About the Antiochian Women
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America is an organization of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, founded in 1973 through the vision of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba).
The Antiochian Women follows the structure of other organizations of the Antiochian Archdiocese, with member chapters at the local parish level, regional leadership - elected by delegates of the local member chapters—for each of the seven geographical regions established for the Archdiocese, and North American leadership - (the North American Board or “NAB”) - elected by delegates of the regions to the meeting of the Antiochian Women coinciding with the biennial convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
The history of the Antiochian Women has been rich and varied. As the organization celebrated twenty eight years in July 2001, it had raised over $1,273,000.00 towards its annual Projects, funding humanitarian programs and projects of the Antiochian Archdiocese and participating in the preparation of a legacy for the generations to follow. It has encouraged a new generation of women to explore the fullness of their ministry in the Orthodox Church, and has established a network of retreats and symposia providing a forum for the development of fellowship and the deepening of faith.
The purposes of the Antiochian Women are:
To develop among women throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese a spirit of Christian leadership, awareness and commitment as taught in the Holy Orthodox Church.
To foster among women throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese a genuine expression of love and service through works of charity, and
To instill among women throughout the Antiochian Archdiocese and the community at large a sense of fellowship and a deeper understanding of the heritage and traditions of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the Orthodox Church.
The primary areas of focus of the Antiochian Women are represented on the North American Board by several standing committees, the coordinators of which are appointed by the president of the Antiochian Women. These standing committees are:
Religious: The Religious Committee promotes spiritual activities, including retreats and other special programs for women, adult education programs and special programs observing specific feasts and fasts of the liturgical calendar.
Humanitarian: The Humanitarian Committee promotes and encourages projects and programs of a humanitarian nature, drawing from the legacy of humanitarian good works performed by women in the parishes of the Antiochian Archdiocese throughout its history.
Project: The Project Committee has the responsibility of coordinating the raising of funds from women throughout the Archdiocese to benefit one specific fund-raising project adopted each year by the Antiochian Women.
Participation in the Antiochian Women can truly include every woman in the Archdiocese in that we are all called to be members by our personal acceptance of the charge “take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it” (Col 4:17).
There is a local chapter of the Antiochian Women near you. To participate in the ministry, renewal and programs of the Antiochian Women, join the women’s organization of your local Antiochian Orthodox parish. Through the programs of the Antiochian Women, as expressed in the setting of your parish and local community, participate with other women from all across North America in the ministry of women in the Church.
The Church of Jesus Christ consists of every person in it, clergy and lay people pulling together and working together. The Community of Christians is described in the Scriptures as “a priesthood of all believers”. We are all ministers of Jesus Christ, whether men or women, ordained or lay, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. Without exception, each and every one of us is called to serve our Lord and our church in ways that allow God’s love to shine through us, for the benefit of others.
"Last, but not least, 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 in the church just to the kitchen. Both the Old and the 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 and were instruments of His Divine purpose in history. We don't have to consult the past too much in order to prove our point. If you just look around you in your own parish, you find those devout ladies serving God as church teachers, choir members, youth leaders and fund raisers. It is very disappointing that in some parishes women are not allowed to vote or to be elected to Church Councils. We must definitely do away with this Medieval and archaic outlook concerning women. Our church does not teach that women are inferior to men. Despite their different functions, men and women are equal in the eves of God because both were redeemed by His Precious Blood. St. Paul said. 'There is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians 3:28). I propose, therefore, that a National Sisterhood of Charity be organized in the Archdiocese. The structure and goals of this organization will be defined in the future. I also propose that the President of this Sisterhood, by virtue of her office, should become a member of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese and should report annually to this General Assembly."
--Metropolitan Philip, Los Angeles, California, 1972