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Author Topic: Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church  (Read 178044 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: April 27, 2006, 01:31:18 PM »

Does anyone else find it strange that almost the only people (and so far, it appears, here absolutely the only people) who clamour for a female presbyterate are western males? I have yet to come across a single Orthodox woman who thinks that a female priesthood is in any way desirable. Of course, this may be skewed as I don't actually know a single female convert in real life and perhaps cradles have a different attitude. Judging, however, by the way the male converts I know are almost always more traditional in outlook than their cradle contemporaries, I somehow doubt this.

That's simply not the case, there was the Rhodes Conference in 1988 consisting primarily of Orthodox Women (though I believe a few Bishops from the Synod were present) convened by the Oecumenical Patriarch, there was a similar conference in Constantinople in 1997, and there have been numerous gatherings of Orthodox Women made possible through the WCC, all of which had numerous articles presented in support of the Ordination of Women. If you're looking for a dividing line between the two camps (which is dangerous because stereotypes are never perfect), I would not place it between men and women or cradle and convert, but rather between the educated and the uneducated (speaking in general terms, not specifically theological education).

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Personally, I am opposed to a female priesthood for many of the reasons that have been raised by others here. I am, however, a western male and believe that my opinion is therefore of less import on this issue than that of the women is. Whilst I most certainly agree that we should not sweep the issue of female ordinations under the carpet, I also feel that we should more or less relegate it to the back seat until such a time as there is actually a desire on the part of Orthodox women for such a move.

Of course the Orthodox Women's conferences are demanding that the issue at least be discussed, so perhaps now is the time after all.

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At the moment all I can see is that a handfull of politically correct men are saying that we need to do this to make women equal in the Church while vast numbers of women look on bemused because they feel perfectly equal to us men now even without the possibility of being ordained to the priesthood.

In the reading of Academic Articles and Journals Papers on the subject, that is not what I detect; rather, I sense a frustration on the part of women theologians about the slowness with which the Church has been moving to even evaluate the issue. Though thanks mainly to the ecumenical dialogue, the issue is at least finding its way into the discussions and articles of Orthodox theologians, male and female.
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« Reply #46 on: April 27, 2006, 01:35:51 PM »

The negative view of the Church is not held in Orthodox societies, but in the heterodox West. To speak from personal experience, having resided for several years in Orthodox countries (Ukraine and Romania) I have never met an Orthodox Christian who desired female ordaination, and the people I knew who disliked the Church did so from hatred of certain Christian doctrines such as the Cross than from its male-only priesthood.

As the western enlightenment demonstrated it is rarely doctrine that is the cause people's dislike of the Church. It is how they view the Church's place in society and, more often than not, an, often true, belief that the Church is perpetrating injustice. Because the Church will often use dogmatic posistions to justify themselves, the theology, incorrectly, comes to be viewed as the source of this injustice. No one hates the Church for purely theoretical reasons.
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« Reply #47 on: April 27, 2006, 02:04:23 PM »

What reason do you see, if any, to prohibit the acceptance of active homosexuals within the Church, either lay or clerical?  I ask this because your belief in ordaining women to the priesthood seems to rely solely on the changing societal norms regarding how women are perceived.  A train of thought within the Church currently concedes that, while homosexuals may still need to live a life of abstinence and carry the cross of their fallen orientation, said orientation is a predisposition at least partially inherited from genetics and therefore (sadly) is as unavoidable as gender.

I would view this as fundamentally different issue than the place of women in the Church. For one thing, while homosexuality seems to be phenotypical (genetics combined conditions during fetal development which cannot be controlled) and one may have no choice as to whether or not they have homosexual tendencies one does have control over whether or not they act on these tendencies. Hardly comprable to the issue of gender.

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Should we look at St. Paul's prohibitions of homosexuality as being incompatible with Christian belief as merely "societal norms" of his day and something we should move past?  I would say no, as the Church has never treated homosexuality as something that needed to be reconsidered, due to its going against the natural order of things.

Was it simply societal norms or is homosexuality truly contrary to natural law? While I can think of several good moral arguments against homosexuality, the arguments, moral or theological, against women being ordained are far weaker.

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This issue, I know, is fundamentally different in reasoning from gender in the priesthood--it can by no means be considered fallen nor sinful for humans to be female

Dont say 'by no means'...there were a few fathers that at least hinted at that being the case. The influence that cultural experience can have on a person is truly amazing. To quote Tertullian on women:

'Do you know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree; you are the first deserters of the divine law; you are she who persuades him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert - that is death - even the Son of God had to die.'

Such statements and cultural mindsets must be taken into account when weighing the value of a particular person's opinion on this matter.

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--but the comparison is merely meant to raise a point that, if the written part of the apostolic teachings can be seen as merely "societal norms codified," then such a view moves for everything to be seen as humanistic in its origin and not proceeding from divine revelation.  Yes, homosexuality can be positively refuted through biology--man and man cannot naturally procreate, which should raise red flags--but while the idea of female clergy cannot be dismissed through similar, empirical reasoning, it stands to reason, in my opinion, that the mystery of the command of the apostle should be honored.  Just as it is possible to attribute, as you seem to have done, St. John's reasons for not allowing women to serve (they are "weak" or whatnot) as the only and original justification for a male-only priesthood, so it is entirely possible that he simply echoed the unexplained, divine order of things given in the Scriptures and added his own, fallible commentary on the reason for its inclusion in Holy Writ.

I prefer to leave all decrees of the apostles as they are, as the reasons for their inclusion are most likely beyond me.

While the scriptures are important and respected documents, they are not infallible, they were written by fallen men and that which comes from one who is not perfect can not be regarded as perfect. If the scriptures state something that is unjustifiable, then it is unjustifiable, as Orthodox we cannot invoke the doctrine of Sola Scriptura and end the conversation with that. Scripture was written in stone by the had of God, but is rather a man's interpretation of the revelation of God, an interpretation that is dependent on the man's cultural mindset, experience, and perspective...hence the differences in the Gospels.

With paul this seems to be especially true, in it we have great theology and anthropology, clearly reflecting the revelation of God ('There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.'), yet we see cultural advice which contradicts this high theology. It seems to me to be Paul trying to reconcile his revelation from God with the reality of the society in which he finds himself. Keep in mind that St. Paul's epistles are generally not theological treatises, but pastoral letters dealing with the difficult task of finding solutions to real problems within a specific community, implying that these letters must, by their very nature, take into account the culture and society of those to whom he is giving pastoral advice.
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« Reply #48 on: April 27, 2006, 02:05:59 PM »

Well, let's look at them individually

Christ was also a Jew...so should only Jews be priests? St. Paul teaches us that 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.' The issue of race and gender are here equated, so your belief that women shouldn't be priests logically implies that neither should gentiles.

There are male Jews and male Gentiles.  The common factor there is "male."  Jesus included several nationalities and both genders in his ministry, but the 12 were the chosen leaders.

While celibacy is a possibility, I dont see how this is really an issue. Even today, are not children taken through the Royal Doors and around the altar at a Churching? I fail to see how allowing an ordained woman who is pregnant to move as normal through the royal doors would be either practically or theologically problematic.

Only male babies are taken through the Royal Doors at churching and circle the Altar once; the female babies are held by the priest in front of the Royal Doors only.

As tempted as I am to jump up and down yelling things like judaizer and blasphemy, I shall refrain and simply quote again from the words of St. Paul, 'I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.'

Of course if you do believe that there is uncleanness related to menstruation perhaps that could be discussed separately; but I will say now with conviction that it is sin and not the body that makes one unclean.

Man, it just doesn't pay to be tongue-in-cheek on the Internet!

While I support the ordination of women, I do not like the idea of artificially forcing all titles and customs without allowing for reasonable change like the anglicans did. I would advocate the use of the term Priestess and calling her Mother...though this should have no impact on ranking within ecclesiastical orders.

By all means, let's follow what the Anglicans do!  What kind of slippery slope would we find ourselves on then?!?

While I am tempted to adjust the arguments of Chiniquy's The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional for this subject, I wont simply because I would not believe my own presuppositions (not that that has stopped me in the past, but there's probably enough controversy here without me artificially creating more). But I will ask why? There is actually a fairly well established custom of confessing to a Spiritual Mother in a female monastery, though absolution cannot be given. Furthermore, I will say then dont confess to a female priest; there are many priests to whom I would not feel comfortable confessing, so I simply dont confess to them, I'll find another priest for confession.

This was said kind of jokingly.  There are differences in males and females.  Women tend to be more gossipy/judgmental/emotional, although I suppose an ordained woman (priestess or nun) would probably be no different than an ordained man in those tendencies.

They can wear a kalimafi...KAKOS Grin ...nevermind that, it's an inside HCHC joke. Elsewhere I have discussed this issue and have argued that this is an outdated Judaizing custom. It certainly should not be expected of anyone and the fact of the matter is that, at least within the Greek Archdiocese, women who wear headscarves are very few and far between (and almost always get funny looks and are avoided at coffee hour unless they're over 70). Of course vestments could always be designed to include some sort of a head covering (such as a kalimafi), but, really, such a consideration would be nothing short of absurd.

I grew up wearing a head covering but don't now.  I don't care either way really.  I disagree that a priestess' vestment should be altered to accommodate her femaleness though.

I would too...mind you I look fairly scary in a beard as well, decided to go clean shaven recently, fortunately they're not a requirement.

Grin

No, it's not the only way to serve, but I see no reason that it should be forbidden to women as one of many ways to serve.

There must be a reason or the Church wouldn't adhere to the practice.  That's not to say that the Church cannot or does not change.  On the contrary, for example, the practice of celebate instead of married bishops evolved.

I'm sorry, but I really dont see how any of these considerations are (or even imply) compelling theological arguments the ordination of women. But the fact that these arguments are used does illustrate one important point, when this is the best the Church can put forth to defend a position which is contrary to social mores and egalitarian decency is it any surprise that the Church is quickly becomming irrelevant to the masses and especially the youth even in traditionally Orthodox societies?

I wasn't trying to be theological.  I was only expressing my opinion.  So much of societal thinking is based on pride, "me, me, me," and entitlement, not sacrifice or service.  You know, not every man may be a priest either.
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« Reply #49 on: April 27, 2006, 02:08:26 PM »

Considering that the Church has not ordained women to the priesthood for close to 2000 years--I don't see this fact in and of itself as a truly convincing reason to refuse ordination to women--the burden of proof doesn't fall on the Church to defend convincingly its refusal to ordain women.  Our argument from silence may not be convincing, but neither does this make it unreasonable.  It just may be that we've never had to articulate in any dogmatic way our historic refusal to ordain women until recently.

Rather, because the desire to see women ordained is so unprecedented in its scope, the burden of proof falls squarely on the proponents of women's ordination to convince the Church of the reasons why we should ordain women.  I'm not convinced by most of the arguments put forth for preserving an all-male priesthood, but neither am I convinced by any of the arguments made in favor of women's ordination.  Maybe in this case the best course of action is to just continue to follow the Orthodox practice of not ordaining women to the priesthood.

For me to be convinced by an argument for a woman's ordination, the argument would have to grow organically from within Holy Tradition and would have to be totally consistent with Holy Tradition.  If some theologians were to formulate such an argument, I might actually take it seriously.  I just don't see any of the arguments presented so far as meeting the above criteria.  To me, they appear to represent the agenda of secular feminism rather than the Faith of the Church.
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« Reply #50 on: April 27, 2006, 02:11:57 PM »

Who, in their right mind, would want to be a priest?

In their right mind? Arn't your expectations a bit high here? Well, I seem to be drawing a blank, but I'll tell you if I come across any. Wink
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« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2006, 02:27:21 PM »

Well, here's my personal beliefs of chapter 11.

Well, since this is getting somewhat off topic I won't respond directly to your exegesis except to say that the issue of headcoverings is hardly essential to the issue of woman's ordination and that what this pericope essentially demonstrates is the difficulity of applying the theological revelation of Paul (that there is no greek or jew, bond or free, or male or female in Christ) to a fallen culture and society.

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But then this begs the question why the Lord still allowed "misogynistic" societies to flourish under the guidance of His chosen men.  I don't think the same Lord who claimed Himself Christ and was crucified while society was looking for a warrior Christ would have had the same pressures to choose men only for priests.

Christ and the Church have allowed numerous social injustices because Christ did not come to rid the world of injustice or corruption, he was not a social revolutionary, he came to bring salvation to the world; likewise, this is the primary responsibility of the Church. But since society has already had the revolution to correct this ancient injustice I can think of no reason why the Church should not embrace this social improvement, which cannot now be done without compromising it's soteriological mission.
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« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2006, 02:45:12 PM »

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There are male Jews and male Gentiles.  The common factor there is "male."  Jesus included several nationalities and both genders in his ministry, but the 12 were the chosen leaders.

But not only were the 12 all men, they were also all circumcised jews, not a gentile amongst them. Furthermore, the apostle to whom Christ appeared on the road to Damascus, Paul, was also a circumcised jews. If this argument is valid against the ordination of women, we must also, by the same logic, prohibit the ordination of non-jews.

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Only male babies are taken through the Royal Doors at churching and circle the Altar once; the female babies are held by the priest in front of the Royal Doors only.

Depends on a priest, many priests, realizing the absurdity of such a custom, today will take male or female babies into the altar.

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This was said kind of jokingly.  There are differences in males and females.  Women tend to be more gossipy/judgmental/emotional, although I suppose an ordained woman (priestess or nun) would probably be no different than an ordained man in those tendencies.

lol...my bad, and hence the limitations of the medium.

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There must be a reason or the Church wouldn't adhere to the practice.  That's not to say that the Church cannot or does not change.  On the contrary, for example, the practice of celebate instead of married bishops evolved.

Oh, I believe there is a reason, one related to a misogynistic society. For, quite frankly, no other viable reason has yet been presented.

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I wasn't trying to be theological.  I was only expressing my opinion.  So much of societal thinking is based on pride, "me, me, me," and entitlement, not sacrifice or service.  You know, not every man may be a priest either.

And I'm not saying that every woman should be ordained either, but I am saying that there are many women who are more worthy of ordination than many men who are ordained (none are truly worthy, hence the use of the comparative).
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« Reply #53 on: April 27, 2006, 03:10:32 PM »

GIC

To state that those who disagree with you on this issue are "uneducated" is foolish and insulting.

I suggest you reconsider your opinion. It says more about you than it does about those who disagree with you.
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« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2006, 03:18:34 PM »

On the other hand, when it comes to something as serious as ordained ministry -- which touches upon so many sacramental, theological, pastoral and ecclesial issues -- perhaps the burden of proof is on those who want to introduce a novel practice.

Well, I would say that the burden of proof is on those who wish to make an absolute statement (e.g. The Church MUST (not) ordain women). The posistion that something CAN be done by a bishop, with the consent of his synod, is the natural posistion in the absence of past thelogical decrees on the subject (and often even with past decisions on the issue, consider the ordination of those who had committed fornication at some point in their life).

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Before changing established custom, we need precedent and support from the Scripture and the Holy Fathers -- not only holes punched in the established narrative.

This is true provided the custom was formally established by the fathers (e.g. in Canon Law), but the fathers are silent on this issue; in the absence of past legislation these standards do not apply. Procedurally all that is necessary is the consent of a patriarchal synod.

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We also need Pan-Orthodox consensus (which means, of course, that most of this is simply ars gratia artis, since hundreds of years of history have shown us that there is no real possibility of that occurring on even the most pressing issues presented to the Church).

This would only be true if there was some Oecumenical Synod that had established the existing custom. Since there is no authorative synodal ruling on this issue, a pan-orthodox consensus, while prudent, is far from necessary. I believe that if and when the ordinatoin of women to the presbyteriate is effected it will be brought about in a manner similar to the Calendar change. In fact, the calendar change was really a bigger change, as there had been past endimousa synods that had explicitly forbidden the use of the gregorian calendar for the celebration of the feasts of the saints; yet this Synod of Constantinople under Meletius of Blessed Memory overturned those synods and issued new rulings contrary to those of past endimousa synods. No such canonical difficulities exist with the ordination of women.

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Certainly the argument ex traditione is, in a technical sense, an argument from silence, but it is not by any means incontrovertible that cultural bias accounts for this silence. The Church has had a number of consecrated and even ordained roles for women (ministerial and liturgical) -- a practice that went against cultural sensibilities -- and yet She never felt it necessary to include women in the presbyterate.

Women having lesser roles in religious life was hardly an innovation, it was quite common place amongst the pagans, which was the past cultural experience of the overwhelming majority of Christian Societies of the time. What was outside the cultural sensibilities was the equality of men and women and this was not challenged as the posistions available for women were always of the lowest orders.

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The question, as I think you've pointed out, is why? Is there a solid theological reason in addition to the witness of tradition? There may well be. The Church, however, has not really been able to give a very precise one -- much like it was not able, by the standards of the 6th century, to give a very "precise" account of Trinitarian theology in the 2nd century -- but that does not mean that one does not exist, nor that we should jettison received practice.

But the trinitarian questions were not being asked in the second century. If they were the response that 'we'll come up with one eventually' would have clearly been unacceptable. The issue of the ordination of women has been presented and, inlight of this fact, if one is going to make the absolutist claim that it is unacceptable the posistion must be justified.

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Of course, that's really Bishop Kallistos's point: We need to come up with a more solid and complete theological understanding of male priesthood and female ministry, so that the reasons for established practice can respond to current realities.

That does not seem to be a fair assessment of His Grace's intents. It would seem that His Grace is willing to approach this issue with a more open mind, he has not appealed for more arguments to support the status quo but for open and honest academic disscussion and consideratin of the issue.

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One shouldn't go about saying, "I support female priesthood" -- especially in your position, GiC -- but, rather, "I support prayerful and careful examination of the theology and the history of these issues." To do otherwise is to jump the gun...or even the ship itself.

Considering the silence of our tradition, I fail to see how it is any more dangerous to say 'I support the female priesthood' than to say 'I oppose the female priesthood.' But the fact of the matter is that in light of the silence of the fathers there is no valid reason why, until a formal and authorative synodal ruling on the issue, someone should not be able to take whatever posistion they want on the matter. For the sake of academic discussion people need to take sides, perhaps not the bishops, prudence may be called for in their case, but certainly the theologians of the Church. This way (and only this way) can we have the open and honest academic dialogue that is necessary to fully explore the issue at hand.
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« Reply #55 on: April 27, 2006, 03:21:07 PM »

GIC

To state that those who disagree with you on this issue are "uneducated" is foolish and insulting.

I suggest you reconsider your opinion. It says more about you than it does about those who disagree with you.

Simply an observation of trends, I clearly stated that it was not intended to be an absolute statement. And level of education is probably far more likely to determine what side people take on the issue than gender or status as convert or cradle.

If you want an exception to the rule just look at me, I'd hardly consider myself educated yet I support the ordination of women Wink
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« Reply #56 on: April 27, 2006, 03:27:16 PM »

Fair enough. Smiley
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« Reply #57 on: April 27, 2006, 03:36:07 PM »

If you want an exception to the rule just look at me, I'd hardly consider myself educated yet I support the ordination of women Wink

[teasing facetiousness]Well, then, that does speak volumes about your [lack of] qualification to speak as an authority on this issue.  Tongue[/teasing facetiousness]
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« Reply #58 on: April 27, 2006, 03:38:48 PM »

[teasing facetiousness]Well, then, that does speak volumes about your [lack of] qualification to speak as an authority on this issue.  Tongue[/teasing facetiousness]

AHHHH...but that would be an ad hominem attack, which is against the forum rules (I had already thought about that potential response Wink )
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« Reply #59 on: April 27, 2006, 04:21:31 PM »

Well, I would say that the burden of proof is on those who wish to make an absolute statement (e.g. The Church MUST (not) ordain women). The position that something CAN be done by a bishop, with the consent of his synod, is the natural position in the absence of past thelogical decrees on the subject (and often even with past decisions on the issue, consider the ordination of those who had committed fornication at some point in their life).

The question is not if a Synod or even, perhaps, a lone Bishop, CAN ordain women, but, rather, if they should. Procedure, ability and right are secondary questions of orderly governance.


GiC says:
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Considering the silence of our tradition, I fail to see how it is any more dangerous to say 'I support the female priesthood' than to say 'I oppose the female priesthood.'

Because the silence of our tradition is also the clarion call of our practice. That alone should give one great pause. Further, there's always more danger in introducing novel practices or charting unexplored theological ground (that is, by definition, a risk). Thus, discretion is the proper method of "academic discussion" (not to mention prayer or inspiration!). After all, Bp. Kallistos puts things in terms of "might," "ask," and "perhaps."
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« Reply #60 on: April 27, 2006, 04:27:36 PM »

I don't think our tradition is silent at all: it's never been done, hence it's loud and clear.  We've never used grape juice for communion either, but hey, no one ever mentioned it so I guess a bishop could use it, right? Nah....

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« Reply #61 on: April 27, 2006, 04:35:21 PM »

I don't think our tradition is silent at all: it's never been done, hence it's loud and clear.  We've never used grape juice for communion either, but hey, no one ever mentioned it so I guess a bishop could use it, right? Nah....

Anastasios

Well said. That's an example (although not the best) of what I meant when I said the silence of our tradition is also the clarion call of our practice.

We can't look at this as a simple matter of canonical right, ability or procedure -- although we also can't ignore such things.

Side note: (I believe there are canons that speak about the proper elements for the Eucharist)
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« Reply #62 on: April 27, 2006, 04:55:33 PM »


Also, you fail to understand that the only places that the Church is thriving are those where the Tradition is adhered to. My GOA parish has a low to moderate turnout among its youth and young adults. The local ROCOR communities are packed to the rafters with young people every Sunday. Insert women priests into this mix (or any other gross capitulation to modernism) and the place would empty out. Guaranteed.


...or turn it into a Protestant mega-church like atmosphere (to grow it).
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« Reply #63 on: April 27, 2006, 04:55:55 PM »

AHHHH...but that would be an ad hominem attack, which is against the forum rules (I had already thought about that potential response Wink )

I don't even know what an ad hominem attack is.

In all seriousness, what you thought to be an ad hominem I did not intend to be anything more than a joke, hence my framing the statement in [teasing facetiousness] brackets.  If you perceived it to be anything other than a joke, then please forgive me.  Even though I disagree with your fundamental premises, I must admit that your posts on this thread are very well conceived and that I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on this debate.
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« Reply #64 on: April 27, 2006, 05:02:24 PM »

The question is not if a Synod or even, perhaps, a lone Bishop, CAN ordain women, but, rather, if they should. Procedure, ability and right are secondary questions of orderly governance.

Thus far the only argument I have put forward is that in absence of a theological argument it is a non-theological pastoral issue; I believe that, over all, the ordination of women would be pastorally benificial. And in an earlier post (though perhaps on the threat where this discussion began) I put forward my reasoning as to why I believe it to be pastorally benificial. I fail to see the danger in asserting that I believe a certain course of action to be more pastorially benificial than another; especially since it does not appear to be a theological issue, if someone believes otherwise I'm still waiting for a sound theological argument. Asking me to prove it's not a theological issue is absurd, as it is not even possible to prove non-existance outside of a well-defined axiomatic mathematical system.
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« Reply #65 on: April 27, 2006, 05:28:26 PM »

It seems neither side is going to convince the other regarding this issue.  Both sides can quote Scripture and twist it around to make their point, but the bottom line is the Church does not ordain women.  A fellow parishioner of mine would prefer to be cremated, but she will be buried when her time comes because she wants to follow the rules of the Church.

By the way, GIC, I'm disturbed to hear that a priest would take it upon himself to decide which practices are absurd.  What is so absurd about it anyway?  Both children are offered to God.  Hmmm, maybe the male is taken around the Altar and not the female because the Church decided that males could be priests.  Just a thought.  Wink
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« Reply #66 on: April 27, 2006, 05:47:17 PM »

Thus far the only argument I have put forward is that in absence of a theological argument it is a non-theological pastoral issue; I believe that, over all, the ordination of women would be pastorally benificial. And in an earlier post (though perhaps on the threat where this discussion began) I put forward my reasoning as to why I believe it to be pastorally benificial. I fail to see the danger in asserting that I believe a certain course of action to be more pastorially benificial than another; especially since it does not appear to be a theological issue, if someone believes otherwise I'm still waiting for a sound theological argument. Asking me to prove it's not a theological issue is absurd, as it is not even possible to prove non-existance outside of a well-defined axiomatic mathematical system.

Since it has been proved to be anything but pastorally beneficial in the other Christian communities where it has been introduced, please tell us why you think it would be different if introduced into the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #67 on: April 27, 2006, 06:05:10 PM »

Since it has been proved to be anything but pastorally beneficial in the other Christian communities where it has been introduced, please tell us why you think it would be different if introduced into the Orthodox Church.

Is this a real question?

How many Christian communities did Christ Establish in your mind?

The Holy Orthodox Church IS the established Church; one true and unchanged in its doctrine and order from the Apostles.

Anything else out their is a byproduct of the established Church and NOT "a church" or "the church".

No matter how you see this fact you must not think that we (Orthodox) take instructions from people outside Church.
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« Reply #68 on: April 27, 2006, 06:09:29 PM »

If you read what I wrote, I recognize only one CHURCH.
There are, however other groups of Christians that call themselves "churches".
I think its pretty clear that I made that distinction in my question to GIC.
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« Reply #69 on: April 27, 2006, 06:19:31 PM »

If you read what I wrote, I recognize only one CHURCH.
There are, however other groups of Christians that call themselves "churches".
I think it's pretty clear that I made that distinction in my question to GIC.

Maybe Amdetsion should speak for him/her-self on what he/she means, but what I read in Amdetsion's post is the idea that it's not even possible to be Christian outside of the Orthodox Church, a view held by many (but not all) Orthodox.
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« Reply #70 on: April 27, 2006, 06:30:12 PM »

And when people sling everything at others except the milk of human kindness, I have to wonder if there is a Christian left anywhere on Earth.
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« Reply #71 on: April 27, 2006, 06:31:07 PM »

Elisha

I may be following you on this if I understand the sincerity of what you stated.

It was very funny!!

I drove past a mega "church" (amazing way to apply the term "church") for the first time. It was a real site. I slowed down to take in the site. It was designed to look like a very large shopping mall.  You know the really gaudy ones. This building had a standing seam turquois roof.

I guess if some people on this strip actually ever get their way with the woman ordination heresy they want or except so much; who knows as we move along in life (if the lord does not come back first and redeem His Church) these people may just have our Priest call themselves preachers (since it works with the "other christian communities") instead and start wearing diamond studded crosses and huge custom made three peice suits and break dancing down on the alter (if they keep that).

They may even want to have their new Lady Bishops in more feminin attire like a Channel wool crepe suit (Lavender with gold trim of course) and a nice pair of David Choo leopard skin mules. Hey!!! it works in so many "other christian communities".

Have you ever seen the shananagins that go in some of these mega "church" services? If you have not than you may not follow my point.

I joking of course. But if we are looking for equallitywe may as well challenge how far we are willing to go.
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« Reply #72 on: April 27, 2006, 06:38:26 PM »

Quote
Well, since this is getting somewhat off topic I won't respond directly to your exegesis except to say that the issue of headcoverings is hardly essential to the issue of woman's ordination

Actually, I feel that this may somewhat deal with female priesthood.  Again, it was St. Paul's belief that "Christ is the head of man, and man the head of woman, and God the head of Christ."  When applied to priesthood, you can understand why it is preferrable theologically for male priesthood over female priesthood.

Quote
and that what this pericope essentially demonstrates is the difficulity of applying the theological revelation of Paul (that there is no greek or jew, bond or free, or male or female in Christ) to a fallen culture and society.

Well, I disagree.  It would seem odd that St. Paul would contradict himself on one point, making man the head of woman, and another point where not differentiating between man and woman.  Theologically and prophetically, we are carrying out roles that which is done between the Father and the Divine Sophia, Christ, and between Christ and the Church.  A man doesn't complain on why he can't give birth to children.  Even with Christ, His biological mother would be a woman, Mary, and His Forerunner and Spiritual Baptist, a priest of the line of Aaron, would be a man, John.  In the Church victorious, I believe that the equality between man and woman will be consummated when we receive our spiritual bodies.

Quote
Christ and the Church have allowed numerous social injustices because Christ did not come to rid the world of injustice or corruption, he was not a social revolutionary, he came to bring salvation to the world; likewise, this is the primary responsibility of the Church.

Not necessarily.  It was a social norm under the Law of Moses to pay "eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth."  But with Christ, not only did He bring salvation, He also brought fulfillment to the morals of the Law, lifting the curse and bringing it to fulfillment (love your enemies and turn the other cheek).  That in itself is a social revolutionary.  There were also cultural pressures in Jewish versus Gentile Christians, and nothing stopped St. Paul on that issue, which could have easily been the same for female and male priesthood if he so felt the inspired need to speak about it.

Quote
But since society has already had the revolution to correct this ancient injustice I can think of no reason why the Church should not embrace this social improvement, which cannot now be done without compromising it's soteriological mission.

Well, society already corrected injustice done AGAINST women, but I see no "injustice" done against women when not allowing them ordained priesthood.  This is simply an accepted norm, an accepted role in the Church.  Can the foot say why I'm not the hand?  Besides, the same argument can be used on homosexuality.  This last part is, to me, a poor argument, because one can see injustice done against homosexuals should lead the Church's openness in gay marriage!

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #73 on: April 27, 2006, 08:27:34 PM »

Amdetsion,

It's Jimmy Choo.  I don't think too many pro-woman priest types are familiar with couture shoes (!)  Not feminist enough  Wink (Although I wish rocor would return the Birkenstocks to the hippy, Ms. magazine-readers!)
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« Reply #74 on: April 27, 2006, 11:19:20 PM »

MO the Ethio

Thanks for the correction.
Apparently I am no fashion mogul either.
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« Reply #75 on: April 27, 2006, 11:21:37 PM »

Suzanne

Please note that the previous thanks I gave to Mo The Ethio is intended for you...

Thanks for the correction.
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« Reply #76 on: April 27, 2006, 11:52:25 PM »

PeterTheAlute

The term Christianity; its people,Adherents and faith is the subject of what became to be called Orthodox Christians. This word belongs to our heritage.

If people are not Orthodox but are only following the faith of the Orthodox
they are protestant. They choose to leave the Church and keep what they like and all things they think is best. That is their choice.

P r o t e s t a n t  says it all. They are dis=satisfied with the established Church which is Orthodox.

If you want to see non-Orthodox people as Christian then that is up to you.

If you feel this way...Do you also take communion and other sacraments from the protestants? Or did you know that they DO NOT believe in ANY sacraments, Alters, Priests (male or otherwise), the holiness of the Cross, Liturgy....they do not believe in anything you or I believe. So if they are Christians than what are Orthodox Christians?

You can call this a Christian?

Enough...this is off the point of the lady priest heresy under discussion on this strip; so we can pick this up later.
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« Reply #77 on: April 27, 2006, 11:55:25 PM »

I guess if some people on this strip actually ever get their way with the woman ordination heresy they want or except so much;

(Not that I disagree with you, because I don't, but neither do I agree with you.)

Why is the ordination of women a heresy?
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« Reply #78 on: April 28, 2006, 12:14:06 AM »

PeterTheAlute

The term Christianity; its people,Adherents and faith is the subject of what became to be called Orthodox Christians. This word belongs to our heritage.

If people are not Orthodox but are only following the faith of the Orthodox
they are protestant. They choose to leave the Church and keep what they like and all things they think is best. That is their choice.

P r o t e s t a n t  says it all. They are dis=satisfied with the established Church which is Orthodox.

If you want to see non-Orthodox people as Christian then that is up to you.

If you feel this way...Do you also take communion and other sacraments from the protestants? Or did you know that they DO NOT believe in ANY sacraments, Alters, Priests (male or otherwise), the holiness of the Cross, Liturgy....they do not believe in anything you or I believe. So if they are Christians than what are Orthodox Christians?

You can call this a Christian?

Enough...this is off the point of the lady priest heresy under discussion on this strip; so we can pick this up later.

I'll give you my answer to your off-topic question and then return immediately to the topic of this thread.  I used to be a Protestant myself.  Now that I'm Orthodox, can I or will I deny that I was not even Christian while I was Protestant?

I didn't choose to be Protestant.  I was born Protestant.  As a Protestant I tried to live my faith in Christ with all of my heart, and I had many friends who did the same.  I tried to live according to the truth that I knew, which I recognize only now was incomplete and in some respects heretical--I really didn't realize this until after I was introduced to the Orthodox Faith at Age 25.  But many of my Protestant friends and I were sincere in our commitment to what faith we knew, which is a heckuvalot more than I can say about some Orthodox.  (Protestants don't have the fullness of Truth, yet many of them are much more sincere in their faith in Christ than many Orthodox, who are in communion with the fullness of Truth but don't live like it.  This is very sad. :'( )  If I wasn't first a Protestant, I don't know that I would even be Orthodox today.  For all I know, I might have become an atheist.

What is a Christian but a follower of Christ?  Protestants don't have the fullness of truth and are all in varying degrees following after heresies, but many of them are indeed sincere followers of Christ to the extent of the truth that they know of Him and would never knowingly follow after a heresy as you charge.  Is this not the very definition of what it means to be a Christian, to be a follower of Christ?  I would deny the term Christian only to those Protestant reformers who knew what the Church proclaims as Truth yet still followed the doctrines of their own creation.

Now, as I promised, back to the topic.
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« Reply #79 on: April 28, 2006, 12:27:40 AM »

Some questions to help guide this discussion:

  • What is the nature of priesthood in the Church?
  • What is the role of the priest in the liturgical life of the Church?
  • What relationship does maleness have to the role of the priest in the Church?


And a thought (that may have already been expressed):

The liturgical priesthood is not a right or a privilege; it is a Divine calling, the vocation of participation in what is ultimately the liturgical priesthood of Christ Himself.  This is a calling that only very few men--and, as far as we know, no women--receive.  We should therefore not ask why we don't allow women to be priests and bishops, we should rather ask why the Church discerns that Christ does not call women to be priests and bishops.
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« Reply #80 on: April 28, 2006, 12:49:11 AM »

PetertheAlute

Well said.

But one thing else...

Please remember what the Orthodox Church is. For man it is not faith  in christ, or love of Christ...persay but....

Orthodoxy IS THE WAY to Christ and His truth which leads to salvation and His love.

Not just faith based religion like all protestant churches. what these faith based religions offer are a good in-this-life based God centeredness.....which is great and I know many people as you do that find great comfort and thus commitment to these religions. their purpose is metaphysical and more here and now.

Orthodoxy is the True path to salvation. If you are not looking for salvation as the end result and purpose of your life in this world you will loose your way or become stagnant on the path. So many Orthodox fall into this condition because of the nationalistic nature or purpose of "maintaining" their Orthodox "affiliation" a prideful Orthodox heritage. This causes the poor commitment or the faithlessness you spoke about. But this can be avoided if we remain TRUE to the PATH and stay focused on the purpose which is to obtain salvation from Christ and to live eternally in the light of His love. Orthodoxy if followed (like a highway with signs for example) will get you their. Protestants do not have this. They are like being on a higway without signs...they know thier own way.

I to would not have become a Christian if I had been steered by many modern day orthodox. And I know that protestants do not have the way. So maybe I would be .....I do not know....

Thanks for your response.

O.K.

Back to the subject..............
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« Reply #81 on: April 28, 2006, 06:06:36 AM »

There are no female priests in the One, Holy and Apostolic Church.  Those who are looking for one in the future are barking up the wrong tree.  There is not even a social factor to consider here, for in the ancient times when women were considered "inferior" to men, women priests had served pagan gods.

For those women who think that they deserve to be part of the clergy, I pray that they follow the example of the Theotokos.  She is all-holy and yet she never wanted to be ordained in her lifetime.
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« Reply #82 on: April 28, 2006, 07:51:08 AM »

I pray that they follow the example of the Theotokos.
The Theotokos can never be an example for women, or anyone. The Incarnation was a Singularity which will never be repeated in this age (or any other as far as we know). The only way women could "follow the example" of the Theotokos is if they could conceive and give birth while remaining virgins. The example we have to follow, whether male or female, is Christ- the same example the Theotokos followed, and we seek Her Intercession to aid us in following Her Son and God.
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« Reply #83 on: April 28, 2006, 09:26:28 AM »

The Theotokos can never be an example for women, or anyone.

 Really?ÂÂ Huh
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« Reply #84 on: April 28, 2006, 09:28:05 AM »

GreekisChristian has stated elsewhere that he approves of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Orthodox Church.

How do you all feel about this issue?
I am satisfied with the idea of following Christ's lead and we know that He did not name any female Apostles.  Some will claim that this was because of the times, but I do not follow a Christ who was so cowardly as to not challenge those societal elements that He wanted changed.
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« Reply #85 on: April 28, 2006, 09:32:31 AM »

There are no female priests in the One, Holy and Apostolic Church.  Those who are looking for one in the future are barking up the wrong tree.  There is not even a social factor to consider here, for in the ancient times when women were considered "inferior" to men, women priests had served pagan gods.

This is a point I have been meaning to bring up for a while. While Hellenistic Jewish and Roman culture did have a comparatively low view of women, in so far as these societies generally excluded women from direct participation in politics and, with a few exceptions for wealthy nobility, granted women few legal rights per se, it was precisely in the realm of religion and cult practice that women enjoyed considerable leeway.

In fact, it seems that even in Classical Athens, religion was the means by which women exercised a public -- even political -- role. (Cf. Matthew Dillon's Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion). And, of course, Roman law, especially after Augustan's reforms, was much more "liberal" in regards to women, which, combined with Hellenized Roman religious practice, meant that at the time of Christ, St. Paul and even the Fathers of Late Antiquity, there was a tremendous variety of explicitly female religious opportunities, including public cults for men and women and even popular public cults that were only for women.

Especially in the eastern part of the Empire -- where Christianity so flourished -- there were many, many priestesses of a wide variety of cults, and, as always, there were many female practitioners of magic (this last area, unfortunately, is probably one of the few areas in which women in Orthodox countries continue to exercise a leading cultic role).

The point is this: The legal and political rights of women were restricted, but their cultic, religious "rights" were most certainly not. In fact, orthodox Christianity's staunchly male priesthood was one of the ways in which Christianity stood in contrast to the typical cults of the time. Thus, it seems, GiC, that attributing Paul's words, St. John Chrysostom's homilies and the Church's practice to cultural bias may not be the easiest case to make.

Two thoughts:

1) As I've thought about this, I've remembered a number of passages in Epiphanius of Salamis, Origen, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria and, I think, Justin Martyr and even Irenaeus that speak strongly against (pagan and heretical) female priests. In the very least it seems this indicates (a) early Christianity's male priesthood as a distinguishing hallmark of its orthodox praxis/morality, and, perhaps, (b) an explanation for why male priesthood was so important to early Christianity (other than the "they degraded women" deal).

2) As others have indicated, what does one do with St. Paul's theology of the family? Is this also "culturally driven"? If the family is the little Church, and the husband is always the spiritual head of the family, how can the spiritual head of the larger family, the parish, not also be taken from one of the already-leading men? (The same questions apply to many, many homilies by St. John Chrysostom, who spoke extensively on the position of women in the Church and family -- not just in the passage from One the Priesthood that you quoted. Cf. David Ford's book on St. John Chrysostom and women.)
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« Reply #86 on: April 28, 2006, 09:35:27 AM »

There are no female priests in the One, Holy and Apostolic Church.  Those who are looking for one in the future are barking up the wrong tree.  There is not even a social factor to consider here, for in the ancient times when women were considered "inferior" to men, women priests had served pagan gods.

For those women who think that they deserve to be part of the clergy, I pray that they follow the example of the Theotokos.  She is all-holy and yet she never wanted to be ordained in her lifetime.

That's actually a good point.  The fact that women priests existed in Gentile nations should have at least brought some ease for the Apostles to allow female priesthood when converting.  However, the outcry was that most of these woman priests were there for pagan sexual festivals, with the priestess being some sort of the prostitute at the time.  If one can find that there were "civil" woman priests in Gentile nations, then your point can be well taken.

As for following the example of the Theotokos, I agree.  Those who think that giving birth to God was a singularity is not true.  Just as the Theotokos gave birth to the Logos (which is truly a singularity), so it is our job to continually give birth to the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #87 on: April 28, 2006, 09:44:31 AM »

That's actually a good point.  The fact that women priests existed in Gentile nations should have at least brought some ease for the Apostles to allow female priesthood when converting.  However, the outcry was that most of these woman priests were there for pagan sexual festivals, with the priestess being some sort of the prostitute at the time.  If one can find that there were "civil" woman priests in Gentile nations, then your point can be well taken.
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There were plenty of such "civil" female priests. The Hellenistic Philosophers liked to described for polemical purposes pagan priesthood and cultic practice as little more than ignorant decadence and an excuse for prostitution (a refrain that the Church Fathers picked up, as they did a number of other arguments against paganism, e.g. Clement of Alexandria's arguments against pagan art and cultic practice, which come right out of fashionable Alexandrian non-Christian philosophy). However, most female priests -- and certainly most female participants in cultic practices and ceremonies -- were not involved in prostitution.
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« Reply #88 on: April 28, 2006, 09:47:46 AM »

As for following the example of the Theotokos, I agree.  Those who think that giving birth to God was a singularity is not true.  Just as the Theotokos gave birth to the Logos (which is truly a singularity), so it is our job to continually give birth to the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
If both men and women must follow the example of the Theotokos and give birth to the Holy Spirit (which the Theotokos didn't do, but anyway), why is it the case that only women should follow the example of the Theotokos in not seeking priesthood? Why don't men follow this example also, so that no one seeks the priesthood?
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« Reply #89 on: April 28, 2006, 09:54:48 AM »

If both men and women must follow the example of the Theotokos and give birth to the Holy Spirit (which the Theotokos didn't do, but anyway), why is it the case that only women should follow the example of the Theotokos in not seeking priesthood? Why don't men follow this example also, so that no one seeks the priesthood?

I also agree with that.  I don't know where exactly, but I did say earlier that the best priests are those who don't seek it.

God bless.
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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