The need for a "theology of healing" was the central theme of a recent international encounter between Orthodox women and Christians of both genders from other traditions.

Female leadership in the life of the church — be it in the area of worship, education, administration or social care — should not be “understood as seeking power and prestige but as a deeper commitment to love and service that responds to the sacrificing love of Christ,” stated the women and men who took part in the July 8-12 meeting at the St. Vlash Theological Academy in Albania.

The participants suggested seeing the women’s commitment as a “healing to all suffering people, particularly the abused, the violated, the victims of poverty and other marginalized people among which women and children are the most vulnerable and highest numbers.”

A theology of healing rests on the fact that “healing is a gift from the incarnate, crucified and risen Lord to all creation.” This healing “is expressed in a concrete way daily according to the needs of the social context in which the Christian communities struggle.”

Thus, women and men in the church need to commit themselves “to be agents of the resurrected Lord and instruments of healing in a broken and needy world.”

Twenty-three Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant and Pentecostal men and women from Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, North and South America attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.

The meeting was a follow up on a series of inter-Orthodox women’s consultations on the role of women in the church that had started in 1976.

Click for the Statement by the participants of the meeting.