The Church Fathers of the 4th and 5th Centuries about Women and Marriage

Abstract

Autor se u članku bavi pitanjem ženidbe i položajem žene u društvu i Crkvi 4. i 5. st. i to kroz pogled četvorice velikih crkvenih Otaca koji su svojom mišlju obilježili vrijeme u kojem su živjeli, ali i sljedeća stoljeća kršćanstva. Istražuje misli o ženi i ženidbi kod četvorice velikih crkvenih otaca, Jeronima i Augustina na Zapadu, te Grgura Nazijanskog i Ivana Zlatoustog na Istoku. Premda su odrasli u kulturi koja je izrazito negativno nastrojena prema ženi, ipak će istočni crkveni oci, Grgur Nazijanski i Ivan Zlatousti, iskazati veće poštovanje prema ženi od zapadnih crkvenih otaca. To posebno vrijedi za Grgura Nazijanskog čija je misao obilježena dubokim pozitivnim iskustvom života u vlastitoj obitelji te ulogom majke u toj obitelji. Autor je također ukazao i na duboko prijateljstvo koje je vladalo između Jeronima i udovice Paule te Ivana Zlatoustog i đakonise Olimpijade.The author deals with the issue of marriage and the position of women in society and in the Church of the 4th and 5th century, through the view of the four great church’s fathers who, in their minds, marked the time in which they lived, but also the following centuries of Christianity. In the introductory part of the article, the author offers a brief glimpse into the position of women in both the antic West and the East, pointing to the novelty of Christianity, especially to the doctrine of the marriage’s indissolubility. In the second part of the article, the author explores the thoughts of women and marriages in the four great church’s fathers, Jerome and Augustine in the West, and Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom in the East. Though they grew up in the western part of Christianity, who somehow respected the woman and acknowledged her some rights, however, both Jerome and Augustine, in the trace of the previous ecclesial tradition, would show the woman as “weaker sex”, as the one who fell first in sin and with her fall caused the state of the fallen humanity. Although grown up in a culture that is extremely negative to the woman, the eastern church’s fathers, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, will show greater respect for the women than Western church’s fathers. This is particularly appreciated by the Gregory Nazianzus whose thought is marked by the profound positive experience of life in his own family and the role of his mother in that family. The author also pointed out the profound friendship that ruled between Jerome and widow Paula and John Chrysostom and the deaconess Olympias

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