Who can give monastic tonsure?
Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:13 PM
Glory be to Jesus Christ!
A question I have had for a long time is what is the practice & teaching of the Orthodox Church with regard to WHO can "give" a "valid" monastic tonsure i.e. when a man or woman is ready to embrace monastic life, (their spiritual father considers them ready), WHO can give the monastic tonsure to them/receive their vows to God in the order of the Great Schema? Can only bishops or abbots canonically give it?-could a simple monk do it? As, I believe I remember reading in the earlier days of the Church, a simple monastic or even a simple priest could give monastic tonsure, but later the practice changed. I also read in the life of St. Paisius Velichkovsky that he was tonsured into the mantle by his elder who was not even a priest, and this was considered acceptable. Would the Orthodox Church consider a man or woman tonsured into the mantle not done according to the current canonical form a real monastic, or not? Does Oikonomia ever come in? I also remember reading in "Russia's Catacomb Saints" that it happened several times during the persecutions that tonsure was given by simple priests or monks to others desiring this state of life. It would seem to me that even if not done according to canonical norms it would still be accepted...I remember a story told to me by a monk I know which was told to him by the late Metropolitan Laurus of ROCOR: a Roman Catholic nun was received into Orthodoxy by ROCOR and then went to Vladyka Laurus wanting to get married...Vladyka said to this monk, "...but she PROMISED herself!", in other words, no such "dispensation" to get married would be coming from him!
Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:50 AM
Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:31 PM
The head of the parish writes a recommendation to the diocese and the applicant writes an autobiography, and these are sent to the head of the diocese. If the bishop/archbishop/metropolitan finds them acceptable, he provides a written permission for tonsure (rassaphore or monastic) and names the bishop or hieromonk who will do it.
In the old Orthodox countries monastic tonsure is given within the monastery community and to someone living in a parish. This has not always been strictly followed in American Orthodoxy, which is one of the reasons why we have a few "loose" monks or nuns.
In Greece and on the Holy Mountain monastic tonsure is usually given by the elder of the monastery (be it a monastery for men or women), upon the recommendation of the monastery brotherhood or sisterhood. ln most common recent usage in Russia the tonsure is given by the bishop. However, a bishop can also designate or bless a hieromonk to tonsure someone, which has sometimes been done also in this country. --Fr. Ambrose
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