Met. Hilarion: The Church has never belittled the role of women

Talk of discrimination against women in the Church is unfounded, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of the Department for External Church Relations stated on Thursday at a meeting of the diplomatic club of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Interfax-Religion reports. “Sometimes in regards to the Orthodox Church, especially from a liberal Protestant perspective, accusations are voiced that we do not value women highly enough, that we preserve a patriarchal order, in that all of our priests and bishops are men, the patriarch is a man, while in some Protestant confessions this has all changed,” Met. Hilarion noted.

Meanwhile, according to the metropolitan, as in nature so in the Church there exists fatherhood and motherhood, and accordingly there are ministries “which are reserved for men, and those which are reserved only for women, and those which can be done by either.”

“From the moment the Church was created by Jesus Christ and His apostles, the priestly service has belonged to men, but, for example, only a woman can lead a women’s monastery, where not only the nuns, but even the priests serving there are in submission to her,” the prelate stated. Moreover, today in the Orthodox Church, His Eminence noted, there are many women working in leadership positions. “The Church has never belittled the role of women. Moreover, in any church, if you look at the iconostasis, you will always see two images: the image of Jesus Christ and the image of the Mother of God. And the Mother of God is venerated in the Church more than any other saint,” Met. Hilarion pointed out.