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Author Topic: Is becoming a Saint in the world nearly impossible?  (Read 6012 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: April 11, 2010, 08:04:07 PM »

after reflecting on the recent thread about Fr. Alexander Schmemann and Fr. Seraphim Rose, I began wondering if it is near impossible to become a Saint apart from monasticism. It seems to me that 90% or more of our Saints were all monastics, or celibate Priests. What does this say about those of us who want to live married lives and have children? Does this doom us to mediocrity? Are we never to reach the status of Saints unless we exhibit "miracles" like floating, healing etc...?

Yes I know that a Saint recognized in the Church is not the only "saint" in heaven. Yet they are our examples to follow, yet the examples of many monastic Saints are impossible to follow unless we become monastics ourselves. I know there are a few married Saints, but why aren't there more?
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 09:06:03 PM »

This is one of Roman Catholicism's biggest criticisms of the Orthodox Church: that we have such a narrow ideal in our saints. They tend to canonize people of all stripes.
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 10:21:21 PM »

Yes I know that a Saint recognized in the Church is not the only "saint" in heaven. Yet they are our examples to follow, yet the examples of many monastic Saints are impossible to follow unless we become monastics ourselves. I know there are a few married Saints, but why aren't there more?

Monasticism is a replacement for martyrdom, as it is dying to the world. Just as nearly all of the earliest saints were martyrs, so most saints after the end of the initial Roman persecution have been monastics. No surprise, really.
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2010, 10:31:41 PM »

Then who are the examples we are to follow? I know the Saints, even the monastics are our examples, but we cannot be monastics if we want to be married and live amongst the world.
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2010, 10:51:26 PM »

Then who are the examples we are to follow? I know the Saints, even the monastics are our examples, but we cannot be monastics if we want to be married and live amongst the world.

What exactly is the essence of monasticism? 
Prayer?  You can do this, and do so abundantly, in the world.
Hard work?  You have to do this, and do so abundantly, in the world.
Fidelity and obedience?  To those with families, this is paramount, and the cornerstone of a happy and blessed household.  Fidelity and obedience to the spouse, the household, the children, the parents, to working and loving.
Worship?  The tie that binds the monk to the other monks, which is also the tie that binds one family to another.
Self-sacrifice?  The daily exercise of the monk is also the daily routine of the mother and father, and of each child as they progress in maturity.
Renouncing the world?  This is the only area where things are different: the monk renounces the world and separates from it; the family can renounce what the world teaches while sanctifying the world with their active presence in the midst.

To those who should be monks, marriage and family are (nearly) impossible tasks; to those who should be married, monasticism is an (nearly) impossible task.  But those who follow the calling of the Lord and pour their energy, love, dedication, and indeed their entire selves into His work, they find fulfillment and sanctification from Him.

As to why we may not have many Saints - for those of us with families, we have plenty of saints to give us excellent examples of God-fearing life to emulate: st. Mom, st. Dad, st. Papou/Grandpa. etc.  They may never have canons written about their exploits, but long after they've left this present world I will be telling my child/children (and, if the Lord blesses me, Grandchildren and beyond) of the love, dedication, self-sacrifice, hard work, fidelity, prayer, worship life, and renunciation of the false teachings of the world of my parents and grandparents.
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2010, 11:26:42 PM »

Then who are the examples we are to follow? I know the Saints, even the monastics are our examples, but we cannot be monastics if we want to be married and live amongst the world.

What exactly is the essence of monasticism? 
Prayer?  You can do this, and do so abundantly, in the world.
Hard work?  You have to do this, and do so abundantly, in the world.
Fidelity and obedience?  To those with families, this is paramount, and the cornerstone of a happy and blessed household.  Fidelity and obedience to the spouse, the household, the children, the parents, to working and loving.
Worship?  The tie that binds the monk to the other monks, which is also the tie that binds one family to another.
Self-sacrifice?  The daily exercise of the monk is also the daily routine of the mother and father, and of each child as they progress in maturity.
Renouncing the world?  This is the only area where things are different: the monk renounces the world and separates from it; the family can renounce what the world teaches while sanctifying the world with their active presence in the midst.

To those who should be monks, marriage and family are (nearly) impossible tasks; to those who should be married, monasticism is an (nearly) impossible task.  But those who follow the calling of the Lord and pour their energy, love, dedication, and indeed their entire selves into His work, they find fulfillment and sanctification from Him.

As to why we may not have many Saints - for those of us with families, we have plenty of saints to give us excellent examples of God-fearing life to emulate: st. Mom, st. Dad, st. Papou/Grandpa. etc.  They may never have canons written about their exploits, but long after they've left this present world I will be telling my child/children (and, if the Lord blesses me, Grandchildren and beyond) of the love, dedication, self-sacrifice, hard work, fidelity, prayer, worship life, and renunciation of the false teachings of the world of my parents and grandparents.

Thank you... though I think my argument was especially about the typical attributes of monastic Saints, such as floating during prayer, healings and other miracles and works. I haven't heard of any (especially recent) examples of any married couples that have these things attributed to them.
The lack of such works shouldn't remove someone from candidacy as a Saint, though it can be a guide...
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2010, 12:21:32 AM »

Examples Married saints:

St. Monica
Ss. Justinian the Emperor and His Wife, Theodora
St. Peter
St. Nicholas Planas (relatively modern saint)
Saint John of Kronstadt
Ss. Constantine and Helen
St. Vladimir
St. Xenia of St. Petersburg
The Holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura
Saint Theophanes the Confessor
Hosea the Prophet
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2010, 12:28:08 AM »

Then who are the examples we are to follow? I know the Saints, even the monastics are our examples, but we cannot be monastics if we want to be married and live amongst the world.

I'm going to pull a quote from a lecture I recently posted on facebook.

http://www.allsaintsofamerica.org/orthodoxy/orthodoxlife.html

Worldly Cares
Perhaps, we still can't see how to become holy in a work oriented, 9-5 world with all of its cares and concerns. Again, I would like to quote from St. Theophan the Recluse.

There is a widely-accepted misconception among us: that when one becomes involved in work at home or in business, immediately one steps out of the godly realm and away from God-pleasing activities. From this idea, it follows that once the desire to strive toward God germinates, and talk turns toward the spiritual life, then the idea inevitably surfaces: one must run from society, from the home to the wilderness, to the forest. Both are erroneous.

Homes and communities depend on concerns of daily life and society. These are God-given obligations; fulfilling them is not a step toward the ungodly, but is a walking in the way of the Lord. All who cleave to these erroneous premises fall into the bad habit of thinking that once they accept worldly obligations, they no longer need to strive towards God.

...Cast them aside and grasp the concept that everything you do, inside and outside your home, concerning social life, as a daughter, as a sister, as a Muscovite, is godly and God-pleasing... Your misconceptions truly make them ungodly, because you fulfill your daily tasks with an attitude contrary to the one God intended you to have.

...Once you adjust yourself to this outlook, no worldly duty will distract you from God. Instead, it will bring you close to Him. We are all servants of our God. God has assigned to each his place and responsibilities, and He watches to see how each approaches his assignment. He is everywhere. And He watches over you. Keep this in mind and do each deed as if it were assigned to you directly by God, no matter what it is.

Do your housework in this manner. When someone comes to visit, keep in mind that God has sent you this visitor, and is watching. When you have to leave the house, keep in mind that God has sent you out on an errand, and is watching. Will you complete it as He wishes?

By orienting yourself to God at all times, your chores at home and responsibilities outside the house will not distract your attention from God, but, on the contrary, will keep you intent on completing all tasks in a God-pleasing manner. All will be performed with the fear of God, and this fear will keep your attention unswervingly on God.


This is remarkable advice from someone who, though once active in the world, became known as a recluse. But it demonstrates that we too often excuse our weekday worldliness because, after all, "one cannot be holy where I work."
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2010, 12:32:57 AM »

Examples Married saints:

St. Monica
Ss. Justinian the Emperor and His Wife, Theodora
St. Peter
St. Nicholas Planas (relatively modern saint)
Saint John of Kronstadt
Ss. Constantine and Helen
St. Vladimir
St. Xenia of St. Petersburg
The Holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura
Saint Theophanes the Confessor
Hosea the Prophet

I don't think this solves much, as not a single one of these was canonized for living a quiet, humble and saintly life in the world like just about every single Orthodox Christian does. On here we still have imperial royalty, a priest who never touched his wife, one of the Holy Prophets of the Old Testament, a crazy lady whose husband died tragically which is what drove her to the streets, martyrs, oh, and let's not forget the Prince of the Apostles St. Peter.

These examples are still very far away from the average person, and I think only strengthen Devin's point. Where are the canonizations of simple, pious people who lived holy ascetic lives in the world with their families? We don't have such examples. We have apostles, priests, prophets, emperors and martyrs in this list, all of which happened to be married. Their respective hagiography isn't about the love of Christ being magnified through the love of their spouse or children. The facts that they have spouses or children are mere footnotes at best.
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2010, 08:08:46 AM »

Examples Married saints:

St. Monica
Ss. Justinian the Emperor and His Wife, Theodora
St. Peter
St. Nicholas Planas (relatively modern saint)
Saint John of Kronstadt
Ss. Constantine and Helen
St. Vladimir
St. Xenia of St. Petersburg
The Holy Martyrs Timothy and Maura
Saint Theophanes the Confessor
Hosea the Prophet

I don't think this solves much, as not a single one of these was canonized for living a quiet, humble and saintly life in the world like just about every single Orthodox Christian does. On here we still have imperial royalty, a priest who never touched his wife, one of the Holy Prophets of the Old Testament, a crazy lady whose husband died tragically which is what drove her to the streets, martyrs, oh, and let's not forget the Prince of the Apostles St. Peter.

These examples are still very far away from the average person, and I think only strengthen Devin's point. Where are the canonizations of simple, pious people who lived holy ascetic lives in the world with their families? We don't have such examples. We have apostles, priests, prophets, emperors and martyrs in this list, all of which happened to be married. Their respective hagiography isn't about the love of Christ being magnified through the love of their spouse or children. The facts that they have spouses or children are mere footnotes at best.

I disagree with you. These are people that had jobs (whether it be as ministers, fishermen, or nobility) and chose to put Christ first. Just because someone is a priest, does not mean they love Christ. Just because someone is an Emperor doesn't mean they have to love Christ. There have been many rulers over the years that were Christian in name only; these examples truly showed what it was like to be a loving ruler, spouse, and follower of Christ.

St. Xenia wasn't some "crazy" woman. She acted that way for a reason, and did not act as a Fool-for-Christ prior to her husband's death.  St. Monica was a housewife married to a pagan who prayed for her husband and her son's conversion. How is that not piety in a normal life? Many of the posters on this board are in similar situations where they believe, but their spouse does not.

St. Peter had a wife and kids he had to balance with his ministry with his family life. How is that not a challenge many of us face? I mean, what do you think his wife's reaction was when he came home and told her that he was leaving his fishing business to follow some man who claims to be "the way, the truth, and the life"?

I think that there are many ways in which we CAN relate our lives to the lives of these saints, but because their lives aren't exactly like ours, we choose not to.

I choose to focus on the similarities and what I can relate to, rather than what I can't relate to. Furthermore, even if I have nothing in common with a saint (for example, I was never pregnant with the Son of God as the Theotokos was) there are still things from their hagiography I can learn.

Your response is sarcastic and snarky, when my original post was intended to be an aid. Just because you choose to focus on all the ways that you are NOT like these people does not mean that no benefit can be derived from their hagiography.

While it is true that there haven't been any computer programmers, mechanical engineers, or gas station attendants canonized in the Church YET, that does not mean it is not possible in the future.
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2010, 09:16:06 AM »

Yes I know that a Saint recognized in the Church is not the only "saint" in heaven. Yet they are our examples to follow, yet the examples of many monastic Saints are impossible to follow unless we become monastics ourselves. I know there are a few married Saints, but why aren't there more?

Because the Church doesn't canonize different kinds of Saints to represent different kinds of life-situations. For the most part, it canonizes saints that are eschatological sign posts, whose lives are not conformed to the ways of this world but rather radically conformed to the reality of the in-breaking Kingdom to come. That's why, in the early church, martyrs were 95% of the saints. In the absence of actual martyrs, 95% will naturally be those who adopt the martyrdom of asceticism, giving up all things of this world: family, money, etc. It's possible to live out those principles even in the world (cf. St. Juliana of Lazarevo). Most of us just don't want to.
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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2010, 09:53:05 AM »


What about this regular, married couple - Joachim and Anna (the parents of the Theotokos)?

We are all called to be Saints!  Each and every one of us.

If there is a lack of saints from the IT field...then let that be a challenge to us...let's become the first!

Each one of us has sooooo much to do in our lives...if God would only grant us the time, energy and wisdom we need to accomplish it!

Sainthood should not be a goal in itself.  We should not desire to levitate, foresee the future, or have wild beasts lick our feet.  That is pride and vanity speaking. 

We should strive to lead the most pious Christian life that we can, wherever we are, whatever field of work we find ourselves in, whatever state of marriage/non-marriage, in order to be pleasing to God - not in order to attain "sainthood".  Our goal is to live life the way Christ has directed us.  To follow His example as best we can.  To do good, to teach, to support each other...to leave this world a better place than it was when we arrived.  To make a positive difference. 

Many monastics fall far short.  Many married people fall far short.  It's not "where" you find yourself, but, how you conduct yourself wherever God has put you.

...and when we fall short...we get up....we go to Holy Confession...and we begin again.

May the Lord have mercy on us all!



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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2010, 10:26:57 AM »

What about this regular, married couple - Joachim and Anna (the parents of the Theotokos)?

They gave 1/3 of their income to the poor and 1/3 to the Temple. Not very regular.
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2010, 10:42:11 AM »


...not regular as compared to us...because we "choose" not to give 2/3 of our income away.

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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2010, 10:57:40 AM »

One of my problems with some of this, (though not all, I like the quote by St. Theophan) is it assumes that although we live in the world, we still must be separate from it. For example...
I'm becoming an architect, this means I HAVE to go to school (which has to be paid for)... After school, I have to work and take tests (which have to be paid for)... Eventually, when I become an actual architect, I can make between $40,000 and $100,000. What happens when I get married and our kids all have to go to college? We would absolutely need the ability to pay for that. Not to mention we would need the ability to pay for all sort of things like healthcare, taxes, transportation, shelter, etc...

I know that this may not seem like a lot, but it seems to me that according to the adults I talk to, this actually adds up to a lot. If we tithed 2/3 of our wealth to the Church, we would be left with nothing, or nearly nothing.
I know there are many people out there who have nothing, and that we are called worship God and not worldly goods. But I think people fail to realize that we are all born into a system, and unless you abide by that system, then you become poverty stricken and will then have nothing at all to provide monetarily for the Church, nor for your family or anyone else...

Because we live in the world, (as I said) we thus live in a system that we must abide by, how can we possibly hope to live up to the level of the Saints in a system like this? Is it possible or should we simply give up and become recluse in our own society?
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2010, 11:00:46 AM »

What about this regular, married couple - Joachim and Anna (the parents of the Theotokos)?

They gave 1/3 of their income to the poor and 1/3 to the Temple. Not very regular.

That's the point. That's what makes them Saints. My goodness, who are you looking for? Ss. Homer and Marge Simpson? Ss. Dan and Roseanne Conner?




I don't want them to be role models in the Church. The entire idea of recognizing someone as a Saint is someone who HAS lead an extraordinary life, and raises the bar for us.

Ss. Joachim and Anna were "regular" people who went to work, went to Temple, and were faithful to God. THAT is what being a Saint is all about.

St. Paul describes our life with Christ as a race we are running to win a crown of victory. A person can watch one race at the Summer Olympics and quickly figure out that Athletes who run these races are not like "average" people. They train, they sacrifice, they give up their time, they do things they may not *want* to do but *have* to do in order to improve as an athlete. It is the same with us. We must sacrifice, we must do things we don't *want* to do, we must give up our time for Christ if we are to receive our reward.

The Saints of the Church are the ones who have done just that.

Christ never said our life would be easy. He told us that we would be persecuted, that we must "take up our cross and follow" Him, and that if necessary, we must deny our family to follow Him. These are not the actions of "ordinary" people.

"Ordinary" people stay in their comfortable recliners, don't do the training, don't persevere to win the race, and avoid pain at all costs. The path to Sainthood is not intended to be an easy one, but it is an achievable one if we are willing to put in the work.
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« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2010, 11:03:44 AM »

One of my problems with some of this, (though not all, I like the quote by St. Theophan) is it assumes that although we live in the world, we still must be separate from it. For example...
I'm becoming an architect, this means I HAVE to go to school (which has to be paid for)... After school, I have to work and take tests (which have to be paid for)... Eventually, when I become an actual architect, I can make between $40,000 and $100,000. What happens when I get married and our kids all have to go to college? We would absolutely need the ability to pay for that. Not to mention we would need the ability to pay for all sort of things like healthcare, taxes, transportation, shelter, etc...

I know that this may not seem like a lot, but it seems to me that according to the adults I talk to, this actually adds up to a lot. If we tithed 2/3 of our wealth to the Church, we would be left with nothing, or nearly nothing.
I know there are many people out there who have nothing, and that we are called worship God and not worldly goods. But I think people fail to realize that we are all born into a system, and unless you abide by that system, then you become poverty stricken and will then have nothing at all to provide monetarily for the Church, nor for your family or anyone else...

Because we live in the world, (as I said) we thus live in a system that we must abide by, how can we possibly hope to live up to the level of the Saints in a system like this? Is it possible or should we simply give up and become recluse in our own society?

Whoever said you have live like Paupers to be a saint?

My goodness, Ss. Justinian and Theodora weren't exactly begging on the streets!  laugh

It is not a sin to make good money. What is a sin is to put money before God.

It is good to work hard and be successful, but remember to give to charity, give to Church, pray, be an example of Christ's love for others, follow God's commandments and the teachings of the Church. THIS is the path to Sainthood.
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« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2010, 11:08:33 AM »

What about this regular, married couple - Joachim and Anna (the parents of the Theotokos)?

They gave 1/3 of their income to the poor and 1/3 to the Temple. Not very regular.

St. Joseph.
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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2010, 11:19:32 AM »

These examples are still very far away from the average person, and I think only strengthen Devin's point. Where are the canonizations of simple, pious people who lived holy ascetic lives in the world with their families? We don't have such examples.

Look, these people who were canonized were not even necessarily celebrities even in their own days.  And I'm sure most of them, if not all of them, thought of themselves as very simple, pious people. Don't confuse their new and now earned celebrity saint status as indicative as what they thought of themselves or were thought of in their own time. 
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2010, 11:26:57 AM »

I recall a story that an old priest once used in a sermon many years ago. He was preaching in a beautifully adorned Church with a full icon screen and many wall and ceiling icons depicting various imagery and saints. He told of a child who once approached him in the church and asked , "Father, are all of the saints of our Church painted on our walls?" The wise pastor smiled and replied, "No my child, only the few whose lives were so remarkable that we were blessed to know of their sainthood in our world. The rest are known to God and will be revealed to us when we are blessed to enter into His Heavenly Kingdom." He went on to tell us that we would be judged upon  how lived our Christian lives rather than 'where' we lived them. In other words, the monastic life was not the life we all were to follow. In thinking about the topic,  St. Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre comes to mind. St. Alexis was not a monk, but rather a married priest with a child (who died at a young age) and who was widowed early in his priestly career.
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2013, 02:43:16 PM »

Hey this is all proving very helpful as I am seeking out a patron Saint. So, did St. Anastasia have children? I have a hard time finding that information (sorry if it is off topic)
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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2013, 03:11:59 PM »

The way the world is going right now, we'll have plenty of opportunities in the near future to be martyred.
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2013, 03:31:16 PM »

Hey this is all proving very helpful as I am seeking out a patron Saint. So, did St. Anastasia have children? I have a hard time finding that information (sorry if it is off topic)

Which Saint Anastasia?
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2013, 03:44:34 PM »

The way the world is going right now, we'll have plenty of opportunities in the near future to be martyred.

Why wait?  We could just hop on a plane to Afghanistan or Pakistan or Pick-Your-Own-istan with some crosses, a few Bibles and start evangelizing.  I think we would find ourselves martyred pdq.  Roll Eyes  So, no, becoming a Saint in the world is not nearly impossible.  It is, in fact, quite possible and probably quite easy--we have to but want it enough. Wink
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« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2013, 04:17:10 PM »

The way the world is going right now, we'll have plenty of opportunities in the near future to be martyred.

Why wait?  We could just hop on a plane to Afghanistan or Pakistan or Pick-Your-Own-istan with some crosses, a few Bibles and start evangelizing.  I think we would find ourselves martyred pdq.  Roll Eyes  So, no, becoming a Saint in the world is not nearly impossible.  It is, in fact, quite possible and probably quite easy--we have to but want it enough. Wink

One shouldn't seek to be martyred for martyrdom's sake though.
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« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2013, 04:30:03 PM »

The way the world is going right now, we'll have plenty of opportunities in the near future to be martyred.

Why wait?  We could just hop on a plane to Afghanistan or Pakistan or Pick-Your-Own-istan with some crosses, a few Bibles and start evangelizing.  I think we would find ourselves martyred pdq.  Roll Eyes  So, no, becoming a Saint in the world is not nearly impossible.  It is, in fact, quite possible and probably quite easy--we have to but want it enough. Wink

One shouldn't seek to be martyred for martyrdom's sake though.

True enough.  Nor was I suggesting that.  One should (I think), however, seek to become a Saint.
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« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2013, 04:35:23 PM »

The way the world is going right now, we'll have plenty of opportunities in the near future to be martyred.

Why wait?  We could just hop on a plane to Afghanistan or Pakistan or Pick-Your-Own-istan with some crosses, a few Bibles and start evangelizing.  I think we would find ourselves martyred pdq.  Roll Eyes  So, no, becoming a Saint in the world is not nearly impossible.  It is, in fact, quite possible and probably quite easy--we have to but want it enough. Wink

One shouldn't seek to be martyred for martyrdom's sake though.



St. Anthony disagrees
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« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2013, 04:37:43 PM »

There are plenty of figures in the Church who lived in the world and became Saints via martyredom. Plus, I could still think of many Saints who had families and lived in the world. St. Monica had a family and became a Saint through her life of piety and prayer, eventually converting them. St. Augustine sorta-kinda had a family for a little while with his concubine and son who later died, all of the political Saints like St. Vladimir and Constantine had families.
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« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2013, 04:39:22 PM »

They tend to canonize people of all stripes.

No they don't. Don't they have some complex set of standards that each figure must meet in order to be Canonized? Such as having at least two miracles attributed to them or something? That's why Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul haven't been Canonized yet.
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« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2013, 04:40:22 PM »

The way the world is going right now, we'll have plenty of opportunities in the near future to be martyred.

Why wait?  We could just hop on a plane to Afghanistan or Pakistan or Pick-Your-Own-istan with some crosses, a few Bibles and start evangelizing.  I think we would find ourselves martyred pdq.  Roll Eyes  So, no, becoming a Saint in the world is not nearly impossible.  It is, in fact, quite possible and probably quite easy--we have to but want it enough. Wink

One shouldn't seek to be martyred for martyrdom's sake though.



St. Anthony disagrees

You know, come to think of it, you're absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing that out!  St. Francis of Assisi would disagree, too, not that it matters to most Orthodox, though.
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« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2013, 04:42:31 PM »

You know, come to think of it, you're absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing that out!  St. Francis of Assisi would disagree, too, not that it matters to most Orthodox, though.

But he never died a martyr, so that is besides the point.  You can say it was God's will to make him a saint, but not under his (St. Francis) terms.
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« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2013, 04:55:20 PM »

You know, come to think of it, you're absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing that out!  St. Francis of Assisi would disagree, too, not that it matters to most Orthodox, though.

But he never died a martyr, so that is besides the point.  You can say it was God's will to make him a saint, but not under his (St. Francis) terms.

Yes, but he wanted to become a Saint through martyrdom.  God, as you correctly point out,  had other plans for him.
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« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2013, 04:57:19 PM »

You know, come to think of it, you're absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing that out!  St. Francis of Assisi would disagree, too, not that it matters to most Orthodox, though.

But he never died a martyr, so that is besides the point.  You can say it was God's will to make him a saint, but not under his (St. Francis) terms.

Yes, but he wanted to become a Saint through martyrdom.  God, as you correctly point out,  had other plans for him.

And that was my point about being martyred for martyrdom's sake.
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« Reply #33 on: February 15, 2013, 05:05:14 PM »

You know, come to think of it, you're absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing that out!  St. Francis of Assisi would disagree, too, not that it matters to most Orthodox, though.

But he never died a martyr, so that is besides the point.  You can say it was God's will to make him a saint, but not under his (St. Francis) terms.

Yes, but he wanted to become a Saint through martyrdom.  God, as you correctly point out,  had other plans for him.

And that was my point about being martyred for martyrdom's sake.

What, that God had other plans for St. Francis??  What about Michal's example of St. Anthony?  Or other saints who sought martyrdom.  A martyr, as I'm sure you know quite well, is a "witness".  In Christianity, a witness to what?  That Jesus is Lord, has died and risen, etc., etc., right?  So why not chose to seek to bear witness to The Truth for the sake of bearing witness to The Truth, even if it means laying down one's life?  For what other sake would one do it?  (Uh oh...I'm getting that nasty little feeling now, that I'm getting in over my head  Shocked Cry Grin.)
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« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2013, 05:46:25 PM »

You know, come to think of it, you're absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing that out!  St. Francis of Assisi would disagree, too, not that it matters to most Orthodox, though.

But he never died a martyr, so that is besides the point.  You can say it was God's will to make him a saint, but not under his (St. Francis) terms.

Yes, but he wanted to become a Saint through martyrdom.  God, as you correctly point out,  had other plans for him.

And that was my point about being martyred for martyrdom's sake.

What, that God had other plans for St. Francis??  What about Michal's example of St. Anthony?  Or other saints who sought martyrdom.  A martyr, as I'm sure you know quite well, is a "witness".  In Christianity, a witness to what?  That Jesus is Lord, has died and risen, etc., etc., right?  So why not chose to seek to bear witness to The Truth for the sake of bearing witness to The Truth, even if it means laying down one's life?  For what other sake would one do it?  (Uh oh...I'm getting that nasty little feeling now, that I'm getting in over my head  Shocked Cry Grin.)

Well, there is a difference between, "I need to get martyred so I can get to heaven," and, "I know I can get killed for doing this, but who cares, I have to do this no matter what because I love God."

I don't know much about St. Anthony to comment, other than the little summary on the link Michal provided.  The important thing as always is intent, if we do something out of love for God then it is good.  But if we treat martyrdom as merely a ticket to heaven, then it most probably won't be.
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« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2013, 05:54:55 PM »

You know, come to think of it, you're absolutely correct.  Thanks for pointing that out!  St. Francis of Assisi would disagree, too, not that it matters to most Orthodox, though.

But he never died a martyr, so that is besides the point.  You can say it was God's will to make him a saint, but not under his (St. Francis) terms.

Yes, but he wanted to become a Saint through martyrdom.  God, as you correctly point out,  had other plans for him.

And that was my point about being martyred for martyrdom's sake.

What, that God had other plans for St. Francis??  What about Michal's example of St. Anthony?  Or other saints who sought martyrdom.  A martyr, as I'm sure you know quite well, is a "witness".  In Christianity, a witness to what?  That Jesus is Lord, has died and risen, etc., etc., right?  So why not chose to seek to bear witness to The Truth for the sake of bearing witness to The Truth, even if it means laying down one's life?  For what other sake would one do it?  (Uh oh...I'm getting that nasty little feeling now, that I'm getting in over my head  Shocked Cry Grin.)

Well, there is a difference between, "I need to get martyred so I can get to heaven," and, "I know I can get killed for doing this, but who cares, I have to do this no matter what because I love God."

I don't know much about St. Anthony to comment, other than the little summary on the link Michal provided.  The important thing as always is intent, if we do something out of love for God then it is good.  But if we treat martyrdom as merely a ticket to heaven, then it most probably won't be.

I don't honestly believe that there is a "merely a ticket to heaven".  There's a difference between "I'll go out and get killed so I can get to heaven", which is NOT martyrdom, and martyrdom, which is, "I will bear witness to God and His Truth, and if I die in so doing, which in certain circumstances I most surely will, I will get to heaven."  (I think.)  (I think I'd better stop thinking now--my head's about to explode.  Besides, it's time to log off and go home.  Thank you, God!  Grin Grin)
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« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2013, 10:49:09 PM »

saint anastasia of kiev specifically. If any of the others do, that could be pertinent. Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: February 15, 2013, 11:49:17 PM »

If the Lord wills it, we will soon have a new saint, Matushka Olga of Alaska. Check up on her at http://orthodoxwiki.org/Olga_Michael
and
http://oholy.net/stolga/olga_index.html
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« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2013, 12:17:52 AM »

Nothing is possible without God.
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« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2013, 12:57:40 AM »

Nothing is possible without God.

Weren't you going on about Kierkegaard lately?

You should really take him seriously:

Without nothing God is not possible.
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« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2013, 08:14:58 AM »

saint anastasia of kiev specifically.

Never heard of her. Can't find her in any Saint list either.

edit:

Do you mean her?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchess_Alexandra_Petrovna_of_Oldenburg
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« Reply #41 on: February 16, 2013, 11:53:30 AM »

A good book...

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« Reply #42 on: February 16, 2013, 01:58:20 PM »

I think the premise is absurd. I vividly recall a church school lesson from my youth many years ago. The teacher had us in the church and was explaining Saints and icons. One of my classmates asked if the people portrayed were all of the Saints since Jesus' time since he could only count a hundred or so in the church he was worried. The teacher smiled and said something like of course not. These are people whose lives were such that they were clearly known to those of us here on earth. All of the faithful who led saintly lives are known to God.
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« Reply #43 on: February 16, 2013, 03:38:40 PM »

There were MANY married saints. Some of the Old Testament Saints were even polygamists! Of course the latter was under the Old Testament law, but you get the point! 
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« Reply #44 on: February 16, 2013, 03:41:36 PM »

St. Sophia is a nice example of "a world Saint".
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« Reply #45 on: February 16, 2013, 03:52:44 PM »

Nothing is possible without God.

Weren't you going on about Kierkegaard lately?

You should really take him seriously:

Without nothing God is not possible.
Lol.

My OP is tongue and cheek.
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« Reply #46 on: February 16, 2013, 08:14:57 PM »

Nothing is possible without God.

Weren't you going on about Kierkegaard lately?

You should really take him seriously:

Without nothing God is not possible.
Lol.

My OP is tongue and cheek.

Tongue AND cheek?  Huh  Does that mean something??
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« Reply #47 on: February 16, 2013, 10:57:09 PM »

The way the world is going right now, we'll have plenty of opportunities in the near future to be martyred.

Why wait?  We could just hop on a plane to Afghanistan or Pakistan or Pick-Your-Own-istan with some crosses, a few Bibles and start evangelizing.  I think we would find ourselves martyred pdq.  Roll Eyes  So, no, becoming a Saint in the world is not nearly impossible.  It is, in fact, quite possible and probably quite easy--we have to but want it enough. Wink

One shouldn't seek to be martyred for martyrdom's sake though.

Suicide by purposely trying to get martyred....  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2013, 04:36:51 AM »

A good book...



FWIW, one of my favorite patristic writings:

St. John Chrysostom's Homily XX on Ephesians. A really moving description of marriage (or at least I found it so).
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« Reply #49 on: February 17, 2013, 08:35:05 AM »

St. John Chrysostom's Homily XX on Ephesians. A really moving description of marriage (or at least I found it so).

I very much agree  Smiley  Homily 12 on Colossians is another good one...
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« Reply #50 on: February 17, 2013, 10:17:18 AM »

I saw one monk, who compared world with hell in figurative sense, and he said: “it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.
We all have chances for better future and holy life; we have to use every opportunity for that.
Although our life full of dark temptations (visible and invisible) all things are possible with God`s help.
We have to prolong obtaining good deals and exclude dark side out of our life as much as we could, and also avoid cowardice in desperate situation.
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« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2013, 05:11:22 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.
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« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2013, 05:16:48 PM »

I imagine that in the ancient world, there weren't many unmarried laypeople. They had arranged marriages and so forth.

Here in today, we mostly don't. So, not to be all creepy and paranoid, but there is hope for us single folks, huh?  Undecided (as far as not going to Heck)
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« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2013, 05:21:52 PM »

I imagine that in the ancient world, there weren't many unmarried laypeople. They had arranged marriages and so forth.

Here in today, we mostly don't. So, not to be all creepy and paranoid, but there is hope for us single folks, huh?  Undecided (as far as not going to Heck)

There are many ancient saints (male and female) who were neither married nor monastic when they met their earthly ends.
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« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2013, 05:45:14 PM »

Whew.  Smiley
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« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2013, 06:08:26 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

+1
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« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2013, 08:45:44 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

I would only add that any such monk has succumbed to the sin of pride and is dangerously wrapped up in his own hubris.
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« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2013, 09:45:07 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

I would only add that any such monk has succumbed to the sin of pride and is dangerously wrapped up in his own hubris.

Wasn't the idea of the superiority of celibacy and the denigration of marriage and worldly life declared a heresy pretty early on?
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« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2013, 09:49:42 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

+1

I must say I find this sort of "monastic supremacy" a bit offensive, and I dislike how prevalent it seems to be at times.
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« Reply #59 on: February 17, 2013, 09:56:55 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

+1

I must say I find this sort of "monastic supremacy" a bit offensive, and I dislike how prevalent it seems to be at times.

I think there's a distinction to be made between the what the monk noted here supposedly said and what many people call "monastic supremacy."

Anyway, there really isn't a difference between what monastics are called to do and what married and single people in the world are called to do. Christ has the same commandments.
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« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2013, 10:05:02 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

+1

I must say I find this sort of "monastic supremacy" a bit offensive, and I dislike how prevalent it seems to be at times.

I think there's a distinction to be made between the what the monk noted here supposedly said and what many people call "monastic supremacy."

Anyway, there really isn't a difference between what monastics are called to do and what married and single people in the world are called to do. Christ has the same commandments.

The trouble is that this monk, if he's been quoted correctly, has stated that only the monastic life leads to sanctity, defying a great chunk of Orthodox tradition.
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« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2013, 10:05:30 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

+1

I must say I find this sort of "monastic supremacy" a bit offensive, and I dislike how prevalent it seems to be at times.
 
It's not that prevalent except in the minds of certain publicity seeking "monks" who act, if not live, outside the norms of true Eastern monasticism and overly zealous lay folk looking for a purer and even purer "(o)rthodoxy" .
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« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2013, 10:06:49 PM »

It's not that prevalent except in the minds of certain publicity seeking "monks" who act, if not live, outside the norms of true Eastern monasticism and overly zealous lay folk looking for a purer and even purer "(o)rthodoxy" .

Couldn't agree more.  Kiss
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« Reply #63 on: February 17, 2013, 10:08:03 PM »

+1

I must say I find this sort of "monastic supremacy" a bit offensive, and I dislike how prevalent it seems to be at times.
 
It's not that prevalent except in the minds of certain publicity seeking "monks" who act, if not live, outside the norms of true Eastern monasticism and overly zealous lay folk looking for a purer and even purer "(o)rthodoxy" .

That's good to hear. I just hate the impression that married layfolk are limited to the grace of a peanut compared to the oceans of grace that monastics can receive.
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« Reply #64 on: February 17, 2013, 10:19:35 PM »

Dedication to years of faithful service is one example.
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« Reply #65 on: February 17, 2013, 10:25:18 PM »

+1

I must say I find this sort of "monastic supremacy" a bit offensive, and I dislike how prevalent it seems to be at times.
 
It's not that prevalent except in the minds of certain publicity seeking "monks" who act, if not live, outside the norms of true Eastern monasticism and overly zealous lay folk looking for a purer and even purer "(o)rthodoxy" .

That's good to hear. I just hate the impression that married layfolk are limited to the grace of a peanut compared to the oceans of grace that monastics can receive.

The sacraments are the same. The grace of God is the same. Only the mode of life differs, and then sometimes not all that much, depending.
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« Reply #66 on: February 17, 2013, 10:30:54 PM »

+1

I must say I find this sort of "monastic supremacy" a bit offensive, and I dislike how prevalent it seems to be at times.
 
It's not that prevalent except in the minds of certain publicity seeking "monks" who act, if not live, outside the norms of true Eastern monasticism and overly zealous lay folk looking for a purer and even purer "(o)rthodoxy" .

That's good to hear. I just hate the impression that married layfolk are limited to the grace of a peanut compared to the oceans of grace that monastics can receive.

This.

The sacraments are the same. The grace of God is the same. Only the mode of life differs, and then sometimes not all that much, depending.
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« Reply #67 on: February 17, 2013, 11:14:18 PM »

Quote
“it`s impossible to be saved in the world and only monastic life could lead to sanctity”. Of course we all look on situation from our own site but I cannot agree with this statement totally.

This monk is very, very seriously mistaken. Salvation is indeed possible to those living "in the world", as shown by the multitude of single and married laymen who have been proclaimed as saints. The Orthodox wedding service also has much to say about marriage and its part in the salvation of the couple.

I would only add that any such monk has succumbed to the sin of pride and is dangerously wrapped up in his own hubris.

Wasn't the idea of the superiority of celibacy and the denigration of marriage and worldly life declared a heresy pretty early on?

Most early Church Fathers I've read thought monasticism superior. That everyone needs to quote the same 2 passages in St. John Chrysostom to find an example of a Father who didn't think this is telling. Now, at Gangra (and in general) marriage was defended, and these canons were ecumenicalized at Trullo. As for marriage vs. monasticism, it all depends on where the line is drawn. At the risk of oversimplifying, there are three general positions:

1) Monasticism is superior or mandatory; marriage and sex are evil or to be denigrated. This is heresy.
2) Monasticism is superior; marriage, while inferior, is nonetheless a sacrament and perfectly acceptable. This was the position of most of the Fathers I've read.
3) Monasticism and marriage are equal if different paths to salvation. This is the position of most modern Orthodox.


EDITED--I deleted something to reflect more accurately what was being responded to.
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« Reply #68 on: February 17, 2013, 11:16:41 PM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.
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« Reply #69 on: February 18, 2013, 12:26:57 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

I think it may be superior in a relative sense, but not an absolute sense.
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« Reply #70 on: February 18, 2013, 12:53:27 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.
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« Reply #71 on: February 18, 2013, 12:57:14 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Got some early Church Fathers quotes other than from St. John Chrysostom backing that up?
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« Reply #72 on: February 18, 2013, 01:00:03 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Got some early Church Fathers quotes other than from St. John Chrysostom backing that up?

I don't need quotes from early Fathers to back my case. Iconography and hymnography, the clearest and most accessible source of the consensus patrum, amply support what I have stated.
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« Reply #73 on: February 18, 2013, 01:02:01 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Got some early Church Fathers quotes other than from St. John Chrysostom backing that up?

I don't need quotes from early Fathers to back my case. Iconography and hymnography, the clearest and most accessible source of the consensus patrum, amply support what I have stated.

Then quote some iconography and hymnography from the early Church showing that it wasn't a later development/interpretation.
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« Reply #74 on: February 18, 2013, 01:13:50 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Got some early Church Fathers quotes other than from St. John Chrysostom backing that up?

I don't need quotes from early Fathers to back my case. Iconography and hymnography, the clearest and most accessible source of the consensus patrum, amply support what I have stated.

Then quote some iconography and hymnography from the early Church showing that it wasn't a later development/interpretation.

Do not all saints bear haloes in their icons? Or do you have a secret decoder ring which allows you to rank the saints in holiness?
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« Reply #75 on: February 18, 2013, 01:17:39 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Got some early Church Fathers quotes other than from St. John Chrysostom backing that up?

I don't need quotes from early Fathers to back my case. Iconography and hymnography, the clearest and most accessible source of the consensus patrum, amply support what I have stated.

Then quote some iconography and hymnography from the early Church showing that it wasn't a later development/interpretation.

Do not all saints bear haloes in their icons? Or do you have a secret decoder ring which allows you to rank the saints in holiness?

Quote some iconography and hymnography from the early Church showing that it wasn't a later development/interpretation.
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« Reply #76 on: February 18, 2013, 01:22:11 AM »

Answer this, Asteriktos.


Do not all saints bear haloes in their icons? Or do you have a secret decoder ring which allows you to rank the saints in holiness?

And get hold of a Menaion and a decent prayerbook, and see what comes up.


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« Reply #77 on: February 18, 2013, 01:29:32 AM »

I've read that monasticism is the higher calling but it's easier to be damned as a monk because of things like pride.

There's also the view I've seen in Dostoevsky that monasticism is not for extra-holy people but for those who are even more sinful than usual, which is why they need such a rigorous lifestyle. I'm not sure I can see people like St. Seraphim of Sarov being extra-sinful if they lived in the world, though.
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« Reply #78 on: February 18, 2013, 01:46:48 AM »

St. Methodia of Kimolos was canonized.  She wanted to be a monastic, but her parents wanted her to marry, and so in order to not sadden them, she married a seaman.   



Quote
Even though united in marriage, her zeal and warm love for the heavenly bridegroom Christ was by no means weakened.  The divine love continued to burn within her soul intensely, and she continued to lead the same life as before -- as far as possible -- warmly entreating the Lord to deem her worthy of that which she longed for and to devote herself entirely to Him, in the manner in which His grace should deign.  For she trusted all things to the will of God.  And the Lord fulfills "the desires of those who fear Him (Psalm 144.19)  according to the King Prophet David.  So blessed Methodia led a life of sobriety according to the Gospel, and submitter with her whole soul and mind to the Divine will. 

Her husband, having suffered shipwreck during one of his voyages near the shores of Asia Minor, did not return to Kimolos.  Having lost her husband and had been freed of all cares, the Saint now decided to fulfill her first desire and devote herself entirely to God, renouncing the world and all the things of the world.


At the introduction, Constantin Cavarnos adds:  There are certain women of manly spirit, to whom God apportioned labors equal to those of men, lest any should pretend that women are too feeble to practice virtue perfectly.  Palladius, The Lausiac History.


So, still the monasticism gave her the opportunity to greatly advance in spiritual life. 

 Cavarnos, Constantine.  St. Methodia of Kimolos: Remarkable ascetic, Teacher of Virtue, Counselor, Comforter and Healer (1865-1908).  An account of her Life, Character, Miracles and Influence, together with selected hymns from the Akolouthia in honor of her, and a Letter to her sister Anna. Modern Orthodox Saints vol. 9 Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, MA USA 2001
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« Reply #79 on: February 18, 2013, 01:57:19 AM »

From the sayings of Abba Antony the Great, the father of all monks, as recorded in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Benedicta Ward, trans.):

'It was revealed to Abba Antony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels.'

This seems to clearly demonstrate that being a saint is not a matter of where you live, but how you live.

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« Reply #80 on: February 18, 2013, 01:58:07 AM »

Got some early Church Fathers quotes other than from St. John Chrysostom backing that up?

St. Amphilochius is your man! He was the champion of marriage against the Encratites:

Quote
Ὁ δὲ τίμιος γάμος ὑπέρκειται παντὸς δώρου γηΐνου, ὡς ἔγκαρπον δένδρον, ὡς ἀστεῖον φυτόν, ὡς ῥίζα τῆς παρθενίας, ὡς γεωργὸς τῶν λογικῶν καὶ ἔμψυχων κλάδων, ὡς εὐλογία τῆς τοῦ κόσμου αὐξήσεως, ὡς παρήγορος τοῦ γένους, ὡς δημιουργὸς τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος, ὡς τῆς θεϊκῆς εἰκόνος ζωγράφος, ὡς τὸν Δεσπότην εὐλογοῦντα κεκτημένος, ὡς πάντα τὸν κόσμον φέρειν δεχόμενος, ὡς ἐκείνῳ πολιτευόμενος, ὃν καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαι ἐδυσώπησεν, ὡς δυνάμενος λέγειν μετὰ παῤῥησίας. Ἰδοῦ, ἐγὼ καὶ τὰ παιδία, ἅ μοι ἔδωκεν ό θεός.

Holy marriage, chosen gift exalted above all earthly gifts!

Tree laden with fruit, noble scion sprung from virgin life [noble plant, root of virginity], abode of the burgeoning soul [cultivator of reasonable and animated branches], bond of blessing for the increase of the human race!

Sweet comfort of our race, creator of humanity and maker of images of God!

Marriage receives the blessing of the Lord. Like a mother it carries the whole world in itself. Marriage can hold its head high and say freely to everyone, all who have life because of it: "Here I am with the children God has given me!"

St. Amphilochius of Iconium, Orations 2, 1 (PG 39, 45)


*The English translation is only a paraphrase. I picked it up from Fr. Thomas Spidlik's Patristic Breviary.
 

This also comes to mind:

Quote
They (Christians) marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven.

Epistle to Diognetus
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« Reply #81 on: February 18, 2013, 02:17:23 AM »

From the sayings of Abba Antony the Great, the father of all monks, as recorded in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Benedicta Ward, trans.):

'It was revealed to Abba Antony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels.'

This seems to clearly demonstrate that being a saint is not a matter of where you live, but how you live.



Yes, that seems right, like Liza said above.  I remember one of the first homilies I ever heard: you are all called to be saints, the priest told us.
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« Reply #82 on: February 18, 2013, 02:20:17 AM »

you are all called to be saints.

THIS!!
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« Reply #83 on: February 18, 2013, 02:21:47 AM »

Marriage is definitely one way to work out one's salvation, and we are always reminded that we don't know who all the saints are, just some of them.  Seems like there was a housewife who was canonized over in Russia.
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« Reply #84 on: February 18, 2013, 02:38:24 AM »

Also Tertullian, Ad uxorem II, 8:

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Whence are we to find words enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; which angels carry back the news of (to heaven), which the Father holds for ratified? For even on earth children do not rightly and lawfully wed without their fathers' consent. What kind of yoke is that of two believers, partakers of one hope, one desire, one discipline, one and the same service? Both are brethren, both fellow servants, no difference of spirit or of flesh; nay, they are truly "two in one flesh." Where the flesh is one, one is the spirit too. Together they pray, together prostrate themselves, together perform their fasts; mutually teaching, mutually exhorting, mutually sustaining. Equally are they both found in the Church of God; equally at the banquet of God; equally in straits, in persecutions, in refreshments. Neither hides (ought) from the other; neither shuns the other; neither is troublesome to the other. The sick is visited, the indigent relieved, with freedom. Alms are given without danger of ensuing torment; sacrifices attended without scruple; daily diligence discharged without impediment: there is no stealthy signing, no trembling greeting, no mute benediction. Between the two echo psalms and hymns; and they mutually challenge each other which shall better chant to their Lord. Such things when Christ sees and hears, He joys. To these He sends His own I peace. Where two are, there withal is He Himself. Where He is, there the Evil One is not.

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« Reply #85 on: February 18, 2013, 03:27:16 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Prove it. Btw, are you just going to reject Christ's own words?
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« Reply #86 on: February 18, 2013, 03:34:32 AM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Prove it. Btw, are you just going to reject Christ's own words?

Christ also blessed the marriage in Cana, as the Orthodox marriage service proclaims.
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« Reply #87 on: February 18, 2013, 12:15:22 PM »

Like much in Orthodoxy, it's a both and, not an either or thing. If you absolutize in this area, you'll end up in heresyville.

It is common in Orthodox literature for monastics speaking to monastics to laud monasticism not over marriage, per se, but over living in the world as opposed to the monastery. The reasons why are obvious, I think.

It is common for monastics speaking to married people to bless and encourage marriage. Fr. John Krestiankin received many letters from married people wanting to be monastics and he gave them what for, telling to them how important it was for them to stay married and be saved in that path.

All other questions about the virtues of virginity over child bearing can be referred to the Mother of God.
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« Reply #88 on: February 18, 2013, 01:32:09 PM »

Personally , I think the Church should recognize more Saints who come from the families.  Being good parents are not a easy job. It is difficult to cultivate a son or daugher who can follow God wholeheartly as well. Many prophets or Kings in Old Testament, like David, Samual,Gideon,etc failed to do so as well.

Thus, the Church should canonize more Saints from the families. The Christians can then have the models to follow and learn how to be good parents and cultivate their own sons.
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« Reply #89 on: February 18, 2013, 01:51:15 PM »

Personally , I think the Church should recognize more Saints who come from the families.  Being good parents are not a easy job. It is difficult to cultivate a son or daugher who can follow God wholeheartly as well. Many prophets or Kings in Old Testament, like David, Samual,Gideon,etc failed to do so as well.

Thus, the Church should canonize more Saints from the families. The Christians can then have the models to follow and learn how to be good parents and cultivate their own sons.


I agree.  Hopefully we can find married men and women who has proclaimed the Gospel through their lives.
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« Reply #90 on: February 18, 2013, 03:53:57 PM »

Personally , I think the Church should recognize more Saints who come from the families.  Being good parents are not a easy job. It is difficult to cultivate a son or daugher who can follow God wholeheartly as well. Many prophets or Kings in Old Testament, like David, Samual,Gideon,etc failed to do so as well.

Thus, the Church should canonize more Saints from the families. The Christians can then have the models to follow and learn how to be good parents and cultivate their own sons.


The problem is that most righteous are not known about widely. That makes glorifications of such people rare.
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« Reply #91 on: February 18, 2013, 06:35:02 PM »

Personally , I think the Church should recognize more Saints who come from the families.  Being good parents are not a easy job. It is difficult to cultivate a son or daugher who can follow God wholeheartly as well. Many prophets or Kings in Old Testament, like David, Samual,Gideon,etc failed to do so as well.

Thus, the Church should canonize more Saints from the families. The Christians can then have the models to follow and learn how to be good parents and cultivate their own sons.


I really think the notion that saints are models is limited in efficacy. If one is a nuclear physicist, does one need a saint who is also a nuclear physicist to have some sort of example to follow? Perhaps, if we had no communion with the saints. But, in the Orthodox Church, we do have communion with the saints. We have relationships with them. This is critical for our spiritual life. It doesn't matter what mode of life we're in and what mode of life the saints had in this earthly life. There simply are no boundaries of operation and understanding in the realm of the saints. The Holy Hieromartyr Mitrophan of China can be close to a kindergarten teacher in Rhode Island who is not even Chinese--and may never even have heard of St. Mitrophan, for that matter.

Pious married people with families love and venerate monastic saints. Hermits and monastics venerate married saints who had families.
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« Reply #92 on: February 18, 2013, 06:38:19 PM »

Personally , I think the Church should recognize more Saints who come from the families.  Being good parents are not a easy job. It is difficult to cultivate a son or daugher who can follow God wholeheartly as well. Many prophets or Kings in Old Testament, like David, Samual,Gideon,etc failed to do so as well.

Thus, the Church should canonize more Saints from the families. The Christians can then have the models to follow and learn how to be good parents and cultivate their own sons.


The problem is that most righteous are not known about widely. That makes glorifications of such people rare.

This is true. Many holy people who have even worked miracles through prayer are otherwise known as "Grandma." They're known in the family, but often no one realizes their sanctity. Likewise, there are many obscure monastic saints whose names and lives we don't even know--so they don't make it on the calendar either. But all of them are saints. All are with God. All are commemorated on All Saints Day, at least. And I'm sure none of them are sitting around doing nothing because no one on earth knows who they are.
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« Reply #93 on: February 18, 2013, 08:27:07 PM »

Personally , I think the Church should recognize more Saints who come from the families.  Being good parents are not a easy job. It is difficult to cultivate a son or daugher who can follow God wholeheartly as well. Many prophets or Kings in Old Testament, like David, Samual,Gideon,etc failed to do so as well.

Thus, the Church should canonize more Saints from the families. The Christians can then have the models to follow and learn how to be good parents and cultivate their own sons.


The problem is that most righteous are not known about widely. That makes glorifications of such people rare.

Such righteous faithful have a always done much "unseen" work in their lives which has helped protect and preserve the Faith. That they are known by God is a certainty. Given all of the clerical/political intrigue over the centuries,  the church surely needed their simple counterbalance.
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« Reply #94 on: February 25, 2013, 09:06:14 PM »

There are a lot of Saints I can think of in Catholicism that come from Families that had children.

St Rita, St Monica, St Frances of Rome, St Nicholas Von Flue, Blessed Anna Marie Taigi, St Louis, Blessed Louis and Zellie.

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« Reply #95 on: March 30, 2013, 05:00:08 AM »

In my opinion it`s difficult to be a monk outside the world, but also it`s not easy way to be marriage and to follow to Orthodoxy way of life in this world. Of course with God`s help it`s possible to obtain holiness in this world.
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« Reply #96 on: March 31, 2013, 12:23:40 PM »

If you look at a battle field, there are many many 'unknown soldiers'. 

When you look at the memorial services, it is the 'unknown soldier' that receives the most glory. 

There are many many many unknown soldiers in our Father's house.  Smiley 

I wouldn't worry about it one way or the other.  It is by Him, in Him, and through Him that we can even take a breath, much less, become a saint.  And in that, there is massive hope, because NOTHING is impossible for Him.

So if you are in the world and want to become a Saint - then ask Him, but be prepared to be unknown. . . Smiley Look for the greater thing.
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« Reply #97 on: April 10, 2013, 01:26:54 AM »

I dont have much of an opinion on this. I would just say, most saints are not known and die unknown to most and are never reconginzed. That is what i would say. at least my opinion.


But I can say for certain, that becoming a saint whilst using this forum is actually impossible. Smiley
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« Reply #98 on: October 06, 2013, 08:38:17 PM »

How could someone honestly deny that monasticism is superior? Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that it is a HIGHER calling when speaking about eunuchs for the Kingdom of God.

The fact that all saints, married, single celibate, or monastic, are regarded by the Church as equally holy, is proof enough that there is no "hierarchy of sanctity". Saints is saints, period, and this has been the case all along. A look at the iconography and hymnography of any of these saints confirms this.

It is not a "modern" phenomenon, as Asteriktos seems to suggest.

Prove it. Btw, are you just going to reject Christ's own words?

Christ also blessed the marriage in Cana, as the Orthodox marriage service proclaims.

Hi everyone. I noticed that this thread hasn't really seen any action in the last several months, but after reading through, I think that this question went unresolved. I've only just started to read up on Early Fathers and Saints of the Church. But I thought I'd share this supposed story of Anba Bishoy in which he had a dream about St. Constantine:

In one of those visions Emperor Constantine said, "Had I known how great is the honor of monks, I would have abandoned my kingdom and became a monk." St. Bishoy told him, "You have banished the heathen worship and exalted Christianity, and has not Christ given you anything?" Emperor Constantine answered him, "The Lord has given me many gifts, but none of them is like the honor of the monks."
Source: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Bishoy

If this legend is true, doesn't it suggest that there are relative levels of sainthood and holiness? And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world? It's too bad Asteriktos isn't around anymore to contribute...

 
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« Reply #99 on: October 07, 2013, 02:50:01 AM »

And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world?

It suggest. Not that I see any reason to agree with that suggestion.
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« Reply #100 on: October 07, 2013, 03:08:52 AM »

KMathai, I would be extremely cautious about placing too much importance on one story of many, because it is also recorded in the sayings of the Desert Fathers that "It was revealed to Abba Anthony in the desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels." (Benedict Ward [trans.], 1975:6).

How can one be definitely better than the other if this man and St. Anthony were equal? It seems just as possible that St. Bishoy's dream is retold to extol the virtue of the monastic life in showing that even an emperor would renounce his throne for it, not to diminish the non-monastic life. Constantine is also commemorated in the Church (his departure is commemorated in the Synaxarium on Baramhat 28), despite never having become a monk himself. 
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« Reply #101 on: October 07, 2013, 03:49:04 AM »

(Benedict Ward [trans.], 1975:6)

Sr. Benedicta Ward.  Wink
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« Reply #102 on: October 07, 2013, 10:55:39 PM »

And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world?

It suggest. Not that I see any reason to agree with that suggestion.

Isn't that because most of your opinions on Orthodoxy are highly idiosyncratic?
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« Reply #103 on: October 07, 2013, 11:34:25 PM »

And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world?

It suggest. Not that I see any reason to agree with that suggestion.

Isn't that because most of your opinions on Orthodoxy are highly idiosyncratic?

Marriage is blessed by the Church through her liturgical tradition. The first miracle performed by Christ was at a wedding. The hymns and prayers of the betrothal and crowning ceremonies clearly show that marriage is in no way inferior to monastic life.
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« Reply #104 on: October 09, 2013, 02:00:37 AM »

Even though its lyrics are probably about the Buddha, Atlas Sound's "Quick Canal" haunting chorus (sung by Laetita Sadier) always resonated with me regarding this subject:

Quote
I thought saints were once saints,
I looked in the dirt,
Found wisdom is learned,
Wisdom is learned,
Taken through a costly process
of success and failure

It can't compete with the Fathers, and I know this thread is mostly about married saints. Still, I just wanted to share...
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« Reply #105 on: October 09, 2013, 10:02:31 AM »

A little story about St Anthony would suggest it is possible to be a saint in the world...

24. It was revealed to Abba Anthony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels.

PS: The version I read did not mention a doctor but a wife. Either way the message is the same...
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« Reply #106 on: October 09, 2013, 11:42:14 PM »

And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world?

It suggest. Not that I see any reason to agree with that suggestion.

Isn't that because most of your opinions on Orthodoxy are highly idiosyncratic?

Marriage is blessed by the Church through her liturgical tradition. The first miracle performed by Christ was at a wedding. The hymns and prayers of the betrothal and crowning ceremonies clearly show that marriage is in no way inferior to monastic life.

I'm not disagreeing with this, but my impression is definitely that, after excluding martyrs, the bulk of our commemorated saints have been monastics.

Has anyone done a tally of married saints?
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« Reply #107 on: October 09, 2013, 11:53:24 PM »

And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world?

It suggest. Not that I see any reason to agree with that suggestion.

Isn't that because most of your opinions on Orthodoxy are highly idiosyncratic?

Marriage is blessed by the Church through her liturgical tradition. The first miracle performed by Christ was at a wedding. The hymns and prayers of the betrothal and crowning ceremonies clearly show that marriage is in no way inferior to monastic life.

I'm not disagreeing with this, but my impression is definitely that, after excluding martyrs, the bulk of our commemorated saints have been monastics.

Has anyone done a tally of married saints?

I have read about some tallies. Few married Orthodox Christians have been canonized. However, there are many married people who are among the martyrs.

I guess we will be surprised if and when we are allowed to pass those pearly gates as there are many humble saints who are not commemorated.
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« Reply #108 on: October 10, 2013, 12:11:04 AM »

And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world?

It suggest. Not that I see any reason to agree with that suggestion.

Isn't that because most of your opinions on Orthodoxy are highly idiosyncratic?

Marriage is blessed by the Church through her liturgical tradition. The first miracle performed by Christ was at a wedding. The hymns and prayers of the betrothal and crowning ceremonies clearly show that marriage is in no way inferior to monastic life.

I'm not disagreeing with this, but my impression is definitely that, after excluding martyrs, the bulk of our commemorated saints have been monastics.

Has anyone done a tally of married saints?


Get yourself a comprehensive church calendar or synaxarion, and go through it.
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« Reply #109 on: October 10, 2013, 12:16:20 AM »

And furthermore, doesn't it also suggest that monasticism is definitively superior to living an Orthodox Christian life within the world?

It suggest. Not that I see any reason to agree with that suggestion.

Isn't that because most of your opinions on Orthodoxy are highly idiosyncratic?

Marriage is blessed by the Church through her liturgical tradition. The first miracle performed by Christ was at a wedding. The hymns and prayers of the betrothal and crowning ceremonies clearly show that marriage is in no way inferior to monastic life.

I'm not disagreeing with this, but my impression is definitely that, after excluding martyrs, the bulk of our commemorated saints have been monastics.

Has anyone done a tally of married saints?


Get yourself a comprehensive church calendar or synaxarion, and go through it.

You start off with some of the big ones:

Mary
Joseph
Peter
and pretty much all the early Christians except Paul and other men with "thorns in their flesh".
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