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Questions Regarding Everday Monastic Life

everyday monasteries monastic monk life

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#1 thomas_iman


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Posted 04 March 2015 - 05:19 AM

Hello Everyone,
I'm new and this is my very first post. Lately, I have been highly considering monasticism and I have so many questions! Many of my "big" questions have been answered by a local parish priest, whom is actually a heiromonk that has been given a blessing to serve at this particular church, but I have other questions too... Some that would be considered a bit "silly" or "small matters"... But at the same time I would like to gain some knowledge about the following subject matters. If you all could answer my questions it would be awesome and very helpful.
1. Are new novices allowed to bring anything with them to the monastery (ex: icons, Bible, undergarments, sock & shoes, or any modest form of clothing to wear before they are giving the permission to wear monastic robes)
2. Are monks allowed any sort of personal hygiene routine? (I know that they are not allowed to cut tgeir hair/beards, but in this I mean are they allowed to brush their teeth, or shower, or trim their nails , etc. And if so, how often?)
3. What is the typical schedule for a monk?
4. What type of work do monks normally around the monstery? Are they assigned these jobs or are they allowed to choose them based on whatever personal skills they may have?
5. Where do most monasteries get their food supply? Is it grown at the monastery? Is it ordered in? Are certain moks given a blessing to travel to a nearby market?
6. Do monks have to do a lifetime confession before being fully accepted into the monastery?

I believe this is all for now.

#2 Phoebe K.

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:19 PM

I am shore our monastic members will be able to answer from their own experience, however I have observed a few things in my regular visits to the monastery of St John the Baptist in Essex, in interactions with various hiromonks who visit our parish, and my reading of the lives of the monastic saints along with their rules (the British monastics wrote a lot of rules).  


Firstly there is not one typical schedule it is based intirly on the tipicon of the monastery which can vary greatly between monasteries,  although it is always based aroun saying the offices in common and eating in common.  The obediences (jobs a monastic dose) in a monastery are given by the abbot or abbess and although they take into account skills a person has (someone gifted in painting might be allowed to learn iconography or a gifted cook work in the kitchin) this is always balanced with the spiritual needs of the person for them to obtain theoses.  The monestery is a large family so all the things which a household needs a monastery dose too on a sometimes larger schale.


Food tends to be grown where possible or donated by guests, although some things are bort (hence the need for crafts which can be sold to support the monastery).


What a monastic may have and hygiene rutens are governed by the typicon of the monastery and individual needs, this is overseen by the spiritual father of the monestery but tipicly those who write in theology are permitted books on what they are researching (often they are owed by the monastery but kept in the cell of the monk using them) or iconographers having the equipment they need in their cells.


Life confessions on entry vary, in the lives of the saints some record it as having happened some do not and some are silent on the matter, A life confession will most likely happen during the noviceat but where can vary between monasteries as I understand it.


I hope this helps


#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 02:47 PM

Thomas may also have wondered if monastics can go out and about from the monastery. They may in the monasteries I know - St John the Baptist which Phoebe mentions, and monasteries in Russia I know. Some monks go on pilgrimages and in Russia even holidays abroad. As one Russian hegoumen put it, very few monastics in our times can stand being in cell and monastery for very long periods of time. As is well known, Hegoumen Job (Talets) of the Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra goes to space centres to try out cosmonaut training (he once told me he would love to go into space).


Another point concerns income: some monasteries have benefactors, sponsors as they call them in Russia where very rich men sometimes donate embarrassingly large amounts of money. Such giving can cause problems.

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 05:05 PM

The answer to all of your questions is; ask the abbot!


Each monastery has its own inherent differences from other monasteries, it is an ancient monastic guidance that says "do not take your typicon to another monastery".

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