Author Topic: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?  (Read 2092 times)

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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« on: November 22, 2010, 05:23:43 PM »
there is this nun I know.  she's the only nun at a monastery she founded.  sometimes, she has to go back to her home state and care for her aged mother.  is this normal?  do monastics usually visit home every-so-often?

Offline KBN1

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 05:32:35 PM »
Excellent question.  I too have wondered what a monastic's relationship is with family and friends.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2010, 05:33:23 PM »
I would assume that it'd vary from group to group, and situation to situation. I have heard of monastics (in history, not current ones) who have "died to the world" and were not in contact with family. But would not honoring your parents and taking care of them when they are in need usually trump any ascesis involving solitude...?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 05:34:29 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline mike

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2010, 05:47:11 PM »
there is this nun I know.  she's the only nun at a monastery she founded.  sometimes, she has to go back to her home state and care for her aged mother.  is this normal?  do monastics usually visit home every-so-often?

Yes, I know such a case.
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Offline genesisone

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2010, 05:55:14 PM »
Today's Epistle reading (1 Timothy 5:1-10) speaks of exactly this point in caring for needy elderly relatives: (v 8, NKJV) "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

Someone more knowledgeable than I will have to answer Asteriktos' question.

Offline IXOYE

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2010, 06:08:30 PM »
there is this nun I know.  she's the only nun at a monastery she founded.  sometimes, she has to go back to her home state and care for her aged mother.  is this normal?  do monastics usually visit home every-so-often?

Yes, I know such a case.


Me too.  I know a case as well.  Though this was a monk not a nun.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2010, 06:42:38 PM »
I know three nuns, and they all visit "home" occasionally. Traditionally, however, all ties are severed and the monastic is meant to never contact family or friends again, hence why there are so many stories in the desert fathers of parents coming and begging for their child back. I remember in one of them that the monk told his mother that he would see her in the next life.

The whole being "dead" thing is supposed to actually be true, and this is why they wear black and change their names. The former person is supposed to be gone.

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2010, 07:17:21 PM »
I know three nuns, and they all visit "home" occasionally. Traditionally, however, all ties are severed and the monastic is meant to never contact family or friends again, hence why there are so many stories in the desert fathers of parents coming and begging for their child back. I remember in one of them that the monk told his mother that he would see her in the next life.

The whole being "dead" thing is supposed to actually be true, and this is why they wear black and change their names. The former person is supposed to be gone.
wow.  I know Elder Cleopa (who I pray to as a saint) of Ilie, when he became a monk, his mother went to him and asked him to come home.  (she despiratly wanted her children to marry) he told her something like "you are not my mother.  become a nun, and then you will be my mother!"   

she later became a nun.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 07:17:50 PM by trevor72694 »

Offline CRCulver

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2010, 07:38:29 PM »
In Orthodox countries it's common to see monks walking around the city. Some come to teach the obligatory religion classes at school, or to perform some function at the liturgy of a local parish. Others come to shop for items considered essential (not all monasteries are prepared to produce their own soap and toilet paper, for instance).
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 08:07:52 PM by CRCulver »

Offline augustin717

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 08:05:30 PM »
In Orthodox countries it's common to see monks walking around the city. Some come to teach the obligatory religion classes at school, or to perform some function at the liturgy of a local parish. Others come to shop for items considered essential (not all monasteries are prepared to produce their own soap and toilet paper, instance).
Some of them are just practically begging, at crossroads, marketplaces for money for new sketes, monasteries etc, promising the donors to be remembered at the liturgy there, in perpetuity, apparently.
One must be a bit skeptical of many of those.

Offline Agia Marina

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2010, 09:08:50 PM »
The monks at the church I attend travel quite a bit on diocese business.  When their mothers were alive, they traveled to visit them.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2010, 09:43:40 PM »
is this normal?  do monastics usually visit home every-so-often?

It depends on the mentality of the Abbot/Abbess and the rule of the monastery.  If the monastery has a rule about leaving the grounds in its typikon (which they usually do), then permission must be granted by the Abbot/Abbess for departure.

I have noticed that, IME, monks/nuns in small communities (<5) tend to see family more than those in larger communities.  (This is not, nor is it meant to be, a scientific analysis or generalization of the whole.)
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2010, 09:44:37 PM »
The nuns from Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery of Otego, NY have visited our Church regularly over the years, particularly when no priest was in residence. Even though we are not OCA, since they are New Calendar and we are not, our pastor will visit them on many of the new calendar holydays to celebrate the Liturgy. The nuns have a wonderful outreach into the nearby communities providing visits to schools with their domesticated farm animals. They also have assisted the New York State Farmer's Museum in nearby Cooperstown, NY with their farm animal exhibits and demonstrations. They particularly enjoy coming down to the Binghamton area annually for a presentation at the regional Children's Museum with the animals for the young children. While this may seem 'non-traditional' to some of you, it seems perfectly normal to those of us who know the sisters well and respect their mission and vocation.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 09:45:15 PM by podkarpatska »

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2010, 10:12:33 PM »
Canon law (or is it only monk's mythology in Serbia?) says that a person should NOT be made a monastic if he will eventually be the person on whom the parents will depend in their advanced years.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2010, 02:29:40 AM »
Actually, Trevor, your question was far enough off topic that I would rather you have started a new thread to discuss it ;), so I split off your question and made it the OP of its own thread.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=31494.0
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 02:32:42 AM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: do monks & nuns ever leave the monastery?
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010, 02:33:59 AM »
Actually, Trevor, your question was far enough off topic that I would rather you have started a new thread to discuss it ;), so I split off your question and made it the OP of its own thread.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=31494.0

nice.  thanks!    :)