The Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church


by Fr. Michael Azkoul


Paperback (January 2007)

ISBN: 978-1-933275-12-3

Price: $9.95 + S&H (USD)


An idea growing in popularity among some Orthodox over the last few decades has been the admission of women to the sacerdotal priesthood. The source for this idea is not the Scriptures, the Fathers, the Councils of the Church, but comes to us from the world, specifically the feminist movement. It has implications for the secularization of the Church. On one level, advocates view the ordination of women as something owed the female sex, a sign of the Church's repentance, so to speak, atonement for the centuries of female stereotyping and powerlessness, that is to say, denying her the right to creatively express her ingenuity, to exercise her freedom and to exhibit her dedication. Not unaware of the objections in holy Tradition to the ordination of women to the presbytery (and consecration to the episcopacy), the strategy of its proponents is to declare this innovation an “open question.” It is, in fact, not a subject to be debated. The theological and ecclesial facts need only to be reviewed to make the point. This book provides an understanding of those facts based on the only authorities (criteria) available to us — the Scriptures, the Fathers and the Canons. They have unalterably defined the place of women in the Church from the beginning.



Fr. Michael Azkoul was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his BA in Philosophy from Calvin College (1954), his BD in Theology from St. Vladimir's Russian Orthodox Seminary (1958) and his MA and PhD in Medieval History from Michigan State University (1963–1967). He has taught at Michigan State University, St. Louis University and Washington University and also at Seminex Lutheran Seminary. Apart from numerous articles and pamphlets in St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Theological Studies, The Byzantine and Patristic Review, Fr. Azkoul authored several important books, including: Narcissus and the Magi Microform: A Study of the Relation between Faith and Reason in Greek Patristic life and in Western Thought (1957), Anti-Christianity: The New Atheism (1981), On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit by Photius of Constantinople (1983), The Teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church (1986), The Influence of Augustine of Hippo on the Orthodox Church (1990), Why Christianity (1994), St. Gregory of Nyssa and the Tradition of the Fathers (1995), The Toll-House Myth: The Neo-Gnosticism of Fr. Seraphim Rose (1997), Once Delivered to the Saints: An Orthodox Apology for the New Millennium (2000) and God, Immortality and Freedom of the Will according to the Church Fathers: A Philosophy of Spiritual Cognition (2006). Ordained to the Diaconate in 1956 and to the Priesthood in 1958 by Archbishop Anthony Bashir he served successively in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of the USA, in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and in the Holy Orthodox Church in North America.