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Why hasn't there been ordination of women into priesthood yet?

qawe

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Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
 

scamandrius

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When the pope says jump, we Orthodox don't respond with, "how high?"  We just ignore him.  Our position on any doctrine is NEVER dependent on what Rome does.
 

quietmorning

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I am a woman.  I would NEVER ever want to be a priest - because I will NEVER ever want to be a bride GROOM.

Christ is The Bride Groom.  The Priest is a living Icon of the Groom - a man standing before his bride and welcoming her (the church). The Priest stands as a ministering Bride Groom to the Bride of Christ.

We are His Bride.  As a woman, I am a living icon of the Bride.  I only hope that my heart follows suit and and might be found one day worthy of this magnificent call.

I hold, as a woman, a very special, very holy place in the Church.  :) 
 

TheTrisagion

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qawe said:
Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
In what scenario has the Orthodox Church EVER done something just because Rome does it?
 

scamandrius

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TheTrisagion said:
qawe said:
Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
In what scenario has the Orthodox Church EVER done something just because Rome does it?
None.  However, if you point this out to the Protestants, they will vehemently object even though they use the same calendar, the same lectionaries, (almost) the same liturgies, etc.
 

minasoliman

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In some ways I think there is a level of adopting RC arguments on the maleness of the priesthood. But from an Orthodox pov, I think I would agree with some that this argument has not really fully been discussed.
 

IXOYE

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scamandrius said:
When the pope says jump, we Orthodox don't respond with, "how high?"  We just ignore him.  Our position on any doctrine is NEVER dependent on what Rome does.
I'd nominate this as the Post of the Month.
 

Second Chance

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I think the main reason is that we are an Apostolic church, which means much more than Apostolic succession; we strive to be like the Apostolic Church, to preserve Holy Tradition of the Apostolic Church. I would imagine that the Coptic Church also believes in this cardinal tenet. The only argument that makes sense in this context revolves around the beliefs and praxis of the Apostolic Church. We know that this Church accepted the canon of the New Testament as we accept it today. We know that there is not a single word in the New Testament, let alone in the Old, that supports female priesthood. On the contrary, there is a famous verse in 1 Timothy 13 that explicitly says that bishops (and priests) and deacons must be men. Next, we must research the actual praxis of the Apostolic Church to see if any orthodox parish and diocese had on any occasion ordained a woman to the priesthood (again the offices of bishop and presbyter). We have evidence that there were women deaconesses but they had very limited and limited liturgical functions (mainly in the baptism of women). We have no evidence that there were women bishops or priests. So, in order to be who we are, we simply cannot ordain women to the priesthood.
 

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Carl, the "Apostolic" Church and the Orthodox Church are one and the same.

You write as if they are two separate things
 

primuspilus

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Carl, the "Apostolic" Church and the Orthodox Church are one and the same.
C'mon. Of course it is, but for the sake of discussion, when you talk about "the catholic church" to just about anyone NOT Orthodox (and alot who are) people think of the common name of the Roman Catholic Church. can we stop with this now? It gets really old.....

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?
No. because Orthodoxy knows we shouldn't have priestesses, therefore, there are none.

but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
No. because there shouldn't be.

PP
 

Salpy

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TheTrisagion said:
qawe said:
Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
In what scenario has the Orthodox Church EVER done something just because Rome does it?
Women not covering their hair in church anymore? 
 

TheTrisagion

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Salpy said:
TheTrisagion said:
qawe said:
Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
In what scenario has the Orthodox Church EVER done something just because Rome does it?
Women not covering their hair in church anymore?  
Orthodox women stopped doing it because the Catholic Church stopped doing it? I've never heard that one.
 

primuspilus

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Salpy said:
TheTrisagion said:
qawe said:
Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
In what scenario has the Orthodox Church EVER done something just because Rome does it?
Women not covering their hair in church anymore? 
I think this has more to do with priests not pushing the issue so they dont offend than anything else.

PP
 

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TheTrisagion said:
Salpy said:
TheTrisagion said:
qawe said:
Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
In what scenario has the Orthodox Church EVER done something just because Rome does it?
Women not covering their hair in church anymore?  
Orthodox women stopped doing it because the Catholic Church stopped doing it? I've never heard that one.

So then, did the Baptist and the Lutheran and the Methodist etc. stop wearing hats because the Catholic ladies did? Because only a generation or so ago, at least in these here parts, wearing a hat (or in the case of Catholics, a veil or some other sort of headcovering) was the custom.
 

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scamandrius said:
When the pope says jump, we Orthodox don't respond with, "how high?"  We just ignore him.  Our position on any doctrine is NEVER dependent on what Rome does.
Not ideally, but certain practices have certainly been influenced by what direction Rome has taken.
 

DeniseDenise

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Antonis said:
scamandrius said:
When the pope says jump, we Orthodox don't respond with, "how high?"  We just ignore him.  Our position on any doctrine is NEVER dependent on what Rome does.
Not ideally, but certain practices have certainly been influenced by what direction Rome has taken.

But could one say that Rome went that direction due to secular society?  If so, those instances can also just be looked at as the Orthodox adjusting to society vs copying Rome specifically.
 

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Fascinating discussion...

...but we can pretty easily say that Orthodoxy has avoided pitfalls in the faith because it has been faithful to Christ. If it ever adopted Western customs for any reason, it was because they were good. There were many centuries in which the East had virtually no contact with those in schism. Palamism and other extrapolations from the ancient Fathers are simply not in agreement with Roman theology. Why the Orthodox would reject so many Western innovations yet be saved from the incredible sacrilege of ordaining women "just because Rome didn't do it" - is beyond me.
 

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quietmorning said:
I am a woman.  I would NEVER ever want to be a priest - because I will NEVER ever want to be a bride GROOM.

Christ is The Bride Groom.  The Priest is a living Icon of the Groom - a man standing before his bride and welcoming her (the church). The Priest stands as a ministering Bride Groom to the Bride of Christ.

We are His Bride.  As a woman, I am a living icon of the Bride.  I only hope that my heart follows suit and and might be found one day worthy of this magnificent call.

I hold, as a woman, a very special, very holy place in the Church.  :) 
POM Nominee!
 

Maria

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Salpy said:
TheTrisagion said:
qawe said:
Forgive me, I don't know if there is any other thread that makes this point:

Does anyone think that a major reason there hasn't been a bigger push for ordination of priestesses in Orthodoxy is that the Catholics haven't done it, and in fact will never do it (as long as the doctrine of papal infallibility stands)?

I know this shouldn't be a consideration at all, but does anyone else think that this is a commonly overlooked reason for the zeitgeist being overwhelmingly against Orthodox priestesses?
In what scenario has the Orthodox Church EVER done something just because Rome does it?
Women not covering their hair in church anymore? 
Very true!
 

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Maria said:
quietmorning said:
I am a woman.  I would NEVER ever want to be a priest - because I will NEVER ever want to be a bride GROOM.

Christ is The Bride Groom.  The Priest is a living Icon of the Groom - a man standing before his bride and welcoming her (the church). The Priest stands as a ministering Bride Groom to the Bride of Christ.

We are His Bride.  As a woman, I am a living icon of the Bride.  I only hope that my heart follows suit and and might be found one day worthy of this magnificent call.

I hold, as a woman, a very special, very holy place in the Church.  :) 
POM Nominee!
+1
 

Second Chance

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DCBmoreOCF said:
Carl, the "Apostolic" Church and the Orthodox Church are one and the same.

You write as if they are two separate things
I think you are reading something into this post that is not there. My argument is that the Orthodox Church today cannot deviate from the practice of the Orthodox Church of the Apostolic Age if the Church is to remain faithful to the Creed.

However, you are touching on an interesting divergence in Orthodoxy between those who interpret apostolicity as fidelity to the Apostolic era Church and those who believe that everything that they receive from their immediate predecessors is authentic Holy Tradition. Obviously the latter are arguing a tautology that is much closer to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Church as being able to develop new doctrines and dogma under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that is, without much regard for apostolicity.
 

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^I don't think that the issue within Orthodoxy that Carl references is "either or" however in terms of how we receive the deposit of Faith.  By proclaiming the Apostolicity of Orthodoxy in contrast to the "development of doctrine" espoused by Rome,  one needs to avoid falling into the trap set (inadvertently I think) by the so-called "restorationists" who are constantly seeking a more "pure" and "correct" ritual and practice. Like the illusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, one can never quite get to the "perfect point" in time. We struggle to do the best we can.
 

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podkarpatska said:
^I don't think that the issue within Orthodoxy that Carl references is "either or" however in terms of how we receive the deposit of Faith.  By proclaiming the Apostolicity of Orthodoxy in contrast to the "development of doctrine" espoused by Rome,  one needs to avoid falling into the trap set (inadvertently I think) by the so-called "restorationists" who are constantly seeking a more "pure" and "correct" ritual and practice. Like the illusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, one can never quite get to the "perfect point" in time. We struggle to do the best we can.
I think though with this topic, there are some ecclesiological practices deviated from strict canonical practices that lead to many confusions of how to structure the Church, especially with the major orders (also, I don't deny there are other canons that seem to deviate from what was pre-Nicene practice as well).  And I suspect that if the organization of the Church is taken lightly, then I see no problem with there being a "development" for female priesthood either.  So, that is why I personally argue for that ancient "pristine" restoration of how we view the episcopacy (as well as the presbyterate and deaconate).
 

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Salpy said:
Women not covering their hair in church anymore? 
Don't lump all Orthodox in one basket.  Women wear headcovers in the Churches that I attend.
 

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Punch said:
Salpy said:
Women not covering their hair in church anymore? 
Don't lump all Orthodox in one basket.  Women wear headcovers in the Churches that I attend.
Same here.  Also, I was under the impression that it was always voluntary but encouraged.
 

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Rhinosaur said:
Punch said:
Don't lump all Orthodox in one basket.  Women wear headcovers in the Churches that I attend.
Same here.  Also, I was under the impression that it was always voluntary but encouraged.
It was voluntary in both the ROCOR and Serb Churches I attended to the extent that you would not be asked to leave if you did not have a head cover.  However, you would not be confessed or communed if you did not have one.
 

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Punch said:
Rhinosaur said:
Punch said:
Don't lump all Orthodox in one basket.  Women wear headcovers in the Churches that I attend.
Same here.  Also, I was under the impression that it was always voluntary but encouraged.
It was voluntary in both the ROCOR and Serb Churches I attended to the extent that you would not be asked to leave if you did not have a head cover.  However, you would not be confessed or communed if you did not have one.
What's with the imperfect? You've switched to some other jurisdiction or ditched Orthodoxy altogether? Or am I missing something?
 

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I think priesthood isn't an option for women in the Orthodox Church simply because it goes against Tradition and the idea that Priest are to be a living representation of the Bridegroom, as someone else mentioned earlier.
 

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iman_allen said:
I think priesthood isn't an option for women in the Orthodox Church simply because it goes against Tradition and the idea that Priest are to be a living representation of the Bridegroom, as someone else mentioned earlier.
The thing is, the Catholics also use this argument for why they insist on their priests being celibate. How can a priest be like the Bridegroom, who is married to the Bride, the Church, and yet also have a wife of his own?
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
iman_allen said:
I think priesthood isn't an option for women in the Orthodox Church simply because it goes against Tradition and the idea that Priest are to be a living representation of the Bridegroom, as someone else mentioned earlier.
The thing is, the Catholics also use this argument for why they insist on their priests being celibate. How can a priest be like the Bridegroom, who is married to the Bride, the Church, and yet also have a wife of his own?
Agreed! While the RCs seem to have figured it out, I don't think that's the real answer, or the complete answer, and we need to search within our tradition to figure out why this is the case. All mankind, male or female represent Christ. Christ came on behalf of all.  His maleness does not mean women are excluded.  The way we can know the answer is to study proper ecclesiological practices and the meaning behind them.  St. Ignatius leaves us with this, that the bishop represents the Father, the presbyter the apostles, and the Deacon Christ.  It is true at times he exhorts those to submit to the bishop as the Church submits to Christ, but essentially, we find that this relationship is very specific within a context of Christ-Church relationship.  But Christ being all in all, is represented best by the deacon, who can be male or female, and the presbyter represented by the Apostles, who were only male, and the bishop being the Father, who as a "father" is chosen as male.  This I think is the best explanation thus far I feel that would suffice for me.
 

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This was an obstacle for me and I researched it quite exhaustively. Most of the explanations, some of which have been offered here, frankly weren't convincing (forgive me!) This, from Fr. Alexander Schmemann, of blessed memory, was the most convincing - to me, at least.

"Dear Friend:
When you asked me to outline the Orthodox reaction to the idea of women's ordination to the priesthood, I thought at first that to do so would not be too difficult. It is not difficult, indeed, simply to state that the Orthodox Church is against women's priesthood and to enumerate as fully as possible the dogmatical, canonical, and spiritual reasons for that opposition.
On second thought, however, I became convinced that such an answer would be not only useless, but even harmful. Useless, because all such "formal reasons" - scriptural, traditional, canonical - are well known to the advocates of women's ordination, as is also well known our general ecclesiological stand which, depending on their mood and current priorities, our Western Brothers either hail as Orthodoxy's "main" ecumenical contribution or dismiss as archaic, narrow-minded, and irrelevant. Harmful, because true formally, this answer would still vitiate the real Orthodox position by reducing it to a theological context and perspective, alien to the Orthodox mind. For the Orthodox Church has never faced this question, it is for us totally extrinsic, a casus irrealis for which we find no basis, no terms of reference in our Tradition, in the very experience of the Church, and for the discussion of which we are therefore simply not prepared.
Such is then my difficulty. I cannot discuss the problem itself because to do so would necessitate the elucidation of our approach - not to women and to priesthood only - but, above all to God in his Triune Life, to Creation, Fall and Redemption, to the Church and the mystery of her life, to the deification of man and the consummation of all things in Christ. Short of all this it would remain incomprehensible, I am sure, why the ordination of women to priesthood is tantamount for us to a radical and irreparable mutilation of the entire faith, the rejection of the whole Scripture, and, needless to say, the end of all "dialogues." Short of all this my answer will sound like another "conservative" and"traditional" defense of the status quo, of precisely that which many Christians today, having heard it too many times, reject as hypocrisy, lack of openness to God's will, blindness to the world, etc. Obviously enough those who reject Tradition would not listen once more to an argument ex traditione...."

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/SchmemannOrdination.php
 

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That was a very interesting response by Fr Schmemann, thanks for posting it.

There's something on this topic that I've been wondering. Could there come a time and place where the pervading culture is so strongly against male-only ordination, that God would, as a concession, allow female ordination?
 

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minasoliman said:
Agreed! While the RCs seem to have figured it out, I don't think that's the real answer, or the complete answer, and we need to search within our tradition to figure out why this is the case. All mankind, male or female represent Christ. Christ came on behalf of all.  His maleness does not mean women are excluded.  The way we can know the answer is to study proper ecclesiological practices and the meaning behind them.  St. Ignatius leaves us with this, that the bishop represents the Father, the presbyter the apostles, and the Deacon Christ.  It is true at times he exhorts those to submit to the bishop as the Church submits to Christ, but essentially, we find that this relationship is very specific within a context of Christ-Church relationship.  But Christ being all in all, is represented best by the deacon, who can be male or female, and the presbyter represented by the Apostles, who were only male, and the bishop being the Father, who as a "father" is chosen as male.  This I think is the best explanation thus far I feel that would suffice for me.
But is that the reason why St Ignatius likened the deacon to Christ?  I don't recall having come across this explanation until today.
 

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Could there come a time and place where the pervading culture is so strongly against male-only ordination, that God would, as a concession, allow female ordination?
Is God subject to the ways of the world? His kingdom is not of this world. Orthodox worship is conducted in the world, but is not of this world.
 
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LBK said:
Could there come a time and place where the pervading culture is so strongly against male-only ordination, that God would, as a concession, allow female ordination?
Is God subject to the ways of the world? His kingdom is not of this world. Orthodox worship is conducted in the world, but is not of this world.
Amen to this.
 

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LBK said:
Could there come a time and place where the pervading culture is so strongly against male-only ordination, that God would, as a concession, allow female ordination?
Is God subject to the ways of the world? His kingdom is not of this world. Orthodox worship is conducted in the world, but is not of this world.
Of course I agree that God is not subject to the ways of the world, and there is nothing in this world that can force his hand. What I have in mind is a situation where the Father, seeing that a people group / nation are so far removed from his ways that the idea of a male-only clergy is too great a stumbling block for them, but in his love still wanting them to come to a salvation through his Son, allows the ordination of females to the priesthood. Could such a situation occur?
 
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eddybear said:
LBK said:
Could there come a time and place where the pervading culture is so strongly against male-only ordination, that God would, as a concession, allow female ordination?
Is God subject to the ways of the world? His kingdom is not of this world. Orthodox worship is conducted in the world, but is not of this world.
Of course I agree that God is not subject to the ways of the world, and there is nothing in this world that can force his hand. What I have in mind is a situation where the Father, seeing that a people group / nation are so far removed from his ways that the idea of a male-only clergy is too great a stumbling block for them, but in his love still wanting them to come to a salvation through his Son, allows the ordination of females to the priesthood. Could such a situation occur?
NO. God does not change his word.
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
minasoliman said:
Agreed! While the RCs seem to have figured it out, I don't think that's the real answer, or the complete answer, and we need to search within our tradition to figure out why this is the case. All mankind, male or female represent Christ. Christ came on behalf of all.  His maleness does not mean women are excluded.  The way we can know the answer is to study proper ecclesiological practices and the meaning behind them.  St. Ignatius leaves us with this, that the bishop represents the Father, the presbyter the apostles, and the Deacon Christ.  It is true at times he exhorts those to submit to the bishop as the Church submits to Christ, but essentially, we find that this relationship is very specific within a context of Christ-Church relationship.  But Christ being all in all, is represented best by the deacon, who can be male or female, and the presbyter represented by the Apostles, who were only male, and the bishop being the Father, who as a "father" is chosen as male.  This I think is the best explanation thus far I feel that would suffice for me.
But is that the reason why St Ignatius likened the deacon to Christ?  I don't recall having come across this explanation until today.
No, it's a contemplation, based on the fact that the canons seem not to differentiate between the ordination of deacon or deaconesses very early on.  Only their functions were different.

St. Ignatius' reason seemed to be a way of revealing the Deacon-bishop relationship as that of Christ-Father.
 
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