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Orders of non-tonsured monks?


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#1 Troy Duker

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 10:50 PM

In Orthodox Monasticism is there a such thing as a Lay Monastic (A person though not formally ordained a monk, attaches themselves to monastery?) In the Catholic Church this is called "third order." If anyone knows of something like this, could you explain it to me.

#2 Andrew

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 06:18 AM

In Orthodox Monasticism is there a such thing as a Lay Monastic (A person though not formally ordained a monk, attaches themselves to monastery?) In the Catholic Church this is called "third order." If anyone knows of something like this, could you explain it to me.


No, there isn't. There are some lay people who live close to a monastery and have it as their home parish, or act as benefactors for the monks, or help around with daily duties, and those sorts of things, but nothing official like in Roman Catholic practice.

#3 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 07:52 AM

In Orthodox Monasticism is there a such thing as a Lay Monastic (A person though not formally ordained a monk, attaches themselves to monastery?) In the Catholic Church this is called "third order." If anyone knows of something like this, could you explain it to me.


Troy, are you talking about oblates, also? Oblates are attached to Roman Catholic monasteries (both men's and women's) and wear special badges made of cloth under the clothes. They are part of their special monasteries but do not live within monastery walls.

We have no such thing in the Orthodox Church, as far as I am aware.
Years ago I liked the idea of oblates and asked a monastery about this practice. I was told that it is not an Orthodox practice.

Effie

#4 Michael Astley

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 11:06 AM

In Orthodox Monasticism is there a such thing as a Lay Monastic (A person though not formally ordained a monk, attaches themselves to monastery?) In the Catholic Church this is called "third order." If anyone knows of something like this, could you explain it to me.


Yes, we do have such things in the Orthodox Church. I believe that this never quite developed in the Eastern tradition but in the pre-schism Orthodox west, especially among the Benedictines, it was customary for parents to offer their children to the life and work of a monastery. Such a child would be known as an oblate, (from the Latin oblatus, literally "the one offered"). The child would grow up in the monastery, living according to the monastic rule and fully joining in the monastic cycle of prayer and worship, and would, in time, be tonsured as a monk.

Over time, those who had not been so offered as children were permitted to similarly offer themselves as adults, some living within the monastic community (intern oblates) and some without the community (extern oblates). Extern oblates lived in the world and kept secular employment and perhaps had families but they remained under the spiritual direction of the monastery and lived according to the rule of the monastery in a form adapted by the abbot or one of the monks assigned the purpose according to their own circumstances in life.

Of course, the schism happened and most of the Western monastic tradition was lost to the Orthodox Church, becoming Catholic instead. They have largely retained the oblature that originated in Orthodoxy, and have extended the principle to their various orders of monks and nuns. Of course, the Benedictine tradition was not entirely lost to Orthodoxy at the time of the schism as there were some Western and Benedictine monasteries that were not under the Patriarchate of Rome and which remained Orthodox after the schism. The most well-known of these is perhaps the Amalfion monastery, which was the Western Rite Benedictine monastery that survived on Mount Athos up until near the end of the 13th century. Whether it had any oblates is something about which I am unsure but I don't see a reason to believe that it would have abandoned such a prominent part of the Benedictine monastic tradition.

Today, while small in number, Orthodox Benedictines and attached Oblates do certainly exist and can be read about in this article. Personally, (and I claim no authority here), I see no reason why we should abandon part of our Orthodox tradition simply because it is used by other people.

I hope this is helpful.

Pax,
Michael

Edited by Michael Astley, 03 January 2008 - 11:24 AM.
additions


#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 01:44 PM

The controversial New Skete also has a group of people who serve the monastery but are not tonsured, called "Companions". They consider themselves to be "married monastics", live a communal life on the monastery grounds, and participate fully in the liturgics and service of the monastery. But this is certainly NOT a wide-spread practice in Orthodoxy in as much as I am aware.

#6 Troy Duker

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:34 AM

Thanks for the responses. I find the monastic life very attractive and interesting, especially benedictine monasticism

#7 Michael Astley

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 01:11 PM

Thanks for the responses. I find the monastic life very attractive and interesting, especially benedictine monasticism


I, too, love the Benedictine tradition, Troy. It was something to which I had formed a loose attachment in my Anglican days and this is where the interest really started for me, for which I will always be thankful. However, there were some elements - fasting, rule of prayer - which no doubt made sense to the monks but to me as an everyday lay Anglican, seemed to be loose ends that didn't seem to link to anything else. Now that I see the Benedictine tradition within Orthodoxy, its home, it seems so much fuller somehow, even without the grand buildings and the long-established communities. It just feels right and prays Orthodox in a way that I cannot properly explain with words.

Pax,
Michael

#8 Anthony

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:39 PM

One of the nuns at the Monastery of the Assumption near Whitby was formerly an Anglican Benedictine, and as I remember the Benedictine tradition gets a good mention in some of their writings.

#9 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:49 PM

Still though I think it is very important to keep in mind how monasticism has come to be defined by adherence to the community. Within this community many different paths are followed. But all as part of one community united in heart and mind. This sign of community indeed is one of monasticisms' greatest gifts to the Church it eventually being seen as reflecting the life of the Holy Trinity.

In any case the point is that different forms are found within this larger unity. But always as expressions of this relationship of unity and not counter to it as expressions of liberty of will.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#10 Troy Duker

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:09 AM

Father Raphael,

I will be into the Orthodox Church, and the parish which will catechize me is an OCA parish. I already mentioned my draw to monasticism, and so I particularly like Holy Cross. Is an OCA "person" allowed to cross jurisdictional lines into a ROCOR monastery?

#11 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:55 AM

Father Raphael,

I will be into the Orthodox Church, and the parish which will catechize me is an OCA parish. I already mentioned my draw to monasticism, and so I particularly like Holy Cross. Is an OCA "person" allowed to cross jurisdictional lines into a ROCOR monastery?


Well, I'm not Fr Raphael - but I can answer your question. Yes, there is no problem at all with that (at least from our end). There are a number of former OCA laymen and monastics in ROCOR monasteries and among ROCOR clergy.

Fr David Moser

#12 Paul Cowan

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 06:27 PM

Father Raphael,

I will be into the Orthodox Church, and the parish which will catechize me is an OCA parish. I already mentioned my draw to monasticism, and so I particularly like Holy Cross. Is an OCA "person" allowed to cross jurisdictional lines into a ROCOR monastery?


Troy,

Welcome to Monachos and also to the Orthodox Faith. Please forgive me for viewing your profile and singling you out. I wonder if you will also join in on the American Orthodox II thread and share a little of why or how you came to know of the Faith. On that thread there is a discussion of how Orthodoxy especially in America does not evangilize to minorities. I think you have alot to offer to the discussion.

Brother in Christ
Paul

#13 Troy Duker

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 05:32 AM

Sure Thanks Paul

#14 David Naess

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:06 AM

Howdy Troy!

Sounds like we are both catechumens with initial leanings toward a monastic life!

I will be watching your posts. I have already asked some questions on this topic. Between the two of us, maybe we will think up half of the necessary questions that we both need answered.

Dave

Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 09 January 2008 - 08:38 AM.
Removed line breaks that were dividing paragraphs


#15 Michael Astley

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 07:17 PM

Christus resurrexit!

Further to the exchange above, I ask your prayers as I prepare to be received as an oblate of the Monastery of Christ the Saviour later this year. Deo volente, it will be either on or near the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God.

Please pray.

Pax,
Michael

#16 Paul Cowan

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 08:13 PM

Christus resurrexit!

Further to the exchange above, I ask your prayers as I prepare to be received as an oblate of the Monastery of Christ the Saviour later this year. Deo volente, it will be either on or near the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God.

Please pray.

Pax,
Michael


Oblates of St. Benedict

What is an Oblate?
Oblates of St. Benedict are Christian individuals or families who have chosen to associate themselves with a Benedictine Community in order to enrich their Christian way of life. Oblates incorporate the principles of St. Benedict, whose spiritual wisdom is derived from the Gospels, into their lives. Oblates seek God by searching for the perfection that he has set before us in Christ Jesus. By integrating their prayer and work, Oblates open themselves to and reveal Christ’s presence among us.

St. Paul tells us that each member of the body of Christ, the Church, has a special function and place in Christ's kingdom. Not all men and women are called to live in a monastery or to take Solemn Vows. Oblates are single and married, men and women, who live in their own homes, and in those homes seek the richness of their calling in the world. The Oblate seeks to bring the world to God by being witnesses of Christ by word and example.



#17 Michael Astley

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 05:04 PM

Thank you for that, Paul. It's really a rather lovely summary.

I do hope that the oblature is more widely restored to Orthodoxy. I am sure there are many who would benefit from it in their journey of deification.

#18 John W.

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 01:22 PM

There are some lay people who live close to a monastery and have it as their home parish, or act as benefactors for the monks, or help around with daily duties, and those sorts of things, but nothing official like in Roman Catholic practice.


If these sort of lay people (those who choose to live close to a monastery or regular pilgrims) are accepted by the Elder/Eldress of the monastery as spiritual children, then they will be given counsel, and "obediences" for their salvation. In essence, they become beneficiaries.

For many laypersons, this type of relationship is just a foretaste of a future monastic vocation. To others it's ongoing therapy for the chronic spiritual illnesses. Either way, obedience ("getting with the program") is the key.

#19 Aristibule

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 04:58 PM

This must be the same relationship then that layfolk have in a podvorje/metochion. The Old Calendar metochion of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America (St. Irene Chrysovalantou of Astoria,NY) has metochia made up of whole families forming missions and parishes attached to the monastery, and served spiritually by the monastery brotherhood.




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