I have been asked to write an additional blog entry each week. Perhaps, Great Lent is a good time to try out this idea. The Tuesday entry will continue to speak of the general themes of Great Lent and the theology of the Church. The Friday entry, of which this is the first, will centre on another subject. Each Lenten season it is my custom to read or re-read a book in my library. This year I have chosen a powerful book of essays by the late, great Orthodox theologian Mme. Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, Discerning the Signs of the Times. (Plekon, Michael and Sarah E. Hinliky, eds. Discerning the Signs of the Times: The Vision of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, Trans. by Lyn Breck, Michael Plekon, Deno Takles, and Rachel Mortimer, Crestwood NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001.). This will be the focus of this blog each Friday. I will share with you my thoughts as I re-read this outstanding book.
So that we start even, this entry will be a bit of an introduction to the remarkable Dr. Elisabeth Behr-Sigel. This woman was born in Strasbourg FR. in 1907. Born into a French Protestant family she was introduced to Orthodoxy by the Russian émigré community in Paris. In her 98 years she became a prophetic voice in twentieth century Orthodoxy. In one of her great works The Ministry of Women in the Church (Behr-Sigel, Elizabeth., The Ministry of Women in the Church. translated by Stephen Bigham, English ed. Redondo Beach CA: Oakwood Publications, 1991.) she wrote: “The Church is a community equal although different persons within the radiant mystery of the Trinity. All members, both men and women, are turned toward Christ who saves and reconciles all human beings.” True to herself and Christ, Behr-Sigel was not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions and to seek answers that might give us all a better vision of the Holy Spirit alive in the Church. This is why, as I read this book during Great Lent, I would like to share some of my impressions and feelings with you. In these next few weeks, we will gain a sense of the vision of Mme Behr-Sigel, hopefully, as she did we will pose the right questions and stimulate our thinking to consider the possibilities; most importantly please share your thoughts and comments with us all. To learn more about Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, Google her name and read about this “Grandmother of Western Orthodoxy”, better still if you have a chance read one of her books. Thank You Dn. George