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Author Topic: Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church  (Read 179156 times) Average Rating: 0
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Brigidsboy
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« on: April 26, 2006, 06:25:52 PM »

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? If some of you feel there are strong arguments, either for or against, please share them.

(I am interested in a serious discussion of this issue. I hope it will not descend into fighting and name-calling.)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 06:26:51 PM by Brigidsboy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2006, 07:31:59 PM »

I support it. And I don't think that will surprise many people here.  Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2006, 07:49:36 PM »

Tom,
Would you want to be the priest's husband?
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2006, 07:50:48 PM »

Key word is "Ordination", not Ordination. Women can not have valid Orders, ever.
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2006, 07:51:57 PM »

Key word is "Ordination", not Ordination. Women can not have valid Orders, ever.

Thank you for your opinion...why?
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2006, 07:52:27 PM »

I support it. And I don't think that will surprise many people here.  Cheesy

Fine. But why? Please be as specific as possible.
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2006, 07:55:15 PM »

Tom,
Would you want to be the priest's husband?

Nope. No weekends off!
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2006, 08:08:59 PM »

Thank you for your opinion...why?

The canons say only men can be ordained.
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2006, 08:11:44 PM »

The canons say only men can be ordained.

I'm fairly well versed in the canons and yet am unfamiliary the one you're refering to...to which one are you refering?
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2006, 08:38:12 PM »

CANON XLIV of the 60 CANONS:
That women must not enter the sacrificial Altar.
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2006, 08:51:46 PM »

CANON XLIV of the 60 CANONS:
That women must not enter the sacrificial Altar.

First of all, this says absolutely nothing about ordination.

Secondly, with the canons of Laodicea we unfortunately only have the headings of the ancient canons, the canons proper are lost to us; thus this is a heading of a complete canons, the text of which we lack. Accordingly, St Nikodemos in his commentary on this canon specifically states, 'The present Canon decrees that women shall not go into the holy Bema, if they are lay women.' This interpretation is given as to not create a contradiction between Laodicea 44, the text of which we lack, and Canon 15 of St. Nicephorus the Confessor which states, 'Nuns must enter the holy bema in order to light a taper or candle, and in order to sweep it.'

Of course, all this should be viewed in the light of VI 69 which states, 'Let it not be permitted to anyone among all the laity to enter within the sacred altar, with the exception that the Imperial power and authority is in no way or manner excluded therefrom whenever it wishes to offer gifts to the Creator, in accordance with a certain most ancient tradition.'

Incidentally, this canon would allow the Ruling Empresses (such as Theodora, Irene, Zoe, etc.) to enter the altar in the preformance of their Priestly Imperial Duties.
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2006, 09:24:13 PM »

(I am interested in a serious discussion of this issue. I hope it will not descend into fighting and name-calling.)

Well, I wouldn't count on finding much of a serious discussion on such a volatile issue here. However, there have been a number of articles and monographs written on this topic, starting with the German and French Protestant and Catholic scholars of the beginning of the 20th century. I can't remember for the life of me -- or find! -- one such excellent monograph written by some dutiful Jesuit in the 60s (what was his name!?), which was quite exhaustive in its treatment (even going so far as to utilize solid epigraphical evidence from Rome and Phrygia), while still being conservative in orientation.

Anyway, the standard Orthodox authors are: Kyriaki Fitzgerald-Karidoyanes, Fr. Thomas Hopko and, more recently, Valerie Karras. For an even more liberal take, one can turn to the Frenchies, e.g. Elisabeth Behr-Siegel, who delivered the keynote address of the 2003 meeting of the Orthodox Theological Society in America on this very topic ( "Women and Authority in the Church").

Since I'm too busy at the end of the semester to actually pontificate (and because I luuuuuuuuv bibliographies), I'm posting what I find on my shelves and on my little computer here (ahhhhhhh, PDF files) that would serve one well if one were interested in reading the relevant literature. Enjoy!


Davis, J. "Deacons, Deaconesses and the Minor Orders in the Patristic Period," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 14:1 (1969), 1-12.

Fitzgerald-Karidoyanes, Kyriaki. Orthodox women speak: Discerning the "signs of the times". Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1999.

 ÃƒÆ’‚ ――  Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church: Called to Holiness and Ministry. Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998.

Hopko, Thomas, ed. Women and the Priesthood. Crestwood, New York: SVS Press, 1983.

Karras, Valerie A. "The Liturgical Functions of Consecrated Women in the Byzantine Church," Theological Studies 66:1 (2005).

 ÃƒÆ’‚ ――   "Female Deacons in the Byzantine Church," Church History 73:2 (2004).

Prokschi, Rudolf. "Die Rolle der Frau in der Kirche: ein intensiv diskutiertes Thema auf dem Landeskonzil der Russischen Orthodoxen Kirche von 1917/18," Ostkirchliche Studien 49:2 (2000), 105-144.

Stiefel, Jennifer H. "Women deacons in 1 Timothy: A linguistic and literary look at 'women likewise...' (1 Tim 3.11)," New Testament Studies 41:3 (1995), 442-457.

Synek, Eva Maria. "Der Frauendiakonat der Alten Kirche und seine Rezeption durch die orthodoxen Kirchen: Losungsansatze fur die katholische Ordinationsdiskussion?" Ostkirchliche Studien 48:1 (1999), 19-27

Winjngaards, J.N.M. No Women in Holy Orders?: The Women Deacons of the Early Church. Norwich: Canterbury, 2002.

And, of course, there are Behr-Siegel's major books (which I don't own, so I can't supply you a full reference for): Discerning the Signs of the Times, The Ministry of Women in the Church, and The Ordination of Women in the Church.
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2006, 09:42:57 PM »

Some thoughts of Father Alexander Schmemann on the subject...

"...the Orthodox Church has never faced this question; it is for us totally extrinsic, a casus irrealis for which we find no basis, no terms of reference in our Tradition, in the very experience of the Church, and for the discussion of which we are therefore simply not prepared.

Such then, is my difficulty. I cannot discuss the problem itself because to do so would necessitate the elucidation of our approach, not to women and to the priesthood only, but above all to God in His Triune Life, to Creation, Fall and Redemption, to the Church and the mystery of her life, to the deification of man and the consummation of all things in Christ. Short of all this, it would remain incomprehensible, I am sure, why the ordination of women is to us tantamount to a radical and irreparable mutilation of the entire faith, the rejection of the whole Scripture - and needless to say, the end of all "dialogues"... Short of all this, my answer will sound like another "conservative" and "traditional" defense of the status quo, of precisely that which many Christians today, having heard it too many times, reject as hypocrisy, lack of openness to God's will, blindness to the world, etc. Obviously enough, those who reject Tradition will not listen once more to an argument ex traditione..........."

The entire article can be found herehttp://jbburnett.com/resources/schmemann/schmemann-ord-women.pdf

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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2006, 09:45:07 PM »

I am against it for various reasons.

Our priest's son was ordained a priest at our parish recently.  Bishop ANTOUN told us about another priest's son whose hand his father kissed after his ordination.  When the son protested, the father told him that he was not kissing his hand but the hand of Christ.  Since Christ was a male, priests should be male.

What if a young woman was ordained and then became pregnant?  How could the baby who is not ordained do priestly things (e.g., go through the Royal Doors)?  I know the baby has to go where the mother goes, but that is kind of my point!  And those who argue that she could be too old or celebate, let me remind them of Sarah, Elizabeth, and the Theotokos!

What about the "monthly cycle and uncleanness" issue?  That would certainly throw a monkey wrench into the service schedule!

What would we call her:  Father, Mother, Fatheress?

I wouldn't want to confess to a woman!

What about the "women shouldn't pray with their heads uncovered" issue?

I would be scared of a female priest who could grow a beard!

Women play an important role in the Church.  Being a priest isn't the only way to serve.
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2006, 10:39:04 PM »

This is quite an interesting discussion, one of which I must say is something that I'd like to lightly discuss and mostly just simply read.

For one thing, while I am all with my own Church, the Coptic Church, against female ordination, I am all for female deaconesses or female old mothers in the church who tend to the women of the Church.

Also, I find nothing wrong with a "spiritual mother" in the Church, especially for women.  Sarah made a statement that's quite confusing:

Quote
I wouldn't want to confess to a woman!

May I ask why?  I have parents, and sometimes I might confess a sin or two to either my mother or father or both just for support and advice.  Priests' jobs are not only spiritual helpers, but the most important is to bear this sin and put it on the Eucharist, to absolve people, which is why I feel a priest must be male (as icons of Christ).  However, spiritual guidance is not solely necessary from a priest, and I feel, personally, we need woman as spiritual guiders too.  Many times, we ask the Theotokos to comfort us and to help us, so I find nothing wrong with spiritual mothers.

For another thing, I also wish that there are those that can elaborate their positions on why female priesthood is okay, and what Church father or fathers can you show to strengthen your position?  

Also, I have an itch when I hear that there are canons that allow queens or kings or imperial officers in the altar.  I disagree with it (are they pre-Chalcedonian?).  I feel this comes from an Imperial Church, especially starting in Constantinople, not a Spiritual motherly Church that separates herself from politics.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2006, 10:44:59 PM »

Some thoughts of Father Alexander Schmemann on the subject...

Well, let me quote His Grace Bishop Kallistos again,

'Let us make the questions of the contemporary West our own questions; let us acknowledge that the question of women priests is a question posed also to us. As yet we are still at the very beginning of our exploration; let us not be too hasty or premature ion our judgements. As Prof. Erickson rightly observes, "We must admit quite simply: while the Fathers have blessed us with a multifaceted yet coherent teaching on the priesthood, they have not given us a complete and altogether satisfactory answer to the question of the ordination of women."'

(from the essay 'Man, Woman and the Priesthood in Christ' from The Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church; first published in Hopko's Women and the Priesthood)
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2006, 10:52:53 PM »

But that doesn't answer the points Father Alexander, of blessed memory, makes:

1. A question extrinsic to the Church.

2. A radical and irreparable mutilation of the entire faith.

3. The rejection of the whole Scripture.

The post from Bishop Kallistos doesn't really say anything. It is quite vague.
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2006, 11:01:57 PM »

I don't have a particular view on the subject, though I have read a thing or two on it, including some texts which are not generally cited in these debates. So, for the sake of discussion, I'll summarize some of the thoughts that are expounded in the book The Mystery of Gender and Human Sexuality, whose authors I generally disagree with on many subjects, but whose arguments seem somewhat more thoughtful and unique in this case.


1. The essay by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo is titled Gender as Prophecy and Revelation, and his main thesis is that men and women have different roles--but both important prophetic roles--to play in God's plan of salvation. He says: "the man is a revelation of Christ and the woman is a revelation about the Church... Human gender and the spousal relationship are prophetic, and were given to us by God in the very beginning as a form of revelation. This is the essence of the mystery of human gender and of the roles of men and women in life and in the Church." (p. 17)

He goes on to give different arguments in favor of what amounts to a literal interpretation of Eph. 5: "Christ was revealed through the male prophets in the Old Testament, the Church was revealed through the female prophets, beginning with Eve. It is not without reason that Christ says that the gender relation between men and women will not exist in the resurrection... If human gender is given for prophecy, then when all prophecy has been fulfilled, there is no longer a need for prophets nor for the means of prophecy." (pp. 18-19) From this perspective, neither the male prophetic role (revealing Christ) nor the female prophetic role (revealing the bride of Christ, the Church) is of greater or lesser importance.

Thus Archbp. Lazar is essentially going beyond the usual "well women have important stuff to do as well" argument, and saying explicitly that they are given a role of equal status and power as that which the male is given. About this he says: "To understand the reason why women are not enrolled in the priesthood, we must first of all put away one treacherous presupposition: that it has to do with relative value. It does have to do with roles, but here again, there is a destructive presupposition. Many people have, for centuries, equated roles with value, and they have extended the roles of men and women in the liturgical life of the Church (which deals with prophecy and revelation) to society, politics, and industry--which have nothing to do with the faith or the salvation of humanity. The roles we are speaking of have nothing to do with caste, personal value or human worthiness. Thus, throughout Scriptural history [which Archbp. Lazar provides a half dozen or so examples of], women have held the prophetic role of revealin ghte Church: the nature and mission of the Church on earth... The prophecy about Christ has been proclaimed through the male prophets, with one exception: Eve." (pp. 26-27)

He continues: "The role of priest in the Church belongs only to Christ. He is the priesthood of the Church. He is also the spouse and the husband of the Church. Christ's visible priesthood in the Church is fulfilled through the ordained priests, more precisely, through the bishops of the Church (who delegate this to parish presbyters since the bishop cannot be everywhere). Thus, the prophetic role of men is in revelation about Christ, and the prophetic role of women is in revelation about the Church. There is no relative value in these roles, since the mystery of redemption is the mystery of Christ and the Church. It should be clear, however, that while women fulfil a ministry in the Church (first of all, the prophetic ministry) they do not enter into the priesthood, which is a revelation about Christ, not about the Church. A woman in the priesthood would have to be representing a revelation about the husband of the Church, the spouse of the 'spotless, pure bridge of Christ.' Do you not see how perverted and corrupt such a 'revelation and prophecy' would be?" (p. 27)


2. The essay by Dr. Kharalambos Anstall is titled: "Male and Female He Created Them": An Examination of the Mystery of Human Gender, and attempts (through anthropological, typological, and other arguments) to briefly articulate the meaning of gender from an Orthodox perspective. Regarding the priesthood, his words about equality mirrors those of Archbp. Lazar: "Various roles in the Church are often thought to be associated with personal value and special graces and are rarely  understood in terms of the right types, according to revealtion... It is important to stress that the Church is not a structure of power and the priesthood is not an echelon in such a structure. The question about the ordination of women is not a matter of equal rights and has nothing to do with the relative value of genders." (p. 59)

And as with Archbp. Lazar, Dr. Anstall also argues that this equality does not mean that there are not distinctive, defined, and immutable roles for each gender: "There is only one priesthood, the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Christ is 'priest unto the ages, according to the order of Melchisedek' Priesthood does not 'belong' to the one who receives ordination. It is Christ Who is present and acts, it is His sacrifice that is offered. The ordained priest is just 'a type in the place of Christ.' He is an icon of the one and only Priest. He has to be a man, not a woman, because Christ is a man..." (pp. 59-60)

"In the same way that marriage is a type of salvation, the mystery of the relationship between God and the creation is reciprocally revealed as a marital relationship. The Church, representing all Creation, is revealed as a bride, as a woman dressed the sun, with her feet on the moon. Our representative in the mystery of the incarnation, our most honorable offering and participation is again a woman, a bride, the Theotokos. The bridegroom of the Church is Christ. The fruit of this unity is salvation and life everlasting. It is impossible to change the tradition of the Church to ordain only men to the priesthood, without damaging this icon of Christ as the bridegroom, and the icon of salvation as a marital relationship between Christ and the Church. Since this icon is language for revelation deeply rooted in the tradition of the Church, it has profound dogmatic significance." (p. 60)
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« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2006, 11:03:46 PM »

Women play an important role in the Church.  Being a priest isn't the only way to serve.

Yes. This, however, presents the question: Are there legitimate ways in which women can serve in some kind of consecrated or, perhaps, "ordained" role in the liturgy? Certainly, most women do not currently have any such legitimate way (although nuns act as altar servers with the blessing of Bishop and Abbess). However, what does Church history tell us, and what does that history mean for the present? This is the real question and also the real reason why we often see so many people summarily dismiss the idea of an official liturgical (not necessarily sacramental, but liturgical) role for women in the modern Church, viz. people don't really know Church history.

Consider as just one small example this bit from one of the articles I referenced above. It comes from Valerie Karras's “The Liturgical Functions of Consecrated Women in the Byzantine Church,” Theological Studies 66:1 (2005). As the article's abstract says:

Quote
Although the ordained order of deaconesses vanished in the Byzantine Church, some women continued to fulfill, either informally or formally, various liturgical functions in public church life. The author examines the art-historical and textual evidence of three groups of women: noblewomen who participated as incense-bearers in a weekly procession in Constantinople; matrons who helped organize and keep order in a monastic church open to the public in Constantinople; and the possibly ordained order of myrrhbearers in the Church of Jerusalem.

All three examples are very instructive, in so far as they give us specific examples (outside of the well known offices of widow, virgin and deaconess) of ways in which the Church has included women in liturgical services. In the modern age, we may kick and scream and hate those who report such things, but the facts remain. What we do with those facts, of course -- ignore, spin, use them as a political platform -- is another matter.

Anyway, here is a section of the article on the "myrhhbearers." In the interest of time, I've had to leave out the footnotes, but the basic text will give everyone a good idea of the main descriptive part of this section of the essay (I had to leave out the analysis, unfortunately).



Quoted from section of article:
----------------------

It is not known when exactly the order of myrophoroi developed in the Jerusalem Church; when they disappeared is equally unknown. They are not mentioned in early church documents relating to the paschal celebration in Jerusalem, including the detailed description given by Egeria in the late fourth century. However, there are numerous references to these women in a typikon (liturgical rule) of the Church of Jerusalem, contained in a twelfth-century manuscript that apparently is a copy of an earlier work from the late ninth or early tenth century.'' Egeria's diary and the dating of the original typikon on which the twelfth-century manuscript is based thus provide us with a terminus post quem of the fifth century and a terminus ante quem of the ninth century, since the myrophoroi were clearly an established order by the time the typikon was written. It is likely that they still existed in the 13th century when the extant manuscript was copied from the lost original, although it is also possible that they had become defunct by that time but still existed within institutional memory. Their disappearance thus may coincide with, or postdate by a century or so, the disappearance of the female diaconate in the Byzantine Church.

Unlike the confusion over the use of the term myrophoroi by certain Russian travelers describing the Great Church in Constantinople, these women definitely cannot be identified with deaconesses, since that order is separately mentioned in the typikon's description of the paschal services. Thus, the myrophoroi were a distinctive order unique to the Church of Jerusalem. Their liturgical functions are quite clearly spelled out in the Jerusalem typikon, and largely mirror, in a stylized and liturgical fashion, the activities of the biblical myrrhbearing women.

The Jerusalem myrophoroi began their liturgical service early on Holy Saturday morning, when they accompanied the patriarch and his clerical assistants, such as the archdeacon and chanters, to the Holy Sepulcher. The myrrhbearers were to clean and prepare the oil lamps in the Holy Sepulcher, chanting the canon and the liturgy of the hours while they worked. When they had finished cleaning and preparing the lamps, they chanted the "Glory to the Father . . ." and a hymn in plagal second tone. A deacon then would chant the litany, and the patriarch would lock the Holy Sepulcher after extinguishing the lamps.

It cannot be stated for certain whether the myrophoroi were included as part of the clergy in the vesper service and for the Divine Liturgy of St. James, since they are not individually mentioned in the rubrics. However, it is likely that their inclusion should be inferred since, at the end of the liturgy, the typikon mentions that the myrrhbearers remained behind and reentered the Holy Sepulcher in order to cense and anoint it. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was then locked until the return of the patriarch and clergy early the following morning.

For Easter matins, the clergy, which apparently included the myrophoroi, gathered early in the morning at the patriarchate, in the secreton, where they changed into white vestments before presumably returning to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Although the text does not give a full list of clerical orders included, the rubrics for the paschal matins service make it impossible not to understand the term "clergy" to include the myrrhbearers. Outside the church, the clergy chanted the Easter apolytikion, "Christ is risen," several times as a refrain to psalm verses intoned by the patriarch, who then called out: "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall confess the Lord as I enter in," to which the archdeacon responded with another "Christ is risen." Then,

Quote
The doors of the church are immediately opened and the patriarch together with the clergy enter the church, chanting the 'Christ is risen'. And the patriarch and the archdeacon immediately enter into the Holy Sepulcher, those two alone, with the myrophorot standing before the Holy Sepulcher. Then the patriarch shall come out to them and say to them [the myrophoroi]: "Rejoice! [ or "Greetings!"] Christ is risen." The myrophoroi then fall down at his feet, and, after rising up, they cense the patriarch and sing the polychronion to him. They [then] withdraw to the place where they customarily stand.

The matins service then proceeded normally with the chanting of the canon for Easter, the exaposteilarion, the praises (lauds), and the Easter aposticha. Near the end of the service comes the final reference to the myrophoroi. Following the deacon's chanting of the epakousta, there was a procession to the bema with two of each clerical order: deacons, subdeacons, deaconesses, and myrophoroi. The deacons held censers, the subdeacons and deaconesses held manoualia, and the myrophoroi each carried a triskelion. The two myrophoroi took up position one on each side of the Holy Sepulcher, censing throughout the second deacon's reading of the Gospel. At the end of the reading, the myrrhbearers entered the Holy Sepulcher and censed and anointed it.
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« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2006, 11:08:12 PM »

Brigidsboy

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The post from Bishop Kallistos doesn't really say anything. It is quite vague.

Though it's been a while since I read that essay, if I am remembering correctly, I think that the quote given by GIC is a pretty good summation of what Bp. Kallistos said. His main point was that, yes, we have this long standing tradition, but on the other hand we should force ourselves to deal with the issue again. Fwiw, here are a couple threads on the topic...

Bishop Kallistos On Female Priests
Women in the Priesthood?!?
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« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2006, 11:31:03 PM »

I am against it for various reasons.

Well, let's look at them individually

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Our priest's son was ordained a priest at our parish recently.  Bishop ANTOUN told us about another priest's son whose hand his father kissed after his ordination.  When the son protested, the father told him that he was not kissing his hand but the hand of Christ.  Since Christ was a male, priests should be male.

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.

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What if a young woman was ordained and then became pregnant?  How could the baby who is not ordained do priestly things (e.g., go through the Royal Doors)?  I know the baby has to go where the mother goes, but that is kind of my point!  And those who argue that she could be too old or celebate, let me remind them of Sarah, Elizabeth, and the Theotokos!

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.

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What about the "monthly cycle and uncleanness" issue?  That would certainly throw a monkey wrench into the service schedule!

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.

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What would we call her:  Father, Mother, Fatheress?

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.

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I wouldn't want to confess to a woman!

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.

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What about the "women shouldn't pray with their heads uncovered" issue?

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.

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I would be scared of a female priest who could grow a beard!

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.

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Women play an important role in the Church.  Being a priest isn't the only way to serve.

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.

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?
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« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2006, 11:38:25 PM »

But that doesn't answer the points Father Alexander, of blessed memory, makes:

1. A question extrinsic to the Church.

Actually the quote I gave does answer this question, which is why I posted the quote. Basically His Grace says that though we have not been presented with this question in the past, we have had it presented to us today and accordingly are compelled to address it.

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2. A radical and irreparable mutilation of the entire faith.

3. The rejection of the whole Scripture.

The post from Bishop Kallistos doesn't really say anything. It is quite vague.

I didn't answer these points because they wern't actually made, they were merely stated. I personally have no idea why he would view the ordination of women as 'a radical and irreparable mutilation of the entire faith' and 'the rejection of the whole of scripture,' personally they simply sound like angry ramblings, especially considering the adjectives used, and unless I am presented with viable arguments to support these assertions I fear I have little choice but to dismiss them as such.
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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2006, 11:41:45 PM »

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?

Well, obviously the strongest argument is none of these, but, rather, the argument ex traditione -- which is, of course, a very powerful one for an Orthodox Christian (but not, of course, for an egalitarian, postmodern society).

That said, there are so many well known, historic ecclesial offices for women that are no longer extant. Why not just look at these, instead of overhauling the system?
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2006, 11:58:26 PM »

"I didn't answer these points because they wern't actually made, they were merely stated. I personally have no idea why he would view the ordination of women as 'a radical and irreparable mutilation of the entire faith' and 'the rejection of the whole of scripture,' personally they simply sound like angry ramblings, especially considering the adjectives used, and unless I am presented with viable arguments to support these assertions I fear I have little choice but to dismiss them as such."
If you read the entire article, you will find that he does make these points. He also develops the question further. I suspect that this isn't the only discussion of the subject Father Alexander engaged in. This is the one I found handy.

IMO, the Church doesn't have the authority to make such a change 2000 years on. (The only groups with a female presbyterate in the early centuries were gnostic in orientation.)
If so, then why not throw out the Icons and the Liturgy while we are at it.

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.
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« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2006, 12:19:06 AM »

(The only groups with a female presbyterate in the early centuries were gnostic in orientation.)

[Pedant's Hat] Actually, I think the most well-documented group with a robust female presbyterate was the Montanists. We have a number of good inscriptions from Phyrigia (and other Montanist hot-beds) that attest to different kinds of female clergy members and prophetesses. [/Pedant's Hat] But Montanists were often just as crazy as "gnostics."
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« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2006, 12:26:25 AM »

[Pendant's Hat] Actually, I think the most well-documented group with a robust female presbyterate was the Montanists. We have a number of good inscriptions from Phyrigia (and other Montanist hot-beds) that attest to different kinds of female clergy members and prophetesses. [/Pendant's Hat] But Montanists were often just as crazy as "gnostics."

Thank you for the clarification.
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« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2006, 12:40:02 AM »

Thank you for the clarification.

NP. I learned something in my epigraphy class!

BTW, what do you think of those myrrhbearers from Jerusalem? Very striking. I think I'm going to dig up a copy of the Typikon itself and see what it has to say about the liturgical duties of the female deacons. If myrrhbearers are doing all that during Holy Week, what, I wonder, would deaconesses be doing?
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« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2006, 12:51:26 AM »

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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.

Now, wait a second there.  Didn't St. Paul give some sort of spiritual reason for the head covering?  There is no clear proof that he ordered head coverings because of societal pressures.

Can we also say the same to Christ who ordained men as Apostles and disciples, that is, He also gave in to societal pressures as well, or can we have a prophetic/spiritual reason to it?

Now, I've never read anything in the Coptic (or other Oriental Orthodox for that matter) Church concerning about why we ordain men, and not women, other than using the Bible and saying that in 2000 years, it was never done.  So, my own personal contemplations lead me to the same conclusions as Archbishop Lazar Puhalo.  I also have a personal opinion that in the second coming, the distinctions of male priesthood from female priesthood will be gone, but for now, I like the spiritual/prophetic roles the Church provides for us.

Here's a perspective from HH Pope Shenouda, which solely bases his arguments on obedience to Scripture and logic from Scripture:

http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/ordofwom/index.html

Some can be understandably refuted, but he also makes other compelling arguments, like many of St. Paul's verses concerning man's authority.

God bless.

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« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2006, 01:18:08 AM »

Well, obviously the strongest argument is none of these, but, rather, the argument ex traditione -- which is, of course, a very powerful one for an Orthodox Christian (but not, of course, for an egalitarian, postmodern society).

Yes, tradition is certainly the strongest of all arguments, but this argument presents fundamental difficulities on two levels. First, it is an argument from silence; while the ordination of women was never strongly supported in the history of the Church, neither was it strongly opposed. The reasonable conclusion is not a condemnation of the practice, but rather the that this is an issue that the Church has never had to address. The reason that it never had to address the issue is obvious, culture and society were such as to make women second-class citizens, culture prejudices against the equality of women were so strong as to not even allow a consideration of the issue from a theological perspective.

To this effect, a quote from St. John Chrysostom in his treatise On the Priesthood should be considered,

'When one is required to preside over the Church and to be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also, and we must bring forward those who to a large extent surpass all others and soar as much above them in excellence of spirit as Saul overtopped the whole Hebrew nation in bodily stature.'

Chrysostom here argues that the reason women cannot be priests is not because of some theological reason prohibiting it, but rather because all women are too weak for such a task. Our experience, however, tells us that this is simply untrue, some women, like some men, are too week for the task, but, in all honesty, surely we cannot say that this is true of all women. Thus implying that Chrysostom's statement is simply based on a culturally generated bias and misconception.

Secondly, the difficulity with the argument from tradition is that no sound theological reasoning accompanies it; to quote Elisabeth Behr-Sigel on this problem, 'To those who ask us for the bread of understanding, we cannot be satisfied with offering only the stones of certitude hardened by negation.' Yet, the answers always given by the so-called conservatives to the issue of women priests are nothing more than 'certitude hardened by negation' accompanied by, at best, yiayiaology...theologies so unfounded and problematic that if taken to their logical conclusions would be either heresy, blasphemy, or simply utter absurdity (usually all three). It is little wonder why His Grace, Bishop Kallistos, has come to at least question a posistion so weakly held.

Since no one can seem to offer a sound theological reason for the failure to ordain women in the past (to say nothing of a reason steeped in patristic theology) I will offer a reason, though not theological for I do not believe the past inaction to be theological in motivation. As the above quote from Chrysostom demonstrates there was, without a doubt, an extreme cultural and social bias against women, the failure to ordain women had nothing to do with theology or faith and everything to do with discrimination and human fallenness. This is hardly a revolutionary proposition, the fact that women were second-class citizens in the Greco-Roman world is well documented; since this unfortunate mindset infected every other element and institution of society, it is most reasonable to believe it also influenced the Church. Of course, this is not only the case with the issue of the role of women in society, it can also be found in issues like slavery as well.

Now, while this mindset may have influenced various members of the Church, we can be greatful that the Holy Spirit safeguarded her, in large part, from the teachings that could have arose from this unfortunate weltanschauung. Thus, today, while women have yet to be accepted as equals in the Church we fortunately lack any treatise or established dogma against the correction of this situation and now, with the rectification of society, are in a posistion to effect this correction.

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That said, there are so many well known, historic ecclesial offices for women that are no longer extant. Why not just look at these, instead of overhauling the system?

Because these offices only amplify the problem at hand; for while these offices may allow a limited degree of service by women in the Church they are also set up in such a way as to allow a man to be secure in the belief that no woman will ever be his equal, to say nothing of superior (though, of course, society is correcting this problem in its own way, which is most damaging to the Church, by making the Church an irrelevant institution at best and and a hostile one at worst). Such a course of action would do nothing to correct the negative view of the Church within Orthodox societies and would only reinforce the already existing injustice.
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2006, 01:20:19 AM »

I am sure this subject will find a more appreciative discussion group among Protestants and other new age religious groups or among people who are not accepting of order.

Our God is a God of Order not kaos.

Christ left us with an order that is greater than our earthly human social conscience and ideas about fairness and equality no matter how right we may think it is. When we begin to try to adapt these ideologies to Christ' established order destruction of our faith to him soon follows.

Like I read in a post that 'the traditions of the Church is loosing favor among the followers in this current age'. This is due to the need to secularize the the Holy Church to bring it more in line with the 'common' rather faithless nature of the current generation (we want the Church to conform to us; instead of us conforming to the Church). As one person put it 'Greek women are frowned at for wearing a head covering during prayer'....and 'wearing the head covering is a Judaized behavior'...in both case I paraphrased. This attitude is counter-Orthodox and therefore not worthy of discussion; but I mention it to show how bad things can get when we are not willing to accept what we have (we forget that Christianity is fulfillment of Judaic prophecy; thus we are bound to aspects of our origin). I see what happened to Martin Luther's movement....it is a debacle today to say the most...not a glimmer of faith or Church exist in todays plethora of "religious" groups that come from his heresy.

Christ was asked by His disciples "how should we pray?" Christ said pray: OUR FATHER who art in heaven.....  .....LEAD us not into temptation.
 
This is a clear example of Father and Divinity.

This became a problem with some Episcopal groups....so they changed it to Our Father and 'Mother'...etc. When I watched this on the evening news 10 years ago I said to myself "these people are soon going to have services sent to their houses and take communion from pre-packaged, pre-blessed microwavable plastic  containers. They want whatever is convenient at the time.

This is not Christianity this is buffoonery.

Is this where we want to go? Absolutely NOT; but there is always the few. Always were and and ways will be. Our Holy Fathers and the true faithful have fought these types over the ages as well which is how we have the Orthodox Church today.

Sadly the Roman Catholics have given many of the Apostolic traditions away and have many new inventions.

Orthodox Christians should not waste time on these types of subjects. Nobody will win the point. Its a dead end.

I apologize in advance fro my directness.
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« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2006, 01:24:55 AM »

If you read the entire article, you will find that he does make these points. He also develops the question further. I suspect that this isn't the only discussion of the subject Father Alexander engaged in. This is the one I found handy.

Perhaps you could present the arguments, rather than relying exclusively on a hyperlink. This is a forum for discussion, I have no intention of reading an essay and writing a refutation...I do that enough for various classes.

Quote
IMO, the Church doesn't have the authority to make such a change 2000 years on. (The only groups with a female presbyterate in the early centuries were gnostic in orientation.)
If so, then why not throw out the Icons and the Liturgy while we are at it.

The Church actually has a long-standing and VERY formalized ruling on icons; as far as the Liturgy, that's bound to change in the future as the Bishops see fit, as with the ordination of women.

Quote
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.[/b]

There are many factors that could be at play, the discussion of which would be off the topic. What I will say is that America is a poor society to consider in gaging the reaction of an Orthodox society, which is why I tend to consider issues from the perspective of Greek society (as I'm more knowledgable about it than other Orthodox societies).
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« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2006, 01:35:41 AM »

Minasoliman

I follow what you are tring to say.

Do you believe you can say something to convence a mentality which is clearly new age and bent on femminist idealism and NOT Orthodoxy.

I beleive that people can think whay they want. But the facts are the facts.

I was shocked to read a rebuke of our Holy fathers in the last few posts. Which is disrespectful and a clear sign of desperation not cooperation.

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« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2006, 01:36:52 AM »

Personally, I oppose the ordination of women to the offices of priest and bishop, but I do agree with Bishop Kallistos that the issue of the ordination of women is a very important issue that the Church must address today.  It does us no good at all to refuse even to talk about the subject or "sweep it under the rug and hope we forget about it."

Let me quote a couple of essays that I think capture my concerns pretty well.


From "Man, Woman and the Priesthood of Christ" by Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia

"Examining more closely the Orthodox appeal to Tradition, let us first seek to establish what Tradition is and what it is not.  Obedience to Tradition must not be seen as a kind of dead fundamentalism.  It does not mean that nothing can ever be done for the first time.  Holy Tradition, rightly understood, is dynamic, not static and inert.  It is received and lived by each new generation in its own way, tested and enriched by the fresh experience that the Church is continually gaining.  In the words of Vladimir Lossky, Tradition is 'the critical spirit of the Church.'  It is not simply a protective, conservative principle, but primarily a principle of growth and regeneration.  It is not merely a collection of documents, the record of what others have said before us, handed down automatically and repeated mechanically; but it involves a living response to God's voice at the present moment, a direct and personal meeting on our part, here and now, with Christ and the Spirit.  Authentic traditionalism, then, is not a slavish imitation of the past, but a courageous effort to discriminate between the transitory and the essential.  The true traditionalist is not the integrist or the reactionary, but the one who discerns the 'signs of the times' (Matthew 16:3)--who is prepared to discover the leaven of the Gospel at work even within such a seemingly secular movement as modern feminism.

"Yet, if there is dynamism in Holy Tradition, there is also continuity.  'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever' (Hebrews 3:8 )  The Spirit is always active in each new generation of the Church, yet it is the Spirit's role to bear witness to the Son (John 16:13-15); the Spirit brings us not a new revelation, but the eternal and unchanging truth of Christ Himself.  Nove, non nova, enjoins St. Vincent of Lerins.  We are not to do or to say 'new things,' for the revelation brought by Christ is final and complete; but, guided by the Spirit, we are ever to act and speak 'in a new way,' with renewed mind and heart.  Does not the innovation of women priests constitute precisely the kind of novelty that breaks the continuity of Tradition?"1




From "Testing the Spirits" by Deborah Malacky Belonick

"We Orthodox Christians are bound by Jesus Christ to enter this debate because of the apostle John's admonishment: 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.' (1 John 4:1)  Our Church must decide whether women priests are the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

"However, the question of women's ordination should not result in an endless quarrel about whether women are 'clean enough,' 'good enough,' or 'smart enough' to perform sacraments, preach, and lead a Christian community.  To be sure, women are.  The question is much deeper than that.

"The point is, anthropological and theological arguments supporting the ordination of women often reflect a secular, feminist philosophy.  Furthermore these arguments rely on doctrines almost always opposed to the Christian faith and teachings about salvation."2


"When the feminist movement began, proponents envisioned a new human community.  They advocated the avoidance of culturally determined roles. ... Life would increasingly require that 'individuals know how to take the initiative and to be receptive, to be aggressive and sensitive, to discipline and to nurture, to be both strong and gentle...combining what have been defined in American society as masculine and feminine qualities. ...

"Unfortunately, the idea of one person possessing all human traits came to imply that psychologically there are no distinctions between women and men.  Masculinity and femininity came to be regarded as mere cultural labels with no basis in reality.  It came to imply that anatomy alone distinguishes the sexes, and human being denotes a person who is beyond the categories of masculine and feminine.

"Those advocating the ordination of women imbedded this extreme anthropology into their theology.  They believe that there are no psychological differences between women and men.  They theorize that the anatomical differences between women and men will be annihilated in the heavenly realm.  They promote the effacement of sexual distinction on earth as a cooperative work with the Holy Spirit."3


"In a traditional Christian sense, a complement as well as common human nature is assumed between the sexes."4


"However, masculinity and femininity are not traits, but the modes by which human traits are expressed."5


"Further, this created complement is permanent, even after death.  Humans are not 'saved' from sexual distinction in the resurrection.  The feminist expectation that the soul and body will be dissociated in the heavenly realm is foreign to the Orthodox Christian Tradition.  The resurrection of the body and its reunion with the soul is an essential Christian tenet."6


"The traditional Christian believes sexuality and gender are psychological, biological, significant, and permanent.7


"Since the Christ became human, His sexuality and gender likewise are psychological, biological, significant, and permanent.  Jesus Christ had to possess a deep, personal sexuality, or He would not have been fully human and could not have saved humanity (Hebrews 4:15).  However, it is the permanent male gender and masculinity of Jesus Christ that disturbs proponents of women's ordination."8




Footnotes:
1 - Women and the Priesthood, pp. 25-26
2 - ibid, p. 190
3 - ibid, pp. 191-192
4 - ibid, p. 197
5 - ibid, p. 198
6 - ibid, p. 199
7 - ibid, p. 200
8 - ibid, p. 201

All quotes extracted from Women and the Priesthood, edited by Fr. Thomas Hopko, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1999


I'm sure to dig up more quotes that express my views rather well, and maybe I'll even offer my own opinions and arguments on this.  But I can only do so much right now, and I am anxious to go to bed soon so that I can wake up ready to go back to work tomorrow morning.
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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2006, 01:44:22 AM »

Now, wait a second there.  Didn't St. Paul give some sort of spiritual reason for the head covering?  There is no clear proof that he ordered head coverings because of societal pressures.

Reading 1 Corinthians 11 it is difficult to not interpret it in anything other than a cultural context, it talks so often of things being proper or shameful, clearly appeals to social customs. Considering specifically verse 6, 'For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.' Well, I would answer that it's not shameful for a woman to be 'shorn or shaven,' for it simply isn't in our culture and society, would this not invalidate the conclusion made?

The theological 'argument' that is made is dependent on verse 7, 'For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.' The problems with this assumption are manifold as it is inconsonant with our anthropological belief that both man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God. The entire argument continues with this faulty line of reasoning, ending in an irrational conclusion (a woman should have her head covered because of the angels) based on irrational presuppositions. But even Paul almost immediately realizes the problem of his posistion and says, 'Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.' And getting back to his original point, which at this point we should see is clearly cultural in nature, he then continues his argument using a cultural appeal, 'Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?' Well, to answer Paul, yes, judging in myself, it is comely that a woman pray to God uncovered.

Quote
Can we also say the same to Christ who ordained men as Apostles and disciples, that is, He also gave in to societal pressures as well, or can we have a prophetic/spiritual reason to it?

I would not say that our Lord succumbed to societal pressures, but rather that he chose for his ministry those who would be most effective and in the misogynistic society of the day the most effective people happened to be men.
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2006, 02:09:58 AM »

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.

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. 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.

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« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2006, 05:14:46 AM »

Such a course of action would do nothing to correct the negative view of the Church within Orthodox societies and would only reinforce the already existing injustice.

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.
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2006, 07:54:19 AM »

Reading 1 Corinthians 11 it is difficult to not interpret it in anything other than a cultural context, it talks so often of things being proper or shameful, clearly appeals to social customs.

Not to get off topic, I'll tie this into the topic at hand...

To GiC specifically and to anyone else generally who'd care to comment,

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.

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.

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--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.
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« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2006, 08:11:48 AM »

Who, in their right mind, would want to be a priest?
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« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2006, 09:56:07 AM »

CrCulver

Exactly...

Thanks for being simple plain and to the point.

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« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2006, 11:09:58 AM »

I have noticed how in order to make any points in favor of this woman priest heresy people are posting disputations of the Holy Scriptures.

I read one post: "The Lord gave in to the social standard of the time"

This statement is shameful...

Amazing that someone could think that they can qualify the actions of Christ?Huh?

I find that western and western minded converts to the Orthodox Church are more apt to follow this heresy or at least entertain it. And if neither of these then would express an open mindedness that "it should be discussed".

Discussed for what?

I have never heard of this thinking.

Real Orthodox (not converts who have not had time to learn with new age ideas and thier male groopies) have not concern over this. I spoke to a women who is a non-practicing Catholic as she refers to herself (as do so many Catholics) she laughed.....and said "people need to get their priorities in order"

All the posts so far are counter - Orthodox and lack spiritual understanding.

The whole subject reaks of new age protestantism.
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« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2006, 11:21:31 AM »

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

Often a person finds that the Cross the Lord gives you to bear is not of your own choosing.
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« Reply #41 on: April 27, 2006, 11:25:51 AM »

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

St. Paul starts with two amazing verses:

"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ."  and "Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you."

I think when St. Paul pleads with us to imitate him, the icon of Christ, and to not stray from the traditions he teaches us, then it seems very weak to attribute mere societal pressures to St. Paul.  In fact, within the Orthodox Church, there is continued societal pressure to keep it the way it is.

One important question that ozgeorge asked is "Who in their right mind would want to become priest?"  I'm a firm believer that priests who were called against their own will serve as better priests than those who wanted to be priests in the first place (this doesn't mean the latter was not called).  So once you start having females protesting against the Church in wanting to be priests, then you have an issue.  Male or female, those who want to be priests, I have issues with.  It is the Church that chooses, and Christ that calls.

So moving on:

Quote
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Here, St. Paul begins with a theological reason.  The "shame" or "dishonor" that comes later is applied to both the male for covering his head, and female for not covering her head.  And notice, both praying or prophecying must do this to remember verse 3.

Also, St. Paul does not end it at woman, but continues with Christ, saying that the head of Christ is God.  Was it not the same St. John Chrysostom who said that that marriage of woman to man along with her submission is like the unity and submission of Christ to the Father?  Therefore, St. Paul leaves us open with the fact that although woman is subject to man as the glory of man, yet both woman and man are of the same equal glory, just as Christ and the Father.  If there be any societal pressures, this last part of verse 3 should not have been included.

Therefore, later when reading about what is shameful, or to be shorn or shaven, it must be read in a theological context as St. Paul started.  Yes, it has turned into cultural, and may have been worse in Western circles where woman were brutally considered as second-class citizens, without clear Bible verses written by St. Paul himself, like verse 3 or the famous Gal. 3:28.

It is just as shameful by the way, for both man and woman in the Church to get closer to the Eucharist with their shoes on in the OO churches.  "Shameful" may mean something societal, but there is also something theological, and seeing that St. Paul starts with a theological statement, his purpose is for spirituality.

So in parts where man is considered the image and glory of God, while woman the image and glory of man, then we can look at verse three and say that Christ is the image and glory of God.  Does that mean Christ is not consubstantial to God?  Away with such a thought!  For as long as St. Paul starts with verse 3, and not because society frowns upon it, then "it is not so difficult after all to interpreting it other than a cultural context."

And even you agree that St. Paul clarifies this so that he doesn't put woman below man anthropologically:

Quote
Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

Indeed.  He tells us we need one another, and that no one is above another, but all things from God.  The preservation of this verse, and the likes of verse three makes the idea of women as second-class citizens not only wrong, but a heresy, in my opinion.

Quote
Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.

To read this, it seems to make sense.  Not only is he reiterating the same words "dishonor" and "glory" that can be seen in a theological light, not necessarily a cultural light, but even in cultural ways, this statement still holds true for today, even there's a select vociferous few.

I like to see woman always with reasonably long hair, and longer would be nice, but men usually do not have long hair, and it is considered a dishonor.  Now, the length of the hair is to every culture's judgment, but I would say that a man who extends his hair to his shoulders is pushing it.  I may sound stereotypical, but you don't see lots of men with very long hair, or women with very short hair.  Thus, my stereotype stands because the culture around me makes me think this way.

It's interesting, since culture still holds somewhat what St. Paul holds in this verse, then we continue to see St. Paul's point, who started with a plea not to change the traditions, and ends with a command not to be contentious:

Quote
But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

I can't help but wonder.  Why did he include this last verse?  Were there indeed those rebellious ones in the Church who wanted to change tradition or custom?

Backtracking a little:

Quote
For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

This is one verse I don't understand.  Why "because of the angels?"  What do angels have to do with head coverings?  Are women like the Cherubim who cover themselves before the Lord?

Finally:

Quote
I would not say that our Lord succumbed to societal pressures, but rather that he chose for his ministry those who would be most effective and in the misogynistic society of the day the most effective people happened to be men.

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.

God bless.
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« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2006, 11:46:53 AM »

Yes, tradition is certainly the strongest of all arguments, but this argument presents fundamental difficulities on two levels. First, it is an argument from silence; while the ordination of women was never strongly supported in the history of the Church, neither was it strongly opposed. The reasonable conclusion is not a condemnation of the practice, but rather the that this is an issue that the Church has never had to address. The reason that it never had to address the issue is obvious, culture and society were such as to make women second-class citizens, culture prejudices against the equality of women were so strong as to not even allow a consideration of the issue from a theological perspective.

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. Before changing established custom, we need precedent and support from the Scripture and the Holy Fathers -- not only holes punched in the established narrative. (Hence why it seems oh-so-much-more-productive to look at the scriptural and historical role of deaconesses). 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).

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.

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.

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.

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.
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« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2006, 12:50:17 PM »


It seems that Western intellectuals and some modernist Orthodox are convinced that St Paul is no match for our modern theologians. The Holy Apostle writes that he did not come with the reasoning of men, with sophistry or smart rhetoric,  but in the folly of the Cross - or Christ crucified.  According to our modernists, Christ was an expert in marketing i.e. finding the right target audience...

Suggest you read Men are from Mars or the Surrendered Wife...much better than the ramblings of a those who in former times were champions of Holy Tradition.  I suppose things have changed over time.   As the saying goes:   the newly ordained (deacon, priests) fears God for the first three years..  After that God fears the priest/bishop.
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« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2006, 12:56:03 PM »

Real Orthodox (not converts who have not had time to learn with new age ideas and thier male groopies) have not concern over this. I spoke to a women who is a non-practicing Catholic as she refers to herself (as do so many Catholics) she laughed.....and said "people need to get their priorities in order"

What a statement!


Anyway, I'm personally rooting for GiC here.  This is a topic that needs to be discussed, looked at and picked apart before anyone starts putting themselves into the "for" or "against" camp.

Whoever said that their GOA church was empty and their Russian church was full - it's opposite in my city.  Since when does one example set the rule, anyway?
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