Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

ialmisry

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ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
ozgeorge said:
88Devin12 said:
Also, none of those women were Priestesses. They were able to serve the Church outside of the Holy Priesthood, just as millions of Orthodox women have done for 2000 years.
Well, some of them were clergy in that they were Deaconesses, and in the case of St. Brigid, she may have been a Bishop as we saw in this thread, but thats besides the point. I think if you read this thread, you will find that no one is arguing that women were Priestesses in the Church.

88Devin12 said:
We should not give in to something just because it's demanded or encouraged by the society and culture that is around us.
Has your Bishop ever been married? Why not? Our Holy Scripture demands that a Bishop must be "the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2). Surely the Church did not adjust it's practices to forbid Bishops from marrying when Scripture clearly teaches they must be "the husband of one wife"? Why the change? What is the explanation?
The bishop who wrote that and the bishop he wrote to were not married.
Does that changes the fact that Bishops were originally permitted to marry in the Church by a Scriptural instruction which was later over-ruled by the Church?
Or is your point that you think St. Paul and St. Timothy are hypocrites?
No. No. But I've seen the Protestants argue, as your line seems to imply, that a bishop MUST have a wife, not be the husband of one wife (and no more).  The celibate bishop was there from the beginning, along with the married. 
No. The point is that a married man could be a Bishop in the Early Church (as ratified by Scripture), but a married man can no longer be a Bishop in the Church as decreed by the Church. If you go back in the thread, you'll see that I use it as an example of how the Church can "bind and loose".
Yes, I know.  But you imply that they can loose it out of whole cloth.  The example you give doesn't support that, as there were many celibate bishops (and far from the exception) when the canon was created and long before.

ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
The woman bishop was no where to be found.
Until St. Brigid possibly. ;)
Nearly a millenium too late.
 

ozgeorge

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ialmisry said:
Yes, I know.  But you imply that they can loose it out of whole cloth. 
Actually, no. It is an example of binding, not loosing. The Church decided to forbid Bishops to be married even though Scripture permitted them to marry, therefore, in this instance, the Church bound something on Earth and thereby bound it in Heaven. A restriction (binding) was imposed by the Church which overuled the Apostolic permission (loosing) of St. Paul.
 

Irish Hermit

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ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
The woman bishop was no where to be found.
Until St. Brigid possibly. ;)
The Book of Lismore (quoted earlier) says:  "Wherefore the men of Ireland from that time to this give episcopal honour to Brigid's successor."

The  Book of Lismore, was compiled in the 15th century.  Its original name is Leabhar Mhic Carthaigh Riabhaigh (The Book of Mac Carthaigh Riabhach.)

Now Saint Brigid died in 520.  Does this mean that there was a thousand year line of episcopal succession from Saint Brigid up until the 15th century (and beyond)?  Surely we would have evidence of it?

One consideration is that the Book is a compilation.  We would need to check the date of the section dealing with the life of Saint Brigid.

Another question is: does the Book of Lismore mean that "episcopal honour is given to Brigid's successor," i.e., her successor as a bishop?  Or her successor as abbess of Kildare?
 
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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observer said:
Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) does not see any theological reason against women being ordained.  And if the Church is to keep up with the 'spirit of the times' (Bishop Ignaty Brianchaninov) then why not?
Whatever decision is made, let's all pray to God that it isn't based on conformity to the "spirit of the times!"

"Lord have mercy!"

Selam
 

Friul

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ialmisry said:
Yes, it has done wonders for the Anglicans.

Wait, those swelled numbers were those going over to Orthodoxy or the Vatican....or the Evangelicals..... :eek:
Nah, I meant in 200 years I'm sure Church attendance will be a hair above non-existent, and belief in orthodox Christian theology will only be marginally better.  So they'll "try something new".  :p
 

ozgeorge

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Irish Hermit said:
Another question is: does the Book of Lismore mean that "episcopal honour is given to Brigid's successor," i.e., her successor as a bishop?  Or her successor as abbess of Kildare?
  
Until the Synod of Kells (1152) Kildare was a powerful monastery for quite some time, and the Abbesses did in fact have episcopal-like roles, for example, in that they selected candidates for the Priesthood. I think that is what is meant. I don't think it means the Abbess of Kildare was the official Bishop of Kildare. Remember, Kildare was not a convent, but a monastery for both men and women, and it was ruled by an Abbess who presumably stood jointly with the Bishop, and so was seen as being kind of equal in authority to one.
Abbesses today (especially in the greater and older monasteries) also have some sort of "episcopal-like" roles, and the Abbot of the ancient Holy Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai is, in fact, always consecrated as a Bishop.
The Icon of the Theotokos as Abbess of The Holy Mountain depicts her wearing a Bishop's mantiya:
 

LBK

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The image of the "Abbess of Athos", also known as Economissa, while honorable in intent, is somewhat problematic for two reasons:

Firstly, the Mother of God is shown without the presence of her Son, which, along with the three stars of perpetual virginity on her maphorion, and the inscription MP-ΘY are canonically essential. At the very least, there should be a motif of Christ (either as Emmanuel or as an adult) or the Holy Trinity in the upper border of the icon. This is what is done in icons of the Mother of God where the icon portrays a historical event, such as the Visitation to St Sergius of Radonezh, Bogolyubskaya, and other icons of the post-Pentecost period where she has appeared.

Secondly, while she is indeed, and with great honor, referred to as the Abbess of Athos, she was never an abbess in real life. The Abbess title is akin to the myriad of poetic and descriptive titles found in liturgical texts, notably the Akathists to her. However, as I have said many a time, iconography is about revelation, not about imagination, and any symbolic representations must be subordinate to the revealed.

A good example of this is in the Visitation icons I referred to above: The Mother of God is shown bearing an abbess's staff, denoting her authority (and, it is quite likely that she did indeed bear such a staff in these visitations), but she is dressed in the familiar blue or dark inner garment and red maphorion.

Here is a better version of the Abbess of Athos, without the mantle, though unfortunately, Christ is still absent.



 

Irish Hermit

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LBK said:
The image of the "Abbess of Athos", also known as Economissa, while honorable in intent, is somewhat problematic for two reasons:
These "topical" icons are not without their venerators.  Here is one painted on the instructions of Saint Seraphim of Sarov.  It must be popular with Russian farmers and smallholders  -  "The Mother of God, Gatherer of the Wheat"

[attachment deleted by admin]
 

LBK

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From http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,17565.msg305661.html#msg305661 :

The Multiplier of Wheat shows the Mother of God surrounded by a mandorla, an oval motif of rays and stars which represents the uncreated light and glory of God. This is a major error in iconography, as the Virgin, while, of course, partaking of the glory and life of God, is not divine herself. She does not generate this light. Christ alone may be depicted in this light, such as in icons of Christ in Majesty (Christ enthroned, surrounded by the bodiless hosts), the Transfiguration, the Dormition of His mother (where He is seen holding her soul in the form of a babe in swaddling clothes, surely one of the loveliest of iconographic motifs, and truly loaded with theological meaning), and in icons of the Mother of God of the Sign, where He, as Christ Emmanuel, is surrounded by a circular mandorla over His mother's body as she holds her arms raised in supplication. By contrast, a mandorla is often seen in western images (paintings and statues) of the Virgin, notably in Our Lady of Guadelupe.
Many would dismiss this as nothing more than an anti-western rant. Not so. I am completely aware of the comprehensive displacement of conventional, canonical iconography with images derived from western art, which often bore little in the way of integrity and fidelity to Orthodox liturgical and doctrinal tradition. This displacement began in around the 15thC, but was in full swing by the 17th-18thC. Therefore, particularly in regions such as western Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (bordering with Poland, Austria-Hungary, etc), the Balkans, and many of the Greek islands and provinces which were under Venetian or other administration, such images soon were seen as "the norm", and persist to this day. Hence the persistence of such images, which, in recent years, are often rendered in the geometric, "non-realistic" artistic style associated with iconography. St Seraphim probably had little choice but to venerate images such as these, as these images were everywhere.

What can be done about such images? One solution is to ensure that budding iconographers are not only taught the artistic techniques of painting an icon, but to be (perhaps more importantly) thoroughly trained in what is, and is not, permissible to be painted. Of the images of the Mother of God which were deficient, but became associated with miracles or saints (such as the Seraphim-Diveyevo), it would be wise to direct iconographers painting these images to paint a motif of Christ or the Holy Trinity in the upper border of the composition, and to ensure that the Virgin's insignia of the MP-ΘY inscription and the stars of perpetual virginity be painted. In this way, doctrinal and theological integrity is maintained.
 

ozgeorge

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LBK,
The "Economissa"  is a completely different icon. It depicts the Theotokos as the "Economissa" (The female verson of the "Economos" or "Steward" of the monastery).
The inscription of the Icon of the Abeess of the Holy Mountain Icon says "Hegumeni (Abbess) and Protectoress of the Holy Mountain".

Lets review your history as an "expert in orthodox iconography" in this thread:
I used the term "church art" to refer to the following image posted in this thread:

ozgeorge said:
BELOW: the 9th century "Episcopa Theodora" mosaic
in the St. Zeno Chapel of the Church of St. Praxedis, Rome

You stated that I was wrong to call this "Church art" and had to call it "iconography":
LBK said:
ozgeorge said:
This isn't just about women Priests. It's about Church history, facts, hagiographies, documents, church art, the concept of binding and loosing and authority in the Church.
My dear ozgeorge, please do not denigrate iconography by calling it mere "church art".
You clearly must have known that this was the image I was referring to since you refer to it in a post directly after it:
LBK said:
So, ozgeorge, even if this woman was indeed a bishop
OK, so you think that the above mosaic depicting "Bishopess Theodora" is an icon. Fine.

Then I post this Icon painted (spare me the nonsense about having to say "written" - they are the same in Koine Greek) by an Athonite monk of St. Annes Skete on the Holy Mountain depicting the Theotokos as the Abbess of the Holy Mountain, and you tell me that it is not an Icon (presumably because you are a greater authority on Iconography than this Athonite Skete which has produced Icons for centuries.)



So according to you the Bishopess Theodora mosaic is an example of iconography and I must not dare refer to it as anything else, but the Abbess of the Holy Mountain produced by the Athonite Fathers of St. Annes Skete is "problematic".

Somehow, I have little confidence in your credibility as being knowlegable about Orthodox Iconography.
 

ozgeorge

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ozgeorge said:
Irish Hermit said:
Another question is: does the Book of Lismore mean that "episcopal honour is given to Brigid's successor," i.e., her successor as a bishop?  Or her successor as abbess of Kildare?
  
Until the Synod of Kells (1152) Kildare was a powerful monastery for quite some time, and the Abbesses did in fact have episcopal-like roles, for example, in that they selected candidates for the Priesthood. I think that is what is meant. I don't think it means the Abbess of Kildare was the official Bishop of Kildare. Remember, Kildare was not a convent, but a monastery for both men and women, and it was ruled by an Abbess who presumably stood jointly with the Bishop, and so was seen as being kind of equal in authority to one.
Just had another thought about this. Given that the earliest account of the Consecration of St. Brigid as a Bishop is the 9th century text of the "Bethu Brigte", by which time Kildare would have been established as a powerful monastery, could the "accidental consecration" story have been added to her Life as a way of explaining the episcopal-like authority of her successors, the Abbesses of Kildare?
 

88Devin12

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Why are you using St. Brigid as an example? Yes she was ordained as a Bishop. But it was a mistake, the Bishop that ordained her was impaired, and he even repented for it and was forgiven. The Theotokos herself addressed him and although he was forgiven he couldn't touch alcohol ever again.
Does this say to you that female Bishops is OK? To me, it says that we should never have female Bishops or Priestesses, if we mistakingly do so, then we have to repent.

ozgeorge, I don't see why you seem to be equating Deacons with Priests. They are both clergy, but serve VERY different roles. Women can be Deaconesses according to the Church, but never Priests.

Also, in my humble opinion, if we EVER need more Priests, and are at a shortage, then that would show a lack of faithfulness on our part. (Or it could be because of severe persecution) The answer would NOT be to ordain women as Priestesses, but rather to bring up our men more piously. (However being ordained is still their choice and shouldn't be imposed)

Bishops were originally married, but that was back when you had Bishops that were mainly centered in cities. Then, as Christianity grew & became legalized, the diocese of the Bishops became huge as they were drawn out by councils. The Bishops could not longer spend enough time with their families as they had to travel around their regions. As we know even today, the absent father/husband puts a severe strain on a family and is a huge missing hole.
In my opinion, Bishops ought to be allowed to be married, HOWEVER they ought also to have smaller diocese and there ought to be more Bishops.

ozgeorge, I'm not arguing against female deaconesses, I'm arguing against female Priestesses. It's not only against Church canon/doctrine/tradition, it's not even Biblical.
 

ozgeorge

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88Devin12 said:
Why are you using St. Brigid as an example?
What am I using her as an example of and where?

88Devin12 said:
Yes she was ordained as a Bishop. But it was a mistake, the Bishop that ordained her was impaired, and he even repented for it and was forgiven. The Theotokos herself addressed him and although he was forgiven he couldn't touch alcohol ever again.
What is your source for this? The text of the 9th century Bethu Brigte says the Bishop was "intoxicated with the Grace of God", not alcohol. Even the Book of Lismore text (written after the Kell Synod which removed much of the power of Kildare Monastery) says that this episcopal authority was given to her successors (the Abbesses of Kildare)- pretty stupid if it was "repented of".
 

88Devin12

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What is your source for this? The text of the 9th century Bethu Brigte says the Bishop was "intoxicated with the Grace of God", not alcohol. Even the Book of Lismore text (written after the Kell Synod which removed much of the power of Kildare Monastery) says that this episcopal authority was given to her successors (the Abbesses of Kildare)- pretty stupid if it was "repented of".
I could have sworn i read that somewhere on here, that the Bishop went and repented of it and the Theotokos forgave him of it and he couldn't drink anymore after that... I swear I read it, perhaps someone on here edited their post after I read it?

Ok, I've read your posts, and I still don't know where you stand ozgeorge. For some reason I'm unable to understand what you are trying to argue for.

Are you simply arguing for fair dialogue?

Are you arguing that women should be ordained as Priestesses?

Are you arguing they should only be allowed to be deaconesses?

Are you saying the Church ought to consider being more modern?

What are you arguing for? I'm tired of trying to respond to what I think are arguments for women Priestesses, but if that isn't what you are arguing for, then it just makes me look like an idiot. I feel like a basketball player whose trying to help his team win, but is unknowingly defending against his own teammates.
 

ozgeorge

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88Devin12 said:
Ok, I've read your posts, and I still don't know where you stand ozgeorge.
Again I ask: why is that important?
I'm pleased that you don't know where I stand, because that means that I am not bringing my own unfounded assumptions to the discussion but rather examining the available evidence.

So could you tell me where you got the information that Bishop Mel "repented" of consecrating St. Brigid- contrary to the accounts in the Bethu Brigte and the Book of Lismore?
Please go back to the purity of the text of the Bethu Brigte and examine the evidence.
You'll find the Bethu Brigte here:
http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T201002/index.html
What a 20th century Catholic Nun said to a poster and is reported second hand is not really evidence but heresay.
Is it possible that this is a later fabrication intended to diminish the power of the Abbesses of Kildare (which, as I suggest above, may actually be the origin of the story of the accidental consecration to explain the power of the Abbeses of Kildare in the first place?)
 

88Devin12

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ozgeorge said:
88Devin12 said:
Ok, I've read your posts, and I still don't know where you stand ozgeorge.
Again I ask: why is that important?
I'm pleased that you don't know where I stand, because that means that I am not bringing my own unfounded assumptions to the discussion but rather examining the available evidence.

So could you tell me where you got the information that Bishop Mel "repented" of consecrating St. Brigid- contrary to the accounts in the Bethu Brigte and the Book of Lismore?
Please go back to the purity of the text of the Bethu Brigte and examine the evidence.
You'll find the Bethu Brigte here:
http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T201002/index.html
What a 20th century Catholic Nun said to a poster and is reported second hand is not really evidence but heresay.
Is it possible that this is a later fabrication intended to diminish the power of the Abbesses of Kildare (which, as I suggest above, may actually be the origin of the story of the accidental consecration to explain the power of the Abbeses of Kildare in the first place?)
It's important because like I said above, I don't want to be arguing against someone who is on my own side of the issue. If your neutral that is ok, just tell me so that I will at least know where you stand.

As for St. Brigid, I don't know where I read that about her ordination, I thought it was on this thread. I'm not saying it is right, but it was what I read (I hadn't read the actual account at the time, so I thought that was the actual account).

 

LBK

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Oh my, ozgeorge, you really are trying hard to put words in my mouth.

The "Economissa"  is a completely different icon.
There are, in fact two icons which the Greeks and Slavs call Economissa (the Slavonic form is Domostroytel'nitsa): the Abbess of Athos type, and the other, to which you are referring, which shows the Mother of God enthroned with her Child, flanked by Sts Athanasius of Athos, and Michael of Synnada.

I used the term "church art" to refer to the following image posted in this thread: ...You stated that I was wrong to call this "Church art" and had to call it "iconography":
Your statement of:
This isn't just about women Priests. It's about Church history, facts, hagiographies, documents, church art, the concept of binding and loosing and authority in the Church.
was worded as a general (and quite correct) comment on the invalidity (if I may use that word) of heterodox justifications for female ordination and a female episcopate. It did not come across as referring specifically to the mosaic you posted. My comment about "church art" versus "iconography" therefore cannot be construed as commenting specifically about the validity or otherwise of the mosaic.

OK, so you think that the above mosaic depicting "Bishopess Theodora" is an icon. Fine.
Thiis is what I actually wrote, ozgeorge:
So, ozgeorge, even if this woman was indeed a bishop (which I seriously doubt), is it really possible to extrapolate from this that it were once permissible for women to be ordained to the priesthood?
Any mention there of approval of this image as an icon? Please.

Then I post this Icon painted (spare me the nonsense about having to say "written" - they are the same in Koine Greek)
You may be pleasantly surprised to hear that I share your distaste for the term "writing" icons. I am quite aware of the Greek term graphe, which refers to both the written word and to pictorial representations. If you care to search through any of my posts on iconography, you will find I have always used the word paint, not write to describe the act of producing an icon.

... by an Athonite monk of St. Annes Skete on the Holy Mountain depicting the Theotokos as the Abbess of the Holy Mountain, and you tell me that it is not an Icon
Athonite sketes and monasteries have also been host to, and/or the source of, images such as the so-called New Testament Trinity and of St Joseph the Betrothed holding the infant Christ, after the manner of icons of the Mother of God. Yet it is clear, doctrinally and theologically, that such images are not canonical. Athonite provenance per se does not automatically bestow canonicity on an image.

So according to you the Bishopess Theodora mosaic is an example of iconography and I must not dare refer to it as anything else,
See my earlier point above. You are putting words in my mouth. Conversely, did I not give you the courtesy of post #108, in reply to that of Cleveland?

LBK said:
cleveland said:
He may have used the term to include both proper Iconography and other non-Iconographic pictorial depictions.
To be fair, let ozgeorge answer that, lest he accuse either of us of putting words in his mouth.  ;)
 

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Dear LBK,

I really appreciate the theological information on iconography you provide. I find it fascinating and very enlightening. We are so blessed to have you here on this forum. You really clear up any misconceptions any of us might hold.

:)  Tamara
 

ozgeorge

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88Devin12 said:
ozgeorge said:
88Devin12 said:
Ok, I've read your posts, and I still don't know where you stand ozgeorge.
Again I ask: why is that important?
I'm pleased that you don't know where I stand, because that means that I am not bringing my own unfounded assumptions to the discussion but rather examining the available evidence.

So could you tell me where you got the information that Bishop Mel "repented" of consecrating St. Brigid- contrary to the accounts in the Bethu Brigte and the Book of Lismore?
Please go back to the purity of the text of the Bethu Brigte and examine the evidence.
You'll find the Bethu Brigte here:
http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T201002/index.html
What a 20th century Catholic Nun said to a poster and is reported second hand is not really evidence but heresay.
Is it possible that this is a later fabrication intended to diminish the power of the Abbesses of Kildare (which, as I suggest above, may actually be the origin of the story of the accidental consecration to explain the power of the Abbeses of Kildare in the first place?)
It's important because like I said above, I don't want to be arguing against someone who is on my own side of the issue. If your neutral that is ok, just tell me so that I will at least know where you stand.
Why does a discussion have to be an argument? Why can't an issue be examined without having to take sides? This thread is about the discussion of the ordination of women, it is not a poll to see whether you think women should be ordained.

88Devin12 said:
As for St. Brigid, I don't know where I read that about her ordination, I thought it was on this thread. I'm not saying it is right, but it was what I read (I hadn't read the actual account at the time, so I thought that was the actual account).
This is what I am talking about. Rather than come in to a discussion without looking at the available facts, lets look at the available facts.
As you see, I have given you a link to a translation of her 9th century Celtic life, the "Bethu Brigte". Perhaps that is a place to start. According to this text, St. Brigit was indeed accidentally consecrated a Bishop by Bishop Mel who read the wrong text because he was "intoxicated with the Grace of God" (not that he was drunk with alcohol). There is no mention of a "repentance" or "visitation" of the Theotokos to "forgive" Bishop Mel.
The other textual evidence is the 15th century Celtic manuscript, the Leabhar Breac which contains a life of St. Brigit, and which again mentions the accidental consecration saying that it was due to "the Grace of the Holy Ghost".
"It came to pass then, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, that the form of ordaining a bishop was read over Brigit. MacCaille said that ‘The order of a bishop should not be (conferred) on a woman.’ Dixit Bishop Mél: ‘No power have I in this matter, inasmuch as by God hath been given unto her this honour beyond every woman.’ Hence, it is that the men of Ireland give the honour of bishop to Brigit's successor."
http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T201010/index.html

Note the last line in the above quote: "Hence, it is that the men of Ireland give the honour of bishop to Brigit's successor." This is what makes me think that the story of St. Brigit's consecration was given as a way of explaining why the Abbesses of Kildare held episcopal-like positions. One thing though is clear, that for some centuries until the Kell Synod:  "the men of Ireland give the honour of bishop to Brigit's successor"- the Abbesses of Kildare.
 

88Devin12

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I'm incapable of looking at things w/o a side, don't ya know? lol

j/k though...

TBH, I don't know enough about the subject, therefore all I can do is defend my position since I don't know anymore facts to present dispassionately. (sorry, all I could think of was unbiasly and that was definitely wrong lol)
 

ozgeorge

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88Devin12 said:
I'm incapable of looking at things w/o a side, don't ya know? lol

j/k though...

TBH, I don't know enough about the subject, therefore all I can do is defend my position since I don't know anymore facts to present dispassionately. (sorry, all I could think of was unbiasly and that was definitely wrong lol)
We all have prejudices and biases, myself included. And I think there are places on a discussion forum to express those biases and personal opinions. But I also think that discussion forums can allow an opportunity for all of us to examine primary evidence and look at what informs our personal opinion. I think that on an Orthodox forum particularly, there are times when we need to just have our own opinion informed by our particular tradition and not think that it is "better" or "worse" than anyone else's- just different. But I also think that discussion forums can provide excellent opportunities for the exchanging of information which is not just opinion- things like primary source documents. In a way it is like the role of the monasteries which kept knowledge alive through their Scriptorums. There is no point in having primary sources if nobody knows about them and they are forgotten. We Orthodox in particular, with our love of our ancient hymns, texts etc, and who incorporate these into our daily lives should appreciate this. Imagine if we had lost the text of the Ladder of St. John Klimakos because nobody had read, discussed, copied or mentioned it for centuries. Imagine if we lost the Philokalia, or the Life of St. Mary of Egypt. Imagine if we had lost the Bethu Brigte discussed in this thread. Our Tradition is a Living Tradition because the Church is the Living People of God who pass it on and don't forget it.
 

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Sarah said:
What about the "monthly cycle and uncleanness" issue?  That would certainly throw a monkey wrench into the service schedule!

How could a natural part of a woman's life be unclean???

What would we call her:  Father, Mother, Fatheress?

Mother would be fine.

I wouldn't want to confess to a woman!

There are a few male priests I would never confess to because they talk too much.

What about the "women shouldn't pray with their heads uncovered" issue?

So she could cover it.

I would be scared of a female priest who could grow a beard!

I think that might be kinda cute.
 

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I'll have to hunt around for a citation, but as one who is given to regarding the Holy Canons not a unchangable or rigid rules, but as generally sound advice from the Harps of the Spirit on how the Church ought govern herself, I've always felt that the canon that forbids women from entering the altar unless they be virgins over the age of 40 or widows living in chastity over the age of 60 provided some guidance on women's ordination (to the deaconate).
 

ozgeorge

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SbdcnDavid said:
I'll have to hunt around for a citation, but as one who is given to regarding the Holy Canons not a unchangable or rigid rules, but as generally sound advice from the Harps of the Spirit on how the Church ought govern herself, I've always felt that the canon that forbids women from entering the altar unless they be virgins over the age of 40 or widows living in chastity over the age of 60 provided some guidance on women's ordination (to the deaconate).
If you can find that Canon, it would be excellent as a primary source to look at!
 

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ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
Yes, I know.  But you imply that they can loose it out of whole cloth. 
Actually, no. It is an example of binding, not loosing. The Church decided to forbid Bishops to be married even though Scripture permitted them to marry, therefore, in this instance, the Church bound something on Earth and thereby bound it in Heaven. A restriction (binding) was imposed by the Church which overuled the Apostolic permission (loosing) of St. Paul.
At the risk of sounding like a one-note Johnny, I have to comment on this issue of married bishops. I see no formal evidence that the Church has forbidden Bishops to be married. The last canon on the subject that I have been able to find was Canon 12 of the Council at Trullo. This canon merely required married bishops and their wives to live separately. The canon stated that it did not mean to overrule the Holy Scriptures and earlier canons but to reduce scandal amongst the people, which the Council felt was more important at that point in time.

In any case, today we do have Bishops who are widowed priests. The job description by Apostle Paul specified the overseers (bishops and presbyters) to be the husband of one wife. Thus, widowed priests who were elevated to the episcopate become/remain widowed and the husband of one wife.

It is conjecture on my part but I think that married episcopacy, except for the small minority of widowed priests, died out gradually from natural causes. These causes included the growth in monasteries and monastics (who often had better education than mere priests); the gnawing knowledge that the Trullan canon was condemned by the Lord (what God has joined let no man put asunder); the compromise of the clergy who lived in the world under the Turkish and even Christian Empires (with the comparative higher fidelity to Holy Tradition by the monastics); and plain inertia.
 

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ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
Yes, I know.  But you imply that they can loose it out of whole cloth. 
Actually, no. It is an example of binding, not loosing. The Church decided to forbid Bishops to be married even though Scripture permitted them to marry, therefore, in this instance, the Church bound something on Earth and thereby bound it in Heaven. A restriction (binding) was imposed by the Church which overuled the Apostolic permission (loosing) of St. Paul.
No, it was a loosening in that the canon moved a boundary marker the Fathers had set up.  There had been attempts numerous times to impose clerical celebacy (which finally "succeeded" in the West), and the Church had rebuffed such efforts, St. Paphnudi reminding the Church was bound by the precedence of the Fathers, who had not laid the burden of celebacy on the clergy.
 

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Whole article in English:
ATHENS, Greece – The views expressed by Metropolitan Seraphim of Johannesburg and Praetoria in a recently published article has brought the issue of the ordination of women to the forefront of the Orthodox Church. Metropolitan Seraphim, a Bishop of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, recently wrote that this hot topic affecting the whole of Christianity should be discussed at a Pan-Orthodox Council, when members of Orthodox Churches from all over the world will participate, so that the Orthodox Church can adopt an official position on the ordination of women, as other churches and many Protestant denominations have already done.

In the article, which first appeared in the website “Romfea,” and was reprinted in the Greek daily newspaper “To Vima”, the Cyprus-born prelate posed the question “what are the theological reasons that prohibit us from supporting the ordination of women?”

Metropolitan Seraphim also conveyed the willingness expressed by the leadership of the Patriarchate of Alexandria to discuss the revival of the ancient tradition of “deaconess,” after pointing out that “in Orthodox missionary work, where adult women are receive catechism and being baptized, the pastoral need for the service of deaconesses has begun to reappear.” The Metropolitan was referring to a position in the lower clergy that peaked during the early Christian centuries, when women stood apart from men in the church balcony or on one side of the church, and priests could not approach them.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Bishops from the Church of Greece received an encyclical from the Standing Holy Synod which advises them that the registration of girls at ecclesiastical schools of secondary education is prohibited. The decision has already been met with opposition. Below is an excerpt of the two-page document, which is signed by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, the Bishops sitting on the Standing Holy Synod, and the Chief Secretary.

“Having taken account of the current state of affairs in the area of ecclesiastical education....and in order to uphold the nature of these educational institutions – Ecclesiastical Junior High and High Schools – as productive schools of the Orthodox Church in Greece, the Holy Synod has decided that the registration of female students in Ecclesiastical Junior High and High Schools runs contrary to their productive nature, on the one hand, and will cause such problems as to constitute their operation problematic, on the other hand. Thus, it has been led to the unanimous decision of prohibiting the registration of female students in ecclesiastical institutions of secondary education.”

A loophole for the entry and registration of girls into ecclesiastical junior high and high schools existed by virtue of an encyclical issued by the Ministry of Education, which was sent to all schools in June, but the immediate response of the Holy Synod led the Ministry of Education to back down on the issue.

On Friday July 24, the Ministry of Education issued a statement clarifying that girls wishing to register in secondary ecclesiastical schools were first required to obtain permission from the local Bishop in whose Metropolis the ecclesiastical junior high or high schools are operating. The decision issued by the Holy Synod and the Ministry of Education's reversal of position were met with surprise and have already created problems. In fact, it is considered a foregone conclusion that the Director of the Ecclesiastical Junior High and High School of Northern Greece – who has already received applications from five female students – will reject them, because neither he nor the local Bishop wish to break ranks with the Holy Synod.

The education issue has prompted discussion on the role of women in the church. The matter of the ordination of women has arisen, which will stir controversy in the Orthodox Church just as it has in other denominations.

Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church has stated that the issue of the ordination of women is non-existent. On the other hand, the Anglican Church has proceeded with the ordination of women to the priesthood and has even elevated some of them to the rank of bishop – a decision which has created a rift within the Anglican Church.

As is noted in his article, when Metropolitan Seraphim was still a deacon in 1989, he attended the Council of York, where the Anglican Church first decided to allow the ordination of women. At the time, the Orthodox Church had sent him there as an observer, since he was serving as a deacon in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Great Britain – an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. There, the Metropolitan had an opportunity to follow the entire discussion as it took place.

Metropolitan Seraphim declares that the issue ought to be on the agenda of the Great and Holy Council, the Pan-Orthodox gathering which potentially can address all the major issues affecting the Church that have accumulated since the Great Schism of 1054. “My goal is for there to be a true and genuine dialogue prior to the Council, which will make all the final decisions,” Metropolitan Seraphim said.
source


I would not have started the topic if I had known how a discussion would emerge ;)
 

ozgeorge

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Metropolitan Seraphim declares that the issue ought to be on the agenda of the Great and Holy Council
I agree, and this is what I'm getting at. Discussion is important no matter which way the Church decides.
If women dogmatically can never and will never be ordained to the Priesthood in the Church, then it is best if the Great and Holy Council were to decree this, define it, and close the issue once and for all.
Not having the issue of Women's Ordination on the agenda for the Great and Holy Council can only be interpreted in one way: that the topic is a theological can of worms which, once opened will inevitably lead to women's ordination to the Priesthood.
 

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I disagree with your "can only be interpreted in one way" summation. It is not up to your normal standards of logic.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Metropolitan Seraphim declares that the issue ought to be on the agenda of the Great and Holy Council
I agree, and this is what I'm getting at. Discussion is important no matter which way the Church decides.
If women dogmatically can never and will never be ordained to the Priesthood in the Church, then it is best if the Great and Holy Council were to decree this, define it, and close the issue once and for all.
Not having the issue of Women's Ordination on the agenda for the Great and Holy Council can only be interpreted in one way: that the topic is a theological can of worms which, once opened will inevitably lead to women's ordination to the Priesthood.
It worries me, George that these initial stages of the debate are disturbingly similar to the initial stages which commenced the process towards ordination of Anglican women. New Zealand ordained 5 female priests is 1977.  I am not sure if those were the first such ordinations but they were very early in the piece.  I had a message from the Serbian parish priest who was intending to chrismate two Kiwi-Serbian girls who had been baptized Anglican because of their Anglican father.  He (the Serbian priest) said that when he saw the ordination of the women he decided he was unable to accept Anglican baptism and so the next day, to the horror of the Anglican grandparents and the delight of the Serbs, he dipped the girls in a tub of water!! 

PS: I want to add that I have known some excellent Anglican women priests -excellent with pastoral work and as spiritual mentors. 
 

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Irish Hermit said:
It worries me, George that these initial stages of the debate are disturbingly similar to the initial stages which commenced the process towards ordination of Anglican women.
I acknowledge that people are afraid, but what are they afraid of? Are they afraid that if the issue is examined and discussed, then women will be ordained as Priests? There are three other possibilities besides that. The possible outcomes are of examining the issue are:

1) The Church decides and decrees that women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood for dogmatic reasons.

2) The Church decides there is no dogmatic reason which prevents women from being ordained to the Priesthood, but a Canon is introduced to say they cannot be ordained, then that Canon stays in force unless and until a Synod of equal authority overturns it.

3) This Council decides it cannot make a decision yet on the issue and that a subsequent Council needs to revisit it. In the Meantime, women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood.

4) The Church decides women can now be ordained to the Priesthood.

Someone is going to be unhappy no matter what is decided, but since when has resolving a question in an Ecumenical Council not caused a split from the Church? :D
 

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ozgeorge said:
Irish Hermit said:
It worries me, George that these initial stages of the debate are disturbingly similar to the initial stages which commenced the process towards ordination of Anglican women.
I acknowledge that people are afraid, but what are they afraid of?
Throwing a lot of time, energy and resources we can't afford in an unnecessary and in many way contrieved debate, not to mention stirring up a lot of ill will for no reason.

Are they afraid that if the issue is examined and discussed, then women will be ordained as Priests? There are three other possibilities besides that. The possible outcomes are of examining the issue are:

1) The Church decides and decrees that women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood for dogmatic reasons.

2) The Church decides there is no dogmatic reason which prevents women from being ordained to the Priesthood, but a Canon is introduced to say they cannot be ordained, then that Canon stays in force unless and until a Synod of equal authority overturns it.

3) This Council decides it cannot make a decision yet on the issue and that a subsequent Council needs to revisit it. In the Meantime, women cannot be ordained to the Priesthood.

4) The Church decides women can now be ordained to the Priesthood.

Someone is going to be unhappy no matter what is decided, but since when has resolving a question in an Ecumenical Council not caused a split from the Church? :D
The circumstances of calling ALL the Ecumenical Councils were forced on the Church.  She didn't go around looking for trouble.

While we are at it, why not decide if we can ordain Mr. Spock?
 

ozgeorge

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ialmisry said:
While we are at it, why not decide if we can ordain Mr. Spock?
Well, one reason not to consider the question of ordaining Mr. Spock at the Holy Synod is that he is a fictitious character in a television series and movies.
Women are not fictitious characters. They are actual human beings like us and members of the Body of Christ.
 

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palmistry said:
Throwing a lot of time, energy and resources we can't afford in an unnecessary and in many way contrived debate, not to mention stirring up a lot of ill will for no reason.
This is a little tangential to the discussion but it does touch on suitable topics for the Great and Holy Council.  It appalled me a few years back to discover on a major Orthodox list that there are convert clergy (and this cuts across jurisdictional lines) who deny that the soul and divinity of Christ are present in the Holy Mysteries.    They claim they are being scriptural since the Lord declares that the Mysteries are only His Body and Blood.  I think that it is a result of residual anti-Catholicism among convert clergy from certain backgrounds.    This is so very heretical (and I am using that word in its full meaning) that it merits being on the agenda of the Council.  The holy Orthodox Church has not made any conciliar proclamations about the nature of the Eucharist.  Maybe this would be an excellent time to do so and cut this heresy off at the knees.

(back to the topic under discussion)
 

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ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
While we are at it, why not decide if we can ordain Mr. Spock?
Well, one reason not to consider the question of ordaining Mr. Spock at the Holy Synod is that he is a fictitious character in a television series and movies.
Women are not fictitious characters. They are actual human beings like us and members of the Body of Christ.
Maybe he meant Dr Spock?
http://www.drspock.com/about/drbenjaminspock/0,1781,,00.html
;)
 

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cleveland said:
ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
While we are at it, why not decide if we can ordain Mr. Spock?
Well, one reason not to consider the question of ordaining Mr. Spock at the Holy Synod is that he is a fictitious character in a television series and movies.
Women are not fictitious characters. They are actual human beings like us and members of the Body of Christ.
Maybe he meant Dr Spock?
http://www.drspock.com/about/drbenjaminspock/0,1781,,00.html
;)
Can we ordain dead people now (as long as they're not women)? :D
 

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ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
While we are at it, why not decide if we can ordain Mr. Spock?
Well, one reason not to consider the question of ordaining Mr. Spock at the Holy Synod is that he is a fictitious character in a television series and movies.
Women are not fictitious characters. They are actual human beings like us and members of the Body of Christ.
Women are real.  It is the question of ordaining them which is fictitious.
 

ozgeorge

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ialmisry said:
ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
While we are at it, why not decide if we can ordain Mr. Spock?
Well, one reason not to consider the question of ordaining Mr. Spock at the Holy Synod is that he is a fictitious character in a television series and movies.
Women are not fictitious characters. They are actual human beings like us and members of the Body of Christ.
Women are real.  It is the question of ordaining them which is fictitious.
Are Deaconesses fictitious?
 

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ozgeorge said:
Not having the issue of Women's Ordination on the agenda for the Great and Holy Council can only be interpreted in one way
Correct. That such was a total non-issue in November of 1976, when the first Pre-Conciliar Consultation met in Switzerland, almost two years before the Lambeth Conference accepted female ordination.
 
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