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Why women were silenced in the early church

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Enrolment gives you the right to attend the live or recorded classes and receive a certificate from Lusófona University, subject to passing the assessments.

About the Course

The New Testament points to an emerging church with strong female participation. Priscilla, Phoebe, Lydia, Euodia, Syntyche, Tryphena, and Tryphosa are just some of the many names mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline letters. Why, then, were women silenced from the second century onwards? Who were the main advocates of this silencing? Who were the women known and respected in the second century as prophetesses and teachers? Why were their names and stories erased from church history books? In this course, we will recover the memory of women whose theology was seen as a threat to the male authority of the church. Called heretics, prostitutes, and demon-possessed, their writings were destroyed, and their teachings combated. Silenced by force, their history was recorded only by their opponents, but studying them is essential to understanding the historical process of silencing women in the Christian church up to the present day.

Who is it for?

Everyone is welcome to join the course: curious individuals, general scholars and those interested in the history of Christianity, students and professors of religious studies and theology, religious leaders in general, pastors and laypeople involved with the religious/ecclesial field, pastoral agents, educators, and community leaders.

Are there any prerequisites?

There are no prerequisites to take the course, just the desire to learn and openness to dialogue with other participants.

When does it start?

The course starts on 8 June 2024. It lasts for 4 Saturdays, ending on 29 June.

How are the classes conducted?

Classes will be held live on Saturdays at 14h (Brazil) / 18h (Portugal) via the Zoom platform.
Each class will last 1 hour for the lecture, followed by 30 minutes for questions and debates.
Classes will be recorded and made available on the course page for student access.

How is the assessment done?

The assessment is organised into two stages:

  • Completion of exercises for each class (4)
  • Completion of a brief learning report at the end of the module, 1 to 3 pages

The final course grade will be weighted as follows:

Exercises – 40%
Final Report – 60%

The course ends on 29 June 2024.

The final report must be submitted in pdf or doc format by 13 July 2024.


Lesson 1: Female Leadership in the Early Church.
Summary: The role of women as Prophetesses in the early Christian church, controversies over female participation in the church of the first century.

Lesson 2: The New Prophecy – Prisca, Maximilla, and Quintilla.
Summary: The New Prophecy movement in Phrygia, the theology of Prisca, Maximilla, and Quintilla, and their opponents.

Lesson 3: Gnostic Prophecy – Helena, Philomena, Marcellina, and others.
Summary: Prophetesses and Teachers in Rome and Carthage, their theology, and their opponents.

Lesson 4: The Decline of Prophecy and the Silencing of Women.
Summary: The impact of opposition to female prophecy in the second century on the later years of the Early Church.


Lidice Meyer Pinto Ribeiro
Lidice Meyer Pinto Ribeiro holds a Post-Doctorate in Anthropology and History from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Globalisation Studies at Universidade Aberta in Portugal. She earned her PhD in Anthropology from the University of São Paulo and holds a Master’s degree in Ethnobotany from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro/National Museum, Brazil. She is a professor in the Master’s programme in Religious Studies at Lusófona University – Lisbon University Centre and Moriah College, a Researcher at the Centre for Lusophone and European Literatures and Cultures (CLEPUL) at the University of Lisbon, and a Researcher at the Chair of Global Studies at Universidade Aberta de Lisboa (CIPSH). She is also a member of the Institute of Contemporary Christianity (ICC), the Portuguese Society for the History of Protestantism (SPHP), an Evaluator for the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and various international academic journals.

She has worked for over 20 years with the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, Brazil, coordinating the Postgraduate Programmes in Theology, Philosophy, and Pedagogy, and as a professor in the Master’s Programme in Religious Studies, undergraduate Theology, and other courses. She is a commentator and consultant on religious and anthropological matters in social media, TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. In Brazil, she has participated as an interviewee or consultant in various specials on the Bandeirantes, Record, Globo, SBT, Cultura, and Brasil Television Networks.

In recent years, she has focused on Biblical Anthropology, with a special emphasis on the study of women in the Bible and Christianity, teaching various courses on this topic. She has published books and articles in the fields of Religion, History, Anthropology, and Ethnobotany. She has conducted research in Rome (Vatican Secret Archives, Archivio Storico di Propaganda Fide, and Gregorian University), Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, the United States, and Brazil.



CLARK, Elizabeth A. Women in the Early Church (Volume 13) (Fathers of the Church). Liturgical Press, 1983.
COHICK, Lynn H.; Amy Brown Hughes. Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second through Fifth Centuries. Baker Academic, 2017.
COHICK, Lynn H. Women in the World of the Earliest Christians: Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life. Baker Academic, 2009.
KING, Karen L. Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism (Studies in Antiquity and Christianity). Fortress Press, 1990.
JENSEN, Anne. God’s self-confident daughters – early Christianity and the liberation of Women. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
KROEGER, Richard Clark; Catherine Clark Kroeger. I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking I Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence. Baker Book House, 1998.
LITWA, M David. Carpocrates, Marcellina, and Epiphanes: Three Early Christian Teachers of Alexandria and Rome. Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World, 2022.
MACY, Gary; William Ditewig; Phyllis Zagano. Mulheres Diáconos – passado, presente, futuro. Prior Velho: Paulinas, 2019.
OSIEK, Carolyn. A Woman’s Place: House Churches In Earliest Christianity. Fortress Press, 2005.
SILVA, Roberta Alexandrina da. A Participação Feminina no Cristianismo Antigo e a Influência de Paulo no Gnosticismo in SILVA, Roberta Alexandrina da. Mulheres no Cristianismo Primitivo: poderosas e inspiradoras. São Paulo: Fonte Editorial, 2022. p. 331-391.
TORJESEN, Karen J. When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of Their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity. Harper San Francisco, 1995.
VOLO, James M. The Women Who Knew Jesus:: Female Role Models in Early Christianity. 2013
WITHERINGTON III, Ben. Women and the Genesis of Christianity. Cambridge University Press, 1990.
WITHERINGTON III, Ben. Women in the Earliest Churches. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, Series Number 59, Cambridge University Press, 1991.

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EHN – European Handmakers Network

About This Course

Welcome to “EHN – European Handmakers Network”!

This Erasmus + funded project aims to promote handmakers’ self-employment and female entrepreneurship, joining the mission of increasing the employment levels and the economic autonomy of European women.

The project is building up a wide handmakers network by bringing together 5 female handmakers from Italy, Poland, Portugal, and The Netherlands who are offering their long-term professional experience in the sector to those that have just started operating in this practice or to those who want to transform their home craft business into a job.

Join us on our platform and check out the Masterclasses in order to better know the mentors which are going to follow your handmaker progress.

The project is based on the idea that straightforward, interactive and personal relationships between the 5 experienced handmakers and the women who want to be trained brings more added value for the future of female business.

So, no prefixed and general frontal lessons but live, practical and face-to-face interactions!

The project plans to select 5 women handmakers from the following countries: Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal that are going to:

  • attend free one-to-one live mentoring sessions (4 hours per selected women) with the female expert coming from their own same country (mentoring available during February and April 2023)
  • to participate at the EHN mentoring convention in Poland In April 2023 with experts of the handmaking sector (full travel and accommodation expenses covered)

Do not waste this opportunity!

Main Goal

The project proposes the creation of a digital platform and a physical event that allows European women handmakers to support each other, network and be mentored by long-experienced female experts of the handcrafting sector in order to increase their skills and turn their hobby into a micro business.

The project aims to create a model of female peer-to-peer, physical and virtual, in which relationships, mutual support and networking are the key words.

Course Mentors

Chiara Lorenzetti

Chiara Lorenzetti (Creativi108)

Art Restorations Since 1991

Chiara Lorenzetti, restorer, was born artistically in 1991. After attending the “Palazzo Spinelli” Institute for Art and Restoration in Florence, I opened my Chiaraarte shop in Biella, in my father’s historic antique shop, in Via Cernaia. Some year ago, following the closure of my father’s shop, I moved to Via Novellino 16, a Biella Chiavazza. I deal with conservative and aesthetic restorations on ceramic art objects: porcelain, stoneware, terracotta; plaster, ivory, wax, papier-mâché.

Specialized laboratory for the restoration of antique dolls. Restoration of polychrome and gilded wooden objects, statues and frames. Specific expertise in traditional Japanese restoration Kintsugi: I am one of the few restorers in Europe to use the original Japanese technique Kintsugi on ceramics. During the year I conduct workshops and conferences on: “Kintsugi, the art of repairing with gold” Artisan excellence of the Piedmont Region since 2007. Collaborator restorer, restoration technician with decree n. 38 of 23/03/2016 of the General Manager MiBACT Education and Research.

Małgorzata Jeżewska

Małgorzata Jeżewska (INBIE)

Horticulture Specialist

A qualified horticulture specialist with extensive experience and enthusiasm to share my passion. For many years, privately, and now I have been professionally involved in floristry and manual work with the use of floral compositions. In 2022, together with a friend who is a professional florist, I founded a florist’s “tqka marzeri”. Previously, I was involved in small projects and decorating in floral arrangements, among others churches, wedding halls, communions, etc.

Iwona Czaplicka

Iwona Czaplicka (ECM)

Artistic Jewellery – Handmade

It all started with my mother, who years ago started sewing clothes using linen. So I have always been connected to a natural product. Being in touch with natural materials, people who created beautiful designs with an emphasis on naturalness drove me to create something that would blend in with what I was already familiar with. My jewellery is created out of a passion for natural beauty. I started with small things, creating jewellery for myself and friends, and soon my work was appreciated by my family and friends, so I decided to expand my business.

Živile Navikiene

Živile Navikiene (S.A.F.E.Projects)

Youth/adult Education Expert

Živile Navikiene, has over fifteen years of experience in education spanning from CEO for enterprise, non-profit organizations, international relations officer, evaluator, project management to a youth leader and a national/international expert in the field of youth/adult education. For the past several years she has been working as a mentor for migrant women and consultant. As the CEO social enterprise she has proven her abilities in successful organizational design, project and program management, administration, coaching, mentoring, and training. Her work colleagues describe her as being a fast learner, who is very dependable, service oriented professional and a natural leader.

Célia Macedo

Célia Macedo (Lusófona University)

Ceramic Handmaker

Handmade ceramic handmaker based in Montemor-o-novo, Alentejo (south of Portugal). Célia Macedo, handmaker dedicated to the production of ceramic handcrafts entirely made by hand, with the use of a pottery wheel. Define his work as “Traditional ceramic, for modern life”. Ceramics’ design is inspired by the artisanal tradition of the region but aimed at more contemporary uses. High quality and national belonging of the products are two of the pillars of his work. To have a brand that represents a product 100% Portuguese, with only high-quality Portuguese material. 

Not a ready-born handmaker. Studied architecture and obtained a Master and a PhD in England. Worked in University as researcher and professor for 12 years. In 2016, first ceramic class while in England. Started as a hobby but then the desire of focusing only on ceramic production grew to the point that having a full time job was incompatible. Turned his passion into a full-time job in 2019. Now created a successful ceramic enterprise directed only by herself in every aspect, from the production to bureaucratic aspects, from social media customer relations to physical shop’s duties.