A Visit with the Orthodox Community in France

Over the weekend of 10–11 October, Prof. Wilson of the Institute joined the gathering of the ACER-MJO (Association Chrétienne des Etudiants Russes – Mouvement de Jeunesse Orthodoxe), which took place at the Centre National de Formation Scouts et Guides de France, outside of Paris. The theme of the event was the ministry of the laity in the church. The timing was significant: it was ten years ago this November that one of the most important lay theologians of French Orthodoxy, Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, “fell asleep in the Lord.”

Prof. Wilson was invited to address the assembly on Behr-Sigel’s understanding of the lay ministry. While Behr-Sigel is best known for her writings in support of the ordination of women to the Orthodox priesthood, she also wrote extensively on the calling of all Christians, lay and ordained alike, to become “permeable to Christ” and carry the light of Christ with them everywhere they go. Church is not only something that happens in the liturgy; it is what Christians are everywhere they go and no matter what they do. The faith is not something to hide and protect but to carry into every corner of the world.

The text of Prof. Wilson’s address may be found here: Elisabeth Behr-Sigel et le role du laicat dans l’Eglise (in French). For more about Behr-Sigel, see Olga Lossky’s biography, Toward the Endless Day, and Prof. Wilson’s study, Woman, Women, and the Priesthood in the Trinitarian Theology of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel.