At the age of 67, the only woman priest of Kerala CSI Church Reverend Omana Victor retired from her post on Tuesday. She joined the Kerala United Theological Seminary at Kannammoola in Thiruvananthapuram in 1990.

While she was fighting for her rights, all along the state clergy said that according to the Bible, women are ‘unfit and unclean for the job’, according to an article by India Today, published in 1991.

The Church of South India had started the process of appointing women priests in 1970. As expected, it took around 12 years for the proposal to get two third support to be implemented.  The fight for rights was fought by the first female priest of Kerala Reverend Marathakavalley David. She had to fight for decades, in the meantime all her male colleges were ordained way before her and hence, after winning, she said that it was a call from the divine. While she was fighting for her rights, all along the state clergy said that according to the Bible, women are ‘unfit and unclean for the job’, according to an article by India Today, published in 1991. Battling against all the odds, Rev. Marathakavalley David won and hence started the ordainment of females into the church.

“There was never any opposition from anyone — from my family or the church committees. I had everyone’s support,” says Omana, a day after she stepped out of her priest’s robes

Rev. Omana Victor was the only woman priest in the church after Reverend Marathakavalley David. “There was never any opposition from anyone — from my family or the church committees. I had everyone’s support,” says Omana, a day after she stepped out of her priest’s robes, according to The News Minute.

Marathakavalley was ordained in 1989. A year after this, Victor started her Seminary Studies. She has been serving the church for around 25 years. Rev Omana says that it was the calling of God and said that she was supported by her husband Robert Victor who was also a priest. Omana got married to Robert in 1978. She was then involved in church activities and later on grew attached with the believers. Her husband, Robert used to study in Kerala United Theological Seminary, where other women were also studying along with him. He then asked Omana if she was interested in joining. She completed her B.TH and B.D., and began her service on May 1, 1994. On April 30, when she retired, she completed 25 years of her service with the church.

In her 25 years of service, she served in various churches across Thiruvanthapuram and people addressed her as Acha, the way they addressed the male priests. Thanks to Marathakavalley, Rev. Victor didn’t have to fight for her rights. People had immense belief in her. Whenever they wanted her to pray, they would say, “Acho, Please Pray”. She has also led the prayers and the holy mass at CSI Church in Elakkode West in Thiruvananthapuram. Omana has two sons, Shaji Victor, who works in the Kerala Assembly and Reji Victor, who works in a private firm.

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Picture Credit: The News Minute

Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv

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