Why does the church make a difference between men and women?

In Biserica Mare Ortodoxa din Tbilisi, Georgia


Why does the Church make a difference between men and women? These kind of differences: the man should have his head uncovered in church, while the woman must have it covered, men and women must stay separately in church, women are not allowed to go into the sanctuary in any way (I think this is even discriminatory). And, by the way, why are so many restrictions regarding the altar? Does God say that not anyone is allowed to enter there, in any situation or is it just a tradition?

Men and women are different since creation

Men and women have the same Creator and were created after the same model and with the same call, as told in the first book of the Bible – Genesis:


Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)(NASB)

In the eyes of God, the man has no higher value than the woman or vice versa. All of us are very precious in the eyes of the Most High and for the salvation of all men and women Jesus Christ died on the cross.

Meanwhile, for a harmonious relationship, God has established different roles for men and women in marriage. Chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Genesis in detail present these differences of roles that we are responsible for.

The difference regarding head-wear

When Apostle Paul wrote about this difference on head-wear, he just wanted to emphasize the attitude of obedience which all men and women must have and he said:


But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:3-16)(NASB)

As you see, when God asks something, He presents all the reasons for the requested thing.

About separate seats in the church

God does not say in the Bible that at the church worship services men and women must sit separately. If some churches have decided to do so and they have reason to do so, it is their choice. But I like both in the church and in another place where I go to sit with my wife and our children and worship our Lord together.

Why women are not allowed in the sanctuary?

What people call the “sanctuary” in the Orthodox Church is actually an improvisation in the construction of church buildings of the structure of the Temple or the Tent of Meeting in the Old Testament time and people call “sanctuary” what corresponds to the place named “The Holy of Holies”, or “The Most Holy Place” in the Tent of Meeting or the Temple. Only the high priest (who could be just a man of the sons of Aaron) could enter there only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. Because this atonement did not bring the people a full cleansing of sins, in a year the high priest had to repeat that atonement, which was only a shadow, or a image of the true atonement which was done by the true High Priest Jesus Christ as it is written:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.


Those who believe in the Lord Jesus with all their heart and entered the New Covenant, do not need the images or shadows of another time as it was the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle or the Temple.

All men and women are given the entrance

The true Holy Place is in heaven and we can get there only through Jesus Christ, as it is written:

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)(NASB)

The entrance into the Most Holy Place in heaven means Salvation from sins. This is for all people regardless of gender, age, nation, social status, etc. Here’s what Scripture says in this regard:

There is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11)(NASB)

How about you, dear reader, do you want to get into the true Holy Place? Do you want to be saved? Do you want to gain the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life? Believe wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus to be born again and have an inheritance with all the saints.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru