Why a woman cannot be a priest

The centuries-old Orthodox tradition of the church has never known women “priests,” the practice of “ordaining” women in priestly and episcopal terms is not acceptable to the Orthodox Church.

There are several arguments against the female priesthood. First, “the priest at the Liturgy is the liturgical icon of Christ, and the altar is the room of the Last Supper. At this party, it was Christ who took the cup and said: drink, this is My Blood … We partake of the Blood of Christ, which He Himself gave, which is why the priest should be a liturgical icon of Christ … Therefore, the priestly archetype (prototype) is male, and not female “(deacon Andrey Kuraev,” Church in the world of people “).

andrey kuraev

Secondly, the priest is the shepherd, and the woman, created as an assistant, herself needs support and advice and therefore cannot carry the pastoral ministry in its fullness. Its vocation is called to exercise in motherhood.

No less weighty argument is the absence of the very idea of ​​the female priesthood in the church Tradition. “Sacred Tradition is not just a tradition,” the professor of the Moscow Theological Academy, Doctor of Theology AI Osipov, explained to us. – It is important to be able to distinguish between random traditions and traditions with deep religious roots. There are weighty arguments in favor of the fact that the absence of a female priesthood is an essential tradition.

In the history of the Church, the first century is called the age of extraordinary talents. Simultaneously with baptism, people received gifts, several at once: prophecy, the gift of tongues, the gift of healing illnesses, expelling demons … The gifts evident to all, striking the pagans, convinced them of the importance and power of Christianity. In this age we see a different attitude to the Law of the Jews, from which historically (but not ontologically) Christianity emerged. In particular, another attitude towards a woman.


Among the saints of that time, there are Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene, Fekla – women who, according to their talents, were on par with the apostles, were engaged in the same – the preaching of Christianity. But nowhere and never has the level of their ecclesiastical reverence connected with the bestowal of the priesthood.

Moreover, when in the II-III centuries. In the sect of the Marcionites a female priesthood appeared, this caused a strong protest from a number of revered saints and teachers of the Church.

The Mother of God, revered above the angels, was not a priest

The issue of the inadmissibility of the female priesthood in the theological literature is not detailed in detail: there are only separate statements on this matter. But the fact is that in science a new theory is adopted only when there are new facts, its confirming, and the fundamental shortcomings inherent in the previous theory. Theology is also a science.

So according to the general principle for all sciences, theological arguments should be presented not by opponents of the female priesthood, but by its defenders. These arguments can only be from two sources – the Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Holy Fathers. There is not a single fact in Scripture or in patristic literature that confirms the possibility of a female priesthood. “

florence li rim oi

For reference: the first female “priest” in the history of Christianity appeared in one of the churches of the Anglican Commonwealth (an association of Anglican churches around the world). Her name was Florence Lee Tim Oy (1907-1992). In 1941, after receiving a theological education, she became a deaconess and served in the community of Chinese refugees in Macau. When the Japanese occupation of China led to the fact that the community in Macau was without the priest’s care, the Anglican bishop of Hong Kong ordained her to the priesthood. It was a forced step. Since this happened 30 years before any of the Anglican churches officially authorized the women’s priesthood, Dr. Lee Tim Oy ceased her priestly ministry immediately after the end of World War II. She died in 1992 in Toronto; by that time the female “priesthood” had been introduced in most Anglican churches, the farther away, the more departing from the apostolic institutions not only in this matter.

old testament

“Why do Protestants dare to introduce female priests? There is an internal contradiction here, “Fr. Job (Gumerov), teacher of the Sacred History of the Old Testament of the Moscow Sretensky Seminary. – After all, in disputes with the Orthodox, Protestants, just a little, say: “And where is it said in the Bible?” But in the matter of the female priesthood they act in the opposite way. Reasoning that if the Bible does not say “no”, then you can – it’s formalism, craftiness and refusal to perceive the true spirit of Holy Scripture. “

The late Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh believed that, from the theological point of view, the question of the vocation of a woman should only be worked out.

“I am convinced that we must ponder over this problem with all the powers of the mind, with full knowledge of Scripture and Tradition, and find the answer” (“Orthodox Church and the Women’s Question”, Bulletin of the RSHD, II-2002). The Bishop wrote about the height and responsibility of the priestly vocation: “The priesthood is a state filled with such fear that it is impossible to desire it. It can be accepted almost with sacred trembling, with horror, and therefore the priest’s rank is not an object of status, unless we reduce the priesthood to the level of unskilled public work and preaching and a kind of “Christian social service”.

We know the words of the Apostolic Messages about all believers: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people taken for an inheritance, to proclaim the perfections of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet.2: 9).

How to understand these words?

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh thus explains this idea: “It seems to me that we can answer that the universal priesthood consists in calling all those who belong to Christ Himself, who through baptism became Christ … sanctify this world, make it sacred and holy, bring it as a gift to God.

This service consists primarily in bringing God our own soul and body as a living sacrifice, and in this offering of oneself – all that is ours: not only feelings, and soul, and thoughts, and will, and the whole body, but all that we do, everything that we touch, everything that belongs to us, everything that we can liberate from our own power from Satan’s slavery, is the action of our own loyalty to God. ” Therefore, it is a sacrifice not everyone would be willing to make. We, people are tempting by many earthly things, starting with our bad habits of smoking or drinking and ending with engaging with this casino bonus website. As a priest, you would not be able to.

Protopresbyter Nikolai Afanasyev in his famous work “The Church of the Holy Spirit” shares the ministry of the royal priesthood – common to all the faithful, and the ministry of government is shepherding or “special” hierarchical priesthood. The royal priesthood is understood in a unique way – as a co-service of the entire church community in the celebration of the Eucharist.

But the assembly of the faithful cannot exist without a primate, a shepherd who has received special gifts of government. “Governance belongs only to those who are called, and not to the whole people, whose members have not received the gifts of administration, and without the gracious gifts, there can be no ministry in the Church. Therefore, the ministry of the shepherds is different from the ministry of the people of God. ” It is to such a pastoral ministry, according to the Tradition, no women are allowed.

Have women always been allowed into the altar?

church of holy sepulcreas

Become an altar boy – that is, clean up in the altar, serve censer, read, go out with candles, – can widows, virgins or nuns after 40 years. In the Holy Land in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Kuvukylia – a cave where Christ was resurrected and which serves as the altar of the temple – any pilgrim or pilgrim can enter and be attached to the deathbed of the Savior, that is, the throne.

Many are confused by the fact that at Baptism the boys are brought to the altar, but there are no girls. However, it is known that until the fourteenth century all children on the fortieth day after the birth were churchmen (“horsemen”) – they brought it to the altar. Moreover, both boys and girls were attached to St. the throne. Baptized children about three years, and babies – only in case of danger. Later, after the children were baptized earlier, the order of churching began to be performed not before, but immediately after the Epiphany, and then the girls were no longer allowed to enter the altar, and the boys – to apply to St. the throne.

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