B L O W O U T

On Why Women Should Become Orthodox?

Or rather why they should want to.

I thought long and hard on this question and at first did not know how to actually address it but then it came to me that I should look at things from a wider perspective. What does the world have to offer women? What does God have to offer?

In the secular world I see women bound with shackles of various kinds. Our secular society has told women that to obtain power and worth they must either compete with men, try to be a man, or bare themselves nearly naked or fully naked. Women are shackled by continually changing beauty standards, many of which cause one to undergo multiple surgeries and causes the woman to be crippled by insecurity and low self-worth.

The hyper-sexualization of our modern culture tells women they are only truly empowered when they show as much skin as possible, open Onlyfans accounts, and make large sums of money from their bodies, visually or physically. Again, this is bringing a woman's value down to that of a product, to be bought and exploited, and not to be respected as a human with a heart and soul. The secular world literally promotes soul- selling in this world and does not care about the harm it does to either of the sexes. Naturally the idea of selling one’s soul is merely laughed at and not thought of as something serious.

We are told by societal pressure and media that women have to fight to be in any high ranking, respected positions yet the women of God who were rulers in the past were respected far and wide, even feared! St.Olga of Kyiv took over the rule of Kyiv after her husband was brutally murdered, she enacted a fierce and legendary vengeance on her enemies, she was respected, and she was loved by her people. She is one of the first to bring Orthodoxy to the Slavic people and her grandson, who she raised, was Grand Prince Vladimir who later becomes the incredible Saint and baptizer of the Rus. Thus, through St.Olga, the fierce grandmother and wise instructor to the young prince, a whole country was given the true faith.

We are told that women are not respected in academia or in the realm of philosophy yet, St.Olympia, the deaconess who worked closely with the great theologian St. John Chrysostom, was highly respected in her time, considered a true intellectual!

We are told that women can’t do things in this world because it’s a man’s world, that we have no influence (unless we undress or compete with men).

My own patron saint, St.Nino, who traveled to a pagan country (Georgia) at the age of 12 in search of Christ’s robe converted many and was even accompanied by princess St. Rhipsimia and 50 virgins, all of whom were martyred for the faith after St.Rhipsimia refused to renounce Christ and to marry a foolish king.

St. Nino converted the land of Georgia to Christianity, Kings, Queens, nobility, peasants and farmers, and for her years of labor for the Lord she was given the title St. Nino Equal to The Apostles!

St. Nino, young, small, and brave because of her faith in the Lord did wonders, while never having to marry or undress. She chose her path and was granted blessings from God.

The women of God are free.

They have the most true freedom one can have on this earth, freedom only God can give.

No matter what life threw at these Christian women, they were free.

The women of God are more versatile than wildflowers, they can be gentle like the Most Holy Mother, or they can be wise like Ruth, fierce like St.Olga, they can rule kingdoms like St.Tamara of Georgia who is still to this day beloved by the Georgian people and all who know her story. She is still hated by her enemies who were never able to find her body and want vengeance since they couldn’t have it during her life. Her people hide her body so well that no one to this day knows where her tomb resides.

This just scratches the surface.

In the world one is bound by lies. So many women do not know how great their value is and neither does our society. In many countries women are not elevated, they can be easily bought and sold, and are seen as nothing more than property. This is not how God intended it, God created woman from man, for man, and for the world. Eve was the crescendo of creation, God created everything else already, then he created Adam in His own image, and still he looked overall and said that something was missing. He created Eve and all was set in perfect balance. Eve is the Glory of man not the slave, not property, but the Glory! She has an important role, a mission, and she is a helper to Adam. God loves all his creation, he even named every star... just think about that, he even loved every blade of grass. Now, imagine the love he has for woman, the completion of his masterpiece!

There is no freedom like the letting go of our will, letting go of the shackles of the world and following God, the one who sets us free with his divine unceasing love. Through him women are truly empowered, through him, women can be the fullness of their calling. And please remember what I said about the wildflowers, with God a woman’s calling is not one thing, if you follow him, he will take you on the greatest journey of your life, whether this is motherhood, being a wife, ruling a great city, healing the sick, converting a nation and much more, I couldn’t name it all! With God the possibilities are endless, but one thing is sure, you will be free, your heart, your soul, your mind, and you will be fulfilled in your calling. You will have the strength to overcome all, you will become a fierce warrior of God and he will never leave you.

God designed women perfectly, he will give you the heavens if you follow him, he will set you free... and let me tell you, from personal experience, after a life of constantly ignoring him, following my will, and listening to the lies of this world, which left me miserable and empty, after all of that leaving me unfulfilled, I finally said “Ok God, I’ll listen, I’ll follow you even when it’s hard or doesn’t make sense.”

I was immediately set free. I’ve never tasted something so sweet in my life, everything has been put to ease, and I have been uplifted and given wings to help me soar. It’s something I wish for every woman I see, every woman I see shackled by this world, by society, and by the lies they have been fed.

Still one needs to know why Orthodoxy? Why does a woman have to become Orthodox to experience God in this profound way, couldn’t she just stay Protestant or Roman Catholic?” While it is true that women throughout history have drawn close to God outside of the Church the reality is that no other Christian group has drawn as many, as closely, while retaining individuality and femininity. Look at the lives of Roman Catholic saints, there are only several feminine models of piety, the same is historically true of Protestant women. And don’t misunderstand me and think that I am saying those women were not as free, but that they lacked the fullness and understanding of the true faith. In Orthodoxy women have the opportunity to become most truly and fully themselves because the Church is truly and fully Christ’s. Every woman is called to her own path of self-realization and growth in the fullness of who Christ is in his Holy Church, it’s not about models or ideologies but the reality of a woman, her entire life, her community & context, and ultimately: her God, and union with him in the garden that he planted, His Church.

This is why women should become Orthodox Christians and this is why they should follow God.

My humble opinions. Sincerely,

Bronwyn DeGraff

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