During Old testament, menstruation was a sign and symbol of curse as God cursed EVE “as you have made the tree bleed, you shall bleed every month”. However, we are in the new Testament where everything has been made new through the Blood and Flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ- He has changed the Sin to holy and the cursed to blessing. The Church no longer consider menstruation as a curse or sin. As a matter of fact those who consider it as a sin, have fallen to heresy. The Church consider menstruation as a state of being uncleanness only in flesh. There is a difference between sin/curse and being unclean in flesh. The former needs repentance and confession to be cleaned from and the later only need water to washed it away. Menstruation is a meaningful bodily function that does not in any way involve sin. A blood flow while it is in the women womb is clean. However like any other discharge of the body i.e. urine, fecal material or sweat-once discharged from the body is unclean. Physical discharges do not make us sinful, less holy or less worthy of human being but just unclean. The bible clearly describe not only menstruation but also a man bodily discharge as unclean “ When any man has an unusual bodily discharge, such a discharge is unclean[ Lev 15:2]”. Therefore it is not the Orthodox church teaching when one say that you can’t kiss the Holy cross, read the Holy Bible or prayer book while a woman is on menstruation. The Church insist on proper fasting and preparation on the days before Communion -the utmost cleanliness of mind and body. This teaching has been equally consistent and dominant in the teachings of the Church, Bible and Fathers. A woman while on menstruation can pray using bible, prayer books [Wedassie Maiam e.t.c.] in a designated area in the church [mostly outside the main church but within the compound of the church] or at home. She can touch Holy bible, kiss the Holy cross and drink Holy water [except the Holy water handed out during the Holy Communion]. Pondering verse,
“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. [Mt 23:16-22].
What are the things that are forbidden during menstruation
“‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period” -Leviticus 18:19
“‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people” Leviticus 20:18
Interpretation - “do not stain the holy days of fasting and do not approach your wife on the days of her menstruation and childbed lest your marriage become unlawful. Remember what God has commanded Moses when He said- look above verses” the Fithah Negest 24:922.
2. Holy baptism
“water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” 1 pet 2:21.
If a woman is on her menstruation, she must wait till she is clean before baptism - Fithah Negest 20:30
3. Holy Eucharist /from entering into the Church Reason- in a church, the only Blood that should be shed inside the church is the Blood of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. This doesn’t only apply to the menstruation of a woman, but also to any gender who has a sign of bleeding. Even a clergy who has a cut in his hand or has nose bleeding e.t.c.- shall not take the Holy communion. [FYI-this is the main reason why we don’t carry any food inside the church - because the only food that should be consumed inside the church is only the blood and flesh of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ]. It is not allowed for a woman in menstruation or in her childbirth [Lev. 12] to enter church nor take the Holy Communion until the day of her menstruation is over” Fithah Negest [Leviticus 7:19-21]. She can come to church and listen sermon and liturgy, pray [using Holy Books], kiss the Holy Cross within the designated area within the compound of the church - but not inside the Church. A woman while on her menstruation can’t go inside the church, take the Holy Communion and drink the Holy Water that is handed out only during the Holy Communion.
St. Gregory the Great said a woman who wishes to observe what is written in the bible regarding menstruation, “ is praiseworthy”.
God bless Dn Fre-senbet. Have something to say? Leave a comment or share a post!