In 1972, at the Archdiocese Convention in Los Angeles, California, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip stated, "We must realize once and for all that women have a definite ministry in the life of the Church. Very often we have the tendency to confine women's role to the kitchen. Both the Old and New Testaments testify beyond doubt to the important role which women played in the history of salvation. Time does not permit me to speak in detail about Ruth, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachael, the Virgin Mary, the Ointment-Bearers, the Deaconesses and many others who ministered to the church and Christ. I propose, therefore, that a NATIONAL SISTERHOOD OF CHARITY be organized in the Archdiocese."
Yes, I am an Antiochian woman. We (we women, that is) are all Antiochian Women. You may be saying to yourself, “Is she referring to me?”; “I don’t belong to our women’s chapter organization – I sing in the choir”; “I teach Sunday School”; “I belong to the Fellowship of St. John the Divine”; “I make altar cloths and help clean the church.” My dear sisters in Christ, by virtue of your baptism and chrismation into the Antiochian Orthodox Church, you are an Antiochian woman.
As mothers, daughters , grandmothers, we are by nature nurturers, caregivers, and comforters of the sick and infirm. Whether we help cook for the church, fundraise for worthwhile church projects, make altar cloths, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or support battered women and their families, we are all serving God. In doing so, we are following in the footsteps of many pious, humble and faithful women who served the Lord with their whole beings, women such as the Virgin Mary, the ointment-bearers, the deaconesses who served Christ and the church, Martha who prepared and served Jesus a meal, and her sister, Mary, who, “took a very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair” (John 12:3). Each of these women with their many gifts cared for the Lord in her own way.
by Fr. Daniel Daly, Spiritual Advisor for Midwest Antiochian Women
(Editor’s note: Fr. Daniel took excerpts from the following sermon in a talk he gave to Midwest women in fall 2010. Published in DIAKONIA Winter 2010-2011)
"Going therefore teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you...”
The Church is in the world to carry out the mission given to it by the Lord Himself. The church must carry out the ministries of : 1. evangelization and witness, 2. the sacramental mission of worship and sacrament, 3. the ministry of fellowship, 4. the ministry of charity.
Our ministry of evangelization is carried out in various ways in the church. In addition to the Sunday sermon we have our church school programs and our adult education series. We have bookstores, which can be very popular with our visitors. We are very blessed in Orthodoxy that our building and our icons proclaim the message of the Gospel. In addition to all these things we have the individual witness of each of you. We have a duty to witness both to the people within this faith community and to those outside. In all that we do here in our church we do so with the realization that our church does not only exist for those within this parish, but it also has a mission to those outside it as well.