Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

Fr. George

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pensateomnia said:
Why is reading the Fathers and quoting their frequent and straight-forward statements on the nature and role of women "speculative"? 
Silly rabbit.  Reading is for kids!
 

PeterTheAleut

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GiC,

Are you reading Nestorianism into my exegesis just because you're itching for a fight?  Otherwise, I don't know how you can accuse me of advocating Nestorianism by interpreting St. Paul in the light of St. John.  AISI, the context provided by the Gospel of St. John and by Holy Tradition also makes impossible a Nestorian interpretation of St. Paul's theological hierarchy.  It appears to me that you're just overanxious to shoot down any theological argument that we could provide to support an all-male priesthood.  I'll bet that if we could give you a perfectly airtight theological reason for excluding women from the priesthood, you would probably still try to shoot it full of holes.  Maybe that's the very definition of "devil's advocate."  My question is this: would your arguments against a theological reason pass the same scrutiny you use to criticize the reason?

Don't think too much about this.  I would want you to wear your brain out with finals this week.  ;)
 

Theognosis

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greekischristian said:
No, no...let's go with this one. ;)

Over at http://www.womenpriests.org/traditio/prej_gen.asp Fr. John Wijngaards says that the failure to ordain women was culturally biased. And don't you dare attack Fr. John as an absolute and unquestionable authority on the matter...THAT would be an ad hominem. ;D
Good, I'll attack his methodology (not his qualifications). First, he employs the same circular reasoning as you do. That is, he presupposes that the ordination of men was culturally biased, and then comes to the conclusion that the ordination of men is culturally biased. Second, he employs sola sciptura when he said that the tradition wasn't scriptural.

Both these points are explicitly stated by the author:

http://www.womenpriests.org/traditio/prej_gen.asp
From all this it follows that the socalled ‘tradition’ against the ordination of women is invalid. Because:

- The reasons for the socalled ‘tradition’ were inspired by social and cultural misunderstandings. This ‘tradition’ was not informed.

- The scriptural texts used to support the prejudices rested on misinterpretations of the inspired meaning. The ‘tradition’ of not-ordaining women also fails because it was not scriptural.


I hope this is not your idea of an "EXCELLENT" and "IMPREGNABLE" reason for ordaining women.
 

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A) Pensateomnia did not attack the validity of the statement through his comment of the source, so his comment doesn't even fit the definition of ad hominem you provided.  In fact, he stated that he agreed with the position of the source, and he objected to your characterization of his position being in opposition to it as being ignorant of his true position that he expounded here in the thread.
I will review Pensa's position and see if I made a mistake.

His source criticism was, as GiC pointed out, only flying in the face of your "appeal to authority" and not to the validity of the argument.
The allegation of an appeal to authority is invalid because I never quoted the author's subjective views, nor did I elevate him to the status of an infallible source; all of the things I said with reference to the work were plain historical facts, facts which fit rather nicely in our discussion.

B) I am not attacking your definition of ad hominem by discrediting the source, but rather stated that you invite any criticism of your sources in general when you appeal to one that has as many factual errors in general as Wiki does.  It's version of the ad hominem definition is fairly thorough and quite well-done; but it doesn't mean that it has been applied correctly in this case.
Point taken.
 

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Ah, yes. So you can appeal to one professor's exegesis of a particular pericope in the Pauline epistles as infallible proof that you have established your point about pagan women and religion in general,
I never quoted the professor's exegesis in the Pauline epistle. In fact, I'm not interested in his SUBJECTIVE views at all. What is relevant is his OBJECTIVE survey of Greek and Roman culture and religion.

but when I point out that this interpretation of his article may not, in fact, be the end-all-be-all (based on many primary sources and several top-rate scholars), I have resorted to "logical fallacy."
I was referring to GiC's line of argument. Let me repeat what I said there:

"In general?" That is the problem with that line of argument, actually. To illustrate:

1. Women are "inferior" in Greco-Roman society in general.
2. Therefore, women are "inferior" in religion in particular.

The argument above is a logical fallacy, and history proves that it is wrong. One cannot generalize the status of women in society and apply it to religion.


Unfortunately, if you have not already read the relevant and well-known sources before making up your mind, I cannot summarize them on this forum today. I will try to do so in the next week, but I fear such would really just be a waste of my time, since certain people on this forum appear to prefer whatever evidence they can find on the issue that fits their existing argument, and, on the other hand, to label all evidence that does not conform to these pre-conceived ideas as "speculative."
It's prefectly valid to quote the Church Fathers as long as one does not impose his/her personal presuppositions and biases. However...

To move things toward more Christian sources, I have already started the discussion on Patristic views of women with specific references from St. John Chrysostom's many statements on the subject; but you, in response to my question about how you view these statements, said:
I find theological discussion on this matter as unnecessary. After all, GiC's argument is exclusively on the cultural aspect, and I must strike at the heart of his hypothesis. Like what Peter said, GiC must prove his theory on its own merit without appealing to the alleged silence of Tradition.

If GiC claims that the all-male priesthood was a cultural construct, then he must show evidence in history that supports it. Unfortunately for him, history contradicts all his speculations. In his failure to present historical evidence, he has opted to formulate a false dichotomy, which is as follows:

Option A (exclusive): The all-male priesthood is theological
Option B (exclusive): The all-male priesthood is cultural


GiC is trying to convince people that Option A is not true, so he concludes that Option B is true. On the other hand, what is really required of him is to prove Option B on its own merits.
 

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Theognosis said:
Good, I'll attack his methodology (not his qualifications). First, he employs the same circular reasoning as you do. That is, he presupposes that the ordination of men was culturally biased, and then comes to the conclusion that the ordination of men is culturally biased. Second, he employs sola sciptura when he said that the tradition wasn't scriptural.
Theognosis,

You might have to teach me what circular reasoning is and how to recognize it, because I don't see this in Fr. Wijngaard's article.  He presupposes that the exclusion of women from ordination is based on cultural prejudices, and goes from here to conclude that the tradition of excluding women from ordination is invalid.  To me, Fr. Wijngaard's logic falls apart not because of circular reasoning but because he gives absolutely no evidence to substantiate his initial premise of cultural prejudice.  Destroy the premise of his logic, and his reasoning crumbles into dust.


GiC,

You really need to substantiate your claim that the exclusion of women from ordination is based on cultural and societal prejudices.  You keep on asserting this as the foundation of your logic, but I've not seen you provide any real evidence for the truth of this fundamental assertion except for the silence of your opposition.  What INCONTROVERTIBLE evidence can you provide that the Church's refusal to ordain women is based on cultural biases?
 

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Theognosis said:
The allegation of an appeal to authority is invalid because I never quoted the author's subjective views, nor did I elevate him to the status of an infallible source; all of the things I said with reference to the work were plain historical facts, facts which fit rather nicely in our discussion. 
I'm sorry- I had completely missed that in my zeal at the moment.  Forgive me.
 

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Theognosis said:
I never quoted the professor's exegesis in the Pauline epistle.  In fact, I'm not interested in his SUBJECTIVE views at all.  What is relevant is his OBJECTIVE survey of Greek and Roman culture and religion.
His survey of Greek and Roman culture and religions is certainly interesting, but by no means definitive proof that cultural biases against women did not influence their religious life. In fact, his survey did not definitively prove any such astoundingly broad assertion (and why should it, since that was not the purpose of his article?).

Anyway, as I have thought about it, I think the whole "pagan priesthood" line of research is largely a red herring. Yes, women did hold significant priestly roles in various cultic rites (but not, as GiC has correctly pointed out, at the highest levels). But WHY did they hold such offices? What was the "theological" meaning of the office? In other words, was this "priesthood" really analogous to what we, as Christians, consider priesthood? Of course, most female priests performed religious rites, but what kind of authority of administration or teaching did they have over the "body of pagans"? ... if we can even call it that (which we can't!)!

That's the problem: The only "priestly" positions that are really even remotely comparable to the duties of the Christian priest are the state-sponsored male priests, e.g. flamines (liturgist, teacher, public authority with power to influence the community's understanding of theology and religious practice, etc.). Sure, the Vestal Virgins were important, everyone wanted a good auger and, later, mystery cults loved to initiate women, but all of these positions are either common-place (not leadership) or are specialized (almost like a deaconess or, perhaps, a prophetic elder).

Did women hold the same number of offices, with the same degree of authority, as men? If not, why? If so, were these offices even analogous to Christian offices?

Assuming we have proven that pagan women did hold substantial and equal positions of authority that were analogous to Christian offices, we then have to ask: Would this fact encourage or discourage the early Church to adopt female priesthood? If female priesthood was, in fact, so widespread and women so liberated in matters religious, then (a) what was so revolutionary about Christianity's supposedly unprecedented view of women, and (b) would this not indicate that, perhaps, the Christian Church's choice to spurn female priests was motivated by anti-pagan sentiment instead of exclusively sui generis reasons? (Cultural influence from the other side!)

I think we have to be careful about arguing that pagan religious culture was pro-women. Not only would it take much more proof than what has been provided, I fear it would lead to some nasty places.

ÂÂ
It's prefectly valid to quote the Church Fathers as long as one does not impose his/her personal presuppositions and biases.  However...

I find theological discussion on this matter as unnecessary.  After all, GiC's argument is exclusively on the cultural aspect, and I must strike at the heart of his hypothesis.
I think the most effective way to strike at the heart of the matter would be to examine the actual Christian sources. Even if you have proven everything you think you have about pagan religion, you still haven't shown that the same applies to the Church. What do the Fathers say about women? If we find their words on the matter to be free from cultural influence, then the matter is truly settled.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
GiC,

You really need to substantiate your claim that the exclusion of women from ordination is based on cultural and societal prejudices.  You keep on asserting this as the foundation of your logic, but I've not seen you provide any real evidence for the truth of this fundamental assertion except for the silence of your opposition.  What INCONTROVERTIBLE evidence can you provide that the Church's refusal to ordain women is based on cultural biases?
What do you want him to do? Produce some authentic, oft-ignored manuscript from an Ecumenical Council that contains Protocols of Zion-like minutes, in which we find a discussion on how to keep women out of the Church's major orders?  ;)  That's the stuff of a multi-million dollar book deal (a la Dan Brown).

Obviously, his argument has to rest on broad reading of the sources and, in the end, on inductive reasoning. If, for example, we were to do comprehensive TLG searches and look at every time the early Fathers speak about women, we would begin to identify patterns in their attitudes. If we discovered a pattern of negative speech, dismissal and reproach, this would certainly be telling, wouldn't it? (Although not INCONTROVERTIBLE...few things are).
 

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Go ahead and call me lazy.  I have read bits and pieces of this thread but I am not reading all 41 pages.  My view on this is going to be differnet as I am crossing over from Protestantism into Orthodoxy.

My personal, private opinion is that I am uncomfortable with but not opposed to women as ordained.  St Zosimos asked St Mary of Egypt for a blessing.  The women first spoke (taught/dare I say, preached) of the resurrected Christ, not the men.  It must be noted here that St Mary initially refused saying it was not proper of her to bestow a blessing; not her place; not her role.  She did eventually give a blessing.  Thus my position.  We see an acknowledged establisment of a role(s) and that there can be an exception to the rule.  In previous pages there was a good post I thought about the roles of men and women in the Church, that the man is the revelation of Christ and the woman the revelation of the Church.  That we have seen throughout the history and Tradition of the Church these roles encouraged and nurtured.  This model has served the Church well for its entirety.  These roles should not be crossed and confused.  That said, I feel I place God in a corner if I say unto Him that He can never use a woman in a priestly manner especially when I understand there have been exceptions to this rule using the two examples above.  But it must be noted the examples are rare and were under extraordinary circumstances.  While I would argue (and I am) against wholesale ordination of women into the priesthood, it is possible for us to be blessed with another St Mary at some point.  And I think it is best to add here that not all males are automatically eligible for the priesthood, either.  Going back into Jewish tradition, only the tribe of Levi and only select members therein were priests.  The priesthood is a very special, select calling of service for God that only few can do.  Now, if we should talk about women as deacons, or as some role of Church "Mother", I believe that is a very necessary discussion to have.  I do believe there is a historical basis for women as deacons.

Here in the US, over the past 40 plus years we have seen major upheaval in the roles of men and women in society, the home and religion.  Everything has been and is being challenged.  Some of this has been good.  Women earning the right to vote, fighting for the right to have equal opportunity for career advancement and equal pay for equal work.  Some of this is having disastrous consequences.  Such as the outright elimination of gender differences in the home and in some careers.  Firefighters being a great example of this.  We have witnessed women suing to have their chance at this career and some places dumbing down standards for everyone, or creating a separate standard for men and women.  Firefighters have to carry very heavy equipment that only few men can do, much less women, often in a hostile environment.  There are women who can do it, but they are the exception, not the rule.  Standards have been dropped in some places and the consequences of this are unknown to me, but it seems to set a stage for tragic consequences.  This is not an insult against women.  This is simply an acknowledgment that physical differences exist between the two.  Also, we are now seeing the advancement of the career woman.  As much good as this has brought us, it has also brought confusion as women (and men) are being taught that career comes before family.  That women have to forsake their natural tendency for mercy and compassion for ruthlessness and cold calculation of the business world.

Enter in the Protestant church.  Few Protestant churches have roots much past the time of their eldest member.  Most now cling to a very contemporary view of life on earth.  They see a dynamic and changing society and reckon the Gospel must adapt to an ever changing world if people are still going to attend church.  The Protestant church has also been losing memberships for a couple decades now as people have grown tired of the early 20th century model of fire and brimstone preaching.  The number shifts we are seeing today is simply a realignment of the numbers but still seeing an overall decline in the Protestant numbers.  We have a changing society here in the US that is confusing the roles of men and women and a Protestant church(es) who is desperate to keep people in the building willing to compromise and change and themselves confuse the roles of men and women within the church itself in order to keep up with the changing times.

Thus the idea of ordination of women in the Orthodox Church being more Western than Eastern.  Eastern Christianity has ironed out roles that it has nurtured and developed for 2000 years.  This idea of blending and confusing the roles is foreign to her and she is having to confront something that she may not be quite prepared for here in the West.  However, this appeal to Tradition is very strong.

And this is the appeal of Orthodoxy.

Life and society are chaotic enough.  It is bad enough when churches follow suit and feel that have to sell the latest "fad" in order to keep up.  To constantly repackage and compromise the Gospel in order to keep people coming.  There are a growing number of people like me who want to rest assured in something constant and consistent.  No offense to Rome, but it cannot claim this.  Only Orthodoxy can claim a consistent history, Tradition and teaching of beliefs.  This is among the reasons why Orthodoxy is seeing an explosion in numbers in recent years.  However, I fear we are coming in such numbers with such zeal, thirst for knowledge, seeking questions and not having fully "unlearned all that we have learned" (thanks Yoda), that we are bombarding Orthodoxy here in the West with things she is not quite ready for at this time.

 

 

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You might have to teach me what circular reasoning is and how to recognize it, because I don't see this in Fr. Wijngaard's article.  He presupposes that the exclusion of women from ordination is based on cultural prejudices, and goes from here to conclude that the tradition of excluding women from ordination is invalid.
It is circular because he is presupposing something which is unproven that leaves no room for an alternative conclusion.  In other words, the conclusion is implied at the very beginning.

Destroy the premise of his logic, and his reasoning crumbles into dust.
Destroying the premise of prejudice in religion brought about by social factors is exactly what I'm doing.  The link is also pro-sola scriptura.  Worse, the author is ignorant of what the "real Tradition of the Church" is, because there was no instance in the 1st century when the Church ordained women.  The author, despite caliming to be Catholic, obviously has no respect for Tradition.
 

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pensateomnia said:
What do you want him to do? Produce some authentic, oft-ignored manuscript from an Ecumenical Council that contains Protocols of Zion-like minutes, in which we find a discussion on how to keep women out of the Church's major orders?  Wink <http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/Smileys/default/wink.gif>  That's the stuff of a multi-million dollar book deal (a la Dan Brown).
That was actually GiC's idea.

Obviously, his argument has to rest on broad reading of the sources and, in the end, on inductive reasoning.
Ahh, the Problem of Induction.ÂÂ

If, for example, we were to do comprehensive TLG searches and look at every time the early Fathers speak about women, we would begin to identify patterns in their attitudes. If we discovered a pattern of negative speech, dismissal and reproach, this would certainly be telling, wouldn't it? (Although not INCONTROVERTIBLE...few things are).
That's speculation. What you have to look for is a definitive statement, something like:

"I am Father XXX.ÂÂ It's not theological, really.ÂÂ It's not Tradition either.ÂÂ The Church is simply following the social norms, that's why we don't ordain women to the priesthood at this moment in time.ÂÂ I hope you understand.  Don't worry, 2000 years into the future, I'm sure something will come up in the West."
 

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His survey of Greek and Roman culture and religions is certainly interesting, but by no means definitive proof that cultural biases against women did not influence their religious life. In fact, his survey did not definitively prove any such astoundingly broad assertion (and why should it, since that was not the purpose of his article?).
A broad assertion is made when one presupposes that cultural prejudices influenced Christianity's priesthood without showing any evidence.

Anyway, as I have thought about it, I think the whole "pagan priesthood" line of research is largely a red herring. Yes, women did hold significant priestly roles in various cultic rites (but not, as GiC has correctly pointed out, at the highest levels).
It is the Bishop, not the Priest, who holds the highest level. Since we're specific about the priesthood, the subject of persons occupying the "highest level" is irrelevant.

Did women hold the same number of offices, with the same degree of authority, as men? If not, why? If so, were these offices even analogous to Christian offices?
I don't want to sound like a broken record.

Assuming we have proven that pagan women did hold substantial and equal positions of authority that were analogous to Christian offices, we then have to ask: Would this fact encourage or discourage the early Church to adopt female priesthood? If female priesthood was, in fact, so widespread and women so liberated in matters religious, then (a) what was so revolutionary about Christianity's supposedly unprecedented view of women, and (b) would this not indicate that, perhaps, the Christian Church's choice to spurn female priests was motivated by anti-pagan sentiment instead of exclusively sui generis reasons? (Cultural influence from the other side!)
Perhaps this. Or perhaps that. The fact remians that in the early years of Christianity when the Holy Spirit was actively present in the apostolic church, no woman was ordained as priest in her lifetime. Not one woman was excempted from this rule--not even the Most Holy Theotokos.

I think we have to be careful about arguing that pagan religious culture was pro-women. Not only would it take much more proof than what has been provided, I fear it would lead to some nasty places.
Are you suggesting that we just ignore them?



 

Mo the Ethio

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scooter said:
Go ahead and call me lazy. I have read bits and pieces of this thread but I am not reading all 41 pages. My view on this is going to be differnet as I am crossing over from Protestantism into Orthodoxy.

My personal, private opinion is that I am uncomfortable with but not opposed to women as ordained. St Zosimos asked St Mary of Egypt for a blessing. The women first spoke (taught/dare I say, preached) of the resurrected Christ, not the men. It must be noted here that St Mary initially refused saying it was not proper of her to bestow a blessing; not her place; not her role. She did eventually give a blessing. Thus my position. We see an acknowledged establisment of a role(s) and that there can be an exception to the rule. In previous pages there was a good post I thought about the roles of men and women in the Church, that the man is the revelation of Christ and the woman the revelation of the Church. That we have seen throughout the history and Tradition of the Church these roles encouraged and nurtured. This model has served the Church well for its entirety. These roles should not be crossed and confused. That said, I feel I place God in a corner if I say unto Him that He can never use a woman in a priestly manner especially when I understand there have been exceptions to this rule using the two examples above. But it must be noted the examples are rare and were under extraordinary circumstances. While I would argue (and I am) against wholesale ordination of women into the priesthood, it is possible for us to be blessed with another St Mary at some point. And I think it is best to add here that not all males are automatically eligible for the priesthood, either. Going back into Jewish tradition, only the tribe of Levi and only select members therein were priests. The priesthood is a very special, select calling of service for God that only few can do. Now, if we should talk about women as deacons, or as some role of Church "Mother", I believe that is a very necessary discussion to have. I do believe there is a historical basis for women as deacons.

Here in the US, over the past 40 plus years we have seen major upheaval in the roles of men and women in society, the home and religion. Everything has been and is being challenged. Some of this has been good. Women earning the right to vote, fighting for the right to have equal opportunity for career advancement and equal pay for equal work. Some of this is having disastrous consequences. Such as the outright elimination of gender differences in the home and in some careers. Firefighters being a great example of this. We have witnessed women suing to have their chance at this career and some places dumbing down standards for everyone, or creating a separate standard for men and women. Firefighters have to carry very heavy equipment that only few men can do, much less women, often in a hostile environment. There are women who can do it, but they are the exception, not the rule. Standards have been dropped in some places and the consequences of this are unknown to me, but it seems to set a stage for tragic consequences. This is not an insult against women. This is simply an acknowledgment that physical differences exist between the two. Also, we are now seeing the advancement of the career woman. As much good as this has brought us, it has also brought confusion as women (and men) are being taught that career comes before family. That women have to forsake their natural tendency for mercy and compassion for ruthlessness and cold calculation of the business world.

Enter in the Protestant church. Few Protestant churches have roots much past the time of their eldest member. Most now cling to a very contemporary view of life on earth. They see a dynamic and changing society and reckon the Gospel must adapt to an ever changing world if people are still going to attend church. The Protestant church has also been losing memberships for a couple decades now as people have grown tired of the early 20th century model of fire and brimstone preaching. The number shifts we are seeing today is simply a realignment of the numbers but still seeing an overall decline in the Protestant numbers. We have a changing society here in the US that is confusing the roles of men and women and a Protestant church(es) who is desperate to keep people in the building willing to compromise and change and themselves confuse the roles of men and women within the church itself in order to keep up with the changing times.

Thus the idea of ordination of women in the Orthodox Church being more Western than Eastern. Eastern Christianity has ironed out roles that it has nurtured and developed for 2000 years. This idea of blending and confusing the roles is foreign to her and she is having to confront something that she may not be quite prepared for here in the West. However, this appeal to Tradition is very strong.

And this is the appeal of Orthodoxy.

Life and society are chaotic enough. It is bad enough when churches follow suit and feel that have to sell the latest "fad" in order to keep up. To constantly repackage and compromise the Gospel in order to keep people coming. There are a growing number of people like me who want to rest assured in something constant and consistent. No offense to Rome, but it cannot claim this. Only Orthodoxy can claim a consistent history, Tradition and teaching of beliefs. This is among the reasons why Orthodoxy is seeing an explosion in numbers in recent years. However, I fear we are coming in such numbers with such zeal, thirst for knowledge, seeking questions and not having fully "unlearned all that we have learned" (thanks Yoda), that we are bombarding Orthodoxy here in the West with things she is not quite ready for at this time.

 ÂÂ
Very well stated post.
 Been following this thread for a while. Somewhat shocked that my traditionalist friend GIC(man, I really think you are growing soft on me :p) is at the other end of this arguement.
  I am far less articulate than most who post on this forum. I will simply say that I ( as a recent convert) am against Ordaining women. I also believe that this is concensus amoungst most converts. To be frank, if a person feels the need to push the Church into such a liberal stance , perhaps a protestant demonination would better suit their needs.
 As Scooter said , in so many words, this is not a Church of fads .
The Church of Christ is guided by the Holy Spirit and cannot err.

       +++ Moses
ÂÂ
 

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Mo the Ethio said:
To be frank, if a person feels the need to push the Church into such a liberal stance , perhaps a protestant demonination would better suit their needs.
Amen. This is one of the best comments I've heard in this thread. "The Church has been mistaken about _______ for 2000 years" is heresy, pure and simple.
 

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Bizzlebin said:
Amen. This is one of the best comments I've heard in this thread. "The Church has been mistaken about _______ for 2000 years" is heresy, pure and simple. 
{sarcasm}
You're obviously un-enlightened{/sarcasm}
 

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pensateomnia said:
Yeah! Right on! How dare St. Theodore the Studite "speculate" about such things!
Did he advocate women priests based on his speculation? Please provide evidence.
 

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Bizzlebin said:
"The Church has been mistaken about _______ for 2000 years" is heresy, pure and simple.
This accusation does not apply, because the Church has not made any declaration one way or another- so she can't possibly be "mistaken" on this issue. And this goes back to the same issue raised about 30 pages back on this thread (and again 3 pages later, and again 5 pages later.....), and that is: what evidence can anyone produce that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a DOGMA (which you imply is the case by your claim that it is "heresy" to question it) rather than simply a CUSTOM which has developed in the Church- like not having pews and Communing in the hand which have both since been changed?
 

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ozgeorge said:
This accusation does not apply, because the Church has not made any declaration one way or another- so she can't possibly be "mistaken" on this issue.

And this goes back to the same issue raised about 30 pages back on this thread (and again 3 pages later, and again 5 pages later.....), and that is: what evidence can anyone produce that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a DOGMA (which you imply is the case by your claim that it is "heresy" to question it) rather than simply a CUSTOM which has developed in the Church- like not having pews and Communing in the hand which have both since been changed?
The Church's actions are what later lead to declarations. No statement is needed, we have the unchanged Tradition of the Church.

There is an easy way to see what is custom and what is not: look at what changes from culture to culture. Does women's ordination change? Nope. But as for communing in the hand, we already saw that taking it by the mouth with the arms crossed was the canonical practice, as opposed to what you are saying. And as for pews, your parish may have changed, not the entire Church (though this has indeed varied throughout history).

Again, a very reasonable case for the universal position on women's ordination has been provided. Either start providing patristic support for it being a matter of culture, or accept the fact that you stand completely against 2000 years of patristic tradition and the Church itself.
 

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Bizzlebin said:
No statement is needed, we have the unchanged Tradition of the Church.
We said that about receiving Communion in the hand. In fact, an Oecumenical Council decreed on it.
Bizzlebin said:
There is an easy way to see what is custom and what is not: look at what changes from culture to culture.
If only it were that "easy".
Receiving Communion in the hand was an Oecumenical custom, then it changed. Not ordaining priests under 35 years of age was a universal custom, then it changed. Deacoonesses were a universal custom, then it changed. Male only Priesthood is currently a universal custom.......
Crossing oneself with three fingers was not a universal custom. It became the practice in the Byzantine Empire, but not in Russia, where they crossed themselves with two fingers until Patriarch Nikon's reforms in the 17th century.. So is crossing oneself with three fingers therefore not a Tradition of the Orthodox Church by the criteria you suggested since it was not universally observed?
 

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First: I note -- once again -- that NO ONE has made any comment of any sort (agreement, support, defense -- anything!) on St. John Chrysostom's various statements about the "inferiority" of women, e.g. that God made women inferior (elattotai). I wonder if anyone will (or if the various people who are very willing to proclaim that they know that the early Church believed X in all places at all times have ever actually read much of what the Fathers wrote?).

Second: After I pointed out that St. Theodore the Studite himself called the Church's practice of granting ecclesiastical divorce for extra-Scriptural reasons "heresy" and "heretical impiety" (as did other Orthodox Christians when this innovation was introduced in the 9th century), Montalban said:

montalban said:
So far the opposition who have no evidence to put forward seem now intent on speculating that the church also teaches the opposite of what Jesus taught (see side-issue on divorce).

What evidence do they have for that? More speculation.
After pointing out that it was St. Theodore who made this "speculation" about ecclesiastical divorce and re-marriage, Montalban asked:

montalban said:
Did he advocate women priests based on his speculation? Please provide evidence.
Of course not! I was responding to your statement that people were "speculating that the church also teaches the opposite of what Jesus taught (see side-issue on divorce)." Indeed, how dare St. Theodore so "speculate"! What a liberal!

Third: Let me rephrase my warning about the danger of using Theognosis' argument about ancient women's status in religion against the likes of GiC. IF Theognosis' claims are true (which they aren't), then (a) Christianity actually had a dimmer view of women than did paganism; Christianity's view was so negative that it went AGAINST the predominate culture's understanding; and (b) this would just provide advocates for female priests ANOTHER line of attack, i.e. that the Christian Church's choice to spurn female priests was motivated by anti-pagan sentiment (a thesis that could, in fact, be supported by quoting the many times that the Fathers speak negatively of female priests specifically because the pagans have them). Don't give advocates for female priests that chance!
 

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pensateomnia said:
Don't give advocates for female priests that chance!
I'm not an advocate for female priesthood, but something has just occured to me. Couldn't it be argued that the Christian Church chose to spurn female priests specifically because the pagans had them, which makes it a cultural rather than doctrinal issue?.......Let me quote some Fathers who specifically say that this is the reason for excluding women.......:D
 

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ozgeorge said:
I'm not an advocate for female priesthood, but something has just occured to me. Couldn't it be argued that the Christian Church chose to spurn female priests specifically because the pagans had them, which makes it a cultural rather than doctrinal issue?.......Let me quote some Fathers who specifically say that this is the reason for excluding women.......:D
Hey, if we, speaking for the Church, cite false, weak or simply ineffective explanations for the Church's practice, then this could mislead many -- possibly even lead certain people to reject the Church's practice because they reject our explanation.

(This is one of Eve's mistakes, remember? To make up explanations for why she couldn't eat the fruit, instead of just using the exact reason God gave.)
 

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Benjaminw1 said:
As soon as I can have a baby.....
Right. It's a good thing God created men with special biological traits in order to allow them to serve as priests.
 

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ozgeorge said:
This accusation does not apply, because the Church has not made any declaration one way or another- so she can't possibly be "mistaken" on this issue. And this goes back to the same issue raised about 30 pages back on this thread (and again 3 pages later, and again 5 pages later.....), and that is: what evidence can anyone produce that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a DOGMA (which you imply is the case by your claim that it is "heresy" to question it) rather than simply a CUSTOM which has developed in the Church- like not having pews and Communing in the hand which have both since been changed?
If it is the case that dogma in the Orthodox Church has only been defined by Ecumenical Council when there's been a challenge by heresy, then when there's no challenge, and the teaching is accepted, and has always been accepted, it's not going to be subject of 'definition' by Council.

So, the 'lack of evidence' (as far as dogma is concerned) is simply because this has never been an issue (except by people such as yourself who choose to raise it and declare it's an issue; and this is done in the face of evidence that has been presented; you simply do one of your now trademark goal-shifts and now introduce 'dogmatic evidence' as opposed to 'evidence).

What I find most remarkable is your tendency to ignore evidences presented to you, then several days later declare none has been brought forward.

However, I don't believe only the councils define dogma anyway. Dogma is the truth as lived by the Orthodox church. This can be known through the teachings of the Fathers AND The Canons of the Church (http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8038.asp) and the experience of the Church as a whole (http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/eastern_orthodox_church_e_benz.htm#_Toc49321360)

As has been presented to you numerous times there's Church Fathers who believe that men should be priests. You've had evidence from the Apostolic canons too!

I expect in a few days you'll simply repeat your claims that it's hard to define between dogma and custom* and claim no evidence is forthcoming


*twice already (at least) I've addressed you on this issue, using the terms "tradition" -v- "Holy Tradition". Still, the cyclical nature of your posts is itself highly intriguing. I've yet to determine if these pop up on a twelve day cycle, or not.
 

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ozgeorge said:
I'm not an advocate for female priesthood,
Why aren't you? Answer that and you don't need to speculate anymore on this thread.
(edited to add a question mark to the end of the question. Doh!)
 

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pensateomnia said:
Yeah! Right on! How dare St. Theodore the Studite "speculate" about such things!
I'm still waiting for you to present evidence that this saint advocated the ordination of women.

And re: divorce, do you agree (or not) with the following...

"... the faith held by the Church is that which was handed by Christ to the apostles. Nothing is added to or subtracted from that deposit of faith which was "handed once for all to the saints" (Jude 3)
http://www2.orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodox_Church
 

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Hmmmm...

Okay a few thoughts occured to my mind.

1.  I don't think the exclusion of females in priesthood was "silence of Church tradition" so to speak.  I think it was just as clear as saying that "Christ is co-essential with the Father" even though one cannot find that in Scriptures.  With that in mind, the argument is strongest whether to look at the Holy Fathers' beliefs as culturally motivated or theologically motivated.  However, I seem to see a third possibility:

2.  Using Scriptures, and also what PetertheAleut, Pedro, or I did was STRONGLY advocating a theological position, and I believe that these arguments using Scripture and logic from what the Scriptures give us, were strong.  At the same time, I confess that there are strong arguments on, especially St. John Chrysostom, who seemed to have been influenced by cultural prejudices to make certain judgments on women.  But I don't think he uses Scripture to support his thinking, I think he uses his thinking to support Scripture.  Bear with me, there is a difference if you haven't seen it yet:

There are some people who when seeing a perfectly good theological argument, take this argument to an unnecessary extreme and talk about things influenced by the people's thinking around him.  It's like reading something and then saying, "Aah, no wonder this happens," when really the latter has nothing to do with what he was reading.  I can't think of many good examples, but one such example could be the idea of schizophrenic or other psychologically ill peoples to be demon-possessed, who were in fact not, and they could have misinterpreted science into theology.  Or how the Apostles assumed that all men born blind resulted from the sin of their parents or them.

Therefore, the issue of women's ordination still seems to me stand very firm on a good theological argument based on Scripture and Tradition without misogynistic views, but the issues of inferiority of women (which contradicts Scripture, and also St. John Chrysostom in some ways as well, since it was he who said a husband and wife is like the Father and Christ), are clearly cultural and were only used as an unnecessary "extra-thought" that the fathers mistaken them for (might I add that if any Father did believe women did not have the Image and Likeness of God, then I wouldn't hesitate to call that heresy, and we know it is nothing new that a pious father would hold some heretical/semiheretical thoughts, like Origen or St. Augustine).

If we look at the articles written today about the roles of women in the Orthodox Church, which seem to have some sort of official approval by their bishops or priests, you can understand that if there will be an ecumenical council today addressing the issue of female priesthood, then they will adopt these arguments as official dogma and tradition of the Church affirmed by Scriptures and Tradition, and not to mention infallible decrees of ecumenicity.

Also, I don't think ALL fathers had the same misogynistic views of women.  Perhaps a lot of fathers did, just as a lot of fathers did not like Apokatastasis, but did ALL fathers thinking poorly of women?  Surely, since these specific issues were not theological, there had to be disagreements, unless I'm wrong, and please do correct me if I'm wrong.

So what's the third possibility:

The Fathers may have been right on the exclusion of women to the priesthood on theological grounds, but took it to an unnecessary/wrong turn on the cultural misogyny of their days.  Good theological arguments can lead to misunderstood and unnecessary extremes.  In fact, using the same theological arguments, I believe we can destroy the cultural misogynistic ideas of their days, but not to destroy the female exclusion in priesthood.

God bless.

Mina
 

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Concerning the ongoing argument about Pauline theology, I'll quickly say that the analogy is problematic even if only comparing natures. The suggestion that the Comparison beteen the Father and Christ is a comparison between God and Man, likewise is the comparison between Christ and Men, but following your analogy are we to conclude that a) the Men and Women do not share the same Nature, that of all ανθροπος, as the church traditionally taught and b) that this unique nature of Men is to the unique nature of Women as Divine Nature is to Human...did Christ assume only the Nature of the Man? If so is salvation only for Men? You see, the logic you are using is still quite problematic.

pensateomnia said:
Right. It's a good thing God created men with special biological traits in order to allow them to serve as priests.
In all my time here at Seminary, I fear I have yet to come across the Liturgical Rite that requires men's, ummm, unique biological appendages...and, quite frankly, if such a rite exists, I really have no desire to either see or learn about it ;)

While I'd like to address a few more of these concerns and issues brought up in more detail, I really dont have time, I have finished my finals, but have to pack up my room and leave by Sunday, with various events between now and then to work around, thus, this is probably my last post for at least two or three weeks, when I finally get home and have a reliable internet connection again.
 

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Here's another example of circular reasoning, if I have the concept right.

Q.  Why must we not ordain women?

A.  Because we never have in 2000 years.

Q.  Why is this?

A.  Because the Holy Spirit has guided us into this decision.

Q.  What evidence do we have that the Holy Spirit has guided us to not ordain women?

A.  We've never ordained women before.

Can you see how I'm presupposing my conclusion, then using my presupposition to prove my conclusion?  That's why I argue that we need a solid Patristic/theological/ecclesiological reason why we've never ordained women before.
 

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greekischristian said:
Concerning the ongoing argument about Pauline theology, I'll quickly say that the analogy is problematic even if only comparing natures. The suggestion that the Comparison beteen the Father and Christ is a comparison between God and Man, likewise is the comparison between Christ and Men, but following your analogy are we to conclude that a) the Men and Women do not share the same Nature, that of all ανθροπος, as the church traditionally taught and b) that this unique nature of Men is to the unique nature of Women as Divine Nature is to Human...did Christ assume only the Nature of the Man? If so is salvation only for Men? You see, the logic you are using is still quite problematic.
I still don't see how proper Christology shows Pauline theology problematic or how it excludes women from salvation.  Did you read my post concerning the interpreting of this verse in answer to your comments on Arianism and Ebionism?

God bless and best of luck on your exams.

Mina

PS  No need to answer now.  We'll understand if we don't hear from you for three weeks.  But you better resurrect this topic afterwards ;)
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Here's another example of circular reasoning, if I have the concept right.

Q.  Why must we not ordain women?

A.  Because we never have in 2000 years.

Q.  Why is this?

A.  Because the Holy Spirit has guided us into this decision.

Q.  What evidence do we have that the Holy Spirit has guided us to not ordain women?

A.  We've never ordained women before.

Can you see how I'm presupposing my conclusion, then using my presupposition to prove my conclusion?  That's why I argue that we need a solid Patristic/theological/ecclesiological reason why we've never ordained women before.
Your reasoning here is circular only because of the last answer. If we in turn go to scriptures for support, then the reasoning is not circular.
 

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ozgeorge said:
We said that about receiving Communion in the hand. In fact, an Oecumenical Council decreed on it.If only it were that "easy".
Receiving Communion in the hand was an Oecumenical custom, then it changed. Not ordaining priests under 35 years of age was a universal custom, then it changed. Deacoonesses were a universal custom, then it changed. Male only Priesthood is currently a universal custom.......
Crossing oneself with three fingers was not a universal custom. It became the practice in the Byzantine Empire, but not in Russia, where they crossed themselves with two fingers until Patriarch Nikon's reforms in the 17th century.. So is crossing oneself with three fingers therefore not a Tradition of the Orthodox Church by the criteria you suggested since it was not universally observed?
Can you show me where a canon says to receieve it in the hand?

Likewise, who changed the custom of not ordaining priests under 35? I believe this is a canon that is still in force in canonical Orthodox churchs.

Again, deaconesses are still ordained, though there is less need for them. We don't ordain deaconesses just because we can.

As for crossing, there are variations in the form, but the basics are still the same, and the symbolism is preserved. But the crossing itself is universally observed.

Altogether, you have shown no real changes in Tradition or observance. And where are those canons being violated, if I may ask? Which schismatic group are they?
 

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Bizzlebin said:
Can you show me where a canon says to receieve it in the hand?
I already have....twice.....
This thread is so long that information is being lost- which is another reason to retire it. I'm kinda getting tired of having to repeat myself every 8 pages.
The Canon is Canon CI of the Council of Trullo (The "Quintisext Council" which is accepted as Ecumenical.)

Bizzlebin said:
Likewise, who changed the custom of not ordaining priests under 35? I believe this is a canon that is still in force in canonical Orthodox churchs.
Likewise, see back in the thread for references.

Bizzlebin said:
Again, deaconesses are still ordained,
Really? Name one Eastern Orthodox Church that has a Deaconess today. This Tradition has been broken.
 

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ozgeorge said:
I already have....twice.....
This thread is so long that information is being lost- which is another reason to retire it. I'm kinda getting tired of having to repeat myself every 8 pages.
The Canon is Canon CI of the Council of Trullo (The "Quintisext Council" which is accepted as Ecumenical.)

Likewise, see back in the thread for references.

Really? Name one Eastern Orthodox Church that has a Deaconess today. This Tradition has been broken.
We already discussed that canon. There is no mention of receiving it in the hands, only with the hands crossed. Even the Epitome makes it crystal clear:

"Whoever comes to receive the Eucharist holds his hands in the form of a cross, and takes it with his mouth"

What was the reference in regards to? A rebuttal of the canon?

I thought it was you that brought up the very ordination of one earlier on this thread, must have been someone else though. But the fact is the practice is still used, when needed. For example, I can build large statues of pink elephants, but there simply isn't need to. Likewise, while the Church can still ordain deaconesses, there simply isn't much need to.
 
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