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The tradition of the covoenant with men only
All male children had to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth. This was an essential condition for belonging to the Covenant, more or less parallel to our baptism for belonging to the Church. However, there was no equivalent rite of initiation for women. All this was tantamount to meaning that God had concluded his covenant with the men, the 'sons of Israel'. Before Christ's coming  .  .  .

Men dominated in society and religion

  • A man could divorce his wives as he liked and had absolute authority over his children.
  • It was the man who as sole owner of the family property could distribute it to his sons.
  • A woman could not act as a full person within religion. She could not offer sacrifices. She could not make her own religious vows.
  • The priestly ministry was restricted to men. Women had access only to part of the temple. Ritual uncleanliness was attached to menstruation and childbirth.
  • Only men were circumcised. Women belonged to the Covenant indirectly, through their fathers and husbands.
Further reading:
Jesus brought about revolutionary change. For both men and women are initiated into the new covenant by one and the same rite, namely baptism. In baptism we die with Jesus and rise with Jesus. Both men and women share equally in the eucharistic meal and have equal religious duties. {short description of image}

Jesus himself did not decide the question of women’s ordination. But he established a new priesthood that includes a radical openness to women.

  1. Christ abolished the Old Testament priesthood based on the sacrality (=presumed holiness) of times, places, cultic objects, priestly descent.
    He radically abrogated the distinction itself between the sacred and the profane. This may seem startling to some christians who unconsciously continue to think along Old Testament lines.
  2. Christ instituted a priesthood in whose basic dignity all the baptised share.
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Paul endorsed the fundamental equality in Christ of women and men.
Women took part in the Church's apostolate.
Paul asked women to wear a veil in the assembly to forestall cultural clashes.


In a reaction against Gnostics, some local Church leaders forbid women to speak in the assemblies.

2. The Tasks of Women Deacons

General Introduction to Women Deacons

3. Church Councils on Women Deacons

‘Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church’

4. History of Women Deacons

  The Sacramental Ordination of Women Deacons


Note: For a ‘tradition’ to be valid , it needs to be scriptural, informed and dynamic. At times, the true Tradition is ‘latent’.

{short description of image}  The practice of not ordaining women in the Church was neither scriptural nor informed because of a threefold prejudiceamong Church leaders who considered women : The Fathers of the Church rarely spoke about the ordination of women. Those who did were influenced by their own prejudices about women.
  {short description of image} The same applies to early ‘Church Orders’
  {short description of image} Church Law has incorporated the social and religious prejudices against women, from its earliest codification until now.
  {short description of image}The medieval theologians excluded women from the priesthood on obviously invalid social and philosophical grounds.
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