Tongue (but I do applaud Kobe, really)

    God bless. Grin
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    « Reply #337 on: May 05, 2006, 03:30:07 AM »

    Okay, seriously:

    Dear Carpatho,

    Quote
    You can't compare icons to the Eucharist.  Icons are representations of the proto-type.  The Eucharist is the proto-type

    I am comparing the icons to the priest.  Just as the priest is not truly Christ, but represents Him, so does the icon not truly what it represents, but represents what it represents.  The Eucharist is not an icon; neither is it a symbol.  I fully confess this.

    Quote
    As for the word memory (memorial, rememrance, etc),  answer this question, what do we mean when we sing "Memory Eternal" at the end of the funeral service, parastas, or lity for the dead?

    We commemorate and re-enact in a very subtle way, "re-enact" the person who passed away (and I don't mean his whole life story).  We recognize his presence in the Church, which is why we sacrifice for him/her the incense (or the priest does anyway).  Wasn't it a belief in the early Church that one can pray for a soul's repentant on behalf of the soul by prayers and incense sacrifices?  For we know that a soul cannot repent when separated from the body, but we know that God may accept our prayers on this soul's behalf.  This is a tiny "re-enactment."

    If it is someone who was commendable in this life, we would have his/her icon in the church building already re-enacting his/her role (icons of the Apostles, St. Mary, of the saints of the church, etc.), and even we would look towards these saints as St. Paul said, "Imitate me as I also imitate Christ."

    Quote
    We probably are!

    Gosh, I hope so. Smiley

    Dear ozgeorge,

    Quote
    No, the Priest is not repeating Christ's words to himself, he is repeating them to The Holy Trinity.

    And the priest also lifts the bread when praying it, and lifts the wine when praying it (notice, I do not deny the "praying" parts, but add to them the "re-enactments").  The lifting itself by the hand of the priest shows you that he is acting out something.  He also breaks bread, which Christ also did.  Who else would dare to break the body of Christ except the priest himself in the icon of Christ?  Thus, while praying, he is also acting out.  Not only is he praying to the Holy Trinity for himself, but on behalf of all.

    Another reason I consider "re-enactments" is because priests are "mediators" between man and Christ, just as Christ is mediator between us and the Father.  Thus, if there's anything forgiveness of sins or sacramental duty that must go through, no mere layman can do it.  Priest acts out the role of mediator just as Christ does.

    Quote
    Then I ask again: Why did St. Paul allow women to prophesy in Church?

    In the chauvinistic OT, women also prophecied.  That's nothing new.  It's doesn't prove anything.  The "not-allowed-to-speak" issue was, according to St. John Chrysostom, regarding women's chitter chatter, and not the mere vocal vibrations of the larynx.  Otherwise, how then would women participate in singing the hymns?

    Dear GiC,

    Quote
    As Arius used this pericope to defend his theology so now the opponents of the ordination of women use it to defend theirs.

    I'm going to make an attempt to defend Pedro because I assumed that he read my previous posts concerning the interpretation of this Pauline verse, as well as you and anyone else.  What Arian said can be used as an element of truth, but he erred on two points:

    1.  Christ being created and unequal to the Father.
    2.  Woman being inferior to and unequal to men.

    We can use the same line of reasoning of Arius however to prove male-only priesthood and at the same time prove that priests are equal to the laity and men to women.  St. John Chrysostom tells us that in marriage, man and woman are united as the Father is to the Son.  If one believes that the Father is equal to the Son, it is impossible to bring out a chauvinistic interpretation into that verse in 1 Cor. 11, and it certainly is impossible to call someone an Arian.

    You're lucky you're not ozgeorge giving the Arian accusation to someone.

    Concerning the icon of Christ and men and women, I can bring your attention to this verse:

    Quote
    To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    (Rev. 1:5-6)

    Earlier I said we are all priests and kings, but the priesthood of Melchizedek doesn't come except by a special calling, with this "special" priest having a special role.

    Therefore, all men and women are icons of Christ are made in the image of Christ.  The Melchizedek priest has a special role, being the special icon of Christ.

    Quote
    It would be far from the first Change the Church has made on account of society and the demands of reality, often on issues with a real theology against the change. Consider marraige, Initially the Church would only bless the First Marriage, giving penance, not blessings, to subsequent marriages. But when Leo Vi made the Church the only legitimage means within the Empire for a Christian to marry, the Church had to conform to reality and bless second and even third marriages. Likewise, in violation of the Canons of Oecumenical Synods, the reality of the Situation compelled them to conduct marriages between Christians and non-Christians.

    WOW!  That is the most interesting thing I've ever heard.  You Chalcedonians got some tradition there.  In the Coptic Church, we do second and third marriages, but there is no crowning like the first marriage, and marriages after a first marriage (that is if the first marriage was only "anulled" by means of a death of a spouse), is treated as inferior and solemn compared to the first.  As for the situation of marrying between Christians and non-Christians, while I've heard stories, the OO Church (don't know about EO's) do not in any way endorse even a marriage outside the OO (and nowadays, EO's are allowed as well).

    Quote
    As a last note, when I said that the theological arguments against the Ordination of Women were poor, I didn't simply mean weak or absurd, which they are, but also heretical, as I demonstrated above.

    Quite a long stretch.  You only put words to Pedro's mouth, making him Arian, but you never proved he was Arian.  Forgive me for being some sort of a "lawyer," but I felt you did injustice to Pedro. (gosh, I guess now I know how a lawyer feels)

    Finally, to all, concerning "pastoral concerns."  I wouldn't think a pastoral concern would lead to someone making a statement like "man is the head of woman, Christ is the head of man, Father is the head of Christ."  That wouldn't be for the sake of pastoral, but for the sake of deception.  His plea "not to change the traditions" both before and after the head covering issue seems to be much more than just pastoral.

    God bless.

    Mina
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    « Reply #338 on: May 05, 2006, 03:47:06 AM »

    What makes the speculation "speculation"? Huh
    Speculating
    Please be careful to not let your natural dogmatism lead you to proclaim that your limited knowledge of truth, Orthodox as it certainly is, is the fullness of truth and the final word on the issue.
    You are very strong in your convictions.  Are those who understand Tradition differently from you wrong merely because they disagree with you?  Is the faith of another weak and undeveloped simply because they aren't as convinced as you are?  What makes you even qualified to judge the faith of another?
    If you want to discuss the accuracy of my claims of facts, you're welcome to dissect them. One of the things that sustains my faith in my own argument is the lack of argument from any opposition. When I posit facts, I'm wrongfully accused of 'googling' them, as opposed to actually looking up John Chrysostomon's talk about the priesthood, and reading through a few chapters. That highly dismissive (to the point of flippancy) style shows me that there is no real argument.

    It is conceivable I am wrong. I am but an individual. You're welcome to try to convince me.


    * * * *
    I believe some of the things you say are wrong. You posit your own mistaken assumptions, such as the mere fact that Mary Magdalene is instructed to tell the Apostles that Christ has risen, makes her an Apostle too. How you come to that conclusion I am yet to understand.

    The role of Apostle was given to 12, they are named. Mary was not one of the named. We have no evidence from Holy Tradition of women priests, ergo there's a reason for this.
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    « Reply #339 on: May 05, 2006, 06:05:56 AM »

    Right now, the argument that convinces me most strongly to oppose women's ordination is my recognition of where the movement for women's ordination is rooted.  The push today for the ordination of women to the priesthood is ultimately rooted in a secular feminist movement that has its own anti-Christian, anti-traditional interests in mind and has no concern for Truth.  This is not the work of the Holy Spirit.  
    Some time ago, I would have fully agreed with you on this, but now I only partially agree. Where I disagree is that this should be considered "an argument against" women's ordination. Truth is truth no matter what the source is, and the Church must teach the Truth even if the catalyst for her to do so comes from outside herself. If women are to be ordained it should be because our dogmas cannot permit their continued exclusion. But to simply refuse to examine this simply because we don't like the source of the spur which urges us to do so would do nothing other than prove "the feminists" point that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is culturally based and not theologically based.

    If the movement for women's ordination was to come entirely from within the Church and was perfectly consistent with Holy Tradition, then I might consider opening my mind to the idea, seeing in its churchly nature the work of the Holy Spirit.  This is not what I see happening right now.
    And I fully disagree with this. The Church should not ordain women simply in response to a "movement for women's ordination", even if that movement comes from within the Church itself. Arianism was a movement that came from within the Church, so was Iconoclasm, so were countless other heresies. What we need is to frankly, honestly, prayerfully and concilliarly/synodically examine and discuss the theology and doctrine about the question. We need to, above all, avoid substituting doctrine with our passionate feelings about the issue- whether they are for or against it. The issue is Orthodoxy and correct doctrine. And this works both ways, because as far as I can see, the supposed "doctrinal arguments" against womens ordination are a far greater threat to Orthodoxy, particularly our Christology and Soteriology, than the prospect of an open dialogue about women's ordination spurred on by the secular feminist movement will ever be.
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    « Reply #340 on: May 05, 2006, 07:59:54 AM »

    Some time ago, I would have fully agreed with you on this, but now I only partially agree. Where I disagree is that this should be considered "an argument against" women's ordination. Truth is truth no matter what the source is, and the Church must teach the Truth even if the catalyst for her to do so comes from outside herself. If women are to be ordained it should be because our dogmas cannot permit their continued exclusion. But to simply refuse to examine this simply because we don't like the source of the spur which urges us to do so would do nothing other than prove "the feminists" point that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is culturally based and not theologically based.
    What is the 'truth' here that Orthodoxy needs to learn from modernism/feminism?

    Please cite any works you're aware of by feminist writers on their understanding of the priesthood in Eastern Orthodoxy and how the ordination of women priests would better guide us to this 'truth'.
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    « Reply #341 on: May 05, 2006, 08:04:11 AM »

    btw,

    Just a side note.  It's been said that many arguments are made from emotion.  Just to make things clear, the whole "re-enactment" issue does not come from some sort of desperate emotion.  2005 Pascha, our bishop was visiting all churches teaching all of us that we do indeed act out and re-enact in all our services, and every single person in church, both priest and laity have a role in the church in every service.  He mentioned Palm Sunday, who we raise Palms and bring the days of Christ riding on a colt in the present, and how we all live the role, and Holy Thursday how we wash people's feet, and Wednesday to Saturday how we don't shake hands or not kiss, not kissing even the hands of the priest or touching it.

    And many times, from my youth, from Sunday School to sermon, there is a HUGE concensus that the priest represents Christ, and that when we obey the authority of the priest in the liturgy, we are obeying Christ Himself, and in Liturgy we are paying close attention to the icon of Christ in the altar who is praying on behalf of all of us as Christ did.

    Ask any Copt, and they will affirm these two points to you without even thinking about women's ordination.

    We also take very seriously the head covering verses and the female teaching issues very seriously in the Church, and do not consider them mere pastoral issues for the ancient Church.  Even Ethiopians when entering into Church, ALL OF THEM wear white as imitating and taking the roles of angels, and Ethiopian women not only cover their heads with the white robe, but also their mouths, to symbolize their purity and submissions.  When they go in Church (and Indian Orthodox do this as well), they take off their shoes on the outside, symbolizing entering holy ground, as St. Moses did, taking that role as well.  We as Copts limited the shoe thing only to the altar.  It's a beautiful thing, how we take roles very seriously, which is why I insist on "re-enactment."

    God bless.

    Mina
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    « Reply #342 on: May 05, 2006, 08:48:06 AM »

    Mina,
    It is not only your Church in which these views are popular, they are also popular in the Eastern Orthodox Church. For example, the "Priest as Icon" argument against the ordination of women appears in this article by an Eastern Orthodox writer in the Australian EJournal of Theology. But popularity of a teaching does not necessarily make it Orthodox. At one point, Arianism was a popular Christology in the Church- and it turned out to be erroneous. We cannot judge the Orthodoxy of a doctrinal claim simply on it's popularity. Try as I may, as it stands, I simply cannot reconcile the teaching of "the-Priest-as-Icon-of-Christ-means-he-must-be-male" with the Church's Orthodox dogmas about Salvation and Christology.

    Montaban,
    Please look up the words "catalyst" and "spur" in the dictionary, and try to develope the practice of actually reading what people have written before you respond.
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    « Reply #343 on: May 05, 2006, 08:51:22 AM »

    ...but what is so necessary about repeating Christ's words if it was just memorial?
    Who said anything about repeating the words of institution as necessary.  There are several very early liturgies that lack the words of institution.  
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    « Reply #344 on: May 05, 2006, 08:59:20 AM »

    The fact that the priest says "Do this in memory of me," is he not repeating Christ's words to himself?  Whatever "Do this in memory of me" means does not disprove the re-enactment that's being done.
    Not whatever it means.  The this refers to Take eat, Take drink.
    In John's Gospel account of the Emmaus episode, the disciples recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread, not in the re-enactment of the Last Supper.
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    « Reply #345 on: May 05, 2006, 09:01:03 AM »

    WOW!  That is the most interesting thing I've ever heard.  You Chalcedonians got some tradition there.  In the Coptic Church, we do second and third marriages, but there is no crowning like the first marriage, and marriages after a first marriage (that is if the first marriage was only "anulled" by means of a death of a spouse), is treated as inferior and solemn compared to the first.  As for the situation of marrying between Christians and non-Christians, while I've heard stories, the OO Church (don't know about EO's) do not in any way endorse even a marriage outside the OO (and nowadays, EO's are allowed as well).

    What you just described is almost exactly the theological position and canonical practice of the EO Chalcedonian Church, but that position and canonical tradition did not come about until the time (and in the controversy) that GiC described. When the Copts and the Greeks were united (and following the ancient canons) no such second and third marriage were actually blessed in the Church. Thus, how did the Copts develop the SAME tradition that the Greeks did in the 8th and 9th century? Very interesting (seriously, I'm not being sarcastic!). For that matter, what exactly is the rite of Coptic marriage? Are there crowns and a "Dance of Isaiah"? Because all of these things -- indeed, the entire rite of ecclesiastical marriage -- did not develop until a very late date. Was the rite itself borrowed from the Imperial Church centuries after Chalcedon? For that matter, are the Holy Week services similar, because these too date from the Middle Ages — some even from later?

    These are fascinating questions, especially b/c my thesis is on the textual reception and memory of Chalcedon. Despite the polemics on both sides at various times, there seems to have been many, many points of contact and influence.
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    « Reply #346 on: May 05, 2006, 09:21:41 AM »

    Montaban,
    Please look up the words "catalyst" and "spur" in the dictionary, and try to develope the practice of actually reading what people have written before you respond.

    You need to look up irony, considering your little 'words of wisdom' in light of your refusal to read evidences put to you.

    But asides from dodging the question do you want to let me know what is the truth that feminism needs to spur us to?
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    « Reply #347 on: May 05, 2006, 09:34:26 AM »

    But asides from dodging the question do you want to let me know what is the truth that feminism needs to spur us to?
    Montalban,
    Please read what I wrote in response to PetertheAleut:
    Some time ago, I would have fully agreed with you on this, but now I only partially agree. Where I disagree is that this should be considered "an argument against" women's ordination. Truth is truth no matter what the source is, and the Church must teach the Truth even if the catalyst for her to do so comes from outside herself. If women are to be ordained it should be because our dogmas cannot permit their continued exclusion. But to simply refuse to examine this simply because we don't like the source of the spur which urges us to do so would do nothing other than prove "the feminists" point that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is culturally based and not theologically based.
    You are making a spectacle of yourself because you have not understood what I have said. If you can't be bothered to read it with comprehension, then why don't you go outside and play while the grown-ups talk?
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    « Reply #348 on: May 05, 2006, 09:37:45 AM »

    Some time ago, I would have fully agreed with you on this, but now I only partially agree. Where I disagree is that this should be considered "an argument against" women's ordination. Truth is truth no matter what the source is, and the Church must teach the Truth even if the catalyst for her to do so comes from outside herself. If women are to be ordained it should be because our dogmas cannot permit their continued exclusion. But to simply refuse to examine this simply because we don't like the source of the spur which urges us to do so would do nothing other than prove "the feminists" point that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is culturally based and not theologically based.
    To put it another way...

    You've said that outside forces might be used to spur the Orthodox Church into teaching a truth.

    What truth is it that is needed to be taught?

    Who is doing the spurring, in this case?

    (your previous answer seems to suggest that those forces doing the spurring aren't actually conscious actors - as you're unable to cite any works by them in relation to Orthodox truths)
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    « Reply #349 on: May 05, 2006, 09:41:19 AM »

    Truth is truth no matter what the source is, and the Church must teach the Truth even if the catalyst for her to do so comes from outside herself. If women are to be ordained it should be because our dogmas cannot permit their continued exclusion. But to simply refuse to examine this simply because we don't like the source of the spur which urges us to do so would do nothing other than prove "the feminists" point that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is culturally based and not theologically based.
    You are saying that there is a truth the church should teach and that this should be 'revealed' even if those spurring us into revealing that truth are from without.

    So I ask you again what is this truth that we're not revealing, that needs to be revealed?
    If you can't be bothered to read it with comprehension, then why don't you go outside and play while the grown-ups talk?
    Condescension becomes ironic! Well done!
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    « Reply #350 on: May 05, 2006, 09:46:22 AM »

    We commemorate and re-enact in a very subtle way, "re-enact" the person who passed away (and I don't mean his whole life story).  We recognize his presence in the Church, which is why we sacrifice for him/her the incense (or the priest does anyway).  Wasn't it a belief in the early Church that one can pray for a soul's repentant on behalf of the soul by prayers and incense sacrifices?  For we know that a soul cannot repent when separated from the body, but we know that God may accept our prayers on this soul's behalf.  This is a tiny "re-enactment."
    I quess, I should have phrased my question differently.  Is the "Memory Eternal" a command to us, or, is it a prayer to God?  If it is a prayer to God, then, we are asking God to keep the departed ever (eternally) in His presence.  God doesn't need to re-enact the person's life.  The person's life is eternally present to God.
    Mina,
    Sorry, but I'm not going to let up until you let go of re-enact.  Say "Uncle" and I'll stop!
    CR
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    « Reply #351 on: May 05, 2006, 09:48:14 AM »

    What truth is it that is needed to be taught?
    Um...the truth.
    I think I said that when I said: "Truth is truth". How many ways can you interpret the words "Truth is truth"?

    Who is doing the spurring, in this case?
    Whoever spurs us to seek the truth- whether inside or outside the Church. I think I said that also, didn't I? How many ways can you interpret the words:
    "Truth is truth no matter what the souce is, and the Church must teach the truth even if the catalyst for her to do so comes from outside herself."

    (your previous answer seems to suggest that those forces doing the spurring aren't actually conscious actors - as you're unable to cite any works by them in relation to Orthodox truths)
    I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here. Could you please clarify?
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    « Reply #352 on: May 05, 2006, 09:48:49 AM »

    Ozgeorge...

    Or, are you just making comments in general, with no relation to this specific thread? Perhaps you're simply making a statement of general principles on how one discerns 'the truth' in Orthodoxy.

    I merely assumed that you were suggesting that this broad principle should be applied to the topic at hand. So which is it?

    Are you talking about how you believe that the truth 'in general' within Orthodoxy might sometimes be revealed by the reaction of outside forces? Or, are you saying that (in relation to this topic) you're aware of certain truths that aren't being taught that need to be or are being 'revealed' through the spurring of outside forces?

    I'm after some clarification. Sorry if that too seems to be a drain on your time resources.

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    « Reply #353 on: May 05, 2006, 09:53:47 AM »

    Um...the truth.
    I think I said that when I said: "Truth is truth". How many ways can you interpret the words "Truth is truth"?

    Oh, so you simply wished to state a truism. Okay. Thank you for that. So you're simply injecting into this specific thread (the ordination of women) that the truth, whatever it is, needs to be taught. Well done!
    Whoever spurs us to seek the truth- whether inside or outside the Church. I think I said that also, didn't I? How many ways can you interpret the words:
    "Truth is truth no matter what the souce (sic) is, and the Church must teach the truth even if the catalyst for her to do so comes from outside herself."
    Thank you for continuing with this. Wow. That's very profound.
    I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here. Could you please clarify?
    Well I thought that you were saying that there were forces at work specifically involved in the search for the 'truth' on this particular topic. I had no idea you simply had stopped talking about the specific topic and want to tell everyone some general truths. Thank you for that contribution. The 'truth is the truth'. Great stuff! Thank you.

    Are you aware of any truths that Orthodoxy has outsourced?
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    « Reply #354 on: May 05, 2006, 10:00:06 AM »

    Pensateomnia,

    So then, why DO you think that the male priesthood is something that will and SHOULD remain in the Church, if not for the priest-as-icon thing?

    That's not quite what I said. First, I said long ago to GiC that an Orthodox Christian should not declare himself in favor of female priests (for reasons obvious below). This is quite important for us all to consider. Second, I said that I personally do not think the canonical Orthodox Church will have or should have female priests. The reasons I hold these two positions are as follows:

    1) My Bishop says so.
    2) Many, many, many other Bishops, priests and holy elders have said so.

    Really, these two reasons should be more than enough for any Orthodox Christian to refrain from calling for or supporting female priests, especially in public. Unless one has talked to one's Bishop and to one's Synod about the matter and received their blessing, one should never publicly argue for a complete novelty in liturgy, practice, morals or doctrine. To do otherwise is insubordinate, and it misrepresents Orthodoxy's historical and present-day consensus. Now, calling for or supporting discussion and examination of what, exactly, is the theological motivation behind the Church's practice is another matter.

    If one needs reasons other than this, I would add:

    3) Scripture, the Fathers and the canons do not speak or approve of female priests (argument ex traditione), except when detailing the calumny of heretics and pagans.

    4) While the canons do not FORBID female priests, they also don't forbid standing on one's head and squawking like a chicken. The absence of a clear, Ecumenically-authored canonical prohibition does not give license for innovation.

    5) Furthermore, the canons DO contain many requirements for the priesthood, all of which speak only of men. Thus, the canons do not tell us what would be the process, requirements or specific impediments for female ordinands (Would they have to be of an age even older than the deaconesses of yore? Would they have to be celibate like deaconesses?). In other words, we have no canonical, liturgical or historical method for determining which woman should be ordained or how the process should take place. While all this could be theoretically developed in a major Synod, the complete absence of such tradition shows the extremity of the innovation and the lack of historical precedent.

    Thus, my argument is first and foremost argumentum ad verecundiam, which I consider valid within the context of the Church, because (a) I am deferring to the "the competent ecclesiastical authority," to wax canon law-like, (b) the aforementioned authority is charismatic and Apostolic and (c) I have willing submitted myself to the aforementioned authority. It is also an argumentum ex traditione, which I also consider quite valid in the context of the Church, especially when determining if one should SUPPORT this or that novelty (versus examine the theology that underpins established practice).
     
    Oh, and one last reason!

    6) Because GiC supports it.
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    « Reply #355 on: May 05, 2006, 10:02:35 AM »

    Are you talking about how you believe that the truth 'in general' within Orthodoxy might sometimes be revealed by the reaction of outside forces? Or, are you saying that (in relation to this topic) you're aware of certain truths that aren't being taught that need to be or are being 'revealed' through the spurring of outside forces?
    Montalban,
    The former, with the qualification (in order to make it the same as what I said) that it is not the "outside forces" which reveal truths to the Church, but the Church herself discerns them. Or to put it another way: "What we need is to frankly, honestly, prayerfully and concilliarly/synodically examine and discuss the theology and doctrine about the question. We need to, above all, avoid substituting doctrine with our passionate feelings about the issue- whether they are for or against it. The issue is Orthodoxy and correct doctrine." Which is exactly what I said in the same post you quoted from.

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    « Reply #356 on: May 05, 2006, 10:17:58 AM »

    3) Scripture, the Fathers and the canons do not speak or approve of female priests (argument ex traditione), except when detailing the calumny of heretics and pagans.

    4) While the canons do not FORBID female priests, they also don't forbid standing on one's head and squawking like a chicken. The absence of a clear, Ecumenically-authored canonical prohibition does not give license for innovation.
    Interestingly, it was this very lack of guidance in the Canons and Scripture about female priests which got me wondering about whether an exclusively male priesthood was dogma or not. The absence of clear guidance could mean, either that it is assumed that the question of women's ordination would never come up (i.e. that it was understood from the outset that women can't be priests), or it could also mean that it was not dogma, but culturally deternmined.
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    « Reply #357 on: May 05, 2006, 10:44:10 AM »

    Interestingly, it was this very lack of guidance in the Canons and Scripture about female priests which got me wondering about whether an exclusively male priesthood was dogma or not. The absence of clear guidance could mean, either that it is assumed that the question of women's ordination would never come up (i.e. that it was understood from the outset that women can't be priests), or it could also mean that it was not dogma, but culturally deternmined.

    Sure. But WONDERING is a far cry from SUPPORTING. That's my essential point.

    Clearly the Church should prayerfully reflect on the theological justification for male priesthood, which includes reflection on gender and biological sex as an ontological category. But until the Church has done so -- and such would include the involvement of the Hierarchy, the clergy, the people and (let us not forget!) the modern elders -- outright SUPPORT for innovation is not only premature and presumptuous, it's spiritually dangerous.

    Ultimately, this is not a question of arguments and proofs, but of revelation.
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    « Reply #358 on: May 05, 2006, 11:17:20 AM »

    Clearly the Church should prayerfully reflect on the theological justification for male priesthood, which includes reflection on gender and biological sex as an ontological category. But until the Church has done so...
    It is my belief that the Church has already done so and that no possible good can come from revisting the topic.
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    « Reply #359 on: May 05, 2006, 11:25:04 AM »

    Sure. But WONDERING is a far cry from SUPPORTING. That's my essential point.
    I know, and I fully agree.
    All I was noting was that in my case, I had simply always assumed that an all male priesthood was an Orthodox dogma, not that anyone actually said that it was, but being cradle Orthodox, somehow I picked this idea up. It was only when I noted the silence on the issue in the Scriptures and Canons that I began to question my assumption, as I said, because I realised that this silence can be interpreted in two ways: "Never" or "Not now".
    As for the GiC factor, on an affective level, like you, that is also swaying me against women's ordination Wink, but I've continually said on this thread that our passions and emotions on the issue need to give way to an honest search for the truth. And really, to be fair, even GiC has said that the issue will ultimately be decided by the Church.
    And while I agree that it can be spiritually harmful to anticipate a future decision of the Church to be in favour of women's ordination, I also think it is spiritually harmful to anticipate that the Church will decide against women's ordination on the basis of teachings which themselves are not clearly dogmas of the Orthodox Church.
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