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Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

PeterTheAleut

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montalban said:
Post #123 I argued against this approach when he tried to show how ‘traditions’ have changed in order to argue that HOLY TRADITION should change (and I’ve quoted him earlier saying that all is up for change).
I don't know.  Maybe I just see Ozgeorge's arguments differently.  I don't interpret his posts as advocating that Holy Tradition should change, but maybe you've seen some things to which I have been blind.  To me, he appears to just be asking questions.  If I take him at his word, he is trying to ride the fence and ask probing questions of both sides without taking up the advocacy for either side just yet.  At times his questions will seem to indicate that he is advocating women's ordination, yet at other times they will seem to indicate an opposition to women's ordination.  He appears to just be asking us questions so that he may know the truth more deeply.  Maybe Ozgeorge can jump in and explain to us as best he can in this forum just exactly what he is trying to do--repeating earlier posts for the sake of a dense man like me would be more than welcome.

Again, I think George sees what appears to be a crass inconsistency in how we understand our traditional practices.  He sees that the Church has actually changed its policy towards divorce and remarriage to a practice that appears at first to contradict the teaching of Christ on the very matter, yet at the same time we are so dogged in our determination to never ordain women to the priesthood.  What gives us the authority to change our traditions in one area yet not in other areas?  Without making a distinction between unchanging Tradition and temporal traditions, what authority do we have to change any traditional practice?  If we can change one, why can't we change another?  I don't think Ozgeorge necessarily wants to see change, nor do I think he opposes change.  He just wants someone here to address his perception that the Church has been inconsistent in its adherence to Tradition.

modification to original post: Well, now that I have read Post #123 with your (montalban's) quote of Ozgeorge and your response to his quote, I can see some of what you're talking about regarding Ozgeorge's attitude toward change.  Maybe I stand to be corrected.

As we've seen already with a thread that is now 54 pages long, the issue of women's ordination is a very complex issue with a lot of different facets.  I see this debate motivating us to formulate a better understanding even of what Tradition, the very foundation of our Orthodox Faith, is.  From what I've seen on this thread, we can't even agree on that!  If we can't agree as to what constitutes Holy Tradition, HOW IN THE WORLD ARE WE GOING TO AGREE ON ANYTHING ELSE (e.g., women's ordination)? ???
 

PeterTheAleut

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Montalban,

You have spoken many times on this thread about the distinction between Tradition and traditions.  Would you care to elaborate?  Feel free to refer me to posts where you've already offered some clarification of your position.  For instance, what do you see as being the main differences between Tradition and traditions?  Give specific examples of each.  I'm very familiar with your pov as I understand it since I share the pov with you; I just think it would be good for us to hear you explain how you understand the distinction and why it's necessary.


Ozgeorge,

Would you agree or disagree with my perception of what you are trying to accomplish with your questions and arguments of seemingly unrelated side issues?
 

ozgeorge

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PeterTheAleut said:
Would you agree or disagree with my perception of what you are trying to accomplish with your questions and arguments of seemingly unrelated side issues?
If what I am saying appears to be "unrelated side issues", then my point has been missed.
 

montalban

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PeterTheAleut said:
I don't know.  Maybe I just see Ozgeorge's arguments differently.  I don't interpret his posts as advocating that Holy Tradition should change, but maybe you've seen some things to which I have been blind.  To me, he appears to just be asking questions.  If I take him at his word, he is trying to ride the fence and ask probing questions of both sides without taking up the advocacy for either side just yet.  At times his questions will seem to indicate that he is advocating women's ordination, yet at other times they will seem to indicate an opposition to women's ordination.  He appears to just be asking us questions so that he may know the truth more deeply.  Maybe Ozgeorge can jump in and explain to us as best he can in this forum just exactly what he is trying to do--repeating earlier posts for the sake of a dense man like me would be more than welcome.
Here's what he said...
Post #122
ozgeorge said:
I wish people would stop thinking of "modernity" as a "heresy". Everything in the Church was "modern" at some stage of her history. Everything is subject to change: the Sixth Oecumenical Council anathamised those who do not receive Communion in the hand.
In Holy Tradition "not now" does not necessarily mean "never."
Emphasis mine.

PeterTheAleut said:
Again, I think George sees what appears to be a crass inconsistency in how we understand our traditional practices.  He sees that the Church has actually changed its policy towards divorce and remarriage to a practice that appears at first to contradict the teaching of Christ on the very matter, yet at the same time we are so dogged in our determination to never ordain women to the priesthood.  What gives us the authority to change our traditions in one area yet not in other areas?  Without making a distinction between unchanging Tradition and temporal traditions, what authority do we have to change any traditional practice?  If we can change one, why can't we change another?  I don't think Ozgeorge necessarily wants to see change, nor do I think he opposes change.  He just wants someone here to address his perception that the Church has been inconsistent in its adherence to Tradition.
I hope you don't mind then if I go over this 'problem' again. I don't believe we've changed our Traditions (with a capital "T") I have already gone over the fact that not everything Jesus said was taught in the Bible. However everything was taught to the Apostles, because
“For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed "perfect knowledge…,"

Irenaeus - "Against Heresies" Book III.I.I http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-60.htm#P7297_1937859

The Apostles gained this 'perfect knowledge' at Pentecost.



It's why during Jesus ministry that there's no mention of Mary being ever-virgin, yet we hold this to be true. Do we act like Catholics and just say that something is true ONLY when it's formally defined as dogma?



When Ecumenical Councils were required to avoid 'confusion' they argued "This is what we've always taught", so that even though the Nicene Creed was absent until it was drawn up, the teachings in it were taught by the Church. Are we to say that it was taught by the whole church, from the time of the church's foundation, but had no authority until an Ecumenical Council said it was true?



If you believe that the church teaches errors, that's up to you. If you feel it is over the ordination of women, that's up to you. If you see any threat to the status quo on this issue, please present it; or its not even an issue.

PeterTheAleut said:
modification to original post: Well, now that I have read Post #123 with your (montalban's) quote of Ozgeorge and your response to his quote, I can see some of what you're talking about regarding Ozgeorge's attitude toward change.  Maybe I stand to be corrected.
It was in this light that I and (from memory) two other posters all asked him to present evidence for change. And rather than answer directly simply went on to other argument. I can only say that I argue by what he says, not by what I think he says, and if he were to say he posted those statements in error, or he meant something else, then he could have settled this a month ago. He has not.

PeterTheAleut said:
As we've seen already with a thread that is now 54 pages long, the issue of women's ordination is a very complex issue with a lot of different facets.  I see this debate motivating us to formulate a better understanding even of what Tradition, the very foundation of our Orthodox Faith, is.  From what I've seen on this thread, we can't even agree on that!  If we can't agree as to what constitutes Holy Tradition, HOW IN THE WORLD ARE WE GOING TO AGREE ON ANYTHING ELSE (e.g., women's ordination)? ???
Well on this issue, if someone wasn't to posit evidence for change, they're more than welcome to do so. Just arguing that something might change is not good enough, when all the evidence I've seen (and posted; viz, a recent church meeting in Rhodes) seems to bang this issue on the head. Though I do note that I completely missed Νεκτάριος remarks (post #778) that Kallistos Ware has 'opened this issue' (I'd like to see 'context' before commenting any further).
(Interestingly, in a further comment (post #784) Νεκτάριος goes on to speak out against it - why? (if it's not dogma and can be changed))

Why is it that Νεκτάριος, and Pedro who don't believe the definition of 'dogma' I use, believe it will never happen? I think it's because it's implicit in the nature of the teachings (even if not defined in Council) that women play a DIFFERENT role in the church. If anything Christ chose no woman Apostle. He didn't direct us to have pews (or not) in church. If we did change this, it would be recognised as a fundamental shift.

I do enjoy the way you've now shaped this thread. Even though we continue to disagree the tone of the thread has vastly improved.
 

ozgeorge

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But a tradition has changed. Women are being tonsured as for the first time in the Church's history as Readers. How do you explain why male-only Readers is a changeable tradition (small "t") while male only Priesthood is an unchangeable Tradition (big "T")? Who decided this? How was the Church's teaching so "clear" that an Orthodox Bishop of the Oecumenical Patriarchate missed it and tonsured a female Reader?
So changes in the Church's interpretation of tradition are not merely speculation- they are happening now just as they have happened before. The suggestion that this is "mere speculation" is akin to making beleive the moon is made of green cheese after Neil Armstrong walked on it.
 

montalban

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PeterTheAleut said:
Montalban,

You have spoken many times on this thread about the distinction between Tradition and traditions.  Would you care to elaborate?  Feel free to refer me to posts where you've already offered some clarification of your position.  For instance, what do you see as being the main differences between Tradition and traditions?  Give specific examples of each.  I'm very familiar with your pov as I understand it since I share the pov with you; I just think it would be good for us to hear you explain how you understand the distinction and why it's necessary.
I will posit this as MY understanding only as there's a great deal of 'detail' that this poor mind has yet to grasp. But I hope to cite some reasons as to why I believe what I believe. (against this you may wish to read one (Catholic) church's ideas about the role of women priests at http://www.evangelicalorthodoxcatholic.org/ordwomen.html)*

Holy Tradition is that which the church has taught as truth, which lies at the core of Orthodoxy. The other, traditions, are of lesser importance.

Holy Tradition tells us that we should partake in Jesus' body as commanded by Him at the Last Supper. If we do this in a liturgy that takes 2.3 hours, or 1.5 hours, that is tradition with a small 't', however within that we would see that both services constitute the Lord's Body and Blood from the bread and the wine; so there is a lot of blurring, I agree.

To this we require a priest to be there. The role of priest is thus essential. The Eucharist is essential. The length of the service is not (given that there must be at least some limit on time in which the priest must bear witness to the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood).

This has been but a brief response.


*Also, to keep open discussion/dialogue rolling, some who disagree with me (to some degree) may like to take note of the OCA site that (at http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=167&SID=3) says that the idea of an all male priesthood is mainly an idea based in Holy Tradition (they cite no other evidence; other than their opinion that Jesus would have ordained women, had He wanted women priests).


I note again that OzGeorge is trying to argue about the priesthood by looking at non-priests and is 'amazed' that people would have missed what was for him "Holy Tradition" (with a big "T")... he has to say it was (even though he hasn't proved it), because if it wasn't, then there's no problem with it changing.

I'd like to see him prove that it was.
 

ozgeorge

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montalban said:
I note again that OzGeorge is trying to argue about the priesthood by looking at non-priests and is 'amazed' that people would have missed what was for him "Holy Tradition" (with a big "T")... he has to say it was (even though he hasn't proved it), because if it wasn't, then there's no problem with it changing.
Once again, you avoided the real question, montalban.
I am not arguing "about priesthood", I am arguing against your interpretation of "Tradition vs. tradition".
Again, I ask:
ozgeorge said:
How do you explain why male-only Readers is a changeable tradition (small "t") while male only Priesthood is an unchangeable Tradition (big "T")?
Just answer the question.
 

ozgeorge

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Oh yes.
Not that it matters, but according to the prayers of the Rite of Tonsuring a Reader:
"the first degree of the Priesthood is that of Reader".

Another case of "lex orandi lex credendi"? Or should we ignore it this time?
And doesn't a Reader have to speak in Church? Perhaps we should ignore that one too.:D
 

Pedro

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ozgeorge said:
But a tradition has changed. Women are being tonsured as for the first time in the Church's history as Readers. How do you explain why male-only Readers is a changeable tradition (small "t") while male only Priesthood is an unchangeable Tradition (big "T")? Who decided this? How was the Church's teaching so "clear" that an Orthodox Bishop of the Oecumenical Patriarchate missed it and tonsured a female Reader?
Correction: One bishop is acting apart from the unchallenged tradition of countless bishops over a two thousand year period.  While this does set a precedent, one can hardly call this a "sea change" within the Church or a "tradition having changed."  Just because one (or more!) bishop does it doesn't immediately make it eligible to be a tradition (I don't do the "big T/little T thing," btw; waste of time) of the Church.

So I don't think that male-only readers is a "changeable tradition," since, as you pointed out, it's intrinsically linked to the priesthood -- "the first degree of the Priesthood is that of Reader" -- nor do I think that one bishop's practice, which is disagreed with by many bishops here in the States, not to mention abroad, has changed said tradition.  What we have here is an exception, not a revolution.

And doesn't a Reader have to speak in Church? Perhaps we should ignore that one too.:D
A good point!  No, let's not ignore this factor of readers, since women are not to speak in Church in this way.
 

minasoliman

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Pedro said:
A good point!  No, let's not ignore this factor of readers, since women are not to speak in Church in this way.
I tend to disagree on the issue of women not allowed to "speak."  St. John Chrysostom seems to interpret this verse as if the women in Corinth were by nature more talkative and even gossippers than men, which is why St. Paul makes a direct command to them:  "your" women, he says.  I would agree that this was a direct cultural reference to the Corinthian women.

However, we forget that women prophecied, sang in church, and as it has been raised, were "Readers."  Being a "Reader" isn't necessarily a teacher or being authoritative, but I would agree giving a sermon is only given to ordained men.  There are many deaconesses in the OO Church that have read epistles, perhaps even sang gospels.

Let us not forget, many of the canons explained to us that women deaconesses, while having similar duties and the prayers of ordination are the same, are not the same in order of ecclesiology as male deacons.  So while I have no problem with even agreeing that a woman deaconess may be of a rank of priesthood, it will not get any higher due to many reasons, one of which is ecclesiological definitions.

God bless.

Mina
 

minasoliman

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btw...

To all you Suns fans...

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8894.msg119188#msg119188

Except this time Clippers fans won't be happy.

Dallas, you're next ;)

God bless.

Mina
 

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To all you Suns fans..
You're a Suns fan?!!?!  Since I've lived in Phoenix all my life, of course I am a Suns fan.

To Pedro's point about Metr. Anthony's actions being a rare exception:  Has SCOBA or any other bishops publicly condemned the tonsurings or stated that the women in question would not be allowed to serve as readers in their parishes?  It will be intersting to see what Metr. Gerasimos does with this issue.

As an aside, I know one of the ladies that was tonsured by Metr. Anthony (not the one pictured in this thread).  While the picture has some shock value, in the case I know of there were some special circumstances that nesecitated some economia.  Be carefull about judging a situation too quickly. 
 

PeterTheAleut

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Νεκτάριος said:
As an aside, I know one of the ladies that was tonsured by Metr. Anthony (not the one pictured in this thread).  While the picture has some shock value, in the case I know of there were some special circumstances that nesecitated some economia.  Be carefull about judging a situation too quickly. 
A good lady friend of mine is a reader tonsured by the same Metr. Anthony, so I'm very familiar with this "side" issue.  I wonder, Νεκτάριος, if she is the same woman reader of whom you speak.

Pedro, this may be one Greek bishop who has tonsured women to be readers, but as I understand how authority is exercised in the GOA, Metr. Anthony couldn't have tonsured women without the blessing of the national Archbishop, who is himself subject to the authority of Constantinople.  I don't think GOA bishops have the same degree of independent authority that we see in the OCA, but I could be wrong.  If my understanding is correct, then we do have a change to traditional practice sanctioned by no less an "authority" than the EP.  Granted, this is not sanctioned by the ecumenical authority of the whole Church even if the decision was made by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and, therefore, does not necessarily constitute a legitimate change to any established tradition.  However, I hope you can see that this a significant change to traditional practice that does need to be explained.  How can the EP sanction tonsuring women to be readers in his American churches yet still oppose the ordination of women to the priesthood?
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
How can the EP sanction tonsuring women to be readers in his American churches yet still oppose the ordination of women to the priesthood?
You got me.  Not a very logical thing for him to do...  :-X

minasoliman said:
Dallas, you're next ;)
Aw, bring it!  Bring it on!!!  ;D
 

PeterTheAleut

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Pedro said:
Aw, bring it!  Bring it on!!!  ;D
Please, anybody but the Pistons :p (or whoever has Rasheed Wallace playing for them.  :mad: I still remember what he helped do to my beloved Trail Blazers. ::) PHEW, WHAT A MESS!)!!!  ;D

modification to original post:
One thing 'Sheed did in Portland was draw the nickname "Mr. T" for shattering the existing record for technical fouls and ejections in a single season TWICE, this in back-to-back years!  Obviously, the record he broke the second year was HIS OWN!
 

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Pedro, this may be one Greek bishop who has tonsured women to be readers, but as I understand how authority is exercised in the GOA, Metr. Anthony couldn't have tonsured women without the blessing of the national Archbishop, who is himself subject to the authority of Constantinople.  I don't think GOA bishops have the same degree of independent authority that we see in the OCA, but I could be wrong.  If my understanding is correct, then we do have a change to traditional practice sanctioned by no less an "authority" than the EP.
I was told by a former metropolis chancellor that the power structure is now very different than that.  The Archbishop is essentiall a figurehead, with the Metropolitans reporting directly to the Patriarch.  I don't know if that is de facto or de jure. 

The other option is that Metropolitan Anthony did as he pleased (probably getting chewed out behind the scenes).  The Patriarchate's pastoral response was simply to let these few tonsured women remain with the hope that the practice would die out on its own.  This would ruffle far fewer feathers and still put an end to the practice. 

It's all idle speculation unless we know if the Patriarchate authorized the tonsurings. 
 

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Νεκτάριος said:
You're a Suns fan?!!?!  Since I've lived in Phoenix all my life, of course I am a Suns fan.
Well, truthfully, I'm a Nash fan, who's only second to Garnette (trust me, I chose them both as my favorite players much before they received the MVP).  I've always imagined Garnett and Nash in one team.  I am a firm believer that Garnett should leave the Twolves and perhaps join the more mature Suns team.  Then they'll be unstoppable.

Plus, I get a sense of true humble characters from both these players, which attracts me to them more.

God bless.

Mina
 

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Plus, I get a sense of true humble characters from both these players, which attracts me to them more.
Yeah, it makes the Suns a lot more fun to watch.  Sort of like a time before the NBA was about showing off and one man teams.
 

PeterTheAleut

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‘Tradition’ and ‘traditions’: some thoughts from those who see a distinction[/b]

from http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF1-04/npnf1-04-57.htm
From the Council of Carthage (257) regarding the baptism of heretics (Chapter 37, Verse 71):

Libosus of Vaga said: “The Lord says in the gospel, ‘I am the truth;’ He did not say, ‘I am custom.’ Therefore, when the truth is made manifest, let custom yield to truth; so that, if even in time past anyone did not baptize heretics in the Church, he may now begin to baptize them.”
(aside: interesting that a 3rd Century bishop in council would actually give a Scriptural reason for changing an established traditional practice, that of honoring as valid the baptism of schismatics and heretics)


from Bishop Kallistos, The Orthodox Church, pp. 197-198

Not everything received from the past is of equal value, nor is everything received from the past necessarily true.  As one of the bishops remarked at the Council of Carthage in 257: “The Lord said, ‘I am truth.’  He did not say, ‘I am custom.’”  There is a difference between ‘Tradition’ and ‘traditions’: many traditions which the past has handed down are human and accidental--pious opinions (or worse), but not a true part of the one Tradition, the fundamental Christian message.

It is absolutely essential to question the past.  In Byzantine and post-Byzantine times, Orthodox have often been far too uncritical in their attitude to the past, and the result has been stagnation.  Today this uncritical attitude can no longer be maintained.  Higher standards of scholarship, increasing contacts with western Christians, the inroads of secularism and atheism, have forced Orthodox in this present century to look more closely at their inheritance and to distinguish more carefully between Tradition and traditions.  The task of discrimination is never easy.  It is necessary to avoid alike the error of the Old Believers and the error of the ‘Living Church’: the one party fell into an extreme conservatism which suffered no change whatever in traditions, the other into spiritual compromises which undermined Tradition.  Yet despite certain manifest handicaps, the Orthodox of today are perhaps in a better position to discriminate aright than their predecessors have been for many centuries; and often it is precisely their contact with the West which is helping them to see more and more clearly what is indispensable in their own inheritance.



A link to a recent lecture by Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky (OCA) on the distinction between Tradition and traditionalism:

http://www.oca.org/Docs.asp?ID=126&SID=12
 

PeterTheAleut

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Bizzlebin said:
Sure, I will start with the canon. Parenthetical information will be my "commentary" to show who is being addressed, etc. The Canon:

The great and divine Apostle Paul with loud voice calls man created in the image of God, the body and temple of Christ. Excelling, therefore, every sensible creature, he who by the saving Passion has attained to the celestial dignity, eating and drinking Christ, is fitted in all respects for eternal life, sanctifying his soul and body by the participation of divine grace. Wherefore, if any one wishes to be a participator (ie communicant) of the immaculate Body in the time of the Synaxis, and to offer himself for the communion, let him draw near (line up), arranging his hands in the form of a cross (which is still done today, with the arms are crossed), and so let him receive the communion of grace. But such as, instead of their hands (instead of the communicants crossing their hands), make vessels of gold or other materials for the reception of the divine gift (ie, the communicants bringing their own cup), and by these (or in these) receive the immaculate communion, we by no means allow to come (they are not allowed to commune), as preferring inanimate and inferior matter to the image of God (ie, they defile the body of Christ with something unclean). But if any one shall be found imparting the immaculate Communion to those who bring vessels of this kind, let him be cut off as well as the one who brings them (if a priest serves the Body to a communicant in the communicant's vessel, and not out of the priest's Chalice and into the mouth, both are to be excommunicated).
Another translation of this Canon 101 of the Council of Trullo:
The divine Apostle loudly proclaims the man created in the image of God to be a body of Christ and a temple. Standing, therefore, far above all sensible creation, and having attained to a heavenly dignity by virtue of the soterial Passion, by eating and drinking Christ as a source of life, he perpetually readjusts both his eternal soul and his body and by partaking of the divine grace he is continually sanctified. So that if anyone should wish to partake of the intemerate body during the time of a synaxis, and to become one therewith by virtue of transessencc, let him form his hands into the shape of a cross, and, thus approaching, let him receive the communion of grace. For we nowise welcome those men who make certain receptacles out of gold, or any other material, to serve instead of their hand for the reception of the divine gift, demanding to take of the intemerate communion in such containers; because they prefer soulless (i.e., inanimate) matter and an inferior article to the image of God. In case, therefore, any person should be caught in the act of imparting of the intemerate communion to those offering such receptacles, let him be excommunicated, both he himself and the one offering them.
(1 Cor. 12:27; 2Cor.6:16.)

Interpretation
In that time there prevailed a custom of laymen communing, just like priests, by taking the holy bread in their hands, in the manner in which they nowadays receive the antidoron. But since some men, on the pretense of reverence, and of paying greater honor to the divine gifts, used to make gold vessels, or vessels of some other precious material, and were wont to partake of the intemerate body of the Lord by receiving it in such vessels; therefore, and on this account, the present Canon will not admit this procedure, even though it be employed for the sake of reverence. Because, in view of the fact that a man is one who has been made in the image of God, and who eats the body and drinks the blood of Christ, and thereby becomes sanctified, and since he is in fact a body and temple of Christ, according to the Apostle, he transcends all sensible things and inanimate creatures, and consequently his hands are far more precious than any vessel. Hence anyone that wishes to partake of the Lord’s body, let him form his two hands into the shape of a cross, and let him receive it therein. As for any layman that may receive the body of the Lord in a vessel, and any priest who may impart it in any such thing, let both of them be excommunicated, because they prefer an inanimate (i.e., soulless) vessel to the human being molded in the image of God.[/color]

from http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0835/__P4T.HTM

I offer the above not to prove anyone right or wrong in this argument, but just to show that there is more than one way that this text can be interpreted.
 

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montalban said:
He has attempted to refute the Church Father's evidence by summarily dismissing it because he believed it was googled.
With all respect and sincerity, I really get the impression from Ozgeorge's posts on this matter that he isn't dismissing evidence from the Holy Fathers.  He is dismissing you.  Yes, you have provided a lot of Patristic evidence, but Ozgeorge has consistently rejected it because he deems the evidence you provide irrelevant to the questions he considers most important and keeps asking.  Please try to understand what concerns Ozgeorge.  Please try to see the point he is trying to communicate and resolve in his own mind with the questions he asks and the assertions he makes.  The side issues he keeps following are important to the subject of this thread, and he wants solid answers that he is just not receiving from you--as he, Ozgeorge, understands his questions.  He doesn't want his questions to be dismissed by those who have the wisdom to give him real answers.

If you're going to continue to attack Ozgeorge publicly, then I think he deserves to be defended publicly.
 

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Pedro said:
Correction: One bishop is acting apart from the unchallenged tradition of countless bishops over a two thousand year period. 
Actually, this is not entirely true. It is simply the only case I can find documented evidence for, but I know the Church of Greece has tonsured women Readers as well- I know, because I heard two of them reading the Epistle. But that aside (for lack of evidence apart from my word) the point is that in the alleged distinction between Tradition (capital "T") and tradition (little "t"), if male-only Readers is a Tradition, then what Metropolitan Anthony did would constitute an heresy against Orthodox dogma- an heresy on the same level as forbidding the veneration of Icons in his diocese. Had the Oecumenical Patriarchate viewed it thus, then Metropolitan Anthony would have instantly been deposed. The Patriarch of Jerusalem was deposed for less than that- the former Patriarch of Jerusalem was not guilty of heresy, but merely guilty of causing disruption in the Church. Surely a Bishop opposing Holy Tradition would be seen as at least a worse disruption to Church order, and at most, guilty of heresy? The only conclusion I can draw if we accept a distinction between "tradition vs. Tradition" is that a male-only practice of Readers is a "tradition" and not a "Tradition". So why the difference? Why is a male-only priesthood a Tradition while male-only Readers a tradition? And what's more, surely the dogmatic reasons (if, indeed there are any) for excluding women from being Readers are the same for excluding them from the Priesthood?
To me, Holy Tradition, true Holy Tradition, is the history of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church. Holy Tradition is not simply a rigid adherence to practices in the Church, no matter how ancient they may be. Even if at one point in the history of the Church a practice is inspired by the Holy Spirit, it may not be inspired by the Holy Spirit later. For example, in the early Church, glossolalia and prophesy inspired by the Holy Spirit formed an integral part of the Liturgy at Synaxia (assemblies) of the Church. However, if someone in the congregation at a Divine Liturgy today began prophesying or practicing glossolalia out loud, they would probably be exorcised or have an ambulance called for them rather than be assumed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Kallistos Ware said it well when he said "the Church is indeed an old tree, but a living one".
What the Church decides on this issue is not important to me. What is important to me is that the decision should not be pre-empted by phoney means. If the teaching of a male-only Priesthood is dogma, then, well and good. But good cannot be obtained through evil means. For example, as I've said before, if what we know to be ontologically true about men and women in Christ has to be distorted in order to accomodate a "dogma" of a male-only Priesthood, then it cannot be a dogma or Holy Tradition, but is simply a custom.
 

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There is no distinction in the Fathers between Tradition and tradition to my knowledge.  In fact, all of the examples that St Basil gives for unwritten tradition in On the Holy Spirit are liturgical practices.

Anastasios
 

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Last night, I re-read the office for the Tonsuring of Readers in the Veliky Trebnik. ÂÂ I’d like to point out several things I noticed about the office of tonsuring of Readers.
1) First, the “official” name of this office is “The Office for the Setting Apart of a Reader and Cantor”.
2) The Office for the Setting Apart of a Reader and Cantor can be “performed either in conjunction with the Divine Liturgy or apart from the Divine Liturgy”. ÂÂ The Trebnik indicates the order for both. ÂÂ Note that the office of Reader is not specifically linked to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. ÂÂ
3) The prayer at the laying on of hands makes no mention of Reader being “the first degree of the Priesthood.” ÂÂ
4) This is mentioned later in the office and is preceded by the words “And the Bishop exhorts him thus:” ÂÂ Note, this is not called a prayer but an exhortation.
5) The bishop then says “Blessed be the Lord. ÂÂ The Servant of God becomes a Reader of the Most-holy church of (name of church): In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” ÂÂ Note that the Reader is "set apart" for a specific church.
6) The Bishop then hands him a candle and he stands before the Bishop with the candle.  Note that there is no mention of the reader being brought into the Altar in the office.
 

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Kishkovsky's lecture on Tradition vs. traditionalism was an asenine presentation. I was there and had the misfortune of having to tape it for publication.  He set up a bunch of straw men and then knocked them down. The highlight was when one of the faculty in the Q and A basically questioned the whole basis of his argument and everyone's eyebrows raised and Kishkovsky did not have a very good answer.

Anastasios
 

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Anastasios said:
Kishkovsky's lecture on Tradition vs. traditionalism was an asenine presentation. I was there and had the misfortune of having to tape it for publication.  He set up a bunch of straw men and then knocked them down. The highlight was when one of the faculty in the Q and A basically questioned the whole basis of his argument and everyone's eyebrows raised and Kishkovsky did not have a very good answer.
I'm not sure I follow, Anastasios. Are you saying that there is no difference between Tradition and traditionalism? I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think there is a difference between them. Traditionalism seems to me to be a caricature of Tradition- in the way that sanctimony is a caricature of sanctity, and piosity is a caricature of piety. And I think part of the problem lies in confusing custom with Tradition. It is a Russian custom to kiss the chalice after communion, while it is a Greek custom that laymen never touch the chalice nor kiss anything straight after Communion, but neither of these is Tradition. Infrequent Communion has become a custom (originally based on piety, but now fallen into piosity) but it is certainly not Tradition. Recent Confession is a customary prequisite for Communion in some Churches, but the two Mysteries are seperate and stand alone in Tradition.
 

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George,

I agree that one can idolize tradition and create a sect.  I believe the Old Believers are such.  My point is that Kishkovsky's definition of traditionalism (in the bad sense) was way to broad and included people who simply have a more conservative POV then him.  He basically was criticizing Old Calendarists (whom he referred to as schismatic elements) and "resisters from within" which if I recall correctly he referred to as "their sympathizers within the canonical Church."  In other words, if you are against ecumenism and modernism, you are a bad guy, was the impression I got from his speech.  If he had gotten up and talked about how people can idolize tradition and left it at that I would have been fine. But instead he used it to label those more conservative Orthodox as fossilizers basically.

Anastasios
 

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montalban said:
I can play devil's advocate too! If I were into speculation like you I'd have raised the issue of Romans 16:7
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%2016;&version=9;
Junia is a woman name (as recognised in http://www.antiochian.org/wordhtml/200403_12.html) *

However in a newer translation (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%2016;&version=31;) the name is given as Junias.
Indeed. I always prefer the deep scholarly insight of the NIV, whose editors regularly ignore the earliest manuscripts and proper translations if such contradict Evangelical Protestant presuppositions (e.g. the NT use of the word "tradition" in a positive sense).

Should anyone be interested in the "Junia" issue, check out this brief yet comprehensive summary, which was recently posted on the Indiana Orthodox list:

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0605d&L=orthodox&P=2044

Even were we to ignore the fact that the earliest relevant manuscripts (i.e. those with accents) universally show a reading of "Junia", even were we to ignore the fact that the Holy Fathers and the Church Synaxaria speak of St. Junia, whom St. Paul called an Apostle, it seems a bit more than a stretch to read "Junias" here, given the complete lack of prosopographical evidence for any such name ever existing in Roman history (whereas Junia is attested in many inscriptions).

Speaking of things written by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, I believe First Things had a decent set of articles on the issue of women and the priesthood a few years ago. Perhaps we should review these. Jennifer Ferrara, who argues against women priests, presents arguments far more theological than anything found in this thread so far. Of course, her reasoning is rooted in Inter Insignores and Pope John Paul II's (re?)interpretation of Genesis, male headship, gender as an ontological category, marriage, sex and the body. All in all, a comprehensive theological vision, but is it an Orthodox one?

Check it out here: http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0304/articles/ferrarawilson.html
 

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Anastasios said:
I agree that one can idolize tradition and create a sect.  I believe the Old Believers are such.  My point is that Kishkovsky's definition of traditionalism (in the bad sense) was way to broad and included people who simply have a more conservative POV then him.  He basically was criticizing Old Calendarists (whom he referred to as schismatic elements) and "resisters from within" which if I recall correctly he referred to as "their sympathizers within the canonical Church."  In other words, if you are against ecumenism and modernism, you are a bad guy, was the impression I got from his speech.  If he had gotten up and talked about how people can idolize tradition and left it at that I would have been fine. But instead he used it to label those more conservative Orthodox as fossilizers basically.
I think this issue is important deserving of it's own thread. I'd like to respond, but not here.

pensateomnia said:
Should anyone be interested in the "Junia" issue, check out this brief yet comprehensive summary, which was recently posted on the Indiana Orthodox list:
https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0605d&L=orthodox&P=2044
Even were we to ignore the fact that the earliest relevant manuscripts (i.e. those with accents) universally show a reading of "Junia", even were we to ignore the fact that the Holy Fathers and the Church Synaxaria speak of St. Junia, whom St. Paul called an Apostle, it seems a bit more than a stretch to read "Junias" here, given the complete lack of prosopographical evidence for any such name ever existing in Roman history (whereas Junia is attested in many inscriptions).
Thanks for the link.
What amazes me is that this could possibly be an issue for Orthodox Christians for whom so many female Saints are given the title "Isapostolos" ("Equal-to-the-Apostles") such as St. Mary Magdalene, St. Thekla, St. Helen, St. Nina, St. Olga of Kiev...

pensateomnia said:
Speaking of things written by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, I believe  All in all, a comprehensive theological vision, but is it an Orthodox one?
Check it out here: http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0304/articles/ferrarawilson.html
I will most certainly check it out.
 

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GreekIsChristian,

Something for you to muse upon once you return to this forum after your voyage home:

greekischristian said:
This is hardly a revolutionary proposition, the fact that women were second-class citizens in the Greco-Roman world is well documented;
Maybe so.  You most probably know more about this than I do.

since this unfortunate mindset infected every other element and institution of society, it is most reasonable to believe it also influenced the Church.
This is where your logic breaks down.  What you have done is assert that a mere coincidence of mindsets proves an actual correlation.  I think many medical researchers will tell you that a mere coincidence is not proof of an actual cause-and-effect relationship.  For instance, the mere fact that the rate of lung cancer is much higher in smokers than in non-smokers is not proof in and of itself that smoking causes lung cancer.  The striking coincidence can be a great indicator of a correlation between smoking and lung cancer, but until an actual cause-and-effect mechanism is discovered, the coincidence proves nothing.  Researchers have to explain clearly and in great detail how cigarette smoke causes mutations in lung cells that lead to cancer if they want to preach that smoking does indeed cause lung cancer.

You have shown us a coincidence between the misogynist mindset of ancient Greco-Roman culture and the early Church’s attitude towards women.  So what?  What proof can you give that this is more than just coincidence?  What can you give us that shows clearly that the Church actually allowed herself to be influenced by her surrounding culture in the ways you allege?  What evidence can you provide for a real cause-and-effect relationship?  Until you can give us clear evidence of this relationship, the statement “it is most reasonable to believe” is nothing more than pure, unadulterated SPECULATION.


I hope you had a good trip back from seminary and can look forward to a restful summer.

- Peter
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
GreekIsChristian,

You have shown us a coincidence between the misogynist mindset of ancient Greco-Roman culture and the early Church’s attitude towards women.  So what?  What proof can you give that this is more than just coincidence?  What can you give us that shows clearly that the Church actually allowed herself to be influenced by her surrounding culture in the ways you allege?  What evidence can you provide for a real cause-and-effect relationship?  Until you can give us clear evidence of this relationship, the statement “it is most reasonable to believe” is nothing more than pure, unadulterated SPECULATION.
Just so. (Hmmm...That reminds me of Kipling. How terribly appropriate: The female of the species and all that!)

That said, do St. John Chrysostom's statements about women reveal that the "Church actually allowed herself to be influenced by her surrounding culture," or does his belief that women are inferior reflect a more permanent truth?
 

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pensateomnia said:
That said, do St. John Chrysostom's statements about women reveal that the "Church actually allowed herself to be influenced by her surrounding culture," or does his belief that women are inferior reflect a more permanent truth?
You might have to direct me to quotes of these statements of St. John Chrysostom, for I'm having some difficulty finding them on this forum.  (It looks as if this thread has also piqued my desire to make David Ford's book on women in the early Church my next big reading project.)

I would say that it's most likely just speculation to say that these statements reveal that the Church was influenced by her surrounding culture.  I think that would be called "reading between the lines."  Without a good understanding of a cause-and-effect relationship, I have to conclude that it's merely coincidental that St. John Chrysostom's attitude toward women agrees in part with the secular culture of his day.  Until I see an actual correlation in this coincidence, I am more likely to conclude that St. John's statements reflect a more permanent truth.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
You might have to direct me to quotes of these statements of St. John Chrysostom, for I'm having some difficulty finding them on this forum. (It looks as if this thread has also piqued my desire to make David Ford's book on women in the early Church my next big reading project.)
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8894.msg120974;topicseen#msg120974
 

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pensateomnia said:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=8894.msg120974;topicseen#msg120974
Thank you.  That's what I was looking for.

Now that I've read what you submitted in the post linked above, I note below a statement you made in that post.
pensateomnia said:
Although St. John obviously bases his statements on Scripture, his statements are quite similar to the assumptions, arguments and explanations we find in pagan Greco-Roman sources.
As I've stated earlier, this similarity that you point out is quite striking, but I have yet to see evidence that one point of view caused or influenced the other.  I'm not above speculating, for I don't think it entirely inappropriate to do so, so I'm not afraid to ponder on the possibility that St. John Chrysostom could have been influenced by these Greco-Roman sources or by the secular culture in general.  It does make sense that each of the Fathers also represents his time and place in addition to the eternal truth he presents.  After all, do not even the Scriptures do this to some degree?

But I will not build any argument for or against women's ordination on such speculation.  Again, until I see evidence that the surrounding culture actually influenced the mindset that St. John expressed in his writings on men and women, I am inclined to conclude that he was speaking a more permanent truth.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
But I will not build any argument for or against women's ordination on such speculation.
This thread has 56 pages of pure, unadulterated speculation.

Again, until I see evidence that the surrounding culture actually influenced the mindset that St. John expressed in his writings on men and women, I am inclined to conclude that he was speaking a more permanent truth.
That's exactly what Montalban and I have been asking the proponents of women ordination to come up with.  So far, after 56 pages, they have presented none.

:-\
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Again, until I see evidence that the surrounding culture actually influenced the mindset that St. John expressed in his writings on men and women, I am inclined to conclude that he was speaking a more permanent truth.
Is it an absolute Truth that women are spiritually weaker than men and therefore require more grace than men do? Because it seems to me that this is what St. John Chrysostom is saying. Is this the "dogma" on which a male-only Priesthood is based, and therefore the dogma people are asking me to give the assent of my faith to?
Sorry. No can do.
 

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Is it an absolute Truth that women are spiritually weaker than men and therefore require more grace than men do? Because it seems to me that this is what St. John Chrysostom is saying. Is this the "dogma" on which a male-only Priesthood is based, and therefore the dogma people are asking me to give the assent of my faith to?
Sorry. No can do.
St. John Chrysostom attempted to provide an explanation of the tradition handed to us by the apostles. He is just trying to the best of his abilities.  One thing that you must remember is that the all-male priesthood predates his arguments. Hence, dismissing his arguments does not in any way dismiss the Tradition itself. If you have an alternative explanation which you think is superior, it will be only as good as any other human being's subjective view.ÂÂ

But enough of logic. If you are not satisfied with St. John Chrysostom's reasoning, then you'll just have to trust your faith. After all, faith is stronger than reason. One thing that I noticed with the proponents of female ordination is that you all tend to be legalistic. You're always looking for evidence for this and evidence for that. You're always looking for explanations to the mysteries of the Church as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. I know that it is not necessarily a bad thing; but when one relies too much on scholasticism and less on mysticism and sacrifice, and then starts to question the views of the Saints, he or she is thinking like a Protestant in my humble opinion.ÂÂ

If this thread is an indication of the future of Orthodoxy in the West, then I am deeply concerned. This early, I'll pray to God that Protestantism does not prosper within the apostolic establishment. They should put their attention elsewhere. There's just too many to learn in Orthodoxy that it is totally uncalled for to introduce innovations. As my priest told me once, I would never learn enough of Orthodoxy: a lifetime is not enough to fully understand its theological and mystical truths.

 

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Theognosis said:
Hence, dismissing his arguments does not in any way dismiss the Tradition itself.  If you have an alternative explanation which you think is superior, it will be only as good as any other human being's subjective view. 
You are free to believe as you wish. However I will never accept as Orthodox a doctrine which says that one half of the human race is less redeemed by Christ than the other simply because they have an XX chromosome rather than an XY chromosome. It's nonsense.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
But I will not build any argument for or against women's ordination on such speculation. Again, until I see evidence that the surrounding culture actually influenced the mindset that St. John expressed in his writings on men and women, I am inclined to conclude that he was speaking a more permanent truth.
Perhaps we should clarify three distinct questions. First, there is the question of Patristic views of women and whether or not these views reflect Late Antique biases. Second, there is the question of how -- if at all -- these societally defined ideas affected Patristic understandings of ordained ministry. Third, there is the question of what we do about it.

Now, even if we say that, indeed, the Fathers reveal a consistently negative theological understanding of women as a sex (not that they didn't like and praise various individual women!), this by no means proves that such is the basis for their insistence that the Church maintain an all-male priesthood; and it certainly does not mean that we should change what we have received.

Figuring out the first question is simply a matter of reading what the Fathers said. St. John Chrysostom, St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Jerome, St. Augustine -- even, St. John Damascene -- all had very similar things to say on the matter. It makes little sense to me to pretend this isn't the case (although it certainly is convenient and readily done if one hasn't actually read them!).

The second and third questions are an entirely different matter, and I, for one, consider research and decisions concerning them the duty of the episcopacy. We, as laymen or those of the lower two orders of ordained priesthood, have little business speculating about what the first question actually means for the all-male priesthood in the modern Church (hence why I have twice told GiC that he shouldn’t publicly support ordination of women). However, this does not mean we shouldn't read the Fathers and acknowledge that, perhaps, their writings may not always be free from societal influence (I mean, St. Clement of Alexandria says we know that man has a superior nature because he has a hairy chest -- which hair comes from his hotter blood!).

Edit: To be more precise, St. Clement says that God gave males a beard (like the mane of a lion) and a "shaggy" chest as an indication of males' superior nature and a sign of men's rule over females (at least that's how I recall the passage from memory...perhaps I'll go look it up. It's quite a doozy.)
 

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You are free to believe as you wish. However I will never accept as Orthodox a doctrine which says that one half of the human race is less redeemed by Christ than the other simply because they have an XX chromosome rather than an XY chromosome. It's nonsense.
Wow, that was a perfectly good cop - out from the excellent post above yours. Just as God saw fit for an all male clergy going all the way back to the OT, why can't we just assume that maybe men and women are sometimes meant for different roles? I guess such a notion would offend our modern day sensibilities now would it? Hmmm, something maybe akin to saying that women make good nurses and mommies and men good construction workers and fathers (Of course there is no truth whatsoever to this lol). I guess God doesn't know what he's doing and we should listen to the people that want to throw away thousands of years of Tradition. That's nice, where were people like you when we needed such great advice dispensed so long ago, especially after the choosing of the 12 male apostles etc...? I'll stick with the 'faith' of the fathers instead of the 'faith' of current day logic.
 
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