Western American Diocese
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX
 CHURCH OUTSIDE
 OF RUSSIA
Western American Diocese
Saint Herman’s West Youth Conference: The Role of Women in the Church

At the latest Saint Herman’s West Youth Conference held on the 22 to the 26 of December, 2013, at the Russian New Martyrs Church in Mulino, OR, Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg) and Matushka Natalie Henderson gave a presentation on "The Role of Women in the Church."

Matushka Natalie spoke first, explaining her initial hesitation to even offer a presentation to a church gathering of youth or of any kind based on the Scriptural text: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak;” (I Cor. 14:34). However, having given this biblical passage a closer look and taking it in its proper context, she noted the possibility for her to indeed give a lecture. From that point Matushka presented an historical background of how women have served the Church in both the past and in the present. Men and women are created equal, but different. Matushka Natalie encouraged the young women in the audience to volunteer in the Church as a means of getting to know themselves better by service to others.

Archmandrite Irenei has fielded the question about the role of women in the Church before at several previous conferences remarking that the popularity of this topic implies that the role of men is obvious, i.e. serving in the Holy Altar, as if that is the only significant service available for the faithful. Noting that this particular ecclesiastical service is but for a fraction of males, the appropriate question to really ask is what is a person’s role in the Church? Father Irenei underlined the strengths of each sex, but also the weaknesses. God gifts both sexes with a common life, but with not with the same attributes, though all have the capacity to love and to serve.

Women in the Church

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