Blog Posts

Mother Katherine WOW 3

This is our third week of celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting the roles that women are already doing in the Church—roles that we tend to assume only men are allowed to fulfill. Last week we took a look at women engaged in church diplomacy and advisory roles to bishops. This week we’ll spotlight women who act as the administrative leaders of their church-related organizations, as abbesses, trustees and directors, and parish council presidents.

 

Monastic Superiors

Laura WOW 1

Last week, we kicked off Women’s History Month by highlighting the roles women are already doing in the Church today and in recent history that we normally think of as being confined to men. We saw women engaged in pastoral care, including chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, youth ministry, college and young adult ministry, family ministry, adult and women’s ministry, spiritual advice, and spiritual accompaniment. This week, we continue our series by looking at women who have served or are serving as church diplomats and consultants to bishops.

Clio WOW 1

A lot of what we do at Axia Women is highlight what women are already doing in the Church, which to us is a matter for celebration, respect, and often surprise. Many churchgoers  seem to assume that some non-ordained categories are reserved for men only. But Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, at least fifty years ago, observed that the only task reserved for ordained clergy is performing the sacraments. It is natural—if unfortunate—that many people see ordained clergy, because of their vestments and cassocks, as the “fullest” members of the Church, and therefore as the ones who perform church roles. As part of Women’s History Month, we’d like to test that perception!

Ranks of lit beeswax candles in a church

We didn’t expect this! Nobody could have expected this.

At the first meeting of what was to become Axia Women, those of us who were present wrote a vision statement:

“We are an organization by, for, and about Orthodox women in the service of Christ.”

Two of us had conducted a national poll of women in Orthodox churches. They had discovered that many women were actively engaged in church activities, programs, and services on the parish, diocesan, and jurisdictional levels. Many engaged in vocations outside the churches’ walls yet within the purview of Christ ‘s mission. We knew this was happening, but for the most part no one was acknowledging the scope of women’s endeavors.

Minimal iconostasis

My favorite memories of the church are always at night or in the early morning before the sun has risen. My favorite pictures of the church are always those that play black and gold against each other: the gold of the icons, flickering in the candlelight; the black of the shadows of the church; the pinpricks of light dancing from every surface; the gold of the haloes shining round darkened faces. To me, it makes accessible this strange interplay between revealing and concealment that is at the heart of the liturgy: it shows us how this interplay is inscribed on the architecture of our churches, and most especially in the iconostasis.

Vibrant Life Panel Discussion

We all want to thrive in our religious life, but what does that look like? How do we know what we're aiming for and what it will look like when we get there?

On Sunday, February 27, 8:00 pm Eastern / 7:00 pm Central, moderator Carrie Frederick Frost with panelists Sherry Shenoda, Miho Ochiai Ealy, and Melissa O. Papayannis will share their ideas and experiences.

Admission $12 (please let us know if cost is an impediment for you)

Register here!

Coptic Annunciation icon

A dozen of us spent a restorative 90 minutes last Sunday at our online Craft ‘n’ Sip. Thank you to all who attended, and to Kristina Baktis, who not only volunteered to lead the event, but also gave us this beautiful prayer: