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Romfea.gr - The Patriarchate of Alexandria for Female Deacons and Holy Council

Mor Ephrem

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Via Google Translate:

On November 16 IC the Synod of aboriginal Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa continued its work under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodore Vstin Patriarchal Seat.

Speakers at today's meeting were Ven. Nigeria Metropolitan k.Alexandros who developed the theme of fasting within the African reality and Ven. Cameroon Metropolitan. Gregory who omilise on the institution of Deaconesses the missionary field. Both rapporteurs presented with theological arguments the positions and proposals, was done no extensive discussion thereon.

On the subject of fasting decisions of the Meeting will be announced shortly to the clergy and people of the spiritual jurisdiction of the Patriarchate by the Patriarchate Circulars.

On the issue of the institution of Deaconesses, it was decided to revive it and ordained bishops on tripartite committee for detailed consideration.

http://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/11485-to-patriarxeio-alejandreias-gia-diakonisses-kai-agia-sunodo
 

Mor Ephrem

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http://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/breaking-orthodox-patriarchate-moves-to-restore-female-deacons/
 

Iconodule

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Mor Ephrem said:
http://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/breaking-orthodox-patriarchate-moves-to-restore-female-deacons/
'It remains unclear right now what, exactly, female deacons (or deaconesses?) would do in the Orthodox church, and how widespread this revival might actually be. There are a lot of unanswered questions. At bottom, this seems to me to be a significant first step, but much more discussion (or “consideration”) lies ahead.'

Since, supposedly, deaconesses have been around in some local churches for a while (Greece and Russia, I believe) how come no one has bothered to ask them? Maybe it's just in English but there seems to be very little material available on these deaconesses and what they've been doing.

 

Daniel2:47

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Iconodule said:
Since, supposedly, deaconesses have been around in some local churches for a while (Greece and Russia, I believe) how come no one has bothered to ask them?
Emphasis mine
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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I'm less worried about female deacons and the Holy Council, more worried about pews, organs, the New Calendar and dialogue with the Roman Church.

Maybe that's just me.
 

scamandrius

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
I'm less worried about female deacons and the Holy Council, more worried about pews, organs, the New Calendar and dialogue with the Roman Church.

Maybe that's just me.
Nice to see your priorities are in order.

As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
 

mike

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scamandrius said:
xOrthodox4Christx said:
I'm less worried about female deacons and the Holy Council, more worried about pews, organs, the New Calendar and dialogue with the Roman Church.

Maybe that's just me.
Nice to see your priorities are in order.
Pot -  kettle.
 

tcolon90

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Daniel2:47 said:
Dude, we deal with this stuff all the time. It's nothing new for us. It will pass like everything else.
 

Iconodule

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What exactly is the problem with "this stuff" anyway?
 

Agabus

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mike said:
Iconodule said:
Since, supposedly, deaconesses have been around in some local churches for a while (Greece and Russia, I believe) how come no one has bothered to ask them?
Emphasis mine
Right.

You only ever see these things from sources that can be described as hopeful at best.
 

Iconodule

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Did the Church of Greece officially restore the female diaconate in 2004 or not?
 

Arachne

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Iconodule said:
Did the Church of Greece officially restore the female diaconate in 2004 or not?
Not that I know, and I was still living there at the time. There may be special arrangements for monasteries, but I don't think you'd find deaconesses in parishes.
 

JamesRottnek

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Arachne said:
Iconodule said:
Did the Church of Greece officially restore the female diaconate in 2004 or not?
Not that I know, and I was still living there at the time. There may be special arrangements for monasteries, but I don't think you'd find deaconesses in parishes.
That's how St. Nektarios used female decaons, IIRC.
 

mike

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JamesRottnek said:
Arachne said:
Iconodule said:
Did the Church of Greece officially restore the female diaconate in 2004 or not?
Not that I know, and I was still living there at the time. There may be special arrangements for monasteries, but I don't think you'd find deaconesses in parishes.
That's how St. Nektarios used female decaons, IIRC.
Have you been there?
 

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I think it is kind of weird that Alexandria would get into this, given their recent interests in expanding their church in Africa's "Lower 48."

Most of Africa is still, culturally-speaking, not so much into "equal rights" outside cities and communities with more Western contact.  It will be interesting to see if a female diaconate in any form is accepted by a majority of the church there.  This might be a problem for them in the long run.

Of course, we can always guess Moslem reactions...
 

Iconodule

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Well it might actually have directly to do with local taboos of men touching women
 

AntoniousNikolas

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More news: http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/alexandrian-patriarchate-to-revive-the-institution-of-deaconesses/

FatherGiryus said:
I think it is kind of weird that Alexandria would get into this, given their recent interests in expanding their church in Africa's "Lower 48."
Based on what the article above said, it seems that it is chiefly in their sub-Saharan mission field that the Church of Alexandria wishes to see the revival of the female diaconate put into practice, and it was the Metropolitan of Cameroon who proposed it to the Holy Synod.

Speakers at the meeting were His Eminence Alexandros Metropolitan of Nigeria, who discussed the issue of Fasting in African reality, as well as His Eminence Gregory Metropolitan of Cameroon who spoke on the institution of Deaconesses in the Missionary field. Both speakers presented their positions and proposals with Theological debate and a lengthy discussion was held on both.
FatherGiryus said:
Most of Africa is still, culturally-speaking, not so much into "equal rights" outside cities and communities with more Western contact.  It will be interesting to see if a female diaconate in any form is accepted by a majority of the church there.  This might be a problem for them in the long run.
I don't think this is about "equal rights" at all.  It is about reviving something that has always been a part of the Orthodox Church and that might legitimately be needed in the African context.  And while Africa is for the most part culturally conservative, female pastors of all sorts are already a huge part of cultural landscape in most cases among the heterodox.  I think the bishops and priests actually tending to African flocks know better than us over here how this will go over.  I doubt "political correctness" or "equal rights" has much to do with it at all.

FatherGiryus said:
Of course, we can always guess Moslem reactions...
First of all, who cares what they think?  Secondly, Protestant sects have all sorts of female ministers in positions far higher than a humble deaconess throughout Africa, and they seem to be getting on okay.
 

Justin Kolodziej

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Since my bishop is highly unlikely to ever be the Patriarch of Alexandria or the Metropolitan of Cameroon, I don't care.  :p
 

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scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices
Your words are without account.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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Justin Kolodziej said:
Since my bishop is highly unlikely to ever be the Patriarch of Alexandria or the Metropolitan of Cameroon, I don't care.  :p
That seems completely non-sequiturial.
 

scamandrius

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NicholasMyra said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices
Your words are without account.
If you are contesting  what I am saying that there is a difference in the respective rites and respective roles of ministry, then perhaps you will educate me otherwise.
 

Opus118

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scamandrius said:
NicholasMyra said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices
Your words are without account.
If you are contesting  what I am saying that there is a difference in the respective rites and respective roles of ministry, then perhaps you will educate me otherwise.
This issue has always been confusing. I am harking back to a post by Father Ambrose so that I am clear on your perspective:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13782.msg192402.html#msg192402

What are the limitations for Bishops in regard to assigning roles for Deaconesses outside of the Alter?
 

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scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
Actually, both rites are fairly similar, containing laying the hands and giving an orarion.
 

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mike said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
Actually, both rites are fairly similar, containing laying the hands and giving an orarion.
I think it would be helpful for Opus118 if someone posted a link to the Greek & English translation of the ordination services for a deaconesses.  I think it is in the appendices of one of the recent books on deaconeses but also online.  That is the  “ritual of St. Nektarios” mentioned in the quote below.

Despite the decline of the order of deaconesses in the early Middle Ages, Orthodoxy never prohibited it. In 1907 a Russian Orthodox Church commission reported the presence of deaconesses in every Georgian parish; the popular 20th-century Orthodox saint Nektarios (1846-1920) ordained two women as deacons in 1911; and up to the 1950’s a few Greek Orthodox nuns became monastic deaconesses. In 1986 Christodoulos, then metropolitan of Demetrias and now archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, ordained a woman deacon according to the “ritual of St. Nektarios”—the ancient Byzantine text St. Nektarios used. " 
‘Grant Her Your Spirit’
 
Sorry I know I copied this from the web very years ago but I have lost the link.

Also Mike, do you know anything more about the 1907 Russian study that stated the the Georgian orthodox Church had deaconesses in every parish?  I guess it is not available in English because no has mentioned it here or in other discussions on the web.
 

scamandrius

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mike said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
Actually, both rites are fairly similar, containing laying the hands and giving an orarion.
But they are not the same.  Similar is not the same.  The rites have some clear differences which are not merely to be disregarded but carry important weight as how we understand their respective ministries. The devil is in the details, as they say.
 

Daniel2:47

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NicholasMyra said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Not quite post-Evangelical, are we?
Considering the damage that the whole involvement of women as readers has had in the RCC and the push towards female ordination there, it would be sad for the Orthodox to join in that sorry movement. Now I have an inclination that this particular situation has little to do with feminism and likely something to do with a traditional African context and taboos, as another poster also mentioned. However, that will not stop the feminists from demanding everyone else follow suit if a precedent is set - completely disregarding that there is no need whatsoever for female deacons in the rest of the Orthodox Church in the West/Europe/Middle East.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Daniel2:47 said:
NicholasMyra said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Not quite post-Evangelical, are we?
Considering the damage that the whole involvement of women as readers has had in the RCC and the push towards female ordination there, it would be sad for the Orthodox to join in that sorry movement. Now I have an inclination that this particular situation has little to do with feminism and likely something to do with a traditional African context and taboos, as another poster also mentioned. However, that will not stop the feminists from demanding everyone else follow suit if a precedent is set - completely disregarding that there is no need whatsoever for female deacons in the rest of the Orthodox Church in the West/Europe/Middle East.
I understand your concerns, but I don't think that we as Orthodox Christians should shy away from the authentic Tradition and heritage of our Church merely because it might on occasion seem to align with the agenda of a movement we obviously cannot embrace.  The deaconess always was and always will be part of our received Tradition.  I don't think reviving the service wherever there is a real need - in Africa, in the West, the Middle East, or anywhere else - is problematic at all or something that should be avoided because of what has happened in heterodox churches.  I also don't think we should find the idea of reviving the order of the deaconess scary because we're afraid of unrelated feminist movements in other churches.  You referenced female readers in the Roman Church.  That would be an innovation.  A reader is not a deacon.  That is not the sort of thing that anyone is proposing in the Orthodox Church, and if it were, the idea would be shot down.  This website has some great information and articles on the subject by Orthodox scholars.
 

hecma925

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Iconodule said:
Well it might actually have directly to do with local taboos of men touching women
That's what I thought.
 

Ainnir

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Daniel2:47 said:
NicholasMyra said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Not quite post-Evangelical, are we?
Considering the damage that the whole involvement of women as readers has had in the RCC and the push towards female ordination there, it would be sad for the Orthodox to join in that sorry movement. Now I have an inclination that this particular situation has little to do with feminism and likely something to do with a traditional African context and taboos, as another poster also mentioned. However, that will not stop the feminists from demanding everyone else follow suit if a precedent is set - completely disregarding that there is no need whatsoever for female deacons in the rest of the Orthodox Church in the West/Europe/Middle East.
I don't suppose one can imagine any reasons outside of feminism why a woman might be relieved to hear deaconesses exist?  Or any context in which having one handy might be a good idea?  I'm sure it's quite ideal for whole families to be active in church or seeking out Holy Orthodoxy; it is my desire also.  But consider: unmarried women, military wives, widowed women, separated women, divorced women, women whose husbands don't "do church."  This is a nonissue during a service, but might make a big difference "on the ground," so to speak.
 

Daniel2:47

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Ainnir said:
Daniel2:47 said:
NicholasMyra said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Not quite post-Evangelical, are we?
Considering the damage that the whole involvement of women as readers has had in the RCC and the push towards female ordination there, it would be sad for the Orthodox to join in that sorry movement. Now I have an inclination that this particular situation has little to do with feminism and likely something to do with a traditional African context and taboos, as another poster also mentioned. However, that will not stop the feminists from demanding everyone else follow suit if a precedent is set - completely disregarding that there is no need whatsoever for female deacons in the rest of the Orthodox Church in the West/Europe/Middle East.
I don't suppose one can imagine any reasons outside of feminism why a woman might be relieved to hear deaconesses exist?  Or any context in which having one handy might be a good idea?  I'm sure it's quite ideal for whole families to be active in church or seeking out Holy Orthodoxy; it is my desire also.  But consider: unmarried women, military wives, widowed women, separated women, divorced women, women whose husbands don't "do church."  This is a nonissue during a service, but might make a big difference "on the ground," so to speak.
Please explain as I am a bit thick
 

ialmisry

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Daniel2:47 said:
Ainnir said:
Daniel2:47 said:
NicholasMyra said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Not quite post-Evangelical, are we?
Considering the damage that the whole involvement of women as readers has had in the RCC and the push towards female ordination there, it would be sad for the Orthodox to join in that sorry movement. Now I have an inclination that this particular situation has little to do with feminism and likely something to do with a traditional African context and taboos, as another poster also mentioned. However, that will not stop the feminists from demanding everyone else follow suit if a precedent is set - completely disregarding that there is no need whatsoever for female deacons in the rest of the Orthodox Church in the West/Europe/Middle East.
I don't suppose one can imagine any reasons outside of feminism why a woman might be relieved to hear deaconesses exist?  Or any context in which having one handy might be a good idea?  I'm sure it's quite ideal for whole families to be active in church or seeking out Holy Orthodoxy; it is my desire also.  But consider: unmarried women, military wives, widowed women, separated women, divorced women, women whose husbands don't "do church."  This is a nonissue during a service, but might make a big difference "on the ground," so to speak.
Please explain as I am a bit thick
Pastoral ministries. Women acting as deaconesses do that a lot in Egypt.

We might recall that originally deacons served OUTSIDE liturgy. A glorified layman.
 

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scamandrius said:
mike said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
Actually, both rites are fairly similar, containing laying the hands and giving an orarion.
But they are not the same.  Similar is not the same.  The rites have some clear differences which are not merely to be disregarded but carry important weight as how we understand their respective ministries. The devil is in the details, as they say.
Where is your account?
 

scamandrius

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NicholasMyra said:
scamandrius said:
mike said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
Actually, both rites are fairly similar, containing laying the hands and giving an orarion.
But they are not the same.  Similar is not the same.  The rites have some clear differences which are not merely to be disregarded but carry important weight as how we understand their respective ministries. The devil is in the details, as they say.
Where is your account?
I'm going from memory.  So in lieu of a source which I don't readily have, perhaps, again, you would be "so kind" as to inform me as to where I am wrong. 
 

Daniel2:47

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NicholasMyra said:
Daniel2:47 said:
NicholasMyra said:
Daniel2:47 said:
Not quite post-Evangelical, are we?
Considering the damage that the whole involvement of women as readers has had in the RCC
What damage? Read that back to yourself.
Sorry you're right, the RCC is in great shape... /sarcasm
 

NicholasMyra

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scamandrius said:
NicholasMyra said:
scamandrius said:
mike said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
Actually, both rites are fairly similar, containing laying the hands and giving an orarion.
But they are not the same.  Similar is not the same.  The rites have some clear differences which are not merely to be disregarded but carry important weight as how we understand their respective ministries. The devil is in the details, as they say.
Where is your account?
I'm going from memory.  So in lieu of a source which I don't readily have, perhaps, again, you would be "so kind" as to inform me as to where I am wrong.
You're the one who came out and made a claim. So You would provide support.
 

Mor Ephrem

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NicholasMyra said:
scamandrius said:
NicholasMyra said:
scamandrius said:
mike said:
scamandrius said:
As long as it is understood that the liturgical rites of "ordination" differ between the deaconess and the deacon which are not merely stylistic but underscore the true nature of difference between the two offices, and that the two offices execute different ministries, then I'm really not worried. 
Actually, both rites are fairly similar, containing laying the hands and giving an orarion.
But they are not the same.  Similar is not the same.  The rites have some clear differences which are not merely to be disregarded but carry important weight as how we understand their respective ministries. The devil is in the details, as they say.
Where is your account?
I'm going from memory.  So in lieu of a source which I don't readily have, perhaps, again, you would be "so kind" as to inform me as to where I am wrong.
You're the one who came out and made a claim. So You would provide support.
 
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