MARCH is ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN'S Month
The Gospels emphasize Jesus healing women and the special compassion He showed them. Jesus often used images drawn from the lives of women to illustrate his teaching and parables. His inclusive attitude marked a radical break with the prevailing culture as He exalted the position and role of women among His followers. The Epistles and Acts make it clear that women were among the first Christian leaders.
Women organized communities, offered their homes as churches, served as deacons and instructed followers in the faith. The fact that these roles are highlighted in the Epistles, Gospels and early Christian literature indicate that such a position in the contemporary culture was indeed exceptional. The central place of women in the life of the Church is affirmed in Scripture and history.
Throughout the world, Orthodox women continue the struggle to break down cultural and religious barriers that would deny them their legitimate role in church and society. In recent years the Orthodox Church has convened several important conferences to address expanding the role of women in the life of the Church, including restoring the traditional ministry of Deaconess. These deliberations should be applauded and encouraged.
During ANTIOCHIAN WOMEN'S MONTH we confirm the position of women not as passive recipients of the ‘message’ but as active proclaimers of the ‘good news’ of liberation and models of true discipleship. We encourage all women of the parish to consider their God given role as disciples and evangelists ‘equal to the apostles’ and use their many special gifts and talents for the overall welfare of our community.
Blessings, Fr. Timothy