Concerns from a woman in the Coptic Orthodox Church

I am a Coptic Orthodox woman, born and raised in the church, I find it frustrating when Coptic men make sexist remarks and are very misogynistic. I often feel ashamed of the cultural heritage of our church and how influenced we are by Arabic and Judaic ideologies. Even some women agree with these sexist ideas and continue to see themselves as submissive and secondary to the men. You only have to walk into our church to see the segregation of men and women. I am not only speaking about during the liturgy, but also during meetings and social events.  My concern is that this cycle of ‘Egyptian’ culture will not end with the new generations because it is still ingrained in many of our practices.

Before you start to accuse me of heresy etc. notice I said Practices NOT Beliefs. We fail to practice what we preach because we are so caught up in the ‘coptic’ aspect of our identity that we forget we are Orthodox. We are Christians. We should adhere and worship Christ only. Jesus should be our role-model, therefore when we put others down, exclude people and judge, we are directly contradicting the teaching of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 So how can we separate our ‘culture’ from our faith (Christianity)?

I, myself am not an expert. I am simply a Christian woman seeking answers and a way to enhance the experiences of women in the church.  Our church is intent on sticking to traditions passed down directly from Jesus’ apostles (which I fully agree with) BUT we fail to see that there is a difference between making minor changes (that adhere to the true meaning of Christianity) and major changes (that can affect our Salvation).

For example: a change in the wording of a vow, made in the wedding ceremony will not affect our salvation. I am not asking  for changes to our beliefs or to ordain women priests (or any of these sudden conclusions that the men jump to when feminism is discussed in the church). I will discuss this in more detail further on.

1) Men and women are equal.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ” (Gal 3:28)

Adam and Eve were created equal. They both sinned and one is not to blame over the other. God punished them both because they both committed the one sin (i.e not wanting God).God did not condemn Eve for ‘giving Adam the fruit.’ It was the serpent that tempted her. (Gen 3)

There is so much misogyny fuelled by this argument every time it arises. I cringe every time a speaker in a youth meeting brings this up because the guys will latch onto any comment that implies it was Eve’s fault. The girls as usual become the scapegoat for blame and the men feel entitled to argue that Eve was evil. This is not a problem, they are just silly boys. The problem is that the speaker never does anything to correct them. Letting these comments slide (to be polite or avoid conflict) leaves the women listening; feeling alienated, weak and guilty (for a crime which we never committed).

If I feel dominated by men in my place of worship, I will probably seek elsewhere to worship. Just as anyone who might feel threatened in a social situation, might escape to feel comfortable and seek safety. The church should be this place of safety, in fact, it is our safe haven from the evils of the physical world.

“Don’t ask, just pray” seems to be a recurring message. Kids no longer attend Sunday School because they are told the same thing every week. Their questions are said to be ‘unimportant,’ ‘irrelevant’ or ‘silly.’ When these kids are shunned for exploring their spirituality in the safety of their church and reprimanded or laughed at, they begin to question their role in the scheme of the church. Is the church not one body? Should the arm say it is more useful than the leg? Why is one gender considered more useful than another?

One example that particularly agitated me was when a speaker made a sexist remark concerning the idea of women wanting to get married to a rich man so they don’t have to work. Women were portrayed as lazy, stupid and superficial. Did anyone counteract this assertion? Only I (because my blood was boiling) and everyone stayed quiet out of respect or fear. I simply held my ground and said “that’s not true,” because a lot of easily-influenced and misinformed males were sitting in on the sermon and I felt that it was my duty to correct this statement, for the sake of the women of our church who have been objectified and made to feel inferior for far too long. It is due to side comments and ill-informed remarks (and honestly, a lack of interest in the issue altogether) that leads to these assertions made about men and women’s roles in the church and in our society.

2) Strong Christian Women:

In the Bible, there are so many examples in the Old and New Testament of strong women who were in positions of power, who lead armies and were brave, loyal, cunning and compassionate. We should not forget that these women exist.

Every Sunday at church, I do forget that they exist. I feel that they are always placed second to the patriarchs. I am (once again clarifying for people who like to jump to conclusions) not disrespecting the great fathers of our church or our many male saints, I am only saying that the women who helped to spread Christianity, the women who played a part in keeping our faith alive through persecution; they should not be ignored. They deserve equal recognition. So every Sunday, when the ‘Commemoration of the Saints’ is read to the congregation, why is only one mentioned? That being  the glorified virgin Saint Mary… I am well aware of her importance (May her interecessions be with us all).

Count for yourselves:

As this, O Lord, is the command of your Only-Begotten Son, that we share in the commemoration of your saints, graciously accord, O Lord, to remember all the saints who have pleased you since the beginning: our holy fathers the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the preachers, the evangelists, the martyrs, the confessors and all the spirits of the righteous who were consummated in the faith. Most of all, the pure, full of glory, ever-virgin, holy Theotokos, Saint Mary, who in truth, gave birth to God the Logos. And Saint John the forerunner, Baptist and martyr; Saint Stephen the archdeacon, the protomartyr; the beholder-of-God Saint Mark, the evangelist the apostle and martyr; the patriarch Saint Severus; our teacher Dioscorus; Saint Athanasius the Apostolic; Saint Peter the priest-martyr and the high priest; Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Theodosuius, Saint Theophilus, Saint Demetrius, Saint Cyril, Saint Basil, Saint Gregory the theologian, Saint Gregory the wonder-worker, Saint Gregory the Armenian; the three hundred and eighteen assembled at Nicea, the one hundred at Ephesus; our righteous father great Abba Antony, the righteous Abba Paul, the three saints Abba Macarii, and all their children the cross-bearers, our father Abba John the hegomen; our father Abba Pishoi the righteous perfect man, the beloved of our good Saviour; our father Abba Paul of Tammoh and Ezekiel his disciple; my masters the Roman fathers Saints Maximus and Domitius; the forty nine martyrs the elders of Shiheet; the strong Saint Abba Moses; John Kame the priest; our father Abba Daniel the hegomen; our father Abba Isidore the priest; our father Abba Pachom, of the Koinonia, and Theodore his disciple; our father Abba Shenoute the archimandrite and Abba Wissa his disciple. And all choir of your saints, through whose prayers and supplications, have mercy on us all and save us, for the sake of your holy name, which is called upon us.

One. One female saint, albeit the Mother of God. But why is it that a multitude of male saints has to follow. Are we teaching our girls that they cannot be saints? That their lives don’t matter to the church because no other female will ever be mentioned in the commemoration?

I am not asking our priests to throw in extra female names to balance the numbers, I am merely asking for the reasoning behind this. So far I have not received a sound explanation as to why only one female is mentioned. No amount of reasoning excuses the ideology behind this inequality. It seems to me, no one actually cares. This apathy is evidence for the lukewarmness of the congregation of our church (the Coptic Orthodox church). We are simply not questioning, it seems we are afraid of being accused of heresy or division of the church. Every discussion in youth meetings is met with silent stares and awkward thumb-twiddling. Silence. We are afraid to delve into our unanswered questions in fear of judgement.

You may argue that this does not affect anyone, but it does. It leads us to question the importance of females in our church. If the women (alongside the men) who shed their blood in the name of Christ are not even mentioned in our liturgy, what hope do we have for ourselves? What defence can we bring up when men criticise our worth in the church? If only men are seen as important, or more important than women,  then women will lose interest in serving the church. This creates a divide and is what leads to the segregation of women and men in the church.

3.) Cleanliness and Holy Communion 

I feel that most of the laws concerning women’s roles and the restrictions from having Holy communion during our time of the month are archaic and irrelevant. Before you tell me we have to stick to the traditions of the fathers etc… Yes I believe they are important. However, my concern is that we do not separate the theological matters from the cultural ones. Menstruation does not change my relationship with God. I am not impure. I will not be condemned for a natural occurrence that is outside of my control. Being a woman should not separate me from the congregation on a monthly basis. My devotion to God during my time of the month could be whole-hearted in comparison to a non-menstruating male who may be thinking impure thoughts during the liturgy. What I mean is that my soul is connected to God, not my body. I can still pray and dedicate my life to God, regardless of my bodily state. My soul lifts up to heaven in prayer, so why should my hormones and womanhood affect this?

4) Women in the sacraments:

Before I begin, let me reiterate the point I made earlier about the way misogynistic practices infiltrate our practices; and that there is a difference between practices that affect our salvation and those that are purely cultural.

    Marriage:

Why must every Egyptian parent at a wedding ceremony wish young women ‘luck’ in finding a husband? Why has marriage become so central to our notion of happiness. Though it may be a wonderful way to live in communion with Christ and your ‘one true love’ yada yada yada… Is this all my role is as a woman in the church? To make my parents happy with grandchildren and be a breeding machine for my husband? (I am not reprimanding those who are happily married and are raising their kids in the church, I am simply highlighting the idea that this is all women are expected to do)

Women who have not found a husband (a nice young man who loves Christ…pretty rare) by age 30 (hear the sound of a thousand Egyptian ladies sighing in grief at the thought) are constantly given a pity party. “Poor girl, she’s not married yet…she’s getting old,” “I hope you get married soon” etc. are real examples of conversation in our church and it honestly frightens and astounds me. Why is a woman’s worth based on her ability to have a man desire her and get married? Not to mention that most of these men are ‘blameless’ when push comes to shove. Boys are raised to see themselves as more powerful, more important..they have more freedom than their female counterparts. Like most men, they have a sense of entitlement. Women are seen as ‘irrational,’ ‘rude’ or ‘crazy’ if they don’t appreciate a man’s advances. Like somehow, a guy who has barely known God all his life, drinks, smokes, ‘is a bad boy’ etc. turns around and decides that because his parents go to church, he somehow deserves a ‘good christian wife’ who will raise his kids in the same manner she was raised. But alas, the cycle continues.

Why would you expect this type of woman to like you? Why has our society made it acceptable for men to live their lives in this way and not be judged, but the second a woman ‘ruins’ her reputation, she is undesirable and is blamed for her actions. Men are easily forgiven because…well they are men. “Boys will be boys” right?  It may be difficult to change a mindset of an entire culture or society, but we must break this cycle.

Okay so let’s skip ahead and say that you’ve found a nice, God-fearing man- the type your parents would actually let you marry; after gruelling interrogations, several group meetings, escorted dates and the constant barrage of telephone calls from other elders in the community who might call your parents to snitch on you if they (God forbid) should see you with a person of the opposite sex… Let’s skip ahead to the actual wedding.

Now I’m not talking about the reception. That is one event in which the church is completely forgotten and all hell breaks loose (pun not intended). The beautiful ceremony. I am not dissing the sacrament at all. I am simply disturbed by some of the wording, which again should be altered and will not affect the essence or the sacredness of marriage.

Ahh… So I’m sitting in church wearing my nicest summer dress, fanning myself with the booklet and wincing in pain because I’ve had to smile for too long (because my natural face screams ‘I’m going to stab you’ although I can’t help it). I’m hoping this thing doesn’t take too long, because it’s hot and my leg is sticking to the wooden bench. A kid is crying behind me and the priest is speaking a whole lot of words I cannot understand. Then time comes for the vows (this was my first wedding) I prepare myself to be emotionally wowed like all the movies I’ve watched… this is going to be cute I think to myself, and I put down my make-shift fan. I wipe my sweaty palms on my dress and stand up (because everyone else seems to have stood up…). I smile eagerly, waiting for the moment. You know, the moment that makes you wish you were in a relationship, I’m expecting heartfelt ‘I do’s.’ (my parents should have warned me they wouldn’t be included) I had my hopes so high. So, I look up at the beautiful bride and the groom and I hear this :

To the Groom: 

My blessed son … may the grace of the Holy
Spirit strengthen you to take unto yourself
your wife, in purity of heart and in sincerity.
Do all that is good for her. Have compassion
on her and always hasten to do that which will
gladden her heart. Take care of her as her
parents did in love and in humility
remembering that you have been crowned by
this spiritual and heavenly marriage and
confirmed by the grace of God. Remember
that if you fulfill the divine commandments
which urge you to look after your wife, the
Lord will bless you in all you do, because His
blessing is enjoyed by those who live in
harmony: He will grant you blessed children
and a long peaceful life; He will bless You in
this life and the life to come.

Okay, that was not too bad. beautiful words, let’s move on. 

To the Bride:

And you, blessed daughter … and happy
bride, you have heard what was commanded
of your husband. So you must honor and
respect him, do not disagree with him but
increase your obedience to him over what was
commanded many times. For you are now
alone with him and he is responsible for you
instead of your parents.
So you must receive him with joy and cheer,
do not frown in his presence. Do not ignore
any of his rights upon you and fear God in all
your deeds with him. Because God the Most High                                                                                                                                      commanded you to submit to him and                                                                                                                                                  obey him as you obeyed your parents.

It goes on to say that a woman should call her husband ‘master’ like Sarah called Abraham and how God will give the couple many children… Don’t believe me?  Read more here

….. I turned to my mother with a horrified expression. Did I really just hear that? Please tell me this is a joke. Okay so a man is told to care and love his wife (what else would you expect him to do? Is that something that has to be taught??) Then, the Bride is given a list of demands? Like excuse me? If I had never been to a wedding before and then I was the Bride hearing this, I would be out of there in 10 seconds flat.

‘Do not disagree with him?’  Really? Am I expected to give up my beliefs, my likes, my thoughts and take on his? Are his thoughts more legitimate than mine because I am a woman? Can you see how outdated these words are? Please tell me I’m not overreacting. If more women seriously thought about these words and their repercussions, if men in the church even cared about how their wives were expected to behave and feel, these words would be changed in an instant. Why must these archaic terms and conditions be utilised still in this day and age.  “Do not ignore any of his rights upon you” Excuse me? Where are women’s rights? Does this excuse rape? Of course men are entitled. Society, even our own church enables this. Like I said before, if women cannot feel safe in the House of God, where will we go?

I cannot fathom how anyone thinks this is an appropriate statement to make in church. To make anywhere. It’s not fair to those women who have abusive husbands, men who take advantage of the fact that this is what was promised them on their wedding day. What else can they expect, when the church has just handed over a woman to her husband and must ‘submit’ to him? I honestly refuse to use these words if I ever do get married.

I will not utter these words from my mouth, because I am a firm believer in cutting this cycle of misogyny and forced gender roles. Woman as child-bearer, submissive, living in fear and lacking conviction and strength. Women are not taken seriously. We aren’t even considered worthy to stand in the altar and serve the Lord as deaconesses because ‘we’d be too distracting for the lustful eyes of men.’ Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I thought we were Christian. We are equal. Man and woman were created equal. So where do these ideologies come from?

This has been  my point all along. Many details of the practices in our church have no solid grounding in Faith or even any proof from the words of the Gospels. We keep following the old traditions that were put in place by (who else?) men, used to keep women in their ‘place.’ The defence anyone will give, when asked why things like the wedding vows cannot be changed, is that “That is how it’s always been, we must keep the traditions of the apostles and the church fathers.” What they fail to realise is how unimportant these details are in the scheme of things. If we change the words (to something more … I don’t know…egalitarian) this will not affect the overall message of the sacrament. If the message to the bride considered her as a human being equal to the man, and not as an animal to be bought and sold… it might say something like ” as your husband respects you, respect him also and love each other” (or something of the like).

So I sat down again, reflecting on what I had just heard and decided If I should ever get married, I would never say those words. How can they say this with a straight face? My eyes gazed downwards and I started burning red with anger. I felt embarrassed as well that there were people at the wedding who were not Egyptian. What were they thinking? Must our beautiful church and faith be viewed in this light? We are never going to be able to bring people to our church and to Christ, if they observe these behaviours. I, myself cringe at the thought of attending other weddings and hearing these phrases over and over again. With an awkward smile, I congratulate the Bride and Groom as I leave and hear a thousand ‘0balek’s’ (no direct translation: similar to ‘hope you one day get married’)  on the way to the car. My mum is smiling, I am just shattered… 

Deaconesses: 

As I mentioned previously and very briefly, women are not given any official roles in our church. Other than priests ( I am not arguing for women priests here) men can be deacons, subdeacons, archdeacons, singers, helpers etc. They are all given the ‘tonia’ (cloak) and they stand at the front to take part actively in the mass. Women are seated in the pews of course. Upon asking my mother and other sunday school teachers why women do not have roles in the church… they tell me ” Oh we do! We can sing in church and we can clean or serve the church on other ways. Everything is a service.” Apart from the obvious gender expectations (which I won’t delve into right now) women’s roles are not made official, because let’s face it – once again, they are seen as less important. No one cares.

As a child, when you are told that your role is not important, you believe it. You believe that men are superior to you in some way, shape or form. On the other hand, the men see women as inferior, they believe that being a woman makes you weak, unimportant and unnecessary (maybe not all men, but if you’re getting defensive… I want you to question your beliefs growing up and how they were shaped by your parents’ expectations of gender). If you think this is not the case, reflect on this scenario I came across on social media (LINK) .

This Facebook page (linked above) named ‘Women Deacons in the Coptic Orthodox Church’ caused quite a lot of controversy (not surprisingly), especially an article that was posted about women and girls being ordained as chanters. To my pleasant surprise, many women were starting to see the light (girl power!) however, I found this gem in  comment from an Egyptian man:

“Because the bible says  for woman they should remain silent in church so how come they can become Deacon and for their ordination is this was approved by the Cathedral and HH pope Tawadrous or not???”

(I’ll leave out his name, but you can see for  yourselves if you scroll down the FB page that there is a plethora of sexist, uneducated and unethical comments (mostly from men but also women…sadly).

Where in the Bible does it say women should be silent? Jesus appointed women to serve in the early church after his resurrection: Mary, Lydia, Martha etc.  The mother of God served in the temple from a young age. It disgusts me that this train of thought is still evident in a lot of men’s minds. CHRISTIAN men especially. Before all culture, race, language, nationality or ethnicity, we are CHRISTIAN. That is what these people seem to constantly forget. Christians are to treat everyone with love. That includes women, or are women not seen as people?  Yes women can be ordained as deaconesses, it is a tradition (but you only keep the ones you agree with right?) this man thinks he has a right to assume what is allowed or not allowed, putting himself in a place of authority simply because he is a male. I will leave you to wander through this page and pause to think about how each of these men are making women feel. ( If you don’t care, *sorry to judge* but you are not loving your neighbour and that is not following the commandment of Christ).

In conclusion: 

Based on many observations over the years, I have come to the conclusion that most people in our church continuously choose to ignore the blatant truth of equality and feminism (which has been a dirty word for too long) and choose to defend their arguments with outdated and irrelevant quotes that serve no purpose in our beliefs. The details, the wording, the minute actions that exclude women, alienate women and elevate men to a higher status are hurting the church. We can not have the Body of Christ split. One gender is not more important than the other. I urge you to think about women in the Coptic Orthodox Church (a minority group within a minority group), if we do not stand up for ourselves (not out of pride or contempt but in true unity and regard for equality), we will lose our youth. They will flee to other churches who offer a safe and supportive environment. They will cease to listen to words that reveal misogynistic beliefs, those men whom you influence will continue growing up, feeling entitled, never having respect for women and their worth. The women who have not had their eyes opened to this issue, will continue allowing men to downgrade them, control them and will never feel the true joy of equality.

A church divided cannot stand. A house divided against itself must fall. 

So basically, I could rant on and on about this topic, but alas, I am growing weary and my words will probably fall on deaf ears. For those of you who are reading this and agree with what I’ve said or have some suggestions or points I could add, feel free to comment 

For those who want to argue, maybe you should read a little more and think about your reasons, chances are it’s been engrained in your mind from a young age. Feel free to do your own thinking

–> Just a Dreamer here <–

Here is the next segment: The mistreatment of women in the Coptic Orthodox Church

 

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54 thoughts on “Concerns from a woman in the Coptic Orthodox Church

  1. Hannah says:

    I am a woman and i feel the same way. you talk to the head of the church and they will totally ignore you. A priest or a bishop will hurt all the women, make fun of them and then continue his prayer and allow himself to take and give communion.

    Men in Coptic church use the bible to serve their ego. Jesus said 2 become one and they say man is master and woman is a slave. Jesus said “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” and our church say man is the head and the lead and women are the servants, so they apply Christianity only on women.

    There are lots and lots more to say, but saying it is useless because women are ignored and have no value to our men head of the church

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you to a certain extent, some of the priests in our church are stuck in a certain mindset because of cultural influences (For example Islamic ideas of women as beneath men) They do not mean to put women down but the culure around them allows this. No one stands up to them out of respect so the old traditions and values carry on to the next generations. Even in our churches in Australia, sexism is evident in every ritual and every conversation because of the arabic culture. We need to separate the faith from the context of the old church and reevaluate some of our traditions because women and men are hurt from these misogynistic ideals in the end. Thank you for reading my blog 🙂 your comments are always welcome and I would love to discuss this topic further

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      • Gilberta Bano says:

        This is a very nice article. I did not know that in a Coptic Church you had so many issues related to the right of the woman. You should say to your priest that Saint Mary is a woman and a new Eva that was chosen by God and saved the World. My suggestion is : Pray to Saint nary and she will direct you . Never give up. These men should listen and Saint Mary is the solution. Glory be to god . Amen

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rosemary says:

      I whole heartedly agree with the original posters views. Unfortunately it seems there is an inherent discouragement to girls to become strong women. This has lead to me personally becoming disillusioned with the Coptic church and seeking alternative churches .. the search continues but kudos to the author for articulating this issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. notreallysure says:

    I don’t really have anything to add because you’ve said it all quite nicely but honestly this is something that’s been on my mind for a long while now; it baffles me how so many people refuse to acknowledge the obvious misogyny within our church, and choose to ignore it when it is clearly pointed out to them (I’m an 18 year old girl that tends to point it out to anyone that will listen – it usually leads to the assumption that I’m “easily swayed by society” and the conclusion that “feminism isn’t a thing”).
    This is an amazing article that i definitely plan to share.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just came across your post today. As a coptic myself, I guess I understand where you are coming from. However, Orthodox is defined as following traditional rules and beliefs and because of this our religion will have many readings and customs that seem very outdated and at times ridiculous. I had the same reaction when i attended my first coptic wedding, but it’s important to understand the deeper meanings and relate it to your relationship. Passages that were written many moons ago are obviously not going to relate to our lives now. It’s great that you are questioning things because it means that you want to understand your religion instead of blindly following your upbringing. I would definitely talk to some of the coptic priests (particularly the younger ones) about your questions and concerns. Priests can provide great insight into how to apply the very traditional customs into our current lives.
    I really hope you don’t let these customs and cultural traditions affect your relationship with God or stop you from going to church.
    If our church changed all the things you mentioned in your post, then it wouldn’t be orthodox. If the church’s leaders started making all these changes (no matter how much we want them) we could lose the whole essence of our traditional religion and that would be a shame, don’t you think?

    Good luck with your journey of understanding and practising our religion. Remember that we all struggle each day to incorporate our traditional beliefs into the modern world. Keep at it though, it’s so worth it.

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    • Grant Douglas Ward says:

      at least she was allowed to go to church, I was told that i wasn’t welcome because culture made it so. And if my best friend allowed me to go to church her family would be mad at her, and it would be taboo. Tell me what type of Christian abandons a person when he needs them the most. Sorry but the Coptic Church isn’t as righteous as they claim. I mean shit i would cry just wanting to go to church for Christmas no gifts nothing just church. But now what ive become opened my eyes. In Egypt the Muslims crap on the Copts and the Copts dont like the Muslims but in truth there is no difference because the church has gone against everything being a christian is meant to be. Instead of teaching humility and not caring what others think they teach pride (deadliest of all sins because Lucifer held this sin) with pride their image looks good, they should teach compassion and help others as jesus helped the adulterer did he care about his image no. Instead the church teaches selfishness abandoning friends when they have no one and being okay with it. They should teach God before culture i mean do u honestly feel God would love a church that places their own sin before him?

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      • I’m so sorry this happened to you, I know what you mean as I’ve seen this happen to so many people. So many churches have become a place of judgement and following rituals rather than loving others as God would, I agree that we have lost the true meaning of Christianity

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  4. copticandproud says:

    1. These are my opinions and I am not meaning to offend anyone, just to promote some healthy discussion
    2. I think it’s worth mentioning that it seems like you have had some bad experiences in youe own parish and so exhibit a little bias in your discussion. I do not think that all churches are like this when it comes to the treatment of men and women and the roles that women play, so we should be careful not to generalise this to all Coptic churches.

    3. While I agree with some of the points you’ve madem some of them are little debatable. In terms of women not being mentioned in the liturgy and church ceremonies, regarding the Commemoration I am not too sure about that , but I think the church does still place great importance on the women of the church. A couple of events come to find, firstly there is a fast solely dedicated to St Mary, second during the Lent and Resurrection the church focuses a lot on the women in the Bible e.g. Mary and Martha in the Raising of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene during the resurrection. Also the synexarium readings which include female saints. While the female Saints and women of the Bible are not as prominent as the male ones I think it is a little naive to say that ‘no one cares’ or that we teach young girls that they cannot be saints.

    4. In terms of cleanliness and the Holy communion, my understanding is that this is done more as respect and reverence to the Holy Body of Christ. I think it is incorrect to say that your body is not connected to God since we are created in the image and likeness of Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwells in our body as a temple of God. Equally men are restricted from partaking in the Holy Eucharist when they are unclean (e.g. after intercourse and seminal discharge etc it’s in Leviticus).

    5. Again, in terms of Marriage I think you are generalising and showing a little bias. You mentions that a guy who has barely known God all his life, drinks, smokes, ‘is a bad boy’ etc. turns around and decides that because his parents go to church, he somehow deserves a ‘good christian wife’. I probably don’t need to go into how biased this is as it equally applies to women; as well as not every Coptic boy is a ‘bad boy’. Secondly, you have concentrated on a very small part of the wedding ceremony and taken it out of context. The wedding ceremony also includes another passage from the bible. The passage says for “Wives to submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord”. We do not submit to the Lord as slaves and adhere to a list of demands, instead it’s out of love.
    ” Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”Again, as the church submits to Christ. This is not a 1 way relationship or a master-slave relationship. It’s one of love, and wisdom, amongst many other things.
    Lastly, you forget to mention that the church also gives the husband some instructions:
    ” Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Again, self explanatory, husbands should be giving themselves up for their wives, not being their master, as you have mentioned.

    Like

    • Anthony says:

      My brother, I agree with some of what you say and thank you for your insight. But I believe your interpretation on what makes a person clean/unclean is false. Firstly, if we were to base our definition of cleanliness on the levitical teaching, after I eat a pork sandwich or shrimp, I couldn’t take communion because I’m unclean. Since I’m not Jewish, I would also be unclean. Rather, we are all sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and by faith and repentance in Christ (Romans 1-12 delves deeply into this topic). Under the guidance HG bishop Angelos, the Coptic church is in the processes of revisiting this policy of “uncleanliness,” which is mainly influenced by Islamic culture. God bless

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael says:

    Such a good read. Whilst I agree with much of what you say, I’ve had similar (not the extent that you’ve delved into) talks/debates with those more knowledgeable that me. I feel some of what you’ve said has been taken too literally. The term submissive in our church isn’t to be taken the same way as it would normally be used in day to day language. Monasticism is the basis of our churches views on submissiveness and humbleness, granted submission to God and man are different, but the underlying tone of love and trust resonates with both.

    Yes, it doesn’t sound good when the priest says this in a wedding ceremony, but do you honestly know of any marriages that are currently operating by these laws. My parents disagree on many things, and my mum certainly has no fear or reservation in making her voice heard, does this mean she’s going against God’s word and must confess about this?

    I wonder how trivial confession will become if every letter of the law was to be followed literally by the bible. “Abouna, my eye strayed yesterday and I didn’t pluck it out.”

    Moving onto our generation, I see some wives having more authority over their husbands in marriage (Many of my married friends must get wife-clearance when a boys night is being organised or any decisions need to be made). Could you imagine any of our dad’s getting the OK from our mum’s whenever they wanted to catch up with friends? We’ve come a long way.

    Any priest in our church will tell you marriage is a two-way street and respect, understanding and love must be followed by both parties. You’ve got your head in the sand if you think a priest will say, “Why are you even here? Did you forget what was said when you got married?”

    The word Orthodox, in it’s purest sense means unchanging/unwavering/oldschool… this list can go on. We are instructed to live an orthodox life in what is currently an unorthodox world. This is the hardest part, I feel it is a lot easier to get distracted now and stray than it was even 70 years ago. In my opinion (this is where I have disagreements and could be wrong), it is only fair that God gives us a lesser judgement than those before. Whilst this sounds like a very primitive and childish way to look at it, it is the only JUST reasoning that I can come up with.

    In terms of distancing oneself from the church, when I brought up the Egyptian/Arabic mentality (that I also disagree with) with a priest who has grown up in this country and has children of our ages (I’m assuming you’d be early-mid 20’s). He simply mentioned that these are things I nor him can control, and we’re here to be with God and serve him. If we’re worrying about what others do, then we’re missing the point of being at church (I felt this was almost an easy/cliche answer, however it was enough for me in terms of where my mind is when I’m at church).

    The tough part is where do we draw the line? If sayings, rules, ceremonies etc changed and evolved with the world, we would lose orthodox. And would be no different to Catholics (not that there’s anything wrong with Catholicism). Explain to a religiously uneducated person the difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and your answer will be, “Ohh… It’s almost the same, we worship the same God but we’re more strict.”

    You seem quick to forget the good things about being Orthodox. How beautiful and solemn is our Holy Pascha, how amazing do the hymns sound when sung by EVERYONE with the cymbals and triangle. I am far from the model Christian, but I felt it was appropriate to share something that I needed to hear when I was close to turning my back on the church.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1. These are my opinions and I am not meaning to offend anyone, just to promote some healthy discussion.

    2. I think it’s worth mentioning that it seems you have had some bad experiences in your own parish and so exhibit a little bias in your discussion. I do not think that all churches are like this when it comes to the treatment of men and women and the roles that women play, so we should be careful not to generalise this to all Coptic churches.

    3. While I agree with some of the points you’ve made some of them are little debatable. In terms of women not being mentioned in the liturgy and church ceremonies, regarding the Commemoration I am not too sure about that , but I think the church does still place great importance on the women of the church. A couple of events come to find, firstly there is a fast solely dedicated to St Mary, second during the Lent and Resurrection the church focuses a lot on the women in the Bible e.g. Mary and Martha in the Raising of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene during the resurrection. Also the synexarium readings which include female saints. While the female Saints and women of the Bible are not as prominent as the male ones I think it is a little naive to say that ‘no one cares’ or that we teach young girls that they cannot be saints.

    4. In terms of cleanliness and the Holy communion, my understanding is that this is done more as respect and reverence to the Holy Body of Christ. I think it is incorrect to say that your body is not connected to God since we are created in the image and likeness of Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwells in our body as a temple of God. Equally men are restricted from partaking in the Holy Eucharist when they are unclean (e.g. after intercourse and seminal discharge etc it’s in Leviticus).

    5. Again, in terms of Marriage I think you are generalising and showing a little bias. You mention that a guy who has barely known God all his life, drinks, smokes, ‘is a bad boy’ etc. turns around and decides that because his parents go to church, he somehow deserves a ‘good christian wife’. I probably don’t need to go into how biased this is as it equally applies to women; as well as not every Coptic boy is a ‘bad boy’. Secondly, you have concentrated on a very small part of the wedding ceremony and taken it out of context. The wedding ceremony also includes another passage from the bible. The passage says for “Wives to submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do t the Lord”. We do not submit to the Lord as slaves and adhere to a list of demands, instead it’s out of love.
    ” Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”. Again, as the church submits to Christ. This is not a 1 way relationship or a master-slave relationship. It’s one of love, and wisdom, amongst many other things.
    Lastly, you forget to mention that the church also gives the husband some instructions:
    ” Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Again, self explanatory, husbands should be giving themselves up for their wives, not being their master, as you have mentioned.

    Like

  7. …Well this article escalated and I couldn’t disagree with it more!
    This is just one of those topics that no matter what you say, there are always going to be people that disagree.
    I still want to briefly rethink those points, because the author behind this article has somehow managed to slowly scrape away the beauty of a lot of aspects of the church. Twisting things around.
    1. Men are Equal to women
    Men are equal to women. Full stop.
    Our church teaches that over and over.
    Ofcourse men have a role and women have a role and thats not bad at all. It is humbling for both parties to experience what they experience in their roles within the Church and their home.
    And… as stated in the article, if someone is pressuring you into marrying a rich guy, your problem wouldn’t be with the church, it’d be with the person telling you to go marry a rich guy. Take it out on them not the church.
    2. Strong Christian women
    So the article points out that only one woman is mentioned in the commemorations. Mind you this one woman is the person that the commemoration says “most of all the pure full of glory” and in the doxologies we say “the adornment of Mary, is in the highest heavens” and Solomon calls her “my sister and my spouse, my true city Jerusalem” or as King David says “Upon Your right hand O King, did stand the Queen.” …. Quality over quantity.
    The mentioned saints and fathers in the commemoration are saints who shaped our church, whether in the ecumenical councils, doctrines of the church and writing the Liturgies.
    There are some churches that the priests includes a favourite female saint.
    Don’t forget there are a huge number of female saints that are mentioned in the intercessions or the ‘hitaneyat’ ie. St. Demiana, Barbara, Youliana, Verena, Marina etc..
    3. Cleanliness and Holy Communion
    Woman are not in any manner more sinful in her cycle than a man is in the case of involuntary bodily emissions. As men also have slightly less similar emissions, not to the extent of the women. Still, they must both refrain from Holy Communion.
    These are not the only bodily emissions; there are bowel control problems or incontinence. So this canon doesn’t only apply to woman.
    These type of bodily functions are not sins, but they represent the consequences of our fallen state.
    Therefore we must approach Holy Communion in the best possible condition(body and soul) for both men and women to allow Christ into a pure and holy Temple worthy of Him.
    They weren’t rules set by culture, but by the early church fathers like St. Dionysius, St. Timothy Archbishop of Alexandria, St. John Chrysostom and the Didascalia Apostolorum.
    Spiritually? – We can take these as an opportunity to pray the psalms, in particular psalm 51 where it says.. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow…..Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me….
    4. Woman in sacraments (sacrament of marriage)
    Again the problem isn’t with the church, it’s with the people.
    In regards to the marriage ceremony, ive never seen someone really squeeze out the beauty of orthodox marriage.
    The Orthodox Church teaches that, just as God is head of the church, so is the man head of his house.
    We call the man a priest of his own house and family.
    In both commandments, it is an invitation of love, sacrifice and giving in marital life, warning him and her against selfishness and carelessness, which is the basis of trouble and conflict.
    The first commandment to both of them is “Submit yourselves to one other”… it applies both ways!
    The commandment to the woman is a separate instruction, but also in response to the man.
    The man is told to do everything he can to keep his wife happy and ‘do all that is good for her’. So the woman should see that the man is trying to exercise what God and the church have asked of him.
    In simpler terms… don’t ‘disagree’ when his intentions are for good, don’t ‘frown in his presence’ because he is trying to ‘do all that is good for you’. The same rules applies to men. These instructions are to keep the marriage holy, and Christ as the centre.
    “Marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4)
    In proverbs 31, there is a section that was given by King Lemuels, mother about finding a virtuous wife, and all the good things about her. Read it. At the end, what does the man do? Praises her!
    5. Deaconesses
    Women aren’t seen as less important in the church as stated in this article.
    As mentioned before the church calls a man the priest or head of his house.
    The Orthodox churche calls women the back bone of the church and their homes.
    In these modern days, women have such an essential role within the church and their home, they are loving and caring mothers, youth and youth leaders, Sunday school servants and leaders, church leaders (most church boards have women)…some of these roles are wholly and uniquely for a women.
    I know a lot of churches where women are the leader of Sunday school, or the leader of any church event such as fetes and fundraisers.
    There are churches that have hymns class for women, taught by women.
    In conclusion:
    Of course the fact also remains that men and women, have a different roles in different fields that vary according to the gifts God has given us.
    Women are given the greatest gift of motherhood, the same gift St. Mary the Mother of God was given, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with being given that gift. Let’s not forget that the example of faith, love, service, humility and care, is attributed to a woman, the Virgin Mary.
    I believe that it’s a greater gift than what any man gets. Whether we like it or not, or believe it or not, it is suffice to say that the mother figure is spoken about A LOT in the church.
    Never neglected.
    Lastly, its important to note that in the New Testament, who were the people that were under Christ’s feet while he was victorious on the Cross? In the Gospel According to St. John “there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25), and John the Beloved. But notice, where were the guys, his disciples?
    It is reasons like this that we call women the back bone of the church.
    I’m not sure what church this person goes to, but that doesn’t sound like the Coptic orthodox church.
    Finally, the article ends with, “just a dreamer here”…
    bro IF that’s a quote from the John Lennon song, its starts with “imagine there is no heaven.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anon says:

    Wow, just wow. I can’t believe how much of a relief it is, to read that someone else is thinking about this. Its the same here in Melbourne, and as a coptic orthodox woman (if you can even say that, I’m 16), sexism in the church has always been an underlying issue, that everyone I feel like (at least to an extent) is aware of, but are afraid to appear as though they are challenging our creed.

    I always wondered as a child, why they boys ALWAYS got to have communion first, and why ALL the deacons were boys, and then I slowly realised that I’d never seen a woman give a speech in bible study, or read the gospel on Sunday mornings. I’d rather complain about a tedious job in the church, than continue to carry the mere expectations that relate to how we should present ourselves.
    It often leaves me to question how we can split the body of christ, but not our gender roles?

    This old, traditional mentality is something I also worry may never dissipate, and my hope grows thinner each time I hear an old aunty say “cover up your arms, you don’t want the boys to see that” (because heaven forbid they be tempted by my SHOULDERS, and lose their free will, so sorry tunt.)

    So, my point is, I agree with you girl, and I pray to god that things start to pick up for us, for the next generation’s sake; a little controversy never hurt anybody.

    I absolutely look forward to reading some more of your words!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Monica says:

    Hello! I’ve just found your blog and i love it!
    I’m an italian coptic girl and I totally agree with what you wrote.. sadly.
    Are you egyptian by any chance? Because your idea of coptic sexism is so accurate that i can’t believe your not!
    Anyway thank you for sharing your thoughts 😀

    Like

    • “Coptic” means Egyptian. Coptic Orthodox is the Egyptian Orthodox church. Any other orthodox church is just that, orthodox. The church name is Orthodox Christianity and then there is Greek Orthodox, Iranian Orthodox, etc etc, it’s all the same church. If she’s Coptic, chances are she’s also Egyptian.

      Like

      • Raj says:

        Not necessarily. There are also Nubians in Sudan who belong to the Coptic Church and before the war, there were Libyan Copts as well. In addition, many Ethiopian Christians consider themselves Coptic and the Indian Orthodox Church is fully in communion with the Coptic Church. Furthermore, many people in the West who are tired of the weakness of their local churches are converting to Coptic Christianity. Many white British people are joining Egyptian immigrant-run Coptic Churches. In addition, she could very well be an Italian girl born to Egyptian parents or she could have married an Egyptian Coptic man. You don’t know and should not judge people based on race. Only God knows their hearts. I’m an Indian guy born into a Hindu family but I attend a Coptic Church and consider myself Coptic Christian. Nobody at my church makes me feel excluded like you have, however, nor did anyone I met at the various monasteries and churches I visited throughout Egypt.

        Like

      • Nadine says:

        Just because someone is baptised in the Coptic Orthodox Church, it doesn’t have to mean they’re Egyptian. She could be any nationality. It wasn’t a stupid question.

        Like

  10. 1. These are my opinions and I am not meaning to offend anyone, just to promote some healthy discussion smile emoticon

    2. I think it’s worth mentioning that it seems this person has had some bad experiences in her own parish and so exhibits a little bias in her discussion. I do not think that all churches are like this when it comes to the treatment of men and women and the roles that women play, so we should be careful not to generalise this to all Coptic churches.

    3. While I agree with some of the points she’s made some of them are little debatable. In terms of women not being mentioned in the liturgy and church ceremonies, regarding the Commemoration I am not too sure about that , but I think the church does still place great importance on the women of the church. A couple of events come to find, firstly there is a fast solely dedicated to St Mary, second during the Lent and Resurrection the church focuses a lot on the women in the Bible e.g. Mary and Martha in the Raising of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene during the resurrection. Also the synexarium readings which include female saints. While the female Saints and women of the Bible are not as prominent as the male ones I think it is a little naive to say that ‘no one cares’ or that we teach young girls that they cannot be saints.

    4. In terms of cleanliness and the Holy communion, my understanding is that this is done more as respect and reverence to the Holy Body of Christ. I think it is incorrect to say that your body is not connected to God since we are created in the image and likeness of Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwells in our body as a temple of God. Equally men are restricted from partaking in the Holy Eucharist when they are unclean (e.g. after intercourse and seminal discharge etc it’s in Leviticus).

    5. Again, in terms of Marriage I think the writer is generalising and showing a little bias. She mentions that a guy who has barely known God all his life, drinks, smokes, ‘is a bad boy’ etc. turns around and decides that because his parents go to church, he somehow deserves a ‘good christian wife’. I probably don’t need to go into how biased this is as it equally applies to women; as well as not every Coptic boy is a ‘bad boy’. Secondly, she has concentrated on a very small part of the wedding ceremony and taken it out of context. The wedding ceremony also includes another passage from the bible. The passage says for “Wives to submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do t the Lord”. We do not submit to the Lord as slaves and adhere to a list of demands, instead it’s out of love.
    ” Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”. Again, as the church submits to Christ. This is not a 1 way relationship or a master-slave relationship. It’s one of love, and wisdom, amongst many other things.
    Lastly, the writer forgot to mention that the church also gives the husband some instructions:
    ” Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Again, self explanatory, husbands should be giving themselves up for their wives, not being their master, as the writer has mentioned.

    And deaconesses, not even going to touch on that, it’s a whole other topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Abanob Saad says:

    Very well written. Honest, courageous and thought provoking.

    Yes, I am a male servant who has seen this behaviour time and time again, sadly. This fanaticism over being Coptic diminishes the Jesus experience.

    Well done for calling this out!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Copt says:

    You’re spot on when it comes to this topic! We are a church of tradition, yet we fail to educate ourselves on the real traditions are. Woman are deacons, priests, evangelists and above all, children of the living God. These defitions scare people because they fear losing their false elevations. I’ve seen ORTHODOX churches with women chanters, altar servants and oraters. Not surprisingly, they are the mose beautiful and rich churches I’ve attended. I’m sorry for the women in our church (this coming from a guy) who are told that Eve was the root of sin, or that they are unclean after menstrating etc. The Second Eve, St. Mary, restored the first Eve, and the body has been made new in Christ. The women were the FIRST to behold the resurrection of Christ and preached it to the world. They entered the tomb and stood at the foot of the Cross, two altars on earth. Shame on us for denying their importance in our church and belitting them after they were the means that gave us Christ, through the incarnation and through their evangelism.

    We need to reevaluate our marriage ceremonies and the inappropriate instructions given to women.

    Thank you for writing a much needed article. I believe this link can open some eyes on women as well. Please read Christ’s encounter with women in the Gospel:

    http://www.midwestyouth.com/womeninchurch.html

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anon Emus says:

    Don’t mean to sound rude, but your article has no spirit in it. Christianity has that spirit of the law vs letter of the law. I guess a non Christian can write a huge article accusing Jesus of being a man who doesn’t care for woman’s rights because all his disciples were men. We all know that there are certain roles for men and other roles for women, we can’t have this childish mentality of, how come they get this and I don’t. If I didn’t know how the coptic orthodox church functioned, I would think you are like a muslim woman being mistreated and beat up every day or an evil cult. I don’t know why you are anonymous if you think you are so correct but I guess we will just all remain anonymous in this out of context article. I hope you find truth and happiness, I really recommend that you don’t get married because I know for a fact that you will take everything as a challenge to your man instead of being his helper (like the bible says). Woman like you should just focus on their careers, school, becoming the best they can because you have a major inferiority complex that you are trying to overcompensate for or get married to a man with zero personality(A Yes Ma’am)kind of guy.

    Like

    • Gilberta Bano says:

      Anon Emus. the writer is not accusing Jesus that does not care for the women but accusing the priest and who is there directing the church for not fulfilling as the Jesus said the law of God. Because God said: you woman respect your husband but you husband love your wife as you love a part of your body. And if anybody wants to hurt a part of his body so please do not hurt your wife and respect her and help her and do everything to make her feel respected as the wife respect you. God bless. You should change , because Saint Mary is a woman and the first of the disciples as and saint.

      Like

    • Hanna says:

      Coptic church will select the parts from the Bible that will give the man more superiority. Old testament, Paul’s letters but little from the Gospels only what will not take away from the men superiority.

      Coptic church treats the women as per the Jewish religion and not as Christians. Jesus valued the women. while women in the Coptic church are counted dirty (because of their period) women should never be part of the church. and when the woman gets married, she is a slave and …. to her man.

      They are proud that they gave dignity to the women. They will tell you that they are not asking the women to be slave for each man just for her husband

      The women are not allowed to enter the alter, read the bible, become a deacon, …..
      whey? because they get monthly period and they are coincided dirty. Did they see how Jesus treated the woman who torched him when she was having issue of blood twelve years.
      In this case they believe in the old testament.

      In the wedding prayers, they ask the woman to obey, submit, always smiling to her husband (regardless of what he does to her) and call her husband “my master” . They ask the woman to loose her identity and dignity and be slave to her man

      is this what Jesus meant by becoming one? and one body that means no difference between a man and a woman

      While Jesus is asking us to call him Father, the Coptic church is asking the women to call the dust, my master

      I am Coptic, but there are lots that I don’t believe in, in this church

      Like

  14. Teddy says:

    “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”
    ‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭14:34-35‬

    You should try reading the bible before saying that something isn’t in there 🙂 and also you should blame the “horrible” people you are apparently dealing with instead of the church

    Like

    • Hanna says:

      Are you even Christian? Has Jesus ever silenced a woman?
      Paul’s letters are written for specific people at specific time. Also men now don’t do10% of the men at that time.You are using the bible to feed your ego

      Like

      • Teddy says:

        Lol I am literally simply answering a question she asked in her blog post. Clearly I triggered something that upset you and caused you to answer in like manner but God be with you!
        Also generalizing is a horrible habit and you have a tendency of doing so “men don’t do what they used to do…. There are more women that are far better Christians than their husbands” good for them! We don’t look at specific people unfortunately I don’t know why you’re bringing up apparent personal experiences

        Like

      • Hanna says:

        The point is that, you just want to feel better. Ego and superiority are not Christian values.
        Read the Gospels and learn from Jesus how to be Christian.

        Like

  15. Hanna says:

    No superiority in Christianity.

    Luke 22:26
    So Jesus declared, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in authority over them call themselves benefactors. 26 But you shall not be like them. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is not the one who reclines? But I am among you as the One who serves.…

    –In Chirstianity, man and woman become one flesh. can you differentiate man and woman if they are one flesh?

    Also don’t try to separate the beautiful unity the God joined together. By assigning master and slave or priest and church they are not one unity.

    Mark 10:8
    ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

    Let me add that the man is not Jesus and the woman is the church, there are lot of women that are far more christian that their husbands.

    Like

  16. Becca says:

    I hope men’s anecdotal excuses for these universal experiences do not deter you from the imporrance of your words. I actually left the Coptic Church for many of these reasons, regardless of faith. I can’t imagine getting married or raising a daughter within these practices. I will specify that these Arab and European ideas of submissivness and cleanlines are not originally Coptic, but were influenced by invading empires as a method of oppressing the native people of the land. I hope you remember that your words inspire many women, like me, who have felt that the culture of the Coptic Church silenced them.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Holding On says:

    First of all, it’s interesting to see that all of the negative responses to your post are from men (surprise, surprise!) In epistemology, the study of how we know what we know, there is this theory that those in the position of power (the Coptic patriarchy, in this example) are too high up the hierarchy that they cannot possibly have a large standpoint of knowledge that encompasses the experience of those in the echelons beneath them. Our duty, therefore, is to raise awareness and bring the issue to the forefront. As a Coptic woman living in the US, I’m all for holding onto our history and tradition as people, but I refuse to get my intelligence insulted by arguing that man made practices are part of that mandated tradition. I continuously argue at my church about these topics and try to bring them to the forefront to show the underlying discrepancy between what Coptic women do in their daily life and what they are expected to do in the church. In short, I’ve heard all of the excuses and I am not buying any of them. To be told that a female cannot serve as a deaconess because she lacks the understanding of these sacraments, even though you are entrusting that female with teaching a Sunday school class, and yet you go ahead and ordain a 2 year old boy who runs around in his tonia all throughout the liturgy is extremely insulting. To give an educated female physician a lesson about how her feeble anatomy prevents her from taking communion and that is done because the church cares to protect her is not just scientifically inaccurate but a ludicrous joke. To wonder why the female youth are not being active members of the church when all what is expected from them is to fill pews is mere insanity.

    Anyway, that’s my spiel, which I’m sure the masses will disagree with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hanna says:

      I ask the priest for forgiveness because I think he still doesn’t understand the women frustration of the non christian traditions in our church. When I suffer from the world and go to seek God’s love in the church.As a woman, I don’t find it. Actually, I am in peace and in good relationship with God when I don’t go to Church. For you priests before all men in the church, God’s love to women is conditioned with our substitution to men

      My daughter when she was a teenager, she wanted to be part of the Church, she learnt that she can’t because she is a girl. My daughter left the church and she never stepped a foot in any church. And because she left the church young, she did not have enough foundation to keep her relationship with God.

      I am sure that God will ask you priests and bishops and men head of the Church about the talents,that God gave you and you did not even keep it but lost it

      Liked by 1 person

  18. It is very interesting to read your article and comments.
    Married to a Coptic iconographer, we often discuss the subject of female saints and why there are not many represented in the church’s iconographical cycles. This is specifically to do with request. Why not begin to address the imbalance by requesting female saints and donating the icons to the church? Icons are very powerful reflectors on things spiritual and when female saints are included in Sunday schools for example, they impart unmentionable wisdom that guide a child from childhood to adult years. Many female saints are included in the daily readings for ecclesiastical celebrations (menological calendar/ Coptic Synexarium). Insist that ‘new’ female saints are iconised. Some donors have their names written on the icon as a reminder to future generations. As this is an ongoing identity issue which is specifically to do with culture, your daughters will ask the same questions. Make sure you have answers now.

    About sexism: I was culturally educated by matriarchs, so I try not to take on board the misogynistic behaviour, coupled with some racist attitudes commonly chucked at those of us in the Coptic Church from different ethnicities. Over the last 3 decades the expansion of the Coptic Church brings to it a rainbow of many new converts who also face similar prejudices in their own ethnic communities. It makes sense therefore that we, who profess to be a part of the body of Christ, speak up, as society will forever hold us guilty. Those of us living in the West where multicultural mixes include many from traditional societies, do face changes whether we like it or not. Although traditional values cement belief systems, social issues like mentioned cause us to change or adapt. Before God gender inequality does not exist. Remember Mary Magdalene was the first to bring the news of Christ’s resurrection to the others. Historically women have been very powerful in effecting changes in Egypt.

    About feminine issues: All women should acknowledge the “power of the goddess” – a modern term used to describe a woman’s ovulation cycle. The blood cycle is a part of creativity. it is the womb’s process of preparing itself to make room to house a young human. We do give thanks and credit to the Holy Virgin Mary who embraces this process as the God bearer…. “O Theotokos, you are the true vine who bore the Cluster of Life, ……see Third Litany,Third Hour, Agpeya/The Book of Hours.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Zack Ryder says:

    YOUR FEMINIST IDEAS ARE IDIOTIC AND A DISGRACE TO SOCIETY AND OUR CHURCH! #FELLAINI’SELBOWSAREBETTERTHANTHISGATBAGEARTICLE

    Like

  20. Sarah says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You’ve taken the words straight out of my heart and put them beautifully on paper. I’m sure you’re getting a ridiculous amount of pushback for writing this, but know that so many people feel this way, and those who don’t need to hear this and open their minds and hearts to being true Christians.

    Change can only happen on a local level, and I hope and pray that every church within our Church will begin to acknowledge these issues and do things differently.

    God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Abraham says:

    Hi everybody,

    Sorry, I don’t have the attention span to read the comments (I used it all up getting through the article), so apologies if I repeat anything that has been said in previous comments.

    Let’s start with the positives: I think this article is touching on a number of very pressing issues that need to be addressed within the church. I agree very strongly, that women should be allowed to be deacons, and to play a more active role within the liturgy and the services of the church. Within my local church, there was a time when we had more girls than boys, and the congregation decided that because the girls we getting bored during mass, that we should ask the bishop about deaconesses. So we went through the official channels to raise this point, and we even special ordered a set of deaconess tonias in white, but the idea was completely ignored.

    I am also pleased that you have spoken your mind on the matter, as it is important for others to get an understanding of where this is coming from, as sometimes it is difficult for men to appreciate the extent of these inequalities at times. Whilst I understand that you appear to have experienced / heard about quite a lot of sexism within the church / Egyptian culture, I don’t think writing an article that is sexist against men is the answer. It’s not fair to assume that all men as misogynistic pigs who prey on women and get off on feeling superior in their pretty white galabeyahs. I can appreciate that there are definitely a lot of men who do feel superior, but please do bear in mind that it is unfair to generalise; ‘Men are easily forgiven because…well they are men. “Boys will be boys” right?’ – I have seen alienation of men even in Egypt which is a much more patriarchal society compared to the lands of emigration.

    I would also like to point out, that many of these traditions and opinions are derived from / as a result of cultural flaws / differences between Egypt and the lands of emigration. Islam definitely oppresses women – no I don’t have the quotes from the Quran, but I am sure we are all aware of things like hijab, FGM and the 70 virgins and hence by extension, much of Egypt’s culture has been tainted with misogyny – which is not the fault of the church, or the congregations who have been raised in such cultures.

    An important fact to bring up here is the Deaconiasis; an ancient text handed down by the apostles which outlines the traditions of the church. This book was lost during the 4th century with the Arab invasion, and was rediscovered in the 11th century. Unfortunately, during this period, the church adopted many Islamic cultures and ideas to fill the void, such as this concept that menstruating women should not partake in the holy communion – in the Deaconiasis, this matter is discussed and it reads ‘If a woman who is having her period believes she is not worthy of the body and blood, she is a fool’ (roughly translated – sorry I don’t have the source to hand). Pope Tawadros II is currently addressing the Deaconiasis, and I understand there is a team working on the matter, so God willing we will shortly see a resurgence of the book’s values and traditions.

    With regards to Deacons, the concept of Subdeacons, Readers and Chanters was a creation of Pope Cyril IV (the Pope of reform), in order to increase the attention and turnout of men in masses. According to apostolic tradition, Deacons were a legitimate tradition – Saint Stephen was probably the most famous example, but this idea of lower deacon ranks with reduced permissions / responsibility could be argued as a fabrication of the church. To avoid people making this argument, this Pope laid out a strict set of guidelines for appointment of these lesser deacon ranks, which nowadays unfortunately are being largely ignored. One could make the same argument for women, and create subdeacon classes for females – just an idea of mine.

    I really think there is room for improvement in this matter within the church – I would love to see female deacons serving and singing hymns. My church has a tiny congregation, and there are only two deacons who serve outside singing all the hymns – we could truly benefit with more people. My ending piece of advice to any girl/women/group who wishes to bring this up with a Bishop or higher, is that people are taken more seriously when they have put effort into something: in this case, I think you need to make sure you’ve done your homework in researching this matter extensively, finding an english copy of the Deaconiasis and reading it, looking at official deacon regulations and requirements and comparing them to current practice, and also making some sort of an effort to learn the hymns of the church which is integral to deacon activities.

    God bless, and I hope I live to see this sort of change take place in the church.

    Abraham

    Like

  22. Mira Maximous says:

    I am also a Coptic Orthodox woman and I find it so sad that there are posts like this that cause dissension in the Church. As women in the Church we should try to imitate St. Mary who considerate herself a servant for the servants and never went after “her rights.” Because of this, Christ exalted her. The Church has gone through too much by external enemies for mentalities like this to start turning women against the Church who obviously values and honors women a lot.

    Sorry if I am being stern with you but I feel you should have addressed your concerns privately with your spiritual father. By publicly putting this up, you may be a stumbling block to others and I think you should take it down.

    Like

    • Hanna says:

      Sorry Maria, but I disagree. The expectation that each woman is a saint, The church put so many crosses on the women shoulder that they can’t carry it themselves.

      The disciples were not leaders, but servants. They are the ones who served the food to the 5000
      and collected the left over.

      Men and women are both servants. Humility and submission is for both. There is not superiority in Christianity.

      And I thank the woman who posted the blog. Lots of girls and women leave the church. Heads of the church will be asked for their souls

      Liked by 1 person

  23. oneofmanymina says:

    @Hanna: Men and women are both servants. Humility and submission is for both. There is not superiority in Christianity.

    I like that statement. Christ established the faith for everyone to be a servant. He did set apart leaders though, and in the same time called them to serve. Those were the members of the current Priesthood we have in the Church.

    Much of the arguments from women result from the thinking that there is a blurred line between Clergy and Laity. But the reality is, there isn’t a blurred line–it’s a very dark and bold line that will never change. Most of the ignorance i see this article and many comments i get from women about the topic can be attributed to this too.

    There is also the misunderstand in the difference in duties between deacons and deaconesses. We are not ignoring that the rank of deaconesses exist…however, most of the people that refer to the rank know nothing about the characteristic of the female nominated for the rank, nor the duties of the rank. Do the research and you will find that deacons and deaconess are in no way the same in the Church and specifically in a liturgical service. @Abraham suggested that they ordered “deaconess tonias” but that makes no sense because no such thing has ever existed in our Coptic Orthodox Church. In a way, we can go as far as saying it’s “heretical” to say such a thing. That’s why HE Metropolitan Serapion keeps clarifying, what he has in his diocese is NOT a chorus of deaconess, but it’s a church choir.

    But who cares about what I say here, or anywhere else, or anything that you guys say?! Articles of anonymous people on the internet mean nothing at all–they have no weight in reality. They are just bits on the internet-0s and 1s that make some people feel good and maybe frustrated, but that’s it. They don’t bring you to heaven and they definitely won’t change the Church, because those who hide in the shadow, will never see the light or be heard. The people that actually matter and who has the authority and credentials to make a change, see these shadow games and ignore them. Just remember, the shadow will always vanish when light comes…this is what will happened to this article…

    Like

  24. Lazarus says:

    Hello,

    My name is Father Lazarus Yassa. I want you to know that your church loves you and all of her children who have stopped coming for whatever reason. We need you! We love you! There is no church like our mother. Our Lord Jesus is ever present in our church, and I personally reach out to anyone who would be open to sit down and discuss any hurt they have. We are all sinners and I am truly the chief. I love you all and please pray for me as I pray for you.

    II Corinthians 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.

    lazarusyassa@gmail.com

    in Christ,
    lazarus

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Abraham says:

    I stumbled across this article again; the internet is a strange place ^^

    I’ll write a response, purely for the sake of making a more holisitc article archive for people who might visit this thread later on; I am not trying to upset or antagonise.

    @oneofmanymina We did order a set of deaconess tonias. There is a lovely little room/office in the Old Patriarcate in Cairo with four or five very skilled sewers, seamstresses and handiwomen who make custom tonias and sashes. They normally deal with orders for high quality tonias, or for deacons with less regular body types.

    When my family and I visited their shop at the behest of our church, we asked them about deaconess tonias, and were met with very confused expressions. But we had the measurements for the tonias, and a rough idea of the design. Yes it was not a typical order, and I don’t know if it has been made before, but ultimately it was simply a slight variation on the deacon tonias. Even if we didn’t describe them as ‘deconess tonias’ we would still have ordered deacon tonias with those measurements, as they would have worked fine.

    This took place perhaps seven or eight years ago, but I doubt they would have shut down their operations as there was considerable interest. If anyone is after an excellent tonia and sash, I’d highly recommend inquiring about this place.

    I disagree with your use of the work ‘heresy’. As I understand it, we use the term to describe deviations from the central dogma of the church; the divinity of Christ, the matters of salvation etc. I have never seen it used before to describe cultural/traditional changes.

    If you want proof, any member of a congregation of the non-chalcedonian churches (the Oriental Orthodox churches), can receive communion at any of the other non-chalcedonnian churches. We have a Syrian Orthodox family and an Ethiopian family, who regularly attend and participate in the holy liturgy, and were not required to be rebaptised. Yet the other Oriental orthodox churches display a spectrum of differences in traditions and cultures withing their churches and masses – would that make them heretics whom we allow to partake of the sacraments? Of course not.

    Pope Cyril IV (the Pope of reform) created the subdeacon ranks. If we are to accept that this was the right thing to do (and not a heresy), then by extension we should be able to grasp the concept of creating a liturgical deaconess, as it follows the same logic of a non-consecrated member of laity serving in the altar / mass.

    Please be careful, as heretic is such a strong word, and could easily upset other Christians who are not deserving it.

    Quote:
    —“But who cares about what I say here, or anywhere else, or anything that you guys say?! Articles of anonymous people on the internet mean nothing at all”—

    I agree that in an ideal world, we could all sit around a table and talk this over. However, there are always going to be barriers with the creation of such a forum: social barriers with the young being able to disagree strongly with the old / more senior, logistical barriers with getting everyone together at the same time and place etc. So I don’t think it is bad when people voice their thoughts via the internet.

    God bless
    Abraham

    Like

    • I tried to discuss that with many priests, I even sent an email to the pope. Priests don’t understand and don’t want any change in the church and the pope never replied to my messages.
      I go to the church but avoid sermons, as Priests can really use Paul’s letters to dominate and hurt women. The sad part of it, they don’t even feel it
      To be fair, only one priest, did understand and he is the only one that I see Jesus in him.
      Articles of anonymous people means people who don’t trust that the church will listen and respect their views

      Liked by 1 person

  26. oneofmanymina says:

    The following are all responses to @Abraham…since he took the time to kindly respond to me.

    – “deaconess tonias”–the term doesn’t mean anything in our church. By saying so, you are simply confirming the incorrect belief that the duties of “deacons” and “deaconesses” are the same in liturgical service. shops in egypt that make tonias and liturgical vestments of priests and bishops in general have been doing it wrong for many many years (an example, look at the last point of: http://tasbeha.org/community/discussion/15954/the-holy-synod-decisions-june-2016#latest). Our tonia’s as deacons are in way wrong with all the “decorations” (for the lack of a better word) on them. They will make WHATEVER you request and pay for. Our synod doesn’t control what every shop does or doesn’t, so you can’t take that as a proof for anything.

    – “I disagree with your use of the work ‘heresy’”. The definition of the word is: a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion (merriam-webster). The word doesn’t only identify wrong teachings of dogma and doctrine. By making a garment and calling it a “deaconess tonia”, while a tonia is a liturgical vestment, you are saying that deaconess have a role in a liturgical service that requires them to wear a tonia. that doesn’t exist in our Church and to imply it, is against our belief and understanding of Priesthood as a mystery–that’s where the heresy is. The example you mentioned has nothing to do with our topic. We are united with these churches. The Orthodox church (oriental and eastern) agree on the understanding of Priesthood.

    This is what i have wrote in my original comment…a refresher:
    There is also the misunderstand in the difference in duties between deacons and deaconesses. We are not ignoring that the rank of deaconesses exist…however, most of the people that refer to the rank know nothing about the characteristic of the female nominated for the rank, nor the duties of the rank. Do the research and you will find that deacons and deaconess are in no way the same in the Church and specifically in a liturgical service.

    – Pope Cyril IV (the Pope of reform) DID NOT create the rank of Subdeacon in our church. This is the same to the rank of Chanter where people think that it was created by Pope Shenouda III. We have sources of either ranks rites dating back to the 14th century. Either popes helped bringing back ranks, but i won’t get into those details right now. A pope doesn’t have the authority to make such a change. However, the holy Synod does. We do not believe in papal infallibility but the entire Synod of the church, through the Holy Spirit in them, acts as the voice of God on earth.

    -“I agree that in an ideal world, we could all sit around a table and talk this over. However, there are always going to be barriers with the creation of such a forum:…”

    I don’t disagree with that statement. But i do disagree on the reasoning for “people [voicing] their thoughts via the internet”. I am fully open with people voicing their thoughts anywhere…but only in the context where in doing so, they are not triggering others unbelief in which instead of questioning the Church and asking real individuals in authority, we just get people that are protesting without the will to understand why things are the way they are and why they may not be easily changed. It’ll be like a one way argument–people just fighting for change without accepting compromise.

    Like

  27. God's Girl says:

    Keep doing what you’re doing! I believe that there will be changes in the Coptic church and hopefully I will get to see it someday. For I believe that if my church tells me to be submissive to my husband as the church is submissive to God. Then the church is representing man as God, which is very illogical, because we are human and a man will make mistakes and if I feel the need to oppose him and voice myself it should be acceptable (he is not God). In a successful relationship, I think that “Love” from one side of the relationship is not enough, because it is as if we don’t give the man any role in a relationship, but what is already required of him (love). It’s as if the church assumes that women are not required to love their husbands, which is something that I think is the same as slavery for without love and just submission how can you say that women are equal to men.

    while I know that St. Mary is blessed among women, we can also argue that it was written about St. John the Baptist “I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). So should we then take out all of the male saints in the commemoration of the saints and only put St. John the Baptist and St. Mary??? While being a girl in the Coptic church I find it really hard to thrive to become like St. Mary, she was a chosen one just like St. John the Baptist (so I can’t tell men to act more like St. John, because he was born to prepare for Christ’s coming). He was the greatest and no human can top him, so was St. Mary! We have St. Demiana, St. Berbara, and many more (even girls at the age of 8 and 10 that have died for Christ why are we so reluctant to commemorate them, while their faith is stronger than ours.)

    I think that girls are willing to compromise if the church finds a line in the middle where we can meet, because while priests are opening up now about the subject. They actually shut girls down. For instance, one of the head authorities in the Church wrote in his book about youth concerns that it is “satanic thoughts” that drive women to think they want to be deacons or priests. While I agree that women can’t be priests, when reading this book I felt offended to think that questioning in the Coptic church can lead to people saying “satanic thoughts”. That is definitely not the way to answer a youth that is developing and still discovering life.

    I am now being asked by my Sunday School girls that are in grade one why they can’t be deacons and I ask anyone that opposes this idea to tell me what to tell a little girl at that age? The issue will not be ignored for long and I think that the church needs to take it into consideration.

    During the 17th century Anna Maria Van Schurman wrote a book about Whether a Christian woman should be educated. All the men told her that it will never happened and that she is dreaming for women are inferior to men (intellectually) and she proved them wrong. Thank you for voicing this really big issue out in the open, it’s better to say it than to ignore it.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Greg B says:

    First and foremost thank you for taking your time in reading this.
    Point 1 I agree with

    Point 2: If you listen to the order of the Verses of the Cymbals, or the Hitens, or any hymn with multiple saints, female martyrs are always mentioned before the great desert fathers. ALWAYS. Each saint mentioned in the Commemoration is representation of an oblation. It’s not meant to be perceived as sexist, since oblations are genderless.
    “It was as though the heart of the Virgin Mary had been pierced with a sword when she shared the sacrifice of her Son on the Cross.
    John, the forerunner, was beheaded because he preached the coming of Christ and told the people to repent.
    St. Mark served and preached the name of Christ to the people until he was dragged along the streets of Alexandria and was martyred.
    St. Severus, St. Discoros and St. Athanasios all defended the faith even to death.
    St. Peter, the Seal of Martyrs, was slain for his people, like He who had been slain for the world.
    St. John Chrysostom was slain for his impartiality.
    The three hundred and eighteen fathers assembled at Nicea, the one hundred and fifty fathers assembled at Constantinople, and the two hundred fathers assembled at Ephesus were all a testimony to the Lord in defending the Apostolic Faith.
    Abba Anthony and Abba Paula left the world and followed Jesus, enduring many spiritual hardships until the end. They were dead to this world, living in the mountains and the wilderness because of their great love for Jesus Christ. Abba Macarius tolerated iniquity and humiliation until death, like Jesus who endured disgrace.
    The powerful Abba Moses the Black offered true repentance and wrestled with sin until death.” (The Rites of the Holy Liturgy)

    Point 3: The reason you don’t take communion during menstruation is because you have the Body of the Lord in you. The Body is food, “for my Body is food indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed,”(John 6:55) and it gets stripped away of nutrients to replenish the body, and gets in the bloodstream. You cannot take communion, for some portion of it to be lost in that way. It’s the same reason for why we cannot spit after taking communion, or the deacons can’t blow out their candles after taking communion. Or why there is a holdup when Abouna/partaker of communion drops the Body or Blood and they have to find it and burn it, or burn the item the blood fell on.

    Point 4: Let’s use what you wrote-
    For the man-
    “Have compassion
    on her and always hasten to do that which will
    gladden her heart. Take care of her as her
    parents did in love and in humility
    remembering that you have been crowned by
    this spiritual and heavenly marriage and
    confirmed by the grace of God. Remember
    that if you fulfill the divine commandments
    which urge you to look after your wife”

    If a husband is always hastening to do things to make his wife happy, why would she disagree with him? The church is not talking about trivial stuff such as what food they want for dinner. If a husband treats his wife with love and humility, he would most definitely not rape her. The husband is a representation of Christ in the family. If the husband and wife are God fearing people, the marriage will blossom. If you want statistics, in the US, about 50% of marriages end in divorce. In the coptic church? Less than 10%. I think we might be on to something…

    Point 6: There are no need for deaconesses in today’s society. If you look up what the role of one is, you’d realize they are an archaic role. What we currently have is an Ecclesiastical Choir, not deaconesses. It was created to encourage young girls to learn hymns, and increase their participation in the liturgy.

    In conclusion-
    Everything in the church has a reason. Nothing is improvised. Before “ranting” about what bothers you, look up why they were instituted. Men and Women weren’t always separated as they currently are. We didn’t fast before communion. Heck, we didn’t fast the apostles fast. But there were things that occurred that called for these adjustments. I suggest The Rites of the Holy Liturgy by Bishop Matteaus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus, and The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware.

    Like

  29. Cyril says:

    I am a man who left the coptic church with my wife. We found indescribable beauty in the eastern orthodox church.

    I agree with everything you mentioned in your article.

    In the eastrn orthodox church, you will find the beauty of the true Christian faith without all the things that bother you in the coptic church.

    We attend an Antiochian Orthodox Church and have found rest and comfort in Her.

    Women lead the chanting at my Church. And I must say their voices are so angelic; we feel like we are in heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Rajeev says:

    I often attend a Coptic Church with my friends ever since I became a Christian some years ago (though I am not Egyptian). I can tell you that we all take the misogyny with a grain of salt. Every time the woman’s marriage vows are repeated during theology discussions or mentioned during fellowship hour, all of us young people, both men and women, break out into raucous laughter! Even abuna smiles and rolls his eyes. We’re all educated young professionals and by no means lukewarm Christians. Many of us listen to sermons by Father Zakaria Botros and Brother Rachid, volunteer with Coptic Orphans, and attend church and Bible study every week. But nearly all favor gay rights and a good number aren’t even remotely bothered by the fact that I’m pro-choice on reproductive rights (and many women and even men quietly agree with me). Women certainly do aspire to marriage and motherhood there, just as we men aspire to marriage and fatherhood. But there are plenty of women who hit 30 who are unmarried (though nearly all are married within a few years of that). I wish you could attend the church I go to. You would feel so much more at home.

    Like

    • haha that sounds like a good group of people to hang around, most people in the churches I’ve been to are complete bigots and have very backwards views on women’s rights and other issues
      Thank you for your messages!

      Like

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