Author Topic: re: Are there different religious orders for monastics in the Oriental Orthodox  (Read 230 times)

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Offline IreneOlinyk

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I was just reading this article here:
http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2015/08/twenty-five-years-of-st-jacob-baradeus-syriac-orthodox-nuns-order/

and was confused by this part:
Quote
His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II met with the nuns of the Order of Mor Jacob Baradeus at Mor Jacob Baradeus Monastery in Atchaneh, Bikfaya Lebanon on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Order.


Is this a mistranslation into English and the author meant the foundation of a new monastery named the Mor Jacob Baradeus Monastery ?  Or are there different types or orders of monastics in the Oriental Orthodox churches?????

There is another article here: http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2015/08/patriarchal-divine-liturgy-on-the-feast-of-st-jacob-baradeus/

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AFAIK, there aren't different "religious orders" for monastics in the way such exist in the Roman Catholic Church, where there are different orders with different monastic rules, different habits, different "spiritualities", etc. 

Regarding the nuns in the OP, I suspect "order" is either a mistranslation/poor word choice or is being used deliberately to denote monastics who have a particular work and are not devoted strictly to prayer and seclusion within a monastery. 
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Offline IreneOlinyk

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Thanks.  Is this a modern change in tradition?  Or always existed?

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Thanks.  Is this a modern change in tradition?  Or always existed?

Well, without knowing what "this" is, I can't say.  In general, though, I think the OO have maintained a tradition of different "types" of monasticism: eremitic life, but also the cenobitic life, "urban" monasteries, etc.  The rule is still the same, but the manner of living it out the monastic life will differ. 
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Offline wgw

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In the Coptic Church, I can think of two instances where alternate modes of monastic life have been introduced.  Bishop Serapion in the Diocese of Los Angeles has given his blessing to the Brotherhood of St. Paul, which consists of five or so celibate priests who basically live and function as friars or canons regular, who are not members of St. Anthonys monastery and not hieromonks, but who take vows of poverty, stability, obedience, and service.  In like manner, in addition to the regular Egyptian convents which operate according to the usual Coptic monastic customs (whoch I believe were somewhat regularized under Pope Shenouda, but involve a minimum three years novitiate followed by solemn vows, stability, obedience, and the memorization and/or daily recital of the entire psalter,), there are also nuns in Egypt whoch serve in an organization, whose name I forget, which was modelled directly on the Sisters of Charity, and involves itself in humnitarian relief projects rather than the interior life that most Orthodox convents specialize in.

I myself regard this as a positive development, in that I think one of the few areas where the Romans have historically had a leg up on us are in terms of having specialized religious orders for certain kinds of Christian service beyond the normal monastic life.  So the majority of Orthodox monastics are basically something like Benedictines, but Rome, primarily after the great schism, began developing orders like the Trinitarians and Mercedarians who focused on ransoming captives, friars like the Dominicans and Franciscans, who were initially committed to peaceful conversion of heretics (later these orders were comopted and the Dominicans especially became associated with the Inquistion, although evidence suggests that to some extent the scrupulosity of the Dominicans is one reason why the Inquistion itself only killed at most 3,000 or so, compared with for example the mass murder of 16,000 Waldensians fleeing Italy for Switzerland which transpired outside of their purview), and in more recent times, orders associated with medical care, education, and so on, in particular the Missionaries of Charity who were most impressive.

However there is a risk to this, and that is a deprecation of monastic life.  It is an insidious fallacy to regard monks as idle do-nothings compared to members of mendicant orders providing direct services to the poor.  I was just reading an interview of Abbot Paisius and Elder Cleopas of Romania, in which one Patristic saint was quoted as saying that it is better to master ones passions than to raise the dead.  St. Seraphim of Sarov said "Acquire inner peace, and thousands around you will be saved."  I really do believe that the work done by the Oriental Orthodox monks at places like St. Anthonys in Egypt, the Syrian Monastery, the Monastery of St. Paul the Hermit, and especially the besieged monastery of Dayro d'Mor Mattay mear Mosul, and also the work of our EO brethren on Mount Athos, at St. Catharines of Sinai. and elsewhere, is more valuable than any charitable operations that occur outside the monastic enclosure.  It is also harder and more dangerous, especially for the abbots and confessors.  These traditional cloistered monasteries are centers of extreme prayer and holiness and bless the world and everyone in it by their mere existence.   However, of late from what I understand the Coptic Church has not been wanting in vocations at any of its monasteries, and thus is in a position to provide for more specialized vocations, than, for example, the much smaller Syriac Orthodox Church in the Middle East, where I believe none of the monasteries other than perhaps the seminary and patriarchal monastery of St. Ephraim's near Damascus has more than ten monks.
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Offline IreneOlinyk

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Thank you both for your answers. 
I thought I read in the past that one or more of the nuns involved in active charitable work were deanonesses.  I may be mistaken & may have read about another Oriental Church with deaconesses.

 
Quote
In like manner, in addition to the regular Egyptian convents which operate according to the usual Coptic monastic customs (whoch I believe were somewhat regularized under Pope Shenouda, but involve a minimum three years novitiate followed by solemn vows, stability, obedience, and the memorization and/or daily recital of the entire psalter,), there are also nuns in Egypt whoch serve in an organization, whose name I forget, which was modelled directly on the Sisters of Charity, and involves itself in humnitarian relief projects rather than the interior life that most Orthodox convents specialize in.
 

Offline Minnesotan

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In the Coptic Church, I can think of two instances where alternate modes of monastic life have been introduced.  Bishop Serapion in the Diocese of Los Angeles has given his blessing to the Brotherhood of St. Paul, which consists of five or so celibate priests who basically live and function as friars or canons regular, who are not members of St. Anthonys monastery and not hieromonks, but who take vows of poverty, stability, obedience, and service.  In like manner, in addition to the regular Egyptian convents which operate according to the usual Coptic monastic customs (whoch I believe were somewhat regularized under Pope Shenouda, but involve a minimum three years novitiate followed by solemn vows, stability, obedience, and the memorization and/or daily recital of the entire psalter,), there are also nuns in Egypt whoch serve in an organization, whose name I forget, which was modelled directly on the Sisters of Charity, and involves itself in humnitarian relief projects rather than the interior life that most Orthodox convents specialize in.

I myself regard this as a positive development, in that I think one of the few areas where the Romans have historically had a leg up on us are in terms of having specialized religious orders for certain kinds of Christian service beyond the normal monastic life.  So the majority of Orthodox monastics are basically something like Benedictines, but Rome, primarily after the great schism, began developing orders like the Trinitarians and Mercedarians who focused on ransoming captives, friars like the Dominicans and Franciscans, who were initially committed to peaceful conversion of heretics (later these orders were comopted and the Dominicans especially became associated with the Inquistion, although evidence suggests that to some extent the scrupulosity of the Dominicans is one reason why the Inquistion itself only killed at most 3,000 or so, compared with for example the mass murder of 16,000 Waldensians fleeing Italy for Switzerland which transpired outside of their purview), and in more recent times, orders associated with medical care, education, and so on, in particular the Missionaries of Charity who were most impressive.

However there is a risk to this, and that is a deprecation of monastic life.  It is an insidious fallacy to regard monks as idle do-nothings compared to members of mendicant orders providing direct services to the poor.  I was just reading an interview of Abbot Paisius and Elder Cleopas of Romania, in which one Patristic saint was quoted as saying that it is better to master ones passions than to raise the dead.  St. Seraphim of Sarov said "Acquire inner peace, and thousands around you will be saved."  I really do believe that the work done by the Oriental Orthodox monks at places like St. Anthonys in Egypt, the Syrian Monastery, the Monastery of St. Paul the Hermit, and especially the besieged monastery of Dayro d'Mor Mattay mear Mosul, and also the work of our EO brethren on Mount Athos, at St. Catharines of Sinai. and elsewhere, is more valuable than any charitable operations that occur outside the monastic enclosure.  It is also harder and more dangerous, especially for the abbots and confessors.  These traditional cloistered monasteries are centers of extreme prayer and holiness and bless the world and everyone in it by their mere existence.   However, of late from what I understand the Coptic Church has not been wanting in vocations at any of its monasteries, and thus is in a position to provide for more specialized vocations, than, for example, the much smaller Syriac Orthodox Church in the Middle East, where I believe none of the monasteries other than perhaps the seminary and patriarchal monastery of St. Ephraim's near Damascus has more than ten monks.

Yet another historical use for these kinds of orders is education and academic work (although one could argue that this is itself a form of humanitarianism). There's a group called the Society of Ordained Scientists (who are priests, not necessarily monks) within Anglicanism. Within the Roman church, the Jesuits have often filled this niche. I think something like this is especially needed now, as it would help refute the New Atheist canard that religion is antithetical to knowledge and scientific exploration.
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