books on women in the orthodox church? - Mothering Forums
Religious Studies > books on women in the orthodox church?
kangamitroo's Avatar kangamitroo 01:16 PM 01-27-2011

i'm interested in 2 types of books: "spiritual memoir" by contemporary women in the Orthodox Church (living out faith in everyday life), and women in the history of the church—very early and/or through the ages.

 

i did not know a lot about the Episcopal Church until reading Nora Gallagher and Kathleen Norris memoirs, and i'm hoping there might be something similar.  i like this route to learning about different religions.

 

i almost just PM'd Tradd or Lilyka with this one, having seen their posts in the past.  but maybe someone else will find this beneficial.

 

thanks for any suggestions.



Tradd's Avatar Tradd 11:44 AM 01-28-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kangamitroo View Post

i'm interested in 2 types of books: "spiritual memoir" by contemporary women in the Orthodox Church (living out faith in everyday life), and women in the history of the church—very early and/or through the ages.

 

i did not know a lot about the Episcopal Church until reading Nora Gallagher and Kathleen Norris memoirs, and i'm hoping there might be something similar.  i like this route to learning about different religions.

 

i almost just PM'd Tradd or Lilyka with this one, having seen their posts in the past.  but maybe someone else will find this beneficial.

 

thanks for any suggestions.


Kathleen Norris was Presbyterian, although she was a lay oblate of a Benedictine Catholic monastery.

 

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a popular contemporary writer in the Orthodox Church in the US. Frankly, I don't like her too much, but she works for a lot of people. She's the wife of an Antiochian Orthodox priest who has a parish in the Baltimore area.

 

Facing East and At the Corner of East and Now are probably the best everyday ones, as she weaves in stories about her everyday life and the church year. The Illumined Heart might be interesting to you, too. She's popular enough that you might even been able to find her in the library. Definitely used on Amazon.

 

Facing East is great in that it gives a good picture of how everyday Orthodox life revolves around the feasts and fasts and other Church-related rituals that mark the liturgical year: the last day of eating meat before Great Lent begins (actually called Meatfare Sunday, no kidding!), the solemn Vespers with the asking of forgiveness of everyone that marks the beginning of Great Lent, the marathon of Holy Week, the meat and cheese orgy that is our Paschal feast (we go vegan for all of Lent), the blessing of fruits at Transfiguration, etc.

 

As for women in the history of the Church, you're really going to have to do specific Orthodox books that can be difficult to get your hands on and/or online stuff. Your best bet is probably to read about specific women, but be warned that there's a lot of the language of hagiography mixed in. Most of the women I'm thinking of are Orthodox saints.

 

I'm going to stress that you want Orthodox sources. A lot of sources from other people read contemporary attitudes and mores (such as feminism and a hatred of monasticism) into people and events centuries ago. It's like reading feminist stuff into Jane Austen. It ain't there!

 

We have our own Wiki! http://orthodoxwiki.org/Main_Page

 

Grand Duchess Elizabeth, the Russian New Martyr - elder sister of Tsarina Alexandra, the wife of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II, Elizabeth was the favorite granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married Grand Duke Serge, an uncle of Nicholas. Raised Lutheran, she converted to Orthodoxy 7-8 years after her marriage. After her husband was assassinated by revolutionaries in 1905, Elizabeth became a nun, opened a hospital with monastery attached, and was beloved by the Russian people for her work among the poor. However, once the Bolsheviks were in power, Elizabeth was arrested since she was a member of the Romanov family. She was killed by being thrown down a mine shaft in 1918, just a few hours after her sister's family was killed. This is a favorite saint of mine! She was proclaimed a saint in the 1980s (outside of Russia) and inside Russia as soon as Communism fell. Nicholas and Alexandra's family are saints as well (in 2000), of a special category called "passion-bearers."

 

Mother Maria Skobtsova (sp?) unconvential Russian nun, ended up in Paris after the Revolution. She was killed in a Nazi concentration camp for helping Jews during World War II. She is a saint, as well.

 

St. Juliana of Lazarevo, 16th century Russian saint, raised 10 children. Good example of a

 

Deaconess Olympia, friend and great helper of St. John Chrysostom (John the Golden-Mouthed) in late 4th-early 5th century Constantinople.


mamabadger's Avatar mamabadger 02:29 PM 01-29-2011

You might look for a life of St. Macrina, known as St. Macrina the Theologian. She was the sister of St. Greogy of Nyssa and St. Basil the Great, and both men went to her for spiritual counsel. Unfortunately, none of her own writings survive, but others kept records. 

There are also two volumes published by Holy Apostles Convent in Buena Vista, Colorado: The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers and The Lives of the Holy Women Martyrs.

 

 

 

Quote:
Grand Duchess Elizabeththe Russian New Martyr - elder sister of Tsarina Alexandra, the wife of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II, Elizabeth was the favorite granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married Grand Duke Serge, an uncle of Nicholas. Raised Lutheran, she converted to Orthodoxy 7-8 years after her marriage. After her husband was assassinated by revolutionaries in 1905, Elizabeth became a nun, opened a hospital with monastery attached, and was beloved by the Russian people for her work among the poor. However, once the Bolsheviks were in power, Elizabeth was arrested since she was a member of the Romanov family. She was killed by being thrown down a mine shaft in 1918, just a few hours after her sister's family was killed. This is a favorite saint of mine! She was proclaimed a saint in the 1980s (outside of Russia) and inside Russia as soon as Communism fell. Nicholas and Alexandra's family are saints as well (in 2000), of a special category called "passion-bearers."

P.S. - St. Elizabeth the New Martyr is a favourite of DH and me as well. She is our daughter's patron saint. 


Purple Sage's Avatar Purple Sage 11:15 AM 01-30-2011

Tradd, that picture is gorgeous! 


lilyka's Avatar lilyka 08:51 PM 01-30-2011

WOW!  What a beautiful picture!  

 

You can add me as someone who is not a fan of Fredrica Matthews - Greene.  Here stuff is ok but only ok.  I just don't like her personality and think she is kinda flippant and general about Orthodoxy.  She does have some practical stuff.

 

Of course it is good to read the lives of the saints.  There were some totally awesome ladies there.  My dds patron is St. Queen Ketevan of Georgia.  Just look around for women saints.  You could read for days.  Other than that I don't know much about writing on or about women in the early church.  

 

Mother Gavrilla is an amazing person.  It is a long read but worth every page.  She was a monastic and missionary.  General super hero.

 

Another good read is Father Arseny.  Which is indeed about a man but there are also many accounts of amazing and ordinary women who lived out their faith in communist Russia.   Truly amazing.  Each chapter of the book is from the perspective of someone he came into contact with or the story of one of his spiritual children.  So a good chunk is stories about women.

 

A good read from today is Molly Sabourin.  Deep thoughts on faith, parenting and other things.  She has a book.  She has a blog.  She has a pod cast.  She has a new camera that she uses to take amazing pictures.  Easy reading but at times pretty heavy stuff.  The heavy stuff sneaks up on you though and hits you like a rock though.  :)

 

Princess Ileana is a fun little book.  Easy read.  Great Pictures!  (what can I say.  I am a sucker for Princesses) Again she is more contemporary.  It is interesting to compare her life with her brothers and how it effected a whole country.  


PseudoDiva's Avatar PseudoDiva 08:22 PM 04-30-2011

Another Molly Sabourin fan here!  *waves*  She has a blog too.  mollysabourin.typepad.com  I read bits of her book nearly every day.  SO encouraging.  

 

There seems to be a dearth of books written by women in the Orthodox church, especially those who are mothers.  I really haven't heard of many.  

 

I've always wanted to read the Desert Mothers...

 

So happy I've finally found some Orthodox moms here!  I thought I was all alone.


lilyka's Avatar lilyka 09:18 PM 05-01-2011

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