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Altar Girls

Posted By: anamchristi

Altar Girls - 09/28/04 03:57 PM

I saw something interesting this past weekend. While traveling I stopped for Divine Liturgy at a parish that will remain nameless. I was quite surprised to see an altar girl! No one in the parish seemed to mind or find it the least bit out of the ordinary, so it may have been a longstanding custom there. Neither she nor the the other altar server were vested and she did a good job.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 09/28/04 05:07 PM

Divine liturgy at an Eastern Catholic parish, or an Orthodox one? eek

Gaudior, in shock at either
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 09/28/04 05:14 PM

Women are not allowed in the Holy Place of an Eastern Church.

One of our venerable Eastern Orthodox and/or Eastern Catholic Forum members will confirm this as Eastern Tradition.

Christ is our peace.

Paul
Posted By: anamchristi

Re: Altar Girls - 09/28/04 05:25 PM

Eastern Catholic
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 09/28/04 05:27 PM

Still horrified at this, as, as was pointed out, it is completely wrong for a female not in orders (a nun) to be in altar, and, even IF in orders, she would need a valid reason to be there, and a blessing for same.

Gaudior, wondering what the world is coming to
Posted By: Andrew J. Rubis

Re: Altar Girls - 09/28/04 08:55 PM

The ancient and universal canon prohibits females from serving at the altar. There is no direct prohibition on them being behind the iconostasis, although it would reason that they would also stay out during services and just before and just after services.

The underlying reasons for the canon are no doubt tied to some abuses that occurred in the past. Were the Church to allow females to serve there, no doubt such abuses would be seen again.

In the Eastern Churches with a majority of the parish priests and deacons being married men, this is simply common sense.

In Christ,
Andrew
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 09/28/04 09:30 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Andrew J. Rubis:
The ancient and universal canon prohibits females from serving at the altar. There is no direct prohibition on them being behind the iconostasis, although it would reason that they would also stay out during services and just before and just after services.

The underlying reasons for the canon are no doubt tied to some abuses that occurred in the past. Were the Church to allow females to serve there, no doubt such abuses would be seen again.

In the Eastern Churches with a majority of the parish priests and deacons being married men, this is simply common sense.
Andrew,

Actually, my understanding is as Gaudior stated, that females are not permitted within the Holy Place.

That aside, what does the marital status of the clergy have to do with it? Are you suggesting that the presence of females within the altar (as servers or otherwise) presents a greater temptation (or opportunity for moral lapse) to the clergy than do the females of the congregation in other settings? Or, that they would be less tempting to celibate clergy?

It makes less sense to me given that your reasoning is that they should not be there during, immediately before, or immediately after services. If one is to consider them some sort of risk to the morals of the clergy, it would seem to me that those are the times when there would be the least opportunity for them to present such (i.e., when the temple is occupied by people).

You, my brother, always the voice of reason and common sense, have lost me confused

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Andrew J. Rubis

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 09:24 PM

Dear Neil,

Please accept my apology for being vague.

Please research the canon. I believe that you will find the letter of it (in Greek) addresses "service" at the altar.

Regarding my other comments, let's start at the recently exposed scandal in the Latin Church wherein a minority of celibate clergy were found to have abused, in far more than half of the cases, altar boys. To my understanding, very few abused both boys and girls, but rather showed proclivity to assault one gender or the other.

Very few, if any, of the abuses occurred at the altar or during services, but this is where these sick men first approached and befriended their prey.

Obviously, the actual abuse occurred "after hours" or on "camping trips" or at "retreats" of one sort or another where the victims were away from familiar surroundings and the predator away from watchful eyes.

Service at the altar (and now I'll speak more specifically to the Byzantine Rite) and the necessary precursory preparation and closure after services allows ample opportunity for this familiarity to happen. The servers must come into the sanctuary and usually remove some piece of outer clothing such as a jacket or sweater, after which, upon receiving a blessing, with a bow of the head and kiss to the hand of the priest, the server may vest. During service, we kiss the priest's hand each time we give or receive the censor, an icon, or other holy objects. After the service, the altar server may again be alone with the celebrant while the celebrant consumes the chalice and the server removes his liturgical robes. At this point, the knave itself may be entirely empty as the parishioners have retired to a social hall.

As a Reader, I myself often assist an altar boy or two to hang a sweater, tie a shoe, or fasten or unfasten the clasp on their liturgical robes. The initial elements of close physical proximity and even skin to skin touch are already in place. Likewise for the priests. But we are and should be intentionally careful, lest the young person misread our offer of assistance and our contact.

Now the assumption that I made in my previous post (and which I believe to be fair) is that the overwhelming majority of married clergy in the Byzantine Rite (both Eastern Catholic and Orthodox) are not secretly practicing homosexual activity. If we were able to review the few cases of adultery and child abuse among them, we would probably find that the great majority of those who cheated, cheated with a female.

Leaving out pedophilia and the issue of altar girls for a moment, we see from the historical record extremely few, if any, true indications that adult female deaconesses ever served at the altar. In any case, the canon was passed to formally exclude it, while not banning the time-honored office of deaconess in any way, shape, or form.

The male & female clergy serving together would need to do the same functions described for the child servers, but with the addition of the kisses on the cheek at greeting and parting, the bowing, kneeling, and prostrations in close proximity as well as the usual whispering back and forth of liturgical directions. This level of physical, verbal, and aural intimacy would not be normally shared by a man or woman with anyone but their parents, siblings, children, or spouse.

Thus introducing females to serve at the altar or spend time in the sanctuary around services opens up a myriad of opportunities for the Tempter to insert his lies into the mix. While perhaps the great majority of tempted married clergy (of course, not all would even be tempted) would endure and have victory over their temptations, some would fall and the resulting scandal would be so damaging to the Gospel and, of course, to the lives of all of those affected.

One could cynically use my logic to argue that the Latin Rite should therefore ban altar boys and require altar girls, but I think that the problem there is related more to the downfall of the lonely vs. those who live in community. So I've been told, the great majority of Latin Rite clergy abusers have been "diocesan" clergy who live on their own as opposed to members of "religious orders" who tend to live in communal settings.

With love in Christ,
Andrew
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 09:57 PM

This is at an Orthodox church:
http://www.stlukeorthodox.com/html/misc/handmaidens.cfm

The particular law for most Greek Catholic churches only allows males to serve at the altar. In spite of the law and norms it still does occur, obviously, given this thread.
Posted By: Jakub.

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 11:08 PM

I have viewed the link, and still don't believe what I see......

james, in shock eek
Posted By: djs

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 11:17 PM

Well the girls are not in the altar area. wink
The priest's vestments are interesting too. No high-back, Roman collar, ...
And clean shaven!
Posted By: Chtec

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 11:19 PM

I don't believe what I see either: they should be wearing babushkas. wink

Dave
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 11:30 PM

It is unnecessary and incorrect to equate this type of position with that of altar server.

Please see the altar server page here .

"Handmaidens" are to be found in various parishes and it seems a useful and totally appropriate way to involve young ladies in the life of the parish. Adult women hold the Communion cloth if the need be, why not younger women. The reason for the use of the robes is explained. Note that they are not vestments like the ones altar boys use.
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 11:48 PM

I've seen this done in another OCA parish (not mine). The girls didn't have any robes on but just came down when it was time for Communion and held the cloth underneath the Chalice while Communion was being dispensed. At no time did the go behind the Iconostasis, hold candles, etc.

There have been times when I have gone to Liturgy during the week when I was the only male present. It's nothing for one of the older women to come up and hold the cloth with me. What's the big deal? This in no way indicates they are Altar Girls!

There are times in my own parish where women will read the Hours, and the Epistle on occassion. When the Epistle is read the woman doesn't go behind the Iconostasis for the Blessing. She stands at the bottom of the steps leading to the Royal Doors and the priest comes out to give her a Blessing.

If a woman can hold a baby while its being Communed, why can't she hold the cloth when others are?

OrthoMan

I agree, I don't like the white Robes. And the priests vestments are too latinized. Other than that its no big deal!

OrthoMan
Posted By: Jakub.

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 11:55 PM

I have researched the link further and find it interesting, I must admit I have not seen handmaidens before, my humble education continues.

james
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 09/29/04 11:56 PM

I offer this for your consideration, from the Yorkton Redemptorists (UGCC).
Posted By: Chtec

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 03:04 AM

Quote
Originally posted by OrthoMan:
And the priests vestments are too latinized. Other than that its no big deal!
Dear OrthoMan,

I know this is off topic, but can you clarify this? How are they "latinized"?

They just look like Greek-style vestments to me, and, from the cut and fabric, they seem to be from American Church Supply...

Dave
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 11:25 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Tony:
It is unnecessary and incorrect to equate this type of position with that of altar server.

"Handmaidens" are to be found in various parishes and it seems a useful and totally appropriate way to involve young ladies in the life of the parish. Adult women hold the Communion cloth if the need be, why not younger women. The reason for the use of the robes is explained. Note that they are not vestments like the ones altar boys use.
I agree with Tony. BTW aren't all liturgical offices outside the altar (reader, cantor) open to women? ISTM, that evn the office of Candle-bearer would be open to women, since candle-bearers are not altar servers. The sticharion is the baptismal garment, so the white sticharion is an appropriate garment for any of the faithful.

What we call altar servers are in fact subdeacons. Strictly speaking, subdeacons are the only minor clerics allowed in the altar during the liturgical services.
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 01:16 PM

Originally posted by Deacon John Montalvo:
Quote
ISTM, that evn the office of Candle-bearer would be open to women, since candle-bearers are not altar servers.
Fr Deacon John,

Is the candle-bearer the same as the girl I see carrying the trojca, wearing street clothes (outside the Holy Place), during Divine Liturgy at a Byzantine Ruthenian Church?

Paul
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 01:49 PM

Quote
I offer this for your consideration, from the Yorkton Redemptorists (UGCC).
I find this a bit less shocking, as the girls may be in robes, but they are outside and not in a church. In the link I posted, not only are they wearing robes but assisting the priest with the Holy Things.

Quote
Strictly speaking, subdeacons are the only minor clerics allowed in the altar during the liturgical services.
This is not quite correct. Strictly speaking, subdeacons are the only minor clergy who may touch the altar, open and close the Holy Doors and curtain. Any minor clergy may enter the altar with a blessing to serve, but only a subdeacon may touch, place, remove, etc. things from the altar (besides deacons, priests, bishops, i.e. "major clergy").

The first of the minor orders, is, in fact, acolyte whose specific task was to be a candle-bearer at the Liturgy in the altar, for entrances, etc. and the chiertesia of his order enables him to do so.
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 02:40 PM

[I find this a bit less shocking, as the girls may be in robes, but they are outside and not in a church. In the link I posted, not only are they wearing robes but assisting the priest with the Holy Things.]

Diak: Show me or prove to me they came out from the Sanctuary (behind the Iconostasis) and I'll be the second one to complain (you being the first). But until then they did nothing more than hold the red cloth WHILE THE PRIEST AND DEACON DISPENSE THE HOLY GIFTS! It was the Deacon that was assisting the priest with the Holy Things!

Your comment concerning the picture of the girls dressed in Acolyte vestments is OK because they are outside the church makes no sense. Are you insinuating they put on the vestments when they left the church and then took them off when they re-entered?

In my parish we don't have young girls assisting by holding the red cloth. But on those occassions
like weekday Liturgies when there is a shortage of men some of the older women will hold the cloth. We also have women read the hours, and as I have sated, on occassion read the Epistle, sing in the choir, and the young children (INCLUDING THE GIRLS) are taught to ring the bells if they so desire when they reach the age of about eight. They love it! And of course, on occassion, the Sunday School kids (INCLUDING THE GIRLS) will take the collection.

Makes them feel like they are participating AND AT NO TIME WILL YOU FIND ANY OF THEM IN THE HOLY OF HOLIES!

OrthoMan
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 02:48 PM

Frankly, both are vested, Bob, and I don't see your point.

So, what are they doing if they are not assisting? Holding a cloth which, if some is spilled, will hold the Holy Things is most certainly assisting with the Holy Things.

I don't like either scenarios, frankly, with my Old Believer sentiments coming out once again. smile

If we are to foster vocations to the priesthood and minor orders for our young men, THEY need to be assisting the priest, inside and outside the altar.

The point is, female servers are present in both the UGCC and Orthodox churches. Where they stand physically is semantics, as they are most certainly serving at the Divine Liturgy in both scenarios. Distinctions of degrees of serving to justify one over the other aside, both scenarios indeed include female servers, a practice to which I disagree.
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 03:54 PM

[So, what are they doing if they are not assisting? Holding a cloth which, if some is spilled, will hold the Holy Things is most certainly assisting with the Holy Things.]

So then, during weekday Liturgies when there are no men around, are you saying the priest should refuse to distribute the Holy Gifts because a woman is not allowed to hold the cloth (which you see as assisting [and i disagree] in dispensing Holy Communion)?

Once again, prove to me these girls came from behind the Iconostatis and I will agree with you.

Also, I don't see the white robes as vestments. In many Orthodox Chruches (especially the Greeks) the entire choir are in robes. Are they also vested?

There are distinct vestments for an Altar servers within the eastern churches (which the girls are wearing in the UGCC picture). In the Orthodox picture they are white robes (which I have an objection to) though I do not classify them as vestments.

OrthoMan
Posted By: Medved

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 04:03 PM

Chtec wrote: "...I don't believe what I see either: they should be wearing babushkas..."

But they OBVIOUSLY AREN'T MARRIED, they can't wear babushkas yet, they have to wear party first... or at least flower wreaths...

wink
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 04:08 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
Frankly, both are vested, Bob, and I don't see your point.

The point is, female servers are present in both the UGCC and Orthodox churches.
No. In the photos from the UGCs the girls are indeed vested in the same fashion and garment (sticharion, the usual garment for serving) as the altar boys. In the Orthodox parish's photos the ARE NOT vested in the same way (they are wearing albs not sticharions) as the boys (who wear sticharions) and neither is their function the same. Neither are they serving side-by-side with the boys.

They are not altar servers as they are not serving within the realm of the altar.
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 04:46 PM

Quote
Originally posted by paromer:
Originally posted by Deacon John Montalvo:
[b]
Quote
ISTM, that evn the office of Candle-bearer would be open to women, since candle-bearers are not altar servers.
Fr Deacon John,

Is the candle-bearer the same as the girl I see carrying the trojca, wearing street clothes (outside the Holy Place), during Divine Liturgy at a Byzantine Ruthenian Church?

Paul [/b]
This link ahows a photo of a girl holding a Trojca during the Holy Gospel at a BRC.

BTW What does the Trojca symbolize?

http://www.olphnm.org/images/DSC03240.jpg

Christ is our peace.

Paul
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 07:44 PM

Quote
They are not altar servers as they are not serving within the realm of the altar.
Are they not serving? They are. Not in the altar, but most certainly "serving" in any reasonable sense of the word. They are assisting the priest in the administering the Mysteries, while wearing distinctive non-street garments, yes? I generally consider that "serving" without all of the added superfluous distinctions of levels of serving.

Albs, smocks, whatever, they are vested. Perhaps I need a reminder about the history of vestments? DIFFERENT clothing to distinguish service in Church from ordinary clothing.

Furthermore, they are holding the cloth, thereby assisting the priest in administering the Mysteries, and thus performing a function once only reserved for male acolytes, according to venerable Orthodox tradition.

You can continue to make infinitely finer distinction in terminology, and try to justify the OCA practice as somehow different and somehow acceptable compared to the UGCC, pointing to one as right vs. one as wrong according to whatever various levels of servng ( rather scholastic, I must say).

But the basic fact remains, they are serving, they are girls, they are wearing some sort of non-street clothes specifically for this service. I don't like either practice illustrated here nor think it is appropriate. I am disappointed the OCA hierarchy (and the Antiochians, who allow a similar practice) allow this to happen as much as I am at the UGCC and BCC hierarchs who allow this to happen.

Bob, your parish must not be doing something right if they can't get young men into ministry for serving, minor orders, etc. My parish never, including weekdays, ever has the priest serving alone without at least one male to receive a blessing to assist.

Is this horse beat to death yet? smile

Archpriest Avvakum, pray to God for us.
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 08:20 PM

[Bob, your parish must not be doing something right if they can't get young men into ministry for serving, minor orders, etc. My parish never, including weekdays, ever has the priest serving alone without at least one male to receive a blessing to assist.]

I resent your comment Diak. During the week young teenage and early twenty aged males are in school and college where they are expected to be. Same as any other church no matter what denomination it is. In todays age not everyone lives around the church or even in close proximity to it. especially in the cities. Many of our parishioners travel 40 miles or more to come to church. And many of the elderly who come on Sundays are driven by family members or other younger members of the congregation who are all working during the week.
In a parish our size we may average 27 to 35 attendees at a weekday Liturgy. Most of the time there is at least one or two males but not all the time.

Nice try at avoiding answering my question though.

Orthodoc
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 09:05 PM

Bob, I will answer again. The girls are serving within the temple, regardless of exact location within the temple, and are vested in specific clothing for that purpose, and are assisting the priest in the administering of the Mysteries. That is serving by any stretch of the imagination. This is within the historical service of the acolyte, which according to Orthodox tradition, were males blessed for this purpose.

I travel 60+ miles to the main Greek Catholic parish in our area, so I am familiar with commuting. Our nearest parishoner is one mile, which then jumps to about 10 for the next, and then further.

We still manage a minimum of one server (usually two) for weekday services and 4-5 on Sundays beside myself as subdeacon.

I meant no insult, only an observation compared with my own parish experience.
Posted By: Stephanos I

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 11:44 PM

It is highly un Orthodox and most probably only a foot in the door to a flood of other horrors.
Stephanos I
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 09/30/04 11:57 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Stephanos I:
It is highly un Orthodox and most probably only a foot in the door to a flood of other horrors.
Stephanos I
I think you are right about that. I remember in the Latin Rite, many priests and bishops were winking at the regulations that forbade altar girls. When the altar girls became widespread enough, the argument to Rome was along the lines of, "everybody has them anyway, so we might as well legalize it." I hope your Orthodox bishops have more spine than the Latin ones have displayed.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 12:55 AM

Orthoman,

I am curious about something...If you were present at these weekday Divine Liturgies, and seen that there are no males to help serve, why are you not asking the priest for a blessing to assist him? If he is reduced to lay females to help, no doubt he would welcome your assistance...In parishes I know of, such as you describe, there are frequently gentlemen in their 70s serving in altar.

Too often, the "reason" for women serving is that men do not feel like asking to serve...and, I mention this in general, as it is known that you are a benefactor of your parish...but, lately, men seem to write checks, rather than perform duties. It has been my experience that they wait to be asked to serve, rather than offering their service. Women tend to ask what needs doing, and so are told...with eleborate "justification" for allowing them to act, if necessary...

Gaudior, who believes that it is a feminist trend that needs to be discouraged. Men, step up!
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 01:40 AM

[I am curious about something...If you were present at these weekday Divine Liturgies, and seen that there are no males to help serve, why are you not asking the priest for a blessing to assist him? If he is reduced to lay females to help, no doubt he would welcome your assistance...In parishes I know of, such as you describe, there are frequently gentlemen in their 70s serving in altar.]

First of all if you read what I wrote you will see that I in no way indicated this was a normal situation in my parish. I did however, give it as an exception that occurs at times. Mainly to bring about a point I was making. On the times I was present I went up and held one side of the cloth. Usually an older woman would come up and hold the other side. I see nothing wrong in what she did. Either did my priest. I emailed this whole question to him and this is his reply to me -

[As long as their duties keep them out of the sanctuary I suppose its OK. However,it could be the beginning of something unfavorabe if it gets out of hand. I have had in the past a girl holding the oil after Liturgy (Feast Day) when I had no one to serve with me. Also,in the past women have held the cloth...older women. Again in this area, I believe many priests would hold the line if a female was in her time of the month....Its hard to say.  Fr.Dan]

Orthodoc
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 01:47 AM

Dear Orthoman...

That was why the deaconnesses had to be 40 (generally past childbearing, and menstruation) in ancient times...

I think any priest who asked if a woman was menstruating before allowing her to assist would risk broken teeth, as "everyone" knows that that is old fashioned nonsense, and the Fathers who prohibit women from receiving Communion hten are all sexist pigs with antiquated notions....

Best, I think, not to allow, unless woman clearly elderly, as in your example.

Gaudior, who is now going into the Witness Protection Program for further posts...
Posted By: Stephanos I

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 03:16 AM

Did you know that when John Paul the Pope of Rome gave the go ahead on female altar servers, he slipped in the bath and broke his hip.Hummmm!
Stephanos I
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 04:02 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
Dear Orthoman...

That was why the deaconnesses had to be 40 (generally past childbearing, and menstruation) in ancient times...

I think any priest who asked if a woman was menstruating before allowing her to assist would risk broken teeth, as "everyone" knows that that is old fashioned nonsense, and the Fathers who prohibit women from receiving Communion hten are all sexist pigs with antiquated notions....

Best, I think, not to allow, unless woman clearly elderly, as in your example.

Gaudior, who is now going into the Witness Protection Program for further posts...
Guys, if you are going to have Orthodox female altar servers, you are going to have to do it right, the way the Latins do. First, you need women who are old. They need to be a mildly feeble and move sedately, but with enough testosterone to have that "butch" look with short-cropped hair. :p For this you need retired women. Next, they must be heavy so they gracefully move about the sanctuary like the dancing hippos in Fantasia. :rolleyes: Of course, they must wear pantsuits, and excess makeup to the point of looking like old female impersonaters. cool Parts of their bodies must have long ago succumbed to gravity, and droop gracefully toward the floor. eek And they must display attitude when serving in the sanctuary. wink Yes, fellow Easterners, there is much we could learn from our progressive Latin brothers and sisters. wink biggrin wink
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 04:39 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Deacon John Montalvo:
ISTM, that even the office of Candle-bearer would be open to women, since candle-bearers are not altar servers.
Quote
Originally posted by Paromer:
Is the candle-bearer the same as the girl I see carrying the trojca, wearing street clothes (outside the Holy Place), during Divine Liturgy at a Byzantine Ruthenian Church?
Quote
Originally posted by Paromer:
This link ahows a photo of a girl holding a Trojca during the Holy Gospel at a BRC.

BTW What does the Trojca symbolize?

http://www.olphnm.org/images/DSC03240.jpg
Paul,

While the lexicographers are debating the definitions of "serving" and "vestments", your question seems to have gotten lost. This commentary is also from the website of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in NM.

Quote
TROJCA

A member of the congregation is appointed to reverently hold the trojca during the most solemn moments in the Liturgy, including the reading of the gospel. The trojca is a three-branched candle. It reminds us that true enlightenment shines from the life of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Note that the above is accompanied by a photo of another young lady, also holding the Trojca

http://www.olphnm.org/Images/troj11.jpg

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 07:51 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
The first of the minor orders, is, in fact, acolyte whose specific task was to be a candle-bearer at the Liturgy in the altar, for entrances, etc. and the chiertesia of his order enables him to do so.
Diak,

By this statement, are you saying that you believe that girls should not be candle-bearers?

If anyone out there has seen a good study on this topic of using Handmaidens, I would appreciate you sharing this info. with me. My own Orthodox pastor is working on a program to have girls involved in the Divine Services in some way and I have raised some objections (along with others) about this. Based on the information in this thread and other research which I am gathering, I would like to present a small coherent study on this question to assist him in putting together our parish's program. I think he is open to this assistance. My goal would be to help him to accomplish the objective of including girls yet in a way that does not contradict our Orthodox Tradition or Canons.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. Ghazar Der-Ghazarian

p.s. Andrew mentioned Canons forbidding women Deacons from serving the altar, could he or someone give me a reference for this?
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 01:28 PM

May I summarize?

1. Females are not permitted within the Holy Place (an ancient canon prohibits this). It seems reasonable and practical that women may clean the Holy Place outside the Divine Liturgy.

2. Women are permitted to function outside the Holy Place as a cantor, reader (epistle), and bear the trojca.

3. I'm unsure if a woman may wear an alb/sticharion to perform any of these functions. Common sense tell me the answer is no

In a nutshell, is this correct?

Paul
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 02:50 PM

hmm, maybe this wasn't the thread where someone asked about this, but I'm not having luck finding another, and this seems like as good a place as any biggrin

An article on the role of deaconesses in the Coptic Church

The Third Way

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Stephanos I

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 05:09 PM

The trouble is that these people who are pushing these things have an agenda. #1 get the female altar servers = #2 well if they can do that why not have them as deacons = #3 well if they can be deacons why not priests = #4 and if that then Bishops.
Believe me this was the protestant mode of operation in their churches and you see where it has led. (Now practicing homosexual ministers)
Buyer beware!

Stephanos I
Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Altar Girls - 10/01/04 05:59 PM

Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
I think you are right about that. I remember in the Latin Rite, many priests and bishops were winking at the regulations that forbade altar girls. When the altar girls became widespread enough, the argument to Rome was along the lines of, "everybody has them anyway, so we might as well legalize it." I hope your Orthodox bishops have more spine than the Latin ones have displayed.
The previous Latin Code of 1917 expressly forbade females serving at the altar. With the promulgation of the revised Code in 1983,that express prohibition was not to be found.

Canon 813.2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law declared: "The minister serving at Mass may not be a woman, unless, there being no male available, for a just reason and with the proviso that the woman answer from a distance and in no case come up to the altar (ad altare accedat)." This was not included in the 1983 Code. In addition, the need of an altar server was also deleted in the revised Code of 1983. Canon 813.1 of the 1917 Code stated: "A priest is not to celebrate Mass without a minister to serve and answer him." The corresponding canon in the revised Code is Canon 906 and reads: "Except for a just and reasonable cause, a priest is not to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one member of the faithful."

Yet even as late as 1980 the Sacred Congregation of Sacraments and Divine Worship issued the instruction, Inaestimabile Donum , which read in part, "There are, of course, various roles that women can perform in the liturgical assembly: these include reading the Word of God and proclaiming the intentions of the Prayer of the Faithful. Women are not, however, permitted to act as altar servers" (n. 18).

However in 1994 that same congregation, now renamed the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, issued a communique in response to the dubium (question)- "Whether, among the liturgical functions that lay persons, men or women, may exercise according to Canon 230.2 of the Code of Canon Law, may also be included service at the altar (servitium ad altare)." Included among the functions of Canon 230.2 are the "temporary assignment to the role of lector in liturgical actions" as well as "the roles of commentator, cantor or other such, in accordance with the law."

The interpetation of that canon is included in that communique that follows:

VATICAN COMMUNICATION ON FEMALE ALTAR SERVERS

Leave it to lawyers to provide the snafu.
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 03:48 PM

Does anyone know of any ancient Eastern Canons against women on or near the altar?
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 04:10 PM

Quote
ByzanTN said: Guys, if you are going to have Orthodox female altar servers, you are going to have to do it right, the way the Latins do. First, you need women who are old. They need to be a mildly feeble and move sedately, but with enough testosterone to have that "butch" look with short-cropped hair. For this you need retired women. Next, they must be heavy so they gracefully move about the sanctuary like the dancing hippos in Fantasia. Of course, they must wear pantsuits, and excess makeup to the point of looking like old female impersonaters. Parts of their bodies must have long ago succumbed to gravity, and droop gracefully toward the floor. And they must display attitude when serving in the sanctuary. Yes, fellow Easterners, there is much we could learn from our progressive Latin brothers and sisters.
ByzanTN, that is truly hilarious and, I hate to say, right on the money!

Does anyone know where the Latin Church gets off throwing these canons to the wind and permitting females to serve at the altar? Did these ancient canons not apply to the Latin Church as well as to the Eastern Churches?

Total disregard for canonical traditions really pees me off!

Logos Teen
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 04:29 PM

Logos Teen,

I respect and share your concern for tradition in the church handed down throught the ages, but tradition is not set in stone.

Our Lord gave the Church a living tradition through the apostles and their sucessors (bishops), with Peter and his sucessor being the head.

Church law may be changed, Divine law (dogma) may not be changed.

The Holy Spirit continues to work in the Church. As recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, the Spirit has surprises for believers.

God bless you in your faith,

Paul
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 04:40 PM

Paul, I think that Teen's point is that the Canons were not CHANGED....they were broken. That which has been set by a Council, and written into law, must be formally changed by a Council, and stricken from Canon Law...

So, it is all well and good to say that there is a living tradition, but to BREAK the Canons, for no good reason, is to show contempt for those who created them in the first place.

Gaudior, in clarification
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 04:46 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
Paul, I think that Teen's point is that the Canons were not CHANGED....they were broken. That which has been set by a Council, and written into law, must be formally changed by a Council, and stricken from Canon Law...

So, it is all well and good to say that there is a living tradition, but to BREAK the Canons, for no good reason, is to show contempt for those who created them in the first place.

Gaudior, in clarification
Exactly! These were not changed by a Council but were broken. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and this did not follow proper procedures at all.
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 05:24 PM

Teen, I originally posted this under the wrong topic. At last, it's in the right place.
Charles

Teen, it seems lay ministers are sprinkled all over the altars in the Latin Rite anymore. At the RC church where I am organist - a French gothic building with the organ loft in a balcony in the back of the church - there are two ceiling fans. When playing the organ the fans can only be run on the slowest speed, since running them faster makes the organ sound similar to a kid singing through an electric fan. Not a pretty sound at all. eek So I have to turn the fans down after the sermon before I can play the organ. Someone asked me what my minstry was. I responded that I am an extraordinary minister of the fan switch. How's that for newchurchspeak?
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 07:33 PM

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am not a licensed canonist, however the Code of Canon Law (1983) seems to supercede all prior canons, unless it explicitly agrees with them.

IMHO promulgation of a new Code of Canon Law is the proceedure to effect change in previous canons.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law applies to the Latin Church only.

Can. 6 §1. When this Code takes force, the following are abrogated:
1/ the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;

2/ other universal or particular laws contrary to the prescripts of this Code unless other provision is expressly made for particular laws;

3/ any universal or particular penal laws whatsoever issued by the Apostolic See unless they are contained in this Code;

4/ other universal disciplinary laws regarding matter which this Code completely reorders.
§2. Insofar as they repeat former law, the canons of this Code must be assessed also in accord with canonical tradition

Code of Canon Law, Book 1 General Norms:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2.HTM

I've had enough talking about the Latin Church (which I love dearly). Could we keep this thread on altar servers in the Eastern Churches?

Christ is our peace.

Paul
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 07:38 PM

Sorry, Paul..my answer is the same...the Eastern Churches never changed Canons regarding women serving. That some women are becoming, ah, what is the phrase..."handmaidens"...is a ridiculous attempt to avoid calling them altar servers, while doing an end run around Canon Law.

Gaudior, who at no point intended to point to Latin Catholic Canon Law
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 10/02/04 07:48 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
Sorry, Paul..my answer is the same...the Eastern Churches never changed Canons regarding women serving. That some women are becoming, ah, what is the phrase..."handmaidens"...is a ridiculous attempt to avoid calling them altar servers, while doing an end run around Canon Law.

Gaudior, who at no point intended to point to Latin Catholic Canon Law
Gaudior,

No offense taken.

Women should not serve at the altar in a Eastern Church. I hope that tradition stands.

Paul
Posted By: Logos - Alexis

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 08:03 PM

Paul,

Thanks for the post. Yes, I did know that female altar servers were the little "t" traditions. If I thought there was a dogma about not allowing female altar servers, then I wouldn't be Catholic right now.

Anyway, I apologize for swaying the topic from the Eastern Churches. Let's save that for the Town Hall Forum, right? (wrong...according to some) wink

Logos Teen.
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 08:18 PM

[That some women are becoming, ah, what is the phrase..."handmaidens"...is a ridiculous attempt to avoid calling them altar servers, while doing an end run around Canon Law.]

Maybe they are not called 'Altar Servers' because they are not within the Sancturay' and serving around the Altar'?

OrthoMan
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 08:28 PM

I completely agree, Father Stephanos. It seems they have already fooled many with the "handmaiden" scheme. The door is obviously now open, and those with an agenda have cleverly once again sugar-coated an obvious liturgical abuse. They are clearly vested, and serving within the temple.

Makes one want to take some Orthodox claims of RC abuses of female altar servers with a grain of salt indeed. Any Orthodox should know their entire temple is iconic of all the cosmos, heaven and earth mystically intersecting.

The attempt to justify an abuse like this based on exact location in the temple is first of all humorous, and secondly lacking any Eastern sense of the sanctity of the entire temple.
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 10:29 PM

Dear Friends,

Everyone is denouncing this act of using girls in the service based on a reported ancient canon which prohibits this. I've asked if anyone can produce this for us all to see and no one has done this. Before we go any further, how about someone sharing this with us so we can see what the canon says.

Thank you.
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 10:38 PM

[The attempt to justify an abuse like this based on exact location in the temple is first of all humorous, and secondly lacking any Eastern sense of the sanctity of the entire temple.]

Diak:

You and Fr Stephanos just seem to be hell bent on finding something to gig we Orthodox Catholics for. This one is kind of ridiculous.

If I remember my Sunday School lessons...an Orthodox Catholic Church is divided into three parts -

1) The Vestibule which is the entrance where people can buy candles and venerate and light them in front of the Icons.

2) The Nave where the people congregate to worship and assist in the Liturgy thru prayer and singing.

3) The Sanctuary (or Holy of Holies) which is separated from the Nave by the Iconostatsis. Within the Sanctuary the Altar is the main focal point on which the presiding Hierach/s perform the various Orthodox Liturgical services ASSISTED BY THE ACOLYTES ( all male).

http://www.synaxis.org/sschool/lesson_5.htm

The Orthodox Church Design -

http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Church-Architecture-and-Orthodox-Theology.html

===============

To Fr. Stephanos: If a 'handmaiden' is the beginning of the end for the Orthodox Church, then what does the picture of the young women in Acolyte vestments shown here and a previous discussion on 'Eurcharistic Ministers' and 'Altar Girls' (called Mary Martha Servers) within some Eastern Catholic Churches under papal authority signify?

Check the archives for a discussion regarding Altar Girls. Only difference I see is that you all call them 'Mary Martha Servers' -

http://www.byzcath.org/cgibin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=001858;p=2

----

excerpts:

     
I must be out of the loop regarding all the new ministries being instituted in my own eparchy. I've heard about pastoral ministers, eucharistic ministers, and Mary Martha servers here and there. Will we also introduce the Stephen Ministry of lay deacons(?) or the like similar to the ministers they have at my wife's former Latin parish? For those parishes that are introducing these ministries, are they also trying hard to re-introduce minor orders? Would minor orders conflict or be considered obsolete? Just wondering.

-------

nwappleseed
Junior Member
Member # 1062

  

I was surprised when I opened the Horizons News Paper recently and saw a picture of Bishop John at a Chruch celebrating their anniversary with a bunch of Altar girls vested up and even holding the communion cloth.

========

OrthoMan
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 10:49 PM

Dear OrthoMan,

Diak is correct...

And...two wrongs (or even three) do not make a right!

By any other name...the altar girls thing is ridiculous! This function belongs to the altar BOYS...how does having the aforesaid BOYS only do half of their ministry...the inside the altar half...improve the situation in the Church?

If GIRLS wish to help, they can! By singing in the choir, by baking prosphora, and participating in Church Youth Groups to raise money for missions, church projects, etc.

There is NO reason for them to have an "outside the altar altar servers role! NONE!

Gaudior, who, with others, notes this is a feminist plot.... wink
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 11:19 PM

[By any other name...the altar girls thing is ridiculous! This function belongs to the altar BOYS...how does having the aforesaid BOYS only do half of their ministry...the inside the altar half...improve the situation in the Church?]

Why do you think they are called ALTAR boys? I rest my case because this thread is going nowhere.
Especially when you gig and ridicule the Orthodox Church for something that is also going on in your own jurisdictions. It's called selective criticism!

If you don't like it than make the changes within your own jurisidctions rather than criticizing the Orthodox.

OrthoMan
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 11:29 PM

Hey Bob??

I AM Orthodox...and, my jurisdiction does not do this foolery. Nice try!

Gaudior, in mirth
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 11:32 PM

Incidentally, "altar boys" is a slang anglicanization...the office is Taper Bearer...it doesn't reference WHERE they bear their tapers, Bob...just that the bearer be MALE.

Gaudior, who invites you to check the Canons...
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 11:35 PM

Dear Bob,

I have the honor of somewhat knowing Gaudior, and I can tell you with all assurity that this poster is VERY Orthodox! :rolleyes:

Alice, who is amused by any assumptions to the contrary
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 11:39 PM

Thank you, Alice, for the testimonial! (bows) biggrin

Gaudior, authenticated wink
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/03/04 11:58 PM

Brethren,

First off, I agree with Orthoman that any attempt to make this a denominational issue is absurd. This practice runs across the lines of all of our Churches. Lets not be sectarian.

Now, lets face it, the "ministry" (if it can even be called that) of altar boys, acolytes (or whatever name you prefer) is NOT an Apostolic institution. Some along the way thought it would be a good idea to include young men and boys. We did not receive this from the Apostles. Now the original motives were obviously to prepare these young men for a possible life of service in the priesthood. Yet the question is, are we bound to this motive and decision for all times? Some along the way decided to do something novel by having very young boys to help in the Service. Who's to say we are forbidden from doing something likewise novel by allowing girls to have some special role to play in the Liturgy? To act like some sacred Church institution is being destroyed by this is silly because altar servers are not an office or institution at all. Just a nice idea.

Not only this, but every one in the Divine Liturgy is playing a part. So one can not argue this is only the role of men.

Finally, it has always been the position of the East that our laity has an essential voice in Church affairs. Obviously a large amount of members of all of our Churches want this. Why shouldn't our Church leaders head their request if there is nothing essentially wrong or heretical about their request and desire?

Everyone should go along with this. Latin-Roman Catholics and Papally-minded Eastern Catholics should be happy because the Bishop of Rome has o.k.'d it. Eastern Orthodox and the "Orthodox with Rome" group should be happy because it is the will of the laity. I don't understand all the objections. The only group that should be alarmed is the alarmist Traditionalist types (sedavacantists et all).

Altar girls are not heretical. At worst the concept might just be a stupid one. At best it might be an example of the Church adapting to modern times without adopting worldliness.

Again, no one has even produced the ancient Church Canon which explicitly forbids girls serving in anyway during the Divine Liturgy.
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:03 AM

Was it altar girls in 19th Century Russia? No, it was not! Is outrage! biggrin Is new calendarist heresy! biggrin
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:08 AM

wink
Posted By: JoeS

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:10 AM

I have always been under the impression that Acolytes (nka Altar boys) was and still is a primer for eventual holy orders. It seems that the role of Latin Catholics regarding the role of Acolytes have changed over the years. Granted that only a very small portion of Acolytes ever become priests it notheless points out the significance of the role of Acolyte. On the subject of females helping out outside of the Sanctuary is quite normal in some male challenged parishes. I see no problem as long as there are no able bodied males who can handle the chores of Orthos,Hours,Epistle readings, and the like. As long as it dosnt require the female to be inside the Holy of Holies it isnt a violation of canon law.

Incidentaly, there is a Roman Catholic Church near me which is now exclusively served by young lady altar servers. I inquired why there were no male counterparts and my answer was the boys seeing the girls taking their place were reluctant to continue in this role. It was pier pressure to relinquish this position to the young women.

JoeS
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:14 AM

JoeS:
I have noticed the same. Boys that age don't want to do what the girls are doing, since it's not cool. As the girls have moved into altar serving, the boys have dropped out.
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:16 AM

Joe,

That's why I support keeping the liturgical roles of girls and boys seperate.
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:19 AM

Dear Ghazar,

While your post makes some very good points, ( smile ), we need to emphasize for those that may not know, that in the Eastern Orthodox churches, females are not allowed in the sanctuary (in other words, behind the icon screen). In the Roman Catholic church where there is no iconostasis to separate the altar, this rule does not seem to exist.

I remember a farewell mass for parents at my daughter's RC High School, where all the graduating girls were sat at the 'sanctuary', and they said prayers, read scripture, lit candles, brought the 'gifts', etc., somehow it didn't seem 'outrageous' because of the looseness of the altar setting. If I were, on the other hand, to see girls doing any of this in my Orthodox church, I guess it would seem terribly untraditional and wierd to me THERE, but not 'abusive' as long as they didn't step foot BEHIND the altar.

In any case, this tradition of not serving in any way around the altar is so ingrained in Greek Orthodox communities, that really no one questions it or cares. The girls can sing in junior choirs if they like, and it seems to suit them just fine.

I wonder if alot of these altar type girls in Eastern churches comes from mothers who are somewhat feminist...I have learned through the years of raising children, that if YOU question things (such as traditions, rules, etc.) or persons (such as priests, teachers, etc.) and make things an issue, children will follow suit. If YOU accept things, they will also accept them....( well--atleast until they go to college, in which they generally like to act as if they don't accept anything you approve of! LOL! wink ) YET, for all my children's new found university 'adulthood', I still haven't heard the question ANYTHING about our Orthodox male/female traditions.

I hope my points made sense! frown

In Christ,
Alice
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:20 AM

Dear Ghazar...

If somehow you got the impression from my posts that I was denying that this PROBLEM is multi-jurisdictional, I apologize. And no one said that altar girls are a HERESY. Just wrong. Heresy is a word that is incorrectly applied to too many things these days!

But as you pointed out, the Vatican has sanctioned this practice for the Catholic Churches, if there is no other alternative.

As for the Orthodox Churches...no sorry, the Church is NOT a Democracy...in the sense that the laity can pick and choose the Canons which they wish to adhere to this week. If you are looking for that, try the Protestant Church next door! If at the next Ecumenical Council, the bishops, patriarchs, etc. decide that this ancient Canon should be changed, then, of course, they can do so! However, they have not done so, and the Canons specify MALE. Until this is changes, than ANY OTHER FEEL-GOOD INNOVATION IS WRONG!

As you pointed out, everyone is to participate in the Divine Liturgy, but the way in which they do so does not have to be infringing on territory reserved for men!

Appropriate teaching might ensure that the girls feel valued members of the community, and not succumb to the idea that they are second class citizens because they are female.

Bear in mind, that you would not try to get your daughter into BOY SCOUTS...but suggest GIRL SCOUTS instead! Does this mean that your daughter is a second class citizen because she can't join BOY Scouts?? Of course NOT! So, please tell me why we need to make the dear little girls feel sad because they are not BOYS, to serve in altar? A simple pointing out that this is reserved to BOYS should suffice! Followed by age appropriate suggestions for the girl to help serve her Church!

Any girl who has a true vocation will seek tonsure as a nun...breaking the canons to let her "help" will not help in the long run, as anyone who reads those canons as an adult and sees that they were allowed to do what was prohibited because of a liberal or modernizing priest is only going to get turned off by this example of clergy disregarding the Canons!

And, with all due respect, it is too easy to label someone a "Traditionalist" in a perjorative sense when they disagree with liberal innovations. Traditionalist in this case simply means that they are upholding the teaching of their church! Which, in fact, we are all called to do! And, if an Ecumenical Council declares altar girls to be OK, then I shall defend that...but not until! A single priest, of even a single bishop who advances innovations may be wrong!

The Orthodox Church has, in some jurisdictions, altar girls...

Canonically, it should NOT.

Gaudior, who suggests those who do NOT know, check the Canons themselves...I have done extensive reading, now it's your turn!
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:29 AM

Dear ByzanTN,

Is truly outrage, and I be even daring to say, is ABOMINATION of heretical churches of new calendar! wink

Alice
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:30 AM

Dear Gaudior,

First of all, none of my comments were directed towards you. I kept them all general and only said if someone tries to make this a denominational issue. So you have no need to explain.

Secondly many of the things you explain to me, I never said and already agree with you on, so please don't jumpt to conclusions. You're preaching to the choir.

Now, I did not say the Church was a "demoncracy" only that as many, many Orthodox theologians insist, the laity have an essential voice in Church affairs. The Church is not a democracy, nor is it a bastion of clericalism or a dictatorship. That can be found elsewhere too.

Finally, I will accept not one more argument from you or anyone else about "breaking canons" until you can show us which canon you are referring too. If you can't do this, your argument is just based on hear-say. I trust such a canon is out there, but I can not receive your claims until I see it.
Posted By: JoeS

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:35 AM

I think it is also VERY important to point out here that in the Orthodox church only those men and boys who are approved can enter the Holy of Holies. Just because you are male does not make you eligible to enter this domain. The Priest must approve your NEED to be there for whatever reason. So the majority of males in our parish are not authorized to enter behind the Iconostasis.

JoeS
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:39 AM

Quote
Originally posted by JoeS:
I think it is also VERY important to point out here that in the Orthodox church only those men and boys who are approved can enter the Holy of Holies. Just because you are male does not make you eligible to enter this domain. The Priest must approve your NEED to be there for whatever reason. So the majority of males in our parish are not authorized to enter behind the Iconostasis.

JoeS
Quite correct!

Gaudior, pleased that this point was made
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 01:07 AM

You know, if I read the Latin Rite regulations correctly, laity have no right to be in the sanctuary area without first getting permission from the priest. Of course, it's never enforced that I know of, at least since Vatican II.
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 01:20 AM

[I think it is also VERY important to point out here that in the Orthodox church only those men and boys who are approved can enter the Holy of Holies. Just because you are male does not make you eligible to enter this domain. The Priest must approve your NEED to be there for whatever reason. So the majority of males in our parish are not authorized to enter behind the Iconostasis.]

Excellent points Joe. Which is why it's so ridiculous to label four girls holding the red cloth under the chin of a Communicant (OUTSIDE OF THE ALTAR AREA) as ALTAR girls.

OrthoMan
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 01:53 AM

Quote
Dear OrthoMan,

Diak is correct...

And...two wrongs (or even three) do not make a right!
Thanks, Gaudior, to an Orthodox sister whose jurisdiction does not engage in this foolishness and who honestly acknowledges the Orthodox idea of the temple, and is respectful of the holiness of that ENTIRE space, which is the transfigured cosmos.

If Bob has a problem with my synthesized statement about the Orthodox idea of the temple, he needs to refer back to such Orthodox sources as Ware, Meyendorff and Schmemann. It's not of my making, and he may want to read some more profound Orthodox theology of the space of the temple beyond his basic empirical understanding of "parts".

Is the temple holy? If so then why this nonsense? I'd love to get some feedback from some ROCOR parishoners on this thread.
Posted By: JoeS

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:28 AM

This reminds me of the time (two years ago)I stopped at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia and witnessed a bus load of school kids being given a guided tour right through the main altar and sanctuary areas. I thought that this was strange but with the new awareness since VatII I just thought it was OK. Then after some thought it came to me, that the Blessed Sacrament was in reserve somewhere other than on the main altar which I guess makes this sort of thing OK.

JoeS
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:41 AM

[If Bob has a problem with my synthesized statement about the Orthodox idea of the temple, he needs to refer back to such Orthodox sources as Ware, Meyendorff and Schmemann. It's not of my making, and he may want to read some more profound Orthodox theology of the space of the temple beyond his basic empirical understanding of "parts".]

The only problem I have Diak is that you and Fr Stephanos take a picture of four girls holding a cloth in an OCA parish and use it as excuse to criticize and predict the beginning of the end for Holy Orthodoxy.

And yet you both ignore two pictures submitted of occurances in two different jurisdictions within the Eastern Catholic Church under papal authority to make a similiar prediction for your own church.

One where the girls are difinetely dressed in the standard acolyte vestments of the Eastern Church which you pooh poohed with the excuse its ok because THE PICTURE IS TAKEN OUTSIDE THE CHURCH! Thus making the ridiculous assumption that the girls either didn't enter the church vested or vested when the procession came out of the church so they could walk with the male Altar Boys.

The other of a young girl holding the Troja while either the Gospel or Epistle is being read within another jurisdiction! Isn't she within the entire Holy Temple and therefore, an Altar Girl according to your definition?

And no one has gotten into the practice of 'Eurcharistic Ministers' whether male or female in some of your jurisdictions.

I'm more offended by Fr Stephanos using it as an example as the beginning of the end for the Holy Orthodox Church! (Take note you Orthodox reading this).

May I remind the good Father that the Holy Orthodox Catholic faith has survived over 2000 years of religious persecution. A majority of it from their fellow western Christians as well as non Christians and athiests. We are not about to go down because four girls hold a red cloth under the chins of people receiving Communion from the clergy.

OrthoMan
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:50 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This reminds me of the time (two years ago)I stopped at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia and witnessed a bus load of school kids being given a guided tour right through the main altar and sanctuary areas.

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

Reminds me of the time I took a friend to see the inside of the Ukarianin Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. As we were sitting there a female teacher took a group of girls and boy students up to the Iconostatsis and opened the Royal Doors so they could see the inside. Needless to say she went through the Royal Doors as she did so.

Or the time we visited St Basil's Academy new Chapel and the nuns invited us to go in and check out the Altar!

So much for respecting the ENTIRE inside of the Temple Diak.

OrthoMan
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 06:10 AM

Quote
Originally posted by OrthoMan:
I'm more offended by Fr Stephanos using it as an example as the beginning of the end for the Holy Orthodox Church! (Take note you Orthodox reading this). OrthoMan
I have taken note of this, more than once. This is not a unique occurance for him on this forum. I don't appreciate such comments either.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:21 PM

Bob, I think that everyone is aware that the EC's do this as well...and the ECs, the majority of them, do not like this.

HOWEVER, (and, if I am confusing pictures, please forgive me) The fact that the procession is OUTSIDE does make a (minor) difference in that it may explain circumstances, and may require some thought.

For instance: Several years ago, at a monastery's feast day, where several hierarchs were serving, and, NO, repeat NO female altar server had ever, at any time, been in evidence, any of the times I had been there, hierarchical or no...at the end of the Divine Liturgy, several teens came to get the banners attached to the ends of the pews. Boys, and girls...the boys...some were clearly altar boys, some were not. They could be distinguished by the fact that those who were not, wore only a white robe. The girls wore only a white robe. They came in, took the banners, and went outside for the procession.

In this case, they were being used because ALL the banners were wanted for the procession, they had to have older children as the procession was long, and the poles for the banners heavy, so using progressively smaller boys would not have worked. They wanted some appearance of symmetry, but not the appearance of female altar servers, as, they were not, in fact, ever allowed any church duties...

But, one taking a picture without knowing this, would see, outside, girls and boys, "vested". So, the statement that they may not have been altar servers is, technically, correct. They may not have been.

If they WERE, does that mean that the ECs think it is right? Nope. Does it mean that it IS right? Likewise, nope. The Latin Church does allow it, for circumstances where an altar boy cannot be found...and, BEFORE anyone accuses me of Latin bashing...there is an ORTHODOX parish which made the news over the summer because the first female baby had been born there in 22 years. It is possible, tho, not probably, given the larger size of most Latin Catholic parishes, that the same thing COULD happen, only with no boys being born. Do I think that most parishes are looking very hard for boys to serve, before in desperation opening it up to girls? Nope. But they may be, and that may just be my opinion. I know that I am appalled by that practice, as an Orthodox Christian, but it isn't an Orthodox Church, so they play by their own rules!

And, I agree with Fr. Stephanos...for the simple reason that it is a historical fact that when Christians are being persecuted for their faith, they grab hold of it harder, and pay far more attention to it than when the atmosphere is permissive. Under persecution, those who survive hold fast to their faith, as a thing of great value...and turn to God for comfort. Under permissiveness, when with NO Canonical justification for this (in the Orthodox Church) we have priests who not only do not fast themselves, thus setting a bad example, but preach from the pulpit scornfully about how fasting is reserved for monastics, and go for warm fuzzy inclusiveness with letting the girls help serve, and cutting parts out of the service to make it shorter...then you are on your way to disaster.

The priest MUST be able to maintain the traditions and practices of the Church...if he isn't willing to do so, he can go become a Protestant pirest. The priest says "this is how it is" and everyone else can decide whether they want to be Orthodox, or whether they want to be protestant...and, for the protestants on the board, it is not perjorative, but using the root of protestant, as, one whose religious group formed as a breakaway group in protest of something...

It is permissiveness that teaches us not to value and treasure and protect what we have...so, in this case,Fr. Stephanos is correct. Add a little here, take away a little there...and within two generations, you have something nearly unrecognizable.

Will "altar girls" cause the walls of the temple to collapse? No, and no one is saying that. The disobedience of priests and laity is what may do it...

Again, this is a feminist thing...the moms say "Well, why SHOULDN'T my daughter be an acolyte? After all, she is older and more responsible than the neighbor's son...." And up goes mama to hector and bully the priest...

I doubt very much it originates with the small girls...none of the many I know in many Orthodox jurisdictions have a problem with the fact that "altar boys" are boys!

There is NO reason to deprive the already existing altar boys of part of their function, and frankly, the idea of requiring someone to hold the cloth for another is plain silly. Priests in MANY jurisdictions who lack an altar server will hold one end of the cloth to the chalice, and the communicant takes the other end and places it under his or her own chin!

There is no need for girls to take this function from the boys, if they are present, nor to perform it, if they are not. It is a senseless modernization. Period. And, the creation of senseless modernizations combined with the disregard for canons concerning fasting, and liturgical abuses, are what will bring about the "beginning of the end".

Gaudior, who sometimes wishes for a bit more persecution, to make people value what they have.
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 12:54 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:

The priest MUST be able to maintain the traditions and practices of the Church...if he isn't willing to do so, he can go become a Protestant pirest. The priest says "this is how it is" and everyone else can decide whether they want to be Orthodox, or whether they want to be protestant...and, for the protestants on the board, it is not perjorative, but using the root of protestant, as, one whose religious group formed as a breakaway group in protest of something...

It is permissiveness that teaches us not to value and treasure and protect what we have...so, in this case,Fr. Stephanos is correct. Add a little here, take away a little there...and within two generations, you have something nearly unrecognizable.

Will "altar girls" cause the walls of the temple to collapse? No, and no one is saying that. The disobedience of priests and laity is what may do it...

Again, this is a feminist thing...the moms say "Well, why SHOULDN'T my daughter be an acolyte? After all, she is older and more responsible than the neighbor's son...." And up goes mama to hector and bully the priest...

I doubt very much it originates with the small girls...none of the many I know in many Orthodox jurisdictions have a problem with the fact that "altar boys" are boys!
Dear Gaudior,

WELL SAID! smile

As I also stated yesterday:

"I wonder if alot of these altar type girls in Eastern churches comes from mothers who are somewhat feminist...I have learned through the years of raising children, that if YOU question things (such as traditions, rules, etc.) or persons (such as priests, teachers, etc.) and make things an issue, children will follow suit. If YOU accept things, they will also accept them...."

All the best,
In Christ,
Alice...who has seen more than her share of 'bullying' mothers (in EVERY and ANY venue imaginable) for a life time!!! :rolleyes:
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 01:24 PM

[But, one taking a picture without knowing this, would see, outside, girls and boys, "vested". So, the statement that they may not have been altar servers is, technically, correct. They may not have been.]

Guadior:

Maybe its different within your church because of the Latinizations. But within the Orthodox Catholic Church no Altar Boy is allowed to vest and serve at any particular service unless he has the Blessing of the priest to do so prior to the beginning of the service. Each boy will get a set of vestments, go into the Sanctuary and present them to the priest. The priest will then Bless the vestments and the boy will kiss his hand. The Blessing of the vestment is the priests permission to the boy to serve. Without that Blessing he cannot put the vestment on and cannot participate at the service other than as a member of the congregation.

There is a picture of girls outside in a procession with other boys ALL VESTED IN THE SAME VESTMENTS OF THE EASTERN RITE. Which means either the girls had the priests Blessing to vest or they did it on their own. One must assume they had the priests Blessing since they wern't taken out of the procession. Once they receive that priests blessing to vest they become 'Altar Girls' whether the picture is taken inside or outside the church.

To say that because they are outside they cannot be considered as 'Altar Girls' is ridiculous.

I'm off to physical therapy so I can't continue this right now.

OrthoMan
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 01:27 PM

Dear Bob,

'Gaudior' is Eastern Orthodox, not Byzantine Catholic...and VERY traditionally Orthodox at that. (I think I said this before? wink )

In Christ,
Alice,
who thinks you may be confusing posters confused
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 01:32 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Ghazar:
I trust such a canon is out there, but I can not receive your claims until I see it.
Bill,

I agree with you. I have "known" for close to 40 years that women are not allowed in the Holy of Holies, but I also have never seen any written proscription of it (other than the old Latin Code of Canon Law citation which Deacon John posted). I reviewed the Rudder and the Canons of the Councils a couple of days ago, in detail, and cannot find any reference to it. So, it would be very helpful if those who continue to make the point of it being "forbidden by the Canons" would either point to the Canon in question or just acknowledge that it is "tradition" which has taken on a canonical life of its own over the centuries.

I find myself disagreeing with both Bob and Randy in their opposing points of view.

As to the girls in the Yorktown procession photos, Randy's point that the photos were taken outside is valid but, let's face it, the fact that the young ladies are vested in sticharions certainly makes it suspect that they were functioning as servers prior to the procession exiting the temple.

As to the "handmaidens" in the other photo, vested in albs, Bob's point that they are outside the iconostasis is also valid but (again), let's face it, they are clearly on the "fringe" and someone could easily and not outrageously read into the usage that it's a step onto a slippery slope and, once taken, not easy from which to recover.

Regarding the photos from Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which Paul brought to our attention, in which the young ladies are holding the Trojca, I don't find that particularly bothersome and I can't point to any particular reason why not.

The decision by the Latin Church to allow female servers doesn't bother me at all, because I'm not of that Church and the choices that are made within it, as long as they don't become the basis for imposition of latinizations on my Church, are not my concern.

Stephanos' remarks predicting the downfall of Orthodoxy if female servers are allowed is silliness, nothing more or less. None of our Churches is going to survive or fail based on the sex of its servers; if it does, then we can feel assured that God did not intend for it to survive. Nor, is the onesness, holiness, catholicity, orthodoxy, or apostolicity of them challenged by that. Those who would like to believe so are the same folk who, too often, assert the rightfulness of their Church's claim to be the sole source of salvation to be proven by such things as the apparition at Fatima or the Miracle of the Holy Fire. I rather guess that when our Churches answer before God for what they have accomplished or failed to accomplish in His Name, whether, in celebration of His Liturgies, His presbyters were assisted by males or females will not be paramount on the list of things by which He will measure our adherence to His proclaimed message.

Wile searching for any references to this issue, I came across an interesting paper by an Orthodox woman. It is somewhat off the thread topic, but almost certainly a subject toward which the thread will diverge if it continues,

The Canons of Ritual Uncleanliness and Women in the Orthodox Church

Many years,

Neil, who has no strong opinion about female servers and thinks the Churches have greater concerns to address, unity being paramount among those
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 02:32 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:

As you pointed out, everyone is to participate in the Divine Liturgy, but the way in which they do so does not have to be infringing on territory reserved for men!

Any girl who has a true vocation will seek tonsure as a nun...breaking the canons to let her "help" will not help in the long run, as anyone who reads those canons as an adult and sees that they were allowed to do what was prohibited because of a liberal or modernizing priest is only going to get turned off by this example of clergy disregarding the Canons!
Gaudior,

Previously chanting (leading the chanting) was the job of men. Do you no longer chant in your parish? Will you agree then that it is wrong for women to lead the chanting?

As for the canon, as Ghazar has requested for the benefit of all, and to provide a convincing argument, please quote the canon(s) in question.

There are many, many interesting canons within the body of canonical literature. Many, many are not applied so to speak of the canons as if they were civil laws to be applied by a civil court does not seem appropriate. Canons are part of the living tradition of the Church.

I do not support any notion of altar girls in the Orthodox parish. However, I remain unconvinced that handmaidens are equivalent.

That being said, if you support the notion being put forth that all the physical space of the church is the same, then there is no difference in the Reader who is tonsured in the nave and the priest who is ordained at the altar? If vestments are vestments then there is really no diference between a bishop and a deacon?

If no one can go behind the screen without reason how does that fit that the whole church building is iconic? What about choir robes? They are vestments, or not?

Tony, seeing very little consistency in some of these arguemnts.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 02:35 PM

Bob, once and for all, I am Old-Calendar, ORTHODOX. My particular jurisdiction doesn't happen to have "Latinizations"...

The problem with altar boys (acolytes, and taper bearers)in the Canons is that they are so unimportant in the cosmic scheme of things that little is mentioned about them...To get a clear picture, one must put several Canons together..

Such as the one that says that they are a minor order...which few (other than the altar girl supporters) would dispute. Then, one looks to other Canons...For instance, there is one that says clergy, including minor orders, are not to bathe with women. It specified, minor orders, and not to bathe with women. Therefore, one can see that the clergy and minor orders in question (of which, taper-bearers are one) are, in fact, male.
One can also see from those canons concerning marriage and clergy and minor orders...all refer to wife...Other Canons that refer to marriage in general are quick to state wife or husband.. they do not use "spouse". So, in actuality, support of this well know fact comes from bits and pieces...and, I might add, that this was likely to be so self-evident at the time, that it was not commented on. Clergy are men, even minor orders. This is clear in the use of the male pronoun to describe the minor orders, as well.

A commentator on the Canons had pointed out that accolyte also implies that the person in question is attached to the priest, as servant, and not to the temple. Given what we know of the prohibitions of clergy even living in the same HOUSE as unmarried women (even ugly ones, the Canons say), how are we to conclude that the servants of these priests were girls?

Also, properly speaking, altar boys are to be tonsured. Seldom is this done these days, as with the tonsure of a reader...many chanters, however trained, are untonsured.

A woman may only receive the monastic tonsure.

Again, when you look at all of the pieces and parts, concerning minor orders, their pronouns, marriage and tonsuring rules, and other concerns that made it into the Canons, you can see that it is clearly a male only sort of thing...Including the one that says "No female may approach the altar"...but, again, read the Canons for yourself.

The fact is, this is a feel-good initiative, and frankly, there is no point to it. If altar BOYS are present, then there is no reason for them to cease to function OUTSIDE the altar...they can hold the Communion cloth. If they do not exist, I fail to see why men are not performing this function of altar server, as then the priest will have assistance both in and out of the altar. If there are no altar boys, then the priest must do everything inside the altar himself...or, give some man a blessing to help him. If he chooses to do everything himself, and can do so, then there is no need for an "altar girl", is there? If he gets a man to assist in altar, that man can hold the Communion cloth, so there is no need for altar GIRLS, is there? Creating a feel-good position only appeases feminists, and goes against the traditions and canons of the Church. Plain and simple.

Bob, in the situation I described, an ORTHODOX monastery, the girls were outside, and not vested. Only in white robes. And, I am quite familiar with the fact that servers must obtain a blesing to vest, thank you very much.

I think you need to stop using the OCA as your standard of Orthodoxy, and look to the Canons. The OCA, like the GOA, and the Antiochians, have made some extremely startling innovations in the last few years...like tonsuring women as readers, when the prayer of tonsure of a Reader clearly states "this is the first step in the priesthood". biggrin

Whether some are doing this, as independent dioceses or even as a whole jurisdiction...it is not right if the Canons oppose it, until a Council is convened that allows it.

So, the Orthodox are wrong to do this...and the Eastern Catholics have a loophole, but most acknowledge that it is wrong within their tradition.

Gaudior, an Orthodox Old Calendarist, in a Canonical jurisdiction, thank you very much!
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 02:36 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Ghazar:
Does anyone know of any ancient Eastern Canons against women on or near the altar?
Dear Ghazar,

You have a legitmate question. I did some searching and the only Canon regarding women serving at the altar that I can find is this:

The Canons of the Synod Held in the City of Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana

Canon XLIV.

Women may not go to the altar.

I hope this helps.

Grace and peace to you,

Paul
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 02:44 PM

Please bear in mind, for those Orthodox who acknowledge such a thing, that "altar" is defined as the space behind the iconostasis, not merely the altar table, according to the Dictionary of Orthodox Theology.

Thanks, Paul, for looking up the reference...I confess to being too lazy to do any such thing.

Gaudior, who thinks it tedious to search the Canons in quest of what has been evident to all for millenia...barring the last 20 years or so....
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 02:47 PM

Quote
Originally posted by paromer:
Quote
Originally posted by Ghazar:
[b] Does anyone know of any ancient Eastern Canons against women on or near the altar?
Dear Ghazar,

You have a legitmate question. I did some searching and the only Canon regarding women serving at the altar that I can find is this:

The Canons of the Synod Held in the City of Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana

Canon XLIV.

Women may not go to the altar.

I hope this helps.

Grace and peace to you,

Paul [/b]
Thank you Paul!

Now, we also know that deaconesses in their time were ordained at the altar. :rolleyes:

Can you also tell us where it is forbidden for a woman to serve in any capacity in the church? St.Paul addresses this, but I mean in the canons.

Thanks!

Tony
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 02:59 PM

Paul,

Thank you. Your eyes are sharper than mine.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:00 PM

Tony,

I am not a Reader in my Church. As to women, they should not fulfil that function, as lead chanter, and definitely should not be tonsured as reader!

And, Diak's arguments are not inconstent, concerning the holiness of the temple. The only inconsistency is to say that altar boys may only serve BEHIND the iconostasis, and so they need to resort to girls to serve in front of it. Again, the office is taper-bearer, not altar boy, as you are no doubt aware. It is clear that the sanctuary is "hallowed ground" so to speak, but the rest of the temple is certainly no less holy! However, Diak is correct that the area behind the iconostasis is more representative of Heaven than the Nave, which is representative of the Earth. I fail to see how having "handmaidens" fills any need in the Church. For nearly 2000 years, no one has seen this need. Strange, isn't it? Only now, when women choose to advance the women's rights agenda all the way to the priesthood, do we see this.

Gaudior, who doe not think this innovation is necessary
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:06 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
Tony,
I am not a Reader in my Church. As to women, they should not fulfil that function, as lead chanter, and definitely should not be tonsured as reader!
Gaudior,

So you neither read nor lead in the chanting?

Tony
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:11 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
The only inconsistency is to say that altar boys may only serve BEHIND the iconostasis, and so they need to resort to girls to serve in front of it.
Gaudior,

You said
Quote
Please bear in mind, for those Orthodox who acknowledge such a thing, that "altar" is defined as the space behind the iconostasis, not merely the altar table, according to the Dictionary of Orthodox Theology.
Put that together with the canon.

Who is being inconsistent?

Tony
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:25 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Tony:
Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
[b] Tony,
I am not a Reader in my Church. As to women, they should not fulfil that function, as lead chanter, and definitely should not be tonsured as reader!
Gaudior,

So you neither read nor lead in the chanting?

Tony [/b]
No, I have never been a Reader, nor even an untonsured lead chanter.

Gaudior, who also does not sing in the choir, for which God is thankful
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:33 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Tony:
Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
[b] The only inconsistency is to say that altar boys may only serve BEHIND the iconostasis, and so they need to resort to girls to serve in front of it.
Gaudior,

You said
Quote
Please bear in mind, for those Orthodox who acknowledge such a thing, that "altar" is defined as the space behind the iconostasis, not merely the altar table, according to the Dictionary of Orthodox Theology.
Put that together with the canon.

Who is being inconsistent?

Tony [/b]
It is not inconsistent. The minor orders are all still referred to with male pronouns, and other references to them being male. Further, as I understand it, the correct translation is "approach" the altar, which would seem to negate standing on the steps in front of the Royal doors doing ANYTHING...

And, lest anyone points out that women do receive Communion, in the same spot, they are liturgically bidden to that spot, for the purpose of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, which all Christians are called upon to do.

I simply do not see why it is liturgically necessary to create a new group of servers, when those already mentioned in the Canons are sufficient for the purpose?

"Handmaidens" are a way to appease feminists, and make the Church more "relevent" to the laity, rather than teach all to help in various needful ways.

Gaudior, who fails to understand why people cannot realize that there ARE things that women cannot do, in the Church, and that does NOT mean that they are second-class citizens.
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:41 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tony:
So you neither read nor lead in the chanting?

Tony
Quote
No, I have never been a Reader, nor even an untonsured lead chanter.

Gaudior, who also does not sing in the choir, for which God is thankful
Then I must have you confused with someone else. I am happy to see that in your parish no woman ever reads nor chants not usurps any any man's role and is not "infringing on territory reserved for men!"
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:45 PM

Tony,

Oh, we have women in our choir, who wear street cloths. We have no female chanters, at least not in my particular church.

Gaudior, who knows nothing is perfect, and who is at least thankful for the many men who do continue to sing in the choir...those blessed by God with the voices to praise him!
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 03:46 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
I simply do not see why it is liturgically necessary to create a new group of servers, when those already mentioned in the Canons are sufficient for the purpose?
Gaudior,

For the sake of clarity here I would like to unpack the above a bit. The "new group of servers" to which you refer are "handmaidens." Correct?

Which are "those already mentioned in the Canons?" The minor orders?

Where do altar boys fit in?

Tony
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 04:06 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Tony:
Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior: [b]
I simply do not see why it is liturgically necessary to create a new group of servers, when those already mentioned in the Canons are sufficient for the purpose?
Gaudior,

For the sake of clarity here I would like to unpack the above a bit. The "new group of servers" to which you refer are "handmaidens." Correct?

Which are "those already mentioned in the Canons?" The minor orders?

Where do altar boys fit in?

Tony [/b]
Correct: The "new group of servers" = handmaidens

And, "those already mentioned in the Canons" are the minor orders, inclusive of subdeacons, accolytes, or taper bearers. (In my parish, one of our altar "boys" is a subdeacon)

Historically, the altar servers at large have been tonsured as taper-bearers, as I am certain you know, though the tonsure is not used universally, these days, with the bishops preferring to tonsure only the older boys who have served in altar for some time.

Gaudior, who apologizes for the confusion
Posted By: Annie_SFO

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 05:34 PM

I appreciate Alice's postings, as the only woman I can identify by "handle" to have weighed in on this discussion.

Women have an important role in the spiritual life of the church. The problem, I fear, is that that role has been confused somewhat in modern times. Who does what in church is not a matter of "rights" - as it is a matter of tradition and rules based upon tradition. Tradition is central to our concept of "church." Tradition makes everyone feel connected to the continuous community of "church," in the communion of Saints.

The holy women of the Gospels teach us a lot about holiness and humility. In many ways, they show us a level-headedness, hopefulness and steadiness of faith at times lacking in the holy men of the time. I know that my mom (and her mom before her) kept an icon of St. Veronika in the room where we all ate and hung out. The lesson they taught us about St. Veronika was that she was inspiring because she was brave and kind and not afraid to give comfort to Our Lord. My old Orthodox baba, who was a widow with ten children and who was able through hard work and loving attention to give them every opportunity, found St. Veronika inspiring. She tried to live in imitation of the great saints. In her old age - she was pushing 80 - she even took in an unwed teenage mother who needed help. (The girls parents wanted to send her away for an abortion and the girl wanted the baby.) To me, that is in line with the spirituality of a woman of virtue - to give comfort and peace where it isn't.

Now, on point, I don't favor altar girls or female altar servers - but they don't have these in any of the Roman Catholic or Byzantine Catholic churches in my area, either. (The local Roman Catholic diocese does not permit them.) I do favor engaging girls in other, appropriate aspects of church life and activities. And I do favor teaching girls specifically about the great women saints.

Now I am pretty conservative, but perhaps not as much as some of you. I have held the Troika in the aisle on Good Friday during the reading of the Gospels, as have other women, and at the direct request of the deacon. I felt a little funny at first. I actually asked if it was "really okay" to do that. He said, "yes - and we need help." I looked around and realized that it is almost all women and girls who show up on Good Friday during the daytime (the men who were there were mostly elderly, with their wives, and in need of assistance - so they only held the Troika for the shortest readings if at all). Frankly, I think women are more likely to take a few hours off from work or school or from home duties to go. I know it is difficult for me to schedule sometimes (I'm a lawyer with a full plate), but I do. It's by far the most moving experience of the church year.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 06:45 PM

Annie, thank you for those words of wisdom...

That is exactly what I meant about educating women appropriately, although you put it far better than I ever could!

Gaudior, peaceably
Posted By: JoeS

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 07:20 PM

It is always good to keep in mind that any participation by a female be it Reader, Hours, or holding the Communion cloth is extraordinary. That is, they have been requested by the priest to assist when a male cannot perform this particular duty. We have an assistant choir leader who is very competent in reading the Epistle and also happens to be a female. She did have to fill during a weekday Liturgy at the last minute when it was found out that the designated reader had an emergency and could not make it. It went very well if I say so myself. Apparently, this female reader fills in from time to time in cases such as this. I have no problem with this. In fact, I am quite comforted in knowing that we have such a person.

The obvious question: Does she come into the santuary for the blessings both before and after the readings? The answer is no. She comes up to the steps in front of the Holy Doors and receives her blessing there.

JoeS
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 07:36 PM

[Now I am pretty conservative, but perhaps not as much as some of you. I have held the Troika in the aisle on Good Friday during the reading of the Gospels, as have other women, and at the direct request of the deacon.]

I think its great! But according to Diak and Gaudior you were performing the duties of an 'Altar Girl'! Or are we now to call you a 'Taper Bearer' which Gaudior insists is a minor order.

Let me reiterate once more. I am also dead set against 'Altar Girls' But I still don't see two girls holding a cloth under the chin of a Communicant for maybe 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the Communion line) out of an hr and a half service, never going behind the Iconastasis or wearing standard acolyte vestments as 'Altar Girls'!

case closed!

OrthoMan
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/04/04 11:53 PM

Dear Friends,

For the record, I have always been against altar girls and still would never let my daughters perform such a function. In addition, I teach my two daughters the reasons why our family does not support such a role for girls. For proof of this, I'd be glad to post the recent letter I wrote to my pastor about the news that our parish will be incorporating girls in some fashion in the Service. But in this thread I've been taking the role of the skeptic for the sake of conversation.

I'm still not convinced it is forbidden that girls can play a special part in the Services. I am not convinced that everyone who would like to see their girls play a part (or women for that matter) are screaming Nazi feminists (as most have implied or flat out stated). I think a lot of people in our day have a different attitude about women than in times past and this is not necessarily an evil thing (as these people try to stigmatize it). I think a lot of people (even on this thread) should beware that they do not become guilty of the opposite by over-reacting as a result of their disdain for radical feminists. Some do this to the point that they become unreasonably and uncompormisingly against anything which seeks to take a moderate view of women's role in the Church changing in some form.

The Canon which was given is a start of what I asked for. It wasn't the knock-out punch I was looking for, but its something to consider. I would like to see how this Canon was historically understood, on what level it was received and whether it has any history in my Church at all. (Its a long standing custom in my historic Church that girls fulfill the role of boys when there was a lack of boys.) Finally, those on this thread who have written about Altar Boys as if they have been a part of our Church from the time of the Apostles, I think are over-stating their arguments. Using boys in the Liturgy is a man-made institution, not a Divine one. As such it carries no dogmatic or canonical consequences to it. Those who argue Altar Boys ARE subdeacons, are again, over-stating (unless they are ordained to minor orders -which most are not).

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. Ghazar Der-Ghazarian
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 12:20 AM

No, no, Ghazar!

You misunderstand...Altar boys are not Sub-deacons, and never were, but in some parishes sub-deacons act as altar servers where needed...

And, I state firmly that as long as the minor orders are canonically restricted to men, then I will oppose those who tonsure or innovate, by using women or girls before a Council is called to allow it.

And, I think that long before that OK is given, if it ever is, on a Patriarchal level, that people need to think long and hard about why it is that a woman cannot perform charity work and teach in her church without a title.

I would seriously question the desire to perform this work, if what is stopping them now is a title. And, yes, I have seen women who sigh and say they would love to be deaconnesses...but oddly I have not seen them teaching Sunday School "I've done my time" or at parish charitable meetings.

Now, I am not speaking of all those who are out there, but I am far more "impressed" with the piety of those who shoulder the tasks that were historically those of the deaconesses, without ever once wanting titles or even public recognition of their work.

If the order is restored, to its historical sense, by a Council, then i will support the right of these women to be there, as deaconesses. Until then, no support.

And Orthoman, that means no support for inventing a position (handmaiden) that userps the function of the altar boys in any form. Period. We have a designated person to perform this function. Sharing the job between that person (the altar boy) and a girl, to make the girl feel included, is absurd.

Gaudior, who dislikes the sort of change that involves any feel-good measure that is completely unnecessary.
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 12:30 AM

Dear Gaudior,

Maybe you just don't like change? I don't either, but I try to fight my own pig-headedness when it is just a matter of asserting my own will and being closed minded (something I struggle with).

If you are dead-set against change you should throw out the novel idea of using boys in the Liturgy at all. Just because you weren't there when this was invented shouldn't exempt it from your no-innovation without a Council rule.

Finally, I am still studying the question, remaining open until I see something conclusive. I have found that "the Armenian Church has also included in its Book of Canons the acts of the Councils of... Laodicea (365)." -Armenian Church Historical Studies, by Archbhp. Tiran Nersoyan. Therefore the Canon mentioend is relative to my Church. I will continue to look into this and share any further info., I discover.

p.s. I'm not for feel-good religion either but nor am I for pig-headed sectarian Traditionalist religion either.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 12:51 AM

Ghazar, I do not like change that is made without adhering to the procedure set by the Fathers for that change.

If you ask me about changing the carpeting, using this setting over that one for music, painting the walls, etc...I do not mind it in the slightest.

However, just like one singal state in the United States cannot decide it chooses to disobey Federal Law, one diocese, or even one jurisdiction cannot decide to disregard the Canons.

I will remain firm about the need to uphold them, whether the Canon concerns women in altar, or the date of Pascha!

Gaudior, who resists only one-sided changes
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 12:57 AM

[The Canon which was given is a start of what I asked for. It wasn't the knock-out punch I was looking for, but its something to consider.]
===========
Only Canons I could come up with are -

Synod Of Laodicea A.D. 343-381

CANON XLIV.

Women may not go to the Altar

Ancient Epitome of Canon XLIV.

The Altar must not be approached by women

OrthoMan
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 01:01 AM

[I will remain firm about the need to uphold them, whether the Canon concerns women in altar, or the date of Pascha!]

But we are not talking about WOMEN IN THE ALTAR! We are talking about women in the Nave. I don't think there is anyone here would disagree with a restriction of women in the Sanctuary.

OrthoMan
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 01:08 AM

Dera Friends,

If I were in the Eastern Church I would "Just say no" to women in the Holy Place.

In the West we have women in the sanctuary, e.g., readers, extraordinary ministers of the eucharist, and altar servers.

The Eastern and Western Churches compliment each other. Let them do just that.

A scripture I like for theology and liturgy is this; "...Every scribe who is learned in the reign of God is like the head of the household who can bring from his storeroom both the new and the old." (Matt 13:52b).

Peace to you in Christ Jesus.

Paul
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 01:11 AM

Dear Orthoman!

Answer me why you feel that altar boys should have any part of their job taken from them by girls?

Gaudior, who knows YOU don't want women in altar, but who points out that that is where the Latin Catholics have them, after allowing for innovations.
Posted By: Jakub.

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 01:54 AM

Not really wanting to stir the pot, but I feel that the change in the Latin Church was made to appease a certain faction, as in the Anglian Church and has led to many divisions.

I find myself agreeing with Gaudior, with no offence meant or implied to our sisters in Christ.

james
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 02:10 AM

[Answer me why you feel that altar boys should have any part of their job taken from them by girls?]

Gaudior:

And what Canon or Church Rule book assigned Altar Boys the responsibility of holding the cloth underneath a communicant OUTSIDE OF THE SANCTUARY (ALTAR) area? Until you can produce such evidence on just who is responsible to perform this function you cannot prove it is a responsibility of only an Altar Boy. It may be the norm but that doesn't make it etched in stone.

Since women are supposed to remain quiet in Church are we now to kick them all out of the choir? Since women aren't allowed to teach within the church are we now to get rid of all the female Sunday School teachers?

OrthoMan
Posted By: paromer

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 02:17 AM

Dear James,

If it were the Roman curia that made the decision to allow female altar servers, I would agree about appeasement.

However it was the Holy Father who made the call to allow female altar servers in the Latin Church (with the local bishop's approval).

I was an altar server coordinator at the time and I watched the process closely.

Christ is our peace.

Paul (finis)
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 02:25 AM

Dear Orthoman:

Find me a canon that concerns the Communion cloth at ALL!

And, yes, I would indeed prefer it if men taught Sunday School, and the choirs were all male.

Clearly, this won't happen any time soon! Do not forget that Sunday School is an early 20th century phenomenon, and that historically catechesis was one of the functions of the deaconesses...not to teach men, but to teach women. There is a precedent for women to instruct, but not to teach/preach in church! And, no, I am not splitting hairs, but stating fact.

Where, exactly, are the men when it comes to teaching?

Gaudior, who also believes that somewhere in the 19th century, "religion" as a concept became the job of women; men have abandoned many of their roles in the Church.
Posted By: JoeS

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 02:43 AM

Wow, according to some, women should not even be in the Nave. Maybe they should be relegated to the Narthex. Im not a feminist, but I am starting to have some sympathy here. Come on now, we all know that some of these duties outside the Iconostatsis have been done by women in special cases. The operative word is special here. Hey, what about the womem monasterys where nuns have to tend to the altar. They have permission from the bishop to do this. Any problem with this?

JoeS
Posted By: Stephanos I

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 02:58 AM

Let me say this! The full ministry needs to be utilized in every parish, From Pryesbyter down to Acolyte. And they should be permanent ministries, not some passing whim that one will take up and lay down when the fancy strikes them. It is called fedelity.
Stephanos I
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 03:07 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:

If the order is restored, to its historical sense, by a Council, then i will support the right of these women to be there, as deaconesses. Until then, no support.
Why on earth will a Council need to restore something that was not suppressed by a Council?
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 03:16 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
Correct: The "new group of servers" = handmaidens

And, "those already mentioned in the Canons" are the minor orders, inclusive of subdeacons, accolytes, or taper bearers. (In my parish, one of our altar "boys" is a subdeacon)

Historically, the altar servers at large have been tonsured as taper-bearers, as I am certain you know, though the tonsure is not used universally, these days, with the bishops preferring to tonsure only the older boys who have served in altar for some time.

Gaudior, who apologizes for the confusion
In almost no parishes are "altar boys" in minor orders. This is simply public knowledge. Even in parishes that have the custom of vesting altary boys as subdeacons (seems more common among Greek-usage parishes) they are simply boys.

AFAIK acolytes and taper-bearers do not exist as stand alone minor orders in modern usage. Do they in your old-calendar Jurisdiction?

Tony
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 03:41 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:



I think you need to stop using the OCA as your standard of Orthodoxy, and look to the Canons. The OCA, like the GOA, and the Antiochians, have made some extremely startling innovations in the last few years...like tonsuring women as readers, when the prayer of tonsure of a Reader clearly states "this is the first step in the priesthood". biggrin
Gaudior, perhaps your old-calendar jurisdiction has some different usage than most. "[T]his is the first step in the priesthood" is not part of any prayer. It is part of the admonition that the bishop gives to the newly tonsured.

Tony
Posted By: Jakub.

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 03:58 AM

Paul,

Be it the Curia or the Pope via the local Bishop, it was a gesture to appease.

I do agree with men dropping the ball, we tend to put aside or forget our responsibilities.

james
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 06:18 AM

Gaudior,

You are old-calendarist? I must be stupid or something. And I'm trying to argue with you about being open to allowing women to play new roles... you won't even accept the "new" 400 year old calendar which is more accurate! Sorry for wasting both of our time.

I wonder though, does your Church make women sit apart from the men as well? Then again, you don't sit at all do you (no pews)? Do your women cover their heads? (I happen to like that one).

I'm against the feminization of the Church too, but I think a lot of people are just overly nostalgic, harkening back to a day that isn't our day. I think, such a strict rejection of anything modern, leads one to schismatic inclinations. If one is so dogmatic about every little detail, sooner or later one will find something to divide over. If women are such a problem in our Churches, why don't we just kick them out altogether? Oh yeah, we still need to reproduce, don't we. I don't think this is worth arguing about. As far as I'm concerned we should probably get all of the kids out of the Liturgy and just leave it to adults as is the orignal practice. There would be a lot less scandals if this were again the practice.

Ghazar

Neil, thanks for the post and the interesting article.
Posted By: Stephanos I

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 07:30 AM

Well we agree somewhat!
I firmly believe that the ministry should be reserved to adult men.
Stephanos I
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 11:42 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Tony:
Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
[b] Correct: The "new group of servers" = handmaidens

And, "those already mentioned in the Canons" are the minor orders, inclusive of subdeacons, accolytes, or taper bearers. (In my parish, one of our altar "boys" is a subdeacon)

Historically, the altar servers at large have been tonsured as taper-bearers, as I am certain you know, though the tonsure is not used universally, these days, with the bishops preferring to tonsure only the older boys who have served in altar for some time.

Gaudior, who apologizes for the confusion
In almost no parishes are "altar boys" in minor orders. This is simply public knowledge. Even in parishes that have the custom of vesting altary boys as subdeacons (seems more common among Greek-usage parishes) they are simply boys.

AFAIK acolytes and taper-bearers do not exist as stand alone minor orders in modern usage. Do they in your old-calendar Jurisdiction?

Tony [/b]
I have seen this practice of vesting even small boys as subdeacons, but, no, in my parish we do have both tonusred accolytes (as I said, only some, the youngest have not been tonsured yet) and a sub-deacon who serves in altar, doing such things as holding fans when required...standard server things. He is a sub-deacon, and is communed as such.

Gaudior, who maintains that once the boys are trained as altar servers, and have shown they can "stick with the program" they should be tonsured as such, but as the Orthodox start them so young, they should not be tonsured until they have an idea what such setting aside means.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 11:48 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Tony:
Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
[b]


I think you need to stop using the OCA as your standard of Orthodoxy, and look to the Canons. The OCA, like the GOA, and the Antiochians, have made some extremely startling innovations in the last few years...like tonsuring women as readers, when the prayer of tonsure of a Reader clearly states "this is the first step in the priesthood". biggrin
Gaudior, perhaps your old-calendar jurisdiction has some different usage than most. "[T]his is the first step in the priesthood" is not part of any prayer. It is part of the admonition that the bishop gives to the newly tonsured.

Tony [/b]
Pardon me, Tony..I should have made that statement : When the ceremony for the setting aside of a Reader clearly states "This is the first step of the priesthood". It is not a prayer, but an admonition.

Are Readers still created taper-bearers if they are not already tonsured to this minor office? I was once told that the service for creating a taper-bearer preceded that of the service to create a Reader, effectively making the man both on the same day. I do not know if this is correct, though.

Does anyone have a Hapgood Service book to hand?

Gaudior, questioningly
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 11:54 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Tony:
Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
[b]
If the order is restored, to its historical sense, by a Council, then i will support the right of these women to be there, as deaconesses. Until then, no support.
Why on earth will a Council need to restore something that was not suppressed by a Council? [/b]
For the simple reason that it has been out of use for so many centuries that it would no longer, in my opinion, count as a "restoration". No one is 100% certain what those duties entailed, although many excellent books and articles have been written on the subject. It would be necessary for hierarchs in all jurisdictions to agree on the "rules" if you will. Even looking at the original rules will only be a guide, as most women at 40 have not become menopausal, and, therefore, either the age or the rule about menstruating must go. There are too many items to be worked out to allow something like this to slide by as a "Restoration" without clarification by Council, even though no Council ended it biggrin

Gaudior, in explanation
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 12:02 PM

Ghazar,

This may come as a surprise to you, but most of the Orthodox world are Old Calendarists.

And, while churches with no pews (except for the elderly, or infiirm, along the sides) are the ideal as they allow full-body worship, my church does have pews. Most in America do.

St. Paul says women should cover their heads. Some do, some do not. It is not for me to tell them what to do...in my experience only the splinter sects that are in communion with no one chase women around with headscarfs, demanding they wear them.

Gaudior, who has answered politely, but is beginning to lose patience with irrelevancies such as pews and head coverings.
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 01:23 PM

Quote
For the simple reason that it has been out of use for so many centuries that it would no longer, in my opinion, count as a "restoration". No one is 100% certain what those duties entailed, although many excellent books and articles have been written on the subject.
It wouldn't hurt to be mindful of the "restoration" mindset that has created chaos for years in the post-Vatican II Latin Church. Before "restoring" something, it might be a good idea to find out why it was dropped to begin with. There could have been excellent reasons for dropping it. I think some of the clamor for change in women's roles is an attempt to do what worked successfully in the Episcopal church namely, moving into deaconess roles then the priesthood. There has been a trend in recent times, and I think Paul VI suffered from it greatly, to think that modern people are so much more advanced than our medieval ancestors. That somehow we have more wisdom, holiness, will to do good, and have only the best intentions. Not so! Our capacity for creativeness in sin has certainly increased. Our ability to deceive ourselves into thinking that the evil we do is really good has increased. Our loss of the sense of sin and of shame has increased. The fact that we live today instead of 400 years ago is not a good reason for changing anything without putting a great deal of thought into it. We need to examine why we need the change, and what the effects and implications of the change will likely be.
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 01:39 PM

Orthoman,

"And what Canon or Church Rule book assigned Altar Boys the responsibility of holding the cloth underneath a communicant OUTSIDE OF THE SANCTUARY (ALTAR) area? Until you can produce such evidence on just who is responsible to perform this function you cannot prove it is a responsibility of only an Altar Boy. It may be the norm but that doesn't make it etched in stone."

The Liturgikon prescribes that the deacon perform this function. In his absence, this would obviously devolve to servers, in their absence to males in the congregation, if their are no males then females. However, if parishes are using girls in this capacity when males are available they are disturbing the proper order.

Also the alb and the sticharion are the same vestment. The deacon and servers are of better material than the priest's because this is their top vestment, but both represent the baptismal garment and since everyone is vested with this at their baptism I really can't see how people can object to a girl wearing one.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 05:39 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:

The Liturgikon prescribes that the deacon perform this function.
Dear Deacon Lance,

Which Liturgikon prescribes this?

Tony
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 06:40 PM

Tony,

The 1942 Ruthenian. I would assume the Orthodox Liturgicons prescribe the same as the Liturgicons produced by Rome are faithful to the originals. I should not that the Ruthenian Liturgikon actually presribes the deacon hold the discos under the communicants chin, but this is probably a Latinization and I would imagine the original prescribed the holding of the lention.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 07:01 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
Tony,

The 1942 Ruthenian. I would assume the Orthodox Liturgicons prescribe the same as the Liturgicons produced by Rome are faithful to the originals. I should not that the Ruthenian Liturgikon actually presribes the deacon hold the discos under the communicants chin, but this is probably a Latinization and I would imagine the original prescribed the holding of the lention.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Deacon Lance,

The modern Muscovite books that I have examined do not actually say who holds the cloth, but rather that the deacons wipes the lips of the communicant (with a cloth) after communion. It can be deduced that the deacon holds one side of the cloth, the one he wipes with. Who holds the other? What if there is no deacon?

In the 1942 Ruthenian Liturgikon does it say the deacon wipes the lips of the communicant?

Tony
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/05/04 11:44 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
Ghazar,

This may come as a surprise to you, but most of the Orthodox world are Old Calendarists.
Such a statement, I do find surprising. Reason tells me that if those on the new calendar were the exception, they would be the ones with the label (e.g. "New Calendarists"). The fact that the Old Calendarists get the label, tells me they are the exception and not the norm. Otherwise you would not be called "old-calendarist Orthodox" but rather just "Orthodox" which everyone would know automatically means "old calendar."

The points about headcovering, pews and sitting apart (all of which I wouldn't mind seeing restored) were just meant to point to the fact that many things in the Church change. Some people get dogmatic about this or that but ultimately we have a choice of whether to follow our Church hierarchy or be schismatic. Example: In the Armenian Church it is Canon Law that women must cover their heads to receive Communion, and they still do. And yet the Armenian Church does allow girls to serve in some form during the Liturgy.

In other words, I think we pick and choose (all of us) based on our likes and dislikes. Many outdated Canons are no longer inforced. I just think its a little arbitrary to insist on some (against women) and ignore others.

But thanks for your politeness and patience, just the same.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Ghazar

p.s. Stephanos I, amazing... we agree on something!
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 12:02 AM

Dear Ghazar...

Old Calendarists are so labelled in America beacuse we are the minority. I suspect in the Countries which are both Old Calendar and Canonical, you are referred to as New Calendarists...It's all relative.

Peace, though! I am not one of those sour Old Calendarists that damns everyone who is New Calendar...that would be both silly and incorrect, as presuming to know what is in God's Mind...which I never would!

Gaudior, who promises not to be sour! biggrin
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 12:06 AM

So, Gaudior, my brother in Christ,

Can we then presume then that you and Father Vasiley Vasilievich do not agree on the heretical 'status' of new calendar churches, and that you do not consider the existence of such, an 'OUTRAGE'!!!!! biggrin

Fondly,
Alice, who is ofcourse, teasing! :p
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 12:15 AM

Alice, I visited an OCA church in my area, and they are really confusing. They follow the new calendar for much of the year, then revert to the old calendar for events near Easter. I'm sure Father Vasiley would promptly pronounce it to be a "hybrid-calendar outrage!"
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 12:47 AM

If this thread turns into another "Calendar" discussion, it WILL be an Outrage!

Gaudior, who wishes to be considered an Old Calendar Orthodox who HAS been given rabies shots! wink
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 01:05 AM

Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
Alice, I visited an OCA church in my area, and they are really confusing. They follow the new calendar for much of the year, then revert to the old calendar for events near Easter. I'm sure Father Vasiley would promptly pronounce it to be a "hybrid-calendar outrage!"
This was the pattern adopted by the EP in the '20s (as in 1920s). The fixed feasts are all on the new calendar while Pascha and everything dependent on it is on the old. The GOA, and Antiochians and all other Orthodox who are on the "new calendar" in this country follow this usage.
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 01:15 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:

Are Readers still created taper-bearers if they are not already tonsured to this minor office? I was once told that the service for creating a taper-bearer preceded that of the service to create a Reader, effectively making the man both on the same day. I do not know if this is correct, though.
Gaudior

I don't know if you are old rite or new, that may make a difference. In the new rite, AFAIK, the making of a candle-bearer does not stand alone. It is contained in the modern services at the beginning of the setting apart of the reader. So, your questions above is answered in the negative and the statement is basically affirmed. Readers are not made taper bearers, once they are readers they are already taper-bearers. The making of a taper-bearer is not a separate service, it is merely a prayer with a laying-on-of-hand.

Tony
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 01:37 AM

Tony,

That clarifies things in my mind.

Gaudior, who thanks you for your reply
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 02:25 AM

Tony,

A correction: it is the Ordo not the Liturgikon that prescribes the deacon hold the diskos. It also prescribes that the priest hold the lention with the hand with which he holds the chalice. I am sure you remember this type of arrangement from the Uniontown Pilgrimages. It does not prescribe that the priest or deacon wipe the lips of every communicant so I assume it is expecting the deacon or priest to do it when necessary.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 02:47 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
Tony,

A correction: it is the Ordo not the Liturgikon that prescribes the deacon hold the diskos. It also prescribes that the priest hold the lention with the hand with which he holds the chalice. I am sure you remember this type of arrangement from the Uniontown Pilgrimages. It does not prescribe that the priest or deacon wipe the lips of every communicant so I assume it is expecting the deacon or priest to do it when necessary.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Dear Deacon Lance,

While the Rome books are very good there are some things which they contain that do not appear to have an Orthodox precedent. Of course, the Ruthenian books may not match modern Moscow or Kievan usage anyway for other reasons. This holding of the diskos I am not aware of in an Orthodox text.

Liturgical prescriptions exist outside of the Liturgikon itself but one has to ask the question are these truly prescriptive or descriptive? In the case of the Ordo for your jurisdiction it is no doubt prescriptive.

The modern Moscow books prescribe the wiping of the lips by the deacon. This supposes that the deacon is not distributing communion of course.

The use of the communion cloth is a practical one, it is to avoid/minimize any accident with the Sacred Species.

Tony
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 03:19 AM

Quote
The modern Moscow books prescribe the wiping of the lips by the deacon. This supposes that the deacon is not distributing communion of course.

Tony
I agree. One can go back well into the past with sluzehbnyky where this is mentioned, not only in the Moscow service books but others, such as those printed at the Kiev Pecherska Lavra, etc.

If this is the received tradition, how is that consonant with the practice of vested women performing a task reserved for clergy in Holy Orders, even major orders? I await your answer.
Posted By: Zenovia

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 04:14 AM

Quote

Irish Melkite

posted 10-01-2004 10:50 AM

" hmm, maybe this wasn't the thread where someone asked about this, but I'm not having luck finding
another, and this seems like as good a place as any

An article on the role of deaconesses in the Coptic Church "
Neil,

I find this interesting. I recall seeing, (and it might have been on a Greek program), the study of deaconesses in monasteries of Southern Europe.

The study I assumed, was to find out exactly how they were used in the ancient Orthodox tradition.

Zenobia
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/06/04 07:01 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
If this is the received tradition, how is that consonant with the practice of vested women performing a task reserved for clergy in Holy Orders, even major orders? I await your answer.
I don't know. It is a good question. How can boys be performing the role of something reserved to those in major orders? I can't answer that except to point out that they do not do everything reserved to those in major orders. In other words, some things that the service books direct the deacon to do (for instance the bringing and holding of the censer at the prothesis, or the holding of the communion cloth) lay people or servers regularly do. So they are in effect deputized out of necessity.

If it is that boys can later be ordained to major orders so in a way we are looking ahead, well OK. The women can become nuns and do the same thing in their monastery.

Tony
Posted By: jbosl

Re: Altar Girls - 10/09/04 06:42 PM

Three quick points:

As for Gaudior's point about altar boys should be tonsured, in most of the GOA parishes in my area, the majority of altar boys have indeed been tonsured taper-bearers, and many of the men on the kliros have been tonsured readers (basically the same service).

As for a lot of the talk on the issue of whether women should go behind the altar, I find the attitude of many posters to be quite Protestant--where is that in the [canons] [Bible]? Show me the canon! I think the fact it is a tradition that until quite recently was universal in the Church for as far back as anyone can remember should be a huge argument in its favor. If anything, the burden of proof is on those seeking to change the tradition, not those maintaining. Innocent until proven guilty, if you will.

Finally, as to Ghazar's surprise over the calendar, the Russian Church, the Georgian Church, the Jerusalem Church, the Serbian Church, ROCOR, many (though probably a minority) of the OCA, and the vast majority if not all of Mt. Athos are Old Calendar (not an exhaustive list).

Justin
Posted By: DAVIDinVA

Re: Altar Girls - 10/09/04 09:32 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Zenovia:
Quote

Irish Melkite

posted 10-01-2004 10:50 AM

" hmm, maybe this wasn't the thread where someone asked about this, but I'm not having luck finding
another, and this seems like as good a place as any

An article on the role of deaconesses in the Coptic Church "
Neil,

I find this interesting. I recall seeing, (and it might have been on a Greek program), the study of deaconesses in monasteries of Southern Europe.

The study I assumed, was to find out exactly how they were used in the ancient Orthodox tradition.

Zenobia
I don't believe that Coptic Deaconesses carrry out liturgical functions. See:
http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/1995/3034.html
which describes thier role and is a great book to boot!
Posted By: Sub-Deacon Ghazaros

Re: Altar Girls - 10/10/04 06:39 PM

Dear Friends,

Despite what Jbosl says, my point wasn't Protestant at all. The Protestants go by "Scripture Alone." I didn't ask "where does it says this in Scripture." I rather appealed to a valid element of Tradition, i.e. Church Canons. Not only this, but if he read the thread, he would've understood why I asked the question in the first place. The primary argument put forward against using girls in any way in Church Services was that "the Canons forbid them." Therefore I simply asked to see these Canons. And that, my friend, is NOT Protestant. I don't apprecitate your labling me in this way.

As for what I said about "Old Calendarist" my point is still valid. The mere fact that some Orthodox are given a special title in the this country if they go by the Old Calendar, indicates they are an exception, not the rule. This is not my fault that this is the standard practice. If I were an Old Calendarist, I would simply point this out to others without making a big stink over it. Btw, the Armenian Church simply uses the Calendar of the nation or region they reside in. Hence in the Holy Land they follow the Old Calendar with the other Orthodox Churches of that region.
Posted By: jbosl

Re: Altar Girls - 10/11/04 03:09 AM

Dear Ghazar,

Please forgive me if I offended you. My point was not to pick out any one person in particular. While I only quoted one side of the argument, I think that what I said could equally apply to those who seek to justify the practice on the basis of canons alone. It was the way the argument was framed that I was objecting to. Canons are only one small part of our entire tradition. Canons have a context behind them--to justify or condemn any practice on the basis of canons is a tenuous thing. Canons, like the Scripture, can be read and put together piece-meal in such a way as to justify almost anything. It is the lived Tradition of the Church that we look to as the interpretation and application of the canons. The fact that this is a lived tradition of the church applied universally in the Church until very recently, with only a few, reasoned exceptions, is the strongest argument. The fact that there is Biblical and canonical evidence to back it up is good and helpful, but it is not the sine qua non.

Again, forgive me if you felt I was singling you out.

As for the calendar, I think "old-calendarist" is different from "one who follows the old calendar". "Old-calendarist" refers to those who believe those who follow the new calendar to be heretics. They are certainly in the minority. Those who follow the old calendar, on the other hand, are in the majority. I've even heard patriarchal Russian Orthodox (who follow the old calendar) refer to certain schismatics as "old-calendarist". It's all in the "ist"!

Justin
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/11/04 08:21 PM

Justin?

HUH?? re: calendar eek
Please...don't invent labels. The only people who go around denouncing all those on the New Calendar are not properly Orthodox, BUT schismatics.

In nearly each Orthodox jurisdiction, part of that jurisdiction is Old Calendar, and, if asked, refer to themelves as 'Old-Calendarists'. No one of my aquaintence has ever said, "I am one who follows the Old Calendar". biggrin

Gaudior, who knows MANY Old Calendarists, NONE of whom think those on the New Calendar are heretics.
Posted By: jbosl

Re: Altar Girls - 10/11/04 08:48 PM

Sorry Gaudior, I guess I just never heard it said that way. I know of some OCA parishes and monastery that use the old calendar, but would not refer to themselves as old-calendarist. In the Orthodox circles I've had contact with, old calendarist was reserved for the schismatic groups who have condemned "new calendarists" as heretics, but not used with regards to the canonical jurisdictions that use the old calendar. Likewise, I've never heard anyone refer to Athonite monasteries as old calendarist, with the exception of the zealots. I don't think there is any "official" usage, this is just the way I've seen it in the mainly GOA and OCA parishes I've had a lot of contact with--being GOA myself for about 10 months now.
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/11/04 09:08 PM

Justin, both jurisdictions you have named are predominantly New Calendar. In predominantly Old Calendar jurisdictions, the term is often used. You mentioned the little known fact that both the OCA and the GOA have canonical Old Calendar churches in their jurisdiction. However, many IN THOSE VERY SAME JURISDICTIONS do NOT know this, and look at the Old Calendarists as schismatic.

However, for example, both the UGCC and the UOC (EP) have both New and Old Calendarist Churches, with the majority being Old Calendar, and there, honestly, the calendar is what you are, not a new convert's cause for a crusade against those who do not follow it. Education is the key, here.

Gaudior, returning you to your regularly scheduled thread on ALTAR GIRLS, not the Calendar
Posted By: DAVIDinVA

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 02:06 AM

This is beyond altar girls:
http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100010_09/10/2004_48208
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 02:23 AM

Quote
Originally posted by DAVIDinVA:
This is beyond altar girls:
http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100010_09/10/2004_48208
Yes it is. I am hoping all this doesn't cause a split in Orthodoxy. Since there are so many national churches and no Pope-like leader, I think Orthodoxy can tend to splinter into smaller jurisdictions more easily than Catholicism.
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 02:31 AM

Quote
Meanwhile, the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece, a body made up of 62 bishops, voted against allowing Archbishop Christodoulos to meet with the pope, for the time being.
62 Heirarchs? That country is too small for that many. Surely they are not all bishops IN Greece.
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 02:45 AM

"62 Heirarchs? That country is too small for that many. Surely they are not all bishops IN Greece."

Indeed they are. In fact I count 78 diocese on this page:

http://www.ecclesia.gr/English/EnDioceses/EnDioceses.html

The Orthodox Churches tend to have much smaller dioceses than their Catholic counterparts.

Greece's population is aroumd 10 million and 98% are Orthodox.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Posted By: anastasios

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 04:30 PM

There are 34 Orthodox bishops (last time I counted) in America for about "1-5 million" (depending on how you count!) people, so that doesn't seem so strange to have 78 bishops for 10-11 million.

Anastasios
Posted By: anastasios

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 04:34 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gaudior:
Justin?

HUH?? re: calendar eek
Please...don't invent labels. The only people who go around denouncing all those on the New Calendar are not properly Orthodox, BUT schismatics.
And what of the New Calendarists who denounce the New Calendar as uncanonical and long for a return to the Old Calendar?

Who are the schismatics? The people who held to the patristic calendar and Traditional Orthodoxy (who were served by hieromonks from Mt Athos until 3 New Calendar bishops repented and returned to the Patristic Calendar in 1935), or the people who switched the calendar and instituted ecumenism?

I am not personally attacking you. You are just using the terms that you were taught, such as "schismatic" and "uncanonical". However, I want to encourage you and everyone else who uses these terms to think about the implications of them and what it all actually means. wink

Anastasios
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 04:47 PM

The calendar disputes are interesting, especially since we don't have a clue as to when events celebrated by many calendar dates actually occurred. I wonder if the whole thing is just something to argue about by people who would argue about anything.
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 05:05 PM

Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
The calendar disputes are interesting, especially since we don't have a clue as to when events celebrated by many calendar dates actually occurred. I wonder if the whole thing is just something to argue about by people who would argue about anything.
Watches to see how long before Charles is skewered from both directions for that thought biggrin

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: DAVIDinVA

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 06:13 PM

Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
The calendar disputes are interesting, especially since we don't have a clue as to when events celebrated by many calendar dates actually occurred. I wonder if the whole thing is just something to argue about by people who would argue about anything.
Yes- interesting that an article about the Church of Greece possibly ordaining women sparks a disscussion of- the calendar!
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 06:21 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Irish Melkite:
Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
[b] The calendar disputes are interesting, especially since we don't have a clue as to when events celebrated by many calendar dates actually occurred. I wonder if the whole thing is just something to argue about by people who would argue about anything.
Watches to see how long before Charles is skewered from both directions for that thought biggrin

Many years,

Neil [/b]
You know, historians and theologians are now saying Christ was born in 6 B.C. How could we know the accuracy of traditional dates? What if both the new and the old calendar are inaccurate?
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 06:25 PM

Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
How could we know the accuracy of traditional dates? What if both the new and the old calendar are inaccurate?
Charles,

Exactly. I am taking no stand on this until the Newer Calendrists and the Oldest Calendrists come out with their newer and oldest improved editions biggrin .

Many years

Neil, wondering just how long those years should be anyway confused
Posted By: anastasios

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 08:20 PM

The issue is not accuracy but authority, chronolology, and theology. I don't have the ability to condense a 173 page book into a post online, but for those interested I would recommend this book:


Scientific Examination of the Orthodox Church Calendar, or The Old Calendar and Science

by Hieromonk Cassian. Edited by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna and Hieromonk Gregory. ISBN 0-911165-31-2. LCCN 98-70699. Pp. 173.

In this comprehensive study of the calendar issue, Father Cassian refutes the “received view” that the Gregorian Calendar is more precise astronomically than the Julian Calendar, proving with an abundance of scientific evidence that it is impossible, given what we know about time and space, to devise any calendar that would be entirely accurate. From a theological viewpoint, he shows that the “Revised Julian” Calendar introduced by the ecumenists of the Phanar is a veritable Trojan horse in the citadel of Orthodoxy, which has caused untold damage to the liturgical life of the Church. This is by far the most detailed survey of the calendar question ever to have appeared in English and is profusely illustrated.
More information...
$7.95


more description

Available here
Posted By: djs

Re: Altar Girls - 10/12/04 08:36 PM

Quote
In this comprehensive study of the calendar issue, Father Cassian refutes the “received view” that the Gregorian Calendar is more precise astronomically than the Julian Calendar, proving with an abundance of scientific evidence that it is impossible, given what we know about time and space, to devise any calendar that would be entirely accurate.
Huh? leaving aside the accuracy / precision swap - what does the impossibility of an entirely accurate/precise calendar have to do with evaluating the relative accuracy/precision of two different calendars? :rolleyes:
Posted By: anastasios

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 04:19 AM

Quote
Originally posted by djs:
Quote
In this comprehensive study of the calendar issue, Father Cassian refutes the “received view” that the Gregorian Calendar is more precise astronomically than the Julian Calendar, proving with an abundance of scientific evidence that it is impossible, given what we know about time and space, to devise any calendar that would be entirely accurate.
Huh? leaving aside the accuracy / precision swap - what does the impossibility of an entirely accurate/precise calendar have to do with evaluating the relative accuracy/precision of two different calendars? :rolleyes:
Both points are addressed in the book. The idea that the Greg. calendar is superior, and the idea that one can have an accurate calendar.

Anastasios
Posted By: Gaudior

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 02:03 PM

Anastasios,

As to schismatics, one must change to place one's self in schism, or oppose the wishes of the Synod. As the New Calendar was condemned by three synods, before is was adopted in 1920 in some jurisdictions, the Old Calendarist monks who neither changed, nor opposed the wishes of a Synod, are not schismatic, IMHO. However, those born into jurisdictions in later times which are part of the New Calendar churches, are following the leads of THEIR bishops, and as they have been told all the way up to the EP that this is acceptable, I cannot properly call them "schismatics" as they remain very much part of the church they belonged to from birth.

Gaudior, who points out that it is not my place to judge individuals for following the established traditions of their churches.
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 03:36 PM

Quote
Yes- interesting that an article about the Church of Greece possibly ordaining women sparks a disscussion of- the calendar!
PLEASE, David, let's get this clear wink

...the Church of Greece, which is ultra-conservative, is not considering, nor do I believe it will ever consider, ordaining women to the priesthood! eek

(No offense intended to the Anglican Church)

Alice, who thinks this thread is starting to sound like that game of my childhood called 'telephone'!!! biggrin
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 05:06 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by anastasios:
The issue is not accuracy but authority, chronolology, and theology. I don't have the ability to condense a 173 page book into a post online, but for those interested I would recommend this book: [QUOTE]

Thanks for the reference. It certainly appears worth reading. I wasn't concerned so much with astronomical accuracy, as with celebrations in both calendars having no relation to the actual dates on which the event celebrated originally occurred. I suspect that the originators of both church calendars, new and old, did a substantial amount of tinkering concerning date accuracy. For example, the dates for the birth of Christ in both calendars are probably not accurate. I suspect the dates assigned to many early saints are similarly not accurate.
Posted By: Fr. Thomas

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 05:40 PM

I hope I'm not misreading your post, but if I am, please forgive me. Just for sake of clarity, let's make it clear that the date for the Nativity of Christ in both calendars is December 25th.

Priest Thomas
Posted By: djs

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 05:52 PM

Quote
In this comprehensive study of the calendar issue, Father Cassian refutes the “received view” that the Gregorian Calendar is more precise astronomically than the Julian Calendar, proving with an abundance of scientific evidence that it is impossible, given what we know about time and space, to devise any calendar that would be entirely accurate.

Quote
Both points are addressed in the book. The idea that the Greg. calendar is superior, and the idea that one can have an accurate calendar.
Both?
Ah, then the review should have stated:

Father Cassian refutes the “received view” that the Gregorian Calendar is more precise astronomically than the Julian Calendar, and proves with an abundance of scientific evidence that it is impossible, given what we know about time and space, to devise any calendar that would be entirely accurate.

The participial phrasing suggested a logical connection that is inherently absurd.

I am surprised that the relative accuracy of the Gregorian calendar is in dispute. I am very skeptical that this claim could be supported without fallacy. Can you give a quick overview of the argument?
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 05:58 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
I hope I'm not misreading your post, but if I am, please forgive me. Just for sake of clarity, let's make it clear that the date for the Nativity of Christ in [b]both calendars is December 25th.

Priest Thomas [/b]
I should have worded that better - haste makes waste shocked I suspect both calendars are not accurate in the dates they assign to events, when they agree, as well as, when they disagree. We have no way to verify the accuracy of those dates.
Posted By: anastasios

Re: Altar Girls - 10/13/04 06:17 PM

djs,

The Gregorian Calendar and the Revised Julian Calendar will apparently somehow stop being in sync in 2800.

Also, the Gregorian Calendar fixes the date of the Equinox to March 21 when it is not really March 21 (but moveable).

I don't recall the other points. I returned the book to the library so I would have to go back and get it to delve any further.

Gaudior,

I agree completely with what you have written. Good points.

Anastasios
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Altar Girls - 10/18/04 02:14 PM

Well just to throw some gas on the fire. Over at OC.net they have proven with out a doubt the world as we know it is ending. wink an Orthodox parish is using an altar girl behind the icon screen, in the presence of a bishop none the less. Now seeing that this has happened we can stop with the this will never happen in an Orthodox Church and discuss the pros and cons of allowing altar girls. Just for the record I am opposed but do not think it will be the end of the Church or the start of women priests.

Fr. Deacon Lance

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php?board=3;action=display;threadid=4386;start=0

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/attachments/9885702-M.jpg
Posted By: Fr. Thomas

Re: Altar Girls - 10/18/04 03:44 PM

Would it help to point out that he's not an OCA bishop?

Guess not.

Priest Thomas frown
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/18/04 08:20 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
Would it help to point out that he's not an OCA bishop?

Guess not.

Priest Thomas frown
What and who is he, for those of us not in OCA?
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Altar Girls - 10/18/04 10:04 PM

{What and who is he, for those of us not in OCA?}

The Bishop is Bishop Seraphim of Sendai, who is not an OCA bishop but, rather, a retired bishop of the autonomous Church of Japan.

OrthoMan
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/18/04 10:06 PM

Quote
Originally posted by byzanTN:
Quote
Originally posted by Fr. Thomas:
[b] Would it help to point out that he's not an OCA bishop?

Guess not.

Priest Thomas frown
What and who is he, for those of us not in OCA? [/b]
He is bishop SERAPHIM (Sigrist) a retired bishop of the MP (former bishop of Sendai, Japan) who lives in the US.
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/18/04 10:29 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
Now seeing that this has happened we can stop with the this will never happen in an Orthodox Church and discuss the pros and cons of allowing altar girls.
Dear Deacon Lance,

Perhaps I'm missing it but I don't see those comments in this thread. In the name of charity please point them out.

A former seminary professor used to say "if you can imagine it, somebody is probably doing it." If I go to some parish of some jurisdiction and see something very strange and make a photo of it that does not mean that whatever was being done was right nor does it mean that the jurisdiction in question endorses it. It just means something strange was going on there.

Tony
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/18/04 10:38 PM

Before anyone says
Quote
my jurisdiction does not do this foolery
, name your jursidiction and I will name the foolery. Sad but true.
Posted By: Fr. Thomas

Re: Altar Girls - 10/19/04 12:07 PM

I am convinced that the best thing anyone concerned can do is to email the Acting Rector of the St. Mary Magdalen Church in NYC, Fr. Yakov Ryklin. fryryk@earthlink.net I think that would be the best way to handle it. I cannot speak for him or his community.

Priest Thomas
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Altar Girls - 10/19/04 12:19 PM

Tony,

It was not explicitly stated, but with the arguing over where the girls were serving, what they were wearing, etc. I felt the implied arguement was we let girls do some things but we don't let them serve in the altar, but as the pictures show that is happening too.

I certainly agree that just because some parish is doing something does not mean it is sanctioned. It does show however we all have the same problems and either side trying to make the boast "well at least we don't do (fill in the blank)" is an invitation to look foolish.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/19/04 03:31 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
I certainly agree that just because some parish is doing something does not mean it is sanctioned. It does show however we all have the same problems and either side trying to make the boast "well at least we don't do (fill in the blank)" is an invitation to look foolish.
Deacon Lance,

Well-stated.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: anastasios

Re: Altar Girls - 10/20/04 10:04 PM

http://www.oca.org/pages/news/news.asp?ID=678

To the Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,

Recently, questions have arisen on numerous internet forums concerning the position of the Orthodox Church in America with regard to those who serve in the Holy Altar in parishes. The questions and ensuing controversy arose as a result of photographs appearing on two parish web sites depicting robed girls performing duties traditionally delegated to males. This has led to a great deal of confusion and discussion as to the policy of the Orthodox Church in America in this regard.

In their concern for maintaining the integrity of the Church and its traditions, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, meeting at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, October 18-21, 2004, reaffirms the ancient practice of the Orthodox Church that only males are to be admitted to service within the holy altar. Any practice to the contrary in this regard is strictly forbidden.

While reaffirming the Orthodox Church's practice concerning sacred ministers and others called to serve within and care for the holy altar, the Holy Synod of Bishops also wishes to encourage all Orthodox Christians to offer their services to Christ's Holy Church, in keeping with their baptismal vocation.

Thank you for your generous and devoted service to the Church, I remain

In Christ,


Protopresbyter Robert S. Kondratick, Chancellor
Orthodox Church in America
Posted By: Fr. Thomas

Re: Altar Girls - 10/20/04 10:13 PM

Well, the OCA has checked in and put the matter to rest.

Many years to His Beatitude HERMAN, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America!

Priest Thomas Soroka
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/20/04 11:24 PM

Dear Father Thomas,

Your blessing!

It is nice to know that this forum has the kind of influence that can affirm OCA ecclesiastical policies! smile

I don't suppose that would have anything to do with a few seminarians on the forum that attend St. Vladimir's, would it? wink

Welcome back, by the way! smile

Kissing your right hand,
Alice

P.S. And I join in with you in wishing Metropolitan Herman: 'Eis pola eti despota!'
Posted By: Matthew Panchisin

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 12:42 AM

Dear Deacon Lance,

Once again you tend to go to great lengths to equate an isolated incident and say they are the same thing as a not so isolated incident or occurrences that are common. Why do you do that? If you want to get even ok you win, we loose now you don't have exaggerate anymore.

Ok I accept your invitation and will fill in the blank. I ask you this question, is it truthful?

"well at least we don't do (fill in the blank)" is an invitation to look foolish.

"well at least we don't do in ROCOR" is an invitation to look foolish. Is that believable?

Bear in mind that people do have free will and that free will seems to be a bit more on the free side when it comes to some of the post Vatican II liturgical practices. As least it seems that way to me.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 12:57 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Matthew Panchisin:
Once again you tend to go to great lengths to equate an isolated incident and say they are the same thing as a not so isolated incident or occurrences that are common. Why do you do that? If you want to get even ok you win, we loose now you don't have exaggerate anymore.
Matthew,

Deacon Lance and I have had our differences here from time to time, but I think you have taken a comment, which I read as no more than an reiteration that we all need to recollect, in humbleness, that perfection is lacking in all our Churches, and twisted it into something it is not.

You need to get past the anger that keeps displaying itself in your posts.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 01:09 AM

It is interesting that I was just discussing, how I thought it was a very good leadership move on the part of Metropolitan Herman to issue a letter about the robed girls, with a friend who grew up in Greece.

When explaining that someone here said that girls may be needed when no boys are around, I got an interesting response.

In Greece, she said (and come to think of it, I do remember this), there are generally no altar boys, and there is usually no one around to hold the altar cloth. Thus, each person who communes holds the altar cloth for himself and out for the next person to hold.

Actually, I now recall this being the practice at the ethnically Greek parish here in the U.S. that I grew up in. I now realize why I seem to be one of the only persons in my present, less ethnic parish who does this, despite, the presence of altar boys! I guess the learned habits of childhood don't die easily! eek

I will try to remember to let the boys do their job next time!! biggrin

In Christ,
Alice
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 01:28 AM

Dear Matthew,

With all love and respect, perhaps you are over reacting just a wee bit?

If we wish to believe 'the other' is our enemy, we will take offense at anything...even good natured ribbing or even something complimentary. I have seen this happen many times.

This happens so often and everywhere, that it would be nice if we could realize that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and that we shouldn't take offense by each other so easily...(unless ofcourse there is real personal vitriol).

I think the most liberating thing for the spirit is not only to acknowledge our faults, whether it is personal, familial, ethnic, religious, national, or anything else, but also sometimes to agree and laugh about them, rather than go on the offense. Ofcourse, in some cases, a comment may need our justification or defense, but in that case, let's try to do it charitably. I don't think that there is one person that can honestly say that they have not misinterpreted the intent of another on occasion. So, ofcourse sometimes things said may need clarification.

Life is too short and too precarious for anger and taking offense. We are all on this journey together...let's enjoy it in the light of Christ who suffered the most agonizing death for all of us. Like my priest said his Spiritual Father once told him when he said he was angry at someone...."put yourself at the foot of the cross on Golgotha with our Lord dying up there for you, and tell HIM: I can't forgive, or I am angry at my brother!"

With love in Christ,
Alice
Posted By: Matthew Panchisin

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 01:36 AM

Dear Neil,

Actually, I thought about it and I don't think I was angry just truthful at least I know I was calm when I wrote the response, perhaps I'm confused and not aware of my passions as much as I should be and they are much more obvious to others particularly to those that might be familiar with them or able to readily identify with them. Thanks for your concern, I try to take your advice bearing in mind that I believe that the Orthodox Church lacks nothing and that there is a difference between that and human passions...

I really don't think I've twisted anything, have you? It seem that some of you good people just think differently or have a much different perspective something. I might add that many Orthodox think that "Orthodox in communion with Rome" is something of a twist.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 02:56 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Matthew Panchisin:
I try to take your advice bearing in mind that I believe that the Orthodox Church lacks nothing and that there is a difference between that and human passions...
Matthew,

Actually, I don't think that either the Orthodox or Catholic Churches lack anything, ... except the grace and wisdom to reunite with one another in the common love of He Who is Our Lord.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Fr. Thomas

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 11:14 AM

Quote
Originally posted by alice:


In Greece, she said (and come to think of it, I do remember this), there are generally no altar boys, and there is usually no one around to hold the altar cloth. Thus, each person who communes holds the altar cloth for himself and out for the next person to hold.

The service book (sluzhebnik) of the Russian Church stipulates that the deacon(s) hold the communion cloth. But since every parish does not have deacons, it usually falls to men or boys within the parish.

Priest Thomas
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 11:44 AM

Dear Fr. Thomas,

But not everywhere in Greece is there even a deacon!

My husband has also confirmed this, as his family moved back to Greece when he was seven. These are his recollections from small village churches and monasteries.

He said that when there is only a priest, each individual holds the cloth under their chin and then carefully passes it on to the next person.

Sometimes I think that people around here think I am 'Alice in Wonderland' making things up as I go!

I think that I will just shut up and bite my tongue from now on.

Sadly,
Alice
Posted By: byzanTN

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 12:24 PM

Quote
Originally posted by alice:
Dear Fr. Thomas,

But not everywhere in Greece is there even a deacon!

My husband has also confirmed this, as his family moved back to Greece when he was seven. These are his recollections from small village churches and monasteries.

He said that when there is only a priest, each individual holds the cloth under their chin and then carefully passes it on to the next person.

Sometimes I think that people around here think I am 'Alice in Wonderland' making things up as I go!

I think that I will just shut up and bite my tongue from now on.

Sadly,
Alice
Alice, I have never been to Greece, although I may get there someday. smile If you say you saw it being done that way, I believe you. You are more of an authority than those of us who were never there.

Charles
Posted By: Alice

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 12:30 PM

Dear Charles,

Thank you for your charitable words. smile

With love in Christ,
Alice
Posted By: Fr. Thomas

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 01:17 PM

Quote
Originally posted by alice:
Dear Fr. Thomas,

But not everywhere in Greece is there even a deacon!

My husband has also confirmed this, as his family moved back to Greece when he was seven. These are his recollections from small village churches and monasteries.

He said that when there is only a priest, each individual holds the cloth under their chin and then carefully passes it on to the next person.

Sometimes I think that people around here think I am 'Alice in Wonderland' making things up as I go!

I think that I will just shut up and bite my tongue from now on.

Sadly,
Alice
Absolutely, there is no doubt that this is done,and I certainly don't think you were making it up! God forbid! And the practice is not "wrong" per se, since the whole issue of the communion cloth is more a practicality (making sure that the precious blood does not spill on the floor) than a prescription of the typicon. I was only pointing out that in the Russian Church, this direction was added in the service books to clarify who should hold the cloth. It is merely a fairly common tradition, but not universal. As I said, Russian Churches also are not full of deacons, and so the task usually falls to men or older boys. I do remember one morning liturgy where I had no one to hold the cloth, and I did exactly as you described. People seemed to understand what to do intuitively. No big deal.

I can't remember what the practice was when I was on Mount Athos... Too many years ago! I need to go back!

Priest Thomas
Posted By: Fr. Deacon Lance

Re: Altar Girls - 10/21/04 01:59 PM

Matthew,

You state: "Once again you tend to go to great lengths to equate an isolated incident and say they are the same thing as a not so isolated incident or occurrences that are common. Why do you do that? If you want to get even ok you win, we loose now you don't have exaggerate anymore."

I believe I equated two instances that are equally isolated. In neither are Church are female servers allowed. In both they have been employed in a few parishes.

It is not about getting even or keeping score but being honest about things that affect our Churches.

Fr. Deacon Lance
Posted By: Tony

Re: Altar Girls - 10/28/04 05:11 PM

I haven't seen this posted elsewhere on this board so I am putting it in this thread as it is germane to the topic.

PBS - BELIEF & PRACTICE: Altar Servers, October 22, 2004 Episode no. 808
Posted By: Diak

Re: Altar Girls - 10/28/04 07:08 PM

OK, the Orthodox and the Catholics both have them.

It is not the traditional practice with either.

Time for another topic, perhaps?
Posted By: Our Lady's slave

Re: Altar Girls - 10/28/04 07:47 PM

Agreed - it's been done to death .
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