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#1 Guest_Heather M

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Posted 28 June 2003 - 03:09 AM

dear all,

On my last monasatery visit, I met a nun who was wearing the Schema...can someone tell me more about it? What it represents? Is there a difference between Schema, Great-Schema, Angelic Schema etc... I've heard all of these terms.

thanks, heather

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 06:13 PM

Schema means form or plan. The Great Schema is the most "severe" form of asceticism and sometimes referred to as the "angelic habit." A monastic who takes on the Great Schema has taken on a greater vow and discipline, as differentiated from the Lesser or Little Schema of the tonsured monastic, which is differentiated from the riassaphore monastic who has not yet taken monastic vows.


#3 Guest_Nikos

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 04:08 AM

Does anyone know anything about the development of the monastic clothing? When did cassocks start to be word? The other elements?

Is it true that priests traditionally wore a white cassock, while only monks wore black? What's the relationship of monastic attire to clerical attire, historically as well as meaningfully?

Nikos


#4 Daniel Jeandet

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 07:57 AM

Doesnt the transition from one level of Schema to another also have something to do with the the monk or nun's progress in the spiritual life?

I assumed this, but I dont know.


#5 Fr Averky

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:01 AM

Dear Niko,

The Angelic Habit was given to one of the early Deseret Fatrhers, I believe it was St. Pachomios the Great, by an angel of God

Like the later Franciscans, the monastic robe was of a rough cloth, almost like burlap, in that it was the poorest material. All monks wore the schema on the front of their habit and a cowl with no kamilavka underneath.
If you can find pictures of ancient Russian monasticism, or in some Greek icons, you will see that what they are wearing is a tan habit, with a long "scapular" in the front with the symbols of the Great Schema on them, and on their heads is a cowl. To get an idea of what they look like, find a picture of the Patriarch of Russia, and you will see what they look like,except for the fact that theirs is white.

It is also interesting to note that only the Patriarch of Moscow wears such a cowl and that he alone wears an emerald green mantya, as apposed to blue for Metropolitans and purple for Archbishops and Bishops. this is the practise of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In the early days of monasticism, all monks were tonsured Great Shema. as is done on the Holy Mt. Athos. As time went by, given the weakness of each generation, Small Schema came about, and the Rassophore monk, the latter taking no vows. In the Russian tradition, Small Schema is considered to be full monasticism, and the Great Schema is given to a very few proven acestics. Their habit is completely different, and they spend most of their time in prayer.

After the fall of Constantinople, all clerics and monastics were ordered to wear black habit as a sign of disgrace. Now, it is for contemporary monastics a sign of mourning for our sins. Also over time the cowl gave way to a kamilavka with a veil worn over it. Among Greek monastics, kamilavka is made from a soft wool, whereas the Russians wear a solid kamilavka which is slightly wider at the top than that around the head. There was a time when for some strange reason, the Russian kamilavkas became almost riduculousy high, sometimes well over a foot! When I first was tonsured, our Klobuks, as we call them, were about six to six and a half inches high. Now we are getting them from Russia, and they are about eight inches high. They are of the highest quality, and cost about fifty dollars as apposed to two hundred to three hundred in the U.S.

The reason that monks have two laplets on their veil is to honor the memory of the holy Patriarch of Constantinople, who preached on behalf of Holy Icons. The outraged emperor ordered his jaw cut off so that he could no longer speak. Cutting to thin strips of cloth one on either side, St. Methodios wrapped them around the place where the bottom of his face had been, and continued to preach in defense of Orthodox teaching. Now there is a piece of red or burgunday satin ( bishops wear purple) sewed on the end of the laplets which represent the blood which the holy saint of God shed for the Faith

When speaking about "white" clergy and "black" clergy, the reference is to the fact that married priests can wear any number of colors of rasso and cassocks while monastics are limited to black. On some Great Feasts, some monks will wear a white or blue or cranberry red cassock under their Rasso. This is only effective if one is wearing a Greek rasso, which is open in the front. Among the Russians, sometimes a hierach will wear a royal blue rasso, but that is because he is a prince of the Church.

Priests ands monks wear the same basic cassock, but monastics wear a belt-the skin of a dead animal-to remind them that they must be dead to the flesh. Both priests and monks wear skufia and kamilavka,but in Russian practise, priests wear purple, and they are given the right to wear them as an award. Monks always wear black skufia, and hierodecons wear a black kamilavka when serving, whereas a married deacon is awarded the right to wear a purple kamilavka.

As you can see Niko, my information is from the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church, to which I belong. However, each Local Church has but a variance of the classic monastic attire. I hope this will be helpful to you.

Sincerely,

Fr. A.


#6 Guest_Nikos

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 08:17 PM

Thank you for all the information about monastic attire. I'm still curious about the distinction between white and back cassocks. I do understand (only since someone told me!) the general meaning between "white clergy" and "black clergy," and also had recently leared about the fact that married priests can wear a number of colors of cassock. But I'm still curious about something I was told not long ago, that originally, the standrd color for the cassocks of all married priests was white, and black reserved only for monks and nuns. Do you know if this was true before the fall of Constantinople, when everyone was ordered to wear black?

Nikos

#7 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 09:11 PM

Dear Nikos and others,

While this does not address your specific question regarding the variations in colour, etc., across monastic and clerical garments, I thought you might be interested to read a short excerpt from St Basil the Great, on the proper clothing of a monk.The following is taken from chapter 22 of St Basil's longer Rule, or set of questions and answers, on the monastic life. Keep in mind, when reading, that in this particular context, Basil's comments regarding the attributes of 'the Christian' are specifically in reference to the Christian monk.

Question: What is the appropriate clothing for a Christian? We have already shown the necessity of humility and simplicity, of cheapness and economy in all things, so that there may be few occasions of distraction on account of bodily needs. Our discussion of clothing must therefore keep the same principles in mind. For if we should zealously seek to be last of all, it is quite clear that in this matter too the last place is to be chosen. For just as vain people seek glory for themselves even in the clothes they wear, striving to attract attention and arouse envy by reason of the splendour of their dress, so it is obvious that whoever has totally abased his life through humility should choose in this matter too the lowest possible. [...] The Apostle has taught us the end to be aimed at in a single phrase, saying, 'if we have food and clothing, with these shall we be content' (1 Ti 6.8), as if to say that we need covering only. Let us no longer fall into the forbidden vanity of ornamentation and the ostentation that comes from it -- to say nothing worse. [...] But as there is also another end, that of being warmed by coverings, both must have been aimed at, to cover our private parts and to be protected against bad weather. Since however there are some clothes that are very useful for this and others less so, we should prefer whatever sort serves several needs, in order to preserve the principle of poverty. To avoid having some things for show and others for use at home, one set of clothes for the day and another for the night, we should decide to acquire one garment which is sufficient for all our needs, a decent covering by day and necessary warmth by night. The result of this is that we all wear a similar schema, and the Christian is indicated by a distinctive mark even in his clothing. This is because things that have the same end as far as is possible agree with each other.

It is also useful to have distinctive clothing since it lets everyone know in advance that we have made profession of a godly life, so that those who meet us can demand appropriate behaviour. For unseemly and shameful behaviour is not equally noticeable in ordinary people and in those who profess great things. [...] Therefore this profession by means of clothing forms a kind of discipline for the weaker brethren, so that even against their will they are kept from evil deeds.

(From St Basil the Great, Longer Rule for Monastics, chapter 22 [trans. taken from A. Holmes, A Life Pleasing to God, 201-3])


INXC, Matthew

#8 Fr Averky

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 03:32 AM

Dear Niko,

I have never heard or read in any source that the distinction between "white" clergy and "black" clergy limited the married clergy to only white. Even then, most married clergy will wear white on Christmas or Pascha, and not on a regular basis. Sometimes an archdeacon, (a monastic protodeacon) can wear a white cassock, but only during Bright week. In Russia, clergy wear red, as they follow the practise of Jerusalem, whereeas the Church Abroad uses the customs of The Great Church, which now also wears mostly red. It is, as I said, more in reference to the habits of monastics who mostly wear black, and there are some exceptions, which I do believe I have already mentioned to you. If I may ask, who told you this? Are they themselves a monastic or married priest? I do not remember ever having heard such terms from those in the Greek Orthodox Church. I would daresay that these terms are peculiar to the Russian Orthodox Church. The bottom line Niko, is that It really makes no difference, but can be viewed as a local practise. In the Serbian Church, due to Roman Catholic influences, married priests wear a burgundy sash, much like the Catholic Monsignors. In Rumania, the skufia is quite beautiful, and can be made with the sides of black velvet, and the top of burgundy velvet. Each church has its own customs, Niko. Nothing to be concerned about, really. Do you have a desire to be a white or black clergyman yourself, Niko? Also, have you asked any monks or nuns about this where you live? If you should come up with a solid reference to married clergy wearing only white, please share it with us.

Daniel, you are correct to a point in regards to perceived spiritual progress in order for the Great Schema to be granted. In the Church of Russia, there have been Great Schema monks who were very young; for instance the child-monk St. Bogulep, who was made a Great Schem at only five years of age. He died very young, and lived a very saintly existence every day of his brief life. In Russia, classicly speaking, the "Schemnik" lives a life of intense prayer and a strict ascetic life. In many cases, the monk is fed an seen to by only one or two cell attendants, and rarely leaves his cell. The Russian Schema habit is quite beautiful, having an embroidered cowl, and embroidered shoulder pieces. At one time, it was held that once a man became a Schemnik, he could no longer move up in clerical rank. I remember many years ago at the convent of Our Lady Of Vladimir in San Francisco, there was one old Schemnitsa, and when she would come for a service, which was very rarely it caused general spiritual excitement. Before her repose, the Abbes of many years, Mother Ariadna was tonsured tro the Schema. Daniel, look up Valaam or Valamo monastery on Google, and you might find some very interesrting old photos of that great monastery.

On Mt. Athos and in other places in Greece and thoughout the Orthodox world, in time every monk will be given the Great Schema. We have in our monastery two Schema monks who were tonsured on the Holy Mountain, but since they are very active, they wear a modified schema under their cassocks. In our nearly seventy five years of existence, not one monk has ever been tonsured to the Great Schema. I hope this will help you and Niko

Fr. A.


#9 Arsenios

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 05:42 PM

Christ is Born!

Fr. A Bless!

Glory to God you are out of medical danger for awhile, Father - Glory to God who hears our prayers, and those of His Church... May your blessed little toes remain upon your long-suffering feet...

I have heard of a young man being made a Schema-monk here in the states - In his 20s... But do not know first hand if it is true - I assume it's true, for my friend who worked under him at the monastery briefly [ for a couple of weeks or less] is not given to making this kind of thing up... But I thought being in his 20s was stunning - Your story of a 5 year old is staggering! One of the really great things about hanging out around monks is their stories... O do they have stories!

We need living saints in the US, and they are coming, glory to God! And while I am far to old and sinful to ever hope to become one of them, I pray for their coming, and I have seen some of it... And it is wondrous in-DEED!

Is there not a good Orthodox understanding that says the Church incarnates the Logos in the power of the Holy Spirit? I pray that the US is finally receiving the planting of the Church that she has so long not properly had...

Welcome back, Dear Father Averky...

To the Glory of the newborn Christ!

Arsenios


#10 Arsenios

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 07:35 PM

Fr. A -

Is this a Schema-monk and attire?

<http://www.valaam.ru...ghtval/sv61.htm>

Arsenios


#11 Fr Averky

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 01:41 AM

Dear Arsenii,

Yes, it is a picture of a Russian Great Schema monk, in fact. he is the Spiritual Father of one of our monks who met him while they were both in Valaam monastery several years ago. The Father pictured is very small, like a dwarf, but he has the repution of being a good spiritual father.

He spent some years on Mt. Athos, but sad to say, when he made bold to chastize Patriarch Bartholomeos for his ecumenical activites, he was asked leave. He now lives somewhere in Russia. While he was "correct," it would have been better had he remained silent, for it could have added to the difficulty for Russian monks to live on the Holy Mountain.

As you can see the habit is quite ornate. I have seen only one, which was from the 19th century and had been worn by a Russian monk on Mt. Athos. Just looking at it one could sense the prayerful life of he who had worn it.

Fr. A.


#12 Fr Averky

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 01:55 AM

Dear Arsenii,

You are not too old to become a monk! When I came here in 1975, one of the old fathers asked me how old I was, and I told him 30 years old. "Just think," he said,"when you were born, I had just arrived at this monasery, and I was already 65. He lived to be over a hundred, and was one of my dearest and most favorite among the old Fathers. He was a true model of meekness and humility,and until he could no longer work, he never spoke while at his obedience, and he always had the most serene look on his face.

Thank you for your kind words of concern. This most recent illness has taken a lot out of me, and I can barely walk by myself, and even need to use a cane in the confines of my larger cell. I put all my hope in God, and thank Him for giving me yet a little more time.
Love in Christ,

Fr. A.


#13 Maria Mahoney

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 06:53 AM

From Kindling the Divine Spark:

1) Wear on your head a cowl symbolizing the meekness of infants - and like children be guileless, obedient, caring for all, along with being friendly and welcoming, receiving each other with love.

2) Wear upon your shoulders the paramon - the cross of complete obedience - and be patient and good-hearted. Pass your time in labors, prayer, fasting, and kneeling. Forgive each other. Help each other, and endure everything.

3) Wear the belt - representing readiness for any deed and the mortification of the passions - and be courageous, not feeling sorry for yourselves, not making excuses for yourselves, and be ready for any good deed, even if you have to die for it.

4) Wear the mantia - the image of the burial shroud - and be dead to everything that is outside and around you. If someone scolds you, don't feel offended; if you are praised, don't get elated. If you receive a gift, don't be carried away, and when in trouble don't lose courage. Keep one thing in your mind and heart: salvation of soul and a God-pleasing life.

5) Have a prayer rope - the symbol and rule of continual prayer - and acquire the habit of such prayer, even while sitting or walking, at home or outside, in church or at meals. And at any work and at any place, ceaselessly, have prayers in the heart, and with it fall asleep and wake up.



In Christ,
Maria

#14 R. Hendricks

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 03:04 AM

ok, i'm new here. i don't know where to go to ask this question, so feel free to direct me. today i visited property where Greek Orthodox nuns live (it is a pet motel/animal boarding & day care). i was told by an employee that the nuns are related - the younger is the Mother (about 48 yrs old) and the older nun is the Sister (about 56 and the aunt of the Mother). I was told that the Sister has to ask for permission from the Mother for EVERYTHING, including eating and going to the bathroom. If the Mother thinks the Sister is being too "mouthy", she gets slapped in the face and/or sent to her room. What are the "rules" for the Greek Orthodox nuns????

#15 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 11:27 AM

In Orthodox monasticism obedience is the first and foremost rule. However, it must be voluntary. If a monk or a nun lives in voluntary obedience, he or she experiences more and greater freedom than a person in society who must live by the rules of society, whether he wishes it or not. The monk must never believe that his obedience was forced upon him; for it was he who made the decision to live the monastic life. He must desire it; he must believe that he is doing it voluntarily. Otherwise, he has no business becoming a monk. A monk must have in his mind the same willing obedience that Jesus displayed to His mother the Ever-Virgin Mary and to Joseph, as Saint Luke records for us in his gospel (Luke 2:51). In this respect a monk denies himself; he denies the whims and the desires of his ego and he becomes a slave of Christ. For he knows that only in this way will he find his true self, his real identity and his true freedom.

#16 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 12:43 PM

Dear Mr Hendricks,

As an 'after thought' following Herman's very helpful post, I thought I might just note that monastic obedience is often mis-perceived outside of monastic contexts. More particularly, many people mistake the relationship of obedience between a monk/nun and the abbot as being wholly drone-like - i.e. tallies of checklists for permission to do x, y, z. The monks at the monastery where I spend a great deal of time always find this rather amusing: guests coming and, attempting to emulate this somewhat skewed perception of monastic obedience, asking whether they should seek the blessing of the abbot to use the toilet, or wash their hands.

Obedience is relational: the demeanor of a life and a will, rather than just wrote 'permission slips', to hark back to school language. :)

INXC, Matthew

#17 R. Hendricks

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 02:13 PM

"In Orthodox monasticism obedience is the first and foremost rule. However, it must be voluntary."

Thank you for your responses-they were helpful. However, what about the Mother slapping the Sister? Is this allowed? What about Mercy?

#18 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 09:11 PM

It is not for me to judge, but slapping does sound "over and above". I would take "what you were told" with a grain of salt however, unless you have seen it for yourself.

#19 John

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 12:30 PM

"In Orthodox monasticism obedience is the first and foremost rule. However, it must be voluntary."

Thank you for your responses-they were helpful. However, what about the Mother slapping the Sister? Is this allowed? What about Mercy?


I would say, be cautious about believing a story like that without evidence it really happened.

There are lots of rumors around, about all sorts of things. Usually they're just rumors.

Yours,
John

#20 Maria Mahoney

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 11:53 AM

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Great_Schema

Can anyone tell me what the letters on the diagram of this schema stand for ... I know the first two lines:

1. Jesus Christ
2. Conquers
3. ?
4. ?
5. ?
6. ?
7. ?

Letters around skull?

Thank you for your help!

In Christ,
Maria




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