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.  ;)
 

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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?
 

Bizzlebin

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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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