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Is A Divine Marriage The Only Option For An Ascetic Woman?

Saint Syncletica had many opportunities to wed as a young woman because of her fortune and beauty. However, as a true ascetic, she knew from the beginning that her love and commitment lied intrinsically with God.

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Her parents urged her into marriage and her beauty almost ensured a suitor.

"For she was exceedingly beautiful physically as to attract to herself from her first youth many suitors. Some were attracted by her abundant wealth, some by the decorum of her parents; but over and above these things they were attracted to the beauty of the girl herself. And certainly her parents gladly urged the young girl toward marriage, urging this so that through her their line of succession would be protected. But the wise and noble-spirited woman did not at all arrange things according to this council of her parents; hearing worldly marriage, she imagined divine marriage; and overlooking many suitors, she possessed the inclination for the Divine Bridegroom alone."

Syncletica's remarkable beauty meant she could have lived happily and comfortably with a husband to take care of her and create a family. But, according to Syncletica, a wordly marriage would hinder her relationship with the Divine Bridegroom. All of her attention should be focused on God. A relationship with a human, who is inherently flawed, would be far too distracting.

However, referencing Thecla, Syncletica knew marriage was not for her lifestyle.

Using a renowned ascetic Saint as an example, Syncletica follow suit in establishing a Divine marriage vs. a mortal marriage.

"It was possible to see in her the true disciple of the blessed Thecla following the same teachings. For Christ was the one suitor of the two, and Paul himself was for both of them the guide to the Bridegroom. And I think that the bridal chamber was not different for them; for the church was the one bridal chamber for them..."

Virginity is one of the fundamental practices of asceticism and that is not possible to achieve as a married woman.

It is certainly possible to remain a virgin in a marriage if the couple decide against children, however, women were never quite taken seriously in the world of theology. A married woman would be questioned about her existing virginity. Refraining from worldly temptations is a pivotal aspect of asceticism, and sex is the biggest temptation. It was better for women to remain single; their purity would not be questioned or tempted, and she could remain focused solely on God; a Divine marriage was the better option for the woman ascetic.

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