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married saints?


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#21 Anna Stickles

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 01:16 AM

All the lives of these married saints so far in the book I mentioned have all been so sad stories, could almost make a horror film some of them.
So much sadness, torture and being killed.
What about happiness in life, enjoying life?
I know I'm probably not looking at this the right way.
The introduction of the book was beautiful, but the actual lives of the saints, may because the writing of their lives is so brief doesn't help, but it's just so sad and horrid in parts, and just think why? It's terrible, why these terrible things have to happen to these faithful of God and to their families even.

 

God allows people to suffer trials and tribulations, either to help them to fight against and be cleansed of sin, or to give them crowns and extra happiness in the next life. 

 

All we have to do is look at the stories in the OT to see how whenever things were going well for the people they would abandon God, but when things went wrong, they would remember Him and ask for His mercy.  But the case of the saints is a little different, they don't suffer because they are doing wrong, but because Christ has honored them to show in their own lives the power of His resurrection and the new life we have in him, in very real terms.

 St Paul says, (Romans 8) 

"18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ... The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness....28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. ...35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36 As it is written:


“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[c]

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

 

When we start to see the power of the resurrection at work, then we start to realize how God has taken what in human terms looks to be a horror story and turned it into a hymn of glory. 


Edited by Anna Stickles, 12 February 2015 - 01:17 AM.


#22 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:54 PM

It is possible that most saints were married. 

 

Take a look at this calendar:  With few exceptions, the monks are identified as "Venerable." There are 27 pages of them. But there are 51 pages of "Martyrs," few of whom are also identified as "monks." 

 

There are also many listings for multiple "martyrs," sometimes in the thousands. Excluding the 14,000 innocents and other known children, we are still left with many more martyrs than monks. In January alone, I counted five times as many martyrs as monks.

 

No way of knowing how many martyrs were also married, but it is not unreasonable to assume that many were.  



#23 Phoebe K.

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 01:13 PM

After we had his fest yesterday I remembered that St Oswy the king of Nothrumbria was a married saint, his wife is also regarded as a saint, along with his Brother St Oswold was also married.  They are examples of married life along with many other of the British royal saints, though many of the other aspects of their lives are probaly not the best example to follow.  However their ability to repent is something we can learn from.



#24 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 11:31 AM

Eusebius makes reference to the writings of Clement:
 

Clement, indeed, whose words we have just quoted, after the above-mentioned facts gives a statement, on account of those who rejected marriage, of the apostles that had wives.

"Or will they," says he, "reject even the apostles? For Peter and Philip begat children; and Philip also gave his daughters in marriage. And Paul does not hesitate, in one of his epistles, to greet his wife, whom he did not take about with him, that he might not be inconvenienced in his ministry."

 
The previous comment regarding more Martyrs glorified than monks is true.  

 

 

There is often confusion about marriage versus monasticism in the minds of western converts. This is partly because life in the Church in the west often lacks the linkage that exists in countries such as Cyprus, Greece and Russia between parish and monastery. There is also, in the west, such a culture of materialism that the Church’s ascetic tradition and indeed faith itself may be very hard to maintain... People in the west sometimes create in their minds a contrast between married life in the world and monasticism which is actually false. Monasticism may offer an opportunity for greater asceticism and thus in that sense be a higher calling, but as was once said, there may be a woman in the world in a bright dress who is inwardly a nun and a nun in the monastery in a black habit who is inwardly worldly.

 
There also appears to be confusion in the minds of western converts that when "marriage vs. monasticism" is discussed by the Fathers, they explicitly is referring to marriage and monasticism.   Monasticism is blurred to include the unmarried single.  That is demonstrably not the case.

 

Living as an unmarried single does not equate to monasticism, regardless of what color your clothes are.  The argument invariably follows that some exceptions, like a woman in a red (or "bright") dress who is inwardly a nun, must somehow obfuscate the argument.  If that were so, then it necessarily follows that because there are "bad monks" then being a bad monk is preferred to being a good husband, since monasticism is a higher calling.  I think that addressing this issue is along the lines of the original post.

 

So then, when speaking in generalities and stereotypes: there is nothing about being a lifelong bachelor that makes it a higher calling than marriage or monasticism; at best, it is a distant third.  Indeed, especially in the West, it could be argued (very successfully) that such a life makes it harder to obtain salvation because it contains much less rigor than marriage or monasticism while affording an economic advantages and the comfort of a lack of accountability.  Keeping one's pants zipped does not alone make one as the Angels, unless one can count fallen Angels in the illustration.

 

As for an example of dealing with the difficulties of such relationships, lets just be honest: what difficulties do married Orthodox almost always have that monastics almost never have?

  1. Dealing with in-laws
  2. Living with the opposite sex (including sex)
  3. Child rearing 

Have I missed anything?

 

The lives of Saints rarely include such information.  Because the lives of Saints are almost always compiled by monks and nuns.


Edited by Seraphim of the Midwest, 25 February 2015 - 11:32 AM.


#25 Phoebe K.

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 12:08 PM

Bede in his Eclisatical history dose speak about family issues that various British saints had, the feuds between the brothers Oswold and Oswy both of whom are saints.  The stories of st Colambas early life also bring such things up (he may have been a monk but family was a big thing in his life).  St Bertrum a hermit after the death of his wife also shows a lot of the issues with in laws and parents in his life (in fact it could have lead to a significant war between Mercia and the chef king of the Irish).

 

The stories of some of our more recent saints do include these detales of family relations, possibly as they have not been rewritten many times.

 

Phoebe



#26 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 05:31 PM

Monasticism is blurred to include the unmarried single. 

The Holy Fathers do not blur the two things.

 

Living as an unmarried single does not equate to monasticism, regardless of what color your clothes are.

 I do not know who has equated them. The illustration of the worldly nun and the pious woman in the world is taken from the writings of St Theophan the Recluse.

 

So then, when speaking in generalities and stereotypes: there is nothing about being a lifelong bachelor that makes it a higher calling than marriage or monasticism; at best, it is a distant third. 

This is not what St Theophan says. The third way is a calling from God as the other two and is blessed.
 


Edited by Reader Andreas, 25 February 2015 - 05:32 PM.


#27 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 05:55 PM

I would add that St Anthony of Optina said that there are many ways to salvation, including monasticism, marriage, and living a life in the world devoted to God.



#28 Father David Moser

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 06:57 PM

I think it is good to remember that both marriage and monasticism are particular "callings" from God and that one should not embark upon a path to which he is not called as it will be all the more difficult. Having said that, let me also point out that we are all born as single non-monastics and that is the original "state" of our being in this world. To abandon this state without a calling to either monastic life or marriage is to invite difficulty and excessive trials in our spiritual life. Best to remain as you are until (and unless) God calls you to a different state.

Fr David Moser

#29 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 08:00 PM

‘Once again, I repeat: I am not calling you into the monastery, and in the world there are many paths that lead to God and to one’s neighbour: This work is unquestionably holy—saving others, and to be saved.

 

'And before you lie different paths, for some, the monastic way, but not all people are capable of going into a monastery; if a person doesn’t have this desire, he shouldn’t force himself. There is an expression: "White garments do not ruin you, and black ones by themselves do not save you." You can be saved in the world, only do not forget the Lord, and keep His commandments according to your strength. The main thing is to prize the Orthodox faith and not to exchange it for any treasure of this world whatsoever.' --- St Anthony of Optina.



#30 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 08:21 PM

Well stated.  The point is conceded.



#31 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 February 2015 - 08:32 PM

We are, of course, not here to win points or arguments but to discuss and as may be necessary to clarify and expound the Orthodox faith and its practice.






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