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Question 316

Why are women not allowed to kiss the icons when on the monthly. Before women during these days were forbidden to even enter the church.        

 

Answer to Question 316

 

But women can go to church and kiss the icons while on their monthly, the only thing they cannot do according to the canons of the church is partake of Holy Communion.

 

Same member 

The priests in Cyprus say otherwise. Some even forbid women to wear trousers.

 

Reply

No they don't, the majority will tell you exactly the same as I have, but we do have some old uneducated priests who still live in some other century.

 

In past centuries Orthodox churches were divided into three parts, 1) The Holy Sanctuary which is found behind the Iconostasis (Icon screen) and is the place where the Priests serve the Divine Liturgy. 2) The Nave which is the main part of the church and where the congregation stand and 3) the Narthex which is found at the western entrance of the Church. In older times this was where adults who were not yet baptized would stand and also those who were not allowed to receive Holy Communion because of a penance and also women who were on their menses. With time adult baptisms disappeared and so did the narthex and penitents and women on their menses had no choice but to stand with the rest of the congregation. But the reason for the original separation of women on their menses was not because they were not allowed into the church or for any theological reason, but because people in those days didnít bathe regularly and women on their menses did not smell like Chanel No.5. In the minds of people the separation of women with their menses meant that it was a sin to be in the main part of the church and this continued for many centuries especially during the centuries of the Ottoman occupation of the Greek lands. During this time education was prohibited and the Church suffered greatly because the priest themselves had but a basic education with no theological training. If a village needed a priest they would choose someone who was of good standing and not because he was educated. His religious understanding was that of the rest of the village because there was no one to teach him anything different. This actually continued into the 20th century and it is only in the past 50 years that the educated Priests are beginning to outnumber the uneducated Priests and the Church is finally returning to her true teachings, although it is difficult to wipe away the old teachings which people had been brought up to trust and hold as the truth.