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Women basically have a similar role to men, except that they cannot become priests or bishops. In many Orthodox churches, women sing in the choir and perform many other important duties, such as raising money for the poor and serving on church committees or councils. In the early Church, women could also become Deaconesses, although this was a non-liturgical and non-priestly role reserved for older women to assist the priest. This practice has largely been discontinued, but there is nothing to stop it from returning. It is up to each bishop to decide. Many women also choose to serve God by becoming nuns. The role of women in the Orthodox Chuch has always been very important and should not be underestimated, but this does not extend to becoming priests. The reason for this is because the Orthodox Church follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, The Bible and the practices of the Holy Apostles. When Jesus chose people for His Ministry on earth, He called twelve male disciples to go and preach to the whole world. Then they chose another 70 male disciples, and so on for over 2,000 years. This is also in keeping with the Old Testament practice of choosing men to become priests of the Temple and rabbis of synagogues. So from this we conclude that Christ has called certain men (but not all men) to become His Priests. He could have chosen women, such as His own Mother, or Mary Magdalene, but did not. We are in no position to say that Christ was wrong in doing this, because Christ is God, and therefore He is without sin and makes no mistakes. This does not in any way mean that women are inferior to men. On the contrary, women were given the same possibility of salvation as men, for the first time in history by Jesus Christ. Baptism in Christ now enabled both males and females to be equally saved (Galatians 3:27-28). Christ also broke many of the social Jewish customs of that time, for example, by speaking with the Samaritan woman by the well, which was not permitted for any Jew to do. So Christ elevated women to the same status as men, but maintained their different roles in society. In other words, women are seen as equal, but different. In the Orthodox Church, the highest place that any human being has ever reached, was achieved by a woman, not a man. The Virgin Mary was the only human being to be elevated to the second highest position in Heaven! Second only to God Himself. After God, comes the Virgin Mary, and then the highest male,who was John the Baptist, and then the Apostles and others. So the highest position that any male on earth has ever reached was achieved by the Prophet St John the Bapstist, but even he is lower in status and importance than the Virgin Mary. Therefore any male or female can achieve greatness in the Church and become a great saint, but no one else can or ever will be able to reach the heights of the Virgin Mary, a woman, who achieved the highest place of any other human being on earth. Yet, the Virgin Mary did not have to become a priest in order to do this! God has given men and women different roles, and this is something that we humans cannot change. For example, God gave women the possibility of bearing children, which is a great blessing. But God did not give this same blessing to men. Does this mean that God has discrimination against men? Of course not! Men simply have to accept that only women can give birth to children. Both men and women can achieve salvation equally, by believing in God and being baptised (Mark 16:16) and by doing good works (James 2:14). Many men and women have become saints and martyrs in this way, and many more will be saved. Being a priest, or bishop, or monk or nun, still requires correct faith and good works, as it does for lay people. After all, the Virgin Mary was only a lay person, but she remained pure and faithful to God. She was a human being like any other woman on earth, yet she became higher than all other men and women and priests and bishops who have ever lived! So being a priest does not bring anyone salvation. In fact, it comes with a very heavy burden and responsibility: to preach correct doctrine. Just look at the example of the famous priest from Alexandria called Arius, who was declared to be a heretic by the church for preaching false doctrines (Arianism) about Christ. Also, Nestorius, who was Patriarch of Constantinople, was also condemned as a heretic for preaching fasle dogmas (Nestorianism), not to mention the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot, who was one of the original Twelve Apostles. So do not think that being a priest or bishop or a disciple will automatically bring you any special blessing or greater benefit than you have now. Sometimes, it can even cause our downfall.

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โˆ™ 2008-01-22 06:52:00
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Q: What is the role of women in the Greek Orthodox church?
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What is the role of women in the Eastern Orthodox church?

As in the Catholic Church, women may become nuns.


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Are there nuns in the Greek Orthodox Church?

Yes, and also in the Russian. there has been for some years a movement to expand the role of women in Russian Orthodoxy to the Ministerium level- but results are mixed.Paul is popular in the Eastern Churchs, and his ( Silent running) order in his varius epistles is taken seriously.


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it affected daily life


Are there deaconesses in The Orthodox Church today?

There are no known deaconesses in the Orthodox Church today, as the practice of having deaconesses gradually discontinued over the centuries. This does not mean that deaconesses are not allowed, or could not be appointed in future, but there has possibly not been a need or demand for their services any longer. The role of deaconesses in the Church was non-liturgical, meaning they did not administer any of the sacraments of the Church or perform the role of a priest. Their main role was to take care of the charitable work of the Church, to assist during the baptism of women, ministering to the martyrs in prison, and taking care of the widows and orphans. These were very important roles in the early church.


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