The Role of Women

  According to the Artotyrite faith, when Paul requires women to pray and prophecy with their heads covered, this of course implies that women may pray and prophesy.

The Montanist theologian Tertullian wrote, "we have among us now a sister who has been granted gifts of revelations, which she experiences in church during the Sunday services through ecstatic vision in the Spirit. . . And after the people have been dismissed at the end of the service it is her custom to relate to us what she has seen." (De Anima, ix c.210).

What makes the Artotyrites (and the Montanists) most interesting is not that their membership was limited to women, or primarily women, but rather that both men and women found compelling a movement in which women were not relegated to the background, but were significant, even central players.

Inded, the diary of Perpetua [Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas] may represent the earliest known writing of a Christian woman. It confirms both the centrality of prophetic vision in the New Prophecy and the prominence of women." (The "New Prophecy" is her name for the Montanist movement.)

Opposition to women exercising priesthood in principle, if not in actuality, actually comes from John Chrysostom, who asserted women's exclusion from the priesthood but acknowledges that women effectively exercise power over the office nonetheless.

Today, the Artotyrite Church continues to assert the universal priesthood of Christians, even of females, against the special priesthood in the Catholic church. We hold that the true qualification and appointment for the office of teacher is in direct endowment by the Spirit of God, in distinction from outward ordination and episcopal succession.