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In correspondence with an Orthodox priest some years ago, I was fascinated to learn that the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman was well commemorated on her saint’s feast day.

This gospel character that is often painted in misogynist terms from the pulpit is actually regarded by the ancient church as St Photini, “the Enlightened One” and “equal -among-the-Apostles”.

I, as a man among women of many congregations, find this very liberating. Read John 4 again, not focusing on “ooooh! she had 5 husbands and she’s de facto now!” – but that she was able to step beyond culturally conditioned boundaries to engage in lively repartee with a Jewish rabbi and receive and recognise the affirmation of an identity that she could joyfully announce to the rest of her community.