Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

ozgeorge

Hoplitarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
16,379
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
54
Location
Australia
Website
www.greekorthodox.org.au
BoredMeeting said:
It is my belief that the Church has already done so and that no possible good can come from revisting the topic.
This is your belief, and I know that it is many other people in the Church's belief- but can you show me where the Church has irrefutably and unequivocally said what is her belief about it? Does she mean "Never" or just "Not now"?
That's what my problem is.
 

greekischristian

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
9,487
Reaction score
0
Points
36
minasoliman said:
I'm going to make an attempt to defend Pedro because I assumed that he read my previous posts concerning the interpretation of this Pauline verse, as well as you and anyone else.  What Arian said can be used as an element of truth, but he erred on two points:

1.  Christ being created and unequal to the Father.
2.  Woman being inferior to and unequal to men.

We can use the same line of reasoning of Arius however to prove male-only priesthood and at the same time prove that priests are equal to the laity and men to women.  St. John Chrysostom tells us that in marriage, man and woman are united as the Father is to the Son.  If one believes that the Father is equal to the Son, it is impossible to bring out a chauvinistic interpretation into that verse in 1 Cor. 11, and it certainly is impossible to call someone an Arian.
Ah, but you're ignoring part of the pericope: 'But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.' Yet this ignored part is the essence of the argument against the ordination of women, and the implications, if taken theologically, are clearly Arian...asserting that God is to Christ as Christ is to Man, thus subjugating Christ to God...that is unless you're asserting that Christ is Equal to man, which is Ebionitism. You see why this verse is problematic to interpret theologically. It is essentially a pastoral text that makes some (very poor) theological references as support, but is most dangerous if used as a theological basis, implying either Arian or Ebionite thought.

Earlier I said we are all priests and kings, but the priesthood of Melchizedek doesn't come except by a special calling, with this "special" priest having a special role.

Therefore, all men and women are icons of Christ are made in the image of Christ.  The Melchizedek priest has a special role, being the special icon of Christ.
Which tells me nothing about why the priest must be male, as I said state that a male is 'more in the image of Christ' or 'in the image of Christ in a way that a female is not' is to deny the Image of Christ that is equally present in Male and Female, it is blasphemy against the Creative Energies of God.

WOW!  That is the most interesting thing I've ever heard.  You Chalcedonians got some tradition there.  In the Coptic Church, we do second and third marriages, but there is no crowning like the first marriage, and marriages after a first marriage (that is if the first marriage was only "anulled" by means of a death of a spouse), is treated as inferior and solemn compared to the first.  As for the situation of marrying between Christians and non-Christians, while I've heard stories, the OO Church (don't know about EO's) do not in any way endorse even a marriage outside the OO (and nowadays, EO's are allowed as well).
That is what we started doing in the 9th Century, but now we tend to even crown second marriages. However, the introduction of a service for a second or third nature, even the initial penitential one, was an introduction that is at odds with our fundamental theology of marriage that opposes any marriage after the first...but we did what we did because it was a realistic necessity, and the pastoral concerns took precedence even over the theology (which is the same reason we often crown second or third marriages today).

Finally, to all, concerning "pastoral concerns."  I wouldn't think a pastoral concern would lead to someone making a statement like "man is the head of woman, Christ is the head of man, Father is the head of Christ."  That wouldn't be for the sake of pastoral, but for the sake of deception.  His plea "not to change the traditions" both before and after the head covering issue seems to be much more than just pastoral.
Personally, I'd attribute it to a degree of theological ignorance on the part of Paul, with the pastoral situation, which was his expertise, being his primary concern. As I said, if you take this verse as a theological maxim, you must logically adopt either Arianism or Ebionitism, which, ulike women's ordination, are serious and formally condemend heresies.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
48
Location
Portland, Oregon
minasoliman said:
WOW!  That is the most interesting thing I've ever heard.  You Chalcedonians got some tradition there.  In the Coptic Church, we do second and third marriages, but there is no crowning like the first marriage, and marriages after a first marriage (that is if the first marriage was only "anulled" by means of a death of a spouse), is treated as inferior and solemn compared to the first.
AFAIK, second and third marriages in the Chalcedonian churches are really much more similar in their penitential nature to your Coptic experience than one post may have led you to believe.
 

greekischristian

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
9,487
Reaction score
0
Points
36
pensateomnia said:
That's not quite what I said. First, I said long ago to GiC that an Orthodox Christian should not declare himself in favor of female priests (for reasons obvious below). This is quite important for us all to consider. Second, I said that I personally do not think the canonical Orthodox Church will have or should have female priests. The reasons I hold these two positions are as follows:
And as I submitted before, I again submit that it woule be no more inappropriate for me to support the Ordination of Women than for me to oppose the same. For logic dictates that in the absence of a proof, either positive or negative, the logically appropriate posistion is neutral, neither affirming nor denying the proposistion in the absence of a positive or negative proof.  Any affirmation or denial is a deviation from the logical posistion of neutrality.

1) My Bishop says so.
2) Many, many, many other Bishops, priests
This is merely their private opinion until it is proclaimed in an authorative synod.

and holy elders have said so.
Should I go into the other kooky things the 'holy elders' have said as well? I'd stick to arguing from the private opinions of bishops.

Really, these two reasons should be more than enough for any Orthodox Christian to refrain from calling for or supporting female priests, especially in public. Unless one has talked to one's Bishop and to one's Synod about the matter and received their blessing, one should never publicly argue for a complete novelty in liturgy, practice, morals or doctrine. To do otherwise is insubordinate, and it misrepresents Orthodoxy's historical and present-day consensus. Now, calling for or supporting discussion and examination of what, exactly, is the theological motivation behind the Church's practice is another matter.
It's not insubordinate unless there is an authoritive decree explicitly condemning it. The Episcopacy may be, when together in Synod, the authorative and ruling body of the Church, and as a whole honour is due to them on this account, but they are not Popes and their Private Opinions are not Infallible Decrees on Faith and Morals...nor even authorative apart from their synod. For as the 34th Apostolic Canons states:

'It behoves the Bishops of every nation to know the one among them who is the premier or chief, and to recognise him as their head, and to refrain from doing anything superfluous without his advice and approval: but, instead, each of them should do only whatever is necessitated by his own parish and by the territories under him. But let not even such a one do anything without the advice and consent and approval of all. For thus will there be concord, and God will be glorified through the Lord in Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.'

Thus, it would be uncanonical for a bishop to pontificate such a doctrinal decree independent from his Synod. Furthermore, even the rulings of Synods, while authorative, are not infallible...as witnessed by the large number that have been overruled by later synods.

3) Scripture, the Fathers and the canons do not speak or approve of female priests (argument ex traditione), except when detailing the calumny of heretics and pagans.
Which, again, places us in a posistion of logical neutrality on the issue.

4) While the canons do not FORBID female priests, they also don't forbid standing on one's head and squawking like a chicken. The absence of a clear, Ecumenically-authored canonical prohibition does not give license for innovation.
What it does do is leave the decision to individual bishops, to do whatever they think is best on the matter with the consent of their synod.

5) Furthermore, the canons DO contain many requirements for the priesthood, all of which speak only of men. Thus, the canons do not tell us what would be the process, requirements or specific impediments for female ordinands (Would they have to be of an age even older than the deaconesses of yore? Would they have to be celibate like deaconesses?). In other words, we have no canonical, liturgical or historical method for determining which woman should be ordained or how the process should take place. While all this could be theoretically developed in a major Synod, the complete absence of such tradition shows the extremity of the innovation and the lack of historical precedent.
Of course these canons are pastoral in issue, dealing with the pastoral demands and requirements of a given culture, society, and time. They are applied where still appropriate and economia is used where they are not. For example, the Canons say none should be ordained a priest under 30, yet under the guidelines given out by Archbishop Iakovos, 21 was the minimum age. Do you really believe we enforce the canon that forbids anyone who has ever committed fornication after baptism from being ordained? The fact that these are pastoral canons and applied accordingly today should make the use of masculine pronouns (which is the norm for refering to both genders in Greek anyway) irrelevant. I propose using the same standards for men and women, with one simple statement the problem could be solved.

Thus, my argument is first and foremost argumentum ad verecundiam, which I consider valid within the context of the Church, because (a) I am deferring to the "the competent ecclesiastical authority," to wax canon law-like, (b) the aforementioned authority is charismatic and Apostolic and (c) I have willing submitted myself to the aforementioned authority. It is also an argumentum ex traditione, which I also consider quite valid in the context of the Church, especially when determining if one should SUPPORT this or that novelty (versus examine the theology that underpins established practice).
Ultimately we're all 'deferring to the "competent ecclesiastical authority"' since none of us can actually ordain anyone, male or female. What we can do is act in the role of a theologian, offering our arguments in favour of or in opposistion to the issue, so that if and when it does come before a synod to be decided, the issue will have been discussed, the opinion of the people can be weighed, and the opponents and proponents can present their case...thus allowing the Synod to make an informed decision. What you propose is that we treat the argument as though it has already been decided, looking not for the truth but for excuses to maintain the status quo, which I will not do because I believe the status quo to be wrong. Now, contrary to popular opinion, I am not infallible and may infact be incorrect on this issue, but until the Synod of the Great Church of Christ so rules it is within my rights to maintain and present this posistion; in the absence of such a ruling the faithful are not compelled by ecclesiastical law to take one posistion or the other.

Of course, on the flip side, if the Synod of the Great Church of Christ rules in favour of or allows the ordination of women, as the Synod under Patriarch Meletios of Most Blessed Memory did on the Calendar issue to the surprise of many, then it would be those who continue to oppose the Ordination of Women, and thus defy the Synod, who would be professing a faith contrary to that of the Orthodox and subject to canonical penalties.

Oh, and one last reason!

6) Because GiC supports it.
That's as good a reason as any other I've heard.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
48
Location
Portland, Oregon
montalban said:
If you want to discuss the accuracy of my claims of facts, you're welcome to dissect them. One of the things that sustains my faith in my own argument is the lack of argument from any opposition.
  • Maybe people just don't like arguing with you.
  • Maybe you should say "the lack of any argument that I find convincing from any opposition."

When I posit facts, I'm wrongfully accused of 'googling' them, as opposed to actually looking up John Chrysostomon's talk about the priesthood, and reading through a few chapters. That highly dismissive (to the point of flippancy) style shows me that there is no real argument.
Well, I wonder why people think your quoting of the Fathers to be mere proof-texting.

It is conceivable I am wrong. I am but an individual. You're welcome to try to convince me.
I never thought the purpose of this forum was to prove myself right and/or to prove you or anyone else wrong.

* * * *
I believe some of the things you say are wrong. You posit your own mistaken assumptions, such as the mere fact that Mary Magdalene is instructed to tell the Apostles that Christ has risen, makes her an Apostle too. How you come to that conclusion I am yet to understand.

The role of Apostle was given to 12, they are named. Mary was not one of the named. We have no evidence from Holy Tradition of women priests, ergo there's a reason for this.
No, Mary Magdalene was never given the actual title of Apostle, such office as was given only to each of the Twelve and to St. Paul--I never asserted that she had been granted this office, so my statement was not a mistaken assumption.  Follow the definition of the term apostle, "one who is sent on a mission" (Merriam-Webster), however, and you can see clearly that this describes Mary Magdalene, for Christ did send her to proclaim the Resurrection to the Apostles.  Hence, some of our hymnography actually calls Mary Magdalene the apostle to the Apostles.  But again, this is purely honorific, whereas we do agree that only the twelve disciples of Christ were given the actual office of Apostle.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
48
Location
Portland, Oregon
ozgeorge said:
PeterTheAleut said:
If the movement for women's ordination was to come entirely from within the Church and was perfectly consistent with Holy Tradition, then I might consider opening my mind to the idea, seeing in its churchly nature the work of the Holy Spirit. This is not what I see happening right now.
And I fully disagree with this. The Church should not ordain women simply in response to a "movement for women's ordination", even if that movement comes from within the Church itself. Arianism was a movement that came from within the Church, so was Iconoclasm, so were countless other heresies.
Maybe I need to reiterate what I said, because you seem to be reacting to only part of my statement.
PeterTheAleut said:
If the movement for women's ordination was to come entirely from within the Church and was perfectly consistent with Holy Tradition, then I might consider opening my mind to the idea, seeing in its churchly nature the work of the Holy Spirit. This is not what I see happening right now.
The examples you use, Arianism, Iconoclasm, and so many other heresies, may indeed have been movements that started from within the Church, but they were not perfectly consistent with Holy Tradition. In fact, they weren't even close to being consistent with Holy Tradition.

What we need is to frankly, honestly, prayerfully and concilliarly/synodically examine and discuss the theology and doctrine about the question. We need to, above all, avoid substituting doctrine with our passionate feelings about the issue- whether they are for or against it. The issue is Orthodoxy and correct doctrine. And this works both ways, because as far as I can see, the supposed "doctrinal arguments" against womens ordination are a far greater threat to Orthodoxy, particularly our Christology and Soteriology, than the prospect of an open dialogue about women's ordination spurred on by the secular feminist movement will ever be.
I agree fully with everything you say in this assessment.
 

montalban

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
53
Location
Sydney
ozgeorge said:
Montalban,
The former, with the qualification (in order to make it the same as what I said) that it is not the "outside forces" which reveal truths to the Church, but the Church herself discerns them. Or to put it another way: "What we need is to frankly, honestly, prayerfully and concilliarly/synodically examine and discuss the theology and doctrine about the question. We need to, above all, avoid substituting doctrine with our passionate feelings about the issue- whether they are for or against it. The issue is Orthodoxy and correct doctrine." Which is exactly what I said in the same post you quoted from.
What truths are being revealed within the Church as a reaction too, or being prodded by outside forces?

What are these outside forces?
 

montalban

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
53
Location
Sydney
Anastasios said:
Thinking too much can be sinful, too. That is not said in reply to anyone in specific.

Anastasios
I agree. Jesus says how happy are the children brought to Him.
Matthew 18:3
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
We have been given the truth of Christ, some we don't understand, but we accept.
For sometimes we still don't believe...
John 6:36
But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.

John 20:29 ...Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
 

ozgeorge

Hoplitarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
16,379
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
54
Location
Australia
Website
www.greekorthodox.org.au
montalban said:
What truths are being revealed within the Church as a reaction too, or being prodded by outside forces?
Take the Seventh Oecumenical Council for example.
The Iconoclasm was at least partially the result of the rise of Islam. This prodded the Church to seek the truth and define her Dogma about Icons.
 

montalban

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
53
Location
Sydney
ozgeorge said:
Take the Seventh Oecumenical Council for example.
The Iconoclasm was at least partially the result of the rise of Islam. This prodded the Church to seek the truth and define her Dogma about Icons.
My understanding is that the church has always defined the truth by what it has always believed. Therefore the 'truth' of icons was always understood; such as the fact that Jesus was a living icon. That a heresy came into being and challenged this does not mean that 'the truth' needed to be prodded out of the Church... because the church always had that truth. It's rather silly that someone would suggest that the church coasting along minding its own business, teaching what it teaches, needs to be upset by heresy, in order to more formally defne what it believes.

So we come now to the topic at hand. The ordination of women. The church has always had the ordination of men only. It doesn't 'need' an outside source/force to come along start questioning 'why?' so as to make it need to justify what it's always held to believe.
 

montalban

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
53
Location
Sydney
PeterTheAleut said:
What would anyone know of ignorance?  ;)
Persoanlly, I couldn't care.

No, wait! That's apathy :)
 

ozgeorge

Hoplitarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
16,379
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
54
Location
Australia
Website
www.greekorthodox.org.au
montalban said:
My understanding is that the church has always defined the truth by what it has always believed. Therefore the 'truth' of icons was always understood;
So, we didn't need an Oecumenical Council to define what the truth was then? "The Seven Useless Councils".... ::)

montalban said:
such as the fact that Jesus was a living icon.
And such as the fact that both men and women are Icons of God?

montalban said:
So we come now to the topic at hand. The ordination of women. The church has always had the ordination of men only. It doesn't 'need' an outside source/force to come along start questioning 'why?' so as to make it need to justify what it's always held to believe.
If this is how truth is determined, I suggest you remove the pews from your Church and return to the pre-revised Julian Calendar, otherwise you are living a lie.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
48
Location
Portland, Oregon
montalban said:
It's rather silly that someone would suggest that the church coasting along minding its own business, teaching what it teaches, needs to be upset by heresy, in order to more formally defne what it believes.
Yet this is the very thing that forced the Council of Nicea to articulate the Church's belief in the Trinity into an official dogma. The most important task of virtually every one of the Ecumenical Councils was in fact to articulate the beliefs of the Church in opposition to heresies. Without these heresies, the Councils would have never been needed. Without these Councils, the heresies might have destroyed the Orthodox Faith. (Yes, even though Christians had always worshipped the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Arianism was such a threat to longstanding belief in the Trinity that the Church would very likely have died if she hadn't defined this belief.)

So we come now to the topic at hand. The ordination of women. The church has always had the ordination of men only. It doesn't 'need' an outside source/force to come along start questioning 'why?' so as to make it need to justify what it's always held to believe.
Yet, in light of what I said above, maybe the Church does need to articulate in detail her reasons for excluding women from the priesthood. The key concept in both this statement and the one I make above is clarity--clarity of witness to the Truth.
 

montalban

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
53
Location
Sydney
ozgeorge said:
So, we didn't need an Odecumenical (sic) Council to define what the truth was then? "The Seven Useless Councils"....
Almost cute! Your remarks seem to be a product of looking at things from the wrong end of history. It is true that they defined them in reaction to attacks (usually from within). However they were unnecessary only insofar as the Church didn't need to be attacked in the first place.

And so we have it here. The truth was always know, and taught. That is the 'ideal'. That is 'good'. That there were attacks upon that truth is not 'good'. That there were ecumenical councils who resoundly defeated these attacks, is good, but were 'unnecessary only insofar as the truth shouldn't have been attacked in the first place.

You seem to praise these attacks just so the church can 'strive' to reassert the truth, as if it needs to be constantly tested, or something.

ozgeorge said:
And such as the fact that both men and women are Icons of God?
Indeed. What is your point?

ozgeorge said:
If this is how truth is determined, I suggest you remove the pews from your Church and return to the pre-revised Julian Calendar, otherwise you are living a lie.
What have these to do with dogma? I'm unsure that Jesus ever taught about pews in churches.

Your 'logic' here would be to look at a battered woman who has survived, praised her survival (which itself is a 'triumph') but then to also suggest that the battering (in this case as a 'test') was necessary in order to show that she could survive. Ideally she shouldn't have been put through that in the first place. You seem to think that the church should be 'tested'. If it takes a battering from 'outside forces' and survives, that's great. But it doesn't need to be tested.

Matthew 22:18
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?
 

montalban

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
53
Location
Sydney
PeterTheAleut said:
Yet this is the very thing that forced the Council of Nicea to articulate the Church's belief in the Trinity into an official dogma. The most important task of virtually every one of the Ecumenical Councils was in fact to articulate the beliefs of the Church in opposition to heresies. Without these heresies, the Councils would have never been needed. Without these Councils, the heresies might have destroyed the Orthodox Faith. (Yes, even though Christians had always worshipped the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Arianism was such a threat to longstanding belief in the Trinity that the Church would very likely have died if she hadn't defined this belief.)
Yes, the key factor here is that the heresies caused the Councils, so had we not had the heresies, we'd not have need of the councils, and the church would have gone on teaching the truth.
PeterTheAleut said:
Yet, in light of what I said above, maybe the Church does need to articulate in detail her reasons for excluding women from the priesthood. The key concept in both this statement and the one I make above is clarity--clarity of witness to the Truth.
That seems a might like having the church made to continually justify itself. Also, here I would prefer to see a 'good reason' why women should be ordained
 

ozgeorge

Hoplitarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
16,379
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
54
Location
Australia
Website
www.greekorthodox.org.au
montalban said:
Your remarks seem to be a product of looking at things from the wrong end of history. It is true that they defined them in reaction to attacks (usually from within). However they were unnecessary only insofar as the Church didn't need to be attacked in the first place.
Montalban, calm down and listen.
Those who develop what turn out to be heretical teachings also believe they are defending the Truth of the Church's doctrine. No one ever developed an heresy with the direct intention of "attacking the Church". Everyone on both sides of a doctrinal dispute argues that they are supported by Holy Tradition. Heresarchs believed that the Church had slipped into error (eg. just as Nestorius thought that the title "Theotokos" was heresy.) The Church needs heresy in order to clarify the truth apophatically. And what's more, your teaching that heresy is not required for the Church to clarify the truthis itself a heresy which contradicts Apostolic teaching:"For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (1 Corinthians 11:19)
 
Top