WWJD? - Not Exclude Women in the Church - or Anyone Else

Hymnography and Final Comments


The Church Fathers' immeasurable influence with this dualistic belief system on the Church controlled entirely by men, although supposedly abandoned today in preference to the “iconic image" concept developed during the Middle Ages, still pervades (i.e. has not been removed from) Eastern Orthodox hymnology. Consider just the following representative examples:

In a hymn to St. Ripsimia (Sept. 30), a martyr who endured incredible tortures for being Christian: “Female nature has been weak from the first mother.”

In a hymn to St. Matrona, a slave martyr: “Neither the yoke of slavery nor the emptiness of 'female nature' caused her to flinch in the face of persecution.”

Saint Marina the Great Martyr
St. Marina
the Great Martyr

St. Marina the Great Martyr (July 17) is hailed as “marvelous” for her “strengthening of female nature.”

A hymn to 40 women martyrs (Sept. 7) praises them for transcending the hereditary “feebleness of female nature.”

An 11th-century hymn to the Holy Myrrhbearers uses the phrase “the shame of their (female) nature” as characteristic of them as women.

A hymn to St. Eugenia (Dec. 24) lauds her for turning to “male activities,” including “explaining to everyone the truth of the Scriptures.”

A hymn to St. Eudokia (Mar. 1) praises her for “preaching like a man.”

A hymn to St. Catherine the Great compliments her for her out-debating the philosophers as “changing the weakness of female nature to masculinity.”

A hymn of Holy Nativity (Christmas) denounces all women as “instruments of sin.”

From the Sunday Orthros (Matins) service book:

1. From the Ninth Ode during January and February: “Every male child that opens the womb is called holy to God.”

Commentary: This actually misquotes its source, the “Law of the Firstborn” from the Old Testament (Exod. 13:1-16), which states that the firstborn male child is holy to God—not every male child. Christ Himself offered no support to valuing any child over another, either on the basis of gender or birth order.

2. From a hymn for Cheesefare Sunday (the Sunday preceding the first Sunday of Easter Lent):

“In his lament, Adam cried out, ‘Woe is me, for a snake and a woman have expelled me from confidence before the Divine.”

Commentary: Yet in the next sentence he finally acknowledges his own responsibility for his bad exercise of free will:

“By eating from the forbidden tree I have been alienated from the delight of Paradise.”

3. From the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers:

“Secretly, the women brought burial ointments and at daybreak stood by Your tomb. They were afraid at seeing before them the soldiers keeping guard, and the willfulness of the Jews, but feminine nature triumphed over manly nature, ….” (See letter “a” at the top of page 1.)

4. From the December Menaion (a book of hymns to and short biographies of saints), hymning St. Barbara:

“Strengthening your feminine nature with manly courage….”

“Overlooking your feminine nature, your spirit set out toward a masculine strength.”

"You sustained your struggles like a man…” (like men such as Judas Iscariot?)

5. From a September Vespers hymn to St. Euphemia:

“Having struggled like a man and shaken off the frailty of her female nature, she overcame the hostile tyrant by her ascetic struggles according to the Faith.”

Commentary on Opponents of Women's Ordination

1. Re: Guido de Baysio's argument that only men are "perfect" members of the Church and women are "imperfect" members:

This argument necessitates acceptance of the dualistic belief system from non-Christian sources and contradicts the equality with which Christ treated everyone, making no gender distinctions.

Saint Mary Magdalene
St. Mary Magdalene
Apostle to the Apostles

2. The argument that only men can be ordained because Christ called only male apostles:

a. First of all, not all apostles were male. The following were identified in the Bible as apostles: Mary Magdalene, Prisca (Priscilla), Jounia, Horaiozele, Mariamne, Photeine (the Samaritan Woman), Mermione, Xanthippe, Polyxene and Apphia. Christ himself called Mary Magdalene to be the first to proclaim the Resurrection. For this the Christian Church from the earliest times has referred to her as the "Apostle to the Apostles". Christ did not count her (nor any other woman) unworthy to lead or serve His ministry on the basis of gender.

b. Women were ordained in the early Church as deaconesses. The feminine form of the word for deacon was not used until the third century. Until then, the same word (diakonos) was used for both male and female deacons. St. Paul makes it very clear in Rom. 16:1,2 that the deaconess Pheobe exercised a high level of leadership in the Church and praised her for it.

Christ’s Commentary

Jesus and the Pharisees
Jesus chastising the Pharisees

Christ scolded the Pharisees, the religious leaders: “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good person brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil person brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:34-37)

Note: Christ admonished the male disciples: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1)

For revealing short exercises that show both the frailty and the strength of both men and women showing the fallacy of dualistic thinking see "People Christ Chastised" and "People Christ Praised"

“And He said to them (the Pharisees, religious leaders), Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.’” (Mark 7:6-8)

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 7:12)

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