Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church

Asteriktos

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I have never been particularly fond of the "Big T Tradition" vs. "little t tradition" dichotomy, nor do I really know where it came from (I haven't read it in any of the Church Fathers, and while Lossky does have an essay titled Tradition and Traditions, I have read the essay many times and not really found the terms used in the same way that people on the internet use them today.) Nonetheless, let's say for the sake of argument that the distinction is valid. That raises an rather important practical question: how does someone know whether something is Tradition, as opposed to just being a tradition?
 

montalban

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Asteriktos said:
I have never been particularly fond of the "Big T Tradition" vs. "little t tradition" dichotomy, nor do I really know where it came from (I haven't read it in any of the Church Fathers, and while Lossky does have an essay title Tradition and Traditions, I have read the essay many times and not really found the terms used in the same way that people on the internet use them today.) Nonetheless, let's say for the sake of argument that the distinction is valid. That raises an rather important practical question: how does someone know whether something is Tradition, as opposed to just being a tradition?
There has to be a distinction by virtue of the fact that we can't change what Jesus taught, but the ordinances of man can be changed.

Issues such as whether one can sit during the Liturgy, or for that matter how long the liturgy has to go on for I don't see are issues that Jesus taught us about.

Things such as the 'nature of the Trinity' would be the same now, as it was then.
 

ozgeorge

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Asteriktos said:
how does someone know whether something is Tradition, as opposed to just being a tradition?
Just ask a neophyte.
Preferably one wearing the equivalent of a banquet tablecloth on her head- they know. :D
 

Asteriktos

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Why don't you just call traditions that can change "customs," so as to avoid all the confusion that results from attributing to the word tradition two wholly different meanings? Practically I agree with your point about things changing over time (though I would extend it further) Still, I know you are a huge fan of quoting Church Fathers, so could you quote some that mention this distinction? Thanks :)

Also, I'm afraid you still haven't explained how you know which is the immutable Big T Tradition. Giving an example does not define the method for determining which is which, it only gives an example. This would be like me asking how you tell the difference between a good and bad Quarterback, and you responding that John Elway was a good Quarterback, while Bubby Brister was a bad one. As I'm sure you can see, that doesn't explain why or how you can determine if a Quaterback is good. In other words, you have given me a couple conclusions, but I'm asking you what process you went through to reach those conclusions. You say that the nature of the Trinity is the same now as then... how do you know for sure?

Perhaps I am just missing it though, if perhaps you are implying that Jesus had to teach something for it to be Tradition? But in that case, what about some of his teachings which the Orthodox Church doesn't follow exactly, like only allowing divorce in cases of adultery? How do you know that divorce is a matter of little-t tradition and not Big-T Tradition?
 

montalban

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ozgeorge said:
Just ask a neophyte.
Do I detect a touch of snobbery from a cradle-Orthodox? You seem to have a problem with one ex-Protestant (earlier) who was zealous in her beliefs in Orthodox traditions.

Zeal of the neophytes may just kick-start some pride into those who grovel at the feet of modernity.
 

montalban

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Asteriktos said:
Why don't you just call traditions that can change "customs," so as to avoid all the confusion that results from attributing to the word tradition two wholly different meanings?
Why don't we call them different things? Perhaps it's traditional we use those terms :eek:
Asteriktos said:
Practically I agree with your point about things changing over time (though I would extend it further) Still, I know you are a huge fan of quoting Church Fathers, so could you quote some that mention this distinction? Thanks
Indeed I'm a big big fan of the Church Fathers.
There's a great source of bite-like gleanings that even the hectic and busy modernist can consume at
http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/index.html ::)
Asteriktos said:
Also, I'm afraid you still haven't explained how you know which is the immutable Big T Tradition. Giving an example does not define the method for determining which is which, it only gives an example.
This is true. I have not. I would look to the Church Fathers to see what they determine as matters of dogma; but knowing that some things have already changed, viz. seating in church, I would assume/presume to guess that that is not a matter of dogma.
Asteriktos said:
You say that the nature of the Trinity is the same now as then... how do you know for sure?
The answer to this is in parts. Irenaeus says that the fullness of teaching was given to the Apostles at Pentecost.
“For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed "perfect knowledge…,"

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

(Irenaeus goes into some lengths to show how the truth was established through a particular line (Apostolic Succession) in order to argue against many of the bewildering heresies that popped up in his own day.)



I know from reading “St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy : Its History, Theology, and Texts” by John Anthony McGuckin (still haven't finished it) that when St. Cyril was faced with arguing against Nestorius he went to what had always been taught. This was agreed to by an Ecumenical Council. There was no appeal to 'compromise' between the respective camps. It was a matter of saying "This is what we have always taught".



I have no evidence for a change in teaching.


Asteriktos said:
Perhaps I am just missing it though, if perhaps you are implying that Jesus had to teach something for it to be Tradition?
See above re: Pentecost. It is my belief that Holy Tradition is not man-made, but God-made.
Asteriktos said:
But in that case, what about some of His teachings which the Orthodox Church doesn't follow exactly, like only allowing divorce in cases of adultery? How do you know that divorce is a matter of little-t tradition and not Big-T Tradition?
I don't have an answer in that regards the teaching of divorce. In fact I don't know much about what the Church Fathers say, even though I'm also reading "On Marriage and Family Life" by St. John Chrysostomon (I just haven't got up to any part on divorce - if there is some).
 

Bizzlebin

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I myself would have to say that the Vincentian canon is generally the standard by which all tradition is judged. It seems to work every time, it always determines the ancient, patristic path.

Overview: http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/4608.htm

 

ozgeorge

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The question remains whether a male-only priesthood is a matter of unchangeable dogma (such as the Veneration of Icons) or simply a changeable custom (such as the absence of pews or the Calendar), and even the Vincentian Canon doesn't help us here. This is a question which the Holy Spirit will have to provide an answer for at a future Oecumenical Synod.
 

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The Vincentian Canon... I'll have to revisit this thread in a few months... ;D
 

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ozgeorge said:
The question remains whether a male-only priesthood is a matter of unchangeable dogma (such as the Veneration of Icons) or simply a changeable custom (such as the absence of pews or the Calendar), and even the Vincentian Canon doesn't help us here. This is a question which the Holy Spirit will have to provide an answer for at a future Oecumenical Synod.
On the contrary, the Fathers often make a discernable distinction. Whether people care or not is the issue. If something is merely a custom, we will see it change from time and country. If it doesn't change, it probably isn't a custom, but Holy Tradition.
 

ozgeorge

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Bizzlebin said:
On the contrary, the Fathers often make a discernable distinction. Whether people care or not is the issue. If something is merely a custom, we will see it change from time and country. If it doesn't change, it probably isn't a custom, but Holy Tradition.
If the Fathers of the Seventh Oecumenical Council had used that criterion, then the Icons would not have been restored, but dismissed as a custom which had changed.
 

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ozgeorge said:
If the Fathers of the Seventh Oecumenical Council had used that criterion, then the Icons would not have been restored, but dismissed as a custom which had changed.
Hardly. It was a tradition begun by God Himself in the OT; quite the root in antiquity. Further, they had been used by Christians from the earliest times, in all parts of Christendom. That seems to fulfill the Vincentian Canon quite easily.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
As a Protestant I tried to live my faith in Christ with all of my heart, and I had many friends who did the same. I tried to live according to the truth that I knew, which I recognize only now was incomplete and in some respects heretical--I really didn't realize this until after I was introduced to the Orthodox Faith at Age 25. But many of my Protestant friends and I were sincere in our commitment to what faith we knew, which is a heckuvalot more than I can say about some Orthodox. (Protestants don't have the fullness of Truth, yet many of them are much more sincere in their faith in Christ than many Orthodox, who are in communion with the fullness of Truth but don't live like it. This is very sad. :'( ) If I wasn't first a Protestant, I don't know that I would even be Orthodox today. For all I know, I might have become an atheist.

What is a Christian but a follower of Christ? Protestants don't have the fullness of truth and are all in varying degrees following after heresies, but many of them are indeed sincere followers of Christ to the extent of the truth that they know of Him and would never knowingly follow after a heresy as you charge.
PeterTheAleut said:
I don't know how long you have been Orthodox, but I pray that you will never loose or compromise this substantial truth, rather that it will bring wisdom, wholeness and new life to Orthodoxy.

How can we pray "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." If we are
excluding those with the first Sacrament, who love and serve Christ to the best of their ability?
 

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Asteriktos said:
..the prophetic role of men is in revelation about Christ, and the prophetic role of women is in revelation about the Church. There is no relative value in these roles, since the mystery of redemption is the mystery of Christ and the Church. It should be clear, however, that while women fulfil a ministry in the Church (first of all, the prophetic ministry) they do not enter into the priesthood, which is a revelation about Christ, not about the Church. A woman in the priesthood would have to be representing a revelation about the husband of the Church, the spouse of the 'spotless, pure bridge of Christ.' Do you not see how perverted and corrupt such a 'revelation and prophecy' would be?"

"Various roles in the Church are often thought to be associated with personal value and special graces and are rarely understood in terms of the right types, according to revelation... It is important to stress that the Church is not a structure of power and the priesthood is not an echelon in such a structure. The question about the ordination of women is not a matter of equal rights and has nothing to do with the relative value of genders."

It is Christ Who is present and acts, it is His sacrifice that is offered. The ordained priest is just 'a type in the place of Christ.' He is an icon of the one and only Priest. He has to be a man, not a woman, because Christ is a man.
Since Christ did everything by way of example, to instruct us, how can we miss the significance of His exclusion of women from the priesthood? This is not any bias towards women, since He set so many precedences by choosing women to be first, His Mother, the woman at the well and Mary Magdalene. This too He did as an example for the male dominated society. He must have had a
VERY good reason for excluding women from the priesthood, and I believe the answer (at least in part) is well explained here.

Deaconess
 

ozgeorge

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Bizzlebin said:
Hardly. It was a tradition begun by God Himself in the OT; quite the root in antiquity. Further, they had been used by Christians from the earliest times, in all parts of Christendom. That seems to fulfill the Vincentian Canon quite easily.
I think you missed the point. The Iconoclasm changed the tradition of using Icons in the Church. If, as you said earlier, a tradition changing means that it is probably a custom and not dogma, had the Fathers stopped there, they would not have restored the Icons. If the tradition of assuming that priests must be male changes, then we are in the same situation, and an Oecumenical Council is the only authority which can rule for the entire Church on this.
 

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ozgeorge said:
I think you missed the point. The Iconoclasm changed the tradition of using Icons in the Church. If, as you said earlier, a tradition changing means that it is probably a custom and not dogma, had the Fathers stopped there, they would not have restored the Icons. If the tradition of assuming that priests must be male changes, then we are in the same situation, and an Oecumenical Council is the only authority which can rule for the entire Church on this.
And that was a point I was making too: they changed it because they were heretics. They were the ones that originally subverted Holy Tradition. So again, the Vincentian Canon stands, and proved they were heretics. The Ecumenical Councils didn't make it up, rather, the restated what Holy Tradition was for those who were unwilling to accept it from any less of an authority.
 

ozgeorge

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Bizzlebin said:
And that was a point I was making too: they changed it because they were heretics. They were the ones that originally subverted Holy Tradition.
Fine. I agree. But how did the Church decide and proclaim that they were heretics and anathamised them?

Bizzlebin said:
So again, the Vincentian Canon stands, and proved they were heretics. The Ecumenical Councils didn't make it up, rather, the restated what Holy Tradition was for those who were unwilling to accept it from any less of an authority.
True, the Oecumenical council made the decree which made the dogma clear. But are you willing to say today, prior to an Oecumenical Council, that you will stake your eternal salvation that the male-only priesthood is a Dogma? I'm not prepared to do so.
There is nothing "heretical" or "unOrthodox" about saying "I'm not certain one way or another" about a dogma which has not yet been clearly defined. And some of those who are "certain" that they know find themselves outside the Church when the Church rules on it.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Fine. I agree. But how did the Church decide and proclaim that they were heretics and anathamised them?

True, the Oecumenical council made the decree which made the dogma clear. But are you willing to say today, prior to an Oecumenical Council, that you will stake your eternal salvation that the male-only priesthood is a Dogma? I'm not prepared to do so.
The principle of the Vincentian Canon, expressed even more harshly by Paul himself:

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!"

Well, the Ecumenical Councils serve to define, not create, doctrine. If it is taught by the Church, then I will believe it. Those who find themselves on the outside of the Church are NOT those who "thought they were doing the right thing" but rather those who wanted to believe what they wanted to believe, and then sought some justification by using the Church fathers as a means.
 

serb1389

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Mother Anastasia said:
Since Christ did everything by way of example, to instruct us, how can we miss the significance of His exclusion of women from the priesthood?  This is not any bias towards women, since He set so many precedences by choosing women to be first, His Mother, the woman at the well and Mary Magdalene.  This too He did as an example for the male dominated society.  He must have had a
VERY good reason for excluding women from the priesthood, and I believe the answer (at least in part) is well explained here.

Deaconess
I agree, but sometimes things are not as simple as that. We have been called to be the living breath of the church and that means that we need to look at things in a context Christ could not have. That's why we have the HS to guide us, cuz Christ isn't here.

Also, how are you a Deaconess? Is this an official title? Were you ordained to this position?
 

Asteriktos

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Mother Anastasia

Since Christ did everything by way of example, to instruct us, how can we miss the significance of His exclusion of women from the priesthood?  This is not any bias towards women, since He set so many precedences by choosing women to be first, His Mother, the woman at the well and Mary Magdalene.  This too He did as an example for the male dominated society.  He must have had a VERY good reason for excluding women from the priesthood, and I believe the answer (at least in part) is well explained here.
I'm glad to see that the hour that I spent typing that in did not go to waste. Ignored (or leastwise not commented on) by everyone, except for one person who totally misses that the excerpt I typed in was supporting and giving theological justifications for the exclusion of females from the priesthood. ;D ÂÂ


Bizzlebin

The principle of the Vincentian Canon, expressed even more harshly by Paul himself:
I don't quite understand in what way Gal. 1 :6-9 can be said to express the same idea as "universality, antiquity, consent," though certainly the interpretation of St. Vincent of this passage (Commonitory, 8-9) is quite sobering (if, that is, you believe his words).
 
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