Women in the patristic age

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
I wouldn't be surprised if my poll becomes closed.  ;D

Anyways, I have come across an interesting article:


I was surprised at many things (you can read for yourself)... Does anybody in our church still hold these views?


  • Hi sodr2

    I am not so happy with your poll, as it makes the thread rather contentious, when it is an interesting topic in any case. (I am sure you meant it to be ironic).

    The wiki page is pretty thin. Is that the best that the author could produce over about 800 years of history - a handful of quotes from a handful of writers?

    There are a great many other materials which would give a better and more authentic view. In my own area of interest and study St Severus addresses letters to women, with respect and dealing with them as entirely intelligent and responsible human persons. Likewise St Shenoute of the White Monastery provided rules for the females living in one of his associated communities which were essentially the same as those of his male communities. Indeed I can recommend the volume by Rebecca Krawiec on Shenoute and the Women of the White Monastery.

    There have often been tensions, even within one author. So Jerome wrote some difficult things (and was himself a rather difficult person) but also had lifelong friendships with women who supported his work and whom he provided spiritual guidance to.

    In the case of Shenoute, he was seeking to build a spiritual community and therefore the difference between bodies were not so important and were subsumed to this ideal of building a spiritual community. Being a man or being a woman was less important than being a spiritual person.

    As to the general point, there are so many important women during the patristic period that I think the wiki page is wrong. (Some of them are :-) ). The writers I know best do not speak of women in disparaging terms, and many of the aspects of life in those centuries which might be contentious are related to ancient cultures rather than Christian teaching.

    The list of prohibitions on the wiki page is pretty foolish really. Are we to be shocked that the Church condemned prostitution, abortion, the exposure of infants, adultery and divorce? It still does!

    Father Peter
  • lol, I'll change it I guess since it may upset a few people  ::)

    When you say the wiki page might be wrong, does that mean you think certain parts may not be true (for eg. St x didn't actually believe what is written in this article)?

    I can understand Aristotle saying these things... and what if I agree with the entire article?  ;D
  • Hi
    I agree whole heartedly with Fr Peter; I love to add here that the coptic church has a huge respect for women. For example
    In the "Hiten epresvia" Hymn at the pauline reading in the mass and the mid night tasbeha Virgin Mary (a woman) is the first one we ask her intercession even befor the archangels (Michael, Gabreal, Sorial....etc) She is ranked by the church higher than all the heavenly hosts.
    In the Gospel of the raiserruction mass it is mainly about Mary Magdalene (woman) She was the first human being to see the raisen Christ, and she became the first to announce to the disciples (men) that "HE IS RAISEN" and she have seen him.
    Under Jesus cross with the exception of John the beloved, those that were standing were all women (Mary magdalen, mary the mother of Jesus, Salome, Uosse..) all the men ran away scared.
    +a woman deacon is in the church and she is to help the priest in baptizing other women.

    Women role in serving the poor the elderly is the actual role of deacon. Put in mind the idea that deacons are the one to lead hymns is not the official role, the role of deacon is to serve not to sing and fight who knows more hymns than the other.

    If u read in the books of service u will find that the service is based on 3 participants; A priest, a deacon and that is the one serving in the altar to respond, then the 3rd participant is the congregation

    Unfortunately because many do not know the hymns of the church, this lead to the development of those to lead, it is supposed to be just to lead.
    Women has a huge role in the church and, yes there should be more for them to do and we need to show them more appreciation
  • These views are totally unChristian, & were probably written by an atheist. Even if the early church
    fathers did believe in such things, that does not make them true. These teachings are NOT found any where in the Bible, and were only implied by people who only wanted more power for themselves.

    It is because of writings like these that some people abandon their Christian faith or look down on Christians in general. They may end up thinking that such teachings come from the Bible & end up thinking that God is evil or unfair to women.
  • i just wanted you to now Sodr that wikipedia is not a reliable source, our schools don't even allow us to get research from there, and like two weeks ago my friend's sister edited an article on brain surgery. That should tell you a lot
  • lol as much as I want to take this article and post it on every wall I come across...

    all jokes aside lets answer this article, wow... am i really going to respond defending females?!... I like to call myself a "malest"!

    for aristotle... I really dont have to respond!

    for tertullian... he's known for sarcasm... comedy, and such in his writing! so when one comes to read his writing one has to put this in mind... plus there a lot in his writing, that any Christian would not agree with !

    St. Jerome throughout his life, he was always fascinated by the ascetic life... through which... the thought of women is the root of all evil, and the loss of virginity... is loss of purity!

    St. John Chrysostom... kinda feels its taken outta of content, he's talking about a part of submissiveness of the female

    St. Augustine... the title of the book is "Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven"... hmm?! need I say more?!

    St. Gregory of Nazianzus... ascetic father... and he writes it in poetic format... (if you read some of my poetry... you'd think females are the fallen angel himself) but yet its not the church perspective!

    Origen... C'mon... really out of all people they quote about females?!

    St. Clement of Alexandria... again look at the reference.... "Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven"

    some of these canons were made to fit with the society and the culture of the time... and a lot are still accepted and have not been changed...

    the last two by Justin martyr... are just common sense, and logic thinking...

    this article yet not very valid... but also is very out of context...

    akhadna el baraka... neshkor Allah!
  • Interesting actually, that whoever put together this article never really sought out the Truth--Fr. Peter hit the nail on the head! 

    I also suppose this same "author" did not know about women being tonsured as Readers and Subdeacons, and ordained to the diaconate.  Although women were not and will never be ordained to the Holy Priesthood, they were once ordained as deacons.  Phoebe, from the Bible, for example, was a Deaconess.  I'm a little fuzzy on the Coptic and other Oriental Orthodox practices, but in the Byzantine tradition, this was an office largely used until the 12th century.  There has been talk about bringing back this office, especially seeing how we are having so many female converts requiring baptism and the need for particular ministry among women is such a great need now. 

    Check out this site: http://incommunion.org/?p=1113
  • lol as much as I want to take this article and post it on every wall I come across...

    all jokes aside lets answer this article, wow... am i really going to respond defending females?!... I like to call myself a "malest"!

    Let's be friends.
  • SuperMAN, you should maybe look at sharing with your father confessor some of your viewpoints--he may find them interesting. 

    To both you and Sodr, go back to the Bible and refer to St. Pheobe, the Deaconess.
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