Viktoria Lavriniuk

Marion Iconology and Women’s Agency

The Western modernity creates a binary of secular-religious where religious women’s lived experiences are excluded, and women’s voices are silenced. One of the assessments on whether women have agency is linked to whether they associate themselves with religion or not. Secular women are seen as liberated, having autonomy, freedom of will and choice, while women who fall under “false consciousness” are seen as oppressed, subjugated, submissive, and without agency. Furthermore, Western democracy built upon Christian traditions as a part of European cultural heritage locates Orthodox Christianity along with Islam as “Other” and “their” women are “othered.” Although growing scholarship on Muslim women’s practices of veiling and wearing headscarves starts positing it as liberation and the manifestation of women’s agentic nature, Orthodox Christian women’s religious practices and feminine symbolism are still considered to be patriarchal and oppressive. Generally, gendered topics in Orthodox Christianity are often not in the focus of Social Sciences, Religious Studies, Women’s Studies, and Feminist Theology. Therefore, drawing on the interdisciplinary approach, this paper attempts to inquire on how through the producing embodied nature of Orthodox piety, the Mother of God and Marion iconology construct religious women’s active agency; how the Mother of God through her icons has an agency on her own initiating actions and participating in the lives of religious women in an empowering way; and, how icons of the Mother of God challenge patriarchal authority of the Orthodox Church.




October 15, 2020
14.00 (Vienna) | 8.00 am (NYC) | 3.00 pm (Moscow) | 8.00 pm (Singapore)
online via Zoom

See program of the Eighth Graduate Workshop for other interesting talks.