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Author Topic: Eremiticism in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches  (Read 758 times) Average Rating: 0
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Deacon Lance
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« on: August 16, 2011, 10:08:43 PM »

I see.  I would suspect the problem would be that in the Eastern Churches one can only be admitted to the status of hermit by ones abbot/abbess.  One must live the cenobitic life first and usually for many years before they are judged advanced enough to live the eremitic life.  I would contact a monastery directly to affiliate as an associate.  I would recommend the Byzantine Carmel in Sugarloaf.

This does not seem to be the topic heading for discussing such things.  If you are so inclined perhaps you could begin a new thread.  

I don't want to talk about myself in too much detail but we could discuss things in general.  

For example, I find it interesting that you say this but none of the Orthodox bishops or monastics that I have been in contact with over the years have indicated that I would need to become a nun in community first, and they've said nothing about becoming a lay associate.  

So my initial question would be which Eastern Churches?  

And then I'd be interested in knowing if becoming a lay associate would advance the possibility of being considered as an appropriate candidate for the eremetic life in religious vows?

Mary

The Byzantine and Maronite Churches for sure.  I would suspect the others as well.  Becoming a lay associate of a monastery certainly could not hurt your possibilities if you want to become a vowed religious.  On the otherhand, it seems you already living as a poustinik, which is a hermit of sorts, which only requires the blessing of your spiritual father which you already have.  It is a worthy vocation and perhaps this is what God has called you to.  Have read Poustinia by Servant of God Catherine Doherty
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 10:09:52 PM by Deacon Lance » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2011, 09:59:46 AM »

I see.  I would suspect the problem would be that in the Eastern Churches one can only be admitted to the status of hermit by ones abbot/abbess.  One must live the cenobitic life first and usually for many years before they are judged advanced enough to live the eremitic life.  I would contact a monastery directly to affiliate as an associate.  I would recommend the Byzantine Carmel in Sugarloaf.

This does not seem to be the topic heading for discussing such things.  If you are so inclined perhaps you could begin a new thread.  

I don't want to talk about myself in too much detail but we could discuss things in general.  

For example, I find it interesting that you say this but none of the Orthodox bishops or monastics that I have been in contact with over the years have indicated that I would need to become a nun in community first, and they've said nothing about becoming a lay associate.  

So my initial question would be which Eastern Churches?  

And then I'd be interested in knowing if becoming a lay associate would advance the possibility of being considered as an appropriate candidate for the eremetic life in religious vows?

Mary

The Byzantine and Maronite Churches for sure.  I would suspect the others as well.  Becoming a lay associate of a monastery certainly could not hurt your possibilities if you want to become a vowed religious.  On the otherhand, it seems you already living as a poustinik, which is a hermit of sorts, which only requires the blessing of your spiritual father which you already have.  It is a worthy vocation and perhaps this is what God has called you to.  Have read Poustinia by Servant of God Catherine Doherty

Yes...Years ago I read both Poustinia and Sobornost.  Poustinia was the first of her books that I received and the first one that I read.

By the time I started paying attention to Catherine and Father Eddy's project in Canada, I had already had several years of formal Carmelite training and formation, and was familiar with Mary of Egypt, Evagrios the Solitary, the Life and Rule of Pachomius, St. Gregory's Life of Moses, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Unseen Warfare and the Cloud of Unknowing...so that by the time I read Poustinia it was more for the insights that I would find about Catherine Doherty than it was what I might learn about desert spirituality.  In any event, I think her Sobornost is the better text in terms of illuminating the heart of her Madonna House project.   Byzantine Daily Worship was my first eastern Catholic prayerbook.

Most of the difficulties that I have encountered over time are structural in nature.  In the first place I am long past the age of entry into the novitiate.  When I was of a better age I was raising a son to adulthood, and now that I am passed the age of entry for most if not all houses, I am seeing an aging mother through her own rite of passage.  There were also economic impediments. 

But those things worked to the good eventually.  It has always been that I have been drawn to long periods of interior silence during the day, and I have no real attachments to things aside from this medium of communication and my library, neither of which are recreational in nature to me.  The one structural thing that has been always available to me is solitary living.  Even now my mother lives a block away and my children are states away.

So you may have a point when you suggest that this is what it is and will be.  I have not stopped living this life simply because I am not getting positive responses when I seek a way toward public vows.  So we'll have to wait and see what happens next.

I am a firm believer in the idea that there's nothing good to come of things if God does not 'build the house.'  For some years now I have been waiting for the fulfillment of a promise that would put me in the position to build a retreat house here and the beginnings of a monastic house, I would much prefer to have a bishop recognize a religious vocation in me and my life BEFORE my material circumstances might change.

I have another related comment but I'll save it for the next note.

M.

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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 01:51:41 AM »

Dear Mary,

I have a spiritual friend who is a (canon 603) diocesan hermitess and I relayed some of your messages and Deacon Lance's to her.  She herself is in the process of discerning if God is calling her into an Eastern Catholic Church.

She has replied, in parte...

The 1990 Code of Canons of Oriental Churches does make a distinction between hermits and ascetics:

Canon 481 (to 485) - A hermit is a member of a monastery sui iuris who has given himself or herself totally into heavenly contemplation and who is totally separated from people and the world.

That implies several years as a monastic and permission would have to be obtained from the superior, as Deacon Lance pointed out.

Canon 570 - Particular law can establish other kinds of ascetics who imitate eremitical life, belonging or not to an institute of consecrated life. Consecrated virgins and widows who live on their own in the world, having publicly professed chastity, can also come under norms of particular law.

This sounds more like what Mary is talking about (life as a solitary hermit rather than as a recluse in a monastic community, to use RC terminology). Even though the vocation is certainly recognised in the Code it will depend on the particular Eastern Catholic Church and also Eparchy as to whether the ascetic call is nurtured.
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 02:00:52 AM »

My friend also supplied this.

 
Profession an an Eastern Catholic Hermitess
at St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The canons of the Church have recognized and encouraged many varieties of consecrated life. Since early times there have been hermits, anchorites, cenobites, lauriotes, etc. Hermits live alone separated from the world. Anchorites are attached to churches or shrines. Cenobites are the ones we're all familiar: monks and nuns who live in communities and share everything. Lauriotes are monks or nuns who live in small communities and come together for prayer, meals, etc.

In the Latin Church and Eastern Catholic Churches it is reserved to each bishop to approve of the different forms of consecrated life in their diocese or eparchy. Many dioceses in the U.S. have revived the consecration of solitary virgins, hermits, etc.

In our parish one of our own sisters will be professing vows during the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25).

Dorothy has been a faithful member of the parish for many years - attending daily Liturgy, Vespers, Orthros and serving as sacristan. She was also a member of the Secular Carmelite Order (where she was charged with the formation of new members). As a Melkite Catholic she became more and more focused on her Eastern spirituality and felt a deep calling to consecrate her life to prayer. With Hegumen Philaret she studied the Fathers of the Church, particularly St. Basil and St. Theodore Studite, as well as the Fathers and Mothers of the desert. (Father Philaret's Monastery followed the Studite Rule.)

After her consecration she will continue her daily practice of chanting the Divine Services in the parish. She will also continue as sacristan and will maintain the parish office. Doubtless she will also continue her role as a spiritual companion to the women of the parish.

For her profession she will be presented by Sr. Mary Margaret, a hermitess of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Sr. Patricia Mary, a hermitess of the Diocese of Madison. She has chosen the name "Callista." Our parish is very excited to be blessed with such a vocation. Crews of volunteers have been cleaning, waxing, wiping, polishing and the ladies are preparing a reception meal. Mother Callista, however, will not attend the reception: According to tradition, she will remain in church throughout the night praying for us, our Archbishop, our Church and the whole world!
May God grant her many years!

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elijahmaria
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 10:52:35 AM »


This sounds more like what Mary is talking about (life as a solitary hermit rather than as a recluse in a monastic community, to use RC terminology). Even though the vocation is certainly recognised in the Code it will depend on the particular Eastern Catholic Church and also Eparchy as to whether the ascetic call is nurtured.

It is indeed.  As I noted in a my reply to your private note, I had thought I had conveyed that message when I used the term penitential hermit or penitential soul...but using the nominal "hermit" triggered Father Deacon Lance's response and I had no time to go and search out the canons to try and make the difference more clear in formal terms.  I did, in my formal letters over the years, make that distinction and gave the reasons why that status was not only practical and necessary in my own case but also more authentic and true to my life and status in reality.  I actually discussed it once with a vocations director in an eastern Catholic jurisdiction and they agreed with my assessment of the circumstances.

Deacon Lance however raised the issue of Abbatial blessing and so I got to thinking afterwards that I wonder which Orthodox Abbot received monk Bunge into Orthodoxy?    I do not think that there was an Abbot involved.  It would have been the Metropolitan who would have taken charge of monk Bunge's obedience...Is that right?

I am curious about the flexibility in various statuses in both the east and west.  I know there are all kinds of accommodations made depending on circumstances.  As I said earlier, it is not my desire to push too hard for anything and rather go along as doors open.  I have lost nothing by living the life and growing to the best of my ability in discipline and in prayer.

Also for those who were wondering, my spiritual father is a parish priest who had very early monastic formation.

M.

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elijahmaria
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 10:54:35 AM »

This is very good news!!  Thank you!!

My friend also supplied this.

 
Profession an an Eastern Catholic Hermitess
at St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The canons of the Church have recognized and encouraged many varieties of consecrated life. Since early times there have been hermits, anchorites, cenobites, lauriotes, etc. Hermits live alone separated from the world. Anchorites are attached to churches or shrines. Cenobites are the ones we're all familiar: monks and nuns who live in communities and share everything. Lauriotes are monks or nuns who live in small communities and come together for prayer, meals, etc.

In the Latin Church and Eastern Catholic Churches it is reserved to each bishop to approve of the different forms of consecrated life in their diocese or eparchy. Many dioceses in the U.S. have revived the consecration of solitary virgins, hermits, etc.

In our parish one of our own sisters will be professing vows during the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25).

Dorothy has been a faithful member of the parish for many years - attending daily Liturgy, Vespers, Orthros and serving as sacristan. She was also a member of the Secular Carmelite Order (where she was charged with the formation of new members). As a Melkite Catholic she became more and more focused on her Eastern spirituality and felt a deep calling to consecrate her life to prayer. With Hegumen Philaret she studied the Fathers of the Church, particularly St. Basil and St. Theodore Studite, as well as the Fathers and Mothers of the desert. (Father Philaret's Monastery followed the Studite Rule.)

After her consecration she will continue her daily practice of chanting the Divine Services in the parish. She will also continue as sacristan and will maintain the parish office. Doubtless she will also continue her role as a spiritual companion to the women of the parish.

For her profession she will be presented by Sr. Mary Margaret, a hermitess of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Sr. Patricia Mary, a hermitess of the Diocese of Madison. She has chosen the name "Callista." Our parish is very excited to be blessed with such a vocation. Crews of volunteers have been cleaning, waxing, wiping, polishing and the ladies are preparing a reception meal. Mother Callista, however, will not attend the reception: According to tradition, she will remain in church throughout the night praying for us, our Archbishop, our Church and the whole world!
May God grant her many years!

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=120968694613352&topic=278

Home site
http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=120968694613352&topic=278#!/pages/St-George-Melkite-Greek-Catholic-Church/120968694613352
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