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Want to become a monk...


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#21 Guest_sinjin smithe

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Posted 02 December 2002 - 04:19 AM

You can go to their webpage and order. I don't know for sure if they do international orders but you could check with them. The address is: St Herman Press


#22 Guest_Martin

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Posted 08 December 2002 - 11:47 PM

1)can monastics receive medical attention? i for instance have asthma, and have to use releivers and preventatives from time to time. does an illness such as asthma immediately disqualify somebody from the monastic life? how are these kinds of issues resolved?


Yes, they can. Monasteries on Mount Athos often have monks who are trained doctors, and certified doctors from Thessalonica come by every so often. Some of the monasteries have dentists, with full blown dentists offices right in the monastery itself.

2)if monsaticism is a higher calling, if all the world where to live as monastics do, are we supposing that we would create a kind of heaven on earth?


Yes.... this is one of the whole points.

Martin

#23 Moses Anthony

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Posted 09 December 2002 - 03:41 AM

Andonis & Martin

If perchance I'm missing the point here, please let me know!

The matter of monasticism being a higher calling was discussed in another thread, whose name I don't remember (ask Matthew), I'd like to speak to the point of creating "...a kind of heaven on earth".

There's a phrase in the model prayer, and my limited understanding of 'kingdom' as it appears in the Bible, which are the basis for my comments.

The Kingdom of God is both physical and immaterial, it is both present and future. The most striking thing is this, we know it's not like any fifedom this world has to offer. My understanding about God was that wherever I'm at, my struggle was to submit myself in obedience to God, so that the rule and authority (ie; kingdom/heaven) of God would be evident.

Creation is the business of God, it is also His choice to 'show off' those servants of His to the demons and all creation (Job), "...that men may glorify your Father in heaven".

the unworthy servant

#24 Guest_John Simmons

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Posted 09 December 2002 - 06:52 PM

We have to be careful with phrases like creating "Heaven on Earth", which often come from chiliastic ideas. Monasteries are primarily battlegrounds, with aspects of paradise sometimes attained in advance by the one who has conquered the passions. But the tension of battle is never gone until the soul attains blessed repose. Just read the biography of the Optina Elders, and the reality is set forth.

#25 Guest_Andonis

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Posted 10 December 2002 - 12:26 AM

thanks everybody, all excellent responses. i agree with you John, that "heaven on earth" is quite sweeping. i guess what i wanted to allude to was more in terms of experiencing Christian brotherly love and community, in a sense which far exceeds anything you can experience in the secular world. i can't for the life of me imagine being in a community whose main focus is to serve God. this for me sounds like a kind of heaven, in so far as there is a strong sense of unity and common beleif. quite incomparable to divine paradise ofcourse, but maybe an inkling, a small human model from which we can approach the divine...


#26 Dr. Elizabeth

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Posted 10 December 2002 - 11:13 AM

Monastic life is very hard work. Living in close proimity to other people and their idiosyncracies is almost like living in a family with 10 or more siblings. Remember the adage - when you pray for patience, God sends you many opportunities to practice it. When going into a monastary, God gives you many opportunities to *practice* for Heaven. There is no heaven on earth - only practice for the real thing, with many distractions. Monastic life deletes some of the temptations and distractions of laic life, but has its very own temptations and distractions. Go visit some monastic communities for significant lengths of time before making up your mind. As Orthodoxy does not have "orders," each monastery has it's own "culture" if you will. You will need to find one with which you are compatible and which is accepting of you. You may "luck out" and find the right one first time at bat, but more likely you will be visiting monasteries for a good while before settling down on one.

You will be in my prayers.

In Christ,
Elizabeth



#27 Guest_Andonis

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 02:47 AM

Thank you Elizabeth,

you are right, i know that it would be very difficult. i become even more discouraged when i am a witness to my own constant failings in the secular life to even maintain a strict routine of praying, and other more simple orthodox practises. and its easy to blame the modern world and its distractions for my lack of discipline. but i figure if i can't get these basics right in the secular world, how can i even comtemplate entering a monastic community.

Andonis


#28 Guest_Andonis

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 03:14 AM

also curious, there appears that many of the posters here may have considered a monastic life. my question is, how can you tell, what is the defining moment or thing that either directs you to remain as part of the laity, or to try the monastic life? have any of you tried and realised that it wasn't your calling after all? would appreciate your responses...

In Christ
Andonis


#29 Guest_Margaret Jackson-Roberts

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 11:02 AM

Well, Andonis, I once spent a week on retreat in an enclosed order (of women) whilst I was seriously considering entering the religious life. Before that I had spent my 3 undergraduate years in a hostel run by a teaching order of nuns. What I discovered was that the plethora of petty restrictions obscured my sense of the numinous, and the close daily company of other women (particularly the novice mistress in this case) would have driven me to distraction. I also realised during these periods that my particular divinely appointed gifts as a talented singer and my solitary temperament indicate that a conventual life is not for me. So I try instead to live a quasi-monastic life in the world. In earlier days this would include reciting the whole of the Divine Office (the monastic breviary) daily but that is too onerous and time-consuming in the average working life.

I think it takes a great deal of self-knowledge, courageous examination of motives and alternatives, and rare self-possession to survive and thrive in a community, and unless the prospect (and experience, once tried) inspires in you joy rather than tedium, my advice is: don't even contemplate it as a permanent way of life. Why not however sample a few monasteries as a guest, and if you should encounter a particularly charismatic spiritual guide along the way, this may indicate what your own vocation should be. At the least reckoning it could enhance your vision and inner growth.

How refreshing it is to read such accounts from all posters here of real spiritual motivation amongst Orthodox Christians. One principal reason for my deep alienation from the RC church is its legalistic and repressive outlook in respect of the personal quest for wisdom. But then look at Cherie Blair (Booth), who seems to marry her RC faith quite happily with the practice of New Age nostrums and association with lifestyle gurus. Maybe that's the Third Way in practice?

The seeker.


#30 Dr. Elizabeth

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 12:19 PM

>>Posted by Andonis on Wednesday, 11 December, 2002 - 4:14 am:

>>also curious, there appears that many of the posters here may have considered a monastic life. my question is, how can you tell, what is the
defining moment or thing that either directs you to remain as part of the laity, or to try the monastic life? have any of you tried and realised
that it wasn't your calling after all? would appreciate your responses...

>>In Christ
>>Andonis<<

Dear Andonis,

I considered the monastic life as a child. Realized it was more a "romantic dream" when I was a teenager, but continued to be interested in it. Made the acquaintence of the members of a brotherhood and have kept contact with them over the years. My husband and I have grave plots in the cemetary they own. At this time in my life, I find I think more and more of "last things." My husband, who is, as literally as can be in this life, my other half, and I have decided that whichever of us dies first, the other will go to a monastery - at least for a while. It will permit us to "try" the life and see if that is really for us. It will also permit us to cut many ties here on earth and let us cement more ties to God and heaven.

The thing that is difficult for me is that I have so many things that tie me to this earth and distract me from focussing "there." Children, grandchildren, friends, business, all of these keep me "here" when I know I should be focussing "there." Going to a monastery even if only for a few weeks or months as well as knowing my other half is with God, I think will help me focus "there" better.

Sometimes it is the timing in life. It may be that I have a vocation and that the time for it will be after my husband's death. OR, it may be that I do not have a vocation afterall. One way or another, I will find out. My husband feels the same way. Right now, however, we are trying to help lead each other to salvation - however poorly we do it - as we are adjured to do in marriage.

I have found that, at least for now, I have a "true" vocation for marriage. Our bond is very close. We pray together, we laugh together, we mourn together. He helps keep my emotions from running away with me, and I help him acknowledge his rather than burying them in a mound of logic and reason. We work on subduing "the passions" together and try to set some kind of good example for our children and grandchildren.

There are many vocations - some monastic, some marriage, some a celibate life in the world. While monastic life can approach the angelic life, remember that it can also lead to prelest and self-delusion (of course, so can any other kind of life!). Wherever we are in life, we must gird our loins and try to work out our salvation. Perhaps even these electronic forums are a part of our work toward salvation.

In Christ,
Elizabeth



#31 Owen Jones

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 03:51 PM

You sound like you are getting way, way, ahead of yourself, Andonis. Patience is probably the true hallmark of the ascetic. One story relates a solitary who was short of water and prayed and prayed for months before deciding whether he should gouge a whole out of the rock to catch rainwater. He did not want to offend God by presuming that He would not provide for him, but he also did not presume to know God's will. Today, we are all in a hurry, even for the spiritual goodies, like grabbing for our presents under the Christmas tree. Don't rush. If you want to know whether or not you should be a monk, here are some suggestions:

1. always get in the longest check-out line, or drive-thru.
2. do small things for people without them knowing about it.
3. spend one day identifying all negative thoughts and removing them
4. spend one hour sitting still, reciting the Jesus Prayer
5. spend some time around some people who are fat and smelly (most monastics are).
6. the next time someone says something critical of you, say absolutely nothing. Just nod your head, yes.
7. try to help an alcoholic or drug addict get into treatment, without losing your temper
8. add to this list till you get to ten. you get the idea.


#32 Guest_Andonis

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 08:21 PM

thank you all for your insightful stories. Owen once again i can't help but wholeheartedly agree with you. i guess what i find frustrating it the time it takes to understand what truly is God's will for me. although i try and listen at times whether he is indeed satisfied with the way i am living i just can't tell. no 5 in your list i must admit brought about some really distasteful imagery. it has really prompted me to reconsider...


#33 Guest_Andonis

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Posted 11 December 2002 - 08:24 PM

i hope everybody realises i'm only joking...even with such a small list as Owen's, it still is a good reality check...


#34 Guest_Margaret Jackson-Roberts

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 10:00 AM

Yes, I know you are joking, Andonis, but Owen makes a serious point in that being surrounded by unlovely people may not necessarily do wonders for one's spiritual development unless one is unusually able to sublimate the experience (or of a masochistic disposition, I suppose). And I agree with him, on the basis mainly of frequent holiday or singing visits to mainland Greece and the islands plus doing a couple of concerts in the Greek Orthodox cathedral in London, that Orthodox monks can exhibit an unmodern approach to bodily hygiene and physical care; in addition, I was once unprovokedly groped by one greasy specimen who was showing me and a friend around a monastery church on Crete.

For me, one of the main attractions of the religious life in community would be communal singing of the daily office, but precious few houses in the UK any longer do that properly, apart from the Benedictines (for women, and in the RC tradition, of course). I have heard Orthodox monks in Bulgaria, Cistercians in Hungary, and Premonstratensian canons in Belgium chanting the office; all very different but equally impressive. It gives a real focus to the life in community.

the seeker


#35 Guest_Andonis

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 11:15 AM

i find it quite remarkable that a monk whilst showing you a holy monastery actually went the grope. is this in complete violation of his monastic vowes, and a repudiation of the holiness he is meant to be aspiring to. its stories like these and others that make the idea of monastic living less and less appealing. i have a video from a scandal that was revealed in Greece in a monastary on the island of Kythera, south of Kalamata. can i tell you that pornographers in Hollywood could not come up with a script like this one. my concern is how are these people penalised? why are they not exiled from the monastic community by their spiritual elders? i can't understand how it is that they would be allowed to continue living there?


#36 Guest_Margaret Jackson-Roberts

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 01:07 PM

I should perhaps add, Andonis, that the monk in question was well into late middle age, seemed to be not quite the brightest candle in the box, if not on the way to actual mental decline, spoke no English (and I spoke minimal Greek, and that mostly classical) and he lived with only one or two other old monks. So he was probably lonely, and I felt in retrospect rather sorry for him. He did me no actual harm, though he may have had to expunge his fault here or hereafter. I did register my displeasure by firmly removing his hands from my person and exclaiming in English that I thought his behaviour decidedly inappropriate, but I could not think of an apt Greek expression at the time or since.

the seeker


#37 Guest_John Simmons

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 05:32 PM

Hmmm, most of the monks I know are smelly and THIN. A quick note about that. Most of the monks I know live in either the desert or the forest. Not keeping to "worldly" levels of bathing is normal. Lots of worldly niceties go by the wayside in the monastery, but in all cases that I am familiar with, monks get squeeky clean if they are making trips into the world, or spending extra time working with people from the world.


#38 Guest_John Simmons

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 06:01 PM

> my question is, how can you tell, what is the
> defining moment or thing that either directs
> you to remain as part of the laity, or to try
> the monastic life?

What I am told by my monk friends is that you never know until you try - e.g. get clothed as a novice. Most novices never get tonsured. Usually even the "failed" monks have found that their attempt was time well spent, and still contributed to their spiritual life. There is a great photo frontispiece to a chapter on bearing one's cross in the book by St. Theophan the recluse - letters to nuns. It shows a monk on the cross, being tortured by the demons from below, and being encouraged by the angels from above. That picture and the chapter associated with it, is probably a good description of monastic life - joyful suffering.


#39 Guest_Jason Reynolds

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 06:58 PM

I am very new to this discussion board and have been following the questions and responses only for a very short time. My response to whether or not you know you should 'try' monastecism is that, in my heart of hearts, I believe one 'knows' whether they are called to this way of life or not. There must be a consciousness of a 'call' into this life of separation. This 'knowing' comes through seeking, through prayer and as we continue to seek more of the Lord, He will then reveal His will and purpose for each of our lives in greater dimensions as we simply choose to follow Him. The disciples were not ordained as apostles right away. There was first a 'call' to first and foremost, follow Christ. As they followed our Savior, He instructed and taught them and expounded the Scriptures to them. There was a process of ordianation, of separation, and of stepping into the fullness of the call of God upon thier lives. This all is contingent upon the degree in which we are following Christ in our every day lives whether


#40 Guest_Jason Reynolds

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Posted 12 December 2002 - 07:14 PM

The following is the rest of the response that seemed to have gotten cut off. Again, I am new to this so my apologies.

This all is contingent upon the degree in which we are following Christ in our every day lives whether we have entered 'ministry' or not. As we are faithful to follow, the Lord will continue to lead each of us into that which He has already prepared for us. As we come to know Him more, we will then come to know our calling on a much greater level with a greater degree of clarity. I honestly don't think it ought to be looked at, as something just to 'try', but if one's heart is leading them in this, and they do sense a calling, then continue in earnest prayer in seeking the Lord, and He will make each of our paths before us straight and clear in the way we should go.





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