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Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

montalban

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Pedro said:
Had they been married, then yes, he would have been. Since they were not, then no, he was not. Not even the Theotokos, however, was elevated in her lifetime (as far as has been recorded) to any kind of teaching or sacramental ministry within the Church--highly revered and dearly loved by all who received her, according to Ignatius, iirc, but not an ordained anything.
Indeed! I'm not aware of any teachings by Mary.

Pedro said:
I'm afraid I fail to see your point here, George. How is being the civil head of the government comparable to being an ordained priest or bishop? I understand that they entered a church through the altar, but did they concelebrate with the actual, ordained clergy? I don't think so; it seems this honor was given to them due to their helping the church in matters of secular life--protection of the Church from enemies of the Empire and so on. Yet, even though they were granted access to the altar area, are there any examples within history of an empress standing before the holy table and proclaiming "Blessed is the Kingdom..." and proceeding to celebrate the liturgy in the place of (or even with) a priest or bishop? Any examples of an empress giving absolution to a penitent? Any examples of an empress baptizing anyone, at any time? I just don't see how saying that an empress (or even an emperor) has authority over men in a civil way is the same as saying that she is therefore eligible for the sacramental priesthood.
I think Constantine the Great was declared 'equal of the Apostles' for honorific purposes, as I'm unaware of him preaching. And I'm aware that the Emperor may have called the Ecumenical Councils but deferred to the clerics there present.

 

ozgeorge

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montalban said:
John Chrysostomon says, in part...
For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for one, being a man, and compassed with flesh and blood...
Montalban, I'm going to be blunt.
This issue is complex enough as it is, and one which, I think, is worthy of much thought and examination. I have already spent an hour answering two other people on this thread.
When you throw quotes like this at me and expect me to answer, it chews up a lot of time for no purpose I can see. If you cannot work out for yourself why St. John Chrysostom could not have possibly written "being a man or woman", then you wouldn't possibly be able to understand any answer I would give to this.
So if I ignore posts like this filled with quotes which look like they were simply googled for keywords, it's because I don't have the time or the energy to spend explaining to you why they are irrelevant.



 

montalban

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ozgeorge said:
Montalban, I'm going to be blunt.
This issue is complex enough as it is, and one which, I think, is worthy of much thought and examination. I have already spent an hour answering two other people on this thread.
When you throw quotes like this at me and expect me to answer, it chews up a lot of time for no purpose I can see. If you cannot work out for yourself why St. John Chrysostom could not have possibly written "being a man or woman", then you wouldn't possibly be able to understand any answer I would give to this.
So if I ignore posts like this filled with quotes which look like they were simply googled for keywords, it's because I don't have the time or the energy to spend explaining to you why they are irrelevant.
Then let me be equally blunt. When people present evidence to you (and I didn't google it, I read it through - I love research)* several days ago and then you appear today and say the only evidence people have provided is from the Bible then you are re-working the argument of those opposed to your opinion. And I say 'opinion' because you provide NO evidence for change at all, other than it is possible.

If you can't possibly see that you've already been answered also with respects to any 'gender' issues, then you've obviously NOT given it enough thought. I didn't give you that evidence, someone else did. So in short you claim no one person has the right to interpret the teachings of the Church and yet you are ONE doing just that. Based on your opinion; based on ignoring evidence in context (gender issues iron out any objections anyway to the quotes I gave - which even here you give me no credit, based on some further unknown assumption).

*-It is because I love research I'm so very appalled by you being content to argue from opinion backed by opinion backed by opinion, and your disdain for evidence, and your disdain for another person, a convert, for being zealous.
 

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Firstly, isn't refusing to examine the Holy Tradition of Deaconesses an attempt to "ignore history ...(and).... reject the Tradition of the fathers?
And you elevate that "tradition" to the priesthood? The most that you can do is argue about women becoming deacons because that is all the evidence that your side can present. The priesthood is another matter altogether and you know it.

Secondly, precisely who is being "sola scriptura" on this issue? The only appeals made for documented evidence that the Church Dogmas forbid women to be Priests are ever made to St. Paul's writings. So let's examine them to see how well we have maintained this Holy Apostle's Tradition:
The way to understand Scripture is to understand it in the context of Tradition. What you're trying to do is isolate the words of Paul and apply a twisted take on history, particularly GiC's unscholarly assertion that the male-only priesthood was culturally motivated. This makes your argument Sola-Scriptura-oriented and historically blind.

You are also mistaken about your perception of Tradition. You seem to be equating it with Dogma. Mind you, not all Tradition is documented. The church, after all, is not legalistic. Ever heard of ORAL tradition?

Once you abandon oral tradition, you will be arguing based on Scripture alone. That is the danger.

How many women cover their heads in accordance with the same Apostle's command in your Church?
And if they don't cover their heads, why are they not shorn?
Why is this tradition no longer observed?
Is it not an Apostolic Tradition, even though an Apostle wrote it and taught it?
Head coverings are totally irrelevant to the subject of the gender of the priesthood. If anything, the Church must revive the tradition of head covering.

Why is women covering their heads a dispensible Apostolic Tradition, but women speaking in Church (which they do in the Oecumenical Patriarchate anyway) absolutely indispensible? Why is it that we can disobey the Apostle's instruction to "observe every tradition whether in writing or spoken by the Apostles" in the case of women covering their heads?
Because head coverings do not comprise the Church itself. When you want reforms in the gender of priests, you are dealing with changing the very composition of the Church, i.e. its members.

BTW, I pray that head coverings are revived in all churches.

Also, St. Paul forbade women to "prophesy" in Church with their heads uncovered. Didn't these women speak their prophesies, and thereby instruct the People of God in the Church. How can this be that St. Paul forbids women to teach but allows them to prophesy in Church?
Because the members of the body have different roles.

Why is one Apostolic Tradition more important than others?
Your line of questioning is evidence of a legalistic mindset.

Shake that thing off, my brethren.

Let me tell you something you may not know. The Church, and only the Church is the sole interpreter of Holy Tradition. No individual, no matter how great, how holy, much they have attained theosis, can ever interpret alone what the Holy Tradition is. So no matter what, this question can only be answered by the Church.
We cannot simply, as someone else suggested, place this question "in the hands of holy tradition", because the Church still needs to interpret that Tradition.
And who are we to question Tradition when in fact we can't interpret it? Can't we just live our lives and enjoy church life AS IT IS?
 

montalban

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ozgeorge said:
Then you haven't read the Gospel. It records the Theotokos as teaching others to: "Do whatever He tells you".
???
That's simply deferring to Jesus. It's in fact saying "Don't ask me". You remind me very much of a charcter in "The Life of Brian". When Brian says "Go away" this man shouts "A blessing! A blessing!"

::)
 

montalban

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ozgeorge said:
Montalban, I'm going to be blunt.
This issue is complex enough as it is, and one which, I think, is worthy of much thought and examination. I have already spent an hour answering two other people on this thread.
Furthermore you sound here as if responding is an imposition on your precious time. Although you've been here two hours you've been instantly dismissive of any evidence - cleverly, or perhaps that's too much credit, constructing ahead of time a false set of parameters for dismissing any of the evidence that could and should be used by people of my ilk against you. Even when people take time to respond to you you've been exceptionally dismissive, and all based on your opinion that women could be priests - but for reasons still yet not stated.

Well my time is up for this evening. I won't cite you my billable hours.
 

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You do interpret that yourself, in light of modernity, and then argue from there, ah irony! (Having provided NO evidence for a change yourself)
What irony indeed!

If there was any other motivation for introducing women into the priesthood other than modernity, the thread would have been more interesting. At least they are consistent in one thing. That is, since they believe that the male-only priesthood was culturally motivated (despite the overwhelming evidence against it), it's just proper that the introduction of women to the priesthood should also be culturally motivated.

To them, it is culture that dictates theology.

How sad. It's supposed to be the other way around.

 

ozgeorge

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Theognosis said:
The most that you can do is argue about women becoming deacons because that is all the evidence that your side can present.
"My side"? What side am I on other than the side of those seeking examination, dialogue, and discussion about this?

Theognosis said:
You are also mistaken about your perception of Tradition. You seem to be equating it with Dogma.
So then, please tell me, what is Holy Tradition if it is not the teachings of the Church?

Theognosis said:
Mind you, not all Tradition is documented. The church, after all, is not legalistic. Ever heard of ORAL tradition?
Yes, we have several terms for it here in Australia: "Chinese Whispers", "Gossip", "Whatever I want to believe is Tradition"....

Theognosis said:
Once you abandon oral tradition, you will be arguing based on Scripture alone. That is the danger.
On the contrary, once you believe that "My Priest, Father So-and-So says" is the equivalent of Holy Tradition, then you can kiss Holy Tradition goodbye. Oral Tradition means the teachings of the Apostles which were orally transmitted and recorded. It doesn't mean: "St. John told St. Prochoros, who told Fr. X who told Fr. Y who told Fr. Z......who told my priest who told me"

Theognosis said:
Head coverings are totally irrelevant to the subject of the gender of the priesthood.
I know, that wasn't my point. My point again is: "women covering their heads was an APOSTOLIC TRADITION written and taught by the same Apostle. Yet we ignore this tradition today. So how is it decided which Traditions should be observed and which should be dispensed with?"

Theognosis said:
And who are we to question Tradition when in fact we can't interpret it? Can't we just live our lives and enjoy church life AS IT IS?
Because God has endowed us with reason and commanded us to seek Him in His Truth. If the Church always "lived and enjoyed life as it is", we would be arians, monophysites, nestorians, iconoclasts, believing that we were following the Truth.
 

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So then, please tell me, what is Holy Tradition if it is not the teachings of the Church?
My point is that not all the teachings of the Church have been written down for the purpose of legality. ÂÂ

Yes, we have several terms for it here in Australia: "Chinese Whispers", "Gossip", "Whatever I want to believe is Tradition"....
Some funky sense of humor you have there.  That the exclusively-male priesthood is, according to you, "chinese whispers" and "gossip?" ÂÂ

So why argue at all?  Go tell your parish that women can become priests because the rumors are not true.

On the contrary, once you believe that "My Priest, Father So-and-So says" is the equivalent of Holy Tradition, then you can kiss Holy Tradition goodbye. Oral Tradition means the teachings of the Apostles which were orally transmitted and recorded. It doesn't mean: "St. John told St. Prochoros, who told Fr. X who told Fr. Y who told Fr. Z......who told my priest who told me"
They ALL tell us of men becoming priests. Not one woman was ordained in that position.

I know, that wasn't my point. My point again is: "women covering their heads was an APOSTOLIC TRADITION written and taught by the same Apostle. Yet we ignore this tradition today. So how is it decided which Traditions should be observed and which should be dispensed with?"
So if a jurisdiction breaks an apostolic tradition, all other traditions should be broken as well?

Is that your line of reasoning?  Please clarify.

Because God has endowed us with reason and commanded us to seek Him in His Truth.
If you truly believe that female priesthood represents the "truth," then the Anglican Church has beaten Orthodoxy for the grand prize.

If the Church always "lived and enjoyed life as it is", we would be arians, monophysites, nestorians, iconoclasts, believing that we were following the Truth.
Those heresies you mentioned ADDED something to the norm.  They were all innovations.  People asking for female priests are in danger of following their lead.
 

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montalban said:
What evidence do you provide for this? Nothing.

The evidence for the opposite assumption is that the church didn't ordain female priests. As someone else earlier pointed it out before a cradle Orthodox objected to them being zealous for Orthodoxy*, there's nothing in Tradition for women to be ordained.

That should be the end of it, but people here insist on personal speculation based on modernity driven notions.


*-itself a problematical stand-point to take
What evidence are you talking about? I asked a question.

Theognosis said:
Not again. Greek civilization was accustomed to having women priests. The alleged cultural prejudices have been ruled out already by virtue of this historical fact.
You haven't even answered the question. I agree with your line of argument, that this should satisfy us to understand that there was no cultural motivation in Gentile nations. But I asked concerning St. Paul.

It was a simple question trying to produce a dialogue.

I personally see the mentioning of St. Paul concerning Christ and God along with man and woman as something theological, refuting any notion of cultural motivation.

And for those who say that head coverings issue is irrelevant to the discussion, I personally find it relevant, considering the teaching that the head of woman is man in relation to the head of Christ is the Father.

Now as for interpreting the verse concerning women not teaching men, this only concerns matters in the Church, not in the government. Outside the Church, there is no problem with bishops submitting to the law of the land, whether the law is executed by man or woman. However, men or women in the government are still mere laity and have nothing to do with the Church. To say that the emperor was roleplaying in both the Church and the state would also assume that the bishop have the same authority over the state, which the Church frowns upon under canon law. The government is nothing but a worldly government, and while necessary for the world, is not obligated to have the same verses of women and men issues apply to them.

That's like saying there should be no female professors in universities teaching men. That is utter rubbish, and no where in the Bible does it forbid this.

God bless.

Mina
 

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ozgeorge said:
So then, who was the head of the Theotokos, because if St. Paul's words are dogma and not mere custom, she who is "more honourable than the Cherubim" must have had a human male as her head. So who was it?
In her case? ÂÂ Christ was, as He is for all unmarried women who do not live with their fathers: "The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband" (1 Cor. 7:34). ÂÂ

The point is that the Emperor was a position both in the State and the Church. And when the Emperor was a female, men in the Church even bishops were subject to her.
I grant you that, but in a limited sense.  For, to use your example, "The Seventh Oecumenical Council was convened by a woman- St. Irene the Emperess. This woman summoned 367 bishops of the Orthodox Church to a Synod" (emph. mine)."  So the authority to summon the men to a council was hers.  Well and good, for such befits the secular authorities of the Emperor/ess at that time.  Yet St. Paul's instruction within the context of the Church (as opposed to secular authority, which, as minasoliman correctly states, is distinct from that of the Church) was that women were not allowed to teach and have authority over a man -- the teaching of doctrine and right division of the word of truth being the authority in question.  The Emperess may have convened the council, but she had no say in what would come out of the council; that was for the bishops alone to decide.  She--I'm thinking in particular of Emperess Irene w/the 7th Council, to continue your thought--then made an official proclamation which made icons the law of the land, secularly speaking, but the decision the Church had already made was made by the episcopate, not her.
 

greekischristian

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Pedro said:
Had they been married, then yes, he would have been.  Since they were not, then no, he was not.  Not even the Theotokos, however, was elevated in her lifetime (as far as has been recorded) to any kind of teaching or sacramental ministry within the Church--highly revered and dearly loved by all who received her, according to Ignatius, iirc, but not an ordained anything.
I would disagree, I would say that the Incarnation itself was a sacramental ministry; the essence of all the sacraments is the Eucharist, and even more tho the point, Christ; a Priest can only participate in that which was done by our Lady. The sacramental nature of the Priesthood is dependent on the sacramental nature of the Incarnation, when our Lady formed the Divine Body and Divine Blood not out of Bread or Wine, but out of herself; furthermore, not only was His Body and Blood from Her Body and Blood, so also the Human Nature of Christ also came from our Lady. Accordingly, I have a problem with claiming the ministry of our Lady to be non-sacramental in nature; it was sacrament par excellence.

I just don't see how saying that an empress (or even an emperor) has authority over men in a civil way is the same as saying that she is therefore eligible for the sacramental priesthood.
She had authority over men in both a civil and ecclesiastical manner, as Patriarch Anthony would later say of the Imperial Office, 'The basileus is anointed with the great myrrh and is appointed basileus and autokrator of the Romans, and indeed of all Christians.' The Emperor (The masculine was the appropriate term to use for a reigning Emperor regardless of gender due to a technicality in Roman Law, hence St. Irene would have been addressed with the titles 'Imperator' and 'Basielus' and 'Augustus') had authority over people by virtue of their being Christians, making his authority more than merely Secular in Nature; the Name of the Emperor would be commemorated in the Liturgy by all the Orthodox, and even by some amongst the Latins, regardless of what country they were in or who immediately ruled over them, clearly demonstrating a strong ecclesiastical element to Imperial Rule.

Right...having HIS children in subjection and ruling HIS own house, for otherwise HE can't take care of the Church of God.  These are not neuter pronouns.  To ignore the gender is dishonest.  I agree it's about presbyters (who were all called either bishops or presbyters in the NT time but whose office separated into celibate bishops and married priests (in the East), as you know) being able to handle smaller responsibilities, but the gender in the verses leaves no room for matriarchal rule.
Like in English, Greek would and does use the masculine pronoun for mixed or uncertain gender. However, your comment about 'matriarchal rule' does betray your concerns; for years Her Majesty Elizabeth II was queen of England with Margaret Thacher as the Prime Minister...does that mean England was a matriarchy? Of course not, such categories as patriarchal and matriarchal are absurd and equally ridiculous to the enlightened mind; it is merely government by whoever is qualified, gender is irrelevant.

The two words are worlds apart.  I can acknowledge something exists and seek to be a Christian within this framework as best I can, but I do not have to support it and call it good.  There is, however, a difference between the issue of slavery and that of women's ordination.  Never in the history of the Church has the Church demanded that slaves be slaves within the Church; they all approach the altar as equals with non-slaves and, when slavery is abolished, they rejoice with them in their freedom, as in Philemon.  IOW, it was always seen as evil yet not resisted (nor "supported").  Women's exclusion from the priesthood, otoh, was, as has been stated elsewhere, not only something the NT authors and Fathers often saw as compatible with their culture, but also something that was a part of their orthodoxy even in situations when the positions of authority held by pagan women were greater than those of women within the Church.
But slavery was enforced by the Canons, teaching Slaves to me discontent with their condition was Anathema (by both Scripture and Canon), slaves were forbidden from the priesthood. The analogy is quite clear and accurate. Our exclusion of women from the priesthood is no different than our exclusion of slaves from the priesthood. Telling women that they cannot be in a position of authority is not different than anathematizing those who undermined the insitution of slavery. It is something that may have been brought about by necessity, but something that should be abandoned at the earliest possible convenience.

I say, we never reversed our position on slavery (I refer to the American version; the version in ancient times was incredibly different, as you know); we just found ourselves in a position where we didn't have to deal with it anymore.  Yet now that society has changed their views on women, we are not at all beholden to society to change that which we have never seen to be at odds with our morality, as was the case with slavery.
As we were able to correct one social injustice, we not have a moral responsibility to correct another.

Pedro said:
In her case? ÂÂ Christ was, as He is for all unmarried women who do not live with their fathers: "The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband" (1 Cor. 7:34).
So then you wouldn't object to the Ordination of Women, provided celibacy was a requirement? That could possibly be arranged, though I find your theory of marriage based on authority and headship to be, at best, repugnant to our theological understanding of the sacrament and the Christian faith.

I grant you that, but in a limited sense.  For, to use your example, "The Seventh Oecumenical Council was convened by a woman- St. Irene the Emperess. This woman summoned 367 bishops of the Orthodox Church to a Synod" (emph. mine)."  So the authority to summon the men to a council was hers.  Well and good, for such befits the secular authorities of the Emperor/ess at that time.  Yet St. Paul's instruction within the context of the Church (as opposed to secular authority, which, as minasoliman correctly states, is distinct from that of the Church) was that women were not allowed to teach and have authority over a man -- the teaching of doctrine and right division of the word of truth being the authority in question.  The Emperess may have convened the council, but she had no say in what would come out of the council; that was for the bishops alone to decide.  She--I'm thinking in particular of Emperess Irene w/the 7th Council, to continue your thought--then made an official proclamation which made icons the law of the land, secularly speaking, but the decision the Church had already made was made by the episcopate, not her.
You seem to misunderstand the Role of the Emperor, including Irene, in the Oecumenical Synods. Not only would they summon the synod, the Imperial Authority would also set the agenda, control the discussions, if necessary expel bishops, etc. Though the Emperor didn't vote, he essentially said who could and who couldn't, if the Synod was not going favourably the session might be closed, the problematic bishops removed, and the synod reconvened elsewhere. Sometimes the Emperor would delegate this role and authority to someone else, sometimes an Emperor would oversee it in person, depending on what else they had going on. There was more to it than simply summoning the Bishops and letting them go at it; the Emperor controlled the synod from the beginning to the end and ensured a favourable outcome regardless of the initial disposition of the Bishops.
 

greekischristian

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Theognosis said:
The way to understand Scripture is to understand it in the context of Tradition.  What you're trying to do is isolate the words of Paul and apply a twisted take on history, particularly GiC's unscholarly assertion that the male-only priesthood was culturally motivated.  This makes your argument Sola-Scriptura-oriented and historically blind.
The male priesthood was unquestionably culturally motivated, the initial influences were Jewish, which was an extremely misogynistic culture. By the time that Pagan culture became influential in the late second century it reflected Roman State Religion, which relegated women to minor Roles, granted there were a few unofficial cults that were women-only, but these were always looked upon with suspicion by the mainstream of society; and the popular non-state cults that formed (Christianity and Mithra) both ended up coming in line with the tendencies of Roman State Religion. Your reference to pre-Roman Greek religious practices is irrelevant; most of those cults either integrated into the mainstream Roman State Religion, with the relevant gender roles, or became unofficial cults that were tolerated but taboo. The reason that I didn't address this issue before is because the claim that Jewish misogynistic culture did not influence an all-male priesthood is absurd at best and unworthy of comment.

You are also mistaken about your perception of Tradition.  You seem to be equating it with Dogma.  Mind you, not all Tradition is documented.  The church, after all, is not legalistic.  Ever heard of ORAL tradition?

Once you abandon oral tradition, you will be arguing based on Scripture alone.  That is the danger.
Tradition, oral or otherwise, is determined by the Church and the Church alone...not by individuals. I have not contested that point, while I support the Ordination of Women only the Bishops have the authority to make it happen. And if they rule that it is appropriate, then it is, by definition, consonant with Tradition and neither your nor I have a valid right to object. Thus is the nature of the Authority of the Church.

And who are we to question Tradition when in fact we can't interpret it?  Can't we just live our lives and enjoy church life AS IT IS?
The only people who can interpret it are the Bishops. The tradition argument is moot because if the Episcopacy decides that the Ordination of Women is appropriate (and no body else can ordain anyone, obviously) then it is, by definition, consonant with tradition as interpreted by the only ones who have the right to interpret it authoritatively.

Theognosis said:
To them, it is culture that dictates theology.
No, haven't you studied Church history? Culture dictates custom and tradition; it was Imperial Politics that dictated theology.

Theognosis said:
My point is that not all the teachings of the Church have been written down for the purpose of legality.
And the episcopacy, not us, will get to make the ultimate ruling on these teachings.

So if a jurisdiction breaks an apostolic tradition, all other traditions should be broken as well?
You missed the point, the traditions of the Orthodox Church are living, growning, and develpoing, not dead and static, traditions.

If you truly believe that female priesthood represents the "truth," then the Anglican Church has beaten Orthodoxy for the grand prize.
As one of my professors here at Holy Cross told me, we Orthodox do a great job at preserving dogmas and liturgy, but where we fail and the Catholics and Protestants excel is in the advocating and advancing of justice and that we could learn a thing or two if we paid attention to them.
 

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greekischristian said:
Tradition, oral or otherwise, is determined by the Church and the Church alone...not by individuals. I have not contested that point, while I support the Ordination of Women only the Bishops have the authority to make it happen. And if they rule that it is appropriate, then it is, by definition, consonant with Tradition and neither your nor I have a valid right to object. Thus is the nature of the Authority of the Church.
Actually we do have the right to object, respectfully ;)

If a bishop started a heresy with his tradition then we would have the right to apostasize from him. So, why is it different with this topic?

I've read all the posts so I know where the theological points lie on this, but the problem is, since we havn't figured it out amongst ourselves what makes you think that Bishops have?

So if they make a decision and some other bishop thinks its a heresy i'm sure they'll have a nice little chat about it and whoever has the most titles, money, connections is going to win.

Either that or the Holy Spirit is working in them but hey...who's gona make that claim ;)
 

greekischristian

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serb1389 said:
Actually we do have the right to object, respectfully  ;)

If a bishop started a heresy with his tradition then we would have the right to apostasize from him.  So, why is it different with this topic? ÂÂ

I've read all the posts so I know where the theological points lie on this, but the problem is, since we havn't figured it out amongst ourselves what makes you think that Bishops have? ÂÂ

So if they make a decision and some other bishop thinks its a heresy i'm sure they'll have a nice little chat about it and whoever has the most titles, money, connections is going to win. ÂÂ

Either that or the Holy Spirit is working in them but hey...who's gona make that claim  ;)
I was refering to the episcopacy as a whole, specifically the synod, not to individual bishops...individual bishops may have made up their minds, but the episcopacy as a whole has yet to come to a conclusion and rule one way or the other...but whatever way they do rule, that will become the tradition of the Church.
 

minasoliman

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greekischristian said:
I would disagree, I would say that the Incarnation itself was a sacramental ministry; the essence of all the sacraments is the Eucharist, and even more tho the point, Christ; a Priest can only participate in that which was done by our Lady. The sacramental nature of the Priesthood is dependent on the sacramental nature of the Incarnation, when our Lady formed the Divine Body and Divine Blood not out of Bread or Wine, but out of herself; furthermore, not only was His Body and Blood from Her Body and Blood, so also the Human Nature of Christ also came from our Lady. Accordingly, I have a problem with claiming the ministry of our Lady to be non-sacramental in nature; it was sacrament par excellence.
I would disagree. The Incarnation itself took the form of what any other mother would go through who would give birth to priests, a biological function, with the exception of Christ's as a very important one. The "sacramental ministry" was consummated by none other than St. John the Forerunner, who coincidentally is naturally a priest of Aaronian blood. Hence the Deisis icon on the importance of both the Theotokos and the Forerunner, with the Theotokos on a slightly more important role (all credit is due to the late Fr. Sergius Bulgakov).

But slavery was enforced by the Canons, teaching Slaves to me discontent with their condition was Anathema (by both Scripture and Canon), slaves were forbidden from the priesthood. The analogy is quite clear and accurate. Our exclusion of women from the priesthood is no different than our exclusion of slaves from the priesthood. Telling women that they cannot be in a position of authority is not different than anathematizing those who undermined the insitution of slavery. It is something that may have been brought about by necessity, but something that should be abandoned at the earliest possible convenience.
That's not true. They are allowed insomuch as their master allows them.

God bless.

Mina
 

greekischristian

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minasoliman said:
I would disagree.  The Incarnation itself took the form of what any other mother would go through who would give birth to priests, a biological function, with the exception of Christ's as a very important one.
Pray tell, what other woman created either the prototype or the symbol (to use platonic distinctions) of the divine body and blood in her womb? Human begetting human is one thing, that is natural, human begetting divine is another, that is sacramental.

That's not true.  They are allowed insomuch as their master allows them.
That is not true, the master would have to free them according to the canons, not merely allow them. So long as they are a slave they were not allowed to be ordained.
 

ozgeorge

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serb1389 said:
If a bishop started a heresy with his tradition then we would have the right to apostasize from him. So, why is it different with this topic?
The Canons only permit us to withdraw from a Bishop who preaches a "heresy condemned by the Holy Synods, or the Fathers" (Canon 15 of the 1st & 2nd Councils). We ourselves cannot decide that something a Bishop is teaching is heretical, it must have already been clearly decreed by a Synod or the Fathers of the Church to have been heretical. If we withdraw because we "think" a bishop "might" be teaching heresy, we stand condemned by the multitude of Canons which forbid us to withdraw from the Bishop, and we are nothing less than schismatics, which is worse than heresy.
 

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I must admit a certain level of astonishment at GiC's posts. As I recall during my terror, uh, excuse me, tenure at HCHC, I listened to GiC vociferously defend a diametrically opposed position. Although it is possible I could be misremembering as I did try to block much of my experience out. Is this true, GiC? Have you changed positions? Or am I remembering falsely? Now that I think about it, I do seem to recall occasions where you admitted in deepest secrecy your propensity to support women's ordination. But I also seem to recall occasions sitting in the lounge with a certain other student, who unabashedly opposed so much as the mere discussion of the issue, and you defending him. Or perhaps, seeing as this other person had a great affinity for Bishop Kallistos, he has changed his opinion, since Bishop Kallistos has at the very least, softened his.

Regardless, as keeping my mouth shut has never been one of my greater talents, I feel I have to put in my 2 drachma worth, so I must ask forgiveness for contributing so lately to the discussion, particularly if I repeat arguments already made..

Much of what GiC says is true, I believe. The Church has never taken a explicit hard and fast stand on the issue, and I do believe the issue merits and requires serious discussion. But we must also remember that the Church has taken a stand on the issue. If it isn't an explicit stand, it is surely an unambiguous implicit stand.

Two arguments sway me on this issue, although I must further admit to having no strong feelings on this particular issue. Being male and having absolutely NO desire for the priesthood (BLECH!!!) It doesn't impact me much. However, I do believe there are theological issues at stake here. Whether they are "compelling" or not is another debate. The first argument is Scripture which says that women should not have authority over a man. (1 Timothy 2:12) I admit this is not the strongest possible argument, since the biblical model of authority is one of servanthood, in which one precisely does not have authority "over", so one might argue that having authority "over" a man is not the model of priestly authority in the first place, so it doesn't apply to this argument. However, the claim in the same passage that Paul doesn't allow a woman to teach, seems more relevant. As for GiC's claim that this is merely the result of cultural circumstances in which women weren't granted equality, one should note that the very same passage does present a theological argument as to why women are to submit to men. As to the claim that women's inequality was prior to the Incarnation, after which all people should be equal, I would argue that rather than removing the condition according to which women should submit to men, the Incarnation added the condition that we are all supposed to submit to each other. This is called humility. So, far from making it the condition that we can all do whatever we want, e.g. become priests in we're a woman, Scripture reveals precisely that we are NOT equal, but are to regard everyone else as superior to ourselves. (Philippians 2:3) One of the main reasons I oppose women's ordination more because it usually arises from the view "I can do whatever I want. You're no better than I am," which I believe to be patently unChristian and contrary to biblical teaching.

The second argument that I find compelling is the "icon of Christ" argument, which was brought up by Sarah at the beginning of this discussion. GiC's response was, "Christ was a Jew too, does that mean only Jews can be priests?" As a matter of fact, I would argue, yes it does. Given the New Testament teaching on what it means to be a Jew, one could quite easily argue that all priests are, in fact, Jews. As the New Testament, and Church Teaching via other sources, makes clear, being Israel, i.e. a Jew, is not a function of genetics. Rather, it is a function of spirituality or faith. One is truly a Jew when one shares that faith of Abraham. One who rejects Christ, regardless of his ethnicity, is not a Jew. He is not a descendant of Israel. This is found in Romans: "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." It is also in Galatians, and even in Revelation (Revelation 2:9; 3:9 in reference to those who claim to be Jews but are not). Scripture and Church Teaching (for those who don't accept Scripture AS Church teaching) is clear on this issue. The Church is Israel, and that makes all its members Jews.

For better or worse, for reasons I can't fathom, God chose to reveal Himself through masculine images. Christ calls Him "Father", not mother. Christ Himself was born a man. Christ is the Groom and the Church is the Bride. Throughout Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, God, who is in Himself genderless, reveals Himself as Father. Cultural prejudice is not enough to dismiss this fact, in my opinion. Further, this cultural bias, according to Paul, has in itself theological significance. Centuries of practice cannot be dismissed merely as the result of cultural bias. The basis for this cultural bias needs to be examined in itself.

One last argument, if there are no compelling theological arguments prohibiting the ordination of women, what are the compelling theological arguments for it? There ought to be at least some compelling theological argument before one changes centuries of belief and practice in the Church that do have a theological basis, even if it isn't a "compelling" one.

Ok, that's my argument, for what it's worth. The issue merits and requires discussion if for no other reason so that we can be clear on what it is our Church teaches and believes. It is not enough to say, "Well, they did it in the past." We must have reasons for what we do and believe, especially if we're going to insist that others do and believe the same things, which we are, in this case. ::)
 

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PS GiC, equality should really not be an ideal highly prized by someone who follows Plato. :)
 

ozgeorge

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SonofAslan said:
One last argument, if there are no compelling theological arguments prohibiting the ordination of women, what are the compelling theological arguments for it?
Here are three that have been discussed on this thread:

1) The fact that Christians are not Muslims, and that our theology forbids us to consider women to be inferior to men.

2) The fact that women have been ordained in the Church in the past.

3) The fact that the docrine that the Priest is the "Icon of Christ" is a questionable doctrine.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Here are three that have been discussed on this thread:

1) The fact that Christians are not Muslims, and that our theology forbids us to consider women to be inferior to men.

2) The fact that women have been ordained in the Church in the past.

3) The fact that the docrine that the Priest is the "Icon of Christ" is a questionable doctrine.
These may indeed be arguments, but I for one certainly don't find them compelling. (More on this later, if I get around to it.)
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
These may indeed be arguments, but I for one certainly don't find them compelling. (More on this later, if I get around to it.)
I would say "compelling" to at least open the doors of discussion and discernment on the subject of Ordination of women and the issues around this.
Just take the 3rd one- the belief that "the Priest is the Icon of Christ". Shouldn't it be "compelling" to at least examine the possibility that a doctrine used to support an all-male Priesthood may actually be heresy?
 

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greekischristian said:
Pray tell, what other woman created either the prototype or the symbol (to use platonic distinctions) of the divine body and blood in her womb? Human begetting human is one thing, that is natural, human begetting divine is another, that is sacramental.
Indeed she held the Divine Logos in her, but that does not make it "sacramental." We all, male or female, hold the Holy Spirit in us that we may be sons of God like the Logos, and she held the most Divine grace stemming from the Logos than anyone else, something that we all strive for. In the OT, mothers of prophets, kings, or priests were very important, for they have raised their children to be great in the eyes of the Lord. People like St. Sarah, St. Hannah, the mother of Moses (and Pharaoh's daughter), the mother of Samson, St. Rahab, St. Ruth and St. Elizabeth all had important children to give birth to, but they were not priests and kings in virture of giving birth to important figures. They were exceedingly blessed, but blessed among all women is the Theotokos Mary, for she bore God. But bearing God does not make her the True God, but makes her full of grace, where no one else, save the Forerunner, had greater blessing.

To define "sacramental," it is a duty upon which a priest in a ritualistic sense must perform. For St. Mary, this was not "sacramental," but natural. Miraculously, she bore in her God without the seed of Man which is the unnatural part, but afterwards, all that Christ went through in her and out was a natural outcome of His full humanity. One can say the same of women like Sts. Sarah, the mother of Samson, Hannah, and Elizabeth (who also had a child filled with the Holy Spirit at conception) who were barren and bore children by the miraculous grace of God, but nevertheless, not something that makes them priests. St. Paul writes:

Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
1Tim. 2:15

For St. Mary, she brought God to us in human form, in analogy to the importance of mothers who bear important sons. For St. John, he brought God to us in anointed (christos) mystery, in analogy to the priesthood from men. Blessed is St. Mary among women, and there is no man born of woman greater than St. John.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802849792/sr=8-1/qid=1146616302/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2672045-5827332?%5Fencoding=UTF8

That is not true, the master would have to free them according to the canons, not merely allow them. So long as they are a slave they were not allowed to be ordained.
That's the point. You made it seem at first as if a slave has no chance of being free in the first place. However, is there a chance for a female to become a male later in her life?

God bless.

Mina
 

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Unless you want to define certain levels of what is "sacramental," for I have no problem that our lives even in helping the needy and simply praying to God is considered sacramental, for all these things help us partake of God. But priestly issues are clear where the "main sacraments" are celebrated and distributed for the order of things.

God bless.

Mina
 

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ozgeorge said:
1) The fact that Christians are not Muslims, and that our theology forbids us to consider women to be inferior to men.
Yes. Absolutely. I would venture to say that when St. Paul said that women should cover their heads, it was put analogous to the Father being the head of Christ. Unless one is Arian, this proves that role-playing does not make women, or any laity in this case, inferior to the priesthood.

2) The fact that women have been ordained in the Church in the past.
I was reviewing the canons, since this topic forced me to look at the canons, and in the Council of Nicea Canon XIX is translated:

Concerning the Paulianists who have flown for refuge to the Catholic Church, it has been decreed that they must by all means be rebaptized; and if any of them who in past time have been numbered among their clergy should be found blameless and without reproach, let them be rebaptized and ordained by the Bishop of the Catholic Church; but if the examination should discover them to be unfit, they ought to be deposed. Likewise in the case of their deaconesses, and generally in the case of those who have been enrolled among their clergy, let the same form be observed. And we mean by deaconesses such as have assumed the habit, but who, since they have no imposition of hands, are to be numbered only among the laity.
The "laying of hands" may be a weakness of language, but in the ancient epitome, it is also written:

Paulianists must be rebaptised, and if such as are clergymen seem to be blameless let then, be ordained. If they do not seem to be blameless, let them be deposed. Deaconesses who have been led astray, since they are not sharers of ordination, are to be reckoned among the laity.
Now, I don't dispute the word "ordain," but I believe there is a difference between ordaining concerning priestly sacramental duties, and "ordaining" for laity "sacramental" duties. Even government officials were considered "ordained," but are still laity.

3) The fact that the docrine that the Priest is the "Icon of Christ" is a questionable doctrine.
Not really. A Catholic female theologian writes some very convincing concerning the role of Christ as a male for the salvation of women, and why we should always necessarily follow Christ's suit for the sake of equality:

http://www.godspy.com/reviews/Priesthood-and-the-Masculinity-of-Christ.cfm

Which will be posted in the next post.

God bless.

Mina
 

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Just for clarity's sake, allow me to summarize some of the main arguments of this thread. I'm sure I'm missing some, but these seem to be the six major areas that require further study/proof on both sides. Some of these arguments are strong, some are weak, some are simply a priori statements, while other are strongly a posteriori.

Again: These are not my arguments. The arguments I have summarized for female priests are longer than the ones against because most people on this forum (and in general) seem to be quite aware of all of the arguments AGAINST any such office, but not familiar with the actual arguments in favor.

Against Female Priests

1) Ain't never happened. There is no Scriptural, Patristic or canonical text in the entire corpus of venerated Orthodox literature that speaks favorably of female priests. There are, however, various texts in this corpus that speak against it.

2) St. Paul forbids women to teach and to hold authority over men.

3) Most Orthodox Bishops who have spoken in public on the issue have spoken against it.

4) The modern Elders of Greece, Romania, Serbia, etc. have spoken against it.

5) The priest is an Icon of Christ, who was male, and therefore the priest acts "in persona Christi."

6) Christ and the early Church were not afraid to go against social norms. Thus, one cannot claim that the Church's practice was motivated by cultural bias.

For Female Priests

1) The early Church's female diaconate entailed a full-fledged ordination (cheirotonia). The canons dealing with female deacons use the term cheirotonia, as does the actual prayer of female-diaconal ordination. While no text explains in detail the liturgical and/or ministerial role of female deacons, there are a number of texts that show that the deaconesses were numbered among the clergy (see, for example, the work of Evangelos Theodorou, et al.) Cheirotonia is a major ordination, and the diaconate is considered to be the "first level" of the ordained priesthood. Thus, there is precedent for women sharing in one of the levels of priesthood.

2) There are many examples in Church history of women teaching men (even clergymen!) about theology, spirituality and prayer. There are, for example, various women who are called isaapostolos, equal to the apostles, in the Church's hagiography and hymnography, e.g. St. Thekla, various Empresses and St. Nina of Georgia, who evangelized and taught thousands.

2) The Fathers emphasize that Christ became human, not that he became male (cf. the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, etc.). Our shared human nature is what allows us to imitate, represent and even become Christ -- not our particular gender. Furthermore, all genders are one in Christ; they are equal in the eyes of God. Thus, the gender of the individual, theologically speaking, is irrelevant.

3) At the most important priestly moment, the epiklesis, the Orthodox priest does NOT act as an Icon of Christ for the people (qua Roman Catholic ideas of the priest being in persona Christi at the words of Institution); rather, he acts in persona Ecclesiae, as a representative not of Christ, but of the Church, which is portrayed in feminine terms as the Bride of Christ. Thus, the argument that the priest is a physical Icon of Christ and therefore must be male holds no water.

4) Bishop Kallistos Ware, of course, has said the issue deserves to be examined (not that it is settled), and, perhaps, other Bishops can be construed to support looking at the evidence, since they have sponsored official theological dialogues on related topics, e.g. women and authority in the Church, and female deacons.

5) The Church has often changed practices and introduced novelties in liturgy, theological expression and cultural traditions. Some examples:

a) Apostolic Canon 9 and Canon 2 of the Council of Antioch (from the 4th century) require everyone present at a liturgy to receive the Eucharist, and yet the Medieval Church forbade regular reception ("traditionalists" still do). [/list]

b) The Canons also strictly prohibit the transfer of bishops (and, often, even clerics) from one area to another. In general, many of the canons dealing with local synods, ecclesiastical appeals, episcopal authority, etc. have been radically re-interpreted or have simply not been applied for centuries.

c) The "Endemousa" Synod of Constantinople discussed and rejected (as heretical?) the adoption of the “Gregorian” calendar in the 1580s. In the 1920s, however, that decision was reserved, and a sizable number of Orthodox Churches switched over.

d) Although there was no clear or authoritative canonical basis on which to do so, another Endemousa Synod defined autocephaly as the official administrative principle of the Orthodox Church circa 1850. This responded to the social and political reality (e.g. Russia’s autocephaly in the 16th century), but the idea of “autocephaly” as we understand it today — the very way in which we organize the Church! — is markedly different from both the primitive Church’s structure and the Imperial.

e) The rubrics, most of the hymns and the very structure of the liturgical services have changed considerably since the early Church (cf. the Cathedral Rite, the Studion Reform, the liturgical reforms after the Hesychastic controversies, etc.), and they continue to change. Many popular services and practices date no earlier than the Medieval Period (e.g. the Lamentations on Great Friday) or even as recent as 1888, when Constantinople issued a new Typikon that universalized several new rituals for the services of Holy Week and Pascha (e.g. the Un-Nailing Service).

6) Matters of Dogma and morals are unchangeable, but liturgy, practice and organization do change according to the Spirit and the needs of the Church. There is no dogmatic decree against female priests.

---------------

Now, have at it!...and feel free to fill in the blanks. If we're going to talk about this — despite the fact that it isn’t going to happen!! — then we might as well have some sort of idea of what each side is saying.
 

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Priesthood and the Masculinity of Christ

The maleness of Christ is required to restore the unity between men and women disrupted by original sin.

By R. Mary Hayden Lemmons

The refusal of the Catholic Church to ordain women as priests has left many feeling that the Church considers women to be inferior to men. They have difficulty reconciling the Church's proclamations of sexual equality with the 1994 papal argument of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. In that document, John Paul II reaffirmed the 1977 teaching of Inter Insigniores and proclaims that the Church lacks the authority to ordain women, since Christ did not appoint women as apostles and since the historical tradition has restricted priestly ordination to men.

These papal arguments have not been very persuasive due to the common conviction that equality requires gender neutrality—even within the ministries of Christ. If this were so, masculinity would be irrelevant for the mission of Christ. But this is not true. The masculinity of Christ is crucial to his mission of remedying the effects of original sin.

According to Genesis, original sin deprived the human race of its original unity with God and deeply affected the original unity of man and woman. As a result, Christ had an humanitarian mission to restore unity with God and a gender mission to restore heterosexual unity. The humanitarian mission required that Christ be fully human and fully God. Accordingly, since women are as human as men, God could have incarnated as a woman. A female Christ could have restored the human race to its original unity with God. It is not Christ's humanitarian mission that required Christ to be male.

The maleness of Christ is required to restore the unity between men and women disrupted by original sin. Genesis 3:16 says, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." This passage indicates three gender consequences of original sin: the excessive desire or obsession of women for their men, male domination over women and sexual inequality. Freeing the human race from these consequences of original sin constitute Christ's gender mission.

These consequences are significant. In his letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, John Paul II identifies male domination with chauvinism and blames it for the many ways in which women suffer from the lack of proper appreciation for her equality and dignity. Chauvinism—as a consequence of Original sin—required that the Christ be a man. Due to chauvinism, a female Christ would not have been recognized by men as being their lord, their rabbi, their savior. Christ exemplified sacrificial love, which chauvinism identifies as a weakness and as a peculiarity of women. According to chauvinism, maleness is about power, independence, and control. Not so, taught Christ. Rather, masculinity is for the sake of pouring out one's life for another in love, not for the sake of dominating self-gratification.

Fallen women also needed Christ to be incarnated as a man-and not only to teach men a lesson. Original sin weakened femininity to the point where it blinded women to the truth about her desire for love. Original sin derailed woman's transcendent passion for God with an egocentric passion for man-for a Mr. Right able to satisfy the yearnings of her heart. Fallen woman thus assumes either that Mr. Right will be perfect or that accommodating his chauvinism will be the sacrifice that enables her to be loved. Thus, woman needs not only to be freed from the harms of chauvinism but also from the misdirection of her desire. Women need to learn not only that there can only be one perfect man, Jesus Christ, but also that men need not be chauvinistic. If Christ had been incarnated as a woman, these lessons would have been untaught. Thus, the gender mission of Christ required Christ to be incarnated as a man for the sake of women as well as for the sake of men.

If Christ had to be incarnated as a man in order to fulfill his gender mission, then it is not possible for women to undertake this mission. If it is not possible for women to undertake the gender mission, then it is not possible for women to be ordained Catholic priests. For the Catholic priest images Christ in his gender mission as well as in his humanitarian mission. This is particularly the case since the Catholic Church was founded to counter the effects of Original Sin.

Since the refusal of the Catholic Church to ordain women is grounded on the gender mission of Christ, it is a refusal that promotes sexual equality. It is incredibly important that the Church promote sexual equality—for two reasons. First, sexual equality counters the harmful gender inequities of original sin. Secondly, as John Paul II points out, it is only when spouses recognize and appreciate the equality of the other that they are able to appreciate properly the other's spousal gift of self. Without this appreciation, marriages fail to properly image the loving equality of the Trinity. Genesis 1:27 says "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created him." We are made in the image of God. Thus, we love best when we love as God loves. As John Paul II puts it in On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, n.7:

"The fact that man 'created as man and woman' is the image of God means not only that each of them individually is like God, as a rational and free being. It also means that man and woman, created as a 'unity of the two' in their common humanity, are called to live in a communion of love, and in this way to mirror in the world the communion of love that is in God, through which the Three Persons love each other in the intimate mystery of the one divine life."

In other words, heterosexual love and spousal oneness image the love and the oneness of the Trinity, where the distinction of persons—and roles—precludes neither unity or equality. Thus, the need to image Trinitarian love requires heterosexual equality. The Church is thereby obligated to promote sexual equality.

Therefore, the promotion of sexual equality, Trinitarian love, and faithfulness to the missions of Christ requires the Catholic Church to forgo ordaining women. By so doing, not only does she proclaim the importance of Christ's male incarnation and the need for ordained priests to image His gender mission, but she also honors her Savior.

 

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minasoliman said:
Quote
Paulianists must be rebaptised, and if such as are clergymen seem to be blameless let then, be ordained. If they do not seem to be blameless, let them be deposed. Deaconesses who have been led astray, since they are not sharers of ordination, are to be reckoned among the laity.

Now, I don't dispute the word "ordain," but I believe there is a difference between ordaining concerning priestly sacramental duties, and "ordaining" for laity "sacramental" duties.  Even government officials were considered "ordained."
This canon also says that "clergymen" should be ordained. Should we assume, then, that according to this canon all priests need to get another ordination? No, of course not, because it's talking about PAULIANIST clergy, including deaconesses. PAULIANIST deaconesses need to be reckoned among the laity because the PAULIANIST rite of female diaconal ordination, according to this canon, is not considered to be real ordination (vis-a-vis the Orthodox ordination).

Ordination (cheirotonia) is a technical, ecclesiastical term in Orthodox canon law. It is fairly consistently distinguished from cheirothesia (appointment). The former (cheirotonia) describes the rite of ordination to one of the three levels of the priesthood; the latter applies to minor orders (sub-deacon, reader, et al.).

Sorry to get all GiC-like on you, but there have been tomes written on this very canon and one wearies...
 

greekischristian

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minasoliman said:
Indeed she held the Divine Logos in her, but that does not make it "sacramental."  We all, male or female, hold the Holy Spirit in us that we may be sons of God like the Logos, and she held the most Divine grace stemming from the Logos than anyone else, something that we all strive for.  In the OT, mothers of prophets, kings, or priests were very important, for they have raised their children to be great in the eyes of the Lord.  People like St. Sarah, St. Hannah, the mother of Moses (and Pharaoh's daughter), the mother of Samson, St. Rahab, St. Ruth and St. Elizabeth all had important children to give birth to, but they were not priests and kings in virture of giving birth to important figures.  They were exceedingly blessed, but blessed among all women is the Theotokos Mary, for she bore God.  But bearing God does not make her the True God, but makes her full of grace, where no one else, save the Forerunner, had greater blessing.
First of all, none of these other women gave birth to God, giving birth to a king or prophet, no matter how great, is not even analogous to giving birth to God. And not only did she give birth to God, but she formed the Divine Body and the Divine Blood from herself; she gave to God her nature that He may be both God and Man. No, she is not God and no one says otherwise, but she is the one who united God and Man, hardly a trivial role.

To define "sacramental," it is a duty upon which a priest in a ritualistic sense must perform.  For St. Mary, this was not "sacramental," but natural.  Miraculously, she bore in her God without the seed of Man which is the unnatural part, but afterwards, all that Christ went through in her and out was a natural outcome of His full humanity.
Except Christ was not a mere human, he was and is theanthropic...his body and blood are not merely human but also Divine. For Just as he is fully human, so also is he fully divine. Our Lady was no less Mother to the Divinity than to the Humanity...unless you believe her to be merely Christotokos?

One can say the same of women like Sts. Sarah, the mother of Samson, Hannah, and Elizabeth (who also had a child filled with the Holy Spirit at conception) who were barren and bore children by the miraculous grace of God, but nevertheless, not something that makes them priests.  St. Paul writes:
1Tim. 2:15
These are not analogous, for they did not give birth to Divinity.

That's the point.  You made it seem at first as if a slave has no chance of being free in the first place.  However, is there a chance for a female to become a male later in her life?
Well with modern technology there's no telling anymore ;)

But seriously, the mutability or immutability of the condition does not lessen the injustice.

minasoliman said:
Unless you want to define certain levels of what is "sacramental," for I have no problem that our lives even in helping the needy and simply praying to God is considered sacramental, for all these things help us partake of God.  But priestly issues are clear where the "main sacraments" are celebrated and distributed for the order of things.
What I am saying is that the Incarnation is the Eucharist [/i]par excellence[/i], it is the fullest and most complete manifestation of the Eucharist that has ever been celebrated. And in this incarnation one person alone acted on the behalf of all mankind, one person made the sacrifice that brought God to Man, these actions of our Lady are the essence of the priestly role and she fulfilled this Priestly office to a degree that no one else in the history of the world has been able to accomplish.

minasoliman said:
I was reviewing the canons, since this topic forced me to look at the canons, and in the Council of Nicea Canon XIX is translated:

The "laying of hands" may be a weakness of language, but in the ancient epitome, it is also written:
Just a quick note here, I made this point earlier on the forum but in case you missed it. There seems to be a change in practice at some point between Nicea and Chalcedon. At Nicea it is clear that deaconesses were not ordained by the laying on of hands like the male clergy; however, in the canons of Chalcedon it is stated (as received practice, not innovation), that deaconesses are ordained by the laying on of hands just like male priests (this point is clearly emphasized twice in the canon, I believe canon 15 if I remember properly). This is confirmed by the Novles of Justianian which also speak of the Ordination of Deaconesses, it also states that they participate in the celebration of the 'mysterious and sacred rites' of the Church (can't remember the exact reference, but it's in a fairly recent post on this thread).

Not really.  A Catholic female theologian writes some very convincing concerning the role of Christ as a male for the salvation of women, and why we should always necessarily follow Christ's suit for the sake of equality:

http://www.godspy.com/reviews/Priesthood-and-the-Masculinity-of-Christ.cfm
I'd avoid that article for your posistions, it is heavily dependent on the Latin doctrine of Original Sin, which is rejected by the Orthodox, to say the least. To deny that the Image of Christ is just as present in Woman as in Man seems to me to be blasphemy against the Image of God as it is a denial of its form and existance.
 

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"Well, to be equally frank...if you think that a male priesthood is what separates us from the protestants you have no idea what it means to be Orthodox...do you? Do you really think that if we ordained women we would all the sudden be protestants? There was a time when we had deaconesses and women in prominent places in the Church. A female priesthood would simply be resurrecting and expanding upon ancient roles for women, ancient roles that were limited not by sound theology but by the culture and society of the day." -- greekischristian

Actually, I do know, and am still learning, what it means to be Orthodox. One thing I do know -- the Church, as the pillar and foundation of the truth, does not create truth, it simply is a depositor of the truth and as such, clarifies it. When the ecumenical councils met, they did not do so to create new "truth/dogma", but rather to clarify what had been believed universally by the church since its inception. Women have never been allowed to be bishops and or priests, and it is my humble opinion that the true church will not suddenly declare some new revelation. Of course, the ecumenists may, in an heretical moment, try to change the tradition of the church in this regard, but that does not mean that it is correct doctrine.

As to your unkind remark about my understanding of what it means to be Orthodox, I will admit that I have much to learn. There is one other thing I have learned, however: ecumenism is the great heresy facing the Church in our times. You would do well to steer clear of this, lest you fall out of the grace of God. In the late Fr. Seraphim Rose's book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, Fr. Seraphim recounts a story (pp. 189-190) of a disciple of St. Paisius the Great who was confused by a Jew who told St. Paisius' disciple that Jesus was not the Messiah. "The disciple, being weak in mind and simple in heart, began to listen to these words and allowed himself to say: 'Perhaps what you say is correct.'" (p. 190). When the disciple returned to St. Paisius, the saint informed him that the grace of Baptism had left him and the image of a Christian had been removed. The disciple repented, the saint prayed for him, and the Lord restored him. Father Seraphim goes on to compare the ecumenists, and even those who participate in the ecumenical movement but are not truly ecumenists, with this disciple because, "by their very participation in this movement, including invariably common prayer with those who believe wrongly about Christ and His Church, they tell the heretics who behold them: 'Perhaps what you say is correct,', even as the wretched disciple of St. Paisius did. No more than this is required for an Orthodox Christian to lose the grace of God; and what labor it will cost for him to gain it back!" (p. 191).

Take heed!

P.S. I don't think that the male priesthood is what seperates us from protestants. I used to be a protestant, remember? If you think that protestants are all "ordaining" women, then you don't know much about protestantism, do you? Your comment reflects not only a lack of kindness and some serious bad manners (didn't you listen to your mother?), but an arrogance that one would not expect in this forum.

 

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The male priesthood was unquestionably culturally motivated, the initial influences were Jewish, which was an extremely misogynistic culture.
That is a weak presupposition.  On the contrary, the Jewish all-male priesthood itself could very well be THEOLOGICALLY motivated, which I believe is a very strong case.  You would need to twist and turn the passages of the Old Testament to suite your speculation and Marcionite tendencies.  To this effect, I expect you to say that the Old Testament itself was "culturally motivated."

By the time that Pagan culture became influential in the late second century it reflected Roman State Religion, which relegated women to minor Roles, granted there were a few unofficial cults that were women-only, but these were always looked upon with suspicion by the mainstream of society; and the popular non-state cults that formed (Christianity and Mithra) both ended up coming in line with the tendencies of Roman State Religion.
You are treating the Roman Empire as having a homogeneous culture. That speaks millions about your ignorance of the subject.

Your reference to pre-Roman Greek religious practices is irrelevant;
Constantinople--the capital of the Roman Empire--was predominantly GREEK.  That makes a survey of Greek society so very, very relevant.

most of those cults either integrated into the mainstream Roman State Religion, with the relevant gender roles, or became unofficial cults that were tolerated but taboo.
See?  The key word is HETEROGENEOUS, that's why it is important to identify the particular culture in the Roman Empire that is relevant to the discussion, i.e., Greek.

The reason that I didn't address this issue before is because the claim that Jewish misogynistic culture did not influence an all-male priesthood is absurd at best and unworthy of comment.
How about Jewish theology influencing Christian theology? Let me just replace a word on your statement and tell me how it sounds to you:

The reason that I didn't address this issue before is because the claim that Jewish THEOLOGY did not influence an all-male priesthood is absurd at best and unworthy of comment.

No, haven't you studied Church history? Culture dictates custom and tradition; it was Imperial Politics that dictated theology.
That's what the Jehovah's Witnesses say. Shake that thing off.

As one of my professors here at Holy Cross told me, we Orthodox do a great job at preserving dogmas and liturgy, but where we fail and the Catholics and Protestants excel is in the advocating and advancing of justice and that we could learn a thing or two if we paid attention to them.
Yes, YOU should be paying attention yourself. What we learn from both Catholics and Protestants are their MISTAKES.  For instance, we should recognize the failure of liberal theology (which led to atheism) and Vatican II. Other than those mistakes, Orthodoxy has nothing to gain from them because they have everything to gain from us. ÂÂ

On the subject of female priesthood, go to England and see what a disaster it has created among the laity.

http://www.westernorthodox.com/options
I can still remember the confusion and pain at Nashotah House Seminary when the news began to spread that the 1976 General Convention had passed, by a razor thin margin, a canon to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. The 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, was teaching theology at the seminary in the fall of 1976. His powerful presence had an almost spell-like effect on everyone and we all looked to him for guidance and wisdom. In true Anglo-Catholic fashion, most, but not all of us, decided to stay and suffer through! We rallied around Lord Ramsey and other sound bishops, like Robert Terwilliger, and we made our threats to stay and not leave!

There are days now, when I wish that I had been able to recognize that the Anglican house was no longer inclusive enough to find room for orthodox Christians. It would take me another 18 years before it became clear that I truly no longer had a place at the family table in the Anglican Communion, which had been the very place where I had been formed as an orthodox Christian.

In my case, I fell victim to an Episcopalian bishop who totally ignored the Eames Commission, Lambeth pronouncements and the so-called conscience clause by trying to force me to stand with a woman priest to renew ordination vows. This action was not long after his promise not to force the issue with his clergy who held theological objections to female ordinations.




 

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ozgeorge said:
I would say "compelling" to at least open the doors of discussion and discernment on the subject of Ordination of women and the issues around this.
Just take the 3rd one- the belief that "the Priest is the Icon of Christ". Shouldn't it be "compelling" to at least examine the possibility that a doctrine used to support an all-male Priesthood may actually be heresy?
I think I opened my first post on this thread with this assertion, and I'll say it again. Though I currently oppose women's ordination to the priesthood, I certainly do not oppose at least a reasonable discussion of the issue. (I'm actually saying this to voice my agreement with your above quote.)
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
These may indeed be arguments, but I for one certainly don't find them compelling. (More on this later, if I get around to it.)
Okay, now is the time to expand on the above statement.

ozgeorge said:
Here are three that have been discussed on this thread:

1) The fact that Christians are not Muslims, and that our theology forbids us to consider women to be inferior to men.
With our understanding of the biological and psychological differences between men and women, we do understand that women can perform roles that are different from men's. Different, though, in no way means inferior.

However, I don't see how the above argument says anything that applies even remotely to the issue of women's ordination. Are we automatically calling woman inferior to man because we deny her ordination to the priesthood? If so, then maybe our concept of the priesthood is not according to Tradition.

2) The fact that women have been ordained in the Church in the past.
No one will deny that women were ordained deacons in the past. But we have no record of women ever being ordained priests or bishops.

3) The fact that the docrine that the Priest is the "Icon of Christ" is a questionable doctrine.
I won't argue with this. This may be one good argument for reconsidering our blanket rejection of women's ordination, but it certainly doesn't tell anyone why we should actively ordain a woman to the priesthood.
 

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George,

ozgeorge said:
Just take the 3rd one- the belief that "the Priest is the Icon of Christ". Shouldn't it be "compelling" to at least examine the possibility that a doctrine used to support an all-male Priesthood may actually be heresy?
Why would this be heresy? I'm having trouble seeing the connection you're trying to make here between "Priest as Chrstic Icon" and "mere re-enactment instead of memorial Eucharist" (the latter two terms also confuse me).
 

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Pedro said:
Why would this be heresy? I'm having trouble seeing the connection you're trying to make here between "Priest as Chrstic Icon" and "mere re-enactment instead of memorial Eucharist" (the latter two terms also confuse me).
I think there are four issues I need to clarify for you if I understood you correctly:
1) The Eucharist as memorial vs. the Eucharist as re-enactment.
2) The validity of the notion of the Priest as Icon of Christ.
3) How (1) and (2) interplay.
4) How all this ties in with the question of women's ordination.

Before I start spending time explaining myself about these 4 issues, can I just check that this is what you want me to do?
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
However, I don't see how the above argument says anything that applies even remotely to the issue of women's ordination. Are we automatically calling woman inferior to man because we deny her ordination to the priesthood? If so, then maybe our concept of the priesthood is not according to Tradition.
That our concept of Priesthood may not be in accordance with Tradition in the sense of not in accordance with Orthodox Christian dogma, (particularly cosmology) is a possibility we may need to examine. If we can clearly demonstrate that God, and not merely men has decreed that women must be excluded from the priesthood, then clearly, no issue of inferiority could be implied. But if this is a tradition of men and not a command of God, then not only does it throw up the question of why this tradition of excluding women from the priesthood should be maintained, it also brings in to question everything we have assumed to be dogmatic reasons to exclude women from the priesthood. If women have been excluded from priesthood solely because of a custom of men based on the notion that women are not "worthy" to be priests and bishops, then everything we have used as a "dogmatic justification" to obscure the real motive for our position is false dogma which has no place in the Church.

PeterTheAleut said:
No one will deny that women were ordained deacons in the past. But we have no record of women ever being ordained priests or bishops.
No one is arguing that women have never been Priests or Bishops. But the history of the Deaconesses demonstrates at least that women were not excluded from the Mystery of Cherotonia. We can never say that Cherotonia can only be administered to a male.

PeterTheAleut said:
I won't argue with this. This may be one good argument for reconsidering our blanket rejection of women's ordination, but it certainly doesn't tell anyone why we should actively ordain a woman to the priesthood.
No, but it may remove one false dogmatic reason- if it is false- which is repeatedly used to dogmatically justify the exclusion of women from the priesthood And don't tell me it's a non-issue, because it has been used on this thread, For example:
SonofAslan said:
Two arguments sway me on this issue, although I must further admit to having no strong feelings on this particular issue. Being male and having absolutely NO desire for the priesthood (BLECH!!!) It doesn't impact me much. However, I do believe there are theological issues at stake here.........The second argument that I find compelling is the "icon of Christ" argument, which was brought up by Sarah at the beginning of this discussion.
Questioning the validity of the "Priest as Icon of Christ" doctrine does not compell us to ordain women, but it does cause us to question the validity of a dogmatic reason some find "compelling" to exclude women from the priesthood.
 

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ozgeorge said:
I think there are four issues I need to clarify for you if I understood you correctly:
1) The Eucharist as memorial vs. the Eucharist as re-enactment.
2) The validity of the notion of the Priest as Icon of Christ.
3) How (1) and (2) interplay.
4) How all this ties in with the question of women's ordination.

Before I start spending time explaining myself about these 4 issues, can I just check that this is what you want me to do?
You got it, exactly.
 

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Pedro,

(1) The Eucharist as memorial vs. the Eucharist as re-enactment.

Here's a potted explanation of the difference:
At the Mystical Supper, Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded the Apostles: "Do this in rememberance (Gk: en anemnisis) of Me."
"In rememberance" means do this in a way comparable to our custom of erecting War Memorials and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in our cities in rememberance (en anemnisis) of our soldiers who have fallen in war.
If we were to "re-enact" the Mystical Supper, not only we would be doing something comparable to staging a "Civil War Re-enactment", we would also be disobeying Christ Who commanded us to remember Him, not the Mystical Supper itself.
The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Sacrifice on Golgotha, not the memorial of the Mystical Supper. Thus, the Apostle says: "For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till he come." (1Cor. 11:26).

(2) Validity of the Notion of Priest as Icon of Christ.
If the Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Sacrifice on Golgotha, what then do we mean if we say that "the Priest is the Icon of Christ" in the Eucharist?
Firstly, this is incongruous, because the Priest offers the Gifts also on behalf of himself. We would have the "Icon of Christ" offering the Sacrifice of the Eucharist on behalf of the "Icon of Christ".
Secondly, why do we need an Icon of Christ in the Eucharist? Not only did He promise that "when two or three gather in my Name, I am there among them", we also have the Real Presence of Christ in the Gifts.
Thirdly, the Eucharist is not an "Icon" of anything. It is not a symbolic gesture or action. It is an actual reality in itself. Each Eucharist is the Divine and Eternal directly entering the Earthly and Temporal. The Eucharist is not simply an Earthly gesture symbolising something Divine- it is Divine in itself, hence we call it "The Divine Liturgy".
Fourthly, in what way is the Priest the "Icon of Christ"? Is he the Icon of Christ's physical image? I doubt it. Is he the Icon of Christ's Authority? Then why must he perform the Divine Liturgy on an antimension signed by his Bishop? What do we mean by "The Priest is the Icon of Christ"?

(3) How do (1) and (2) interplay?
The only reason the Priest would have to be the "Icon of Christ" in the Eucharist would be if the Eucharist was a re-enactment of an action of Christ in which the Priest serves the function of representing Christ. In other words, the Priest is doing what Christ did.
But the Eucharist is not a re-enactment, but a memorial, so what is the Priest doing that Christ did? Is he hosting the Mystical Supper as Christ did? Then the Eucharist is simply a stage-play in which we are re-enacting what happened in the Upper Room before Christ's death, and it recalls the Mystical Supper, not the Sacrifice of Christ. Is the Priest acting as Christ on Golgotha? Then why does he offer the gifts on his own behalf as well?
The conclusion we are compelled to draw is that the Eucharist is not a "re-enactment" of anything at all. It is a memorial. So if we say that the Priest is the "Icon of Christ" in the Eucharist, we make the Eucharist into something it isn't.

(4)How all this ties in with the question of women's ordination.

If we accept that the Eucharist is a memorial, and not a re-enactment, then the Priest is not the "icon of Christ" in the Eucharist. And if a Priest does not have to be an "Icon of Christ" in order to celebrate the Eucharist, then the exclusion of women from the Priesthood on the basis of the notion that only a male can be an "Icon of Christ" is invalid.

 
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