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1987 Speaker - Mrs. Eva Catafygiotu Topping

Hellenic lecturer and author on women

Born in Fredricksburg, Virginia, Ms. Eva Catafygiotu Topping was baptized into the Greek Orthodox faith as an infant; despite the lack of an Orthodox community surrounding her as she grew, she was always proud of her heritage. In fact, her first direct experience with the Orthodox Church did not occur until she was a graduate student at Radcliffe-Harvard. In 1960, she became actively involved in the Church, initially as an advocate for the use of English rather than the traditional Greek in the services. As a trained classicist, Topping utilized her knowledge of Greek by studying hymns in the traditional tongue and then publishing scholastic articles which introduced the beauty of the Byzantine hymnology to others unfamiliar with the language. Her true passion, however, quickly came to be what she perceived as the “second-class status” of women in the Orthodox tradition. The bulk of Topping’s writing and speeches center on this subject and the changes that she believes need to be made in order to achieve the goal of “equal discipleship” between the sexes.
Topping’s writings include:

  • Sacred Stories from Byzantium (1977)
  • Holy Mothers of Orthodoxy: Women and the Church (1987)
  • Saints and Sisterhood: The Lives of Forty-Eight Holy Women (1990)

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