First female priests in Church of Bangladesh ordained since 1997

by CWM Communications Team

Church of Bangladesh has ordained two women priests, Rev. Suchitra Behera and Rev. Mridula Baidya during an ordination service on 8 January 2023 at The Epiphany Cathedral, Oxford Mission, Barishal, Bangladesh. 600 people witnessed this historic occasion of women ordination, which last happened when Rev. Sudatta Baidya and Rev. Monorma Mitra were ordained in 1997.

The ordination service was led by Moderator Bishop Mankhin, Deputy Moderator Bishop Pholia and Bishop Halder.

The ordination programme on 7 January started with the traditional ritual of Turmeric Blessings, which is a purification ceremony for the ordinands since turmeric is a symbol of purification of the hearts and minds of the priest candidates. The next day, the 15 ordinands took the vow and were blessed by the Most Rev. Samuel Sunil Mankhin during the Holy Mass. After the service, the newly ordained Priests received a reception through different cultural programs of Dance, Song, Poem, and inspirational and congratulatory speeches.

CWM Mission Secretary Rev. Julie Sim said: “True unity of the Church can only be fully realized in a context where the call of God to women to exercise their gifts in the ministry of the Word and Sacraments is recognized.”

The bishops and priests of the Church of Bangladesh

The ceremony was attended by parents, spouses, children and relatives of the 15 priest candidates, COB Bishops, priests, leaders of the different denomination, Rev. Sim, and Br. Erick.Rev. Behera will be the assistant priest to support her husband Bishop Pholia’s diocesan work at the Barishal Diocese at Epiphany Cathedral, and Rev. Mridula Baidya will be the assistant priest to her husband Rev Monindro Baidya, who is the Dean of the Khulna Deanery.

Dated 12 January 2023

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