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A question about women saints


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#1 D. W. Dickens

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:00 AM

We have finally started our icon wall (or finished starting). We've had something in bits and pieces for some time now, but for the first time it feels proper.

We have an icon of Christ, the Theotokos, Ss Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the Theologian (as a protestant they were all the light I had so I honor them now), and our name Saints David, Anna, Elijah and Isaac. Still on my "shopping list" is St Nikolai of Ochrid (who brought me to Orthodoxy by his prayers), St Herman of Alaska (our parish is dedicated to him) and St John of Kronstadt (we were baptized on his feastday).

My daughter-coming-soon will add St Mary of Bethany, but apart from that... well, my wife said the other night, "You just be careful, you and all your man-friends. Don't go filling up the wall with men and leave no room for any women!"

Now it should be said that this was partially in jest. My wife is an unusually traditional, and if the word isn't offensive to some sensabilities, "submissive" woman (she considers it a complement, but it's not something you say at dinner parties in America). But it's also important to her to come to know female Saints.

She came with me to Orthodoxy, but she is also slower (some would say truer, as my speed was often a facade). But I would like for her to know and to see some great women of faith on our icon wall.

St Xenia has already been suggested. A friend at our parish speaks so highly of her, with such fondness and passion, it is infectious. What other suggestions do you have?

Am I being too speedy again? Should I be more patient? I'm told that the saints often seem to seek us out. I don't want to push anything on her, I'm just trying to help. Perhaps my enthusiasm to fill the wall with those I admire may be more convert zealotry than proper piety.

Thoughts? Perhaps a good scolding, if I deserve one?

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:09 AM

D.W.,

You might type into google "women saints orthodox icons" or some variation therof and see what pops up. Many icon stores ahve bookoos of women saints. Here is a good starting point.

#3 D. W. Dickens

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:11 AM

I'm thinking more along the lines of being introduced to saints that you know well. I mean, I can look up names in a phone book, but this is more like being at a party and asking someone to help me get to know other guests whom they already know.

#4 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:27 AM

Sometimes "dating services" work better than arranged marriages. But if you like....St. Mary of Egypt. Just Leah. St. Theodocia.

My wife's name is Leah. Leah, the sister of Rachel being the oldest should have married Esau the older brother of Jacob. In her icon she is seen crying profusely for a righteous husband as she knew Esau was a wild man and prone to womanizing and violence. When Jacob desired Rachel instead, she got her initial wish, but also the burden of her husband's love for her sister.

Theodocia was the name of my paternal grandmother. I never asked her why she was named this since she was baptist through and through. SHe is dead now, but before she was buried, I snuck an icon of St. Theodocia into her casket. Don't tell anyone.

St. Mary of Egypt is special to me.

Who else at this party would you like to meet?

Paul

#5 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:53 AM

I am very specific with my choice, these saints as a minimum should be honoured by all Othodox:

Saint Mary Magdalene
Saint Photine (the Samaritan woman at the well, NT)
Saint Kassiani (see Olga's post below)

Saint Mary of Egypt
Saint Sophia, and her children Faith, Hope and Agape

Saint Helen
Saint Catherine of Sinai
Saint Barbara
Saint Anastasia the Pharmakolitria

Saint Macrina the Great
Saint Emilia (see Olga's post below) and
Saint Macrina the Younger

Saint Paraskevi of Rome
Saint Pelagia
Saint Marina of Antioch of Pisidia

Saint Markella of Chios
Saint Matrona of Ancyra or even Thessaloniki
Saint Thomais

Edited by Vasiliki D., 13 February 2009 - 07:25 AM.


#6 Ilaria

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 07:16 AM

My loved ones are: st Olimpiada the deaconess, for her wonderful 'hard life'...not to mention that she was the dearest, closed friend of st John Chrysostom, and Saint Isidora (Saint Isidora the Simple or Saint Isidora of Tabenna

Finally, to leave room both for men and women:), you can place st Constantine and Helen, as they are present in all the churches.
after, you can take a photo and share it to us...

#7 Olga

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 07:21 AM

Two female saints who might not be high on some people's radar, but are particularly inspirational:

Venerable Kassiane (also rendered as Cassiane, Cassia, etc) the Hymnographer. Abbess, hymnographer, poet, outspoken defender of icons during the iconoclastic period of the 9th century, and the only woman whose hymns have become part of the permanent liturgical cycle. Quite a lady. More on her life here:

http://www.monachos....=60414#poststop

Venerable Emilia of Cappadocia. Daughter of saints, mother to ten children, of whom five became saints: Sts Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Theosebeia the Deaconess, Peter of Sebaste, and Macrina the Younger. Macrina the Elder was Emilia's mother.

PM me for more info.

#8 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 07:23 AM

Two female saints who might not be high on the radar, but are particularly inspirational:

Venerable Kassiane (also rendered as Cassiane, Cassia, etc) the Hymnographer. Abbess, hymnographer, poet, outspoken defender of icons during the iconoclastic period of the 9th century, and the only woman whose hymns have become part of the permanent liturgical cycle. Quite a lady. More on her life here:

http://www.monachos....=60414#poststop

Venerable Emilia of Cappadocia. Daughter of saints, mother to ten children, of whom five became saints: Sts Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Theosebeia the Deaconess, Peter of Sebaste, and Macrina the Younger. Macrina the Elder was Emilia's mother.

PM me for more info.


NO, they ARE high on the radar ... however, I ummed and arrrd if I should include them into my list (for reasons) ... I am glad you followed up. They obviously did need to be mentioned!

#9 Mary

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:43 PM

Am I being too speedy again? Should I be more patient? I'm told that the saints often seem to seek us out. I don't want to push anything on her, I'm just trying to help. Perhaps my enthusiasm to fill the wall with those I admire may be more convert zealotry than proper piety.

Thoughts? Perhaps a good scolding, if I deserve one?


Yes. Be patient. You have all eternity. They'll seek you out. Don't push anyone on her. Or on yourself. Yes, you're suffering from convertitis.

There. You have been thoroughly scolded. =)

Perhaps I'm weird. I've been orthodox for almost 3 years now. And I don't feel close to any woman saint. I felt guilty about that for a while. And then, I just let go. In real life, I can't force myself to be admire someone based on the fact that they are either male or female. There seem to be other factors that draw me to a person, regardless of if they are male or female. One of the things that attracts me to someone, is their drastic and violent faith.

Like St Mary of Egypt. But St John the Baptist, is my all time favorite, because he seems to have connected with me more than her. There are some similarities between him and St Mary of Egypt. Desert Dwellers (even the same desert!). Very, very, very strong. I have some kind of weird attraction to the deserts. Barren and merciless. Lifeless. But even there, flowers bloom. Not just cactus. There are others as well. But I am distracted now. So I will shut up.

in Christ,
Mary.

#10 Eric Peterson

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:33 PM

I've been very impressed by the Lives of the Holy Virgin Martyrs Agnes and Agatha of Rome.

#11 Nina

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:47 PM

In addition to all the Saints mentioned by our dear friends here I would add:


  • Saint Agnes (amazing pure saint from pagan and noble family in Rome who at a very early age was martyred for Christ).
  • Saint Euphrosyne ( there are several of them, all of them have beautiful lives).
  • Saint Athanasia (married to St. Andronicus; their two children departed and she had a revelation from an angel which led to their monastic vows).
  • Saint Irene Chrysovalantou (amazing story of a noble who was supposed to marry the Emperor of Byzantium, however on the way to him she was told by a saint that she would be a bride of Christ, and truly she became a nun, abess of the monastery of Chrysovalantou and departed peacefully at a very advanced age).
  • Saint Anna (Mother of our Panaghia).
  • Saint Philothei (beautiful account of a saint who had an austere life, became a nun/abess, had vision of Apostle Andreas; she had a martyric end because she would not concede to participate in the harem of the Ottomans ocupators).
  • Saint Euphemia Great Martyr (beloved saint of many and esp. of Elder Paisios of Mount AThos)
  • Saint Thekla
  • Saint Theofano


#12 D. W. Dickens

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:57 PM

I must say Monachos is a very particular and wonderful place.

I've been scolded as needed and also supplied with a wealth of information. I have been, in the past, cruel to those who have gone on before, I have many years of begging their forgiveness and seeking them out in love.

What an arrogant man I was!

I'll read the lives of these great women of faith, and I'll give my wife and myself time to get over our convertitis.

#13 Alice

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:03 PM

There is a saint, whose life can be sought out for mothers praying for their adult children's conversion (something very much needed in today's world, I would presume), but who is not mentioned or known much in the East--and I do think this is a shame since she offers so much and we know so much about her.
She is St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Her feast day is on May 4th on the Orthodox Calendar...this is from the OCA website:



Commemorated on May 4

Saint Monica, the mother of St Augustine of Hippo (June 15), was born in 322 in Tagaste, North Africa. Her parents were Christians, but little is known of her early life. Most of our information about her comes from Book IX of her son's CONFESSIONS.

St Monica was married to a pagan official named Patritius, who had a short temper and lived an immoral life. At first, her mother-in-law did not like her, but Monica won her over by her gentle disposition. Unlike many women of that time, she was never beaten by her husband. She said that Patritius never raised his hand against her because she always held her tongue, setting a guard over her mouth in his presence. (Ps. 38/39:1).

St Monica and Patritius had three children: St Augustine, Navigius and Perpetua. It was a source of great sorrow to her that Patritius would not permit them to be baptized. She worried about Augustine, who lived with a young woman in Carthage and had an illegitimate son with her. Her constant prayers and tears for her son had the effect of converting her husband to Christ before his death. Augustine, however, continued on the path that led away from Christ.

While in Carthage, Augustine fell under the influence of the heretical Manichean sect. His mother was horrified and tried to turn him away from his error. She had a dream in which she was told to be patient and gentle with her son. Augustine, however, paid little attention to her arguments, and remained in his delusion for nine years. St Monica must have felt disheartened and disappointed, but she never gave up on him. She even tried to enlist the help of a bishop who had once been a Manichean himself, but he would not dispute with Augustine. He said he couldn't reason with the young man, because he was still attracted by the novelty of the heresy. He did reassure her saying, "Go on your way, and God bless you, for it is not possible that the son of these tears should be lost."

St Monica went to Rome with Augustine when he lectured there in 383. Later, he received an appointment to Milan, where he met St Ambrose (December 7) and was greatly impressed by his preaching. Bishop Ambrose came to have a high regard for St Monica, and often congratulated Augustine on having such a virtuous mother.

One day Augustine was reading the New Testament in a garden, and came to Romans 13:12-14. There and then Augustine decided to "cast off the works of darkness," and to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." He was baptized on the eve of Pascha in 387.

After his baptism, Augustine and his mother planned to return to Africa. They stopped to rest in Ostia, where St Monica fell asleep in the Lord at the age of fifty-six. She was buried at Ostia, and her holy relics were transferred to the crypt of a church in the sixth century. Nine centuries later, St Monica's relics were translated to Rome.

In the West, St Monica is considered the patron saint of wives and mothers whose husbands or sons have gone astray.

#14 Nina

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:15 PM

Oh I recalled some more:


  • Saint Justina (she was the girl who through the help and power of Christ resisted the magic spells of a famous sorcerer who seeing the power of Christ through Saint Justina's resistance and who abandoned his former life and went on to became our great Saint Kyprianos).
  • New Martyr Aquilina (beautiful life).
  • Saint Nina equal to the Apostles.
  • Venerable Thais of Egypt (amazing life).
  • Venerable Pelaghia the Pentinent (amazing life).
  • St. Ita the Hermitess of Killeady
  • Saint Euphrasia of Nicomedia
  • Venerable Bridget of Ireland
  • Virginmartyr Dorothy of Cappadocia
  • Venerable Mary (or Marinus) of Alexandria
  • Saint Piama near Alexandria
  • Saint Lucia
  • Venerable Angelina of Serbia
  • Martyr Pelagia of Tarsus
  • Newmartyr Chryse of Bulgaria
  • Venerable Ethelburga
  • Lives of the Saints Empresses of Byzantium are very inspiring and beautiful also.


#15 Father David Moser

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:23 PM

Saint Lucia


Those of you who recall Fr Averky - his mother was named Lucia for this saint. Please remember her in your prayers.

Fr David Moser

#16 Nina

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:27 PM

Those of you who recall Fr Averky - his mother was named Lucia for this saint. Please remember her in your prayers.

Fr David Moser


Wow, I did not know that Father David! May God place their souls in the most beautiful places in Heaven!

#17 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:43 PM

Some English women saints were powerful and influential and founded monasteries: Hilda of Whitby, Frideswide of Oxford, Etheldrida of Ely, and Ethelburga of Barking to name but a few.

I like icons showing a couple. Our favourite is Saints Peter and Fevronia (+1228), patron saints of marriage. Once, we went to Diveyevo and stayed in Murom on the way (about 300km east of Moscow). There we venerated the relics of SS Peter and Fevronia and bought an icon of them (though not this one) -

[ATTACH]247[/ATTACH]

Holy Prince Peter (David in monasticism) and Holy Princess Fevronia (Euphrosyne in monasticism), Wonderworkers of Murom. Prince Peter was the second son of the Murom prince Yuri Vladimirovich. He entered upon the throne of Murom in the year 1203. Several years before this St. Peter had fallen ill with leprosy, from which no one was able to heal him. In a vision it was revealed to the prince that the daughter of a bee-keeper would be able to heal him: the pious maiden Fevronia, a peasant of Laskova village in Ryazan gubernia. St. Peter sent his emissaries to this village.

When the prince saw St Fevronia, he fell in love with her because of her piety, wisdom and virtue, and vowed to marry her after being healed. St Fevronia healed the prince and became his wife. The holy couple loved each other through all their ordeals. The haughty boyars did not wish to have a princess of common origin, and they urged that the prince leave her. St. Peter refused, and so they banished the couple. They sailed off on a boat from their native city along the River Oka, and St. Fevronia continued to console St. Peter. Soon the wrath of God fell upon the city of Murom, and the people begged the prince return together with St. Fevronia.

The holy couple were famous for their piety and charity. They died on the same day and hour, June 25, 1228, having received the monastic tonsure with the names David and Evphrosyne. The bodies of the saints were put in the same grave.

SS Peter and Fevronia showed themselves exemplary models of Christian marriage, and are considered the patron saints of newly-weds. By their prayers they bring down Heavenly blessing upon those entering into marriage.

Attached Files



#18 Eric Peterson

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 07:22 PM

Oh Andreas! God bless you for mentioning the Holy Wonderworkers of Murom. When I was an inquirer yet, I asked a lady at church to bring me back a couple icons from Russia. She came back with two little bronze medals--one of St. Nicholas, and the other of Sts. Peter and Febronia. I read about their lives and was much impressed. That little icon accompanied me throughout much of my formative Orthodox life before Chrismation.

I would also recommend the New Martyr Lydia and her companions, Cyril and Alexis http://www.christthe...newmartyrs.html

As well, St. Matrona of Moscow, http://www.antiochian.org/node/18294

#19 Michael Stickles

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 02:06 PM

Although technically Anna the Prophetess is my wife's name saint, she was also drawn to St. Anna of Novgorod and keeps an icon of her in her prayer area as well. Excerpts/paraphrases from the short bio at Antiochian.org:

St. Anna (known as Princess Indigherd in Sweden) was the daughter of the Swedish King Olaf Sketktung, the “All-Christian King,” and the pious Queen Astrida. She married Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev, in 1016, taking the name Irene. She is perhaps best known as the mother of Grand Prince Vladimir, the Enlightener of Rus and Equal-to-the-Apostles; among her other children were Vsevolod of Pereyaslavl (progenitor of the Princes of Moscow), Queen Anne of France, Queen Maria of Hungary, and Queen Elizabeth of Norway.

In Kiev, St. Irene-Anna founded the convent of St. Irene the Great-Martyr, and ruled it. She reposed in 1050 in the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom (St. Sophia) in Kiev, having been tonsured a monastic with the name of Anna.


There was a far more detailed story of her life online a year and a half ago, but I am unable to find it now. It included details such as how she mediated both civil and military conflicts for her husband, and was the equal (at least) of any of the men in navigating the treacherous waters of that era's politics.

OrthodoxEngland has the service of commemoration for St. Anna online; it includes a supplicatory canon to her. The Sigtuna Museum has a booklet called Viking Princess, Christian Saint about St. Anna, but it's not a classic Saint's life; rather it's a historical study of St. Anna and her times.

Finally, add my voice to those recommending St. Emmelia (Emilia), especially for anyone with children. My wife and I have six, which kind of gave us an instant draw towards St. Emmelia and her husband St. Basil the Elder (raising ten kids and having half become saints - sounds like perfect mentors for parents!).

In Christ,
Michael

#20 Olga

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 08:16 PM

New-martyr Elizabeth the Grand Duchess. (Why didn't I mention her earlier?? *eek*)




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