OrthodoxChristianity.net
August 01, 2014, 06:26:30 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: New Monks Flock To Old Way  (Read 2332 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Orthodoc
Supporter & Defender Of Orthodoxy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 2,526

Those who ignore history tend to repeat it.


« on: November 30, 2002, 10:58:43 AM »


From the Baltimore Sun:

2002.11.28 Baltimore Sun: New monks flock to old way
X-Sender: (Unverified)
To: news@holy-trinity.org


http://www.sunspot.net/news/printedition/bal-te.journal28nov28.story

By Richard Mertens
New monks flock to old way

Tradition: In Kosovo, a monastery welcomes novices to its strict life.

Sun Journal

November 28, 2002

DECANI, Kosovo - The sky is clear and starry above Decani monastery as
bearded men in black robes hurry across the yard and through the wooden
side door of the Church of the Ascension.

Standing in the dark they begin to pray, briskly and without pause, their
voices at times rising into song and filling the church with rich
harmonies. Around them, barely visible in the dim glow of oil lamps, saints
and warriors of the Orthodox Church look down from frescoes painted nearly
700 years ago.

These Serbian monks belong to a line that goes back to the 14th century,
when King Stefan Uros founded a monastery in a cleft of the Accursed
Mountains in southern Kosovo. Rising long before dawn, they pursue a life
of work and prayer whose essential rhythms have barely changed over the
centuries. The stone threshold of Decani's church has been worn smooth by
the feet of generations of monks coming to pray.

A decade ago, this way of life had nearly died away. Forty-five years of
communist rule in the former Yugoslavia had cut off the supply of new
monks. A handful of older monks remained, keeping tradition alive, but only
barely.

Today, young men come from all over the former Yugoslavia to embrace the
rigors and, they say, blessings of monastic life. The monastery's cells are
overflowing, pre-dawn prayers swell with dozens of voices and the days are
busy with farming, writing, translating, icon painting, woodcarving and
more. For the first time in generations, Decani is thriving again.

"Of course it is difficult," says the Rev. Ilarion Lupulovic, 28, a
successful actor on the Belgrade stage before he joined Decani monastery
six years ago. "That is one of the reasons why I came. But there is also an
opportunity for great peace and joy, and you can even say love, when you
are a part of a community like this."

All across the Orthodox lands of the former Yugoslavia - Serbia,
Montenegro, Macedonia and parts of Bosnia - monasteries are enjoying a
revival. Tito's Yugoslavia suppressed religion and turned old churches and
monasteries into "cultural monuments." Religion is permissible again, and
many young people are turning to it even as their society falls
increasingly under the spell of Western secular culture.

The monastic revival coincides with the resurgence of nationalist feeling
in the former Yugoslavia. In Kosovo, monks of the Serbian Orthodox Church
fight to protect their monasteries and the province's remaining Serbs from
hostile ethnic Albanians. In Macedonia, new monks are reoccupying dozens of
abandoned monasteries, animated in part by a desire to shore up Macedonian
identity in a region dominated by more populous nations.

Though Decani's monks were credited with protecting ethnic Albanian Muslims
from marauding Serbs, their humanitarian gestures have done little to
change the way Kosovar Albanians feel about the church.

Most Albanians blame the church for promoting Serb nationalism in the 1990s
or for doing too little to curb its excesses. They view the church and its
institutions the way they view the whole Serb presence in Kosovo: as an
imposition.

There is a widespread belief among ethnic Albanians that centuries ago
Serbs built Orthodox churches and monasteries on the site of Albanian churches.

"They came to our land and they occupied it and took our churches," says
Uka Gashi, 32, a former fighter in the Kosovo Liberation Army, sitting in a
Decani cafe about a mile from the monastery.

The monks see it otherwise, in a view that goes beyond land and into the
spirit.

"The revival of the monasteries is a revival of our people," says the Rev.
Stefan Sanjakovski, a professor at the Theological Faculty in Skopje.

The Rev. Sofronij Dimeski, 28, and a few other monks moved into an empty
12th-century monastery high in the mountains of central Macedonia. The
isolation and harsh beauty make the monastery, called Treskavec, uniquely
suited to monastic life, he says.

"There's no place like it in Macedonia."

Not only men are choosing monastic life. Three years ago, Abbess Sister
Kirana, 38, led young nuns to the village of Jankovec, in southern
Macedonia, to resurrect an abandoned 16th-century nunnery.

It was exciting work but hard. In the beginning, the nuns had no water or
electricity. The neighbors, too, were suspicious of the grave, black-garbed
women.

"When they got to know the life of the monastery, all their suspicions were
gone," says Sister Kirana, who declined to give her full name.

Of all the monasteries in the former Yugoslavia, Decani's is perhaps the
most remarkable. After NATO forced Serbian authorities out of Kosovo three
years ago, ordinary Serbs fled the Decani area. The monks are the only
Serbs left for miles around. Mortar rounds have been lobbed in their
direction. Italian soldiers guard the monastery's approaches, and the monks
do not travel without a military escort.

But all of this seems only to heighten Decani's appeal. With 33 monks and
novices, it has the largest brotherhood of any monastery in Serbia. "The
outer situation has not affected the inner, spiritual life at all," said
the Rev. Sava Janjic, 37, the deputy abbot. "I can say it's even become
more intense. In the history of Christianity, spiritual life increases
under repression."

Monks take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that date to the dawn of
their vocation. But modernity still leaves its mark. The typical monk today
is educated and city-bred and no longer the son of peasants. Monks use
computers and e-mail; they can be reached by cell phone.

They are not afraid to innovate if it serves tradition. The icon painters
at Decani mix pigment with egg yoke in the old way, then blow-dry the paint
with hair dryers. In a larger sense, many monks strive, through their
writing and translating, to give modern expression to Orthodox traditions.

No one exemplifies the new monk better than Decani's deputy abbot. Educated
in Belgrade and fluent in English, Janjic came to Decani in 1992 with four
other young monks. In 1997, he set up a Decani Web site, which he and other
church leaders later used to caution against violence and to criticize the
policies of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. During the Kosovo
war, Janjic and his fellow monks harbored ethnic Albanians fleeing Serb
paramilitary gangs. Today he publishes sharp commentaries rebuking the
province's United Nations and NATO overseers.

"The monastic way is no longer seen as some kind of time machine, going
into the past," he says. "It's not a petrified form of spirituality. We
wear strange clothes and follow strange rules, but Orthodox Christianity is
able to give something spiritually to these people today."

Decani's monks protest that they are soft and weak compared to monks of
old. After all, they have indoor plumbing. But their day begins at 3 a.m.,
when a bell rouses them to private prayer. At 4:30 they gather in the
church for four more hours of prayer and liturgy. They emerge for breakfast
and the day's work: washing the station wagon for one, tending the cows for
another, chiseling ornate wood panels for another. Study and more prayer
round out the day, until at 10 p.m. they lie down for a short night's rest.

The monastic revival has not pleased everyone. Parents who grew up under
communism are dismayed when their sons and daughters renounce worldly
ambition and family life. Some have accused religious leaders of deceiving
or even kidnapping their children.

In the end, neither hardship nor parental disapproval stops those
determined to live the monastic life. Zvezdan Stefanovic, 30, came to
Decani this year after toiling for luxury hotels in Belgrade and Buenos
Aires. A cheerful man with curly reddish hair, he shares a crowded cell
with four other novices. He doesn't seem to mind. He seems almost to enjoy it.
"For five years I am only thinking 'monastery, monastery, monastery,'" he
says, smiling. "God willing, I will stay."
Logged

Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.
emmaus
Guest
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2002, 12:17:05 PM »

This is great news--Glad Tidings!

Neither modernism, Islam, or the papacy can suppress the spirit of these muscular disciples of Christ; these great Balkan souls; and these hero-athletes of militant Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy may well die a slow death in America, but never in the Balkans where Orthodoxy--over and over again--rises from the ashes, century after century.

Slava,

Abdur

Here is a look at the
opposition:


www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/4623/amexemtimes/amexemtimes12.html
« Last Edit: November 30, 2002, 12:26:39 PM by emmaus way » Logged
Dan Lauffer
Athanasios
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 188



« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2002, 10:29:35 PM »

Abdur,

Is Orthodoxy dying a slow death in North America?  I pray not.

Dan Lauffer
Logged
emmaus
Guest
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2002, 11:52:26 PM »

Abdur,

Is Orthodoxy dying a slow death in North America?  I pray not.

Dan Lauffer

I believe there are many American Orthodox leaders who fear--legitimately--that
Americanization will do to  Orthodoxy (in America) what Latinization has done to your Ruthenian Church.

Abdur
Logged
Νεκτάριος
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 5,437



« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2002, 12:41:32 AM »

Quote
I believe there are many American Orthodox leaders who fear--legitimately--that
Americanization will do to  Orthodoxy (in America) what Latinization has done to your Ruthenian Church.

I hope this means they aren't reducing Orthodoxy to a culture.
Logged
emmaus
Guest
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2002, 11:24:26 AM »

Quote
I believe there are many American Orthodox leaders who fear--legitimately--that
Americanization will do to  Orthodoxy (in America) what Latinization has done to your Ruthenian Church.

I hope this means they aren't reducing Orthodoxy to a culture.  

Can Orthodoxy be separated from culture? Can any religion be separated from "culture?"

In Christ,

Abdur
Logged
sinjinsmythe
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 737



« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2002, 03:51:08 PM »

The one said thing about being Orthodox in America is that there are not very many Orthodox monasteries in this country compared to other Orthodox countries.  I think that it would greatly help American Orthodoxy to have more monasteries.  Sometimes I ponder what Orthodoxy would be like in this country if we had an Optina or Valaam in the lower 48.
Logged

Life is just one disappointment after another.
Seraphim Reeves
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 450



WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2002, 11:01:22 AM »

From what I can tell, monastic establishments are a sign of health in the Church; thus, make whatever conclusions you want about the state of Orthodoxy in North America (though there are happy exceptions; for it's size, ROCOR has a decent number of monasteries, though even this compared to the old world is on the "weak" side).

Without being too brash (since I am but a worm), but speaking as a young, thoroughly North American, non-"ethnic" person (well, at least not of a "traditionally Orthodox" ethnicity), I would (if asked) give the following thoughts to our spiritual fathers and shepherds in this land (I will speak, for our purposes, of my native Canada and the United States as one, since the situation is practically the same in regards to Orthodoxy).

1) Do not think you will appeal to young people, both "Orthodox born" or potential converts, by creating "Orthodoxy-lite".   If one looks at real conversions (and not the trickle that sometimes come via marriage, which sadly are more often than not simply conversions of convienience and not genuine), they will without fail be the result of a desire for "the real deal".  And the real deal, is a faith which demands much, but gives infinitely more.  It's a paradox obviously, since Christ both said "carry your cross" but also "my burden is light" (and both are 100% true, of course...as odd as that may seem).  Leave the "getting hip" and watering-it-down experimentation to the RCC (or for those thinking of perverting Orthodoxy into something more palatable to decadent western sensibilities, simply see what such liberalizations did to the RCC - we don't need, nor should we ever want, our own "Vatican II").

2) Simply put, North America has to start being viewed as a mission field again, as it was by the Russians in the years prior to the God-hating revolution.  It is even more ripe a mission field in a sense, since what was back then at least a Christian civilization (if heterodox), is not obviously post-Christian, and more "needy", spiritually speaking, than ever.  At this point, the phenomenon of "western converts to Orthodoxy", though certainly interesting and impressive, has been a freebie for the Orthodox Bishops here in the west; it happened with almost no effort on their part.  Indeed, even in these evil times, the Holy Spirit seeks out (in extraordinary ways) Christ's lost sheep, even when the labourers are sleeping on the job (how many of us came to Orthodoxy simply by happy coincidences, and reading a few good books?)

Save for a few noble exceptions (and sadly, one of the most conspicuous, the Christ the Saviour Brotherhood, was up until recently in an unfortunate ecclessiastical position), there hasn't been much active effort to reach out to the new-pagans of the west.  What burns me, is when I hear some Orthodox (clerics included) saying that "this is not Orthodox" (speaking of actually evangelizing people).  Obviously they are unaware of the actual activities of the Holy Apostles, the various "equals to the Apostles" (like Sts.Cyril and Methodius, or St.Boniface, etc.), or at least how said activities relate to their own experience.  If I remember correctly, St.Boniface proved his point to the pagans in Germania, by interupting a Druid ceremony, and hacking down the "sacred oak of Thor" that the locals feared and worshipped.  Such behaviour now of course, would be a "scandal".

3) Engage the culture you actually live in.  While sentiment about the old world is ok (and even important), that's not where the American Church's flock lives, or is even likely to die in.  They live here; and there are issues unique to the North American milieu that need to be dealt with (whether it be the influence of popular culture on the youth, popual pseudo-"morality" among the masses, pro-life issues, etc.)  There are in these regards, some good examples of action, but sadly, also a lot of inaction as well.

Those are the big three I can think of.  In short, Orthodox Christians need to start seeing their Church as an ark that is still boarding (and not a closed up fortress whethering the deluge already at hand; it won't be "too late" until Christ returns, after all.)

Seraphim
Logged

sinjinsmythe
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 737



« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2002, 11:30:49 AM »

Seraphim I want to say that I agree with all three of the statements that you made totally.  You hit the state of Orthodoxy in North America on the head.  I am a young person(cradle born Orthodox) and I certainly do not want to see my faith watered down or to become hip and cool.  What I would like to see is more missionary work that engages our culture and points to our faith.  I believe that the church can bring young people in without going hip by doing things such as discussing the numerous young people who have died for the church and are saints.   I also agree that the Orthodox church needs to engage in the culture that it lives in.  I understand some churches have many immigrants and I can see maintaining some connection to the old world.  However, there are many people in the church who were not born in the old world and live in America who face American culture everyday and not Greek or Russian culture on a daily basis.  I can speak of this from personal experience since I am Greek Orthodox, and sometimes the priorities are based too much on having ethnic festivals and not enough on evangelizing and spreading Orthodoxy to the new homeland.  It seems that many are content to have Orthodoxy be more like a social club to celebrate one's culture rather than to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  I know I rambled here, probably more than I should but that is my take on things here in North America.  As a church, we can either be image bearers of Christ to the world or we can be image bearers of Greek, Russian, etc. culture to the world who just happen to be Orthodox as an aside.
Logged

Life is just one disappointment after another.
Orthodoc
Supporter & Defender Of Orthodoxy
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 2,526

Those who ignore history tend to repeat it.


« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2002, 01:30:50 PM »

[As a church, we can either be image bearers of Christ to the world or we can be image bearers of Greek, Russian, etc. culture to the world who just happen to be Orthodox as an aside.]

How true that is.  And, a parish will either survive or perish depending on what route it takes.

I belong to a parish which is very pan Orthodox in nature.  Where the emphasis is put on Orthodox spirituality rather than etnic pride.  We have people from all the standard  Orthodox ethnic backgrounds along with converts from a whole array of  religious backgrounds - former Roman Catholics, Byzantine Catholics, Ukrainian Catholics, Lutheran, Episcopal,  Presbyterian, Jewish, etc. just to name a few.  In all the years I have been a member of this parish I have never heard an argument over whether one is a Russian, Ukrainain, BeloRussian, or Carpatho Russian.  Why?  Because they all emphasize what they share which is their Orthodox Catholic identity.

We have a priest that will honor all the various cultural traditions.  Because of this, we all have enriched our Orthodox practices by adopting traditions from our fellow members within the parish from other national backgrounds.  I'm from a Carpatho Russian background and when I have a parastas (Panikhida) for my parents, I will always have the Koliva (Gruel in Albanian) as part of the service.  There's always a Greek, Romanian, Albainian, or Roumanian lady who will make it for me.

Because of the parish being the way it is,  it has attracted, and continues to attrack many non Orthodox Catholics.  And has produced many wonderful stories of outsiders who recognize it as 'the house of God' rather than the Russian Church down the road.  Many of  who participate and support the parish even though they are  of not official members or even Orthodox for that matter.  They do this because they are always made to feel welcome and are never pressured to convert.  We pray for them and light candles for them when they are sick because they are seen as being welcome family members.

One of the most beautiful compliments I ever heard was from a Lutheran woman who has been coming to every Akfist, Vespers, and Sunday Divine Liturgy she can for well over twenty years.  When asked why she is so loyal in her attendance, she replied "Because every time I come and the Royal Doors are opened I am given a glimpse of what heaven is like!"   {she obviously undertands the Orthodox ethos better than many Orthodox}

We had another friend of one of our parishioners  come to vist the Church recently.  He wanted to come and see the church that was responsible for helping the parishioner  (a vietnam vet)  pull himself up from drugs and alcohol to become the outstanding man he is today.  When he came in he said "I can see why, this place feels like a Holy Place."

We have an older Jewish man whose wife died awhile back.  He taught music.  On Saturdays he is the Cantor in his Synagogue.  On Sundays he comes and sings in the choir.  He's always made to feel at home and welcome.  It takes away the loneliness.  There is another young Jewish man from a Jewish/Christian  parentage that is now attending.  It attracts him because he can see the continuation of the Jewish lineage within the Church and its services.

We have a Roman Catholic nun (mother Superior) named Sister Holy Spirit who has been coming for Akfists, Bible Study, Vespers for years.  She used to be at  a Roman Catholic  institution for girls up the road from the Church.  The institution has since closed and the nuns were relocated.  Sister Holy Spirit as had health problems and sufferes from night blindness so we no longer see here for evening services.  However, every Sunday on her way to Mass she stops in to light a candle and pray before the Icon of 'Our Lady of Vladimir' in the Chapel and pick up a Church Bulletin. Prays are said and canles lit for her and her roomate Sister Barbara when they are ill.

And they are only a few stories.  Why the long spheel?  Because a parish is what you make it.  It can either be an etnic club or the house of God.  And its future will depend on what you, the priest and the other parishioners turn it into.

We also have a food bin where our parishioners bring in food which is distributed to the needy.  And a monthly Charities collection where money is collected to be given to a charity picked by the priest and parish council.

Hope I didn't bore you.

Orthodoc


« Last Edit: December 03, 2002, 01:33:34 PM by Orthodoc » Logged

Oh Lord, Save thy people and bless thine inheritance.
Grant victory to the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries.
And by virtue of thy Cross preserve thy habitation.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,462


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2002, 01:40:27 PM »

"Hope I didn't bore you."

Orthodoc,

Far from it.  Your description of your church is one of the most uplifting and encouraging things I've seen as of late for the future of Orthodoxy in these United States.  You are quite blessed to have such a parish and such a priest.
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Νεκτάριος
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 5,437



« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2002, 10:45:06 PM »

Quote
Can Orthodoxy be separated from culture? Can any religion be separated from "culture?"

In some ways, it can be seperated.  I think most people who look at Slavic Orthodox Culture compared to Greek Orthodox Culture can spot some obvious differences (of course in things that in the end don't define Orthodoxy).  Consider then that the Slavs were brought Orthodoxy by the Greeks and kept their own culture but made it Christian.  I don't propose to have any idea how, but I feel this is essential for Orthodoxy to grow in America.
Logged
Νεκτάριος
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 5,437



« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2002, 10:53:09 PM »

Quote
The one said thing about being Orthodox in America is that there are not very many Orthodox monasteries in this country compared to other Orthodox countries.  I think that it would greatly help American Orthodoxy to have more monasteries.  Sometimes I ponder what Orthodoxy would be like in this country if we had an Optina or Valaam in the lower 48.

One of the things that I really love about the jurisdiction I plan to enter Orthodoxy through (God willing!), the GOA is the monasteries the Greeks have.  The big disadvantage is that for someone like me who is 100% non-Greek there is some cultural issues.  Of the people I have met so far nothing but the fullest Christian Charity has been given to me - still it takes some getting used to it.  The monastery 90 minutes away from where I live is  40 monks strong, I am so very lucky to live this nearby!  http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/

So America does have SOME strong Monasteries!
Logged
prodromos
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,463

Sydney, Australia


« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2002, 08:13:31 AM »

quote from article

The Rev. Sofronij Dimeski, 28, and a few other monks moved into an empty 12th-century monastery high in the mountains of central Macedonia. The isolation and harsh beauty make the monastery, called Treskavec, uniquely suited to monastic life, he says.

"There's no place like it in Macedonia."


Ouch! this really grates on me but the damage has long been done.

Macedonia was and is a geographic area encompassing parts of northern Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania. The greekness of the ancient Macedonians has only been questioned by those wishing to further the claims of the recently created Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Due to the general lack of knowledge in Ancient History around the world, however, the government in F.Y.R.O.M. has successfully usurped the name "Macedonia", despite the fact that they have little or no historical connection to the Ancient Macedonians.

This is a pet peeve of mine so please forgive my little rant  Sad
Logged
theodore
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 194


« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2002, 02:34:01 PM »

"There's no place like it in Macedonia."[/b]

Ouch! this really grates on me but the damage has long been done.

Macedonia was and is a geographic area encompassing parts of northern Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania. The greekness of the ancient Macedonians has only been questioned by those wishing to further the claims of the recently created Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Due to the general lack of knowledge in Ancient History around the world, however, the government in F.Y.R.O.M. has successfully usurped the name "Macedonia", despite the fact that they have little or no historical connection to the Ancient Macedonians.

This is a pet peeve of mine so please forgive my little rant  Sad

I know what you mean.  I live in F.I N.I (Former Indian Nation of Illini), and yet the current state government has also successfully usurped the French form of the name "Illinois", despite the fact that the current inhabitants have little or no historical connection to the Ancient Illinoisans.  The nerve I tell ya! Angry

Theodore
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.097 seconds with 41 queries.