Why Orthodox Men Love Church

Many men may not love church, but Orthodox men do.

by Frederica Matthewes-Green

photo by MPDA.ru

In a time when churches of every description are faced with Vanishing Male Syndrome, men are showing up at Eastern Orthodox churches in numbers that, if not numerically impressive, are proportionately intriguing. This may be the only church which attracts and holds men in numbers equal to women. As Leon Podles wrote in his 1999 book, “The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity,”

“The Orthodox are the only Christians who write basso profundo church music, or need to.”

Rather than guess why this is, I emailed a hundred Orthodox men, most of whom joined the Church as adults. What do they think makes this church particularly attractive to men? Their responses, below, may spark some ideas for leaders in other churches, who are looking for ways to keep guys in the church.

Challenges. The term most commonly cited by these men was


Orthodoxy is

“active and not passive.”

“It’s the only church where you are required to adapt to it, rather than it adapting to you.”

“The longer you are in it, the more you realize it demands of you.”

The “sheer physicality of Orthodox worship” is part of the appeal. Regular days of fasting from meat and dairy, “standing for hours on end, performing prostrations, going without food and water [before communion]…When you get to the end you feel that you’ve faced down a challenge.”

“Orthodoxy appeals to a man’s desire for self-mastery through discipline.”

“In Orthodoxy, the theme of spiritual warfare is ubiquitous; saints, including female saints, are warriors. Warfare requires courage, fortitude, and heroism. We are called to be ‘strugglers’ against sin, to be ‘athletes’ as St. Paul says. And the prize is given to the victor. The fact that you must ‘struggle’ during worship by standing up throughout long services is itself a challenge men are willing to take up.”

A recent convert summed up,

“Orthodoxy is serious. It is difficult. It is demanding. It is about mercy, but it’s also about overcoming oneself. I am challenged in a deep way, not to ‘feel good about myself’ but to become holy. It is rigorous, and in that rigor I find liberation. And you know, so does my wife.”

Clear Disciplines. Several mentioned that they really appreciated having clarity about the content of these challenges and what they were supposed to do.

“Most guys feel a lot more comfortable when they know what’s expected of them.”

“Orthodoxy presents a reasonable set of boundaries.”

“It’s easier for guys to express themselves in worship if there are guidelines about how it’s supposed to work—especially when those guidelines are so simple and down-to-earth that you can just set out and start doing something.”

“The prayers the Church provides for us — morning prayers, evening prayers, prayers before and after meals, and so on — give men a way to engage in spirituality without feeling put on the spot, or worrying about looking stupid because they don’t know what to say.”

They appreciate learning clear-cut physical actions that are expected to form character and understanding.

“People begin learning immediately through ritual and symbolism, for example, by making the sign of the cross. This regimen of discipline makes one mindful of one’s relation to the Trinity, to the Church, and to everyone he meets.”

A Goal. Men also appreciate that this challenge has a goal: union with God. One said that in a previous church

“I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere in my spiritual life (or that there was anywhere to get to — I was already there, right?) But something, who knew what, was missing. Isn’t there SOMETHING I should be doing, Lord?”

Orthodoxy preserves and transmits ancient Christian wisdom about how to progress toward this union, which is called “theosis.” Every sacrament or spiritual exercise is designed to bring the person, body and soul, further into continual awareness of the presence of Christ within, and also within every other human being. As a cloth becomes saturated with dye by osmosis, we are saturated with God by theosis.

A catechumen wrote that he was finding icons helpful in resisting unwanted thoughts.

“If you just close your eyes to some visual temptation, there are plenty of stored images to cause problems. But if you surround yourself with icons, you have a choice of whether to look at something tempting or something holy.”

A priest writes,

“Men need a challenge, a goal, perhaps an adventure — in primitive terms, a hunt. Western Christianity has lost the ascetic, that is, the athletic aspect of Christian life. This was the purpose of monasticism, which arose in the East largely as a men’s movement. Women entered monastic life as well, and our ancient hymns still speak of women martyrs as showing ‘manly courage.’”

“Orthodoxy emphasizes DOING. …. Guys are ACTIVITY oriented.”

No Sentimentality. In “The Church Impotent,” cited above (and recommended by several of these men), Leon Podles offers a theory about how Western Christian piety became feminized. In the 12th-13th centuries a particularly tender, even erotic, strain of devotion arose, one which invited the individual believer to picture himself or herself (rather than the Church as a whole) as the Bride of Christ. “Bridal Mysticism” was enthusiastically adopted by devout women, and left an enduring stamp on Western Christianity. It understandably had less appeal for guys. For centuries in the West, men who chose the ministry have been stereotyped as effeminate. A life-long Orthodox layman says that, from the outside, Western Christianity strikes him as

“a love story written for women by women.”

The Eastern Church escaped Bridal Mysticism because the great split between East and West had already taken place. The men who wrote me expressed hearty dislike for what they perceive as a soft Western Jesus.

“American Christianity in the last two hundred years has been feminized. It presents Jesus as a friend, a lover, someone who ‘walks with me and talks with me.’ This is fine rapturous imagery for women who need a social life. Or it depicts Jesus whipped, dead on the cross. Neither is the type of Christ the typical male wants much to do with.”

During worship,

“men don’t want to pray in the Western fashion with hands clasped, lips pressed together, and a facial expression of forced serenity.”

“It’s guys holding hands with other guys and singing campfire songs.”

“Lines about ‘reaching out for His embrace,’ ‘wanting to touch His face,’ while being ‘overwhelmed by the power of His love’—those are difficult songs for one man to sing to another Man.”

“A friend of mine told me that the first thing he does when he walks into a church is to look at the curtains. That tells him who is making the decisions in that church, and the type of Christian they want to attract.”

“Guys either want to be challenged to fight for a glorious and honorable cause, and get filthy dirty in the process, or to loaf in our recliners with plenty of beer, pizza, and football. But most churches want us to behave like orderly gentlemen, keeping our hands and mouths nice and clean.”

One man said that worship at his Pentecostal church had been

“largely an emotional experience. Feelings. Tears. Repeated rededication of one’s life to Christ, in large emotional group settings. Singing emotional songs, swaying hands aloft. Even Scripture reading was supposed to produce an emotional experience. I am basically a do-er, I want to do things, and not talk about or emote my way through them! As a business person I knew that nothing in business comes without effort, energy, and investment. Why would the spiritual life be any different?”

Another, who visited Catholic churches, says,

“They were conventional, easy, and modern, when my wife and I were looking for something traditional, hard, and counter-cultural, something ancient and martial.”

A catechumen says that at his non-denominational church

“worship was shallow, haphazard, cobbled together from whatever was most current; sometimes we’d stand, sometimes we’d sit, without much rhyme or reason to it. I got to thinking about how a stronger grounding in tradition would help. It infuriated me on my last Ash Wednesday that the priest delivered a homily about how the real meaning of Lent is to learn to love ourselves more. It forced me to realize how completely sick I was of bourgeois, feel-good American Christianity.”

A convert priest says that men are drawn to the dangerous element of Orthodoxy, which involves “the self-denial of a warrior, the terrifying risk of loving one’s enemies, the unknown frontiers to which a commitment to humility might call us. Lose any of those dangerous qualities and we become the ‘JoAnn Fabric Store’ of churches: nice colors and a very subdued clientele.”

“Men get pretty cynical when they sense someone’s attempting to manipulate their emotions, especially when it’s in the name of religion. They appreciate the objectivity of Orthodox worship. It’s not aimed at prompting religious feelings but at performing an objective duty.”

Yet there is something in Orthodoxy that offers

“a deep masculine romance. Do you understand what I mean by that? Most romance in our age is pink, but this is a romance of swords and gallantry.”

From a deacon:

“Evangelical churches call men to be passive and nice (think ‘Mr. Rogers’). Orthodox churches call men to be courageous and act (think ‘Braveheart’).

Jesus Christ. What draws men to Orthodoxy is not simply that it’s challenging or mysterious. What draws them is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the center of everything the Church does or says.

In contrast to some other churches, “Orthodoxy offers a robust Jesus” (and even a robust Virgin Mary, for that matter, hailed in one hymn as “our Captain, Queen of War”). Several used the term “martial” or referred to Orthodoxy as the “Marine Corps” of Christianity. (The warfare is against self-destructive sin and the unseen spiritual powers, not other people, of course.)

One contrasted this “robust” quality with

“the feminized pictures of Jesus I grew up with. I’ve never had a male friend who would not have expended serious effort to avoid meeting someone who looked like that.” Though drawn to Jesus Christ as a teen, “I felt ashamed of this attraction, as if it were something a red-blooded American boy shouldn’t take that seriously, almost akin to playing with dolls.”

A priest writes:

“Christ in Orthodoxy is a militant, Jesus takes Hell captive. Orthodox Jesus came to cast fire on the earth. (Males can relate to this.) In Holy Baptism we pray for the newly-enlisted warriors of Christ, male and female, that they may ‘be kept ever warriors invincible.’”

After several years in Orthodoxy, one man found a service of Christmas carols in a Protestant church “shocking, even appalling.” Compared to the Orthodox hymns of Christ’s Nativity,

“‘the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay’ has almost nothing to do with the Eternal Logos entering inexorably, silently yet heroically, into the fabric of created reality.”

Continuity. Many intellectually-inclined Orthodox converts began by reading Church history and the early Christian writers, and found it increasingly compelling. Eventually they faced the question of which of the two most ancient churches, the Roman Catholic or the Orthodox, makes the most convincing claim of being the original Church of the Apostles.

photo by Alexander Osokin

A lifelong Orthodox says that what men like is

“stability: Men find they can trust the Orthodox Church because of the consistent and continuous tradition of faith it has maintained over the centuries.”

A convert says,

“The Orthodox Church offers what others do not: continuity with the first followers of Christ.”

This is continuity, not archeology; the early church still exists, and you can join it.

“What drew me was Christ’s promises to the Church about the gates of hell not prevailing, and the Holy Spirit leading into all truth—and then seeing in Orthodoxy a unity of faith, worship, and doctrine with continuity throughout history.”

Another word for continuity is “tradition.” A catechumen writes that he had tried to learn everything necessary to interpret Scripture correctly, including ancient languages.

“I expected to dig my way down to the foundation and confirm everything I’d been taught. Instead, the further down I went, the weaker everything seemed. I realized I had only acquired the ability to manipulate the Bible to say pretty much anything I wanted it to. The only alternative to cynicism was tradition. If the Bible was meant to say anything, it was meant to say it within a community, with a tradition to guide the reading. In Orthodoxy I found what I was looking for.”

Men in Balance. A priest writes:

“There are only two models for men: be ‘manly’ and strong, rude, crude, macho, and probably abusive; or be sensitive, kind, repressed and wimpy. But in Orthodoxy, masculine is held together with feminine; it’s real and down to earth, ‘neither male nor female,’ but Christ who ‘unites things in heaven and things on earth.’”

Another priest comments that, if one spouse is originally more insistent about the family converting to Orthodoxy than the other,

“when both spouses are making confessions, over time they both become deepened and neither one is as dominant in the spiritual relationship.”

Men in Leadership. Like it or not, men simply prefer to be led by men. In Orthodoxy, lay women do everything lay men do, including preach, teach, and chair the parish council. But behind the iconostasis, around the altar, it’s all men. One respondent summarized what men like in Orthodoxy this way:


“It’s the last place in the world men aren’t told they’re evil simply for being men.”

Instead of negativity, they are constantly surrounded by positive role models in the saints, in icons and in the daily round of hymns and stories about saints’ lives. This is another concrete element that men appreciate — there are other real human beings to look to, rather than a blur of ethereal terms.

“The glory of God is a man fully alive,”

said St. Irenaeus.

One writer adds that

“The best way to attract a man to the Orthodox Church is to show him an Orthodox man.”

But no secondary thing, no matter how good, can supplant first place.

“A dangerous life is not the goal. Christ is the goal. A free spirit is not the goal. Christ is the goal. He is the towering figure of history around whom all men and women will eventually gather, to whom every knee will bow, and whom every tongue will confess.”

HT: St. George Church of Prescott

Source: December 2007 issue of The Word magazine


  1. In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, East or West, male or female. While it is true that culture can influence it’s portrayal of Christ for better or for worse in the end Christ made himself all things to all people as St. Paul said of his own self. Christianity is a religion of paradoxes. Christ is both victim and high priest, shepherd and lamb, meek and humble yet glorious, strong, and royal. It is important for either West or East not to fall into the trap of either/or thinking but rather think more along the lines of both/and. Christianity can be watered down or overly “feminized” but deep down the Church as a mystery contains many ways for both men and women and people of all cultures and backgrounds to relate to God and yet remain in objective truth. God can be the one who “walks with me and talks with me” as a faithful “bridegroom” of the Church, but also a brother and warrior who comes to unite his disciples in mission against the evil one. It doesn’t have to be either/or. Thankfully, Eastern Catholicism has preserved both the Western and Eastern understandings of ancient Christianity. Just goes to show that when one is in communion with “The Rock” of Peter one has no doubt that he belongs to the great mystery that envelopes every diverse people of earth yet presents truth which cannot fall into subjectivism. Eastern Orthodox brethren understand continuity better than our Protestant brothers and sisters but Orthodoxy still remains marginalized so long as it fails to recognize the Bishop of Rome. I say this as an Eastern Catholic myself. Thank God that the holy mysteries such as the Eucharist have given Orthodoxy the great apostolic continuity it it does have. Let us pray we all be one so that the world my believe that Jesus was sent by the Father.

  2. With respect and love in Christ,

    Eastern Catholicism is just what it was invented to be – Catholics pretending to be Orthodox, and trying to convince everyone else that it is all the same.

    Orthodoxy is not a “rite.” Eastern Catholicism is.

    How you come to the conclusion that Orthodoxy is marginalized, unless you mean marginalized from Rome. We still await our Roman brothers return to the Orthodox faith, which is why there is no Orthodox bishop of Rome. The same cannot be said of Catholicism’s view of Orthodoxy, knowing that there is a Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

    Orthodoxy has remained itself, while everyone else in the Christian world, including Rome, has gone to the charismatic movement, praise bands and every form of nonsense following the way of the world. I’m sorry to say it, but either you’re Orthodox or you’re not, and if you’re not…. you’re not.

    You can, however, follow the path of a multitude of Eastern Catholics and enter the Orthodox Church. We welcome you home!

  3. Forgive me for the criticism, but I’m ever concerned with the Orthodoxy’s obsession with itself. Trust me, I get all the stuff about being the most true to the early church. I’ve heard it, I’ve read it, I’ve heard it again.

    Yet, just as the person who led me to this article in the first place mostly speaks of the rightness of the Orthodox over others, the primary concern of Orthodox brethren seems to be the validation of being in the Orthodox church. Take the name of this website for example: “Journey to Orthodoxy: For Those on the Path to the Orthodox Christian Faith.” Twice is a reference to our journey, not so much to God and/or Christ, but to MY church, MY denomination.

    And here I thought our primary concern was Christ crucified and resurrected for our sins. For some reason, I find it very difficult to find the same self-obsession and church-preaching in the epistles of Paul. I do think that he talked about and pointed to Christ a lot, though….Weird.

    This is not a criticism of Orthodoxy–I’m well aware of all the valid reasons you have “to boast.” This is a criticism of Orthodox members who have placed the pride of the tradition over the gospel message and Christ himself. And I must say, this is quite a growing majority. While certain criticisms of Protestantism and Catholicism are certainly valid, what I hear more than anything from the mouths of those in the Orthodoxy is, “You should be part of MY church; MY church is doing things right; look at US and OUR dedication to the true path,” instead of pointing to Jesus himself.

    This doesn’t apply to everyone, and there is a fine line. But it is being crossed quite often. Of course, since the Orthodoxy is so right, who can challenge it?


  4. Paul,

    Thanks for writing. For many of us who had to wade through the mess that we were in, yes, Orthodoxy is a breath of fresh air – but in a particular way: Everything IS about Jesus Christ.

    I do appreciate very much your criticism, but this site is dedicated to one thing and one thing only – helping seekers find the Bride of Christ, His Body. And, yes, we believe this is it, and other bodies are not. I’ve heard alot of things in Orthodox Churches, but I confess I’ve never heard anything even resembling your “quotation” (I’m assuming you are not actually quoting anyone, but your perception of a general attitude), and among some there is an immature, triumphal spirit.

    But I ask you to consider this – if you knew that your Church WAS the Body of Christ, wouldn’t you do everything you could to bring others to her? What if they were convinced, like Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, that they already are in the Church, that they already are Christians? What then? First things first – they must lovingly be made to realize that there is a true, ancient, and documentable (I know, it’s not really a word) Church which still exists, independent of scholastic, modern or other bizarre ideas.

    Those who explore “Orthodoxy” or Orthodox Christianity soon discover that seeking something ‘more’ in Orthodoxy is like putting your mouth to a fire hose. More Christ, more devotion, more Scripture, more theology, more martyrdom, more witness – than ever before. All right under our noses in Orthodox Churches that don’t do much to make themselves known.

    Again, please don’t misunderstand me. I deeply appreciate the sentiment of your criticism, but for those on the outside looking ‘in’ this is a journey. And more than anything else, inquirers want to know if anyone else, like them, is thinking what they are thinking, having done already what they are considering doing.

    That is the purpose of Journey To Orthodoxy.

    Finally – we love our Church! We want to make her known to others whenever and however we can!

  5. Good Piece

  6. So, do I understand correctly that you’re saying that the main reason that men are drawn to Orthodoxy is machismo?

  7. Fr. John says:

    Not machismo… manliness. There’s a difference, sadly not discerned by our over-Oprahfied culture.

  8. Not sure why my comment didn’t get posted?

  9. Fr. John says:

    Too long and included links.

  10. I didn’t think the comment was too long, especially since most of the comments so far have been rather long.

    So, did you agree or disagree with the substance of the comment at all?

  11. Mrs. Mutton says:

    This post reminds me of a conversation I had a few years ago with an Orthodox monk, in which I mentioned – with a bit of trepidation – “wussy Jesus” as a description of the kind of Christ so prevalent in the West. To my great surprise and relief, he agreed! I don’t need somebody to schmooze with me, I need Somebody to save me, and the Christ in the Harrowing of Hades is Who I have in mind.

  12. An interesting response to Kh. Frederica’s well-known article on men and Orthodoxy:


  13. Well, I come from a traditionally orthodox place and culture and there it’s mostly women that attend church. Just like everywhere else. I do not think the article has any basis in reality.

  14. Ineteresting. Do you think that the convert’s children will embrace the faith as much as their Dad? The kids will be cradle born Orthodox now.

  15. Mine have. It depends on the family and whether or not the children wish to follow Christ.

  16. This article refers to Orthodox Christians in America – where Orthodoxy is in a language that is understood by most parishioners and visitors. I can’t speak for most other places as I don’t live there, but Orthodoxy has much to offer men AND women. The article does NOT say that Orthodox Churches would then have more men than women, simply that – unlike other forms of Christianity – the Orthodox faith and practices themselves are attractive to men seeking something more than an anemic Jesus.

  17. Fr. John – I have found that in America as well, the large majority of people in the liturgy at any point are women. By the end of the service there end up being a lot of men who show up just for communion, but they are still far outnumbered by the women. And early in the service it is very sparse on the men’s side.

    There are certainly a few single men that are attracted to become converts to Orthodoxy. But they stick out not because there are so many of them, but because there are so few converts in general. If we’re measuring what we’re doing well by the number or the type of the converts we attract, then we are certainly doing something wrong.

  18. I am a retired evangelical minister. I have easily known dozens of Orthodox men in my 40 years of ministry experience, mostly Greeks. Sadly, I cannot think of one that I thought was a godly man. They were usually crude, vulgar, profane and blasphemous.They sometimes bragged about their church involvement, but I could observe no evidence of a life changed by the power of Christ.

  19. A very common complaint by many outside of Christianity also. The reminder: Judge the medicine by those who take it, not by those who pour it down the drain.


  20. Sophocles says:

    I believe Orthodoxy in America is indeed a breath of fresh air. I grew up in Cyprus but only felt Orthodoxy in America because the orthodox church near by university made a real effort to reach out to everyone. It embraced and helped it’s small community. Extremely opposite almost all churches in Cyprus and Greece that take for granted their large following and make little effort to bring people closer to the church. In the US, the liturgy was in both Greek and English. There were pamphlets with the lyrics written so we could chant along. In Cyprus/Greece, its all in ancient Greek, which few understand and listen to. There are no pamphlets, and all people do is stand around and gossip. It’s sad. I wish the US model was copied here too….

  21. Sophocles – sadly, that spectacle is true in many American churches as well. My wife’s church refuses to hold liturgy in anything other than Coptic and Arabic, even though the majority of church members have been here for decades and a good number were born here! Of the vibrant Orthodox communities I know, not a single one holds liturgy primarily in a language that many in the congregation do not understand.

    In my mind language won’t solve anything, but it has to be a first step. There should still be home-language options for those whose heart language is not English, and perhaps a midweek liturgy in the ancient language, but our church life will continue to wither if we can’t fellowship together in a language we all understand.

  22. With all of the criticism at this article, I think maybe some things are not understood as well as they can be. I can say that at least for me, they way I read it is that the reasons men stay/join Orthodoxy aren’t necessarily because they are trying to escape a feminized church as much as they are trying to establish/affirm/strengthen the male identity in a culture that’s lost any concept that the male even exists. I hope that makes some sense.

  23. Despite my love of the Orthodox, my spirit is desperate for writings by female saints. It is a huge failing of Orthodoxy to only have writings by males. For all her history, the Orthodox church lags far behind her Roman Catholic sister in this category. There are virutally no role models for us females.

  24. Theosisseeker, I can’t remember when I have heard such a blatantly ignorant statement about the Church. If your spirit is ‘desperate’ for the writings of female saints, may I suggest your spirit is desperate for all the wrong things, and certainly not Christian things. Be desperate for the Holy Spirit. Remember, Jesus didn’t write anything either. You probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’d like to help. I’m not sure what you’re really looking for but this should get you started:
    Blessed Olga of Alaska
    Blessed Mother Gavrilia
    Seven Women Martyrs along with St. Irenarchus at Sebaste
    St. Agatha of Belo-Russia
    St. Agatha of Palermo
    St. Agatha, St. Domna, and St. Theophila along with the 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
    St. Agathocleia
    St. Aglaida (Aglae) of Rome
    St. Agnes of Rome
    St. Agnes, along with others, in the Crimea
    St. Anastasia of Tessalonica
    St. Anastasia the Patrician of Alexandria
    St. Anastasia the Roman
    St. Anastasia, the Deliverer from Potions
    St. Angelina Brancovich, Princess of Serbia
    St. Anna
    St. Anna Vesvolodna
    St. Anna at Adrianopolis
    St. Anna of Constantinople
    St. Anna of Novgorod
    St. Anna, Holy Righteous Ancestor of God
    St. Anna, Princess of Kashin
    St. Anna, along with St. Thekla and Many Other Men and Women in Persia
    St. Anna, the Prophetess
    St. Anthusa at Rome
    St. Antonina of Nicea
    St. Anysia at Thessalonica
    St. Apollinaria of Egypt
    St. Apollonia of Alexandria
    St. Apphia, and her husband, St. Philemon, of the Seventy
    St. Apphia, the Martyr of the Seventy
    St. Apphia, the wife of Philemon, and Equal of the Apostles
    St. Aquilina
    St. Argyre The Neomartyr
    St. Ariadne of Phrygia
    St. Asklepiodote of Adrianopolis
    St. Athanasia and her daughters
    St. Barbara of Heliopolis, Syria
    St. Basilissa of Nicomedia
    St. Basilla, at Rome
    St. Bathildis, Nun of Chelles and Queen of France
    St. Bebaia
    St. Bebaia of Edessa with her brother
    St. Bibiana (also known as St. Viviana) at Rome
    St. Brigid of Ireland
    St. Callinica and St. Basilissa of Rome
    St. Callisthene and her father, Audactus of Ephesus
    St. Cecilia at Rome
    St. Chariessa, Nunechia, Basilissa and those martyred with them at Corinth
    St. Charitina of Amisus
    St. Christina in Persia
    St. Christodoula The Mother Of Urban, Prilidian, Epolonius
    St. Chryse (Zlata) of Bulgaria
    St. Chryse of Rome and others
    St. Claudia, along with Sts. Alexandra, Euphrasia, Matrona, Juliania, Euphmia and Theodosia
    St. Cleopatra with her son, John
    St. Crispina
    St. Cyrenia in Cilicia
    St. Daria and those with her at Rome
    St. Deborah
    St. Domna of Nicomedia
    St. Domnica of Constantinople
    St. Domnica of Syria
    St. Domnina of Anazarbus
    St. Domnina of Syria
    St. Domnina with her daughters
    St. Dorothy in Caesarea
    St. Dorothy of Kashin
    St. Drosis, the Daughter of Emperor Trajan
    St. Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet
    St. Elfleda, Abbess of Whitby
    St. Elizabeth, Mother of St. John the Baptist
    St. Emerentiana of Rome
    St. Emilia, Mother of Sts. Basil and Gregory
    St. Ennatha, St. Valentina and St. Paula, Virgins and Martyrs
    St. Ephigenia of Ethiopia
    St. Epicharis of Rome
    St. Epistime with her husband, Galacteon, at Emesa
    St. Erkengota, Virgin of Faremoutier-en-Brie
    St. Ermenhilda, Abbess of Ely Monastery, England
    St. Ethelburga
    St. Euanthia with Her Husband and Son, at Skepsis
    St. Euboula, the Mother of St. Panteleimon
    St. Eudokia Martyr of Heliopolis
    St. Eudokia of Heliopolis
    St. Eugenia at Rome
    St. Eulampia and her brother, Eulampius
    St. Euphemia the All-Praised
    St. Euphrasia of Nicomedia
    St. Euphrosyne of Alexandria
    St. Euphrosyne of Suzdal
    St. Eupraxia the Elder
    St. Eupraxia, Princess of Pskov
    St. Eustolia of Constantinople
    St. Euthalia of Syria
    St. Eutropia of Alexandria
    St. Evanthia with her son, St. Eleutherius
    St. Fausta at Cyzicus, along with Sts. Evilasius and Maximus
    St. Felicitas of Rome and her Seven Sons
    St. Gaatha, the Queen, along with others, in the Crimea
    St. Gaiana of Armenia
    St. Galina and those with her at Corinth
    St. Genevieve of Paris
    St. Gertrude, Abbess of Nijvel Monastery
    St. Gobnata at Ballyvourney
    St. Gorgonia, sister of St. Gregory the Theologian
    St. Hannah, Mother of the Prophet Samuel
    St. Helen at Sinope
    St. Helen of Serbia
    St. Helen’s Uncovering of the Precious Cross and Precious Nails in Jerusalem
    St. Hermione the Daughter of St. Philip the Deacon
    St. Hilaria and those with her at Rome
    St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby
    St. Ia, Virgin of St. Ives
    St. Inna, St. Pinna and St. Rimma, Martyrs and Apostles of St. Andrew
    St. Irais (Rhais) of Alexandria the Apostle at Heraclea
    St. Irais (Rhais) of Antinoe in Egypt
    St. Irene Myrtidiotissa
    St. Irene The Great Martyr of Thessaloniki
    St. Ita, the Hermitess of Killeady
    St. Judith
    St. Juliana and her brother, Paul
    St. Juliana at Heliopolis, in Syria
    St. Juliana of Lazarevo
    St. Juliana of Nicomedia
    St. Juliana, Blessed Virgin Princess of Olshansk
    St. Juliana, Princess of Vyazma
    St. Justina of Nicomedia
    St. Karina with her husband and son
    St. Kassiane
    St. Katherine of Alexandria
    St. Kentigerna, Hermitess of Loch Lomond
    St. Ketevan, Queen of Kakheti
    St. Kew, Virgin of Cornwall
    St. Kyra of Syria
    St. Kyriake of Rome
    St. Larissa, the laywoman, along with others, in the Crimea
    St. Leonilla and St. Jonilla at Cappadocia
    St. Lucy of Syracuse
    St. Ludmilla, the Grandmother of St. Wenceslaus
    St. Lydia Alexandrova, along with her husband, mother and three daughters
    St. Lydia in Illyria
    St. Marana of Syria
    St. Maria of Alexandria
    St. Maria of Constantinople, along with her husband and sons
    St. Maria of Gatchina, Matushka and New Martyr
    St. Maria, Schema Nun and Mother of St. Sergius of Radonezh
    St. Maria, the Mother of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh
    St. Maria, the Niece of Abramius, the Recluse of Mesopotamia
    St. Mariamne, Sister of Apostle Philip
    St. Martha and St. Mary, in Egypt
    St. Martha the Mother of St. Simeon Stylite the Younger
    St. Mastridia of Alexandria
    St. Matrona of Chios
    St. Matrona of Thessalonica
    St. Matrona, Abbess of Constantinople
    St. Maura of Constantinople
    St. Maxima of Singidunum, and her priest-husband, St. Montanus
    St. Melitina of Marcianopolis
    St. Melitsa of Serbia
    St. Memelchtha of Persia
    St. Menodora, St. Nymphodora, and St. Metrodora
    St. Merwinna, Abbess of Romsey, Hampshire, England
    St. Mianus (Ammianus) of Nicomedia
    St. Mildgyth of Minster
    St. Miriam
    St. Myrope at Chios
    St. Nana, Empress of Georgia, and Equal of the Apostles
    St. Neonilla with her husband and children
    St. Nino, Equal of the Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia
    St. Paraskeva (Petka) of Serbia
    St. Paula of Rome
    St. Pelagia of Tarsus
    St. Pelagia the Penitent
    St. Perpetua, St. Felicitas, and those with them, at Carthage
    St. Philothea the Monastic
    St. Philothea, the Protectress of Romania
    St. Phoebe the Deaconess at Cenchreae near Corinth
    St. Photini, the Samaritan Woman
    St. Piama of Egypt
    St. Prisca of Rome
    St. Priscilla, with her husband, Aquila, at Ephesus
    St. Publia the Confessor and Deaconess of Antioch
    St. Rebecca
    St. Rhipsime of Armenia
    St. Rufina of Caesarea
    St. Sabina of Smyrna, along with Sts. Pionius and Limnus
    St. Salome and St. Perozhavra of Ojarma
    St. Sarah
    St. Sarbelus of Edessa
    St. Scholastica, Sister of St. Benedict of Nursia
    St. Sebastiana the Martyr and Disciple of St. Paul the Apostle at Heraclea
    St. Sidonia Of Georgia
    St. Sopatra of Constantinople
    St. Sophia and Her Three Daughters
    St. Sophia of Suzdal
    St. Sophia the Mother of Orphans
    St. Susanna in Palestine
    St. Syncletica of Alexandria
    St. Syncletica with her two daughters
    St. Tabitha the Widow, Raised from the Dead by the Apostle Peter
    St. Tatiana of Rome, and Those Who Suffered With Her
    St. Thais of Egypt
    St. Thekla and Many Others who Suffered in Persia
    St. Thekla, Protomartyr and Equal to the Apostles
    St. Theoctiste of the Isle of Lesbos
    St. Theodora
    St. Theodora of Alexandria
    St. Theodora of Caesarea
    St. Theodora, Wife of Emperor Theophilus the Iconoclast
    St. Theodota at Nicea
    St. Theodota in Egypt
    St. Theodota the Mother of the Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian
    St. Theodota, who suffered under Diocletian
    St. Theodula of Anazarbus in Cilicia
    St. Theophano, Empress of Byzantium
    St. Theopiste with Her Husband and Children
    St. Theosebia, Sister of St. Basil and St. Gregory
    St. Tryphaina at Cyzicus
    St. Vassa and Her Children
    St. Wendreda, Hermitess of March, Cambridgeshire, England
    St. Werburga, Abbess of Canterbury
    St. Winefride
    St. Xanthippe and St. Polyxene, Disciples of the Apostles
    St. Xenia
    St. Xenia of Rome
    St. Xenia of St. Petersburg
    St. Zenaida of Tarsus
    St. Zenobia of Aegae, and her brother Heiromartyr Zenobius
    St. Zoe
    St. Zoe at Rome
    and of course, the greatest saint of all – the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.

    That took me less than a minute to find, and I’m sure it is only a fraction of women saints.

    If you can’t find a role model in there, you are looking for the wrong role model.

  25. Not sure if this is still checked or not… but i have to say this perfectly sums up my reason for wanting to convert, with this i can show my parents why i want to and have them stop thinking i am part of a cult or something. This is a great list and many thanks and blessings to those who compiled it.

  26. Adryan, yes it is still kept up to date.

    Let us know how we can assist you. You’re on a well worn path and we are ready to help.

  27. What I dislike most about Orthodoxy is it makes me look inward, self examine, and change. What I like most about Orthodoxy is it makes me look inward, self examine, and change.

  28. The Kingdom of God is within you!

  29. MarylandBill says:

    This is an interesting article. I am Catholic, but have a deep respect for Orthodoxy and long for the day that the rift between us can be healed.

  30. MarylandBill, we feel the same way, and long for a reunion of Truth and Love!

  31. I grew up protestant (freewill Baptist/ evangelical) and this article resonates with me on a deep level. The way that emotion dominated church services always made me feel a little uncomfortable. There seemed to be almost a lack of seriousness involved; a “go with flow” type of mentality that struck me as lacking in tradition and substance. The way Christ was portrayed in a sense as weak, effeminate, pacifist, and a man of non-action didn’t make sense to me at all for some reason despite that being the archetype I was taught. The end result wasn’t that I accepted the feminized version of Christ, but that I stopped going to church all together. I thought that my views on Christianity weren’t accepted by any mainstream church because they were “traditional”, “old fashioned”, or “outdated”. I must say that for a few years I was completely disillusioned with modern Christianity, I felt that there was no place within it for me despite being a Christian and trying to live up to that as best I knew how. From what I’ve read on the orthodox church it seems to be the only form of Christianity in the world that truly makes sense to me. I plan on converting within the next year. I’m 20 years old. I’ve read about or tried every form of Christianity in America. It is the only one with a real tradition. It doesn’t tell me that “feel good feelings” are a basis for the whole religion. It is the only one that doesn’t portray Christ in a weak or effeminate manner. It doesn’t change with the latest fashion or trend. God bless Orthodox Christianity.

  32. Joe, welcome home. Let us know how we can help you.

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