[St. Pachomius Library]

Élisabeth Behr-Sigel

XX/XXI Centuries
Élisabeth Behr-Sigel has been referred to as a "mother of the Church" in and for our time. Born in 1907, she was a living memory of the Church in the 20th century. Baptized into the Protestant Church, Madame Behr-Sigel heard the call to follow Jesus at an early age. She followed this call and was one of the first women students of theology in France, graduating from the University of Strasbourg. After graduation she served as the pastor of a country parish in the Reformed Church for one year. During her studies she had discovered Orthodoxy through her friends and colleagues of the Russian emigration: Metropolitan Evolgy, Frs. Sergius Bulgakov and Lev Gillet, St. Maria Skobtsova, Vladimir Lossky, and Paul Evdokimov. She was especially enchanted by the vision of Church as unity in communion: "a community of men and women... joined in joy and peace of the Holy Trinity." This introduction eventually led her to embrace the Orthodox Church.

Throughout her lifetime, Madame Behr-Sigel served the Church in many capacities. She was an instructor of theology at St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris and for many years was a theological consultant to the assembly of Orthodox bishops in France. She was particularly known for efforts to reflect on and reevaluate the place of women in the Church, which continued until her repose in 2005.

Teva Regule


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