Gender in Orthodox Christianity
We live in a world where the politics of “traditional values” competes with the rhetoric of “progress”. In between or amidst such political slogans, Christian communities are leading their embodied gendered lives.
The Inter-Orthodox Theological Symposium at Rhodes 1988 admitted that “Christian communities have not always and in all places been able to suppress effectively ideas, manners and customs, historical developments and social conditions which have resulted in practical discrimination against women.” Nonetheless, in the council of Crete in 2016 the Orthodox Church chose to show a very male face. In December 2017, Orthodox scholars from around the world will convene at Lysebu to discuss the constructions of gender and the role of men and women, as well as gender-based discrimination and exclusion in Orthodox churches and cultures.
With “Gender in Orthodox Christianity” the Oslo Coalition wishes to focus on gender-related problems in Church life, but also to explore historical and theological sources and ask what Church tradition means by “man” and “woman” and how Christians have constructed and currently construct ideas about gender. While Orthodox households and communities have historically been organized in a variety of ways – exclusively male or female (monasteries) or with mixed genders (families), led by women or by men – the modern political label of “traditional values” gives the impression of a (once) stable gender-world of men and women neatly divided into nuclear families. The seminar will approach these questions from a variety of perspectives – historical, theoretical, theological, and political.