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Patristic Theology on Men and Women

by Dr. Constantinos Yokarinis

Warsaw December 1996

The Church as Christ’s Body is a new creation, because the Incarnated
God-Logos καινοτομε φύσεις . It is not simply a restoration of the
fallen human nature, but a rebirth and ανακαίνισις. From this point of
view, as regard with woman’s difference from man must be said that:
woman is not any more the bearer of the curse and consequently her
subordination to man could not be supported as continuing neither her
second role.

Therefore, in terms of theological anthropology none of the well known
arguments, which were established by an androcentric society in the span
of two millennia can be accepted as a criterion of difference other
than that of the particularity of the human person.

It is remarkable that recently a special interest is
showing by various international organizations for the woman as regards
her rights and her social status. Values of the past, ideas,
stereotypes of behavior come to close scrutiny and there is an
increasing sensitivity for situations, which appear to be quite
provocative today for what the man of the past considered as reasonable
and natural. The woman’s inferior position in the context of society,
witnessed by the history, her subordination to man and her manipulation
as a human being by various social-economic factors, in today’s social
context are judged as unacceptable situations and practices which
underrate woman’s person. So, today, when she demands the recognition
of the equality male and female to all levels of her existence and the
same respect and honor to be offered to both of the sexes, she finds a
positive response.

The latest developments in the Anglican and in the
Old-Catholic Church in regard the issue of woman’s priesthood gained
the attention of the entire Christian community. Particularly, when the
issue became a factor, threatening to create a deeper division between
the Christian Churches, many voices heard, calling for a serious and
wider re-examination of the new situation. A conside- rable number of
articles and scientific researches, referred to the woman, see the light
of publicity on daily basis. They try to find out and present new
elements, which could change the established image of woman through the

The feminist movement was unable to touch the root of the
problem, although it has contributed positively to upgrade the woman’s
position in many levels of our contemporary society. In the Christian
Community, where the woman’s presence and function is understandable
rather on an ontological basis, than on a biological terms, and, under
the pressure of new developments, we, as theologians, have not only an
academic interest on the issue, but a duty to offer our help, in order
the Christian Church to overcome the problem.

Our consultation is looking for an answer, based on the
witness of the Church’s Tradition and specifically from the point of
view, what patristic elements can contribute towards a theological
anthropology of woman as a human being and as woman in her difference
from man.

Many views have been expressed for the above mentioned
subject, but it was difficult to reach an agreement, commonly accepted
as theologically correct. The models of biblical interpre- tation were
unable so far to offer an acceptable answer by all parts involved in
the debate. Fundamentalist attacks, feminist polemics and biblical
apologetics still characterize many discussions of women in the Bible.
However, this polemic quarrel surrounding the topic does not disqualify
the topic, but indicates how much impact the Bible has on the struggle
of women to establish their new position in the Kingdom of God.

It is quite difficult for a researcher to overcome the pre
occupations, the acceptable religious stereotypes of an audience,
their views on sensitive subjects, which have been formed under the
influence of their cultural context, their political platform and their
social-economic structure. All these elements usually interweave the
canvas of history, where, so far, the man’s presence is dominant as a
holder of the first role to any development in the history. On the other
hand, the fact of the inferior social position of women and their
subordination to man is witnessed extensively in history. Unfortu-
nately, male chauvinists have found support in ideas expressed by some
theologians, who have established the inferior role of women with
references to their inferior nature. But, In the face of the feminist
critique, contemporary scholars attempt to salvage for example the
pauline statements with the help of the equal but different argu- ment,
which is understood as the expression of orthodox anthro- pology.

Leaving aside all androcentric interpretations and any
attempt to compromise expressed views, pro and con, as regards the
equality of two genders, male and female, I will try to present a
theological anthropology, based on patristic views with a double

1) the woman as human being and

2) the woman in her difference with man.

1) The woman as human being.

Several Greek Fathers
used to refer, occasionally, to man’s creation and to the relationship
of both sexes. Sometimes, their views were converging, diverging or
differentiating. But the Fathers had a common starting point to
interpret the mystery of man’s creation, the holistic view of the human
being, which in theological terms characterized as microcosm[2]. Human nature, being more
com- plicated, possesses greater potentialities than the angelic
nature. Balanced as man is between the material and physical realms,
participating at the same time in both worlds man is a microcosm, whose
calling and task is to act as mediator, a reconciler drawing together
into one, praises of all creation, that through him all might rise in
harmony to the Creator[3].

In the context of the
first part of my topic: patristic elements towards a theological
anthropology of woman as a human being , I consider as imperative
necessity, first of all to answer a fundamental question: What is
the meaning of the phrase human nature in theological terms and from
the patristic point of view

The knowledge about our
nature, so far, and in regard to the perspectives of our existence is
not a simple spiritual conquest, is not a self knowledge, but a
revelation, which has been offered by the Creator to man. Whatever has
been written by the Church Fathers derived from the biblical source of
the two stories in the book of Genesis: a) Gen. 1:26-31 (586 BC
sacerdotal tradition) and b) Gen. 2:7-25 and 3:1-8 (900-800 BC Jahwic
tradition).The author of Genesis has used a lot of icons and symbols,
which must be interpreted in the context of the Church’s hermeneutic
tradition under the light of New Testament and the dogmatic teaching of
the One, Holy and Catholic Church.

In the patristic
literature it is difficult to find a systematic approach, concerning
our topic. Gregory of Nyssa responding to the wish of his brother Basil
the Great, completed his work on the creation under the name:
Εξαήμερος . He wrote about the [4]construction of man [5]. It is the most systematic work, based
on the biblical material. Reading the comments of the Fathers on the
biblical anthropology, it is more than clear, that most of them are
trying to analyze in theological terms the relationship of the two
sexes, male and female, because this biological characteristic appears
to be as the only observable distinction among the human beings and
consequently is a real and an understandable difference. That means a
tendency for the connection or correlation of the human being’s
particularity as a person with the biological distinctive
characteristics of male and female. In another words, it was adopted an
ontological perspective, but it is questionable, whether the two
elements, person and sex are compatible notions and values in the
approaching the topic of man’s creation.

Furthermore, we could
notice that any reference to woman’s human nature takes place
occasionally and particularly in cases of pastoral problems or needs
and always in relation to man’s human nature. Of course, in this case
we must bear in mind that Fathers are acting always in the context of
their time. The Fathers in their effort to interpret the majesty and
complexity of the sixth day of creation, which is not possible to be
grasped by the finite human mind[6], they use a double perspective. They
examine the creation of man: a) on the level of the prolapsarian
situation and b) on the level of the postlapsarian conditions.
Consequently, in order to obtain a clear understanding of their ideas
in relation with our topic, we have to follow their way of thinking,
because the above perspectives create the context of their theological
interpretation towards a biblical anthropology.

a) The human
nature in the prolapsarian situation

The man’s creation
according to the Greek Fathers took place in three phases: i) the
creation of man’s body, ii) the breathing into his body and iii) the
creation of woman. As human beings living in time, we usually apprehend
the above phases in the sequence of time, although God’s actions
wouldn’t be conditioned by the time. In another words a development in
arithmetical order, in fact, is condition of history. The Fathers,
interpreting God’s creative activity in the context of time, come to a
theological conclusion, that Adam (male) became the source of Eve’s
(woman’s) creation. Such an understanding promotes the idea that Adam,
as first in the order of the human creation, possesses at least a
precedence and conse- quently a superior and distinguished always role,
while Eve, as second, has to follow. That means an inferior and
subordinated role, which has been fortified in the post-lapsarian
situation, particularly under the weight of the curse. The above
understanding is based on the biblical story, but it appears to be
differentiated[7] when some Fathers attempt to give
further theological explanations.

But, if someone tries to
examine the Fathers’ views on this point, would easily notice a very
important difference. Firstly, they understand Adam not as a sexual
human being[8], but rather as an a-sexual and
secondly, they do not accept Adam as the cause of Eve’s existence, but
God’s will and decision[9]. Therefore, the argument that Adam as
male has the precedence, because he created first, theologically is
unfounded. The phrase εποίησεν αυτους αρσεν και θηλυ is an
additional creative act, which has taken place on the same time, if we
are thinking in terms of time. The above phrase speaks out by itself,
that male human being does not exist before the second phase of man’
creation. Some other Fathers interpreting the second story of man’s
creation promote somehow the superiority of male[10].

I understand that the
Fathers tried very hard to overcome the dominant ideology of a society,
which was deeply influenced by the male idol. Sometimes, the Fathers
appear in their texts contradicting themselves[11], when they attempt to enter to the
mystery of man’s creation. And this happens because, while they try to
free the Christians from a sinful world, the world of division and
fight and to show them the new world of the Kingdom of God, they find
themselves trapped in the conditions of fall.

Regarding with the second argument, that woman derives
from the male - Adam’s rib, we can notice a differentiation between the
Fathers. John of Damascus in his reference to man’s creation claims
that the first human entity was male[12]. But later he moves to another line
of thought. He understands man’s creation in ontological terms claiming
that it took place according to the trinitarian archetype on the basis
of ποιήσωμεν . He uses an analogy[13] in his effort to show the unity of
the human nature and to prove the difference as the way of their
existence. Of course, St. John of Damascus has in mind the reality of
our post-lapsarian situation, because in this context sex has taken its
biological meaning and its function has been activated, but he moves on
the line of the ontological interpretation.

The concept that sex is
the basis of human beings differentiation couldn’t be substantiated in
theological terms, but we can see it in patristic texts as an
influence of their historic reality, serving pastoral aims. Or we can
comprehend it as a human weakness[14] to conceptualize the fact that man
as a special creature created simultaneously in his wholeness.

According to patristic
teaching the author of Genesis, in the context of this story,
emphasizes God’s three actions: a) the unique personal act of God[15] in order to show the exceptional
position of man in the entire creation, b) the different nature[16] of the human being[17], which is constituted of two
elements, body and soul. The first element, the body, shows the
relationship of man with the rest of creation[18] and the second, the soul[19], a special kinship with God. The
Fathers’ views are converging
as regards with
the above phases of man’s creation. It depends on what perspective they
try to approach this particular topic.

In the context of a
theological anthropology of woman as a human being, I understand that
the last[20] phase of the man’s creation, which
is his division into male and female form, appears to be the most
important element, because the presence and the function of women in
our world’s history has been evaluated by the criterion of her sex. It
is surprising a biological particularity to become the basis of a human
being’s evaluation on ontological level, although it is more than clear
theologically that Εις ποιητης ανδρος και γυναικος, εις χους,
αμφότεροι εικων μία, νόμος εις, θάνατος εις, ανάστασις μία

It is about time to
change standards, ideas, criteria, which have been imposed by a sinful
world and they survived till today in the most cynical way. I understand
that our historic coincidence demands a re-approaching of man’s
creation under the light of our patristic tradition and the dogmatic
teaching of the One and undivided Christian Church.

Gregory of Nyssa in his
attempt to justify theologically the division of the first man into
male and female human being says:

Δια τουτο ο ειδως τα
πάντα...προκατανοήσας τη προγνωστικη δυνάμει ο,τι ρέπει κατα το
αυτοκρατες του και αυτεξούσιον της ανθρωπίνης προαιρέσεως η κίνησις,
επειδη το εσόμενον ειδεν, επιτεχναται τη εικόνι την περι το αρρεν και
θηλυ διαφοραν, ητις ουκέτι προς το θεον αρχέτυπον βλέπει, αλλα καθως
ειρηται, τη αλογωτέρω προσωκείωται φύσε


So, according to
Gregory of Nyssa, the Creator knew in advance, what would be the final
free choice of man, towards the opened options to him, to become an
entity in His likeness. Consequently, God provided his creature, the
man, with elements enabling him to survive in a postlapsarian
situation, under the conditions of pain and tear, of wear and death.
God mixed (κατέμιξε τι και του αλόγου τη ιδία εικόνι)[23] the element of sex to ONE man, who
created in His image. This characteristic belongs to the creatures of
the lower order, which lack the divine property of logos and the
purpose of sex is the reproduction of species.

The Fathers understand
the sex as επιτέχνασμα (artifice) for the purpose to αυξάνεσθε και
πληθύνεσθε . It is a function for man’s survival δια της ζωωδεστέρας
γενέσεως [24] (brutish genesis), but even so in
the context of marriage can be seen from another perspective, as
co-operation of man, as male and female, in God’s creation[25]. So, marriage became the best
institution in human social structures for man’s survival in the
context of fall, but with a difference. In a Christian community it is
characterized by qualities of loving care, devotion to each other,
sharing of life and finally by an element of personal sacrifice
according to the paradigm of the incarnated Logos[26]. In another words marriage, as a
union of the two sexes, aims to overcome the results of fall[27] and to restore the lost unity in the
spirit of Christ[28].

The aforesaid views of
the Greek Fathers on the sex differentiation can be justified by the
words of our Lord, who clearly says that the characteristics of the
human beings, male and female, serve certain biological needs, which
have nothing to do with Kingdom of God[29]. It is more than clear that, man’s
distinction into male and female, as God’s provision, is connected only
with man’s fall.

b) The human nature in
the post-lapsarian situation

Coming back to the
question of woman’s nature, I understand that the purpose of woman’s
creation stated in Gen.2:18 has been misinterpreted by many supporters
of man’s superiority. Of course, such a mentality grew up in the
context of a postlapsarian situation. They wanted to believe that a
male human being is a bearer of special qualities and abilities, which
could make man the central entity of the entire Creation[30]. At this point I would like to
remind the dominant role of male in an androcentric- patriarchal
society. The words ου καλον ειναι τον ανθρωπον μόνον, ποιήσωμεν
αυτω βοηθον κατ αυτον
has been used as a strong weapon on behalf of
men to claim the first role, to impose their dominant rights on the
women, to justify their manipulation of women and to take any measures[31] to protect their insecurity in case
of any attempt to be disputed by the female as holders of the

At this point I have to
draw your attention to some patristic views[32], which, in some way, left room to
grow up ideas of man’s superiority. But, we must always remember, that
the Fathers lived under certain historical conditions and they tried in
many ways not to compromise Jesus’ teaching with any negative social
reality of their time. Their effort was to overcome the obstacles in a
pedagogic way, in order His message to be accepted in the most
convincing way. St. John Chrysostom, following St. Paul’s thought,
supports Adam’s distinguished position, when he writes that even Eve’s
creation took place to please Adam[33] and to become his helper.

It is more than clear
that the Fathers were trying to keep a balanced relationship between
Jesus kerygma and their historic reality. The most difficult effort is
to convince people, not simply to change their way of living, but to be
transformed ontologically. St. John Chrysostom give us an idea of the
Fathers’ effort to keep a very sensitive balance between Christian
principles and social facts and conditions in the context of his time.
He tried, for reasons of pastoral care, to support the idea that God has
decided and ordered what duties[34] are appropriate for a man and for a
woman in our every day life. In another words God has provided the
stereotypes of human behavior on the basis of man’s division into male
and female. Such a view which presents God offering roles couldn’t be
supported theologically; to the opposite, it is a direct contradiction
to the Christian faith for freedom and rejection of certain basic
dogmatic principles.

Of course, St. John
Chrysostom, in other occasions analyzing the interpersonal relationship
male and female, underlines their equality, which was established
already from the beginning of their creation, when God offered them a
leading role (
ρχέτωσαν) in the Creation[35]. The sovereignty belongs to persons,
who have personal life and the possibility to activate their charisma.
As according to trinitarian and christological dogma, the person is
coming first and prevails, the same occurs in the case of male and
female human beings[36]. If man and woman are not persons
they cannot be in the image of God.

Both of them, man and
woman, have the same nature, body and soul as they come from one
entity, called άνθρωπος [37]. The word Adam has an inclusive
meaning as source of the entire humanity (γενάρχης) or First man (πρωτάνθρωπος).
The patristic interpretation[38] of this word has constantly
emphasized the indivisible unity of the human nature and the
inseparability of man and woman.

Of course, the Fathers’
views are not theological assumptions. They are founded on the most
convincing statement. In the biblical text we have Adam’s personal
assurance: This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh
and after that he prophecies: Therefore, a man leaves
his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one
(Gen.2:24). I believe that this key expression states in the
most categorical way the sameness with woman’s nature and constitutes a
clear sign of the unity of male and female sexes. The unity of the
human nature is the basis of a theological anthropology I, personally,
believe that the sameness of the human nature is a substantial
prerequisite towards a theological anthropology, because it is founded
on the basic principle of man’s creation in His image and in His
likeness. One image means one nature[39]. Consequently, differences can be
accepted only on an ontological level, in another words on a level of
person, because biological elements, according to Gregory of Nyssa,
belong to the category of
παραπετάσματος [40].

Basil of Seleukeia interpreting the expression a deep
sleep , the miraculous creative activity, underlines the limits of
man’s understanding. The human being cannot perceive God in His
creative act, cannot observe His miracles in his genesis; he can revere
God’s creativity only as an actually accomplished act[41].

Finally, I would like to express my own personal view,
that the sameness of the human nature, male and female, is a
substantial presupposition towards a theological anthropology, which is
based on the principle that man created in the image and likeness of
God[42]. One image means one nature. So,
differences can be accepted on the particularity of person.

In the image and Likeness of God.

The fact that a
theological doctrine based upon the revelation of a living and personal
God, who created man according to his own image and likeness introduces
the meaning of person. The Greek Fathers preferred the term υπόστασις
to πρόσωπον for designating the divine persons. The line of
thought which distinguishes ουσία and υπόστασις in God
uses metaphysical terminology; it expresses itself in terms of an
ontology, in order to point out both absolute identity and absolute
difference. It was a great terminology discovery to introduce a
distinction between two synonyms in order to express the
irreducibility of the υπόστασις to the ουσία and of the person to the
essence, without, however, opposing them as two different realities.
This will enable St. Gregory of Nazianzus to say, The son is not
the Father, because there is only one father, but He is what the Father
is; the Holy Spirit, although he proceeds from God, is not the Son,
because there is only Begotten Son, but He is what the Son is

Therefore, according to
the doctrine of the Fathers, there is between ουσία and υπόστασις
the same difference as between the common and the particular, but in
ontological terms. The last term gradually was replaced by the term πρόσωπον
and was introduced to the Orthodox theology by Gregory of Nazianzus[44].

I will try to approach,
briefly, the notion ουσία and πρόσωπον or φύσις
and υπόστασις , because man’s creation took place on the basis
of two archetypes: a) the triune and b) the christological one. The
Fathers recognize as first meaning of the phrase in the image the type
of man’s creation, which in the Orthodox theology is called αρχέτυπον
of the human entity and it is only one[45]. It is very important to examine the
relation between the meaning of person or hypostasis and the notion of
sex, because in Christian anthropology this biological[46] characteristic played such a
decisive role, not only in the human relations, but in the developments
of the man’s history and civilization.

It is obvious that any
correlation of the first archetype (triune) with the notion of sex will
be a blaspheme[47]. But a lot can be said in the second
case of the christological archetype, because of the incarnation of
Logos. So, the dogma of Chalkedon comes to the center of our topic.

The creation of man in
the image and likeness of God reveals an archetype of relations of the
human beings, independently of their sex. It is a common place of our
patristic tradition that the image of God is only one and the image of
God is His Begotten Son, our christological archetype. The notion of the
Son as Image of the Father implies personal relationship; but what is
manifested by the Image is not the person of the Father but His nature,
identical in the Son. It is identity of essence which is shown in the
difference of persons; the Son, in his function of icon, bears witness
to the divinity of the Father. According to St. John of Damascus, Son is
an εικών φυσική complete, in everything like the Father,
excepting the characteristics of unbegottenness and fatherhood

Personage belongs to
every human being by virtue of a singular and unique relation to God
who created him in His image .This personal element in anthropology
discovered by Christian thought, does not indicate, in itself, a
relationship of participation, much less a kinship with God, but rather
an analogy like the personal God, in whose image he is created. What
is important to notice, in speaking of the theology of the image applied
to man, is how the human person manifests God. This is a
possibility expressed through the notion in likeness and depends on the
man’s free will and choice[49], which is a substantial
characteristic and function of the person. Of course, the Fathers, in
their writings, try to locate the image of God in the higher faculties
of man, identifying it with the νους as Gregory of Nyssa[50], but he seems to make human spirit
the seat of grace by reason of a certain proximity which it has with
the divine nature: this is an attempt of survival of the idea of συγγένεια
( relationship) inherited from Origen.

This idea is not the
only one which has been expressed by the Fathers. Tatianos understands
that image and likeness of God in the human being is the life giving
Spirit, which makes the man to participate in God’s immortality not as
an inherited possibility, but as a result of his personal spiritual
effort[51]. Basil the great considers the
human nature as μονότροπον, in another words man’s nature was facing to
the direction of union with God. Theophilus of Antioch sees something
additional to what St. Basil understands. He elucidates a character of
spiritual infancy[52] existing in the first man, which had
to be overcome in the context of an interpersonal dialogue, because
man’s charismatic factors could be activated only (εν κοινωνία).
So, a further step towards a spiritual maturity was possible, which is
meant a progress in man’s effort to move from in the image to image of
God .

woman in her difference from man

Patristic views on a
very sensitive topic, the notion of the difference male and female,
appear to be differentiated. First of all, I will try to define: a) the
nature of such a difference, b) its function and c) the results, which
are expected to be seen.

A theological
anthropology must be constructed from the top down, beginning from the
Trinitarian and Christological dogma, in order to discover in human
reality the unity of nature and the multiplicity of created hypostases,
the will which is a function of the common nature, the possession of
divine grace by created persons, etc. Then, one will understand the
extent to which the anthropological realities of our everyday
experience are deformed by sin and correspond little to the pure norms
of the new creation which is being realized in Church. Actually, the
individual who possesses a part of nature and reserves it for himself,
the subject who defines himself by opposition to all that which is not I
, is not the person or hypostasis, who shares the nature in common with
others and who exists as person in a positive relationship to other

This brief introduction
will suffice to establish that the anthropologies of the old and new
Adam, which are entangled within the complex reality of the Church,
cannot be equated. We shall pause at one only anthropological notion,
that of consciousness of our existence as σωμα Χριστου και μέλη εκ
(1 Cor.12:27).

Examining the relative
references of the Fathers, as regards with the difference of forms
(σχημάτων) of man’s existence, male and female, we noticed the

1) a special terminology is used
in order to interpret the meaning of the words male and female, and

2) the hermeneutical approach of
man’s distinction into male and female, is examining on the same time
all dimensions and parameters of a such a differentiation in the
context of fall and salvation.

In regard with the first
point someone can observe that the sex itself has been understood by
the Fathers as an external element of the human nature and for this
reason it was characterized as περίπλασμα, παραπέτασμα, σχημα. Finally,
It could be said the human nature or substance is constituted by only
two elements flesh and spirit or body and soul.

In reference to the
second point the patristic views are:

a) Sex is a distinctive characteristic added as the last
touch[53] to human nature, which belongs to
the creatures of the lower order.

b) The sexes, male and female, are not elements or
characteri- stics, which belong to the Image of God[54].

c) The sex is God’s provision in his capacity to foresee
the man’s fall[55] which, under the new conditions,
will be activated as reproductive[56] ability to secure the survival of
the human race.

d) In the prolapsarian situation the existence of sex
distinction was unnoticed. Adam and Eve had no consciousness of their
difference as we understand that, because they were living as angels[57].

e) The sex as division, as a sign of the opposite, creates
condi- tions of conflict and irreconcilable war[58],

It is obvious that the
Fathers’ views on the nature of sex are converging. They understand it
as biological element with a unique purpose the survival of the human
race. Consequently, any attempt to consider it as basic component and
substantial part of the human nature, common to all human beings can be
criticized as theologically unfounded, because the human nature has
been defined throughout the patristic literature as a union of body and
soul. We can convince ourselves that this is the Fathers’ faith, if we
focus our attention on the dogma of Chalkedon[59]. And specifically, the patristic
understanding as regards with the human nature of the incarnated Logos
has been expressed in the most distinct and clear way by John of
Damascus: ...whatever Adam the first had (without only the sin),
which are body and logical soul and mind... [60].
This statement opens the
way of a theological understanding of the sex’s nature and consequently
of its existence and role in our life.

Speaking about a
theological anthropology of woman in her difference from man, we must
always bear in mind the words of Maximos the Confessor that the
mystery of the incarnated Logos has (includes) the power for
understanding all enigmas and types of the Holy Scripture and also has
(offers the knowledge) the science (to understand) the phenomena and
the intellectual things

Another patristic
element, which supports the above view that the sex is not a
substantial component of the human nature, but a characteristic, added
by the Creator as a potentiality and provision, in order to be
activated under a situation, which according to the Fathers is not κατά
φύσιν ,
appears to be the fact, that the first Adam, the one and
undivided human being and nature has been torn [62] into forms of existence called male
and female.

This perspective of sexes’ comprehension
can be seen expressed by St. John Chrysostom, when he states: This
is the Church’s axiom and angelic situation. No one was there torn,
neither male, nor female. Such I want to be the Churches and now
[63]. In another
words, he evaluates the division of man into male and female as a
negative element, which must be abolished. It is more than obvious,
that this distinction couldn’t be used in a theological anthropology as
an ontological criterion, particularly, when this specific difference
belongs to non logic nature[64]

The Church is the existential environment
of her members. In Church’s liturgical life and, particularly, in the
context of Eucharist the believers can experience the sotiriological
results of His sacrifice. It is a basic theological inconsistency for
one to believe in Christ, Who recapitulated the divided man and the
Creation in His God-man hypostasis[65] and, at the same time, to be
confined in his weakness to conceptualise the restoration of man’s
unity in God-man’s person. And the worst of that is, the distinction of
the human beings, into male and female, still remains as a criterion
of difference i the new era of Kingdom of God. At this point we could
approach our topic on a christological and sotiriological basis.

Lately, we have experienced a strong shock
coming from the most serious problem of the wider Christian community,
the question of women’s ordination . A conflict and a further division
is threatening to destroy all efforts for a closer co-operation and a
better understanding between the Christian Churches. The split of man
is the heart of the above problem. The fact that a human being, who
happened to be female, because of her sex must be excluded from the
priesthood. Unfortunately, the maleness, a form of division connected
with the man’s fall and sin, became a divine property (!).

The incarnated Logos opens a new page in
man’s history. He becomes the second Adam. So, our topic: the woman in
her difference from man must be approached on a new basis, which is the
dogma of Chalkedon. We have to ask ourselves: What means for all human
beings, male or female, the humanisation of God? I will try to touch
this chapter from the point of view of the consequences for the human
nature in theological terms.

The Fathers unanimously accept that the
incarnated Logos has assumed in His perfect human nature[66] both, male and female. If we do not
accept this fact, then according to Gregory of Nazianzus a non assumed (element) is
[67]. In another words, the woman must be
excluded from the sotiriological results of the incarnated God-Logos
and consequently the dogma of Chalkedon must be change (!)

When the Fathers refer to the human nature
of God-Logos, they use the terms άνθρωπος
(man) or ανθρωπότητα (humanity), which declares the nature. I
could not find any reference to his maleness in order to be underlined
the importance or the role of such biological characteristic in the
story of the divine Economy. To the contrary, I noticed a tendency on
their behave to ignore this element, when they speak about the
recapitulation of the entire Creation in Himself. Of course, they do
not ignore the fact of the male character of His human nature and they
offer a very important explanation. They comprehend His male form in
terms of a relationship: in order to remain the property
(υιότης) immovable (unchanged)
[68], even on the level of His humanity,
proving and convincing in that way, how genuine He is and co-essential (
,oɳior) to our human nature. Therefore His maleness as bearer
of the meaning (
u tgr), declares a
relationship in the same way, as does His hypostasis as Son of God .
Further more, His male character offers to us that we were given by
grace and what Jesus Christ has by nature: (
u tgta).

Also, another argument
could possibly brought up in order to support this fact. If we recall
to our memory the Fathers’ common understanding of the complementary
role of the sexes from one hand and our practice to emphasize His
maleness from the other hand, then we have to admit that Christ assumed
an inferior human nature and not a perfect one, because the female sex
is the complement. But, in this case, we deny the dogma of the
Ecumenical Council of Chalkedon, which refers to His perfect human

The male character of
his incarnation has nothing to do with any conception of the human
sexuality for the following reasons:

a) He has taken unto Himself the
prolapsarian nature of the first man[69].

b) The human nature of Jesus Christ is of
no previous existence. The assumed human nature by God-Logos in the
womb of the holy Virgin wasn’t a complement of the humanity of His
mother as it happened in the case of the first Eve, who took unto
herself the nature of Adam to be his complement. Christ’s human nature
was unique, because it came to existence from the pure blood of the
Holy Virgin, her holy flesh and from the Holy Spirit. So, the
incarnated Logos became η απαρχη του φυράματος [70] (the beginning of a new essence),
the second Adam or the new Adam [71], Who means the one and undivided

c) In the context of
hypostatic union certain results were produced for the human nature
[72]. According to
patristic teaching the incarnation of Logos had had an implication for
the man of salvation, called λόγωσιν [73], in another words the baptised man
had assumed divine properties[74] as opened options to his choice.

d) The first Adam
created in the image and likeness of God, but in the case of
humanization the aforesaid elements are not dynamic properties any more
in God-man; they are fulfilled reality[75], since the Lord Himself was made man
in order to make man God[76]. The Lord did not rise the
previously fallen image in His God-man hypostasis, but He united it to
His own by grace. This is a new element in the Christian anthropology,
which changed dramatically the prospects of our eschaton , the
end of our history. This element did not exist in the first Adam’s
human nature, because in the context of Incarnation we have a
substantial difference, we move from in the Image to the Image , which
is the Son of God.

e) The Son of God is the
archetype of man and woman. Consequently, there is an imperative need
to have a clear understanding of the Christological archetype’s nature,
which the man of Grace and Salvation is invited and challenged to
imitate in order to become son of Kingdom of God.

The Fathers speak categorically for a new
humanity, which is being realized in the Church. Christ, the Head of
His Body contains in Himself this renewed nature, but human persons
also enter into this whole because they belong to this whole[77]. This new reality should be
understood in the sense that each human person, either male or female,
can be considered an hypostasis of the common nature, an hypostasis of
the whole of the created cosmos or, more accurately, of earthly
creation. If we are one in Christ, then our unity in Him, while
suppressing the partition of individual natures, in no way affects
personal plurality.

Maximos the Confessor makes his
theological remarks on this fact. He stressed the point that Christ
united the man taking away through His grace the difference between male
and female, restoring in both of them free the one reason of their
nature[78]. I have the
impression that as theologians we have the tendency, sometimes, to
oversee certain sotiriological consequences in the new era of Kingdom
of God. It has been given a little attention to the fact that the
salvation is already history and the Kingdom of God established. Nobody
can deny the truth that the division belongs to the past. It depends on
us to accept it. The only possible way is to transfigure ourselves to
sons of God[79] in our every day life. And the
opportunity is given first of all in our Eucharistic gathering.

Our way of life is a
testimony and expression of our consciousness as members of His Body.
The Church serves the Kingdom of God. We pray to come the Kingdom of
God on earth, while we permit to revive conditions of division or at
least we contribute to their survival in many forms. Klemes of Rome
recalls from the tradition of the ancient Church the following
conversation between Jesus Christ and His audience:

Επερωτηθεις γαρ αυτος ο
Κύριος πότε ηξει η Βασιλεία, ειπεν: οταν εσται τα δύο εν, και το εξω ως
το εσω και το αρσεν μετα θηλείας, ουτε αρσεν, ουτε θηλυ...τουτο λέγει,
ινα ο αδελφος ιδων αδελφην ουδεν φρονη περι αυτης θηλυκον, μηδε αδελφη
ιδουσα αδελφον φρονη τι περι αυτου αρσενικον..Ταυτα υμων ποιούντων,
φησιν, ελεύσεται η Βασιλεία του Πατρος μου [80]

We have to answer
ourselves a double question: First, Do we believe that through the
Baptism we entered to another reality? If yes, how do we live it?
Second, Do we believe to the recapitulation of the divided man in
God-man’s person? If yes, in what way can be expressed such a
conviction and faith, when we use the criterion of sex distinction and
division in all levels of our life and particularly in the liturgical
life of our Church. Of course, up to a point it is understandable to
have some doubts or reservations, because the sin survives and our
weakness is obvious, but at the same time God’s grace and Holy Spirit
are present. This situation is confirmed by Maximos the Confessor, who
says that: ...(Christ) by many people is seen and he is understood
as flesh and not as Logos, although he is Logos

The Church as Christ’s
Body is a new creation, because the Incarnated God-Logos καινοτομε
. It is not simply a restoration of the fallen human nature,
but a rebirth and ανακαίνισις [82]. From this point of view, as regard
with woman’s difference from man must be said that: woman is not any
more the bearer of the curse and consequently her subordination to man
could not be supported as continuing neither her second role.

Therefore, in terms of
theological anthropology none of the well known arguments, which were
established by an androcentric society in the span of two millennia can
be accepted as a criterion of difference other than that of the
particularity of the human person.

Therefore, taking a
fresh look through: a) the eschatological character and mission of our
Church, b) the restoration of unity in God-man’s person and c) the
expression of His will to overcome our division in the limits of our
earthly reality, which is His Church, then priesthood could not be
understood as male or female, but as a priesthood of the incarnated
God-Logos, Who assumed the perfect human nature, without the sin.

I would like to finish reminding the words of
Gregory the theologian: One is the Creator of man and woman, both
of them one soil, one icon, law one, one death, one resurrection [83].

No Women Priests? Makes no Sense!

As I have already mentioned, I
believe that women must have the possibility to become priests.


God is the creator of women as
well as of men. Both have their origin in God. In addition, Christ came
to redeem both women and men to the same extent, and to restore the
relationships of both sexes to God.

Theological scholarship comes to the following conclusion with regard to
the office of women deacons: the "commissioning" of women deacons in
the early church with a special form of "ordination" cannot be equated
with the usual form of sacramental ordination, just because it is
mentioned as a special "laying on of hands" for the exercise of a
traditional ministry. The established ministry of the woman deacon is
strictly distinguished from the efficacy of priesthood and from
sacramental ordination. It is related to the ministry of the male
deacon, and it is in this connection alone that the ministry of the
woman deacon in the Eastern church is to be understood. So the type of
"ordination" of the woman deacon cannot properly be explained by a
simple comparison with the other forms of ordination, but only by
reference to the specific ecclesiastical intention behind this
institution and this ministry. In accord with this intention the
"commissioning" of the woman deacon for a specific ministry is
identified with her assignment to the company of charismatic women in
the local church.

As I have already mentioned, I believe that women must have the
possibility to become priests. In my early years I was puzzled by the
fact that a priest from a neighboring men's cloister came to celebrate
the liturgy exclusively for women. Would it not be proper for a woman to
celebrate? On what grounds was this not possible if Christianity spoke
of the equality of men and women? Let us not forget Paul's "neither male
nor female." I have discussed this matter with experts and have studied
all the relevant texts. They come to the conclusion that this is not
possible, and give reasons. I cannot enter the discussion as I am not a
professional theologian. The experts have analyzed their arguments and
come to the same conclusion, that while the man bears properly the
Christocentric type of Adam-Christ, the woman bears properly a sort of
auxiliary, pneumatocentric type that finds expression in the person of
the Virgin Mary and which becomes, through the presence and creative
power of the Holy Spirit, "full of grace" and the preferred image of the
charismatic human person.5

I respect absolutely the theological approach and the holy tradition.
But I would like, as an Orthodox lay woman, to make some comments. God
is the creator of women as well as of men. Both have their origin in
God. In addition, Christ came to redeem both women and men to the same
extent, and to restore the relationships of both sexes to God. In the
holy Scriptures and in the tradition there is a distinction between male
and female. This distinction has its roots and its basis in the
historical and cultural practices of former ages. I do not believe that
this distinction means any sort of positive or negative evaluation in
the sight of God. On the contrary, this distinction is defined by God
himself as part of his plan. Redemption does not bring about the
negation of our identities as men and women, but rather the
transformation of these identities.

Outta Sight Outta Mind

By Alexander Cockburn

The control of sex and pornography
is a major part of promulgating a prudish, puritanical political culture
without ever imposing an overt political censorship regime.

Debates about so-called "political correctness", whether in the race,
gender, or ethnicity conflicts can only be explained by the culture of
prudery which prevails in American political discourse of all sorts.
Like the 'sexual crimes' mania in the media.

It's useful and important this as part of maintaining this rigorously
prudish, puritanical political culture the surface of which was barely
scratched by the Sixties.

Sexual crimes stand for the violation of the established order based on
supposed personal deviance and not on any actual material challenge.

They have the benefit of being immensely trivial and yet due to the
absolutely poor to non-existent transmission of the ‘standards’ for
acceptable sexual conduct, esp. occlusion from public instruction,
remain ultimately "fantasy crimes".

People can imagine the most heinous punishments for this behavior
because it is impossible for them to conceive of a sex crime in the same
way as bribery of public officials or assassinations performed by
agencies disguised as armies or cultural aid missions.

This impossibility goes back to the terror used by parents and teachers
to threaten children for violations of their will by creating
nonsensical consequences for trivial acts.

A perfect example of this is the story of the man in Fairfax County
Virginia, who got up early on Monday morning, October 19, walked naked
into his own kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee?

The next significant thing that happened to 29-year-old Eric Williamson
is the local cops arriving to charge him with indecent exposure.

It turns out that while he was brewing the coffee, a mother was taking
her 7-year-old son along a path beside Williamson’s house, espied the
naked Williamson and called the local precinct, or more likely her
husband, who turns out to be a cop.

“Yes, I wasn’t wearing any clothes,” Williamson said later, “but I was
alone, in my own home and just got out of bed. It was dark and I had no
idea anyone was outside looking in at me.”

The story ended up on TV, starting with Fox, and in the opening rounds
the newscasters and network blogs had \ merciless sport with the Fairfax
police for their absurd behavior.

Hasn’t a man the right to walk around his own home (or in this case
rented accommodations) dressed according to his fancy? Answer, obvious
to anyone familiar with relevant case law, absolutely not.

Peeved by public ridicule the Fairfax cops turned up the heat. The cop’s
wife started to maintain that first she saw Williamson by a glass
kitchen door, then through the kitchen window.

Mary Ann Jennings, a Fair-fax County Police spokesperson, stirred the
pot of innuendo:” We’ve heard there may have been other people who had a
similar incident.”

The cops are asking anyone who may have seen an unclothed Williamson
through his windows to come forward, even if it was at a different time.

They’ve also been papering the neighborhood with fliers, asking for
reports on any other questionable activities by anyone resembling
Williamson—a white guy who’s a former diver, and who has a 5-year old
daughter, not living with him.

I’d say that if the cops keep it up, and some prosecutor scents
opportunity Williamson will be pretty lucky if they don’t throw some
cobbled-up indictment at him.

Toss in a jailhouse snitch making his own plea deal, a faked police
line-up, maybe an artist’s impression of the Fairfax Flasher, and Eric
could end up losing his visitation rights and, worst comes to worst,
getting ten years plus posted for life on some sex offender site.

You think we’re living in the twenty-first century, in the clinical
fantasy world of CSI? Wrong. So far as forensic evidence is concerned,
we remain planted in the seventeenth century with trial by ordeal such
as when they killed women as witches if they floated when thrown into a

Safe "Pegging"

Ed Strong

Leave it to the French and the
sexy Judy Minx to remind us that if you share penetrative sex toys with
your partner(s), you should use condoms to prevent the spread of STIs
(sexually transmitted infections) and bacteria. Next time you strap on,
remember the rubber.

Use a new condom every time a sex toy is inserted into another

The public service message [above],starring two randy women, several
sex toys, and a lot of condoms. There are subtitles, but you'll
definitely get the message. And if you don't, here's a brief

"It's charming... even among girls... Condoms don't just appear with
the wave of a magic wand... Sex toys can transmit STIs. Use a new condom
for each penetration."

For advice on the care and cleaning of your sex toys, see the
recommendations of Good Vibrations.

comes up with a source for the term 'pegging', but there is an earlier

Frontier America's male brothels, or "peg houses," which took their name
from the Mediterranean brothel tradition of displaying available boys
on a long rack.

The boys were anally impaled on pegs of various sizes abutting the rack,
to help customers choose an appropriately capacious catamite.

Pegging describes a sexual practice in which a woman penetrates a man's
anus with a strap-on dildo.

The origin of the neologism was a winning entry in a June 21, 2001,
contest in Dan Savage's Savage Love sex advice column.

In the column, it was a specifically heterosexual term.

The competition was held after an observation was made that there was no
common name for the practice of females penetrating heterosexual men
with a dildo.

Because the term is quite new, many people use different terms for
"pegging", such as "bend over boyfriend" (commonly shortened to BOB)
from the popular video series of the same title.

Good Natural Porn

Before you set your purity
torches a' light, this is not your typical porn. This is natural porn.
These are not photoshopped girls; the kind that damage men's
expectations of female beauty. Instead, this site features the human
female form as the women themselves choose to present it. This is
wonderfully liberating in comparison to what one sees in the mainstream
porn industry. Photoshopped pictures of women and men reduce sex to the
mere concept of an unattainable practice. Sex is not a mere concept, nor
should it be an unattainable practice, rather it is inextricably linked
to relationship; to the intimate space between persons. It is a
language, with its own cadence, vocabulary, rules and etiquette; you
could write a book.

At her first shoot for amateur-porn site,
19-year-old Chloe B. stripped in front of a camera crew in her
university dorm room, rubbed lotion all over her body, then sang her
favorite Australian soccer team's anthem.

Dirty blond, curvy, and now 23, Chloe loved the experience so much she’s
come back to do more than 20 shoots with Abby Winters—a site from Down
Under that emphasizes happy, healthy female models who express their
sexuality by expressing themselves.

Since her nude-singing session, for example, Chloe has done porn shoots
while driving, cheerleading, even demonstrating how to tackle a soccer
opponent, Aussie-style.

Chloe (like all models on Abby Winters, she doesn’t use her real name)
first heard about the site from a “mate” who recommended its welcoming,
laidback attitude. After an encouraging interview, she decided to give
amateur porn a try.

“I’m SO glad I did!” she e-mails. “Abby Winters treats me, along with
all the other models, with a great respect… I’ve never felt so
comfortable getting naked before.”

Of course, as a regular Abby Winters spokesperson, Chloe gets paid to
say how much of a blast she’s having earning extra cash—but the site is
packed with testimonials from other models.

They all agree that shooting with Abby Winters is “fantastic” and
“mind-opening”—so fun, one woman suggests, it could even make a unique
“porno-cation” vacation for American girls visiting Australia.

According to the site’s founder and namesake, Abby Winters, what makes
her models so enthusiastic—and her porn so sexy—is her emphasis on

Unlike most pornography, where even amateurs get dolled up with makeup
and “six-inch plastic high heels,” Winters says her models have regular
clothes, no fake boobs, and plenty of pubic hair. (“Shaving is so '90s,”
declares the “Be a Model” section of the site.)

She only hires women between the ages of 18 and 25, and proportionate
figures that promote “a positive body image” are a must.

“We’re basically subverting the porn paradigm,” Winters explains. “All
our models are just normal women.” In fact, before working for the site,
Winters says most have never been naked in front of anyone before
besides their boyfriends.

Concurrently, the role men play behind the scenes is one major
difference between a nontraditional site like SuicideGirls and Abby

“The shoots are all shot by young women, some of whom have been models
themselves,” says Winters.

Unlike Suicide Girls, which often
encourages models shoot sets with SG-approved, frequently male
photographers, no men are allowed on set, and models are given a lot of
freedom to explore their own ideas about what’s sexy.

“They like to let us be ourselves,” says Chloe, which makes the end
result “so passionate and real, and . . . the orgasms so much more

Winters started the site back in 2000 with “a digital camera and some
random women” in a “dodgy hotel room.”

Though she's never modeled herself, she says she’s learned a lot since
then—like professionalism—but her goal is the same. “As a consumer, I
was always disappointed by the quality of erotica.

"I had a thing for amateur models—real girls are accessible and much
more appealing—but was disappointed how sites always tried to make
amateurs look [like professionals].

They totally missed the appeal of an amateur model in the first place!”
So Winters took matters into her own hands.

“Originally, I planned to sell my shoots to other sites,” she says, but
mainstream porn buyers weren’t interested in her “natural” look.
“Satisfyingly,” she says, “those other sites are out of business now.”

Porn as an industry has an infamously fast turnover rate, and Winters
knows it. Companies disappear, models quit.

Amazingly though, her site has been going strong for eight years, and
without any of the scandals or nasty ex-model testimonials that
seriously changed public perception of SuicideGirls.’s sex columnist Regina Lynn attributes its ongoing success to
its naturalness.

“Fakery—fake scenarios, fake chemistry, fake body parts and fake
orgasms—is an integral part of the porn monolith,” she wrote in a recent

But the “secret to longevity in an industry known for its lies” is an
“emphasis on genuine sexual experience…. Abby Winters showcases the
first blush of young womanhood in all its natural beauty,” and that’s
what makes it stand out.

To hear it from Abby Winters CEO Garion Hall, the site isn’t just
providing more earnest porn, it’s also a “huge bargain.”

With twice daily updates of unique content, 2,374 image sets, and 357
hours of video from 1,379 models, the site does offer a lot for its
$17.99 a month basic membership.

“It’s all shot in-house,” says Hall, “so [we] can be sure of the
quality.” The photo sets themselves range from sweet and sexy (a model
explores her sensual side on a grassy hill) to seriously hardcore (two
girls fuck each other with glass dildos).

During the shoots, models sometimes just strip down and talk about their
hobbies; other times they’re left alone to masturbate in front of

The shoots most popular with members, says Winters, are
girl-on-girl—which pay models about $1400 a pop, nearly double the $800
amount for solo sets.

Whether it’s a two-person make-out session or a 16-person nude-yoga
class, these images of women enjoying each other’s bodies attract a lot
of attention.

Needless to say, Abby Winters has plenty of fans, most of them

“Australians tend to like the more glammy, US-style erotica to the
homegrown stuff,” Winters explains, so sixty-five percent of site
subscribers are in the United States.

“I guess in a grass-is-always-greener way, some Americans prefer this
mysterious Aussie erotica to their own.”

And since the site only shoots in Australia, most Abby Winters models
are Australian themselves. “That’s a big hit with non-Australian
audiences,” says Winters. Imagining “that accent is pretty sexy!”