The archbishop of Wales has apologised for what he said was the way the church had "denigrated" women and treated them as second-class citizens.
The Archbishop said all faiths had seen women as second class
In a sermon to mark International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, Dr Barry Morgan said Christians had "often used the Bible" against women.
He said it was little wonder that women had suffered violence when it could be backed with "religious justification".
He claimed "every religious tradition" had been guilty of denigrating women.
In a service at Cardiff's Llandaff Cathedral, Dr Morgan called on Christians to repent the "patriarchal mindset" of their faith.
He quoted the 2003 British Crime Survey which estimated that one in two women had experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Dr Morgan said: "Let me as an Archbishop admit that Christians throughout the ages have denigrated women and often used the Bible to do so - and let me apologise for that.
"It has to be realised that the Bible was written in patriarchal times and that colours the way women were regarded.
"Every religious tradition has in fact denigrated women and seen them as second-class citizens in the past.
"Little wonder then that violence has been committed against them when you can back it up with religious justification."
He added that institutional Christianity had "undergirded and enforced a patriarchal mindset".
Dr Morgan told the congregation that everyone, whatever their philosophy or faith tradition, had a part to play in "making a difference".
The audience included First Minister Rhodri Morgan, and the Welsh assembly's Equality Minister Jane Hutt.
Ms Hutt said: "In all societies, Wales being no exception, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that takes no account of income, class or culture."
Dr Morgan was enthroned as Archbishop of Wales in 2003, succeeding Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and spiritual leader of the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican communion.