www.byzcath.org
Athens News Agency reports the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church voted to allow bishops to ordain nuns as deaconess...

Deaconess
Umm - curious Latin wants elucidation
Quote
i t was stressed that the role of deaconesses should be social, for example the granting of last rites to the sick.
whenever did the granting of Last Rites become SOCIAL function ??

GREEKS !!!!! as a friend would say

Anhelyna
What's saddening is that only 15 out of the 62 Metropolitans supported Archbishop Christodoulos'
visit to the Vatican. frown
Dear Brad,

Yes, the Greeks and other Orthodox Churches generally don't trust the Vatican.

There are EC's who don't either!

Alex
I understand that the Orthodox Church or Greece is by far the most likely to hold onto what they've got and maintain the faith and traditions, and so they should.
This is what I meant in my other thread about achieving unity only on EO terms, Greek Orthodox terms in particular.

Brad
Hey man, at least we know that 15 are cool dudes. The rest are square.
Lauro
The begining of the end! The downfall of Orthodoxy.
Stephanos I
It seems to me that this article is allowing the holiness of nuns to enter society and to minister to society, as nuns of the West have done for centuries. Nothing else.

The term 'social' is simply a bad translation. In Greek, it is akin to our 'community'.

This change does not worry me one bit, as it is proper as it is being done in Greece. In this country...well--that would certainly be a different story!

The Church of Greece is VERY conservative.

As for the unfortunate vote of the majority synod, they are of the generation and mindset of the previous Archbishop who was very anti-ecumenical...and it will simply take newer men with different mindsets to replace them, and to affect majority change on the spirit of East/West Ecumenism.

As long as Archbishop Christodoulos, who is VERY charismatic, loved by the people, and 'with it' is around, I believe that the spirit of younger clerics (some of who will eventually be the new guard of the Holy Synod) will slowly change.

In Christ,
Alice
Dear Stephanos,
We need not be so pesemistic. Straighten up, walk tall, chins up, not all is lost.
Lauro
Lauro,
Pessimism and Realism are two different animals.
I am a realist, I know that the true faith will triumph, we have Christ's words of assurance.
"the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church."
Stephanos I
If Saint Nektarios the Wonderworker could make a deaconess in the early 20th century, darn it, the Church of Greece definately can do the same in the early 21st. smile

I recall reading in "Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church" (from Holy Cross Seminary) that Archbishop Christodulos (before he was Archbishop of Athens) ordained a deaconess for a remote monastery in Greece sometime in the 1980's or there about. I don't have the book with me, so I can't quote it or give a specific reference.

Dave
Things to consider:

1) St Nektarios ordained a deaconess.
2) The Church of Greece already has deaconnesses in monasteries; this is just a stamp of approval.
3) The ordination may just be a blessing to serve in the altar, or it may be the use of a reconstructed rite from ancient times that mirrored the ordination of male deacons. Let's get ahold of the text and see what it says.

Anastasios
Dear Stephanos,

You are really wasted on these internet chat forums.

Why aren't you front and centre on a RC-Orthodox theological commission?

Why isn't the Vatican sending you as their foremost diplomat to Constantinople and Moscow?

What injustice there is in the world!

Alex
Holy Mother of God protect us!

Over 200 posts on altar girls and now talk of deaconess? eek
I am not in the mood for that chat.

I would, however, like to be the Pope's man at the MP. cool

Paul
Dear Paul,

If you would like a reference letter to Cardinal Sodano for yourself for that position, you know you only need ask!

I know the good Cardinal personally and also have his cell number!

Alex
If the allowance of monastic 'deaconesses' who are to serve the community (as nuns of the West have for centuries) is the "downfall of Orthodoxy", then what is one to say for female Eucharistic ministers in the Roman Catholic Church?

No offense meant to anyone, but if we are to get nit picky, I would prefer to have a NUN annoint me with holy oil (note: in the Greek Orthodox church, even lay people annoint their loved ones with holy oil) than a lay woman administer the Holy Eucharist to me.

This 'title' of deaconesses as described by the Church of Greece has NOTHING to do with feminism. I don't think that a Greek Orthodox nun would know what feminism is...such is their humility, old world and traditional sensibilities, and subservience to the order of the Church.

Feminism, as we know it in the U.S., in its ugly form, is unknown in Greece. To my knowledge, no lay woman has ever muttered a word about the female priesthood, no newspaper has ever printed such an article of dissent, nor has any ecclesial community ever desired or even cried for the role of 'deaconesses'.

Please, brethren, understand that we are talking about a different culture... For the VERY conservative Greek Church synod to *allow* this, is not *allowing* in U.S. terms of understanding, aka: a concession or capitulation to the cry of feminists....it is answering a need of the 'community', where there are hardly enough nurses, for instance, to tend to the sick in hospital in Athens, or enough deacons to tend to the liturgy in very remote and dwindling female monastic communities.

With all due respect to the person and position of our beloved Fr. Stephanos, I do think that his fear, and extreme predictions, in THIS instance, are unmerited.

I will be the first to cry 'the sky is falling' if this happened here in the Orthodox Church in the U.S. for a whole other set of reasons (which have NOTHING to do with the traditional cultural attitudes of the Mediterranean mindset in Greece)...namely--the agendas of U.S. feminism and liberalism which permeate *every* faith tradition. frown

In Christ,
Alice
Dear Paul:

If you want THAT position, some sort of an ecumenical hatchet man for the Pope at the MP, Cardinal Sodano might not be of help notwithstanding Alex's "buddy-buddy" relationship with His Eminence. wink

The State Secretariat of the Vatican appoints/assigns Apostolic Nuncios (in this case to the Russian Federation) as the Holy See's representatives to secular States. It does not have direct contact with religious institutions or groups like the Russian Orthodox Church-MP.

This is under the purview of the PCPCU under our "friendly holy ghost" Cardinal Kasper.

Amado
Dear All,

Please read my post above before everyone thinks the Orthodox Church of Greece has gone mad, and read the following *carefully*....

The synod decided that bishops could decide at their own discretion to ordain certain high-ranking nuns if no priest was available, for example in isolated monasteries. It was stressed that the role of deaconesses should be social, for example the granting of last rites to the sick. According to the Archbishop of Peristeri, deaconesses should "play a role in society and not in the monastery".

Thanks, Alice

(You didn't think that I would stay out of THIS thread, did you! HEHEHEHE! :p )
A short list of Deaconess who became saints:

St. Phoebe the Deaconess at Cenchreae near Corinth. - Pray for us!
St. Phoebe

Martyr Susanna the deaconess of Palestine - Pray for us!

Blessed Theosebia the deaconess, sister of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa. - Pray for us!

Holy Women Olympias (Olympiada) the deaconess of Constantinople, and Virgin Eupraxia of Tabenna. - Pray for us!
Holy Women Olympias
Dear Alice ,

I'm glad you quoted that paragraph !
Quote
The synod decided that bishops could decide at their own discretion to ordain certain high-ranking nuns if no priest was available, for example in isolated monasteries. It was stressed that the role of deaconesses should be social, for example the granting of last rites to the sick. According to the Archbishop of Peristeri, deaconesses should "play a role in society and not in the monastery".
The only thing that I was querying was the bit about granting of the Last Rites by a nun - deaconess or not. At this point I was thinking I have to admit, of what we in the RC Church regard as the Last Rites - Confession and then the Viaticum - and no nun whether ordained Deaconess or not can hear Confessions and grant absolution.

The rest of the article pertains only to the GOC and I really should keep my nose out of their discussions [ OK I didn't about 1 bit - sorry frown ]

Anhelyna
Alice,

thanks for the clarification regarding "social" as a poor translation. I hardly share Stephanos' conclusion that this is the beginning of the end or the downfall of Orthodoxy. Everyone knows (or should know) that there are apocalyptic and eschatological implications with the Red Sox's win of the World Series. biggrin

Alice,

I do not read Greek, but what is in the original Greek article for the term "Last Rites"? Those of us in the Catholic Churches would understand this as the Holy Mystery of Anointing of the Sick, which only those in the priesthood may administer. Technically, speaking the "last rite" could also mean viaticum or the reception of the Holy Eucharist as the spiritual food for the last journey to the very presence of God.
Dearest Anhelyna,

No need to be sorry!

You are correct, 'last rites' are different in our churches. Last rites, in this article, would mean the annointing of the sick...which, ideally, is to be done by a priest...but I suppose, that in extraordinary circumstances, a deaconess may read the prayers and do the annointing.

Fondly,
Alice
Dear Anhelyna,

Actually, the "social" thingy the Archbishop raises for Deaconesses has to do with their older, essential role in helping with the baptism of women.

The Church baptizes by immersion and when adults are involved, the Deaconess had a crucial role to play.

The Archbishop quite brilliantly identified a similar role for deaconesses in helping with preparing women during the Mystery of Anointing.

Of course, the East knows of no "last rites" since the Mystery of Anointing is a prayer for healing in the first instance.

And one does not need to wait until one is at death's door to receive it.

In fact, Orthodox Christians, and also EC's receive this Mystery, as I understand it, four times during the year (especially on Holy Wednesday of Holy Week) as a matter of course.

The Anointing is done by, ideally, seven priests, although three or two would be fine (practically, by one).

The Anointing is done with seven wands wrapped in cotton and a person is anointed as at baptism, front and back of hands, chest and back etc.

A deaconess could therefore be of immeasureable assistance in this Mystery.

And perhaps with the presence of deaconesses, this just might be something that would kick-start more adult baptisms and bringing willing and informed adults into the Church.

Isn't that what the Ektenia of the Catechumens is there for? To remind us of our duty, in the first instance, to bring in converts?

Bring on the Deaconesses, I say!

Perhaps priests' wives could assume this role in time.

Alex
Dear Father Stephanos,

Do keep in mind that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece is not a group of uneducated or irresponsible Hierarchs that do things on a whim.


CANON XV of the XXX Canons of the Council of Chalcedon (451).
"A WOMAN shall not receive the laying on of hands as a deaconess under forty years of age, and then only after searching examination. And if, after she has had hands laid on her and has continued for a time to minister, she shall despise the grace of God and give herself in marriage, she shall be anathematized and the man united to her."


Dear Alex,

It seems to me that most Deaconesses in the early Church had been monastic types. I’m not sure, if I have the time it would be very interesting to research.

St. Olympia was “ordained” deaconess of Hagia Sophia by Nektarios, the Patriarch of Constantinople . St. Olympia helped out St. John Chrysostom and it might be a good clarification to mention that she was "set apart" as deaconess.


In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
The Byzantine permission permits a deaconess to baptize women catechumens, and to annoint women in need of the Euchailion - a deacon, however, may not do either of these. In turn, that tells us the reason for permitting a deaconess these functions: for the sake of modesty.

The order of ordination of a deaconess is available in the original Greek and in English translations.

The Coptic Orthodox Church also has deaconesses.

Incognitus
The Byzantine permission permits a deaconess to baptize women catechumens, and to annoint women in need of the Euchailion - a deacon, however, may not do either of these. In turn, that tells us the reason for permitting a deaconess these functions: for the sake of modesty.

The order of ordination of a deaconess is available in the original Greek and in English translations.

The Coptic Orthodox Church also has deaconesses.

Incognitus
incognitus,

I've noticed of late that a number of your posts are duplicated. I doubt this is for the sake of emphasis. Anything we can do to help?
Quote
Originally posted by incognitus:
The Byzantine permission permits a deaconess to baptize women catechumens, and to annoint women in need of the Euchailion...
Do you have a reference for the permission given to anoint with the Euchailion (Holy Unction)? I was aware that deaconesses did "sick calls" by bringing the Eucharist to infirm women, but I never heard that they could administer Holy Unction.

Dave
Quote
Originally posted by alice:
Last rites, in this article, would mean the annointing of the sick...
Alice,

Do you know if there is a Greek article online (or perhaps something from the Church of Greece directly) that might be more specific in using liturgical terms than an English article?

If you find anything, please let us know!

Dave
Dave,

if click on the "home" link that should take you to the artciles homepage which is in Greek. you might try clicking on the icon of the Greek flag as well.

there was nothing as of yet on the Church of Greece's web page Ecclesia
As early as I can tell so far it seems in the year 233 we can read some of the decrees from Saint Pope LUCIUS I.

Decreed that clergy should not live with Deaconesses even if given lodging for reasons of charity.

As many of you know these Deaconesses did a very limited but necessary service in the early Church.

God bless every woman especially those that serve the Church in the appropriate way. The word Deaconesses could only be looked upon with great woe when it is interpreted in a modern sense of woman's equality which is was not conveyed or imported into the original meaning of the word. Hence Father Stephanos response seems to be of a more modern mindset or reaction on the matter. If it did represent the downfall of Orthdoxy then Rome would have fallen with Orthodoxy many centuries ago as well for the services of the deaconesses existed quite some before the great schism. I understand and know that the fall of Rome came latter and the Orthodox Church continues to remain faithful to tradition and the Truth and "the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church."

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Thanks Alice, for your corrective explanation. I think that the problem that Latin Catholics have is that the order of Deacon in the Western Church is considered a clerical order, in continuity with that of Bishop and Priest. In the Latin Church the deacon can only perform those sacraments that, in certain circumstances, can be performed by the laity [baptism and marriage] and he can preach at Mass. He cannot do the "Last Rites" which is now called, more appropriately, the Sacrament of Anointing. It seems obvious to me that the Order of Deaconess is something different, but I am not sure if the anointing you describe is a sacrament or not. I know the Orthodox are not so eager to define things, but clarification on this may help some of us, Catholics Latin and Byzantine, to be reconciled to the notion of the Deaconess.
-Daniel
I would like Father Thomas to clarify this for us all, as I do not want to make a mistake, and he is a priest of the OCA.
.
.
Dear Father Deacon,
I've also noticed the duplication of my messages - I've had some work done on my computer lately and that may have something to do with it. Unfortunately I'm a technological illiterate (or should that be "binary innumerate"?. But thanks for your concern.
Incognitus
Dear Alice,

Your post's in this subject seem to be correct. I've been checking into this matter a bit and find it very interesting. There is a quite a bit of documentation on the matter.

Deaconesses are very Orthodox and have in the past had a limited role in the life of the Church. In Romans 16:1 we can read "Phoebe who is a deaconess of the Church of Cenchreae"

Just as a married Priesthood/Clergy is evident in Holy Writ Tit 1:6; Lk 4:38 39; Mt 8:14-15; 1 Tim 3:2, 12; Mk 1:29 31

As you know the Latin movements and interpretations can be much different then how the Orthodox Church interprets things in accordance with Holy Writ and relying upon the Patristic tradition which has caused some division in the past which remain in place today.

It must have been about 20 years ago now that I remember only one woman a Lutheran convert to Orthodoxy who once asked about the ordination of woman to the Priesthood but besides her it is not something that is a issue within the Orthodox Church. I'm not sure why the Church of Greece found it necessary to discuss the matter, maybe you know?

In Christ,

Matthew Panchsin
Dear Matthew,

I don't understand what exactly you mean. confused

The Church of Greece has not addressed the matter of ordaining women to the priesthood. It addressed the matter of deaconesses, and if you read the excerpt I posted carefully, they can only be nuns of great stature.

If you reread my previous posts, I think that I addressed some reasons as to the why and where this need seems to exist. It did not come from a situation of capitulating to any feminist agenda.

However, there are some questions that remain unanswered, and for that I will ask a couple of Greek hieromonks who may know. I will let you know what I find out.

The Church of Greece is very traditional and conservative, and I trust its wisdom.

The only concern I have about all this is that this may kindle the controversy with the liberals in the Greek Orthodox Church here, whose agenda is *totally* different.

(although somehow I can't see those feminist leaning liberal ladies becoming traditional Orthodox nuns in order to become deaconesses! hehehe!)

All the best,
In Christ,
Alice
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about? Is there an argument that there were not deaconeses in the church? It is a indisputable fact. It is also well known that St. Nektarios had ordained a decaoness for his own purposes. Yes, their function is in dispute, both liturgically and charitably. If the restoration of the deaconess will bring on the parousia, then, I say, Maranatha!

Look folks, we cannot draw any conclusions about this article which IS NOT a statement of the Holy Synod of Greece. They have not outlined what the function is of these deaconesses, only that they would be in monasteries. And forget this silly statement about "last rites." We can all smell bad journalism when we read it.

Beyond that we know nothing. A few of you seem to revel in speculation. I suggest turning off your computer and curling up with a good book, or THE Good Book. Try looking up Rom. 16:1.

Here's a nice page I found on the deaconess: The Historical Orthodox Deaconess Enjoy!

Fr. Thomas
(whose oldest daughter is named after a deaconess, St. Melania, and would be THRILLED if his daughter were called to such a ministry, but is not going to loose sleep over if the church restores the office of deaconess, one way or the other...)
I think we need to all chill out and trust Alice, our resident Greek Orthodox expert.

Thanks for the information, Alice and Father Thomas!

Logos Teen
Quote
Originally posted by Teen Of The Incarnate Logos:
I think we need to all chill out and trust Alice, our resident Greek Orthodox expert.

Thanks for the information, Alice and Father Thomas!

Logos Teen
Ditto. Thank to all the Orthodox explained this, especially Matthew, Alice and Fr. Thomas.

And again, please don't be offended Romans like myself have a kneejerk negative reaction to this. The Deacon is in many ways a junior or substitute Priest in our Church, and the idea has been proposed several times by elements who do want "women priests"

Marc

(who nevertheless wonders how he'll ever explain this to his "trad-ish" ultramontanist friends......)
Dear Father Thomas,

Thank you for the very good link. I've been checking into this subject matter today a bit, I find it very interesting.

Dear Marc,

You could click on this link which is within the link that Father Thomas has presented it is a very good read.

http://www.philosophy-religion.org/diaconate/chapter_7.htm

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Latest from the Orthodox Church Of Greece regarding 'Deaconesses' -

Deaconesses

The church High Clergy [sic] also re-examined the matter of the
ordination of deaconesses, a practice common in the Church during the 4th
and 5th centuries which was later faded away. The synod decided that bishops
could decide at their own discretion to ordain certain high-ranking nuns if
no priest was available, for example in isolated monasteries. It was
stressed that the role of deaconesses should be social, for example the
granting of last rites to the sick. According to the Archbishop of
Peristeri, deaconesses should "play a role in society and not in the
monastery".

http://www.ana.gr/anaweb/user/showplain?maindoc=2182957&service=10

=========

Orthodoc
Dear Alice,

What I meant was that most people I know tend to equate the ordination of Deacon with a Deaconess.

Deacons as you know become Priest's sometimes which is not applicable or possible for a Deaconess. I think that Marc's and Father Stephanos's comments reflect the aforementioned and how most people in the west might relate to the word Deaconess.

Sorry for the confusion.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Dear Matthew,

Ofcourse, you are right. Infact, in my jurisdiction, just about every deacon I have ever encountered is on his way to the priesthood.

Thanks for the clarification of your post.

Regards,
In Christ,
Alice
Please understand that these are honest questions; what are the "last rites" spoken of? Is this a sacrament, as understood in the Catholic tradition, or is it more a "sacramental"?
Please, my Orthodox friends, we are not seeking unnecessary confrontation, only clarification...
-Daniel
Yes, thanks, Fr. Thomas and Alice. It seems the Church of Greece is being quite diligent in trying to return to the known tradition with respect to deaconnesses. This does not sound at all like an overt attempt at "altar girls" or similar abuses but an attempt to find a balance between the sound tradition and economia.
Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
Here's a nice page I found on the deaconess: The Historical Orthodox Deaconess
Father Thomas,

Thanks for the link.

Dave,

You have been holding out on us again wink . Nice midi file you created for the site that Father Thomas offered smile .

Many years,

Neil
Dear Daniel,

As Father Thomas said, 'last rites' may be a pathetic translation error. If I could see the original article in the original language, I might be able to shed some more light.

I know that you are curious and I don't think that you are being antagonistic. smile

So, let's leave that 'last rites' bit alone (actually: annointing of the sick) until I can find out more. I will also find out if it is considered sacrament or sacramental, as I am now a bit confused... I was hoping that Fr. Thomas would answer that.

Religious translations by secular writers can be so bad and innacurate! At the Olympics, the NBC commentators were talking about how all the Athenians had gone out of town for the August 15 holiday of THE ASCENSION!!!!! eek

In Christ,
Alice
Quote
Originally posted by alice:
Dear Daniel,................
Religious translations by secular writers can be so bad and innacurate! At the Olympics, the NBC commentators were talking about how all the Athenians had gone out of town for the August 15 holiday of THE ASCENSION!!!!! eek

In Christ,
Alice
Oh now that is really great - but be charitable - mebbe they were RC biggrin it's a bit like the way that some folk [ who should know better :p ] use Mass and Divine Liturgy interchangeably

hmm - methinks the education of some folk stopped too soon

Anhelyna - lopsided as ever biggrin
Dear Alice and Daniel,

Last rites is a bit of a misleading term for the Orthodox. Orthodoxy does not define things as they do in the west via official doctrines/dogma. The western and more modern idea of the narrowing down and limiting or enumerating is not consistent with Orthodox theology. I think it would be helpful if I use the term that Alice would be familiar with namely mysteria. If we fully understood these they would not be a "mysteria". However I should say that for human beings to pay attention to a point in time is not limiting that which transcends space and time.

During the Divine Liturgy we sing the Cherubimic Hymn; We who mystically represent the Cherubim, and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn, let us now lay aside all earthly care: that we may receive the King of all, who comes invisibly upborne by the Angelic Hosts. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Here is a post from Matthew Steenberg on another forum regarding the numeration of the seven sacraments.

You will forgive, I hope the interjection of a personal emotion here, but I rather avidly 'dislike' this numeration of 'seven sacraments' as regards the Orthodox Church. There is a certain degree to which this listing of the 'principal mysteries' of the faith, gleaned (as a listing) from the Roman Church in the middle ages, is helpful. But in the larger sense, such a categorization suggests a vision of the mysteries as rather scientifically defined, rigidly determined. This is foreign to Orthodoxy. The holy mysteries are vivid and cardinal points of encounter with The Mystery: the self-revealing God in Trinity. Each of those listed in 'the seven' is surely unique and cardinal to the Christian life. Yet the great Mystery of the faith is encountered 'sacramentally' -- i.e., mysteriously, directly -- in so much else: blessing with holy water, anointing with oil at Matins; these are surely sacramental. So is each and every act of veneration of an icon, or a homily.

We are the Church of 'infinite mysteries', or perhaps better, of only one Mystery that makes all of life into moments of mystery.

INXC, Matthew

Archbishop Constantine summed it up quite well when speaking about the Orthodox Church. "Everything is a Mystery, starting with the Holy Trinity and going on and on, we are confronted with so many things that are beyond the capability of our measly human brains."

Like you Alice, I don't know if the article by the press is speaking of matters accurately, but you are correct to trust in the wisdom of the Church of Greece. As you may know in the Greek Orthodox Church in America sometimes the Priest will give a bit of Holy Oil to a family member to anoint someone who could not make it to Church for a service. Those Ya ya's in Greece
sometimes go to monasteries for Holy Oil, I know one that brings me some just about every time she goes.

We can read in James 5:14,15 "Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven."

I have to go now.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Dear Matthew,

Quote
As you may know in the Greek Orthodox Church in America sometimes the Priest will give a bit of Holy Oil to a family member to anoint someone who could not make it to Church for a service. Those Ya ya's in Greece
sometimes go to monasteries for Holy Oil, I know one that brings me some just about every time she goes.

This ofcourse, I do know. I am not a yiayia, (grandmother) but I have also gone to monasteries for holy oil, and have been told by the monks or nuns that I can use it in annointing...such as the holy oil from St. Nektarios shrine in Aegina, Greece. I have even sent this to others in illness...which makes me think that it is a sacramental.

This sacramental use is what I believe was meant for the deaconesses to do. If so, there is no more scandal in them doing that, then in me annointing my loved ones with holy oil.

On the other hand, in the MYSTERY/sacrament of Holy Unction, ideally the priest and only the priest should be the one to administer the euchalaion, such as when called to hospital or on Holy Wednesday, as this heals us from the illness of both body AND SOUL, aka: sin.

Does this sound right? confused

If so, I think this should help clear up the understanding of the ridiculous translation of 'last rites' for our beloved Catholic brethren.

Oh, the havoc improper translations wreak!!! frown

With love in Christ,
Alice
Deear Alice,

It sounds right to me. However I'm not clear on what a Deaconess can do and can't do as Father Thomas had mentioned Quote; "Yes, their function is in dispute, both liturgically and charitably."

This is understandable for they have not been around for many centuries. Having said that I'm quite sure the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece can fiqure these things out.

I've seen some Icons of Deaconesses and I will be very happy to meet one in person one day. I think it is wonderful. I'm with Alex on this one!

Quote; "Bring on the Deaconesses, I say!"

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
If the Church of Greece has truly "ordained" deaconesses, then any attempt at reunion is pointless. And then I suppose we should just try to convert them.
Stephanos I
Dear Father Stephanos,

It seems you think this is a divisive issue, I guess you will have to wait and see what the Bishop of Rome has to say to the Church of Greece on the matter. However, I don't think the Church of Greece will pay much attention.

Since it is part of the ancient Eastern Tradition and Rome had no problem with Deaconesses for many centuries why would it be a problem now. I thought Rome's thinking was along the lines of let the Eastern Rite Catholics in Communion with Rome return to or keep their traditions?

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Quote
Originally posted by alice:

So, let's leave that 'last rites' bit alone (actually: annointing of the sick) until I can find out more. I will also find out if it is considered sacrament or sacramental, as I am now a bit confused... I was hoping that Fr. Thomas would answer that.
The distinction of sacrament or sacramental is a western concept alien to Orthodoxy. The so-called "seven sacraments" is a concept borrowed from the west but theologically speaking difficult to defend.

Quote
On the Sacraments The practice of counting the sacraments was adopted in the Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholics. It is not an ancient practice of the Church and, in many ways, it tends to be misleading since it appears that there are just seven specific rites which are "sacraments" and that all other aspects of the life of the Church are essentially different from these particular actions. The more ancient and traditional practice of the Orthodox Church is to consider everything which is in and of the Church as sacramental or mystical.

Yes, there is a distinction between the sacrament of Holy Unction, which is traditionally served by seven priests (although rather impractical except during Holy Week) and annointing of the sick during a more routine hospital visit. I would say there is nothing really stopping anyone from annointing anyone else with oil, blessed or otherwise. Many people keep holy oil in their icon corners, or say, oil from a myrrh streaming icon fo such occassions. I have many parishioners whom I have given cotton swabs with such oils from various places (lampadas from this or that saint, etc...) to annoint the sick, especially if I cannot be there. In such a case they would not serve the service of Holy Unction of course, but they could pray the prayers of healing and annoint them "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" or "for the healing of soul and body." Do we not use holy water in the same manner in our homes?

In the same vein, such things as the blessing of water, the monastic tonsure, the burial of the dead, all of these things have the character of being a sacrament or sacramental (not using the term in the Western sense), although they are not numbered among the seven.
Father Thomas Bless!

Thank you for your post. I guess I did get it basically right! (I wonder why we don't have seven priests in the Greek Orthodox Church on Holy Wednesday?)

Kissing your right hand, Alice
**************************************************

Father Stephanos Bless!

With all due respect to your holy priesthood, is there any more harm to this benign function of a high status nun praying for the sick, (as *I* as a lay person am also allowed to do) and administering her love and charity to society (like Mother Theresa)--- and is this any more impediment to unity than the Roman Church allowing LAY females to administer the Holy Eucharist? (which disturbs many people, even IN the Roman Catholic Church)

Think about it.

Kissing your right hand, Alice
**************************************************

Dear Matthew,

Thanks for the post. This was truly a case of us being in complete symphonia (agreement). smile

In Christ,
Alice
P.S. Dear Father Stephanos,

Quote
If the Church of Greece has truly "ordained" deaconesses, then any attempt at reunion is pointless. And then I suppose we should just try to convert them.
Stephanos I
I don't know if you read my post to you of a couple of days ago on this thread, but this had *absolutely nothing* to do with the ugly feminist agendas which we encounter here. Feminism is just not an issue in Greece. The type of dissident Roman Catholic nuns which you may be thinking of here are unknown in Greece. The nuns there wouldn't think of wearing lay clothes, or of caring about liberal/feminist 'rights'. They are the most humble and subservient women I have ever met. Not all are old either! I know of one U.S. convert nun, a Harvard Graduate, a first cousin of a well known young rock group, who is a nun serving in a monastery outside Athens! The abbess of that monastery is also a convert, and the niece of the Mayor of a German city! They fit the bill of humble and subservient to a 'T', despite their wordly credentials--and they don black robes, headdress and all!

So, I think that this restoration of deaconesses is about addressing a shortage of priests available to remote monasteries and a need in the community.

As I said in that post, I would be the first to scream 'the sky is falling' if such a thing were addressed by any Orthodox jurisdiction here. Infact, my problem is not with the Church of Greece, who I KNOW is highly conservative, and their particular decisions, but how this will affect the liberal minded Orthodox *here in the U.S* who may find it opportune for their agenda.

With all due respect, perhaps you could answer just a little more charitably, and with a little more conversation, rather than just writing dire predictions and statements which could be construed as being judgemental? I have always supported you and respected you, and your responses are a bit hurtful because they seem to dismiss everything I say, though I believe that I know just a little more of the different religious situation and mindset there. frown

Please forgive me if I have offended.

Humbly in Christ,
Alice
I think I may have posted this before in another conversation regarding the role of the Deaconess. It's taken from "A Dictionary Of Early Christian Beliefs" -

Apostolic Constitution compiled c. 390:Deaconess

7.431 - Ordain also a deaconess who is faithful and holy for the ministrations towards women for sometimes the bishop cannot send a deacon (who is a man) to the women, on account of unbelievers. You should therefore send a woman, a deaconess, on account of the imaginations of the bad. For we stand in need of a woman, a deaconess, for many necessities. For example, in the baptism of women, the deacon will anoint only their forhead with the holy oil. And after him, the deaconess will anoint them. For there is no necessity that a woman should be seen by the men.

7.494 - A deaconess does not bless, nor does she perform anything belonging to the office of presbyters or deacons. Rather, she is only to keep the doors and to minister to the presbyters in the baptising of women, for the saake of decency.

7.410 - Let not any woman addresss herself to the deacon or bishop without the deaconess.

7.457 - Let the deaconess be a pure virgin. Or, at the minimum, let her be a widow who has been married only once and who is faithful and well esteemed.

========

OrthoMan
Dear Alice,

As you well know Rome sometimes understands things very differently than the Orthodox, and we are not always saying the same thing even if we would like that to be so. If you read the last sentence of the below text from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia you'll see what I mean. Do bear in mind that there are many Deaconess Saints that I'm sure would not agree with the notion that the functions they performed should be placed in a suggested abuse box. It's an insult because an inclusive part of who these Saints are is being deaconesses.

Functions of Deaconesses

(There can be no doubt that in their first institution the deaconesses were intended to discharge those same charitable offices, connected with the temporal well being of their poorer fellow Christians, which were performed for the men by the deacons. But in one particyular, viz., the instruction and baptism of catechumens, their duties involved service of a more spiritual kind. The universal prevelance of baptism by immersion and the annointing of the whole body which preceded it , rendered it a matter of propriety that in this ceremony the functions of the deacons should be discharged by women. The Didascalia Apostolorum (III, 12; see Funk, Didascalia, etc., I, 208) explicitly direct that the deaconesses are to perform this function. It is probable that this was the starting point for the intervention of women in many other ritual observances even in the sanctuary. The Apostolic Constitutions expressly attribute to them the duty of guarding the doors and maintaining order amongst those of their own sex in the church, and they also (II, c. 26) assign to them the office of acting as intermediaries between the clergy and the women of the congregation; but on the other hand, it is laid down (Const. Apost., VIII, 27) that "the deaconess gives no blessing, she fulfills no function of priest or deacon", and there can be no doubt that the extravagances permitted in some places, especially in the churches of Syria and Asia, were in contravention of the canons generally accepted. We hear of them presiding over assemblies of women, reading the Epistle and Gospel, distributing the Blessed Eucharist to nuns, lighting the candles, burning incense in the thuribles, adorning the sanctuary, and anointing the sick (see Hefele-LeClercq, II, 448). All these things must be regarded as abuses which ecclesiastical legislation was not long in repressing.)

Do woman do any of these things that they are regarding as abuses in the Latin Church or Orthodox Church?

I know woman read the Epistle in the Latin Church for example in fact right smack in front of the Bishop of Rome on many occassions.

So the question is what is really happening here?

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Quote


It sounds right to me. However I'm not clear on what a Deaconess can do and can't do as Father
Thomas had mentioned Quote; "Yes, their function is in dispute, both liturgically and charitably."

This is understandable for they have not been around for many centuries. Having said that I'm quite
sure the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece can fiqure these things out.
Dear Matthew,

I seem to recall reading a few years ago, that a study was being made in the archives of ancient Monasteries in Southern Italy, on the role of deaconess' in the Orthodox Church. That study probably led to Arch. Christodoulos' decision.

Zenovia
Quote
As you may know in the Greek Orthodox Church in
America sometimes the Priest will give a bit of Holy Oil to a family member to anoint someone who could
not make it to Church for a service. Those Ya ya's in Greece
sometimes go to monasteries for Holy Oil, I know one that brings me some just about every time she
goes.
Dear Matthew,

I always have a vial of holy oil of Saint Nektarios, and have used it innumerable times. It has never failed to restore the health of a loved one of mine. I need only apply it with faith.

Zenovia
Matthew- women read the Epistle in the Byzantine Catholic Churches too; and I thought in the Orthodox Churches [I think one of our Orthodox posters said that].
I know the West is more into defining things, sometimes to a ridiculous degree. Nevertheless it is obviously not all vague and mystical. I mean, can a woman consecrate the Eucharist? No? But it is all a Mystery, is it not?
Obviously there is a distinction between ordinary anointing and the sacramental anointing that only a priest can do [and which the Deacon in the latin Church cannot do]. Part of serious dialogue is respecting the different ways of doing theology and expressing the Faith; can you not reassure your Catholic friends that what we are talking about is not creeping feminism, but a return to ancient practice? I am very willing to grant this, if certain distinctions are made.
Dear Father Stephanos,

In your opinion what is the status of Coptic Catholic Churches who have "ordained" Deaconesses that are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome? You could not argue that it is an ecclesiastical error, as Rome is familiar with the deaconess tradition as Rome understands it. Since there are Sainted Deaconesses in heaven why would you express your dismay or oppose Deaconesses now. Would that be consistent and in accordance with the line of reasoning conveyed by Aquinas or Augustine. Deaconesses are welcome in heaven (triumphant) but not on earth (militant), heaven and earth are full of thy glory comes to my mind. Are not all of Saints glorified within as well as beyond the realm of space and time? In the Orthodox Church we often paint the Saints on the walls "Guide the hands of thine unworthy servant so that I may worthily and perfectly portray thine Icon, that of thy Mother, and all of the Saints, for the glory, joy and adornment of thy Holy Church." I do realize that Pope has made it quite clear in short no woman Deaconesses. What does this mean? Could you present your theological thinking and position in a bit more depth? I think you are going to have to change your thinking on this matter, perhaps I'm wrong.

Waiting patiently.


Dear Daniel,

We are merely men and woman as you know so what we might individually think in a singular way may not be correct all the time, hence we have to trust in the Orthodox Church and remain obedient to what the Orthodox Church teaches regarding such matters. Sometimes the Orthodox and the Latin's do not agree on everything and are not teaching or doing the same things. In short, we are not of one theological mind on many significant matters. Hence you and our other Byzantine Catholic friends are sometimes in a strange or uncomfortable position. As a Byzantine Catholic what would your way of "doing theology on this matter be?" I mean if it was necessary for Byzantine Catholics in communion with Rome to have Deaconesses and the Bishop of Rome said no what do you do? As you know iconography is considered to be theology in color, could you venerate an Icon of a new Orthodox Deaconess and what would that mean to you? How could the Latins accept the glorification of a Deaconess when it denies the ordination of Deaconesses?

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Two comments:

1. There ARE Latin deaconesses (carefully kept under lock and key, but they continue to exist), so venerating an icon of a sainted deaconess should not pose any problem, and
2. Talk of Holy Oil, if one writes to the monastery on Aegina, they will send the petitioner a vial of Holy Oil from the lamp which burns over the relics of Saint Nectarios. He is known for healings.

Incognitus
For what it's worth, when I was younger I had a book of Saints that described one of them, it might have been St. Thecla or St. Apollonia I don't rember well, as a deaconess so I don't think venerating them has been difficult for (Western) Catholics in the past nor will be in the future.

Isn't this still mainly a problem of vague or overlapping terminology? Maybe "ordination" is simply a broader, vaguer term in the Orthodox Church than it is in the Catholic Church, where today it's restricted to conferring holy orders, even if in the past we used the term just as broadly.

So maybe the Orthodox are comfortable saying 'ordination' in this situation because for them the word encompasses many things whereas Catholics might prefer 'blessing' because it might be more specific from their point of view and doesn't imply holy orders. Does this make sense?
I think a critical point here is that the Orthodox are not planning on ordaining female deacons. I realize deaconesses existed in the early centuries. What may cause alarm among many, is the track record after Vatican II of the Latin Church trying to resurrect long extinct practices that are no longer organic developments. That has created havoc in the Latin Church. Something that is extinct can't develop and it may have become extinct for very good reasons. I think some are cautious and wonder what the end result of deaconesses will be. It seems those with an agenda often hijack harmless things and subvert them to their own ends, such as the feminist agenda for women priestesses - no apology for that term, since priest is a male term in English.
Quote
Incognitus said: 1. There ARE Latin deaconesses (carefully kept under lock and key, but they continue to exist), so venerating an icon of a sainted deaconess should not pose any problem, and
Incognitus,

Would you be so kind as to elaborate on the reality of Latin deaconesses?

Logos Teen
Dear Friends,

I've been reading this thread with interest and would just like to get some things straight . . .

"Deaconesses" are NOT female deacons - they are a separate, non-sacerdotal rank - this is what everyone means when they say "deaconess" right?

It is not the same as "priestess" - correct?

Alex
Dear Alex:

I don't know, but everytime I hear people talking about persons or things suffixed with "ess," eventually it slithers down hill! wink

Amado
That suffix always makes me go YEUCH !!

We have such ugly terms as clerkess - a female secretarial worker .

And before anyone makes any comments - I am NOT a feminist - it's just that it's a particularly clumsy, horrid sounding, word.

I will admit though that I have met an Anglican deaconess during the 50s when I was doing nursing - the hospital had a full time Anglican Chaplain as well - but Sr was on the wards a great deal - and she did a lot of visiting so he could look after the 'Sacramental' side of things - I suppose you could call that the social side of it - now that is where there is a need for deaconesses - it is a Service to all.

Pity the original article quoted was in such appalling English - there must be many Greeks who can translate better than that frown

Anhelyna - who admits she "lost the heid there - just a wee bit "
Quote
I think some are cautious and wonder what the end
result of deaconesses will be. It seems those with an agenda often hijack harmless things and subvert
them to their own ends, such as the feminist agenda for women priestesses - no apology for that term,
since priest is a male term in English.
It appears the Church in the East, and the Church in the West face, and have always faced different problems. If we would stop and consider, or rather 'study' the problems that the two branches are confronting now, and might have been confronted with in the past, we will be able to understand why certain positions have been taken.

I make it a point of 'always' accepting the viewpoint of the other Church, and thereby always giving one the benefit of a doubt. In that sense, maybe female (pagan) priestesses might have been a common practice in the West. Certainly considering all the pagan traditions that became part and parcel of Christianity, the RC might have been fearful that female priestesses, (with pagan overtones), might enter the Church.

Basically, it could be the same cultural mentality that progressed today into our modern feminist movement.

We Orthodox tend to have a grave fault. We see things from our own prospective, and become fearful that the Western Church is overstepping its bounds. By them doing so, we see the RC as tending towards eventual heresies.

Then again, maybe the RC has the same fault.

Zenovia
This thread is a joke right? April's fools day???
Feeling kind of fiesty today, so here's the order for the Ordination of a Female Deacon .

Priest Thomas
Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
Feeling kind of fiesty today, so here's the order for the Ordination of a Female Deacon .

Priest Thomas
Oh wow Fr Thomas - it seems to me you have just lit the blue touch paper - I'm going to stand back quickly smile
Great link Father Thomas!

Do the faithful proclaim Axios! after the Deaconesses are ordained?

I wonder if anybody knows how the ancient Latin traditon version of the ordaination of a Deaconess reads?

I'm looking into it a bit. Here is some information from Mary P. Truesdell.


THE OFFICE OF DEACONESS IN THE
WESTERN CHURCH


In the West, deaconesses were not as numerous, nor do we find early evidence that this office was much used. The great Latin Fathers Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine are silent on the subject, but we know that the existence of the office was not unknown in Rome because Rome was represented in the great ecumenical councils. The council of Nicaea recognized the order as a matter of course.22

Conditions of oriental society created a need for deaconesses and their ministry that did not obtain in the West. Accordingly, we find younger widows – not pensioners of the Church – doing some active work in the Western Church; but these were not deaconesses and the distinction is quite clear.

The first mention of deaconesses in the West occurs in 394 A.D., when a local synod (Nimes) forbade further ordination of them;23 possibly the order had recently been introduces into Gaul from the East. There followed other prohibition by other local synods (Orange, 441, Epâon, 517), and severe penalties against the marriage of a deaconess by the synod of Orleans in 533. We may judge that local prohibitions had little effect on an institution sanctioned by the general Church, for we have the record of some deaconesses in the West. For example, in 530 the influential and saintly bishop of Rheims, St. Remigius, left a bequest to “my blessed daughter Hilaria, the deaconess.”24 and in 539 in Pavia, “Theodora, the deaconess, of blessed memory” was buried.25

In 544 we have the interesting story of the ordination of the deaconess St. Rhadegund. She was a Thuringian princess who was captured as a child by Clothaire I, a Frankish king, and later forced into marriage with him, becoming one of his seven recognized wives. He was a violent and wicked man. Rhadegund, who has learned the Christian faith, fled from court after the King’s treacherous murder of her brother and sought refuge at Noyon where she entreated the bishop, St. Medard, to ordain her a deaconess. The demand was entirely irregular, and the bishop at first refused on the ground that her married state disqualified her for the diaconate. With the pursuing king and his warriors at the door of the church, she hurried to the sacristy, and laying aside her rich clothing and jeweled girdle, donned a religious habit she found hanging there, returned to the altar and said to the bishop: “If thou shalt refuse to consecrate me, and shall fear men rather than God, let the soul of the sheep be required of the shepherd at thy hand!” Smitten by this solemn adjuration, he laid his hands upon her and consecrated her a deaconess (manu superposita consecravit eam diaconam).

Through the mediation of another bishop, Germanus, the king was induced to consent to a separation, and the deaconess Rhadegund retired to Poitiers, where she founded a convent. She herself was not the abbess, but lived as a simple nun, renowned for her saintliness, and consulted by rulers of state. One of her friends was the poet, Bishop Fortunatus, who is known to us by some very familiar hymns he wrote: “The royal banners forward go,” “Hail, Festal Day,” “Welcome, happy morning,” and others. Their’s was a beautiful friendship, and many little gifts of fruit and flowers were sent from the convent to the bishop. When deaconess Rhadegund died in 587, she was buried with great honor by Gregory, bishop of Tours. Bishop Fortunatus wrote an account of her life.26

Deaconesses were in Rome in the eighth century, if not before. We find a votive tablet erected to the deaconess Anna by her twin brother Dometius, deacon and treasurer of the Holy See. When Pope Leo III and Charlemagne entered Rome in triumph in 799, they were met by “the Roman populace, including nuns, deaconesses, and noble matrons.”27 In the eleventh century we find charters of four popes issued to bishops in Italy, which state the right of the bishops “to make priests, deacons, deaconesses, and subdeacons.”28

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Actually, I'm going to post the full text here. Unfortunately, the link leaves out the texts that are the same as deacon, and for those who are not familiar with the rite, it would seem rather incomplete.

--
ORDER FOR THE ORDINATION OF A WOMAN DEACON

After the completion of the holy Anaphora and the opening of the doors, before the Deacon says, Having commemorated all the Saints,[1] the one to be ordained is brought before the Bishop. As he declaims the invocation, she bows her head, on which he lays his hand.

Divine grace, which always heals what is infirm and completes what is lacking, ordains N., the most devout (...), as Deacon. Let us therefore pray for her, that the grace of the All-Holy Spirit may come upon her.

And at once Lord, have mercy is chanted three times by those in the Sanctuary [by those on the right and three times by those on the left] and [in the same way] by those outside.

He makes the sign of the Cross three times over her and prays as follows:

Holy and All-powerful God, through the birth in flesh of your Only-begotten Son and our God from a Virgin you sanctified woman, and granted not only to men but also to women the grace and visitation of the Holy Spirit. Now, Master, look upon this servant of yours also, call her to the work of your service[3] and send down upon her the rich gift of your Holy Spirit. Guard her in your Orthodox faith in a blameless way of life in accordance with what is well pleasing to you, as she fulfils her ministry[4] at every moment.[5]

For to you belong all glory, honour and worship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

After the Amen the Archdeacon says in a quiet voice, such that the Deacons present can hear and respond, the following Diaconal Litany:

In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

For the peace from on high and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy Churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

For our Archbishop N., for his Priesthood, for help, continuance, peace, health, salvation and for the work of his hands, let us pray to the Lord.

For the servant of God N., who is now ordained Deacon, and for her salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

That our God who loves mankind will grant that her Diaconate may be without spot or blemish, let us pray to the Lord.

For our [civil ruler] let us pray to the Lord.

For this city, for every city, town and village, and for the faithful who dwell in them, let us pray to the Lord.

For favourable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and temperate seasons, let us pray to the Lord.

For those who travel by land, air or water, for the sick, the suffering, for those in captivity, and for their safety and salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger and constraint, let us pray to the Lord.

Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by your grace.

Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.


While the Deacon is saying this, the Bishop, with his hand still resting on the head of the one being ordained, prays as follows:

Master and Lord, you do not reject women who offer themselves, and by divine counsel, to minister as is fitting to your holy houses, but you accept them in the order of ministers. Give the grace of your Holy Spirit to this servant of yours also, who wishes to offer herself to you, and to accomplish the grace of the diaconate, as you gave the grace of your diaconate to Phoebe, whom you called to the work of the ministry. Grant her, O God, to persevere without condemnation in your holy churches, to give careful attention to her way of life, to chastity in particular, and show her to be your perfect servant, that, when she stands before the judgement of Christ, she may also receive the fitting reward of her way of life.[6]

By the mercy and love for humankind of your Only-begotten Son, with whom you are blessed, etc.

And after the Amen the Bishop places the Deacon’s Orarion on her neck, under the Maphorion, bringing the two extremities round to the front.[7]

The other Deacon stands outside the Sanctuary and says:

Having commemorated all the Saints, again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord, etc.

[At the communion...]

After she has received Communion of the holy Body and Blood, the Bishop hands her the Chalice. When she has taken it, she places it on the holy Table.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] The ordination takes place at the same point of the Liturgy as that for male Deacons and the role of the diaconate as the minister of the Chalice is stressed by the giving of the Chalice to the newly ordained woman Deacon. This clearly indicates that the newly ordained was admitted to the Sanctuary and stood near the Altar. The 14th century canonist Matthew Blastares notes that, ’except for a few things, the ordination of women deacons is to be performed like that for male deacons’. He notes particularly that ‘she is brought to the Holy Table’. The rubrical details in the older books are few and the actual formula of ordination is not given in full. As a result we do not know how the candidate was described or what her ecclesiastical status was before ordination. I do not think the fact that she only bows and does not kneel has any theological signifance.

[1] This prayer is less specific than that for male Deacons and makes no reference to the ‘service of the Mysteries’. On the other hand there is no distinction between the sexes with regard to the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit’ conferred by ordination.

[2] See the rite for male Deacons.

[3] Greek diakonia.

[4] Greek leitourgia. Here and elsewhere translated by ‘ministry’. The verb by ‘minister’.

[5] This prayer is less specific than that for male Deacons and makes no reference to the ‘service of the Mysteries’. On the other hand there is no distinction between the sexes with regard to the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit’ conferred by ordination.

[6] Whereas the model for the male diaconate is St Stephen, that for women Deacons is St Phoebe of Kenchreae, who is clearly described as a ‘Deacon’ in Romans 16. In contrast to the prayers for male ordinands, the prayer underlines that fact that the woman has offered herself for ordination, which is more reminiscent of the rite of monastic profession.

[7] The woman Deacon is specifically said to be vested in a ‘deacon’s orarion’, but she wears it with both ends hanging down in front, like a western stole, rather than over the left shoulder. This difference appears to be purely practical, since the woman Deacon would be wearing the maphorion, or ample monastic veil, which would make wearing the orarion over her shoulder difficult.
Quote
Originally posted by Matthew Panchisin:
Do the faithful proclaim Axios! after the Deaconesses are ordained?
No, they would proclaim "Axia!" smile

Dave
Quote
Originally posted by Matthew Panchisin:
Do the faithful proclaim Axios! after the Deaconesses are ordained?
Dear-in-Christ Matthew,

Axios is masculine (singular) [meaning 'he is' worthy] so for a woman it would be "axia" which should be proclaimed IIRC at the installation of an Abbess too.

Tony
Quote
Originally posted by Matthew Panchisin:

If you read the last sentence of the below text from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia you'll see what I mean.

Do bear in mind that there are many Deaconess Saints that I'm sure would not agree with the notion that the functions they performed should be placed in a suggested abuse box.

It's an insult because an inclusive part of who these Saints are is being deaconesses.

[snip]

Do woman do any of these things that they are regarding as abuses in the Latin Church or Orthodox Church?

I know woman read the Epistle in the Latin Church for example in fact right smack in front of the Bishop of Rome on many occassions.

So the question is what is really happening here?
Going back to a point Matthew made regarding the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia:

- it's a scanned version of an encyclopedia that was given its N.O. and Imprimatur in 1907

- it was published by an American company, and can be reasonably said to reflect the state of American Catholic scholarship in 1907.

- it is NOT Catholic doctrine. True, there are many elements of Catholic doctrine in there, and many good things that reflect Catholic tradition hidden inside, but the site should in no way be construed as to being the position of the Catholic Church at any time (even if it explains Catholic doctrine in some parts).

- the only place where one finds (more or less) the official stance of the Catholic Church is in the Cathecism of the Catholic Church .

- The encyclopedia is only a source of information, and it reflects the scholarship of a century ago- and this is critical due to the enormous amount of new information that's availble on some subjects it discusses. It is good book for that time, has great historical value, and is useful for those studying Catholicism (and I say this with reservation due to all the facts listed above).

It also clearly has sections where the authors were allowed to insert their own opinions on a particular subject. Therefore, its opinions on many issues are not to be construed as anything besides that of its own authors e.g. the suitability of deaconesses, Hesychasm , or "Byzantine Chant" (do a search on that page for the word "nasal").

I don't know about deaconesses, but I assure you that the Catholic Church as a whole has a better appreciation of Hesychasm than the Encyclopedia, and (someone correct me if I'm wrong) there's an entire Catholic Patriarchate (the Melkites) that feels "Byzantine Chant" is suitable for its primary style of liturgical music.

I also assure you that it is not the official position of the Catholic Church that "The religious music of the Russians is the only [Orthodox music] that expresses any true piety".

Marc

[My starets would like to add: Is outrage! Even in early 20th century newcaldendarist filioquist Latin West it was known that 19th Century Russia and its music was height of Orthodoxy!]
Fr. Thomas and Matthew Panchisin,

Thank you for the clear-minded way that you are addressing the topic of "Orthodox Deaconnesses". It has taken away a lot of the emotions that I was feeling when I first posted on this forum.

I have printed and am reading and pondering upon the Order for the Ordination.

Shestelle
Father bless. I am not sure what the relevance of this link is; it appears to be the webpage of yet another non-canonical "Orthodox" hierarch.... confused
Quote
Originally posted by iconophile:
Father bless. I am not sure what the relevance of this link is; it appears to be the webpage of yet another non-canonical "Orthodox" hierarch.... confused
Dear-in-Christ iconophile,

Yes you are confused. Ephrem Lash is not a hierarch. He belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Tony
Dear Tony- yes, I see upon re-reading it that you are right; please forgive me...
-Daniel, repentant
Dear Marc,

There is quite a bit of more recent information on the matter from the Vatican. I'm aware of the difference between the Vatican and the Catholic encyclopedia. Is there a difference regarding the Vatican's teaching nowadays on the ordaination of Deaconesses?

Dear Tony,

I've learned to get used to the confusion thing, it took a while.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Somethings some people especially many Latin Catholics are going to have to get a handle on:

1. The ordination of the deaconess in the Byzantine Church is nearly identical to that of deacon. The deaconess was ordained in the altar, with the same formula, vested with the same vestments, and communed in the altar with the rest of the clergy after the deacons but before the subdeacons. However, the deaconess did not perform the incensations, say the litanies, or proclaim the Gospel.

2. The strict Scholastic concept of Seven Sacraments and only seven has not been generally adhered to in the East, so the ordination to deaconess can be seen as a Sacrament without being part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

3. The reinstitution of deaconesses in Eastern Churches have nothing to do with the feminist women priest movement and cannot be judged because this movement may try to spin this as support for their position.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Daniel,

Archimandrite Ephrem's liturgical scholarship is top notch and the manuscripts he is transalting from are from Mt. Athos, the Vatican Library, and the Monastery of Grottaferratta.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Dear All,

Orthoman had brought to our attention the Apostolic Constitution compiled c. 390:Deaconess

7.410 - Let not any woman addresss herself to the deacon or bishop without the deaconess.

Maybe the woman in Greece are often addressing the Bishops of the Holy Synod and perhaps they thought we have to stop this so they called a meeting. Maybe they will only ordain one Deaconess to cover all of Greece!
I'm surprised the Latin Bishop's don't see such great wisdom. Fr. Deacon Lance might even like it. As a Priest Father Stephanos would have to handle the conversations. Sounds good to me.

7.410 - Let not any woman addresss herself to the deacon or bishop without the deaconess.

Open the doors for Deaconesses!

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin wink
Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
Somethings some people especially many Latin Catholics are going to have to get a handle on:


Fr. Deacon Lance
It seems to me - and I could easily be wrong about this, since the only deacons here are Latin Rite - that the functions of deacons in the Western and Eastern rites are quite different. That being the case, there will be misunderstandings. The Latin deacons bless, baptize, read the gospel, preach, and perform marriages. It seems that Eastern deacons serve at the altar and don't do any of those Latin functions. If the understanding of the role of deacons is so different between the rites, I am sure the role of deaconesses will not be understood and will be looked upon with great suspicion.
"It seems to me - and I could easily be wrong about this, since the only deacons here are Latin Rite - that the functions of deacons in the Western and Eastern rites are quite different. That being the case, there will be misunderstandings. The Latin deacons bless, baptize, read the gospel, preach, and perform marriages. It seems that Eastern deacons serve at the altar and don't do any of those Latin functions. If the understanding of the role of deacons is so different between the rites, I am sure the role of deaconesses will not be understood and will be looked upon with great suspicion."

Fr. Deacons John, Stan, and myself are Byzantine and Fr. Deacon Ed is biritual Latin/Melkite.

Byzantine Deacons do proclaim the Gospel and give homilies. They do not bless, so they may not bless a marriage. They could baptize if necessary, such as in a mission where the priest would not be coming for a prolonged period.

The problem is Latin Catholic apologists are in denial of or are ignorant of the nature and role deaconesses in the Byzantine Church.

Fr. Deacon Lance
"The problem is Latin Catholic apologists are in denial of or are ignorant of the nature and role deaconesses in the Byzantine Church.

Fr. Deacon Lance"

I suspect you are right about that. Unfortunately, many Latins are ignorant of the Byzantine Church, period. Compounding the problem is my own observation that Latins tend to think of their deacons as a "light" form of priests who can perform many priestly functions. The priest shortage has caused congregations to increasingly rely on the deacons as substitutes in priest-like roles.
I will temper some of my posts with this one reflection. My ONLY hesitation about all of this is, not that there is no historical precedent for the ordination of women deacons, it's there, it can't be denied. It is the purpose of it. The Church of Greece seemed to be, in fact, not reacting to feminism or to the need of certain women to be validated by their role in leadership, but rather to fulfill a need. If there are remote monasteries that need the services that a "deaconess" could provide, where priests do not reside, then it seems to me that this is a legitimate and holy thing. If it is only a reaction to pamper feminists, it will surely fail and will harm the church in the process. I highly doubt that it is the latter, given the nature of the Church of Greece.

I think the prayers for the ordination of a woman deacon are very revealing, and if we truly believe in "lex credendi, lex orandi" then these words should be pause for sobriety about the subject:

"Holy and All-powerful God, through the birth in flesh of your Only-begotten Son and our God from a Virgin you sanctified woman, and granted not only to men but also to women the grace and visitation of the Holy Spirit. Now, Master, look upon this servant of yours also, call her to the work of your service and send down upon her the rich gift of your Holy Spirit. Guard her in your Orthodox faith in a blameless way of life in accordance with what is well pleasing to you, as she fulfils her ministry at every moment."

The second prayer affirms that women do indeed have a ministry, even if it is only to the women in the church, for the sake of propriety, blessed by God. I take extreme comfort in the fact that Orthodoxy seems to, again and again, in its inner life, exalt the role of women, especially in the example of the Mother of God. Being Orthodox all my life, I have NEVER encountered any type of denigration of women, perceived or otherwise, in the Church. St. Paul makes it clear that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus." These are extremely powerful and wonderful and liberating words. These are hardly words of feminism. Jesus did not come to "empower women" as the Episcopal Church seems to preach. Jesus came to free all people, men and women, Jews and Greeks, from the power of sin and death.

All of these are radical ideas, not beginning with the 21st century, but beginning with our Lord and His Apostles. Even a cursory reading of the Book of Acts clearly shows, right at the center of the story, that the Jews struggled with the idea that Christ died for all people, Jews and Greeks. The belief that only the Jews were the chosen people of God was completely eradicated in Christ. All are one in Christ Jesus, and this includes women.

If this sounds like feminism, then you are misreading my words. The ancient Christian faith, I am convinced, rejects feminism. What it does do, is exalts humans to be one with God. Every one has their place in the Church, men, women, the aged, the young, we are all one in Christ. That's why we all drink of the same cup, from the oldest man in the parish, to the youngest girl, from her 40th day as a human.

To be sure, Christ is the God-Man, and lives as a resurrected human man, that is in male-ness, not as a female. And so, the office of the priesthood is reserved for males only. This is the involate teaching of the Faith. But women do serve, and can be blessed to serve, in a special way, as servants, especially to other women. This promotes purity within the Body.

These are indeed "radical" ideas, ones that Christ died on a cross to give to us and rose from the dead so that we might embrace one another as true brothers and sisters in all charity and purity. If we take the scriptures as a whole, we can surely come to no other conclusion.

Just my two cents.

Priest Thomas
Bless, Father Thomas,

I share your great feeling about Orthodoxy and her traditions as well! smile

I don't know what our Latin friends are going on about here.

But then again, I've never gotten on with them all that much.

Have you?

Alex
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Bless, Father Thomas,

I share your great feeling about Orthodoxy and her traditions as well! smile

I don't know what our Latin friends are going on about here.

But then again, I've never gotten on with them all that much.

Have you?

Alex
WOOO! Talk about slippery politicians! When are you running for Prime Minister? biggrin
Dear Charles,

Prime Minister?

I can't even become a Moderator on the Byzantine Forum! smile

Not that I need to be, mind you, with my instability and hyper-sensitivity and all that . . .

sniff . . .

Alex
As a Latin Catholic of a certain kind, I must admit to ignorance of my Eastern brethern, even though I have found a thin thread within the family tree.

It would be wise and in the best interest of both the Byzantine & Roman rites to consult each other regarding this important issue, or they will experience a Castro type of step.

And Alex, you would be one heck of a politician south of that border.

james
Dear Jakub,

Why, thank you, Brother!

Who needs the Forum? smile smile

Alex
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Bless, Father Thomas,

I share your great feeling about Orthodoxy and her traditions as well! smile

I don't know what our Latin friends are going on about here.

But then again, I've never gotten on with them all that much.

Have you?

Alex
Oh Alex, you always know the right thing to say! However, I know that your heart is big enough to embrace all of it. I, on the other hand, poor sinful wretch that I am, am blinded by the beauty of the Orthodox faith. I stand in awe at each liturgy, each time I read the scriptures and each time I witness the beautiful testimony that our faith has to the Kingdom of God. I know in my heart of hearts that it is singularly special in many ways.

God bless you for your unbiased ways.

Priest Thomas
Bless, Father Thomas,

Well, I don't always say the right thing.

It sounds as if you haven't communicated with the Administrator of Fr. Deacon John Montalvo for a while . . . smile smile

Kissing your right hand, I again implore your holy blessing, Reverend Father,

Alex
My views are my own, and may or may not be representative of the Orthodox Church in America, the Byzantine Catholic Church in America, this board, it's Adminstrator, or the topic moderator. wink

My name is Fr. Tom Soroka, and I approve this message.

Oh wait, the election's over....
Dear Father Thomas,

From what I can tell it seems that in the west Pope Gelasius had some of the strongest language regarding "ordaining" woman. He writes of this "evil" in which he seems to be referring to participation in a liturgical way or as being members of the clergy. He writes; "seems to threaten not only their the bishops own downfall, but also the tragic downfall of the whole church, if they do not come to their senses."

As we know in the Orthodox Church the role of a Deaconesses is limited and they are not nor have they ever been moving towards the Priesthood. However males or Deacons often become Priest's, it is sort of a stepping stone so to speak, this has always been the tradition. For the Latin's during the Vatican Council 2 the permanent diaconate was restored. They allowed married men to be Deacons however the stepping stone to the Priesthood is no longer a stepping stone because the Latin's do not allow a married Priesthood although some say there are many exceptions. This is interesting because a significant part the original intended purpose of the diaconate has been adjusted which effects the flow of potential Priest's. As such we can predictably conclude that denying or restricting the God given sacrament of marriage as well as the gift of participation in pro-creation has resulted in many issues with the Latin's that could be reduced, namely by accepting the Churches traditional and appropriate understandings regarding the service of women. The acceptance of the service of woman has been mentioned from the very beginning so why should it be denied as we approach the end. I'm not surprised by the results and different conclusions from these understandings as we can clearly see in Holy Writ.

Genesis 2:18

And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

Genesis 1:27-28

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

How things are interpreted and why they are interpreted differently as they are in the east compared to the west seems to be a matter of interpretation as well.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Charles,

Prime Minister?

I can't even become a Moderator on the Byzantine Forum! smile

Not that I need to be, mind you, with my instability and hyper-sensitivity and all that . . .

sniff . . .

Alex
Why Alex, you would make a most excellent Moderator. I have only found you to be hypersensitive on one issue - that political entity somewhere near Russia. Was it Kiev? wink biggrin Other than that, you would make a fine Moderator.
Dear Charles,

Actually, I've several ethnic backgrounds which is why we could never tell an ethnic joke in my family . . .

We never knew which relative we would offend . . . wink

Alex
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Charles,

Actually, I've several ethnic backgrounds which is why we could never tell an ethnic joke in my family . . .

We never knew which relative we would offend . . . wink

Alex
ROFL biggrin We have several ethnicities in my family, too, but none of us are very sensitive about it. We tend to laugh about it, not take offense.
All I can say is that there are also texts which also supposedly support the partnering of men, what are we to believe concerning them?
yes lex orandi lex credendi, but use some common sense too!
Stephanos I
Quote
Originally posted by Stephanos I:
All I can say is that there are also texts which also supposedly support the partnering of men, what are we to believe concerning them?
yes lex orandi lex credendi, but use some common sense too!
Stephanos I
I didn't know that! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since craziness is not an invention of recent centuries. It's been around since the days of the early Church.
Quote
Originally posted by Stephanos I:
All I can say is that there are also texts which also supposedly support the partnering of men, what are we to believe concerning them?
yes lex orandi lex credendi, but use some common sense too!
Stephanos I
Well, either your position is completely uninformed, or you're baiting those who may be ignorant?

You're comparing apples and oranges. The office of deaconess was a role in the church from the time of the bible. The text that I posted is competely legitimate, historically accurate and completely Orthodox, but has largely fallen out of disuse for many reasons, although, as has been stated SO MANY TIMES on this board that I'm rather sick of restating it, there have been deaconesses even in relatively modern times. The historicity of it is UNQUESTIONABLE. If you wanna call the earth flat, be my guest.

The texts that you refer to, about the union of two men to become "brothers," IS NOT and NEVER HAS BEEN about gay marriage. What we are to believe about those texts is the purpose for which they were originally written and nothing else. Same for the texts concerning deaconesses. Sounds like basic logic to me.

Using *your* logic, we would have to make suspect the bible itself since people go around misinterpreting and misusing that all the time.

Priest Thomas
Quote
Originally posted by Stephanos I:
All I can say is that there are also texts which also supposedly support the partnering of men, what are we to believe concerning them?
yes lex orandi lex credendi, but use some common sense too!
Stephanos I
Supposedly is the key word here. Those texts are unlike the texts for the ordination of deaconess in that the deaconess is contemplated in the canons of the church and there is ample historic reference to their existence and their existence does not constitute any moral problem.
Dear Stephanos,

Please smarten up - soon!

Thank you.

Alex
Dear Charles,

The text Stephanos is referring to has NOTHING to do with gay marriage.

Apologists for that lifestyle have even compiled lists of "gay saints" such as, in their ill-informed opinion, Sts. Sergius and Bacchus (!).

They also make BLASPHEMOUS suggestions about St John and his leaning on Christ's Chest during the Mystical Supper!!!

Stephanos should TRY and not repeat the nonsense he hears in his immediate environment in an effort to discredit what cannot be discredited - the existence of the non-sacerdotal order of deaconesses in the Church, both in the past and in the present.

He is entitled to his opinions - and the rest of us are entitled to not having to hear them constantly rehashed.

Alex
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Charles,

The text Stephanos is referring to has NOTHING to do with gay marriage.

Apologists for that lifestyle have even compiled lists of "gay saints" such as, in their ill-informed opinion, Sts. Sergius and Bacchus (!).

They also make BLASPHEMOUS suggestions about St John and his leaning on Christ's Chest during the Mystical Supper!!!

Stephanos should TRY and not repeat the nonsense he hears in his immediate environment in an effort to discredit what cannot be discredited - the existence of the non-sacerdotal order of deaconesses in the Church, both in the past and in the present.

He is entitled to his opinions - and the rest of us are entitled to not having to hear them constantly rehashed.

Alex
Thanks Alex. But what are those texts about, since I have never heard of them before? Fr. Thomas just said they were about two men becoming "brothers." Is that like brothers in a monastic order, or something else?
Dear all,

Well, I was just writing this and see that some reasonable responses have emerged.

Nevertheless for further clarification, Father Stephanos introduces for our consideration the notion of submitting "texts which also supposedly support the partnering of men" as morally corresponding behavior to the function of a Deaconess or the action of ordaining a Deaconess. Either way this sort of reasoning should be rejected and dismissed for they are not of the same yolk. The behavior of a Deaconess relative to what a deaconess does as a deaconess is a honorable service to the rational flock of the Church and Christ, hence it is morally correct. The partnering of men is a sin and the "texts which also supposedly support the partnering of men" is an expression from those that are promoting sin, relative to what a homosexual does and the "texts which also supposedly support the partnering of men" is blatant distortion and a expression from those that present sinful behavior as not sinful behavior.


The aforementioned notion is much more than a twisting. I can't recall the exact scripture now but something along the lines of how woeful it is when that which is vile is considered honorable or good, and that which is good is considered to be not good. I think it is in the Psalms somewhere.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Quote
Originally posted by Matthew Panchisin:

However males or Deacons often become Priest's, it is sort of a stepping stone so to speak, this has always been the tradition.
Matthew,

I would agree with most of what you said, except I would just tweak the above a bit.

I would say that it is a much better understanding to not think of the dicaonate as a "stepping stone" at all, although indeed, the progression is such that one must be a deacon before being a priest. And yes, there are many more priests than deacons, in both east and west. But I think we should also acknowledge that this is not by design. The book of Acts makes clear that there was a plurality of deacons in certain communities. (By the way, there was also a plurality of presbyters in many places, all surrounding one bishop in each community! Our model today, of course, is different.)

However, and I think this is clear in the scriptures, these offices exist (deacon, presbyter, bishop) not to somehow progress "through" them, as some kind of a rest stop on the way to the "top," but rather each is a full and valid and useful ministry in and of itself. There are a variety of gifts, but one Spirit! The bishops are the overseers (episcopos), the priests are the elders (presbyteros) and rulers (proistamenos), and the deacons are the servants (diaconos). All of them have important functions within the community. For the deacon, the book of Acts shows that they were to "serve tables" so that the Apostles could devote themselves to "teaching and preaching." Everyone had a function, and the deacons were not ordained simply to be "on the road to the priesthood."

(I had a conversation at my secular job with someone, with whom I shared the pictures of the 90th Anniversary of my parish . She asked, "do you have aspirations to reach the top?" I said, "I am where I'm supposed to be.")

So I guess my point is, it is actually much healthier to see the offices in this sense, because it will also reduce the temptation to think of the female deacon as somehow progressing to something "higher." She is what she is, a servant of other women, I am what I am, my bishop is what he is, and we are all functioning to manifest the fullness of ministries in the body of Christ.

Priest Thomas
I am glad that I stirred up so much controversy!
But believe me I never said I was in support of any such possition.
My point was exactly that, that many appeal to texts to quote "prove" there case.
It was and never will be the intention of the Catholic Church to "ordain" deconesses because whatever you call them, even those quotes from Scripture, they were never Deacons in the sense of an ordained ministry.
I would suggest that those who support such a position, further there investigations as to the meaning of the term "deaconesses" both in Scripture and the life of the Church, and yes I do admit they existed. Im only questioning what a group of modernist, are trying to imply by it.
Stephanos I
Well, then I think it behooves to you enlighten us, not with what deaconesses weren't, but what they were. If you admit to the existence of deaconesses, could you please explain the function of deaconesses in the early church, and why they were (choose your own term here) set apart, blessed, ordained, laying on of hands, whatever... at the altar? What was the purpose of this happening at the altar, or that they communed at the altar, at least on the day of their being set apart, blessed, ordained, laying on of hands, whatever...?

It's so easy to make these blanket statements about "what they weren't" and "modernism" but I'm not hearing a lot of specifics here, only broad and unsubstantiated accusations.

Also, it would be helpful to have your name at the end of the posts. Your profile says "clergy." Would that be priest, bishop, deacon, or candle bearer? And of what church? Where? A full name would be helpful, especially for those who are clergy.

Priest Thomas
I plan to give a full explanation as to the role of deaconess and its historical development. But at this time I am too busy with my many duties of a parish over 4000 families.
To start an appeal to the NT for those who would advocate the ordination of women is futile.
The term in the NT was not as developed and defined as the term deacon in the Church today. It simply meant servant.
The term deaconess is only used once in the entire Scriptures and that is in Rom 16. (Diakonon).
As to the rest I will post later.
Stephanos I
Dear Father Thomas,

Thank you for the tweaking. I didn't mean to convey a climbing of the ladder sort of a notion. You are correct to mention that serving the Church is good and honorable in any capacity that is pleasing to God.

Dear Father Stephanos,

We are not unlearned and incapable of reasonable investigations of a subject matter which is prudent even before we say anything that might be misunderstood as a display of ignorance by the issuers unreasonable statements, perhaps to the detriment or dismay of others.

I found Father Knows Best to be a good show conveying a reasonable understanding of morality to the audience. I suppose those had been the good old days when some subjects would not receive any air time because of the effects that such subjects might have on the re viewers.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Dear Father Stephanos,

I'm bracing myself. Do keep in mind that in the east we do not confer a priestly ordination on women, so to speak.

You can count the number of times that the word or term deaconess is used in the Scriptures, but you might want to understand that Saint Paul was also addressing Deaconess when he wrote to numerous Churches. We can conclude this because they had been in the "community" of the Church. He may not have been addressing them by spelling out who they are in those addresses nor did he address the "tall" people in the community directly.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear Charles,


Apologists for that lifestyle have even compiled lists of "gay saints" such as, in their ill-informed opinion, Sts. Sergius and Bacchus (!).


Alex
Yes Alex, and that iconographer you are always defending, Robert Lentz OFM, has done icons of them [and also King David and Jonathan]
Quote
Originally posted by iconophile:
[QUOTE]Yes Alex, and that iconographer you are always defending, Robert Lentz OFM, has done icons of them [and also King David and Jonathan]
I can't even begin to understand anyone implying that David and Jonathan were gay. I grew up viewing their relationship as what a perfect friendship should be. Anyone would be extremely blessed to have a friendship like that.
Quote
Originally posted by Stephanos I:
To start an appeal to the NT for those who would advocate the ordination of women is futile.
The term in the NT was not as developed and defined as the term deacon in the Church today. It simply meant servant.
The term deaconess is only used once in the entire Scriptures and that is in Rom 16. (Diakonon).
Then we are still left with the question of what to make of this, OK, let's call it a "blessing service" (which just happens to have the form of the ordination, and just happens to take place in the sanctuary, at the holy table, at the same time as the ordination of male deacons, with a few admitted differences) for a female deacon. And why is she given the orarion as a vestment? For what function is it? Why does she commune at the altar and actually touch the sacred chalice by setting it on the altar(!)?

What was the role of the over 40 female deacons at the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constaninople in 535?

What was the purpose of these deaconesses for the first 12 centuries of the church, until it fell out of disuse?

Why did St. Nektarios "bless" (since according to you we can't use the word "ordain") a woman in 1911 to be a deaconess? Why did the then Archbishop of Athens, Chrysostomos, do the same a few years later? Why did the Church of Greece open a college for deaconess in 1957? Why did the Russian Church have the restoration of the female dicaonate on the agenda of their council before it was interrupted by the Bolshevik revolution?

Why do the Orthodox portray Sainted female deacons in diaconal vestments?

Through the prayers of the holy female deacons, St. Phoebe, St. Sophia, St Macrina, (the sister of Sts. Gregory and Basil), St. Nonna, (the wife of St. Gregory Nazianzus), St. Theosebia (the wife of St. Gregory of Nyssa), St. Gorgonia (the daughter of St Gregory the Theologian), St. Melania, St. Susanna, St. Appolonia, St Olympia, St. Xenia, and of all the other deaconesses, and all the Saints, may Christ our God have mercy on us and save us!

Priest Thomas (who serves only 150 adults and 30 children in his miniscule parish)
Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
Priest Thomas (who serves only 150 adults and 30 children in his miniscule parish)
Father Thomas,

Thank goodness for that; it leaves you the time to post in a charitable tone wink .

Many years,

Neil
I also want to add to the discussion I Tim 3:11. This word has often been translated as "wives," (which it can have that meaning) but in the context, why would St. Paul be addressing the wives of deacons?

This word should be translated "women," as in "women deacons." St. John Chrysostom bears this meaning out, in his comment on the verse: "Some have thought that this is said of women generally, but it is not so, for why should he introduce anything about women to interfere with his subject? He is speaking of those who hold the rank of Deaconesses."

Remember that it was due to the ministry of deaconesses that he was able to flee Constatinople when he was exiled. He wrote many letters to his deaconesses, which can still be read today, and enlighten us to their ministry at the time.

So, contrary to what was posted by others, that Rom 16:1 is the only place which deaconesses are addressed, I Tim 3:11 seems to be another example.

Matthew P. also mentioned, and I would like to reiterate, that St. Paul addresses other groups of women in various epistles. It is largely believed that they were likely deaconesses, although the word is not specifically mentioned.

Priest Thomas
Dear Daniel,

Well, I certainly don't defend everything about Robert Lentz (or Orthodoxy, or Catholicism, or the Pope etc.) wink

Lentz's icons ARE used by certain Catholic priests in their outreach to the gay community, as you know . . .

I don't know if his icon of David and Jonathan are meant to be part of that audience for which he paints - I had a friend here at work whose name is "Jonathan David" and I gave him a copy of Lentz's icon of his two name-saints.

It was funny how that happened. He wasn't religious, others in the office told me he was an avowed agnostic.

But when I said there was an icon of Sts David and Jonathan, he asked me to get it for him.

A month later, I forgot about it . . .

But he didn't, and kept coming back to me to ask me to please remember to obtain it for him.

I finally did and he put it on his desk. He still has it and has told me he has "modified" his views of religion of late . . .

So while I certainly don't defend Lentz on everything, I also don't condemn for everything.

Alex
Dear Charles,

Yes, I've seen the service on-line several times in the past - it is most prominently used by gay churches as a "marriage" ceremony.

I'll see if I can find it - although I think Neil could find that no problem.

Not that I'm expecting Neil to do that . . .

Alex
Dear Brethren,

If I may....contribute here a bit of common-sense synthesis of our many sources of the tradition to come to the time-honored practice of our Rite.


We have clearly had female deaconesses. Scripture confirms that.

They may have been "blessed" to serve or "ordained" to serve. (That difference will prove irrelevant by the end of the synthesis.)

If they were "ordained," and were "ordained" at the altar, it shall also prove irrelevant.

If they were given an orarion, it shall also prove irrelevant.

The entire (Eastern & Western) Catholic Church meeting in a preschismatic Ecumenical Council instituted a canonical norm that females shall not approach the altar, thereby precluding deaconesses from being ordained and serving liturgically in the same way as deacons. This was most likely in response to some abuse of the traditional role of deaconesses for which the greatest body of evidence points toward a non-liturgical role.

Simultaneously, we need to hold up the Apostle Paul's stricture that the women will keep silent in the liturgical assembly of the Church, a direct reference to speaking in toungues and prophesying, what we would now consider and interpret as preaching, especially since Paul is discouraging the speaking in toungues.

One might want to then ask the very appropriate question "if women are to keep silent, why are the women permitted to sing and read?" Continue with the Apostle, 'that I shall not permit a woman to have authority over a man.'

The singers and readers do not have authority over men, but sing/chant/read responses to what the bishops, priests, deacons, and subdeacons offer as prayer or petition. If they don't offer, no response is given.

The ontological reality of male and female is that the male is the offerer and the female the receiver.

However, a tonsured Reader, set aside by a service strictly reserved for males (sorry, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, your innovation of tonsuring females as Readers falls apart) does have "liturgical authority" over all of the untonsured readers and singers, male and female.

But who has authority over the male tonsured Reader? [Even I have to submit to a higher human authority, as distasteful as it may be to me and as unjust as it may appear to you. biggrin biggrin biggrin ] The subdeacons, deacons, priests, and bishops.

So how can we reconcile a deaconess with a liturgical role akin to that held by deacons when she would necessarily have authority over male subdeacons and readers?

We can't, and more importantly, the Church never has. The arrogance of the modern era is that we do not even bother to consider the wisdom of our forefathers in the faith whose blood was poured out like a drink offering through centuries of persecutions, Roman, Turkish, and Communist, somehow madly thinking that we are superior to them in our judgements. Shame on us if we fall into this.


Deaconesses? Yes!
Are they the same as Deacons? No!
Do they take an offeratory role in liturgical functions? No!
Are they to be honored and respected within their traditional role? Yes!

With love in Christ,
Andrew, the Reader
The Reader Andrew makes some good points, even if he does overstate his case, just a bit.

The issue of deaconesses (or female deacons, if you will) has never been one of authority over men. It think that was clearly stated by me several times, where their role was to serve, under very strict limits, the women and only the women of the Church. It was a role which keeps propriety within the body - women with women, men with men.

It also is clear that they likely had no liturgical function, per se. However, the fact that they were communed at the altar (even if just at their blessing/ordination/whatever) and that they wore some type of insignia (orarion) as a sign of their office is anything but irrelevant. They also particpated in the sacrament of the baptism of women, again for the sake of propriety.

It is also clear that their "rank," if you will, was over the sub-deacons. (That is not to imply that they were in authority over them.) In the historical lists, as the ranks of clergy were listed, they were listed before the sub-deacons.

This is not unusual. A layperson, as well as readers, sub-deacons, and deacons, may receive a blessing from the Abbess of a monastery. A priest exchanges a kiss of peace and the kiss of each other's hands with her also. She also wears a pectoral cross as a sign of her rank. She recieves the title "Very Reverend," (the same as an archpriest). The historical record also shows that deaconesses were given the title "Reverend," the same as deacons.

So on the one hand, let us not over state the case of who the deaconesses were, but also let us not minimize their status or function.

Priest Thomas
Bless, Father Thomas!

Could you comment on the role of the Orthodox Abbess?

Theirs would be a much stronger one than the Deaconess, would it not?

They can bless (using the lay three-finger form) can they not?

Alex
Well, the abbess certainly is the head of a monastic community, whereas the deaconess would have served, as a virgin or widow, within churches where laypeople reside. The text for the ordination of deaconesses also implies that they are monastics, so that would be beyond simply a virgin or widow.

Yes, an abbess uses the form of blessing with her hand as one crosses one's self. But let's not go into that history, shall we? eek

Priest Thomas
Bless, Reverend Father Thomas!

Why not?

Kissing your right hand, I again implore your blessing as your sinful servant,

Alexander Roman PhD
I was thinking more the whole "how you hold your hand to cross yourself" (west/east/old believers/etc...). Just didn't want to go into that. I'm exhausted by all of this! smile
Bless, Reverend Father Thomas!

O.K.!

Kissing your right hand, I again implore your blessing as your sinful servant,

Alexander Roman, PhD

(YOU'Re getting tired? wink )
Dear Alex, PhD

You got Get Smart in Canada?
Dear Fr. Thomas,

Thank you for your kind words and for helping to clarify the traditional role AND position of the deaconess.

The role seems clear: baptisms (a liturgical but non-offeratory function), visiting the shut-in or sick females, counseling with the women of the community, and perhaps hearing confessions (but not conferring absolution).

The points regarding position are equally important: That they appear on lists of clergy (not as a "deacon," but as a "deaconess") and are honored with titles such as "Reverend" and forms of address such as "Mother Deaconess" are wholly appropriate.

A corollary could be found in the military where "rank" and "function" are two different categories. Let's take the naval forces, with which I'm most familiar.

A combat ship has a "Captain," (his functional title as the one in charge of the ship) although his actual "rank" may be "Commander."

For example, when Lieutenant John F. Kennedy commanded his PT 109 (Torpedo Boat) in WWII, his men correctly referred to him as "the Captain" or "the Skipper." Function/position = Captain. Rank = Lieutenant.

Now suppose there is a doctor (with the rank of Lieutenant Commander) on board a large ship that is headed by a man (with the rank of full Commander) whom they call "the Captain". In combat, the Captain is killed. The doctor is the next highest ranking officer, but he is not permitted to take command of the ship as long as there is any other officer from the combat arms on board (what we call an "unrestricted line" officer). Command would pass to a Lieutenant or even to an Ensign (of the "unrestricted line") before it would pass to the Doctor.

In this sense we need to separate out "rank" and "position/function" in the Church. It's not exactly the same, since we are a conciliar body called to act in the model of Christ's self-sacrificing love, but the core principle of "rank" and "function" works in the same way.

An Archdeacon may be "outranked" by a local Presbyter, but when acting on the behalf of the Bishop, he has higher authority or function and can "tell" the presbyter what to do.

Likewise, the lay Mother Abbess of a monastery reports to her bishop. No presbyter, although he "outranks" her may enter there and "give orders" unless he has been sent by her superior bishop. So she remains the highest authority in the monastery, although a visiting Priest or even a Subdeacon may "outrank" her but have no specific commission from the bishop.

In this way, those who shudder at the idea of reintroduction of the deaconess can be relieved to understand that it has a specific rank and a specific function. However, their underlying concern, that the reintroduced deaconess will quickly exceed the traditional function is certainly a well-founded one, in North America, at least, where we still find parish councils "hiring and firing" the ordained clergy while the senior clergy counsel the younger ones to "give the people what they want."

I believe that we should recognize that we are in a dangerous time, at least here in N. America (although that may vary from diocese to diocese or jurisdiction to jurisdiction). The Church in Greece is in its own situation and may not need to share the concerns that some here appropriately have. Having said that, I also wouldn't want our Church and the proper exercise of her traditions to be held captive by secular or feminist trends in society.

Let's pray that our bishops proceed in all of their deiberations with love, prayer, and close consultation with one another.

In Christ,
Andrew
Emperor's and Tsar's had some "rank" as well, their thrones or the place that they sat at had been located right next to the Bishop or Patriarch. Now it didn't stop there for the Emperor's and Tsar's could actually approach the Altar through the royal doors they would place their crowns on the Altar just like a Bishop does.

I thought youse might find that to be of some interest.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
And Catharine the Great......did she walk through the Royal Doors and approach the altar? wink

In Christ,
Andrew
So, basically what are the "Royal Doors" and what is their "purpose" with regards to what has just been written in all of this discussion on "Deaconesses"?

If "Royals" Tzars, Kings, Emperors, and et al, are going through the "Royal Doors" I don't see any difference for a Queen, Emperess, or Tzarina ... Aren't they "Royals" also? And, as to the word "royal" . . .

shestelle
Quote
Originally posted by Matthew Panchisin:
Emperor's and Tsar's had some "rank" as well, their thrones or the place that they sat at had been located right next to the Bishop or Patriarch. Now it didn't stop there for the Emperor's and Tsar's could actually approach the Altar through the royal doors they would place their crowns on the Altar just like a Bishop does.
I have heard it said that Empress Zita walked thru the Royal Doors and received Communion at the altar when Ivancho or Elko was consecrated.

Does anyone have any more info on that or pics?
© The Byzantine Forum