Saintly Feminism & Martyrdom

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”  (Genesis 1:27-28)

“… there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Galatians 3:28 )

The Martyr Julitta at Cesarea (ca 304AD) is remembered on July 31.

Julitta was a wealthy woman and because of the on going persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, secretly a Christian.  Her life and martyrdom were written by St Basil the Great who offered this account of her martyrdom:

A wealthy man trying to take advantage of the fact that she was a woman wrongfully seized a good deal of her property.  When Julitta took  him to court to regain rightful possession of her property, the man exposed to the court that Julitta was a Christian.  The judge told her if she wanted to regain her property she would have to deny Christ and offer incense to an idol.  Julitta refused and was sentenced to be burned to death.  According to St Basil the Great, the Martry offered her final words to some other women standing nearby: “We are made of the same stuff as men.  We are made in the likeness of God just as they are.  The woman is made by the Creator to be just as capable of virtue as men.  How is this so?  Are we not related in every way?  For not only was the woman made by taking flesh from the man, but also bone from his bone.  Do we not then have the same obligation to the Lord as men, to be as constant in courage and patience?

St Basil concludes with this exhortation:  “I say to you men: Do not fall short of the example of this woman in your piety!  And women: Do not prove yourselves weaker than her example, but hold fast to your piety without excuses, through hearing her story.  Do not permit a soft nature to hinder anyone from doing good.”

(St Basil the Great, ON FASTING AND FEASTS, pp 110-111)

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