The Universality of Sacrificial Altars

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altar

@Cosmo: Excellent points! Unfortunately I have the feeling that originally altars were for slaughtering animals. The word “holocaust” comes from a Greek word in the Septuagint translation of the Psalms (olokauftomata) which means “whole burnt offerings.” When Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_of_Isaac

he is suddenly told to sacrifice a male ram nearby who is caught by his HORNS in the thorn bushes. This is very significant because IF the ram were caught by his fleece then he would have been injured (torn) and a sacrifice must be unblemished (i.e. sinless.) So all this is a foreshadowing of Christ as the “only sinless one” who becomes the “passover lamb.”

Also, if we look at Psalm 1 verse 1 we see in the Septuagint Greek “Makarios aner” which means “blessed is that one MALE” (for if the meaning were simply a human person it would have been “anthropos”) and further more that “one blessed male” is described as someone
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

So, this may be understood as a sinless man. Furthermore, it must denote a male because verse 2 implies in some translations that he STUDIES the laws day and night and in ancient times females did not study the law; only males studied law.

The above is a Greek Orthodox understanding of the Old Testament.

For the Greeks and the Russians, whenever a bishop enters a church there is an entire vesting ceremony complete with special hymns and prayers after which, symbolically, the bishop becomes a living icon or image of Christ. When the deacon swings the censer he normally incenses the image of Christ on the iconostasis THREE times, but when the bishop is vested the bishop is incensed NINE times because the bishop is a “living icon.” Furthermore, every liturgy (mass) is celebrated by a bishop (or by proxy via a priest but the priest is only a proxy acting with permission.) Whenever a bishop is present the priests look to him for a blessing for each sacramental gesture.

What all this means, from an ancient Greek point of view, is that the episcopacy has its foundation upon MALE celebate ascetics (from whom bishops are chosen for consecration.) This is the main reason why a female cannot serve as a priest or bishop (any more than a female EWE could have substituted for the male RAM.)

++++

I mean no offense to any denomination by pointing out these obscure matters. I have often meant to post about these things because very few understand the ancient significance of a male as a priest. Furthermore if we study many ancient religions both Christian and non-Christian one sees that the original movement is among celibate ascetic renunciates and only years later makes a place for the married laity. This pattern is very obvious in early Buddhism as well as Hindu Saivite and Vaishnav as well as the Jains.

Nowadays many seek for women ordinations and same sex unions which is totally understandable and is their right BUT people do not realize the original significance of the celibate male renunciate.

Another ancient Greek impediment to female ordination is rooted in the ancient notion that a wound or a loss of blood is a form of imperfection and impurity. This is why for 40 days after giving birth a Greek Orthodox woman does not enter a church. This is also why in Isaiah we read “All our righteousness is like filthy rags”, (Isa 64:4-9) since the “rag” in question is a menstrual rag and the ritual uncleaness (similar to leprosy in the Old Testament) bars someone from entering the temple. This is why the story of the woman with an issue of blood (who touches the hem of Christ’s garment) is made clean.

Paul permits marriage as an economy or leniency to human weakness but adds “I would rather all are as I am.”

A married man may be ordained as a priest BUT he must have entered the marriage as a virgin and must be married to a virgin. A man who marries a widow may not seek priestly ordination. Furthermore, a candidate for ordination must have no physical defect such as missing fingers, toes, ears, etc. AFTER ordination if the priest should suffer an accident and a permanent deformity he may continue to serve but he must be complete at the time of ordination.

For the married priest there are also complex rules about when they may engage in intercourse with his wife and also what is permitted and forbidden.

In our times these regulations are only observed by the most conservative “Old Calendar” Greek groups.

Again, I mean no offense to anyone and am not arguing for or against any denomination’s practices but I think it is interesting for people to know of these obscure facts.

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