Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

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Merarches
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byhisgrace said:
LBK, though I appreciate you for speaking up for me, I wasn't hurt by that particular post by PtA. It was a bit unnecessary, yes, but it was trivially mild. 

As for my personal inquiry about women's ordination, I think that 1 Timothy 2:13-14 and how the Church consistently applied it is good enough for me. I just asked if there's any Patristics quote I could use, if you will, as more apologetic tools. That's all.
I am reading a wonderful book on the subject by Father Lawrence Farley, Feminism and Tradition: Quiet Reflections on Ordination and Communion. As the blurb points out "Feminism and Tradition deals head-on with the questions and challenges which feminism presents to the traditional Orthodox Faith, in a way which is irenic, straightforward, and comprehensive. It examines at length the scriptural foundation for the Church's Faith, as well as its elaboration by the Fathers, and goes on to offer a model and rationale for continuing to accept this traditional Faith in our modern age. The book defies the entrenched polarized positions of former debates, and bids us take another look at these controversial questions."

I urge all who are interested in this subject to read it.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Why does everyone wish to divide us by trying to make us equal in some limiting sense?  Remember, that salvation entered this world through a young woman.

Mankind...we are all created in the image of God, and we are all anointed at our chrismation, and we are all called to be priests of the Church....in different ways.

The only thing different is that men can be ordained into the official Church priesthood and become clergy - deacon, priest, bishop, which grants them the privilege of playing a more integral part in the Church, the Holy Sacraments, etc.

However, remember, that not all men, not even all Orthodox men, would be permitted to enter the priesthood...it takes more than physical attributes of the body.

Women play no less a roll in the Church...only this side of the Ikonostas.

Both, men and women, are loved by God, and "used" by Him to grow and strengthen His Church.  However, Christ DID pick 12 male disciples....even though He was surrounded by willing and eager women...who nonetheless followed Him and supported the Apostles.  While they weren't chosen to be Apostles, they were also not told to go away, but, were present at many great moments.  The women were the first to be given the Good News of Christ's resurrection....and they were the ones who shared it with the men.  The women were the first to see the Resurrected Christ.  The women were the ones who stood steadfast at His crucifixion and were constants in the Church, when the men faltered. 

The women still do this today.  We have a huge role to play in life....which is not diminished in the least because we don't get to wear a cassock.

 

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LizaSymonenko said:
The only thing different is that men can be ordained into the official Church priesthood and become clergy - deacon, priest, bishop, which grants them the privilege of playing a more integral part in the Church, the Holy Sacraments, etc.
since when deacons do all that?

The women still do this today.  We have a huge role to play in life....which is not diminished in the least because we don't get to wear a cassock.
Ryasa?
 

PeterTheAleut

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Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
So what is there about a female male priest that would make her different from a male priest?
We now ordain transgendered persons?  :eek: This slope has become slippery, indeed. ;) Soon we're going to ordain Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner to the priesthood.
Different argument. Obviously you wouldn't for disciplinary reasons in a church that considers being transgendered to be a state of sin.
You missed the joke. I'll give you a hint as to what it is.

Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
My answer is: nothing.
Again, what do you know of priesthood that you can give such an answer?
Ok, then what's the other option? It's some kind of mysterious, undefined change in the person's very being. What makes you think this is a change that needs a Y chromosome to take effect?
Please answer the question with a statement, without resorting to absurd straw men, and without putting words into my mouth. What do you know of priesthood that you can assert that there would be no difference between a female priest and a male priest?
I'm a reasonable, moral human being. If the Church tells me to eat dog crap, I'm not going to do it no matter how much authority is behind it.
Where in the world did that come from? :eek: Please try to stay on topic.
That's the answer to your question. Forcing people to eat dog crap is clearly wrong, denying women equal authority with men when there's no good reason to so is also clearly wrong.
That's not an answer to my question. You're only making another assertion that has nothing to do with what I'm asking. So once again, what do you know of priesthood?
Nothing. I do know that inequalities like this are wrong, though.
So you know nothing about priesthood in the Orthodox Church, yet you feel yourself qualified to judge our practice of a male-only priesthood as wrong because it violates your sense of egalitarianism. If you don't know anything about the Orthodox priesthood and why we don't ordain women, then maybe you should admit that you're not qualified to judge it.
So you have absolutely no objection to, for example, Muslim honor killings or Hindu widow burning because you aren't part of that culture and thus are "not equipped to judge" based on your sense of human rights?
You're putting words into my mouth again. Stop it. :mad: You are the one attacking our Church's practice of not ordaining women to the priesthood. You are the one being called to answer questions about your reasoning. You are the one who needs to defend your judgment of our practice. Attempting to deflect questions by asking absurd questions of me over things I never said will not absolve you of the burden I and others are putting on you. Right now you need to establish how much you know about Orthodox priesthood and why we reserve it for men only. Right now you need to establish why egalitarianism is such a noble goal that our practice of a male-only priesthood is wrong because it isn't what you call "egalitarian". Right now you need to establish your qualifications to condemn a practice with which you disagree.
Forget it. I tried to explain where I was coming from and it went right over your head. I might as well talk to wall.
Now you know how I feel with your twisting in the wind and your crass refusal to give a direct answer to any questions asked of you. Every time someone asks you a question, you think you know where the questioner is leading you and respond with an absurd question that shows that you really have no idea. The only common thread is that every absurd question you ask only puts you back on the offensive--you want us to engage you, but you won't engage us. That's not dialogue, though.
 

Volnutt

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genesisone said:
This article entitled "Rethinking 'Biblical Equality'" helped me understand better the role of a priest as well as why the priesthood is open only to men.
So to summarize-

Men are superior because they're bigger and stronger, but women are still their ontological equals- sounds like doubletalk to me.
 

LizaSymonenko

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mike said:
LizaSymonenko said:
The only thing different is that men can be ordained into the official Church priesthood and become clergy - deacon, priest, bishop, which grants them the privilege of playing a more integral part in the Church, the Holy Sacraments, etc.
since when deacons do all that?
Deacons do assist in the Altar during Liturgy...they may and do touch the altar table, and the Gifts...and even distribute the Eucharist on occasion.

Monasteries aside, women normally do not enter the Altar, touch the Gifts, etc.

Do you disagree with that statement?

 

Volnutt

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PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
So what is there about a female male priest that would make her different from a male priest?
We now ordain transgendered persons?  :eek: This slope has become slippery, indeed. ;) Soon we're going to ordain Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner to the priesthood.
Different argument. Obviously you wouldn't for disciplinary reasons in a church that considers being transgendered to be a state of sin.
You missed the joke. I'll give you a hint as to what it is.

Volnutt said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Volnutt said:
My answer is: nothing.
Again, what do you know of priesthood that you can give such an answer?
Ok, then what's the other option? It's some kind of mysterious, undefined change in the person's very being. What makes you think this is a change that needs a Y chromosome to take effect?
Please answer the question with a statement, without resorting to absurd straw men, and without putting words into my mouth. What do you know of priesthood that you can assert that there would be no difference between a female priest and a male priest?
I'm a reasonable, moral human being. If the Church tells me to eat dog crap, I'm not going to do it no matter how much authority is behind it.
Where in the world did that come from? :eek: Please try to stay on topic.
That's the answer to your question. Forcing people to eat dog crap is clearly wrong, denying women equal authority with men when there's no good reason to so is also clearly wrong.
That's not an answer to my question. You're only making another assertion that has nothing to do with what I'm asking. So once again, what do you know of priesthood?
Nothing. I do know that inequalities like this are wrong, though.
So you know nothing about priesthood in the Orthodox Church, yet you feel yourself qualified to judge our practice of a male-only priesthood as wrong because it violates your sense of egalitarianism. If you don't know anything about the Orthodox priesthood and why we don't ordain women, then maybe you should admit that you're not qualified to judge it.
So you have absolutely no objection to, for example, Muslim honor killings or Hindu widow burning because you aren't part of that culture and thus are "not equipped to judge" based on your sense of human rights?
You're putting words into my mouth again. Stop it. :mad: You are the one attacking our Church's practice of not ordaining women to the priesthood. You are the one being called to answer questions about your reasoning. You are the one who needs to defend your judgment of our practice. Attempting to deflect questions by asking absurd questions of me over things I never said will not absolve you of the burden I and others are putting on you. Right now you need to establish how much you know about Orthodox priesthood and why we reserve it for men only. Right now you need to establish why egalitarianism is such a noble goal that our practice of a male-only priesthood is wrong because it isn't what you call "egalitarian". Right now you need to establish your qualifications to condemn a practice with which you disagree.
Forget it. I tried to explain where I was coming from and it went right over your head. I might as well talk to wall.
Now you know how I feel with your twisting in the wind and your crass refusal to give a direct answer to any questions asked of you. Every time someone asks you a question, you think you know where the questioner is leading you and respond with an absurd question that shows that you really have no idea. The only common thread is that every absurd question you ask only puts you back on the offensive--you want us to engage you, but you won't engage us. That's not dialogue, though.
Alright, I'll consider what you're saying.

I should withdraw. This is getting too emotional for me.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Volnutt said:
genesisone said:
This article entitled "Rethinking 'Biblical Equality'" helped me understand better the role of a priest as well as why the priesthood is open only to men.
So to summarize-

Men are superior because they're bigger and stronger, but women are still their ontological equals- sounds like doubletalk to me.
If after reading the article you can summarize it in this way... How poorly you comprehend what is said therein.
 

ilyazhito

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Yes. The article has the classic giving life-taking life distinction as the explanation for the difference of roles between men and women, and why women can't become priests. In fact, I don't know why this is even an issue, becasue I'm not sure as to who would have an interest in seeing this put into action. There are many roles that women do that men can't, so it's only fair that it should be the other way around as well for other roles. If anyone wants to prove that female priesthood is needed, please present proofs and reasons why, because otherwise, this is a moot point.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Volnutt said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Volnutt said:
Fatherhood is just as high a calling as motherhood. But women have no equivalent when it comes to the priesthood.
What is "fatherhood"?  What is "motherhood"?  And what is "priesthood"?
The condition of being a father, mother, and priest, respectively. It has functions and it's a condition such that the respective nouns apply to each.
I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear (I'd hate to think you were being intentionally obtuse).  What is "father"?  What is "mother"?  What is "priest"? 

That is the answer to your question. Just like God created blacks to be free people, I see no reason to think that He didn't create women to be capable of being priests.
God didn't "create blacks to be free people", he created people free and some of those people happen to be "black". 

Even when people are physically incapable of something, there's still the possibility of a reasonable equivalent.
How are you defining "reasonable equivalent"? 

In the case of parenthood, there are the counterparts of mother and father to make up for the biological differences.
What does this mean?

Presbyteras though are not nearly equal to priests.
Nope, and introducing them into this discussion is pointless.   

Mor Ephrem said:
What male-only priesthood advocates really need to prove is that all is doom and gloom whenever a female priest is ordained (a literalistic reading of 1 Peter 3:7's "weaker vessel" would also help).
Why is that the standard?
Because if women are just as fit to be priests as men are, then there is no good reason to deny them the priesthood. "Just because God says so," isn't good enough.
An argument based on an "if".  You've convinced me.  :p
Like I said, I think there's good reason to assume said "if."
Yes, but I don't believe you've really explained that beyond positing that God is unloving for not creating an egalitarian world, priesthood as function, etc.  IOW, this is an issue of how you define and interact with reality and how the Church, insofar as it doesn't necessarily go along for the ride, is a poopyface.   
 

Mor Ephrem

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Volnutt said:
As I understand it, in relation to a bishop the priest is essentially an assistant/servant with greater ability to perform sacraments who serves at the bishop's pleasure.
You need to study more.  This is a caricature.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Volnutt said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Volnutt said:
Whatever grace is imparted by ordination is for use for the congregation. It isn't some ontological change.
It's true that we don't typically speak of ordination as an ontological change in the way Roman Catholics do, and yet ordination is something more than "grace imparted for use for the congregation", at least based on the ordination rites.  Also, in the rare case that a deposed priest is reinstated, he isn't ordained to the priesthood again: his deposition is reversed and he assumes his place among the other clerics of his order.  If it was pure function, then I find it difficult to imagine the circumstances in which it wouldn't be preferable to re-ordain the man publicly rather than just send him a letter saying "Here's your new parish assignment, Sunday Liturgy is scheduled to begin at 9am, make sure to set your alarm."
Ok, but you still have to show that being male is an essential part of said ontological change.
Do I? 

I think it's reasonable to expect a theological answer for why (if at all) "being male" is "an essential part" of being ordained to the priesthood.  I think it's reasonable even to criticise attempts that don't seem to pass muster.  But I'm not convinced that an unbroken tradition of over nineteen centuries which was only overturned by a minority of Christians within our lifetime is not evidence enough.  The Church has had (in some places still has) deaconesses, abbesses who are in some traditions treated almost as bishops, anointed queens with an anointing sometimes considered sacramental, missionaries, martyrs, even a Theotokos.  One thing we have never had, never even considered AFAIK, is a woman priest.  If the weight of that historical precedent isn't enough, you might as well discard Scripture.       

Reinstatement can be explained by convenience.
Yeah, but it's a pretty stupid explanation if there's nothing to priesthood other than function. 

Denying them this equality for no clear reason is a denial of the equality of their image.
This is like saying a man is less in the image of God than a woman because a man cannot give birth.  "Ejaculate and wait" is not a "reasonable equivalent". 

Hindus aren't ordained for the clear reason that they aren't believes (for a start). I never said being in the Image of God is the only necessary requirement.
What are the requirements?
 

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LizaSymonenko said:
Both, men and women, are loved by God, and "used" by Him to grow and strengthen His Church.  However, Christ DID pick 12 male disciples....even though He was surrounded by willing and eager women...who nonetheless followed Him and supported the Apostles.  While they weren't chosen to be Apostles, they were also not told to go away, but, were present at many great moments.  The women were the first to be given the Good News of Christ's resurrection....and they were the ones who shared it with the men.  The women were the first to see the Resurrected Christ.  The women were the ones who stood steadfast at His crucifixion and were constants in the Church, when the men faltered. 

The women still do this today.  We have a huge role to play in life....which is not diminished in the least because we don't get to wear a cassock.
Spoken like a real victim.  ;)
 

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but the priest in the EO liturgy presides over a "reasonable and unbloody sacrifice", so is not a life-taker.

I can think of one good reason... two great preachers I know are women.  One is an Episcopal priest (they usually go by pastor or mother), the other is a lay preacher in the Church of England.
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
but the priest in the EO liturgy presides over a "reasonable and unbloody sacrifice", so is not a life-taker.

I can think of one good reason... two great preachers I know are women.  One is an Episcopal priest, the other is a lay preacher in the Church of England.
You can preach without being a priest.
 

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Saint Nino aside, I don't think we have any lay preachers today in the Orthodox church, at least not operating in a capacity sanctioned by the hierarchy.
 

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Iconodule said:
Saint Nino aside, I don't think we have any lay preachers today in the Orthodox church, at least not operating in a capacity sanctioned by the hierarchy.
Maybe there should be some. Especially in countries (like the USA) that are essentially mission fields.
 

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Iconodule said:
Saint Nino aside, I don't think we have any lay preachers today in the Orthodox church, at least not operating in a capacity sanctioned by the hierarchy.
We do, in fact. The Church of Greece has had theologically trained lay preachers for some time. I cannot speak for other churches, though.
 

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Orthodox do not allow women to preach in church, do they?  I seriously doubt they do consider in most Orthodox churches they don't even allow women to be readers
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
Orthodox do not allow women to preach in church, do they?  I seriously doubt they do consider in most Orthodox churches they don't even allow women to be readers
I guess it depends on how you define "preach." I watch Greek ecclesiastical television and you can see women giving lectures.
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
Orthodox do not allow women to preach in church, do they?  I seriously doubt they do consider in most Orthodox churches they don't even allow women to be readers
Where did you get that idea?  Ever been to Russia and seen all the women cantors?  They even have special courses (3 year I believe) in the Russian seminaries for  women  to become choir directors and cantors.
 

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Iconodule said:
That's interesting. Where and when do they preach?
My mom's aunt will preach at the invitation of (or the order of) the local bishop or priest at churches after Vespers and/or during or after the Liturgy (from the nave), at other parish activities, at retreats, at meetings of women's groups, Bible studies, etc.  She also ministers to families in trouble and collects money and goods which she distributes to the poor whom she finds on the streets or who come to her home.  Basically, she does the work of a NT "widow" or a "deaconess" (without the liturgical roles), but she does them as an episcopally commissioned preacher. 
 

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Mother Irini, who is well on her way to be canonized one day in the Coptic Church, also preached even to presbyters who came to hear her even though she wished for the presbyters to be the one to preach and to sit in a higher seat in her presence.
 

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I think it'd be a good idea to have more Orthodox lay preachers (of either gender) who preach in public settings, not just specifically Orthodox ones.

There are a lot of college kids whose only encounter with Christianity is from folks like Brother Jed and his protégé Brother Dean, and they assume guys like him are representative of the faith, and acquire an understandably negative opinion of it as a result.

Perhaps if there were more St. Nino's, and fewer Brother Jeds, then maybe college kids wouldn't have soured so much on Christianity.
 

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Minnesotan said:
I think it'd be a good idea to have more Orthodox lay preachers (of either gender) who preach in public settings, not just specifically Orthodox ones.

There are a lot of college kids whose only encounter with Christianity is from folks like Brother Jed and his protégé Brother Dean, and they assume guys like him are representative of the faith, and acquire an understandably negative opinion of it as a result.

Perhaps if there were more St. Nino's, and fewer Brother Jeds, then maybe college kids wouldn't have soured so much on Christianity.
Good idea about more lay preachers.  We can follow the example of the orthodox Church of Greece with their lay preachers and lay theologians who are very well educated and academic scholars.
 

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The Church is already feminine by its very nature in that it is personified as a bride. Ordaining women to the priesthood would ironically do more to create an imbalance between the genders than to create a balance. By having a feminine entity whose primary office is masculine, a balance is created as both genders play a role. By having a feminine entity with a feminine and/or mixed primary office, a matriarchy is created and males are left out. The reason people want female priests is because they don't have a good understanding of our ecclesiology to begin with.
 

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JamesR said:
The Church is already feminine by its very nature in that it is personified as a bride. Ordaining women to the priesthood would ironically do more to create an imbalance between the genders than to create a balance. By having a feminine entity whose primary office is masculine, a balance is created as both genders play a role. By having a feminine entity with a feminine and/or mixed primary office, a matriarchy is created and males are left out. The reason people want female priests is because they don't have a good understanding of our ecclesiology to begin with.
OUR ecclesiology? I thought you hated God and had all but rejected the Church? Are you Orthodox when it's convenient for you but a hater of God when it's not?
 

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Minnesotan said:
I think it'd be a good idea to have more Orthodox lay preachers (of either gender) who preach in public settings, not just specifically Orthodox ones.

There are a lot of college kids whose only encounter with Christianity is from folks like Brother Jed and his protégé Brother Dean, and they assume guys like him are representative of the faith, and acquire an understandably negative opinion of it as a result.

Perhaps if there were more St. Nino's, and fewer Brother Jeds, then maybe college kids wouldn't have soured so much on Christianity.
Please, not that nonsense.
 

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ilyazhito said:
Yes. The article has the classic giving life-taking life distinction as the explanation for the difference of roles between men and women, and why women can't become priests. In fact, I don't know why this is even an issue, becasue I'm not sure as to who would have an interest in seeing this put into action. There are many roles that women do that men can't, so it's only fair that it should be the other way around as well for other roles. If anyone wants to prove that female priesthood is needed, please present proofs and reasons why, because otherwise, this is a moot point.
Interesting; women give life, men take life? That almost reminds me of Mary Daly, the Catholic radical feminist who believed that men were necrophilic (loving death) and women biophilic (loving life). Which is certainly ironic.
 

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No, I do not mean it in that sense. Historically, priests made animal sacrifices by killing the animal in question to be offered. That is why I mentioned taking life, and why it would be a contradiction for a woman to be a priest because she would be giving life to her children, but taking the life of animals.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
JamesR said:
The Church is already feminine by its very nature in that it is personified as a bride. Ordaining women to the priesthood would ironically do more to create an imbalance between the genders than to create a balance. By having a feminine entity whose primary office is masculine, a balance is created as both genders play a role. By having a feminine entity with a feminine and/or mixed primary office, a matriarchy is created and males are left out. The reason people want female priests is because they don't have a good understanding of our ecclesiology to begin with.
OUR ecclesiology? I thought you hated God and had all but rejected the Church? Are you Orthodox when it's convenient for you but a hater of God when it's not?
I couldn't have said it better myself.  Bravo.
 

Stavro

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minasoliman said:
Mother Irini, who is well on her way to be canonized one day in the Coptic Church, also preached even to presbyters who came to hear her even though she wished for the presbyters to be the one to preach and to sit in a higher seat in her presence.
A cliche, empty of any content. Not even remotely related to the heresy of women's ordination to priesthood, should it be as chanters, readers, prophets or presbyter.

Apostles also came to St.Mary to seek her blessings. Yet, the Holy Theotokos was never considered for priesthood. She never stood at the front pews as chanter, never preached and never led as a deacon or entered the altar in any capacity. Far be it from her to be connected to this heresy. 

Well, unless you consider the status of the late Tamav Iriny and her likes worthy of more consideration for priesthood than the Theotokos, which I would not be surprised if you do. 
 

PeterTheAleut

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Stavro said:
minasoliman said:
Mother Irini, who is well on her way to be canonized one day in the Coptic Church, also preached even to presbyters who came to hear her even though she wished for the presbyters to be the one to preach and to sit in a higher seat in her presence.
A cliche, empty of any content. Not even remotely related to the heresy of women's ordination to priesthood, should it be as chanters, readers, prophets or presbyter.

Apostles also came to St.Mary to seek her blessings. Yet, the Holy Theotokos was never considered for priesthood. She never stood at the front pews as chanter, never preached and never led as a deacon or entered the altar in any capacity. Far be it from her to be connected to this heresy. 

Well, unless you consider the status of the late Tamav Iriny and her likes worthy of more consideration for priesthood than the Theotokos, which I would not be surprised if you do.
How do you know so much about what the Theotokos did or did not do in church? Where is all this documented?
 

Daedelus1138

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PeterTheAleut said:
How do you know so much about what the Theotokos did or did not do in church? Where is all this documented?
I always thought the icon, The Virgin of the Sign, looked very priestly.
 

Orest

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Stavro said:
minasoliman said:
Mother Irini, who is well on her way to be canonized one day in the Coptic Church, also preached even to presbyters who came to hear her even though she wished for the presbyters to be the one to preach and to sit in a higher seat in her presence.
A cliche, empty of any content. Not even remotely related to the heresy of women's ordination to priesthood, should it be as chanters, readers, prophets or presbyter.

Apostles also came to St.Mary to seek her blessings. Yet, the Holy Theotokos was never considered for priesthood. She never stood at the front pews as chanter, never preached and never led as a deacon or entered the altar in any capacity. Far be it from her to be connected to this heresy. 

Well, unless you consider the status of the late Tamav Iriny and her likes worthy of more consideration for priesthood than the Theotokos, which I would not be surprised if you do.
Which Orthodox Church do you belong to?  Even in apostolic times there were deaconesses. And we already have women choir directors, cantors and theologians. This is not heresy so try learning something. 
 
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