From The Prologue from Ochrid for 14 Jan:
SAINT NINA, THE ENLIGHTENER OF THE GEORGIANS
Nina was a relative of St. George the Great Martyr and Juvenal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Her parents belonged to the nobility in Cappadocia and since they both were tonsured in the monastic state, Nina was educated under the tutelage of Patriarch Juvenal. Hearing about the people of Georgia, the virgin Nina, from an early age, desired to go to Georgia and to baptize the Georgians. The All-Holy Mother of God appeared to Nina and promised to take her to this land. When our Lord opened the way, the young Nina, indeed, traveled to Georgia where, in a short period of time, she gained the love of the Georgian people. Nina succeeded in baptizing the Georgian Emperor Mirian, his wife Nana and their son Bakar, who, later on, zealously assisted in Nina’s missionary work. During her lifetime, Nina traveled throughout Georgia, mainly to convert the entire nation to the Faith of Christ, exactly at the time of the terrible persecution of the Christians at the hands of Emperor Diocletian. Having rested from her many labors, Nina died in the Lord in the year 335 A.D. Her body is entombed in the Cathedral Church in Mtzkheta. She worked many miracles during her life and after her death.
This is not about women’s ordination, per se, yet note: St Nina was not ordained, but yet is called “Equal-to-the-Apostles.” She could not celebrate the Eucharist, as a priest, yet is held in the same reverence as Constantine the Emperor (also called “Equal-to-the-Apostles”).
Now modern critics of the Tradition would apparently decry the “injustice” that St Nina suffered, in being “denied” ordination. They would presumably focus on how she was “oppressed” and her person “violated” by the limitations placed on her by an all-male, power-wielding cleritocracy.
This is the hermeneutics of suspicion, derived from the so-called “Masters of Suspicion”: Freud, Marx and Nietzsche. This ninetheenth century trio (though Freud mainly practiced in and died in the twentieth century) made it possible for a new “power” class to arise, one granted an apparent expertise to see into and behind the conscious motives of persons. Freud saw most things through the lenses of sex. Marx saw most things through the lenses of economic class struggle. Nietzsche saw most things through the lenses of volitional domination.
Granted, these are very oversimplistic summarizations; each of these thinkers were more complex than that. Regrettably, however, many of their (post)modern followers are not so nuanced and careful as were their “Masters.” So, for many people, it’s all about “sex,” “money,” or “power.”
Thus, the critics of the Tradition frequently assume that they both are smarter and wiser than the Fathers (and Mothers) of the Church and that they can see through all the rhetoric and know that “it’s all about sex, money and power.” But these assumptions are faulty in two ways: the critics have not demonstrably proven that they are indeed smarter and wiser than the Fathers and Mothers (though they have proven that they disagree with the Fathers and Mothers), and they have not demonstrably shown how their own criticisms are not also “all about sex, money, and power.”
It seems a bit naive and hubristic to me to assume that the Fathers and Mothers could not see through their own “blindspots.” Of course, “blindspots” here means those areas where we think they are wrong. In any case, it hasn’t been demonstrably proven that the Fathers and Mothers couldn’t see what we can now see. It only means we disagree with them.
Rather, the biblical way of handling the Tradition is summed up in a couple of places from Paul: “What I received, I also handed down to you, that on the night our Savior was betrayed, he took bread . . .” (1 Corinthians 11:23) and “hold fast to those things which have been handed down to you” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). In other words, it seems to me that a Christian approaching the Church’s own Tradition must first start from a “hermeneutics of acceptance,” which is to say, to start from the assumption the Church and her Tradition is in line with the Truth, which Christ himself promised, rather than to assume that because the Church’s understandings of the Truth are in conflict with our own age, that it must somehow be wrong.
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