It is so conceived by nature that women have critical days every month. They affect the well-being and lifestyle, but, in addition to this, menstruation causes controversy about whether it is possible to go to church during this period? The question is not as simple as it seems at first glance. On this occasion, there are different opinions, even among the clergy.
There is still no clear opinion on this matter. Disputes about female "impurity" are conducted for centuries. And authoritative theologians have explained in different ways how Eve’s daughters behave during menstruation days.
Today, in different temples there are rules for visiting and participating in the rites of women experiencing critical days. They are reduced to 3 main behaviors:
- Women during menstruation can not even go to the temple, not to mention the participation in the sacraments.
- You can attend church, but you can not put candles, drink holy water, touch icons and other shrines. It is forbidden to take communion and participate in the sacraments of baptism, wedding, and consecration.
- There is no prohibition on visiting the temple and participating in any rites.
The origins of the ban
It is worth noting that we are talking about Christian traditions. But questions about the admissibility of coming to church on “these days” only concern Orthodox parishioners. Western Christians do not have such doubts, they freely attend churches, take communion, put candles, touch icons.
In Russian Orthodoxy, this is much more complicated. Therefore, our priests so often hear questions from their parishioners, how can they be in the days of menstruation. Answers may be different.
Attitude to menstruation as a manifestation of the "impurity" of the female body is reflected in the Old Testament. The woman herself was considered unclean, and anyone who touches her.
The outflow of blood was perceived as the sinful destruction of the embryo of a new life, a reminder of the mortality of people. When, thus, the human nature was distorted by the fall of Adam and Eve, it was necessary to stay away from the temple of God.
But there is another interpretation of the ban on the presence of women with monthly in church. The fact is that in a holy place you can not shed blood. And in those days, women did not have reliable means of hygiene, so that at any moment trouble could happen.
But the Old Testament times had long passed, and the questions of parishioners, why they should not be in the church on critical days, do not have an unequivocal answer.
Opinions of Authoritative Theologians
Still Saint Clement of Rome in the III century wrote that the holy spirit is always present with believers, and a woman does not lose it in the days of natural cleansing. After all, it was exactly this created by the Lord himself, there is nothing “disgusting” about it.
You can not blame the fair sex that does not depend on them, but is given by nature - St. Gregory Dvoeslov also wrote about this. The saint was against the ban not only on visiting, but also on the adoption of holy communion. If a woman herself, out of great respect and reverence, does not dare to participate in this sacrament, then another thing is worthy of praise. But if she wants to take communion, then blaming her for having committed a sin is not worth it.
Everyone who stood up to the side of women in this argument recalled the story of a bleeding woman described in the Bible. She dared to touch the edge of Jesus' clothes and was immediately healed. And the Lord not only was not angry with the patient, but also encouraged her with kind words.
Modern views of the church
Nowadays, many parishioners are perplexed about the ban on attending church services, and even resent such an attitude. But the point in this matter is not set so far.
Most clergymen and theologians believe that a bias towards the characteristics of the female body is a superstition and a relic. But there is another opinion. And since in the traditions of Orthodoxy in a woman humility and obedience are welcomed, parishioners often simply do not know who to listen to.
For example, the argument of those who are on the side of the fair sex, sounds like this - the church has always been and remains a shelter for all who are overcome by weaknesses, misfortunes and grief. And a woman on critical days is weak not only physically, but hard and morally. So why exacerbate her griefs, albeit temporarily, but by excommunication from meeting with the Lord in his house?
And the very recognition of a woman as unclean on such days humiliates her dignity, turning her into a second-rate being. Archpriest Konstantin Parkhomenko, the editor of the Orthodox web portal “The Alphabet of Faith” and the teacher of the Theological Seminary, are completely on the side of women. He is sure that man is defiled only by his sin, and not by the natural processes of the body.
Many church ministers consider a ban on being in the temple and participating in the rites as an outdated canon. Today, in many churches, women work without looking at their monthly cycle - they bring order, bake prosphora, sell candles, icons, books in the church shop.
With the fact that a woman during her period can be present in the temple and pray, according to the majority of ministers of the church. But with the sacraments, the situation is different. Until now, modern priests are opposed to women receiving communion, being baptized and married during menstruation. An exception is made only for mortally ill patients and if the bleeding continues for a long period and is associated with a serious illness.
In order not to be tormented by the question of whether or not to go to the temple on critical days, it is better to follow the order of your ward. If your priest is against visits, then it is better to wait and with a clear conscience to come to the service on another day. Self-will and rebellion are not peculiar to Orthodox Christians, therefore, you need permission from your confessor to get permission (or prohibition) to be present in the church on “these days”.