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 sush issues as the ordination of women, the gender of Jesus Christ, and gender language pertaining to the Holy Trinity.

Ordination of women

Traditionally, women have never been ordained to clerical offices within the Orthodox Church. The order of deaconess has existed in the Church, though deaconesses have never been considered female deacons, but were rather a separate order fulfilling separate duties.

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 priesthood:

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[1]


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