"Holy Things are For the Holy"
Within conservative forms of Christianity, such as Eastern Orthodoxy, women’s roles have historically been monitored and minimized, with institutional hierarchs silencing the voices of women and members of the LGBT community. What does it mean to be a progressive female activist in a church that historically refuses to acknowledge her equality?
Through anthropological study and ethnographic filmmaking, this project will show how Orthodox female activists seek agency in an institution that refuses them access to its holiest rites and practices. Raising questions about female autonomy, the gendering of holiness, and religious purity, her research explores what happens to the socio-theological structures of communities when grassroots initiatives that are seen as synonymous with modernity challenge deep set notions of who can be a priest.
How will conservative Christianity be transformed by women who are leading the way to create a new status quo in the Orthodox Church, one that focuses on inclusivity and intersectionality? This project will reveal how Orthodox feminist activists are pushing back against the hegemony of patriarchal Christianity, seeking not to upend tradition but to transform it, even through socio-religious transgression.
The Deaconess Movement
Part of this project will trace out how the ancient order of the Deaconess is trying to be revitalized by contemporary Orthodox Christians around the world.
As part of a multi-modal project, I am making a documentary about how contemporary women in the Orthodox Church feel about the limitations and constraints placed upon them because of the androcentric nature of the Church, and how they find and make meaningful spiritual connections as women.