On the Sharp Question of Female Priesthood

Extract from “Orthodoxy and Western Christianity. Contemporary Protestantism. On Female Priesthood.”

The issue of ordination of women arises from the Protestant attitude to priesthood and their disregard of its sacramental nature.

Priesthood for Protestants is a job rather than a holy dignity. That is why they believe that women weren’t allowed to join the clergy merely by social and cultural traditions of ancient times. Since we are enlightened and modern now, we simply have to restore justice and grant equal rights to men and women.

In reality, there is nothing offensive for a woman to have a different mission on earth according to God’s will. We Christians are the elect people, the ‘royal priesthood’, regardless of our sex. The Church is the Body of Christ, in which every member plays a unique role. The Head of this theandric Organism is Christ. It is him who possesses the priestly dignity to the full extent and in the proper sense of this word: He is both the High Priest and the Offering.

The ecclesiastical hierarchy was established by the Lord himself. He chose his apostles – all male, by the way – and granted them the power to perform Sacraments. This power was passed on from the apostles to their successors, i.e., bishops, and from bishops to priests.

It can be accurately said that it isn’t a priest who performs Sacraments but the Lord through that priest. Priesthood exists to represent Christ in the real life. Obviously, only a male can represent Christ in this way, and not a female. We must not break the divinely established order in favor of human institutions of any kind.

The God-inspired Apostle Paul says, Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. (1 Cor. 14:34). Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach… (1 Tim. 2:11-12).

Every sane person will agree that God’s will cannot be subjected to cultural or sociopolitical debates.

Notably, the Protestants are in a disagreement over this issue, which weakens the denominations that accept female priesthood. Baptists and conservative Lutherans oppose female ordination. It has already caused a schism in the Church of England. Many Anglicans convert to Catholicism every year.

That is why the Orthodox Church will continue to uphold the position that women cannot be ordained, and it doesn’t have anything to do with their ‘humiliation’ and doesn’t hint at their inborn inferiority of any kind. This opinion does not require any further proof or evidence. The essential reality that alone determines the substance of our faith and shapes the inner life of the Church is the reality of the Kingdom of God, which is perfect unity in perfect knowledge and perfect love and which eventually leads to our theosis, so there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28). Moreover, since we participate in this reality here and now, we all – men and women alike – are kings and priests without any discrimination; for this is the true priestly dignity of the human nature and the calling into which Christ restored us.

Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds

About the author

The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

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