edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church

1. What is the role of women in the Church?
2. What is the role of women in the home?
3. Would the Coptic church even think of allowing women as Deaconesses like in the Anglican and even some Eastern Orthodox churches?
4. How do women feel about their role in the Church?
5. How do women feel about their role in the home?
6. How do women feel about their role in society East v.s. West?
7. Would women desire to become Deaconesses if that were an option?  What about becoming Priest and Bishops?



  • 3. there are deaconesses. We have quite a few in Sydney.
  • This book which I think you might have seen before and even read some is very helpful.. maybe you did not read the part about women


    Still others can respond to you also if they have something important to say

  • 1. What is the role of women in the Church?
    Within the church women form part of the congregation....
    After the liturgy church service (both sexes) ie.sunday school
    2. What is the role of women in the home?
    how do you perceive the role of women? do you still belive women have a ROLE to play in the home...What role do you think women should be playing? why didnt you ask what role men play in the home?

    All, men and women, are members of one body "But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary" (1 Cor 12:20-22).
  • [quote author=desertnurse link=topic=5507.msg73527#msg73527 date=1183087404]
    1. What is the role of women in the Church?

    Women cannot be ordained to any of the ranks of the holy priesthood. Other than this, however, they serve the exact same role as the male members of the laity.

    2. What is the role of women in the home?

    Other than what St. Paul says about the relationship between husband and wife and the conduct it implies, I do not believe there are any specific roles as such.

    3. Would the Coptic church even think of allowing women as Deaconesses like in the Anglican and even some Eastern Orthodox churches?

    Deaconesses were part of the Church from the very beginning. However, the role of a deaconess is totally different from that of the deacon.

    The role of the deaconess is essentially to serve the other women in the Church through things such as educating them in matters of the faith, etc. This is why deconesses are few and far between since many women (in the Coptic church, probably most women) already fulfill a similar role on a lay basis.
  • Dear Orthodox11,

    We are, again, in your debt; many thanks.

    Questions 4-7 are for our sisters to answer.

    The Anglicans, of course, now have women priests ands even a woman bishop. As an ex-Anglican I am more than familiar with all the arguments used, but they are essentially secular ones about female equality, which is not what this is about, as the Pope's excellent lectures shows.

    The Lord had no female Apostles, and He did much else that went against the customs of that culture, so the cultural argument does not really wash. The ancient undivided Church had no female priests, and neither the Roman Catholics nor the Orthodox do so, and if, as they claim, the Anglicans are part of the Apostolic Church, then they have given away something that is not their own - or they are not part of the Apostolic Church; my view was the latter.

    Women can, and do, hold many roles in the Church. But this is the Body of Christ, not a Ceos job.

    In Christ,

  • Equal in value. Different in roles.
  • Bless you heart Kerestina!!

    I meant no offense of course! 

    In my faith background, women do have roles and so do men. 

    Men are to be the bread winners and to work for the families financial gain.  Husbands are to protect their family, and to always treat their wives with the utmost of respect.  Men are usually looked down on if they don't help with domestic chores at all, but many still get away with it. 

    Women are called to be teachers and are to be helpmates for their husbands.  Women are to bare children and to care for and educate the children.  Women are the care takers of the home and most are expected to clean and cook for the family.  Women also play a big part in helping those less fortunate.  Women often bring dinner and help with needed baby supplies when a new child is born in the congregation.  Women also bring dinner to families with illness, surgery, loss of jobs, etc.  I guess women in the LDS church actually often functions in a deaconess role.

    Women almost always supervise the education and acculturation and often the religious learning of the family.  Women are far more involved with daughters as strong relationships between son and father are stressed. 

    From my thinking, much of this stems from the LDS's background of British and Scandinavian heritages.  I find the cultures behind various forms of faith most fascinating!!

  • I found this article in my favorite website: Wikipedia.org

    This article believes that deaconesses were ordained and part of the three-fold ministry of the ancient church.

  • that was what Orthodox11 said. Deaconesses were part of the ancient church, as Orthodox11 pointed out before. We know this, and we still have them.
  • DT,

    Deaconesses are not ordained. We have Deaconesses, yes, but they are not part of the priesthood. They're not inaugurated into their positions via the laying of hands, as Deacons are. Hence, Orthodox11's point that the Deaconesses do not parallel the Deacons, despite what the nomenclature may seeem suggest.
  • A newly ordained priest, Fr. Kyrillos Ibrahim, gave a great Sunday sermon which touched upon the issue of female priesthood. This sermon can be downloaded and heard from here: http://www.stdemiana.org/audio/sermons/06-17-2007 - Fr Kyrillos Ibrahim - The Paralytic and the Mystery of Priesthood - English.mp3
  • But deaconesses can also help the priest in regards to strict order in the church I read (I don't know to what extent ) . in a church I have been to ,some women (I don't know if they are deaconesses - it seems maybe likely) give the water after holy communion is taken..

  • I do think it is important to stress that this is not about cultural practice - it is about obedience to the tradition of the Church and fidelity to the example set by Our Lord.

    It is not for us to come over all early twenty-first century and say that our 'advanced' wisdom now enables us to see that He would have done differently if only He had been incarnated in modern California, so it is OK for us to 'adapt' things. Those are arguments I have heard from those who advocate women priests. The Pope makes it plain that this is not up for argument because it is not ours to give away; secular arguments do not apply.

    By secular 'modern' standards it is 'unfair' that bishops can't be married, and 'unequal' that if the wife of a married priest dies he can't remarry; but that is the ancient practice of the Church. It is probably actionable under the UK's Equal Opportunities legislation - except that even our legislators have recognised that there has to be an exception here for the Church because secular standards do not apply.

    It really is not our job to question why the Church has always followed the example of Our Lord; that is an example of fidelity and obedience we should admire and respect. Those who feel otherwise have a great many other Churches they might be happy with: Anglican, Protestant, etc. But it might be noted that those Churches with the most ancient traditions do not ordain women.

    Of course, those in the west who argue that the desire of women to be ordained is a sign that the Spirit is calling for a change of practice may have a point, but if so they will have to be patient whilst everyone else catches up with them; but obedience is a word whose meaning appears to be lost on those who know what they want and when they want it; humility is another word which causes them problems.

    It would be more convincing somehow if all the arguments deployed by those who want female ordination were not those of modern secularism - equal rights and so on. The notion that we, in the modern age, somehow have a better insight into the wisdom of all things than our ancestors would be laughable, given the number of examples where it is patently not true, were it not for the serious consequences it has had.

    The Orthodox Church has been faithful and obedient to the teachings of Christ and the practice of the Church from the beginning; the gates of Hades will not prevail against it, and we should admire and respect it for its witness. Its mission is to transform us into His likeness, not transform itself into the likeness of the sinful world.

    In Christ,

  • Taylor,

    I wish to summarize the sermon that Iqbal posted, which I must say was amazing. The reason then that women cannot be ordained as priests is because the priesthood is an iconic representation of Christ. Thus, in order for this icon to be effective it must fully resemble Christ, even down to the physical "maleness" of Christ. This is in keeping with tradition despite how controversial it may seem, and as John very eloquently stated, we cannot rationalize this or argue against it using any form of modernist, secular thought.
  • I’ve pasted below an article by H.G. Bishop Angalous about Feminism and the Role of Women.  I figured it’s relatively relevant to the questions that are being discussed in this thread. 

    In His Name

    Feminism and the Role of Women
    Feminism is one of the aspects and factors which works to distance many of us from God. As science makes us doubt the Bible, as humanism makes us doubt the existence of God, as modernism makes us doubt the power of God, as postmodernism makes us doubt the existent morality and ethics, feminism makes us doubt both the Bible and the Church and its structures.
    We have to understand what feminism is. There is a difference between speaking about the rights of women and the equality of women and about feminism. Feminism is a strictly sociopolitical movement which commenced in the 19th century in reaction to socio-political conditions. The voting right wasn’t there and from that stemmed the whole movement. But then you go from looking for rights of women to an extremity which has become known as feminism. Feminism will have you move one type of domination for another. It will have you move one type of persecution from one end to another. Feminism will have you believe that there is a very real and very strong conflict between morality and equality and the Church, or equality and the Bible, or equality and the concept of God, which doesn’t exist. It will have you believe that if you are a Christian, if you follow the Bible, if you go to Church, you are subjected to a male chauvinistic institute which strives at binding your rights and on the extreme other side, it will drive some men to misunderstand the situation and enact a different type of persecution. Neither of these are valid.

    Let us talk about this in the light of the Bible. Genesis Chapter one verses 26 and 27 say “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God created them; He created man in His image, let them have dominion over the world, the seas, the lands.

    How did God create us in His image? God is Spirit so when we are told we are created in God’s image and likeness, it means that the image we are created in is the everlasting image of His Spirit. It is the spirit which is created in us that lives forever. When we die, the body decays and the spirit moves on. God is neither male nor female; God has no sexuality, God has no gender, God is a spiritual being. We refer to God as Father because the Lord Jesus asked us to pray “Our Father…”

    God granted dominion over all of creation to male and female. God created them and He blessed them. (Genesis 1:28) God created them in His image and likeness, equal, in their essence, they are in the image of God. He blessed them equally. There is no discrimination. Matthew Chapter 19 verse 4 says, “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning, ‘made them male and female.’” Why did He
    create them male and female? God knew that although He created us in His image and likeness, He knew the weakness that we had. He knew that man could not live alone and God said that it is not good for man to live alone and He created for him a support, an aid, an assistant. They were created to help each other, to support each other. God created Eve to help Adam. This is the importance of Eve.

    The importance of Adam is that he is the first creation. The importance of Eve was that she was his support; of equal importance and equal place with God. God loved them both, God created them both. Genesis Chapter two verse 18 says, “And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”” Did He say He would make him a helper a little bit less than him? A little bit more than him? God does not discriminate.

    God created them that they may co-exist. It is not a matter of finding out who is first and who is second. It is which role each party has. When we look at the way the Lord Jesus Christ dealt with women, He did not discriminate. There were women there as He taught, as He sat with people in their homes, on His way to the Cross, at the foot of the Cross, at the door of the tomb. It was the women who found out that He had risen. There is no discrimination.

    Feminism will have you believe that Christianity is a completely male dominated, female dominating institution. It is not.

    The whole idea of men and women, male and female, husband and wife, is not about who is dominant and who is dominated. It is about which roles each of them holds. The roles are different, but complimentary. They are not conflicting roles. They help each other. (Refer I Corinthians 12:14-21) We need to concentrate on our specific roles. God dealt with all women equally and with all men equally. He gave them differing roles.

    One issue that comes up is “Why can’t women be priests?” The fact that priesthood was designated to men is not because men are more important than women but because this is their role. When the Lord Jesus Christ came, it became His priesthood.

    The only two situations that we do not have any recollection or any record of women being present at are: firstly, the institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist and secondly, when the Lord breathed into the faces of the holy disciples and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
    (John 20:22,23) Women were not there when the Lord said to go forth and baptize the whole world. Teach them as I have taught you. This isn’t because women are less important, but God created designated roles.

    There are many roles of women in the Church. They are side by side with the men. Around 60-70% of those who serve in the Christian education movement are women. How does the Church discriminate against a group to which it entrusts the future of its children? In the family, in the Church, men and women have roles and they are complimentary. They work with each other. We teach that man is the head of the family as Christ is the head of the Church. “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25) It is not a submission of servitude; it is not a submission of power and weakness; it is a submission of the Church to the Lord.

    How does the Church submit to the Lord? Does the Lord think of us as servants, as slaves? Galatians chapter four verses six and seven say, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” It is the submission of a son or daughter to a father, not a slave to a master. We are asked to submit as the Church submits to the Lord. It is a submission of love and understanding. It is a submission of coordinated effort, a submission of complimenting one another. Not a submission of being a servant and a slave. It is a submission of love.

    It is not only the woman who is asked to submit in love, but it is the man who is asked to love even unto death. The Bible asks for submission of love. We are not talking about misconceptions or misuse of this, we are talking about what the Bible says and means. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) There is neither male nor female, we are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Our essential purpose of being here on this earth is to reach the Kingdom. Let us not be distracted. Leave things which distract us from reaching God. We can argue about feminism and chauvinism, but where does that get us? It makes us angry, spiteful, reactive and distances us from the vessel of salvation, which is the Church. Let’s look at everything in the way the Bible has taught us. Let us look at things in the way they are meant, not just as they are applied because sometimes the way they are applied are wrong. Let us look at the way they are applied properly. We cannot base our lives on exceptions. Our lives are based on rules. Our rule is that as Adam sinned and all died in Adam, Jesus Christ came that we may all live in Him.

    Glory be to God. Amen.

  • [quote author=desertnurse link=topic=5507.msg73589#msg73589 date=1183171065]
    I found this article in my favorite website: Wikipedia.org
    This article believes that deaconesses were ordained and part of the three-fold ministry of the ancient church.

    I don't think Wikipedia.org can be the best source of religious beliefes....atleast not our Orthodox church.
    This post can provide more info about deaconesses:
    Topic: why can't girls be deacons?

    [quote author=mikeforjesus link=topic=5507.msg73596#msg73596 date=1183179653]
    But deaconesses can also help the priest in regards to strict order in the church I read (I don't know to what extent ) . in a church I have been to ,some women (I don't know if they are deaconesses - it seems maybe likely) give the water after holy communion is taken..

    these are not liturgical services and anyone can do them.
  • Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    We have to be careful to remember that the job of the Church is to save and transform the world, not to be more like it.

    It is true that there were deaconesses in the early Church, but their function was not that different to those in the Coptic Church today. The ordained ministry is male. That was what Our Lord instituted, and until He tells us He wants to change, our job is to be obedient.

    Kerestina and others have amply witnessed to the many roles played by women in the Church; indeed, any one at any Church knows that without the work of the women the life of that Church would be so less welcoming and full. In my own Church the part the women play in creating the fellowship after the Liturgy, and in making the Church beautiful, and in making sure that our priest has everything he needs for the service, is immense; their service to the Lord is great and invaluable. How can I compare my role in reading from the scriptures with what they do? Well, only by saying we all serve the Lord according to our talents.

    That, surely, is the point? We are all servants of the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ, with the priest doing what only he can do, and the rest of us serving him, and through him the Risen Lord Himself. We are a Christian community, not men and women in any sort of competition; secular values do not apply.

    In Christ,

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