A huge but rather wronged theme. Wronged from both sides. A theme that won’t find its solution as long as it is regarded with rivalry.
There were monks, even more than we think, who saw the woman in her true dimensions, namely equal to man, even when she lived in sin. There were other monks who saw the woman in a negative way, because they projected unconsciously on her their own problems and forgot that the cause was not found in the woman but in themselves.
On the other hand there were women who collaborated with the monks, especially when the monks were in the city or they were bishops, women who rendered many services to the church. There were other women who didn’t do this. And finally there were cases of consecrate persons, on both sides, who created bonds by mutual tolerance.
All these from above, especially the negative examples of relationships between monks and women generated an analogous literature that was obviously written mainly by the monks. We could divide this literature in three categories: the rejection of woman, restraints towards her and finally her acceptance. The most widespread literature is that from the middle, the restraint towards woman.
The following example belongs to this category: ”Avoid meeting with a woman, if you want to live righteously and never allow them be bold in your presence. At the beginning they show respect, that is either true or fake, but later they dare everything shamelessly. At the first meeting they keep their eyes down, speak quietly, weep compassionately, behave decently, sigh deeply, ask questions about holiness and listen carefully. At the second meeting they raise their eyes a little. At the third they look shamelessly. If you smile, they will laugh out loud. They adorn themselves and lollygag around you, cast meaningful passionate glances at you. They raise their brows, flutter their eyelashes, they uncover their necks, bend their bodies, utter words that arouse passions, they clear their throat for enticing hearing till, by all these, they get into your soul.
MOMENTS FROM THE LIFE OF THE ELDERS