17–19 June 2011 • On-campus Event
Our recent "Women Disciples of the Lord" conference provided a lively forum for exploration and reflection, as more than 50 women met on campus to discuss the ministry of women within the Orthodox Church. Plenary speakers, drawing from ancient sources and making contemporary applications, sparked discussions on topics ranging from human anthropology to Christian vocation, from motherhood to prison chaplaincy to campus fellowship and spiritual direction.
Carrie Frederick Frost, a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Virginia with Dr. Vigen Guroian (who delivered a terrific workshop on motherhood, and is the mother of five children, including a set of triplets, and is also studying theological anthropology), summed up her weekend experience, in an e-mail dashed off to conference organizers Tanya Penkrat and Dr. Peter C. Bouteneff:
"Peter and Tanya,
I am freshly home in Virginia but before I unpack and get settled, I had to write and thank you for the incredible experience of the conference. Wow: what an amazing weekend. It exceeding my expectations in a myriad of ways. I met women who were some of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I met women scholars whose work I will want to always follow, and with whom I hope to correspond all of my days. I met females doing Orthodox theology—even though I had known of some of these women and corresponded with them by email, this was literally the first time I'd met other women doing theology 'in the flesh.' I am gushing on here, but truly, I am overwhelmed by just how meaningful the conference was to me.
One thing that really struck me, was just how many times women said 'not many women have done this before' about their ministry or 'this topic is really understudied' about their scholarship (even Fr. John Behr said this about work on human anthropology). There was a real sense of sitting with fellow female pioneers in the Church, and that was humbling and completely inspiring. With gratitude, Carrie"
Alumnae and professors from Holy Cross Orthodox School of Theology, St. Vladimir's Seminary, and St. Tikhon's Seminary contributed much to the gathering, acting as both plenary speakers and workshop leaders. Additionally, SVOTS alumnae met in a special session with seminary Dean Archpriest John Behr and seminary Chancellor Archpriest Chad Hatfield, exchanging concerns and ideas, especially related to "curriculum and programs at the seminary that will be more attentive to the needs and aspirations of women students."
We're sorry if you could not be with us for this past weekend for the wonderful workshops and awesome networking opportunities. But, you can share in the conference by listening to podcasts of the plenary session speakers, which will be broadcast on Ancient Faith Radio  in bi-weekly segments:
- Opening Address: "The Joy to Serve" • Matushka Juliana Schmemann (via video)
- Keynote Address: "Mal e and Female He Created Them" • The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's
- "Eve, Mary, and Us" • Dr. Kyriaki Karidoyanes Fitzgerald
- "Light from the Past on Vocations Today" • Dr. Mary Ford
- "Confessions of a Free-lance Writer: Discerning God's Will in an Unpredictable Vocation" • Khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green
Add a comment about your experience at the Women's Conference on our SVOTS Facebook  page. Not yet a fan of SVOTS? Please join!
Listen to the podcasts of the conference on Ancient Faith Radio, to be posted bi-weekly in the "Voices from St. Vladimir's"  section. Fr. John Behr's Keynote, "Male and Female He Created Them"  is now available, and you may follow his presentation, using the scriptural and patristic quotations he provided when he delivered his talk.
Relive the weekend by viewing a dozens of pics in a photo gallery of the conference, by Dn. Gregory Hatrak.