Christian women in the Roman Empire


St James' Church, stained glass window showing raphael's Sistine Madonna


Mosaic artwork of saints perpetua and felicity 


Mosaic artwork of Saint Perpetua 

Women in Church history had a variety of roles in the life of Christianity. These women have continued to be active; particularly in the establishment of schools,nursing homes, monastic settlements Etc. The women also had roles as contemplatives, health care givers, educationalists, and missionaries. Until recentlay, women were generally excluded from specific positions within the Christian churches, however great numbers of women have been influential in the life of the church - from contemporaries of Jesus, to subsequent saints, missionaries, mystics, monarchs and martyrs, like Perpetua and Felicity.

Christianity emerged from petriarchal societies where men were placed in positions of authority in marriage, society and government, and the religion restricted membership of the priesthood to males only. In its early centuries it offered women an enhanced social status.