This post is not about St. Mariamne, whom we commemorate today on the New Calendar, but it could have been. She was the sister of the apostle Philip, and she took a vow not to marry so that she could help him and Bartholomew in their apostolic work. As a result, she herself is one of the rare saints considered Equal to the Apostles. Where would be be if they hadn't--to paraphrase Metropolitan Savas in a post from October 2019--accepted her ministry as a blessing to their individual selves and our Holy Mother Church?
First in our series of Celebrated Women is Frederica Mathewes-Green. She is a well-known American convert to Eastern Orthodoxy and has been a prominent voice since the 1990s. For her the Church as a true and authentic expression of Christianity that has remained unchanged for over two thousand years means that it has preserved the teachings and traditions of the early Church, and has remained faithful to Jesus and the apostles. Mathewes-Green also sees the Orthodox Church as a beacon of hope in a world that is often troubled and divided. She believes that the Church offers a way of life that is rooted in love, compassion, and forgiveness, and that it has the power to transform the world through its witness and teachings.
The bare details of her life are simple, but the implications outline a path to understanding both the communal nature of sin and the communal nature of salvation.
Also called St Marina the Monk, this Saint was thought to have been born in Turkey or Lebanon and died in Syria. She lost her mother at an early age and when her father offered to find her a spouse so he could see her settled and be free to join a monastery, Marina refused.
He didn’t know how to care for her and fulfill his own calling, but Marina shaved her hair, dressed as a boy, and entered the monastery with her father. They lived this way for ten years, until his departure, after which she remained in the monastery as a monk.
I spend a lot of time working with women at Axia, and thinking about women’s issues, and looking at Orthodoxy through my own eyes and those of the women in our network. And when I go to liturgy, I find myself in parishes whose membership is at least half women and girls. So attending the International Orthodox Theological Association’s mega-conference in Volos, Greece, was a bit of a shock, however much I had been expecting it. I already knew that less than a quarter of its 450+ attendees would be women. Most of the people attending were theologians or other church scholars, and a large proportion wore cassocks.
On Tuesday, we overheard theologian Peter Bouteneff say how much he loves the saints of that particular day, so we asked him to tell us more:
On January 24, the Church remembers two great women named Xenia.
Dr. Elisabeth Behr-Sigel (1907-2005) was one of the preeminent Orthodox theologians of the 20th century. Born in France, she was a pioneer in the field of feminist theology and dedicated much of her work to exploring the role of women in the Church. She had converted to Orthodoxy in her 20s, joined the French resistance during WWII, and later studied at St Sergius Institute in Paris in their open courses even before they admitted women to receiving degrees. She had three children and many grandchildren, and ended up earning her doctorate in theology in her 70s. She taught at the Catholic Institute of Paris, the Theological Faculty of St.
Jan Bear writes on an unknown--and literally underground--saint in her post called "I'm Not Hiding, I Am on a Journey" for today's installment of our Women on Women Saints series:
A long time ago, I heard an Orthodox speaker, whose name I’ve forgotten along with the exact wording of this quote, talk about a Russian holy woman who dug a grave in her basement and spent her time lying in it, praying. When her neighbors told her she should stop hiding and get out more, she replied, “I’m not hiding. I am on a journey.”