The problem comes back to the Pauline injunctions. Unlike the limited liturgical function of the deaconess, the Episcopate and Presbyteriate inherently involve the exercise of authority over men. These Pauline injunctions preclude, among other things, homosexuality. Now Ive debated with some liberal Protestants who take the view it doesn't matter what St. Paul said, since he was just a misogynist/homophobe who distorted the message of Jesus, but you and ai both know this view is silly, as the oldest and most detailed account we have of, for example, the Eucharist, comes from 1 Corinthians, and the Orthodox Church, being built on Holy Tradition, regards the books of the Athanasian Canon as definitive and of equal import; we are not interested in, for example, the Gospel of Philip or the Tripartite Tractate as sources of doctrine.
Now I do not take a maximalist view of Orthodoxy that requires us to maintain unbending adherence to every received liturgical and devotional custom. But I think it's wrong to say that the outer limits of Orthodoxy are solely defined by the Ecumenical Councils or anathemas issued by other authorities; something does not need to be formally condemned as a heresy in order to be heretical. The fact that the ordination of women has never occurred and that the ancient canons concerned in the Pedalion specify a male priesthood, and furthermore take into account St. Paul's remark that the bishop should be the husband of one wife and use that as the basis for prohibiting divorced and remarried clergy, the marriage of ordained clergy, and the remarriage of widowers in Holy Orders, gives us a remarkable clear picture as to how the early church interpreted these epistles. Thus, a formal condemnation of openness to or support of female ordination from a church authority is not necessary, in so far as taking such a view would put one in opposition to St. Paul. And who would dare to do that? St. Paul uses the phrase "I do not allow", suggesting others may have, but it's St. Paul whose epistles form such a vital part of the canon, and what St. Paul was against, we cannot possibly be for. The Holy Bible, as many have pointed out, is the heart of Holy Tradition, and the Epistles and other books of the New Testament besides the Gospels are second only to the Gospels in importance.
So thus, the reason here is chiefly Biblical rather than conciliar or canonical, although the fact the canons say nothing of the ordination of women to any office other than deaconess can be read as disapproval. Now to clarify what I wished to express relating to the discussion of these matters, as I see it it's entirely legitimate to point to the epistles in question in answer to the question "why don't we ordain women," and if then pressed as to why we have female choirs, simply state that the church interprets the Pauline directive that women should keep silent in church as not prohibiting such choirs. Although admittedly this is an inconsistency of great antiquity and we can see that in many times and in many places this question has been sidestepped by using boys choirs to provide soprano voices. It would certainly be an exemplary act of great piety and devotion if a woman were to make a point of never speaking at all inside the Nave. But just as Holy Tradition does not allow female priests and bishops, it does allow female choirs and also in the churches of the Middle East, ululation.
So in my view, because of what Paul said, it is wrong for a bishop to question the wisdom of Paul in disallowing, in churches under his jurisdiction, women to exercise authority over men, which the early church appears to have interpreted as a ban on the Presbyteriate and episcopate, as these two roles, Priest and Bishop, are those to which authority is primarily attached. What is more, I would argue that since Paul makes this so plain, it's wrong for a bishop to propose more discussion of the matter; it would show greater piety on his part to simply cite the epistles in question. And indeed, for that matter, I believe women should not ordain their hair with costly trinkets, but this falls into the realm of personal morality. But if a confessor were to see one of his spiritual daughters consistently appearing in fine jewelry, he rather ought to speak up about it in my view.
Lastly, I have yet to see a single successful female pastor in any Protestant denomination who justified the controversy surrounding the ordination of women and the schisms that resulted, with the exception of Christian Science, which was for a time successful, but is Gnostic and really a different faith tradition. Now in Gnosticism, by the way, I see a potential answer to this problem. The Orthodox should simply refer people who want these things to those churches that have them. It's for this reason also that I don't mind at all the Episcopalians using the Book of Common Prayer. As I see it, the duty of the Orthodox Church is to maintain a consistent witness. Now I define Holy Tradition broader than most; I advocate reconciliation of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox as a matter of urgency, I believe disused liturgical services such as the Cathedral Typikon are in no respects suppressed. But I really think on this point there are overwhelming Biblical and practical reasons not to do it, and any bishop who does openly advocate it, which to his credit Metropolitan Kallistos Ware has stopped short of doing, is acting irresponsibly.
Now if you want even more theological points, we can also go down the avenue of the bishop being male representing Christ in the Eucharist, the priests in turn representing the bishop as it were. If Christ, our Highest Priest, were female, or like in Gnosticism had a female counterpart forming a syzygy, then priestesses would fit theologically. But since Christ, the supreme priest, was male, the. It follows that all priests should also be male to represent Him; what is more, as far as we know, all the priests who have ever served in the true religion of the Lord God of Sabaoth, such as Melchizidek, who may have been Christ and at the very least typologically represented him, and the Aaronic Kohanim of the religion of Israel and Judaism, have been male. So it seems that our God desires that men offer sacrifices to Him. However the Old and New Testaments are full of excellent female servants of God; who could be closer to God or make a fuller intercession for us than the most Holy Theotokos? But as was pointed out, she was not a priest, nor a priestess, but a mother. It seems motherhood, either naturally or spiritually through holy celibacy, is the desired service of women, just as priesthood is the desired service of men.
Now I'm sure you've heard all of this before, dear Peter, and I do not doubt your great piety. You have been consistently kind to me on this forum. If you disagree with the general approach I take on this, please do not take offense. In fact you almost certainly have been Orthodox longer than I have, and are more pious and observant than I am; my health makes going to church a struggle. In fact one thing I love about this forum is there are people on it who I can disagree with while still admiring their piety, such as Porter, who is a devout catechumen whose baptism will be like the blooming of an Easter Lilly. I was driven from the Methodist Church for being too conservative, and landed here in the land of Holy Orthodoxy almost by accident, although from my youth I had been interested in Orthodoxy. But I've found in people like Metropolitan Kallistos Ware intense wisdom; I suspect his eminence probably does support women's ordination and perhaps even a softer touch on gays, but I don't care, because His Eminence is overflowing with divine grace and this is evident in his writings. The one thing I don't think Orthodoxy should be is defined by what we oppose; I object to homosexuality but have nothing but love for homosexuals. And in the pursuit of love one can see examples among the saints who perhaps got swept off their feet just a bit, for example, St. Gregory of Nyassa in suggesting the possibility of universal salvation. Although ironically that same St. Gregory wrote, if memory serves, a canon or a stinging rebuke directed against homosexuality.
So in the end what really matters is obedience to the church. Now it does appear that lamentably the Metropolitan violated church order, but we don't know the extent yet and the Archbishop is prudently investigating the matter before applying any penalty. But even if one supports the ordination of women, until such time as it is licit surely they should not be allowed to concelebrate in that matter, and the commemoration of non Orthodox prelates in the Diptychs or elsewhere is seriously frowned upon.