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Author Topic: Visiting a Monastery  (Read 1017 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orual
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« on: January 18, 2010, 11:42:15 PM »

How do you arrange a pilgrimage to a monastery when you're not personally familiar with the abbot or guestmaster?
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 11:44:30 PM »

Just call them up and tell them who you are, when you want to stay, etc. There shouldn't be any problem. Which monasteries did you have in mind?
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 11:47:38 PM »

Are there other unique circumstances, like the monastery being in another country or something? Regarding my own experiences with first visits, in one case I called ahead to introduce myself and ask about staying for a weekend, and in another case I think I emailed the monastery to ask for permission to visit. I've noticed that sometimes a monastery will have something on their website about how they would like to be contacted, what they expect, etc.
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2010, 06:59:41 AM »

Submit not yourselves to monastics, nor to presbyters, who teach lawless things and evilly propound them. And why do I say only monastics or presbyters? Follow not even after bishops who guilefully exhort you to do and say and believe things that are not profitable. What pious man will keep silence, or who will remain altogether at peace? For silence means consent. Oftentimes war is known to be praiseworthy, and a battle proves to be better than a peace that harms the soul. For it is better to separate ourselves from them who do not believe aright than to follow them in evil concord, and by our union with them separate ourselves from God. – St. Meletius the Confessor

Forgive, brother John
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 04:33:43 PM »

Submit not yourselves to monastics, nor to presbyters, who teach lawless things and evilly propound them. And why do I say only monastics or presbyters? Follow not even after bishops who guilefully exhort you to do and say and believe things that are not profitable. What pious man will keep silence, or who will remain altogether at peace? For silence means consent. Oftentimes war is known to be praiseworthy, and a battle proves to be better than a peace that harms the soul. For it is better to separate ourselves from them who do not believe aright than to follow them in evil concord, and by our union with them separate ourselves from God. – St. Meletius the Confessor

Forgive, brother John

So, what do you hope to contribute to this discussion with the above post?
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Orual
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 05:31:34 PM »

Submit not yourselves to monastics, nor to presbyters, who teach lawless things and evilly propound them. And why do I say only monastics or presbyters? Follow not even after bishops who guilefully exhort you to do and say and believe things that are not profitable. What pious man will keep silence, or who will remain altogether at peace? For silence means consent. Oftentimes war is known to be praiseworthy, and a battle proves to be better than a peace that harms the soul. For it is better to separate ourselves from them who do not believe aright than to follow them in evil concord, and by our union with them separate ourselves from God. – St. Meletius the Confessor

Forgive, brother John

So, what do you hope to contribute to this discussion with the above post?

Well, now I know to avoid lawless monastics.  And evil presbyters.   Wink Grin
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2010, 05:12:54 PM »

Anyway, what I was hoping to learn was whether you contact the abbot (for his blessing) or the guestmaster (regarding availability of accommodations) first, and then how one properly addresses the abbot and guestmaster in written correspondence.  Could anybody help me?
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2010, 05:29:55 PM »

Orual- It probably depends on the monastery. Ask your priest or someone you know who's been to the monastery.

Typically, I think one should ask for the abbot or monastic's blessing at the beginning.

I wouldn't worry too much about the etiquette, though- it's not like they'll turn you away for addressing someone the wrong way. Some monasteries will have a particular monastic who talks to pilgrims and schedules their stays; some places will have you talk directly to the abbot. I know, in the case of St. Tikhon's monastery in PA, you just email the abbot (Fr. Sergius) and tell him when you plan on coming, and he'll let you know if that works.

Which monasteries did you have in mind?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2010, 05:32:02 PM by Iconodule » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2010, 05:33:06 PM »


http://groups.google.com/group/Orthodox-ROAC/browse_thread/thread/605fc3c0d36bae22

Addressing Clergy in a Letter
When we write to a clergyman, we should open our letter with the greeting, "Father, Bless" At the end of the letter, it is customary to close with the following line: "Kissing your right hand," It is not appropriate to invoke a blessing on a clergyman, such as: "May God bless you." Not only does this show a certain spiritual arrogance before the image of the cleric, but laymen do not have the Grace of the Priesthood and the prerogative to bless in their stead. Even a Priest properly introduces his letters with the words, "The blessing of the Lord" or "May God bless you," rather than offering his own blessing. Though he can do the latter, humility prevails in his behavior, too. Needless to say, when a clergyman writes to his ecclesiastical superior, he should ask for a blessing and not bestow one.

Clergymen of the same office (Deacon, Presbyter, Bishop) greet one another with "Christ is in our midst!" and respond to this greeting with, "He is and ever shall be!".

Formal Letter Address Deacons in the Orthodox Church are addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Deacon," if they are not monastic Deacons. If they are Deacons who
are also monks, they are addressed as "The Reverend Hierodeacon." If a Deacon holds the honor of Archdeacon or Protodeacon, he is addressed as "The Very Reverend Archdeacon/Protodeacon." Deacons hold a rank in the Priesthood and are, therefore, not laymen as subdeacons and readers are. As members of the Priesthood, Deacons should be addressed, as noted above, as "Father".

Orthodox Priests are addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Priest," if they are not monastics. If they are Hieromonks (monks who are also Priests), they are addressed as "The Reverend Hieromonk." Priests with special honors are addressed in this manner: an Archimandrite (the highest monastic rank below that of Bishop), "The Very Reverend Archimandrite" (or, in some Slavic jurisdictions, "The Right Reverend Archimandrite"); and Archpriests or Protopresbyters, "The Very Reverend Archpriest/Protopresbyter." In personal address, as we noted above, all Deacons and Priests are called "Father," usually followed by their Baptismal/Monastic names (e.g., "Father Anastasios").

Bishops in the Orthodox Church are addressed in formal letters as "The Right Reverend Bishop," followed by their first name in all caps (e.g., "The Right Reverend Bishop JOHN"). Archbishops and Metropolitans are addressed as "The Most Reverend Archbishop/Metropolitan". All ranks of Archpastors (Bishops, Archbishops, Metropolitans), because they are also monastics, are addressed by their first name or first name and sees (e.g., "Bishop JOHN of Chicago"). It is not correct to use the last name of a Bishop — or any monastic for that matter. Though many monastics and Bishops use their family names, even in Orthodox countries like Russia and Greece, this is absolutely improper and a violation of an ancient Church custom.

Addressing a Monastic in a Formal Letter
All male monastics in the Orthodox Church are called "Father," whether they hold the Priesthood or not, and are formally addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Monk (name)," if they do not have a Priestly rank. If they are of Priestly rank, they are formally addressed as "The Reverend Hieromonk/Hierodeacon". Monastics are sometimes formally addressed according to their monastic rank; for example, " The Reverend Rasophore-monk," " The Reverend Stavrophore-monk," or " The Reverend Schemamonk." The Abbot of a monastery is addressed as "The Very Reverend Abbot," whether he holds Priestly rank or not and whether or not he is an Archimandrite by rank. The term "Brother" is used in Orthodox monasteries in one instance only: to designate novices who are given a blessing, in the strictest tradition, to wear only the inner cassock and a monastic cap.

Again, as we noted above, a monk never uses his last name. This reflects the Orthodox understanding of monasticism, in which the monastic dies to his former self and abandons all that identified him in the world. Lay people are also called to respect a monk's death to his past. (In Greek practice, a monk sometimes forms a new last name from the name of his monastery. Thus a monk from the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery [Mone Agiou Gregoriou Palama, in Greek] might take the name Agiogregorites.) The titles used for male monastics also apply to female monastics. In fact, a community of female monastics is often called a "monastery" rather than a convent. Women monastics are addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Nun" or " The Reverend Rasophore—nun," etc., and the Abbess of a convent is addressed as "The Very Reverend Abbess." Though traditions for informal address vary, in most places, Rasophore nuns, and in all places, novices, are called "Sister," while any monastic above the rank of Rasophore and the abbess is always called "Mother. When greeting an Abbess, a layperson should, just as we do with an Abbot, ask for a blessing, saying, "Mother, Bless" rather than "Father, Bless". Abbots and Abbesses can often be identified by their wearing of a pectoral cross.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I have only visited one monastery, thus far.  However, while we shouldn't follow "anyone" blindly, I found it to be peaceful and reinvigorating.  There's something special about being in a place dedicated to worshiping God, and among people who are there for the same purpose.


           For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. - Matthew 18:20






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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 11:39:52 PM »

What I do is call them in advance (even the larger Sketes on Mount Athos have phones!), and ask if you can stay such and such days.   The guestmaster will either give you a yes or no there.  Usually the answer is yes unless something special's going on and they expect a large number of tourists (I was denied a visit to one monastery because the Patriarch was going to be there that day, and they were already full!).   

I've never talked to the abbot in this process, unless the Abbot serves has guestmaster himself!  Also, most of the guestmasters I've met are ordinary monks, so you can just call them "Father [name]".  Don't worry though about addressing, though.  Some monasteries use "old-country" vocabulary a lot.  But don't worry - you'll pick it up in a day or so. 

If you've never been to one, do try to stay at least 2-3 days, so you get a feel of things.  And do make a donation if you can, and offer to help if they need it. 
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 07:49:29 AM »

Submit not yourselves to monastics, nor to presbyters, who teach lawless things and evilly propound them. And why do I say only monastics or presbyters? Follow not even after bishops who guilefully exhort you to do and say and believe things that are not profitable. What pious man will keep silence, or who will remain altogether at peace? For silence means consent. Oftentimes war is known to be praiseworthy, and a battle proves to be better than a peace that harms the soul. For it is better to separate ourselves from them who do not believe aright than to follow them in evil concord, and by our union with them separate ourselves from God. – St. Meletius the Confessor

Forgive, brother John


By you quoting that I get the idea you interpret it as saying all monastics and presbyters teach lawless and evil things, and not the correct meaning (and the only meaning it can have in standard English) to avoid those particular ones that do so.
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