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Equality in the Church “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). In the Church we are all free and equal, but not the way the world understands freedom and equality: we are not free to do whatever we want, and we are not equal in that we are all the same. Rather, we are free to be holy, and we are equal by God’s grace in that we all have an equal opportunity to achieve our purpose of becoming like God. We see this in our saints throughout the centuries. We have saints who are men and women. We have saints who are educated and illiterate; wealthy and poor; black and white; married and unmarried; old and young. We are all free and we all have an equal opportunity to achieve our ultimate purpose of growing towards holiness, growing towards God’s likeness, growing towards greater self-control, humility, goodness, forgiveness, kindness, generosity, peace, and love. Ultimately, what else matters in life more than this? Elder Efraim of Arizona, who recently fell asleep in the Lord, had the following enlightened words to offer about equality: There is a lot of talk these days about the equality of the genders—men and women. But the fight for women’s equality and the so-called feminist movement are late. Christianity already solved this problem twenty centuries ago. How? It destroyed the differences! It gave women equal honor to men. And what’s more—it gave one woman such honor that not a single man has had, has, or will have. This woman is the Most Holy Theotokos. In Christianity, in the Church, people are evaluated not on the basis of gender, social position, level of education, financial means, giftedness, and so on. People are distinguished and evaluated on one single basis—holiness. For God there is neither man nor woman. There are only sinners and penitents (those who are repenting). In the world there will always be unrest, anger, despair, and sadness due to the inherit inequality and inability to achieve the worldly promises of a comfortable life, liberty from the consequences of the Fall (including exploitation of the weak and vulnerable, corrupt governments, the scourges of poverty, illness, and inner brokenness), and the pursuit of happiness through material prosperity — opportunities of which are not equally distributed to all people.  In the Church, however, there is peace, goodness, and joy, since a person is not measured by their power, position, influence, or worldly success. Rather, all — and I mean All people — have equal opportunity by the grace of God to achieve their divine calling to transcend their fallen human nature and become like God... to become holy, good, compassionate, full of grace, kindness, hope, and love.  Children, the elderly and sick who are forgotten in nursing homes and hospitals, a man, a woman, poor or wealthy, free or slave, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or other: all have equal opportunity in the Church to accept God’s invitation to pursue a path to holiness.  The paradox in the Church is that the path towards holiness is actually wider for those who are weak, forgotten, exploited, and in a general position of weakness in the eyes of the world.   This is verified by two holy images: the Son of God as a vulnerable child lying in a manger, and the Suffering Servant hanging on a cross. God’s grace and strength is made perfect through our weakness, and this is why true equality exists not in the world but in the life of the Church, where the Saints — the members of the spiritual Hall of Fame — come from all backgrounds and walks of life to achieve our ultimate purpose in life, which is to become holy like God and to reign with Him for eternity in His Heavenly Kingdom.

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Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
64 Hershey Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603

Phone: (717) 394-1735
Fax: (717) 394-0991


Weekday Office Hours: 8AM-4PM

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