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What is a skete?

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#1 Guest_Augustine Martin

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:13 AM

Can someone define skete? Some people say that it is an idiorhythmic monastery, but I've also heard that it's an extension of another monastery.

#2 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:46 AM

The way that I understand it (which could be mistaken), a skete is a community of eremitic monks who come together for services and may share a spiritual father. Sketes are often idiorhythmic and extensions of other monasteries, but neither of those is essential to what a skete is. In contemporary usage, the term is often used to refer to a small monastery, but that isn't exactly right.

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 12:40 PM

On Mt. Athos, there was a time when many monastics left the main monasteries and formed sketes that were considered extensions of the original cenobitic monasteries. This was considered a time of serious decline of monasticism on the Holy Mountain. They sometimes called these communities "cenobitic sketes" to distinguish them from the more traditional "idiorrythmic sketes" which were, as explained above, loose groups of hermits who came together for common worship and sometimes were under a single spiritual father. One monastic decried the appearance of TV antennas and creature comforts appearing on the dwellings of some of these sketes, which seemed a bit more like retirement communities for single men rather than true monastic endeavors. Many of these "sketes" have since closed down and been "reabsorbed" into the main monastic communities as Mt. Athos continues to see a new blooming of monasticism.

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 28 March 2012 - 01:18 PM.
I am becoming less of a fan of automatic spelling correction

#4 Kusanagi


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Posted 28 March 2012 - 01:12 PM

I also believe that sketes are looked after materially by the main monastery they are dependent on.

#5 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:39 PM

Sketes were originally solitary monks who would come together for services on Sundays and for feast days. Nowadays in Greek practice a Skete is a community of monastic houses which come together in a common church for the Sunday services & feast days. Each house according to its spiritual father & also number of monks has its own rule. In Russian practice a skete is a more ascetic and usually smaller community attached to a larger monastery. In the skete everyone lives the common life according to the abbott and spiritual father.

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-Fr Raphael

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