The authors search for explanations and reasons why the Orthodox Church has never in its history ordained women to serve as bishops and priests. All agree that the Church had women deacons, and that careful consideration must be given to this office as it existed in the past and as it may once again in the Orthodox Church. No author in this present volume calls for the ordination of women as bishops and priests. All authors agree however that the greatest care must be exercised in dealing with this delicate issue. The Orthodox Church has no infallible magisterium. Church leaders and theologians may be wrong. The Holy Spirit acts within the whole body of believers bringing to remembrance what Christ teaches and guiding the faithful into all truth. If but one member of the Church is inspired to argue from the Bible and church tradition that certain women may be qualified to serve as bishops and priests, he or she must be heard with dignity and respect. Those who believe that only certain believing men are qualified for these ordained ministries must be heard in the same manner and spirit.
Preface to the 1982 edition, Alexander Schmemann; man, woman and the priesthood of Christ, Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia; women and the priestly office according to the scriptures, Georges Barrois; presbytides or female presidents, Micholas Afanasiev; the nature and characteristics of the order of the deaconess, Kyriaki Karidoyanes Fitzgerald; presbyter/bishop - a masculine ministry, Thomas Hopko; Orthodox arguments against the ordination of women as priests, Nonna Verna Harrison; testing the spirits, Deborah Malacky Belonick; women and the priesthood - reflections on the debate, 1983, Thomas Hopko; the debate continues, 1998, Thomas Hopko.