The Bishops in the Orthodox Church are considered to be the direct successors of the original Apostles. They don’t shave their beards to symbolise closeness to God. While not being against marriage, it is generally accepted that celibacy in the Church allows for a closer understanding of the Christian life away from worldly things. Deaconesses (women who were a lower status of clergy) were allowed in the early church but lessened as female oppression increased in society. ‘Holy tradition’ is given as an excuse to avoid any changes in their practices, and generally Eastern Orthodoxy views the ordination of women as an unwelcome innovation.