I have questions about monasticism as it's practiced in the Orthodox Church.
I'm a bit more familiar with monasticism as it's practiced in the Catholic church, where numerous orders exist and these orders are divided between "contemplative" and "active" orders. (For further explanation, seehttp://www.religious-vocation.com/differences_religious_orders.html
From what I can tell, the "contemplative" style of monasticism is the only one that exists in Orthodoxy. There are is no equivalent of "active" orders, which the above-referenced site describes thus: "While still principally prayer-centered, active orders generally dedicate more time to certain apostolates, such as feeding the hungry, teaching, preaching, missions, youth retreats, and various forms of service to the community. In this sense, they tend to follow Scripture in a more literal way; to "feed the hungry", "give drink to the thirsty", help the desolate and shunned of society....Active orders tend to be less bound by the walls of a monastery, and may reassign members of their community to different locations abroad."
Are there monastics in Orthodoxy who choose to engage the world and its problems and live out Christ's words in The Beatitudes? I can think of one - the Holy Martyr St. Maria Skobstova, whose extrordinary life is described here:http://orthodoxwiki.org/Maria_Skobtsova
"Mother Maria made a rented house in Paris her "convent." It was a place with an open door for refugees, the needy and the lonely. It also soon became a center for intellectual and theological discussion. In Mother Maria these two elements—service to the poor and theology—went hand-in-hand.
"When the Nazis took Paris in World War II, Jews soon approached the house asking for baptismal certificates, which Father Dimitri would provide them. Many Jews came to stay with them. They provided shelter and helped many escape. Eventually the house was closed down. Mother Maria, Fr. Dimitri, Yuri, and Sophia were all taken by the Gestapo. Fr. Dimitri and Yuri both died at the prison camp in Dora."
So, does St. Maria have contemporaries today? Orthodox monastics who choose to feed the poor, teach, and help others, in addition to praying?