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Author Topic: Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church  (Read 177428 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #495 on: May 07, 2006, 11:39:58 PM »

montalban

Quote
Unable to prove an argument some have branched out in order to prove other things, and therefore hope to have gained the OP by proxy

I'll take that as an answer to my last post to you... You know, it'd be easier, not to mention intellectually honest, if you would just admit that you hold to a doctrine that you can't evidence from the Church Fathers. I know pride is a hard task master, though.
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« Reply #496 on: May 08, 2006, 01:05:29 AM »

Unable to prove an argument some have branched out in order to prove other things, and therefore hope to have gained the OP by proxy

This is just a skirmish in a greater war and I believe that after 33 pages both sides are tired and willing to retire to their respective camps to fight another day. It is a skirmish on the level of the squad while armies are yet manoeuvring. Sometimes the point of these engagements are simply to draw the battle lines and eventually force a fixed battle, each doing what they can to gain an advantage when the battle proper begins. I am sure this issue will come up again when we feel like putting into the discussion the energy it deserves...we're only the advanced guards, so to speak.

Some people must have a low opinion of other people's intelligence... if they insist on stating the exceptionally obvious.

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« Reply #497 on: May 08, 2006, 02:29:25 AM »

The depiction of the Three Angels is really a depiction of the three angels to whom the patriarch Abraham offered hospitality in Genesis 18:1-33.  AFAIK, the three angels are not seen as BEING the Holy Trinity; rather, they are seen as PREFIGURING the Holy Trinity, hence the Trinitarian symbolism of the icon.

I used to be a fan of Rublev myself.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/hospitality.asp
To summarize this work we have an excerpt from the Seventh Ecumenical Council in regards to what may be depicted in icons. Read in the context of what the Fathers have said, the meaning of the following paragraph is clear: the Father, the Holy Spirit or Trinity may not be painted:

"We therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church, define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, so also the venerable and holy images should be set forth...the figure of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, of our Lady, the Mother of God, of the honorable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people." Nowhere does it mention God the Father or Holy Spirit.

"For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them and to these should be given due salutation and honorable reverence...." [The Decree of The Holy, Great, Ecumenical Synod, The Second of Nice. Pg. 550]

Centuries later, the Trinity portraitures infiltrated the Church everywhere, especially in Russia. This kind of religious art was condemned by two Councils: the Great Council of Moscow in 1666 an the Council of Constantinople [1780]. To quote from the decree of the Russian Synod:

"We synodically declare that the so-called icon of the Holy Trinity, a recent [my emphasis] invention, is alien and unacceptable to the Apostolic and Catholic Orthodox Church. It was transmitted to the Orthodox Church from the Latins."

According to the Council of 1666 and the council of Constantinople of 1780 the "icon" of the Trinity is referred to as "improper", "ignorant", "unbefitting" "unacceptable", and "base". It would seem contradictory to reverence such an icon so described. What sense does it make? Even if the "icon" has not been officially declared a heresy it seems by these words to be nothing else. If these words do not mean heresy then what do they mean?



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« Reply #498 on: May 08, 2006, 05:53:13 AM »

montalban

I'll take that as an answer to my last post to you... You know, it'd be easier, not to mention intellectually honest, if you would just admit that you hold to a doctrine that you can't evidence from the Church Fathers. I know pride is a hard task master, though.
I wasn't referring to you at all. I have hardly addressed you on this thread. As to 'Church Fathers' I've already cited them, and I raised this a second time with another person and that he summarily dismissed this evidence. But that was some time ago. See, you make a post about pride* ironic, because you lecture me about it, yet you think that I was talking about you

*if pride includes conceit
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« Reply #499 on: May 08, 2006, 05:56:55 AM »

I used to be a fan of Rublev myself.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/hospitality.asp
To summarize this work we have an excerpt from the Seventh Ecumenical Council in regards to what may be depicted in icons. Read in the context of what the Fathers have said, the meaning of the following paragraph is clear: the Father, the Holy Spirit or Trinity may not be painted:

"We therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church, define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, so also the venerable and holy images should be set forth...the figure of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, of our Lady, the Mother of God, of the honorable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people." Nowhere does it mention God the Father or Holy Spirit.

"For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them and to these should be given due salutation and honorable reverence...." [The Decree of The Holy, Great, Ecumenical Synod, The Second of Nice. Pg. 550]

Centuries later, the Trinity portraitures infiltrated the Church everywhere, especially in Russia. This kind of religious art was condemned by two Councils: the Great Council of Moscow in 1666 an the Council of Constantinople [1780]. To quote from the decree of the Russian Synod:

"We synodically declare that the so-called icon of the Holy Trinity, a recent [my emphasis] invention, is alien and unacceptable to the Apostolic and Catholic Orthodox Church. It was transmitted to the Orthodox Church from the Latins."

According to the Council of 1666 and the council of Constantinople of 1780 the "icon" of the Trinity is referred to as "improper", "ignorant", "unbefitting" "unacceptable", and "base". It would seem contradictory to reverence such an icon so described. What sense does it make? Even if the "icon" has not been officially declared a heresy it seems by these words to be nothing else. If these words do not mean heresy then what do they mean?


I e-mailed a monk friend of mine who spoke to his superior who said... (paraphrasing)
'...it was addressed in the minutes of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, for some reason it didn't make the
Canons, but it is assumed that they didn't believe it would become a grave issue.

It was also addressed in the "Great Synodal Assembly" in Russia in 1666'
I have not checked the veracity of these references.
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« Reply #500 on: May 08, 2006, 06:06:32 AM »

montalban
I'll take that as an answer to my last post to you... You know, it'd be easier, not to mention intellectually honest, if you would just admit that you hold to a doctrine that you can't evidence from the Church Fathers.
Without the patience to look back through the pages herein, I will simply re-post the 'evidences' that were cited. The first was posted originally by another poster (I can't recall whom, so I apologise for that). I repost it because it contextualises the following two references; that talked of 'men' (it means that they are not talking about men in the sense of all people).



Historically, the Greeks had accepted women priests

“The practice of women prophesying at the church in Corinth would have had no negative reaction from Greek culture, at least not for being done by females. On the contrary, two of the most famous oracles of the Greek world had at their heart women who were used as vehicles to medate the message of the god. Women played key roles in the public celebrations of many cults, and there is little doubt that at least some of these roles involved speaking: prayers, words of consecration of the sacrifice, perhaps instruction in the mysteries or words of assurance or warning to initiates. The only trouble Christian prophetesses would have caused the surrounding culture would have been due to the fact that the religion was foreign and denounced traditional faiths as false. But this has nothing to do with women's roles”

http://campus.houghton.edu/webs/employees/tpaige/Construct.html

Thus St. Paul was showing a clear break with this known custom when he advocated male priests.

John Chrysostomon says, in part...
For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for one, being a man, and compassed with flesh and blood, to be enabled to draw nigh to that blessed and pure nature, he will then clearly see what great honor the grace of the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests; since by their agency these rites are celebrated, and others nowise inferior to these both in respect of our dignity and our salvation.
Book III.5
TREATISE ON THE PRIESTHOOD
http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF1-09/npnf1-09-08.htm#TopOfPage



Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blame-lessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.
Clement of Rome Chapter XLIV.-The Ordinances of the Apostles, that There Might Be No Contention Respecting the Priestly Office. "Epistle to the Corinthians"
http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-05.htm#P171_20841



The two objections I recall being put to this was
a) that men refers to all humanity (ignoring the first reference, and the mere fact that the priests of the time of the two quotes were men)
and
b) that I has 'simply googled it' (which is a rather odd rejection, and a false one)

And this now makes the third time I've presented these 'Church Fathers'. I add now to posterity your unique rebuttal that I haven't.

Fortunately I do save many of my arguments in a laboriously indexed and cross-references word documents
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« Reply #501 on: May 08, 2006, 07:11:20 AM »

the Great Council of Moscow in 1666
I think he meant to say "The Strange Council of Moscow of 1666" or perhaps "The Council  of 1666 Contirved by the Tsar to Imprison His Former Friend, the Patriarch, Because of Jealousy". This was the notorious "council" which deposed Patriarch Nikon- after the same Council had just finished adopting all of the Patriarch's reforms and anathemising those who refused to accept them. And the Patriarch was deposed without appealing to an Oecumenical Council. I'd hardly call the 1666 Council "Great"- it was hardly a "Great" point in the history of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #502 on: May 08, 2006, 08:45:03 AM »

The two objections I recall being put to this was
a) that men refers to all humanity (ignoring the first reference, and the mere fact that the priests of the time of the two quotes were men)
and
b) that I has 'simply googled it' (which is a rather odd rejection, and a false one)

First, even if these references were gender specific, it would be irrelevant, it would be a reaction to existing norms and not an establishment thereof. Secondly, if you want someone to comment, post them in Greek, because I'm willing to bet that the boldfaced words are gender neutral. The reason I haven't commented before is because this is amongst the most absurd (non) 'scholarship' that I've ever seen. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #503 on: May 08, 2006, 02:26:18 PM »

I used to be a fan of Rublev myself.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/hospitality.asp
To summarize this work we have an excerpt from the Seventh Ecumenical Council in regards to what may be depicted in icons. Read in the context of what the Fathers have said, the meaning of the following paragraph is clear: the Father, the Holy Spirit or Trinity may not be painted:

"We therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church, define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, so also the venerable and holy images should be set forth...the figure of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, of our Lady, the Mother of God, of the honorable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people." Nowhere does it mention God the Father or Holy Spirit.

"For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them and to these should be given due salutation and honorable reverence...." [The Decree of The Holy, Great, Ecumenical Synod, The Second of Nice. Pg. 550]

Centuries later, the Trinity portraitures infiltrated the Church everywhere, especially in Russia. This kind of religious art was condemned by two Councils: the Great Council of Moscow in 1666 an the Council of Constantinople [1780]. To quote from the decree of the Russian Synod:

"We synodically declare that the so-called icon of the Holy Trinity, a recent [my emphasis] invention, is alien and unacceptable to the Apostolic and Catholic Orthodox Church. It was transmitted to the Orthodox Church from the Latins."

According to the Council of 1666 and the council of Constantinople of 1780 the "icon" of the Trinity is referred to as "improper", "ignorant", "unbefitting" "unacceptable", and "base". It would seem contradictory to reverence such an icon so described. What sense does it make? Even if the "icon" has not been officially declared a heresy it seems by these words to be nothing else. If these words do not mean heresy then what do they mean?

Maybe I need to reiterate what I said.

I may be wrong, but I never knew that icons of the Three Angels (a.k.a. the Hospitality of Abraham) were ever considered actual depictions of the Holy Trinity.  I always believed that these icons depicted an event in biblical history that is seen to represent the Holy Trinity, but that the angels themselves are not necessarily the Holy Trinity.  If this is so, then such icons as the Hospitality of Abraham would indeed not violate canons against iconographic depictions of the Holy Trinity.
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« Reply #504 on: May 08, 2006, 03:05:45 PM »

Maybe I need to reiterate what I said.

I may be wrong, but I never knew that icons of the Three Angels (a.k.a. the Hospitality of Abraham) were ever considered actual depictions of the Holy Trinity.ÂÂ  I always believed that these icons depicted an event in biblical history that is seen to represent the Holy Trinity, but that the angels themselves are not necessarily the Holy Trinity.ÂÂ  If this is so, then such icons as the Hospitality of Abraham would indeed not violate canons against iconographic depictions of the Holy Trinity.

Well, according to some theologians (e.g. George Gabriel), the icon of the Hospitality of Abraham, SHOULD NOT be considered an actual depiction of the Holy Trinity (his very detailed and interesting work, mind you, got him condemned by certain "traditionalists," including Athonite monks, as a heretic). However, at some point after this Icon became popular, the "proper" theological distinctions got confused. Thus, one can find many, many old versions of the Hospitality which are titled "The Holy Trinity" (whereas, the oldest extant ones always actually say, "The Hospitality of Abraham").

Thus, the Hospitality quickly became more depiction than typology and, some time after that, even the Hospitality re-interpreted lost ground to the quite popular Holy Trinity Icon with God the Father, God the Son and The Bird, as one of my former priests used to say. And this Icon, of course, always says: "The Holy Trinity." (Just a personal observation: Every Russian, Romanian and Greek Church that I have attended that was built in the early to mid 20th century has at least one copy of the Holy Trinity with the Father as Enthroned Ancient of Days, the Son, and the Spirit as a dove).

So, who is "canonical" and who is "right"?
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« Reply #505 on: May 09, 2006, 03:11:04 AM »

First, even if these references were gender specific, it would be irrelevant, it would be a reaction to existing norms and not an establishment thereof.
That's the point. It was 'the norm' to have male priests. From Jesus through to now. All you have to do is show when it wasn't the case.
Secondly, if you want someone to comment, post them in Greek, because I'm willing to bet that the boldfaced words are gender neutral. The reason I haven't commented before is because this is amongst the most absurd (non) 'scholarship' that I've ever seen.
You're contradicting yourself. No wonder you haven't posted before. First you accept that it refers to a normative state; relating to men, then you doubt that it refers to men.  Grin
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« Reply #506 on: May 09, 2006, 03:12:10 AM »

I think he meant to say "The Strange Council of Moscow of 1666" or perhaps "The Council  of 1666 Contirved by the Tsar to Imprison His Former Friend, the Patriarch, Because of Jealousy". This was the notorious "council" which deposed Patriarch Nikon- after the same Council had just finished adopting all of the Patriarch's reforms and anathemising those who refused to accept them. And the Patriarch was deposed without appealing to an Oecumenical Council. I'd hardly call the 1666 Council "Great"- it was hardly a "Great" point in the history of the Orthodox Church.
Yes, I don't know which he refers, and in fact I've never heard of them before. Maybe it should have been called the Okay Council?  Undecided
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« Reply #507 on: May 09, 2006, 08:57:00 AM »

That's the point. It was 'the norm' to have male priests. From Jesus through to now. All you have to do is show when it wasn't the case.You're contradicting yourself. No wonder you haven't posted before. First you accept that it refers to a normative state; relating to men, then you doubt that it refers to men.ÂÂ  Grin

Ummm...You seem to have misread GiC's post. His point is that even if the Greek uses the word "anir" (male), which is unlikely, since the Fathers speak of Christ becoming "anthropos" (human), such would not actually constitute a conscious establishment of male priesthood as a necessary or theologically-based policy; it would only show that the Church simply took male priesthood for granted (perhaps because only males would be "above reproach," as the canons and Scripture require, because such was the reality of social -- not theological! -- expectations).

Or, to phrase it differently, the quotes you used do not offer any theological reason, nor, in fact, any prescription on the matter, but simply an observation of historical fact (which is not the issue at hand).
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« Reply #508 on: May 09, 2006, 03:22:32 PM »

Is there any way to put a time-lock on this thread, with people given the directive "research this topic well, and on MON/DAY the thread will automatically re-open for debate more founded on theology, historical perspective, the fathers, sociology, and a sound understanding of tradition?

Some people have put more effort or research into the matter, and it shows, and as a result much of the discussion has become a volley and return of uselessness - for one side disregards the other because they haven't studied, and the other disregards the first because they don't agree with tradition.
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« Reply #509 on: May 09, 2006, 03:30:41 PM »

But not everyone has that option.  Research is not everyone's strong point either.  To put a stall on the topic would make it limiting in terms of who could participate, and therefore it would go into only higher enchelons of people and thinking.  Does the forum want to be limiting?  I mean, it is only one topic, and having people research for 3-4 days wouldn't be a bad idea.  I just wanted to bring up my issues   Wink   Tongue
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« Reply #510 on: May 09, 2006, 04:07:43 PM »

It certainly has been shown that female priestesses were common in the pagan world, meaning that it wouldn't have been that difficult for Jesus to challenge the practice if He had wanted to.

I believe it is proper for the Orthodox Church to continue with the practice instituted by Christ Himself.
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« Reply #511 on: May 09, 2006, 04:28:26 PM »

Is there any way to put a time-lock on this thread, with people given the directive "research this topic well, and on MON/DAY the thread will automatically re-open for debate more founded on theology, historical perspective, the fathers, sociology, and a sound understanding of tradition?

Some people have put more effort or research into the matter, and it shows, and as a result much of the discussion has become a volley and return of uselessness - for one side disregards the other because they haven't studied, and the other disregards the first because they don't agree with tradition.

Well, the whole topic is rather speculative anyway, since ordination of women to the priesthood is not actually going to happen in the Orthodox Church. Not only is there not enough support for it among the laity, clergy and hierarchy (in fact, I don't know ANY clergymen who are in favor of it!), there also is very little chance that we'll ever have a Great and Holy Synod capable of addressing the issue in a conciliar way. Without such support and with such a Synod, this discussion is little more omphaloskepsis.

(One more indication that, perhaps, the mess in the diaspora may be part of God's will...)
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« Reply #512 on: May 09, 2006, 06:17:16 PM »

But not everyone has that option.  Research is not everyone's strong point either.  To put a stall on the topic would make it limiting in terms of who could participate, and therefore it would go into only higher enchelons of people and thinking.  Does the forum want to be limiting?  I mean, it is only one topic, and having people research for 3-4 days wouldn't be a bad idea.  I just wanted to bring up my issues   Wink   Tongue

I don't want to squash discussion per se, but people are bringing up theological and sociological points, and others are responding with nothing that can answer the points - and so the discussion does not progress anywhere.  Anyway - putting a temporary time lock on the thread doesn't squash anyone's opinion, either - all it does is delay it.
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« Reply #513 on: May 09, 2006, 10:38:57 PM »

It certainly has been shown that female priestesses were common in the pagan world, meaning that it wouldn't have been that difficult for Jesus to challenge the practice if He had wanted to.

I believe it is proper for the Orthodox Church to continue with the practice instituted by Christ Himself.

That's it exactly. The Christian world could have very easily adopted that pagan practice. The reason they didn't is because the nature of the role of men is, in this instance is fundamentally different from women
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« Reply #514 on: May 09, 2006, 10:47:15 PM »

Ummm...You seem to have misread GiC's post. His point is that even if the Greek uses the word "anir" (male), which is unlikely, since the Fathers speak of Christ becoming "anthropos" (human), such would not actually constitute a conscious establishment of male priesthood as a necessary or theologically-based policy; it would only show that the Church simply took male priesthood for granted (perhaps because only males would be "above reproach," as the canons and Scripture require, because such was the reality of social -- not theological! -- expectations).

Or, to phrase it differently, the quotes you used do not offer any theological reason, nor, in fact, any prescription on the matter, but simply an observation of historical fact (which is not the issue at hand).
What I’ve read him saying is that he accepts that there was a ‘normative’ state of having male priests; there-by instantly undermining his argument about the ‘gender’ of the word. The whole point of having male priests is that it is and was always that state. As I posted reference also to the fact that there were female priests in the pagan ancient world, but no record of them in the ancient Christian world. Thus when a Church Father uses the word ‘man’ in relation to a priest, it refers to ‘man’. His supposition (he might well be right regarding the original Greek) is that the word ‘man’ might not refer to a gender, even though he recognises that the priesthood was synonymous with the male gender.

So its not about ‘social expectations’ (perhaps if you’d read all of my post that he was responding to you’d have picked up on this)

So in summary we have knowledge of female priests in one religious community. We have none in the other; Christianity in that sense went against the ‘reality of social expectations’ (not just in this field, Christians went against pagan social norms). Even if the word was gender neutral the fact would still remain that there’s always been an exclusively male priesthood. The word, if it was neutral would still be known to be, in the context of priests, be referring to men.
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« Reply #515 on: May 09, 2006, 11:20:20 PM »

What I’ve read him saying is that he accepts that there was a ‘normative’ state of having male priests; there-by instantly undermining his argument about the ‘gender’ of the word. The whole point of having male priests is that it is and was always that state. As I posted reference also to the fact that there were female priests in the pagan ancient world, but no record of them in the ancient Christian world. Thus when a Church Father uses the word ‘man’ in relation to a priest, it refers to ‘man’. His supposition (he might well be right regarding the original Greek) is that the word ‘man’ might not refer to a gender, even though he recognises that the priesthood was synonymous with the male gender.

So its not about ‘social expectations’ (perhaps if you’d read all of my post that he was responding to you’d have picked up on this)

So in summary we have knowledge of female priests in one religious community. We have none in the other; Christianity in that sense went against the ‘reality of social expectations’ (not just in this field, Christians went against pagan social norms). Even if the word was gender neutral the fact would still remain that there’s always been an exclusively male priesthood. The word, if it was neutral would still be known to be, in the context of priests, be referring to men.
But what are the theological reasons why the Church has always insisted on an all-male priesthood?  Many have been provided on this thread, but no one has yet made a cogent case for any of these reasons offered.  Not even your argument, "we've always done it this way; therefore, we must always continue to do it this way," is all that convincing to most.

The practice of honoring the validity of schismatic baptism is more ancient yet than our Orthodox practice of "re"baptizing "schismatics" and "heretics," yet the Orthodox Church adopted St. Cyprian's practice of "re"baptizing the non-Orthodox because the practice is built on a much more developed theological/ecclesiological foundation.  Am I bringing this up to argue around the point of this thread because I have no stronger arguments to provide?  No, I'm just hoping to give you an example of why we really need to articulate sound theological reasons for excluding women from the priesthood.  It's just not enough anymore to say, "this is what we've always done," when people within the Church are asking why.

I'm seeing some movement to lock this thread for a few days to allow for some more in-depth research of this issue before we resume our discussion.  I hope you can do some more research of your own and come back ready to provide more convincing reasons than you have provided so far.
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« Reply #516 on: May 10, 2006, 12:03:52 AM »

Women play an important role in the Church. All we were born through woman, but spiritualy we are born by the man - Priest. Women have priesthood in the Othodox Church, she can pray and taking Communion.
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« Reply #517 on: May 10, 2006, 12:12:20 AM »

Hmmm...Arian...that's a new one.   Tongue

All right, so perhaps a proper Christology wasn't St. Paul's primary concern when dealing with gender here, but he still seems to be pretty theologically insistent when he says "that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God" (1 Cor. 11:3).  What's he saying?  Is he saying that the Father is superior in nature to Christ, Christ superior in nature to man, and man superior in nature to woman?  Not at all, I don't believe...rather, there is a hierarchy of order among those with common natures.  The Father is "greater" than the Son, and the Son only does what the Father tells Him to, not what He Himself wills, yet they share a common nature.  Likewise, Christ shares in a human nature equal to ours in every way; His human nature is in no way different from ours, yet we are, in fact, subordinate to Him who is a sharer of our nature yet is God.

So, likewise, is it in the Church concerning men and women; we share in an absolutely common human nature, yet it's been declared repeatedly by the apostles and the fathers that men would be the ones who would teach and lead the Church.  This is not due to any superiority we would have over women, but simply through the setup that Christ and St. Paul themselves started.
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« Reply #518 on: May 10, 2006, 12:35:08 AM »

Pedro, you're using that Christ is to the Father as Woman is to Man argument again, without considering the Christ is to Man part. Using the same logic why not say that Christ is to the Father as Man is to Christ? You're selectively using what you want out of the verse to fit your preconceived notion. Look at the verse objectively, it's clear that if it is taken theologically Arianism is the logical conclusion. Therefore, unless we are to regard Paul as an Arian, it must be taken pastorally, and not theologically.
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« Reply #519 on: May 10, 2006, 01:39:35 AM »

Pedro, you're using that Christ is to the Father as Woman is to Man argument again, without considering the Christ is to Man part. Using the same logic why not say that Christ is to the Father as Man is to Christ? You're selectively using what you want out of the verse to fit your preconceived notion. Look at the verse objectively, it's clear that if it is taken theologically Arianism is the logical conclusion. Therefore, unless we are to regard Paul as an Arian, it must be taken pastorally, and not theologically.
How are you so sure of all this except to be certain of the accuracy of your own logic?  What if that is flawed?

I suggest another approach:  Don't separate interpretation of this passage in St. Paul's writings from the rest of the Holy Scriptures, particularly the Gospel of St. John, nor from the whole of our Sacred Tradition.
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« Reply #520 on: May 10, 2006, 03:23:56 AM »

But what are the theological reasons why the Church has always insisted on an all-male priesthood?ÂÂ  Many have been provided on this thread, but no one has yet made a cogent case for any of these reasons offered.ÂÂ  Not even your argument, "we've always done it this way; therefore, we must always continue to do it this way," is all that convincing to most.
Why would I question Jesus' decision?
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« Reply #521 on: May 10, 2006, 03:25:48 AM »

How are you so sure of all this except to be certain of the accuracy of your own logic?ÂÂ  What if that is flawed?

I suggest another approach:ÂÂ  Don't separate interpretation of this passage in St. Paul's writings from the rest of the Holy Scriptures, particularly the Gospel of St. John, nor from the whole of our Sacred Tradition.
Yet you think 'tradition' is not enough
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« Reply #522 on: May 10, 2006, 06:25:59 AM »

I suggest another approach:  Don't separate interpretation of this passage in St. Paul's writings from the rest of the Holy Scriptures, particularly the Gospel of St. John, nor from the whole of our Sacred Tradition.
I'm not sure I understand. How are St. Paul's Epistles being "seperated" from Scripture? The only question being raised is whether this particular passage is pastoral or theological- not whether it is Scripture or not. As Asteriktos has pointed out before, in the Gospel, Christ forbids divorce except in the case of adultery, yet His Church permits divorce for other reasons. So was this a pastoral or dogmatic command of Christ? And if theological, why does the Church not adhere to it? To question whether a passage of Scripture should be understood as a theological statement about dogma or simply a pastoral messsage for a particular group in a particular time is not treating the passage as something different from the rest of Scripture.
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« Reply #523 on: May 10, 2006, 07:15:40 AM »

I'm not sure I understand. How are St. Paul's Epistles being "separated" from Scripture? The only question being raised is whether this particular passage is pastoral or theological- not whether it is Scripture or not. As Asteriktos has pointed out before, in the Gospel, Christ forbids divorce except in the case of adultery, yet His Church permits divorce for other reasons. So was this a pastoral or dogmatic command of Christ? And if theological, why does the Church not adhere to it? To question whether a passage of Scripture should be understood as a theological statement about dogma or simply a pastoral message for a particular group in a particular time is not treating the passage as something different from the rest of Scripture.
John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written

We know that the Church does not teach that which is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we accept this, and going by the fact that not everything Jesus said or did was written in the Bible than I would conclude that Jesus made His meaning more clear to the Apostles/Church which allowed for these things (re: divorce in some circumstances).

For instance, JesusÂÂ  (as far as I know) never specifically condemns incest. This does not mean that we 'accept' it by its omission from His biblical teachings. The shortfall in the Bible in this case is made up for by Holy Tradition.

With women priests; when Jesus picked 12 men, and commissioned them to be the Apostles, and they in turn picked men to act in conferring the gifts, then I see no break here at all. It is more clear to me.


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« Reply #524 on: May 10, 2006, 07:54:36 AM »

We know that the Church does not teach that which is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we accept this, and going by the fact that not everything Jesus said or did was written in the Bible than I would conclude that Jesus made His meaning more clear to the Apostles/Church which allowed for these things (re: divorce in some circumstances).
What you are asking me to do then, is to believe that even though Christ clearly says in the Gospel that divorce is forbidden except in the case of adultery, He secretly told His Apostles something else which contradicted this teaching, and told them that this secret teaching was to be the practice of the Church, but to keep a record of His public teaching in the Gospel.....What would be the purpose of that? Was it just to confuse everyone?.....

For instance, Jesus  (as far as I know) never specifically condemns incest.
He indirectly does. He praised St. John the Baptist as the "greatest of men" who was imprisoned and beheaded for condeming Herod's incestuous marriage.

With women priests; when Jesus picked 12 men, and commissioned them to be the Apostles, and they in turn picked men to act in conferring the gifts, then I see no break here at all. It is more clear to me.
The praxis is not the point. The point is: was the praxis meant to be to be a pastoral teaching meant for a particular time and place or was the praxis meant to teach some theological doctrine about a difference between how males and females relate to God.
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« Reply #525 on: May 10, 2006, 08:12:33 AM »

I don't understand how "Christ is the head of man, man is the head of woman, God is the head of Christ" be NOT theological.  I've already explained that its theology is valid with proper Christology before.

Arius also used Christ's "the Father is greater than I" to prove his point.  Does that mean Christ's statement was theologically deficient and pastoral, or can it interpreted theologically correct?

A further clarification of the Pauline verse can be interpreted by another famous Pauline passage:

Quote
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11)

Arians and Nestorians misinterpret this verse, but a Cyrillian interpretation will confirm the meaning behind not only this one, but the one in 1 Corinthians 11.

God bless.

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« Reply #526 on: May 10, 2006, 02:24:01 PM »

I'm not sure I understand. How are St. Paul's Epistles being "seperated" from Scripture? The only question being raised is whether this particular passage is pastoral or theological- not whether it is Scripture or not. As Asteriktos has pointed out before, in the Gospel, Christ forbids divorce except in the case of adultery, yet His Church permits divorce for other reasons. So was this a pastoral or dogmatic command of Christ? And if theological, why does the Church not adhere to it? To question whether a passage of Scripture should be understood as a theological statement about dogma or simply a pastoral messsage for a particular group in a particular time is not treating the passage as something different from the rest of Scripture.
I was actually responding to GiC's allegation that such posters as Pedro were misinterpreting St. Paul's theology to fit preconceived notions.  GiC spoke against what he perceived to be the irrationality of interpreting St. Paul in a way that could (and according to GiC did) lead to Arianism.  Within the context of the conversation between GiC and Pedro, I offered another way to understand St. Paul's theological statements so as to avoid the logic of Arianism, a way that does not fit St. Paul into preconceived notions yet still understands his theology within the larger context of Apostolic theology. I don't believe that anyone here is taking St. Paul's theology out of context.
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« Reply #527 on: May 10, 2006, 02:25:47 PM »

Yet you think 'tradition' is not enough
No, this accusation is not correct.  I don't think your overly simplistic presentation of Tradition is enough.
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« Reply #528 on: May 11, 2006, 12:24:59 AM »

I suggest another approach:  Don't separate interpretation of this passage in St. Paul's writings from the rest of the Holy Scriptures, particularly the Gospel of St. John, nor from the whole of our Sacred Tradition.
Here's an example of what I mean by this approach:

St. John the Theologian tells us repeatedly that Christ is God, a truth the Church defended (against Arius) by formulating the Nicene Creed.  In His Essential unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Christ is indeed the head of man, for in submitting to Christ we submit to God.

St. John also tells us that Christ is Man, a truth the Church defended repeatedly in the Third through Seventh Ecumenical Councils.  In His essential unity with all Mankind, Christ submits to the will of the Father as we do.  Seeing this, St. Paul can teach that the head of Christ is God.

In His Divinity, Christ is the head of man.  In His humanity, Christ submits to the Father, making God the head of Christ.  And, very importantly, we have not separated the embryonic theology of St. Paul from the more-developed Christology of St. John the Theologian, thereby avoiding the path of Arianism.
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« Reply #529 on: May 11, 2006, 06:10:14 AM »

What you are asking me to do then, is to believe that even though Christ clearly says in the Gospel that divorce is forbidden except in the case of adultery, He secretly told His Apostles something else which contradicted this teaching, and told them that this secret teaching was to be the practice of the Church, but to keep a record of His public teaching in the Gospel.....What would be the purpose of that? Was it just to confuse everyone?.....
Well you already believe that the church teaches on this matter contrary to Jesus, if you follow that line of reasoning. I don't. I believe that the 'context' is understood in the light of what the church teaches. Just as Jesus orders us to pluck out our eye if it offends, one doesn't take that literal - even if in this case the 'context' is found elsewhere in the Gospels.

I don't believe the church contradicts Jesus. I believe that Jesus spoke many times on many issues, as per my quote from John 21 above. We only have 'record' of one instance of this issue being spoken by Jesus. This alone would seem to me to be a lesser issue than salvation in general. The church understood what Jesus taught, and continued to teach it. If the church made allowances for divorce because of customs, rather than some other reasons I would still accept this as the church being allowed to make a ruling in an area the church is allowed to make a ruling in. (Unless you're aware of a movement to declare that this is a major error of the church).

He indirectly does. He praised St. John the Baptist as the "greatest of men" who was imprisoned and beheaded for condemning Herod's incestuous marriage.
That's the most 'indirect' way I know of; one could argue, if I had the mind to, that Jesus was praising John's commitment to OT law, which Jesus fulfilled; just as it's probable that Jesus followed Jewish dietary laws, but we don't. So Jesus would be praiseworthy of all the prophets even though they don't share the same understanding that He and thence we do. Thus Jesus made no direct statement on the matter, as far as I'm aware. Why we are opposed to it is because Jesus was opposed to it; though it's not in the Bible; because I accept that the church doesn't teach contrary to Christ's teachings - only you seem to be arguing from a sola scriptura standpoint.

The praxis is not the point. The point is: was the praxis meant to be to be a pastoral teaching meant for a particular time and place or was the praxis meant to teach some theological doctrine about a difference between how males and females relate to God.

Just because Jesus came to us as a man to save us doesn't mean that women won't be saved. However that Jesus came as a man, must be considered important; the priests were always men. Even if I don't fully understand why, that is enough for me.

My bewilderment about those challenging the church on this; it's why I started a thread on why some see Orthodoxy as not being enough.
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« Reply #530 on: May 11, 2006, 06:12:08 AM »

No, this accusation is not correct.ÂÂ  I don't think your overly simplistic presentation of Tradition is enough.
I play to my audience. Most don't have the 'time' for any more.

But if you think it 'overly simplistic' that I accept the teachings of the church, then I guess there's a cry of 'guilty' rising in my throat.
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« Reply #531 on: May 11, 2006, 07:06:18 AM »

We know that the Church does not teach that which is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Christ. If we accept this, and going by the fact that not everything Jesus said or did was written in the Bible than I would conclude that Jesus made His meaning more clear to the Apostles/Church which allowed for these things (re: divorce in some circumstances).
Do I smell gnosticism lurking somewhere here?
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« Reply #532 on: May 11, 2006, 01:47:31 PM »

I play to my audience. Most don't have the 'time' for any more.

But if you think it 'overly simplistic' that I accept the teachings of the church, then I guess there's a cry of 'guilty' rising in my throat.
I don't question at all your faithfulness in following the teachings of the Church.  It's just that in many respects you preach on this forum a limited understanding of Church doctrine that is truly your own.  Yet you claim in your pride that your understanding of Tradition is all that we need to know, and you wonder why everyone else feels the need to seek a deeper understanding of Tradition by asking questions.  This is why I call your presentation of Tradition overly simplistic.
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« Reply #533 on: May 11, 2006, 07:05:55 PM »

Dearest all,

Someone mentioned earlier that deaconesses were known to assist in administering the Eucharist to the sick.  What proof do we have of this?  I've been looking all over, and the only proof I find is "The Ministry of Women: A Report by a Committee Appointed by His Grace The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury."  However, it would of great help if anyone knew where the Archbishop of Canterbury got this information from, or where you may personally know where to verify this.

Thank you.

Mina
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« Reply #534 on: May 11, 2006, 09:32:41 PM »

It certainly has been shown that female priestesses were common in the pagan world, meaning that it wouldn't have been that difficult for Jesus to challenge the practice if He had wanted to.

I believe it is proper for the Orthodox Church to continue with the practice instituted by Christ Himself.

That's the whole problem: people don't want to follow the practice of the Church, or of Christ. They say that the Church has not been lead by the Spirit in this issue, and think that they are the conveyers of new truth. They are the ones who "aren't blind" to the improper cultural influences of the Church on the past, and yet they are trying to adapt the Church to culture also, only a newer culture of which they themselves are part of. If the kingdom of God is truly not of this world, either they are wrong in making out Tradition as mere culture, or Christ is a liar, and we are all lost.

Along the same lines of your statement, though, an interesting pattern can be seen. When something is done in response to culture, there is clearly a reason stated. For example, one will often see statements formed like "Because of .... we deem it best that you ...." However, no such reasoning is given behind the non-ordination of women. Some will point out pagan practices, yes, but this is by no means a universal opinion among the Fathers, but rather the idea of a small minority. So where is the reason if this is truly a cultural implementation? Further, if Christianity was spread among many cultures, some even who were more matriarchal in anture, why wasn't the practice changed for them? Again, this all points to the reason being doctrinal, and not cultural. Whatever the case, we still have the scriptures, which tell us how to deal with doctrinal innovation, no matter what it is in regards to:

"I can't believe your fickleness--how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us--even if an angel from heaven!-were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I'll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed. (Galatian 1:6-9, MSG)"
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« Reply #535 on: May 12, 2006, 09:11:51 PM »

Do I smell gnosticism lurking somewhere here?
Not at all. There's the potential to think that taking that statement in isolation, I can see. However I've contextualised it by saying that Jesus' teachings are found in the church.

The Church allows for divorce. Therefore even if the Bible seems to point in a very limited/strict application of a rule, it is, in the context of what the Apostles knew, known by what the church now teaches.

The church allows for divorce. That's good enough for me.

The church has never allowed female priests. That's good enough for me.
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« Reply #536 on: May 12, 2006, 09:18:57 PM »

I don't question at all your faithfulness in following the teachings of the Church.ÂÂ  It's just that in many respects you preach on this forum a limited understanding of Church doctrine that is truly your own.ÂÂ  Yet you claim in your pride that your understanding of Tradition is all that we need to know, and you wonder why everyone else feels the need to seek a deeper understanding of Tradition by asking questions.ÂÂ  This is why I call your presentation of Tradition overly simplistic.
I'm not sure what you're saying here because as far as I'm concerned I've preached (to use your terms) what the Church Fathers have said - you're welcome to refute the quotes I've made.

In fact I don't understand your point at all because it seems you agree with the same idea of tradition here as I do (as far as I can see; on the issue of women priests). You are either saying that my presentation is overly simplistic (which is false, given I've cited Church Fathers), or something else.

I have no problem with people asking questions per se at all, so thanks for misrepresenting my position. I have had a problem with one poster here saying that they need to 'question' this issue, because it is an 'issue' when it's only an 'issue' because they're questiong it. Perhaps you need to have read more of the posts, I do acknowledge that this thread is overly long, but your own 'interpretation' of my stance is a misrepresentation of my motives.

The 'deeper understanding' is something I've already raised several times. I quoted church fathers, one poster summarily dismissed them as having been 'googled'. So when I present 'evidence' (and I have done) it is not even examined, therefore that 'deeper questioning' is to no avail, for when an answer is given, it's not even looked at. It might be seen that have then shifted to a 'church has spoken; that's enough' answer, but that is only because 'deeper answers' have been ignored. Still, as I say, you've probably missed those 'deeper' posts.
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« Reply #537 on: May 12, 2006, 09:19:26 PM »

Not at all. There's the potential to think that taking that statement in isolation, I can see. However I've contextualised it by saying that Jesus' teachings are found in the church.
Jesus' teaching are found in the Gospels.
The Church allows for divorce. Therefore even if the Bible seems to point in a very limited/strict application of a rule, it is, in the context of what the Apostles knew, known by what the church now teaches.
Sounds like proto-gnosticism to me.
The church allows for divorce. That's good enough for me.
Not good enough for Jesus.
The church has never allowed female priests. That's good enough for me.
Not good enough for some forum members who have been posting on this topic.
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« Reply #538 on: May 12, 2006, 10:19:57 PM »

Someone mentioned earlier that deaconesses were known to assist in administering the Eucharist to the sick.  What proof do we have of this?  I've been looking all over, and the only proof I find is "The Ministry of Women: A Report by a Committee Appointed by His Grace The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury."
The Subdeaconesses ordained by St. Nektarios of Pentapolis gave Holy Communion to the sick. Here is an excerpt from a letter St. Nektarios wrote to the Archbishop of Athens on 10th October, 1914 regarding the Subdeaconesses he had ordained in the Convent he had established in Aegina. He explains that these women are not only permitted to enter the Sanctuary and handle the Holy Table and holy vessels, they also take Holy Communion to the sick. (BTW, I visited the Convent in Aegina last year and have some photos if anyone is interested.). St. Nektarios wrote:

"...Concerning the Sudeaconesses, I informed you that they are primarily sextons at the sanctuary. Their clothing was made according to the holy vestments that the Readers of the city Churches wear. Since there are no Deacons in a nunnery, and in this particular one, there is no priest either, I am therefore unable to take care of the cleaning of the Church, and am not able to constantly remain serving as a sexton in the Church. The sanctuary has absolute need of dedicated personnel, who will clean the consecrated vessels, change the coverings on the Holy Table, move the holy ciborum, and do all the general work of a sexton in the sanctuary. For this reason, I considered dedicating two, so that they would be able to take turns. In extreme need they carry the Holy Eucharist to extremely ill sisters in a small glass made for such a purpose. Except in this extreme circumstance, which is only done out of necessity, these sisters are simply sextons." (Quoted in "St. Nektarios, The Saint of Our Century" Chondropoulos, S. Athens 1997 ISBN 960-7374-08-8, p.234. [Emphasis added])
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« Reply #539 on: May 13, 2006, 02:48:36 AM »

Thank you that.

It's clear to me now that these were understandably exceptional due to lack of men in service.

We have an ancient story concerning a woman who was on a boat with her unbaptized child.  When storms came through, she was worried for the life of the baby, so she cut herself and did the sign of the cross on the baby.  Later on, they both survived the sea storm, and when the baby was taken to be baptized, the water froze before the Pope (I think it was Pope St. Dionysius) had a chance to immerse the baby.  When he found out about the story, he decreed that baptism is done once, and that baptism was exceptionally received by blood due to the situation at hand.

So, there are exceptions to the rule, but when you have a full house, order is necessary, which is what St. Nektarios seems to imply.

God bless.

Mina

PS  Pix would be lovely. Smiley
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