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Why don't we have active religious communities?


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#1 Guest_Augustine Martin

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:54 PM

In Catholicism, they have both active and contemplative monasticism. Technically, they don't consider the active to be monks. Why don't we have communities of celibates who devote their lives to secular ministry?

#2 Owen Jones

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:17 PM

Because we would end up like the Catholics?

#3 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 04:04 PM

It would seem, to me at least, to create a distinction within monasticism: those who work in the secular sphere and those who are in the religious sphere; this dichotomy is not part of Orthodoxy where it is our duty to bring the world to the Church and the Church to the world, to make the secular religious and the religious secular or, to put it perhaps a better way, the obliteration of these distinctions in the person of Christ.

A monk is called to pray for the whole world which is as "active" as it is "contemplative" because it is an event in and of the Kingdom.

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#4 Phoebe K.

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:45 PM

In Orthodoxy we are all involved in mission and teaching the faith along with guarding it. The whole church has the responsibly for mission and defending the faith, we do not pass our individual responsibility for these things to others as happens in Catholicism and other traditions do.

In orthodoxy there is no distinction between the sacred and the secular as an aspect of the mission of the Church is to bring the whole of creation back to God as humans were created as the crown of creation and part of what it means to be a Christian growing in the likeness of God is to bring all of creation with us. Some people have specific gifts but all Christians have a responsibility to spread the word and defend the faith.

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#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:34 PM

In Orthodox countries, the distinction between 'active' and 'contemplative' is not clearly drawn because much depends on the location of a monastery. There is a huge difference between a monastery in the wilds of northern Russia where the emphasis will be on the contemplative, and a monastery in the centre of Moscow or St Petersburg where the emphasis will be on the active. One could, for example, contrast (since I have been to these) a skete at Valaam or a monastery in Kyrillov, and Pokrovskiy monastery or the Afonskiy podvorie in the very centre of Moscow.

#6 Anna Stickles

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:55 PM

The biography of the Holy New Martyr Grand Dutchess Elizabeth might be a start for finding out about this type of community in Orthodoxy. Her Martha and Mary Convent was greatly involved in a lot of charitable activities, although this does not mean that they neglected prayer or the inner life. I don't think any Orthodox monastery is going to be either completely active or completely contemplative, because as St Seraphim of Sarov says, they are both necessary. The more strict division between these that one finds in the Catholic monasteries is unhealthy.

#7 Ryan

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 02:41 AM

As Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos often says, monasticism is highly "social" insofar as 1. they preserve and help the world by their prayers; 2. they maintain a bastion of spirituality which all people can benefit from as pilgrims.

#8 Ben Johnson

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 05:07 AM

Would making and selling coffee be considered a "secular ministry?" :unsure:



#9 Olga

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 12:09 PM

Would making and selling coffee be considered a "secular ministry?" :unsure:

 

Why would it have to be? Monasteries have to earn their keep somehow. Historically, monasteries have produced for sale olives and olive oil, honey and beeswax (and candles), incense, wine, icons, wooden items (often carved), and vestments. I can't see anything unbecoming or immoral in monasteries producing coffee.



#10 Ben Johnson

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 03:31 PM

^ I don't either.  I am must wondering if it is defined that way or not.  That's all.



#11 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 03:40 PM

I wouldn't really want any activity of an Orthodox monastery to be called, 'secular'.



#12 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 04:52 PM

Few monasteries can be as active in the world as St Elisabeth Convent in Minsk. Their web site describes their activities.



#13 Father David Moser

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 07:47 PM

Would making and selling coffee be considered a "secular ministry?" :unsure:

 

If you are referring to All Merciful Savior Monastery in Seattle, coffee is indeed a religious issue - and if you don't know that, you don't know Fr Tryphon.



#14 Olga

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 10:51 PM

If you are referring to All Merciful Savior Monastery in Seattle, coffee is indeed a religious issue - and if you don't know that, you don't know Fr Tryphon.

 

Fr Tryphon is not the only abbot or monk who regards coffee this way. I've yet to come across a monk that doesn't. ;)



#15 Loucas

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:28 PM

As far as I understand the Church, well Orthodox, believe that community is what we are. Even the hermits make a point of going to the monastery to attend liturgy and commune occasionally with the monks there. The divine Liturgy is an active religious communty gathered in the presence of God. Many Churches have evening and/or weekend retreats to discuss aspects of our Faith, to commune and be blessed by each of our own Spiritual experiences, to listen to guest speakers, to learn about prayer or chanting. As far as a mission, well God himself told us and it wasn't going out on the street to convince none believers to convert. But simply by living the life of an Orthodox Christian.  Let your light shine so that others may see and give Glory to God. Most Churches and Metropolisis not only have very active communities which are structured around our Spiritual lives. But beyond that most also have very active philanthropic communities as well. I will go on record and say that I believe the Orthodox Church starting with the Apostles Peter and Paul is very much and active religious community.






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