These kind of occurrences invariably raise the hackles in the more traditionalist jurisdictions (e.g. ROCOR, MP, the Serbs, even the OCA). In truth, such shenanigans make it next-to-impossible to ever envision a united, pan-Orthodox, autocephalous jurisdiction in North America. If nothing else, the fears of the inevitable –female priesthood–can never be mollified no matter what sophistry the GOA brings forth to justify such make-it-up-as-we-go-along practices.
What follows is a link to the tonsuring service, a letter from a concerned parishioner who wishes to remain anonymous, and a letter from the Scottsdale priest to parents.
+ + + + + + + + + +Service of the Tonsuring of a Reader.
The Terminal Illness of OrthodoxyEnough is enough. This week I received a letter that in my Church this weekend, Archbishop Demetrios will be tonsuring several teenage girls as readers.
This is in clear defiance of the canons and the Orthodox Tradition. Anyone who has observed Christian changes in the 20th century knows that this is nothing more than an open door, a slippery slope, to the ordination of priestesses. It starts with this sort of thing, moves to the office of the deaconess (which is never called a deaconess, only ‘deacon’) and sooner or later priestesses swarm into the altar and drive out the good men and women.
Sound far fetched? It did to Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians a mere 40 years ago too. Each now suffers from catastrophic decline and moral and cultural irrelevance. They only speak to themselves. No one else pays attention because they have nothing important to say.
It’s coming to the Orthodox Church too. We’ve already got homosexual activists dragging the culture wars into Orthodoxy and trying to beat the door down from the inside. Next will be women priests. They will point to Abp. Demetrios in Scottsdale as Exhibit A that women should not be ‘discriminated’ against.
This isn’t the first time. Back in 2003, Dr. Eve Tibbs, dean of St. Katherine College was tonsured a reader by Metropolitan Anthony, ruling hierarch of the GOA Metropolis of San Francisco at the time. St. Paul’s Orthodox Church Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, CA (Tibbs’ home parish) is so proud that they included a picture of the event on their parish website.
These leaders don’t understand that they have thousands of their ‘flock’ who are not Greek and whose attachment to the Orthodox Church is more than sentimental — parishioners who are intentionally Orthodox.
We have fought this fight before and we lost. We lost because we tried to dialogue with folks who had no real intention of dialoguing. Experience is a good teacher however, and our tools are razor sharp and granite hard. Having finally arrived at the Church which to us is the Pearl of Great Price, we aren’t going to watch it die the death of a thousand politically correct cuts with a sword wielded by the theologically and morally confused.
America is yearning for authentic Orthodox Christianity, not modern and parochial expressions of Orthodoxy-lite led by weak men who try so hard to win the approval of the cultural-gatekeepers who secretly despise them for their compromises.
What we need is not more altar girls, but more real men.
+ + + + + + + + + +
On Sunday, the Myrrh-bearers and Altar Boys will participate in the procession around the church 3 times When the procession begins, the myrrh-bearers will be invited to line-up behind the Altar Boys. When we re-enter the Church the myrrh-bearers will re-join their families in the pews.
The Myrrh-bearers should be in church early on Sunday morning in order to get a seat. The Myrrh-bearers will not participate in the service on Saturday evening unless they are also readers.
If your daughter is a reading and has never been tonsured, she needs to arrive no later than 3:30 PM on Saturday. They will be invited to come up at the end of the service for their tonsuring by the Archbishop.
Boys of any age who have never been tonsured will also come forward at the end. Boys under 12 with receive a blessing and 12 and older will be tonsured. The altar boy list of servers and special instructions for the services will be coming in a separate email just to the parents.
Rev. Andrew J. Barakos
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. (480) 991-3009