Ordination of Women

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'''Feminism in the Orthodox Church''' is an extremely limited phenomenon, but it does exist.  It typically mirrors the feminism found in [[heterodox]] Christian confessions, focusing primarily on such issues as the ordination of women, the gender of [[Jesus Christ]], and gender language pertaining to the [[Holy Trinity]].
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==Ordination of women==
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Traditionally, women have never been [[ordination|ordained]] to clerical offices within the Orthodox Church.  The order of [[deaconess]] has existed in the Church, though deaconesses have never been considered female [[deacon]]s, but were rather a separate order fulfilling separate duties.
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Nevertheless, the existence of the diaconissate in the Church's history has led some writers to suggest it as a basis for ordination of women to the [[priest]]hood:
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:''I'm puzzled that the ordination of women to the diaconate is even a question. The [female] diaconate is in our history. It is canonically part of our history. The Coptic Church right now is showing how lively and vital that ministry can be. I think the question of the ordination to the priesthood is where I would put my sights. It is, of course, my conviction that there will be no ordination of women to the Orthodox priesthood for the next few hundred years. But it is also my conviction that there someday will be. The reason is not because of women and their place in society but because the priesthood is something to which the Holy Spirit calls the individual, and the Holy Spirit calls whom the Holy Spirit will. We cannot tell the Holy Spirit whom to call. Women are called to the priesthood—we know this, we see this. Women leave churches that don't ordain women if they must have that call fulfilled. Women have always had to respond to the call of the Spirit in ways that can be disturbing to society. The stories of women saints are full of such actions.'' —[[Susan Ashbrook Harvey]], ''St. Nina's Quarterly''[http://www.stnina.org/journal/art/1.4.6]
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===Arguments for===
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Advocates for changing this position argue that the essential [[icon]] image of [[Christ]] is his humanness, not his maleness.  God became man to show that both men and women could be saved and return to the divine image within them.  Challengers also point out that Christ did not ordain his [[apostles]].  This was done at [[Pentecost]] by the [[Holy Spirit]].  Women were present at the time, and the Holy Spirit continues to descend on male and females alike.  The Orthodox Church recognizes a number of women saints as ''[[Equal-to-the-Apostles]]'', including the "apostle to the apostles," [[Mary Magdalene]].  Further, Orthodox theology of the priesthood emphasizes the character of the priest, not his sex, and understands the priest as representing the people to God rather than representing Christ or the Father to the people.  An emphasis on the priest as 'in persona christi' is more characteristic of Catholic theology.
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===Arguments against===
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:''In Orthodoxy the all-male priesthood is not based on the idea that women can't represent [[Jesus]]; if replication of the specifics of the Incarnation is the goal, only a first-century Jew could come near that. In Orthodoxy, it's not Jesus, but the Father whom those serving at the altar represent, and whatever else a woman can be (and, in Orthodoxy, she can be anything else: choir director, lector, teacher, head of the parish council) she cannot be a Father. She can be a Mother, of course, and so there is a recognized and honored role for the priest's wife, with a title: [[Khouria]] (Arabic), Matushka (Russian), or Presbytera (Greek).'' —[[Frederica Mathewes-Green]] in "Prologue: In the Passenger Seat" from her book ''Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey Into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy''
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:''As a man I cannot conceive... is that unfair? By divine decision... there is this difference.'' —([[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]]) Archbishop John Paul Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/4119254.stm]
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==Altar girls==
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Generally, Orthodox [[parish]]es do not allow females to serve liturgically in the [[sanctuary]] of the church.  In October 2004, a statement was issued by the Chancellor of the OCA forbidding this practice and citing the position of the OCA's [[Holy Synod]].[http://www.oca.org/Docs.asp?ID=104&SID=12]
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In March of 2005, the ''St. Nina's Quarterly'' website published a response mainly consisting of messages in favor of females serving in the sanctuary, stating that there is "there is '''no good theological reason''' for such a practice" (emphasis in original).[http://www.stnina.org/journal/onl/Feat-AltarServers]
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==See also==
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*[[Diakonissa]]
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*[[Presbytera]]
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*[[Susan Ashbrook Harvey]]
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*[[Kyriaki FitzGerald]]
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==External links==
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*[http://www.stnina.org/journal/art/1.3.7 ''An Interview] with Bishop [[Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia|Kallistos Ware]]'' ([[GOARCH|Greek Orthodox]]) from the St. Nina's Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 3.
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*[http://jbburnett.com/resources/schmemann/schmemann-ord-women.pdf Concerning Women's Ordination: A Letter to an Episcopal Friend] (PDF) by Fr. [[Alexander Schmemann]], previously published in the ''St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly'', Vol. 17, No. 3, 1973, pp. 239-243
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*[http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles4/MorrisFeminism.php ''Thoughts on Women's Ordination''] by Fr. John Morris (previously published in ''Word Magazine'' (January, 2004) of the [[Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America|Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese]])
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*[http://www.stnina.org/journal/onl/feat/mgm-newness ''Newness of Spirit: The Ordination of Men and Women''] by Maria Gwyn McDowell (previously published as a response to Fr. John Morris in ''Word Magazine'' (May 2004) of the [[Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America|Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese]])
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*[http://tasbeha.org/content/hh_books/ordofwom/index.html ''Homosexuality, The Ordination of Women''] by HH Pope [[Shenouda III (Gayyid) of Alexandria|Shenouda III]]
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[[Category:Clergy]]
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[[Category:Church Life]]
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Revision as of 03:02, June 10, 2008

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