MP Monasteries Can't Be Agrarian

Religion News 26 June 2008, 17:20
The Bishops' Council participant calls to prevent monasteries from being turned into internet clubs and agrarian farms
Moscow, June 26, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate calls novitiates and monks to remember the higher essence of monkhood.

"Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that we can hardly find those deeply realized principles of monastic being which were set by the founders and successors of their feat in the history of the Orthodox Church in today's monasteries," Archbishop of Orekhovo-Zuyevo Alexy said at one of the working groups' meetings of the Bishops' Council.

Speaking about challenges in this area, Archbishop Alexy, who is also the head of the Synodal Committee for Monastic Live, mentioned that it was important that monks went outside their monasteries on exceptional occasions only.

Equally important is that "unnecessary interior decorations, and much less luxury things are prevented from monastic cells," Archbishop Alexy said.

"Modesty, persistence and order appropriate to monastic image shall be maintained throughout. How can we speak about abstinence and spiritual growth, when monks have TV-sets and computers with Internet access in their cells," Archbishop wondered.

He also mentioned that the monk's or novitiate's access to Internet shall be justified only by his obedience (related, for instance, to maintaining the monastery's site, publishing activity, missionary, spiritual charge or any other beneficial activity or religious education).

According to Archbishop Alexy, religious people "even priests and monks" often promote "renovation statements regarding service, fasts, and relation to hierarchy and other regulations."

"Some of them, having taken their vows or deaconhood, immediately dare to object Archbishop or even Patriarch. Those who have so quickly forgotten their vows to God and church oath should be treated accordingly, including canonic measures, to prevent them from tempting others and corrupting the morals of their brothers," Archbishop Alexy said.

He also called to combine intelligence, labour and prayer in monastic life, because the monastery was not a "construction firm, agricultural business, tailor shop, fishery, bakery, publishing house, shelter, asylum or children's school."

"All the above is included in monastic obedience, but it does not mean that beneficial work have primary importance in the monastic hierarchy," Archbishop said.

1 comment:

Joanna Higginbotham said...

Why, all of a sudden, is an agrarian monastery something to be "prevented"? For centuries a self-supporting agrarian monastery was the ideal. Now, MP lumps it with other bad ideas like internet clubs? For what noble purpose do they do that?