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Author Topic: A criticsm against monasticsm.  (Read 1427 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 07, 2012, 07:01:48 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 07:09:36 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 07:10:43 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

Your opinion of this post must have gone down significantly   angel
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 07:13:38 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.
Perhaps so today. But in the past it was mainly a matter of economics: surplus children sent off to the monasteries. They probably made way better monks too, less delusions about saving the world and all that.
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2012, 07:28:11 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

Your opinion of this post must have gone down significantly   angel
LOL what a zing.
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2012, 07:31:42 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2012, 07:40:09 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley
I don't know of any monasteries here, there was a Greek Orthodox one on Google Maps but it seems to be gone.
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2012, 08:00:49 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

Wrong, because monasticism is Orthodoxy.  Our belief has always been that the world exists today only because of the prayers of the monks.  They are considered 'angels' because of their pure hearts.  I was reminded of a story today of my son in law who visited Mount Athos.  During the liturgy, jackals were howling outside and making a commotion.  Finally the Elder couldn't take it anymore and told them enough is enough and they stopped.  Now that's power...at least over demons it is.

Which reminds me of another story.  A Lutheran minister visited Mount Athos and he was so amazed that he could stand for seven hours during Liturgy, that he gave up everything and entered the monastery.  Elder Paisios said the reason so much money was given to monasteries by Emperors, is because they fed the poor... and  no doubt took care of the sick as well.   Now isn't it better to have dedicated people who demand and expect nothing,  being in charge of people's well being than a State?   Monasteries are still free you know, but it is nice to give them some gifts, especially food...but never give them meat. angel

 
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2012, 09:33:02 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

Wrong, because monasticism is Orthodoxy.  Our belief has always been that the world exists today only because of the prayers of the monks.  They are considered 'angels' because of their pure hearts.  I was reminded of a story today of my son in law who visited Mount Athos.  During the liturgy, jackals were howling outside and making a commotion.  Finally the Elder couldn't take it anymore and told them enough is enough and they stopped.  Now that's power...at least over demons it is.

Which reminds me of another story.  A Lutheran minister visited Mount Athos and he was so amazed that he could stand for seven hours during Liturgy, that he gave up everything and entered the monastery.  Elder Paisios said the reason so much money was given to monasteries by Emperors, is because they fed the poor... and  no doubt took care of the sick as well.   Now isn't it better to have dedicated people who demand and expect nothing,  being in charge of people's well being than a State?   Monasteries are still free you know, but it is nice to give them some gifts, especially food...but never give them meat. angel
Do give them meat: they feed their guests with it.  Otherwise, they would have to buy it.

Monasticism IS Orthodoxy.  That might be stretch, but it is relatively true.

An excellent talk on this by Fr. Trenham (he speaks better than he reads)
http://orthodoxinfo.com/audio/frjosiah1.WMA
"Old Creation and New Creation: How the Gospel forms Monks and Married People"
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frjosiah_holycross06.aspx
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2012, 09:34:09 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.
Perhaps so today. But in the past it was mainly a matter of economics: surplus children sent off to the monasteries. They probably made way better monks too, less delusions about saving the world and all that.
Can to back that up with ANY facts?
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2012, 09:40:05 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.
If that were true, St. Anthony would have gone out into the desert, and we would never have heard of him.

Actually, monks have done a lot of shining: often, when the emperor managed to cow bishops, the monks confronted him.  St. Maximos the Confessor, for instance, was only a monk, and he opposed the Emperor from one end of the empire to another.

St. Theofan the Recluse gave up his bishoprick and retired to the seclusion of his cell.  He, however, would write to those who wrote to him.  Something like 180,000 letters.  Many of them have been published ("The Spiritual Life and How to Attain It" for instance is an example of such correspondence).

Even by secular standards, the monks did a lot: who copied all those manuscripts, not only religious, but secular science and philosophy?
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2012, 09:49:56 PM »

I have read that monasteries in Ireland, and probably elsewhere as well, were local centers of education.
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2012, 09:54:30 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley
I don't know of any monasteries here, there was a Greek Orthodox one on Google Maps but it seems to be gone.

I was once curious about this as well, so I took the family to a monastery.  It was a long drive, but certainly worth it!  Combined with what I have read and documentaries I have seen, were I not married with family responsibilities, I would give it some serious consideration. 

There is a purpose for monasteries, which is not to hide from the world.  To provide an answer with almost no detail, at the risk of providing inadequate detail, they seek to become as close to Christ as possible and to pray, all the time, in everything, FOR the world.
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2012, 09:56:39 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.
If that were true, St. Anthony would have gone out into the desert, and we would never have heard of him.

Actually, monks have done a lot of shining: often, when the emperor managed to cow bishops, the monks confronted him.  St. Maximos the Confessor, for instance, was only a monk, and he opposed the Emperor from one end of the empire to another.

St. Theofan the Recluse gave up his bishoprick and retired to the seclusion of his cell.  He, however, would write to those who wrote to him.  Something like 180,000 letters.  Many of them have been published ("The Spiritual Life and How to Attain It" for instance is an example of such correspondence).

Even by secular standards, the monks did a lot: who copied all those manuscripts, not only religious, but secular science and philosophy?

He, along with St. Seraphim of Sarov, were the two who came to mind.
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2012, 10:09:45 PM »

This thread is stupid and I feel stupid for posting it. Sorry for wasting everyone's time. I thought my criticsm was going to hold some merit, but evidently it doesn't.

Thanks for all the informational replies though, and Isa I'll have to check out that link when I get home.
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2012, 02:48:16 AM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley

I know plenty of real monastics.  That's what made me decide that a pretty large quantity of the whole lot are parasites.  There are some good ones of course, but as a whole it isn't a group of people I highly respect. 
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« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2012, 09:50:16 AM »

This thread is stupid and I feel stupid for posting it. Sorry for wasting everyone's time. I thought my criticsm was going to hold some merit, but evidently it doesn't.

Thanks for all the informational replies though, and Isa I'll have to check out that link when I get home.

You're not stupid, and there's nothing stupid about this thread.
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« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2012, 09:57:37 AM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley



I know plenty of real monastics.  That's what made me decide that a pretty large quantity of the whole lot are parasites.  There are some good ones of course, but as a whole it isn't a group of people I highly respect. 

Monks are no different from the rest of us. They just have access to more services. Monasticism and marriage are two sides to the same coin. I am married and I learn to die to myself by submitting to my wife and putting the needs of my family before my own. The monk learns to die to himself by submitting to the abbott and the monastery and putting their needs before his own. You will find many monks who are not very far on that journey, and some who are further along. They are sinners like the rest of us. We should not forget that.
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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2012, 03:53:13 PM »

Some monastics claim that living a normal life with a wife, family and secular life is even harder than monasticism because of the greater potential for temptation.
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« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2012, 04:34:12 PM »

Monks are still struggling in this world, striving not to be of this world, constantly praying for the world. Many monasteries are also havens of refuge for pilgrims and sinners seeking sincere repentance and spiritual renewal. From our worldly perspective it may seem that these sequestered pursuers of ceaseless prayer are having little impact on humanity compared to philanthropists, social revolutionaries, and political movers and shakers. But I truly believe that the anonymous petitions and ascetic altruism of these devout monastics are what preserve mankind from the impending judgment of God. 


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« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2012, 04:16:10 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

Wrong, because monasticism is Orthodoxy.  Our belief has always been that the world exists today only because of the prayers of the monks.  They are considered 'angels' because of their pure hearts.  I was reminded of a story today of my son in law who visited Mount Athos.  During the liturgy, jackals were howling outside and making a commotion.  Finally the Elder couldn't take it anymore and told them enough is enough and they stopped.  Now that's power...at least over demons it is.

Which reminds me of another story.  A Lutheran minister visited Mount Athos and he was so amazed that he could stand for seven hours during Liturgy, that he gave up everything and entered the monastery.  Elder Paisios said the reason so much money was given to monasteries by Emperors, is because they fed the poor... and  no doubt took care of the sick as well.   Now isn't it better to have dedicated people who demand and expect nothing,  being in charge of people's well being than a State?   Monasteries are still free you know, but it is nice to give them some gifts, especially food...but never give them meat. angel
Do give them meat: they feed their guests with it.  Otherwise, they would have to buy it.

Monasticism IS Orthodoxy.  That might be stretch, but it is relatively true.

An excellent talk on this by Fr. Trenham (he speaks better than he reads)
http://orthodoxinfo.com/audio/frjosiah1.WMA
"Old Creation and New Creation: How the Gospel forms Monks and Married People"
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frjosiah_holycross06.aspx

I don't believe the monasteries give meat even to their guests, or at least I know the monasteries of the Elder Ephraim doesn't.  How do you think they live so long?  Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2012, 04:50:16 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

And yet monks pray day and night for the salvation of others. Read about Elder Porphyrios or St. Silouan. One lived in the middle of Athens, the other on Mt. Athos, and yet their neighbor was their first concern. How many non-monastics have this as a reality in their lives? How many non-monastics are effective representations of Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2012, 04:53:49 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley

Perhaps, LBK, but in America, Canada, and Australia, there are not that many monasteries, and what we have are spread out and often not the most culturally accessible. Besides, there is the difficulty of having a relationship with a monastic--someone who by virtue of the name is alone and isn't supposed to have particular friends, but rather love everyone equally. Some attain divine love, others are still struggling, and while one would like to talk, to have conversations like one does in the world, this is not possible.
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« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2012, 04:55:47 PM »

I have read that monasteries in Ireland, and probably elsewhere as well, were local centers of education.

People forget that before the printing press, Bibles were almost non existent except for the few the monks had hand copied, and they were owned by the nobility and Bishops.  And even if Bibles were to have existed,  it would have been of no use since  people were illiterate.  Everything was preserved in the monasteries.  Saints were also monastics, and it was the saints that Christianized Europe and the world.  Somehow people think that the Holy Spirit just popped out of heaven into people's heads.  Well it doesn't work that way, it was the love and miracles projected by  saints...who as I said were monastics.   They were the ones that reached the hearts of pagans, so we can thank them for everything positive and worthy that exists today.

Now do the posters still think they have no purpose?   Wink
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« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2012, 04:57:47 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley

I know plenty of real monastics.  That's what made me decide that a pretty large quantity of the whole lot are parasites.  There are some good ones of course, but as a whole it isn't a group of people I highly respect. 

Perhaps the standards for receiving people as monastics have declined. Few are suited for the life, but one could say just about the same thing with marriage, perhaps. Maybe a potential spouse should be made to stay outside and hit a tree with a stick for a few days...
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« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2012, 05:04:18 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley

Perhaps, LBK, but in America, Canada, and Australia, there are not that many monasteries, and what we have are spread out and often not the most culturally accessible. Besides, there is the difficulty of having a relationship with a monastic--someone who by virtue of the name is alone and isn't supposed to have particular friends, but rather love everyone equally. Some attain divine love, others are still struggling, and while one would like to talk, to have conversations like one does in the world, this is not possible.

If you go to an Elder for confession, he will become your spiritual father and you can speak to him.  Other than that, monks are not allowed to talk about themselves at all...period.   I guess it's to release oneself of all ego and pride.  I do know a relative of mine, who I really didn't know as a child,  likes to have me visit.  I guess I remind him of home, and they do miss their families and everything they left behind.   Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2012, 05:08:48 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

Wrong, because monasticism is Orthodoxy.  Our belief has always been that the world exists today only because of the prayers of the monks.  They are considered 'angels' because of their pure hearts.  I was reminded of a story today of my son in law who visited Mount Athos.  During the liturgy, jackals were howling outside and making a commotion.  Finally the Elder couldn't take it anymore and told them enough is enough and they stopped.  Now that's power...at least over demons it is.

Which reminds me of another story.  A Lutheran minister visited Mount Athos and he was so amazed that he could stand for seven hours during Liturgy, that he gave up everything and entered the monastery.  Elder Paisios said the reason so much money was given to monasteries by Emperors, is because they fed the poor... and  no doubt took care of the sick as well.   Now isn't it better to have dedicated people who demand and expect nothing,  being in charge of people's well being than a State?   Monasteries are still free you know, but it is nice to give them some gifts, especially food...but never give them meat. angel
Do give them meat: they feed their guests with it.  Otherwise, they would have to buy it.

Monasticism IS Orthodoxy.  That might be stretch, but it is relatively true.

An excellent talk on this by Fr. Trenham (he speaks better than he reads)
http://orthodoxinfo.com/audio/frjosiah1.WMA
"Old Creation and New Creation: How the Gospel forms Monks and Married People"
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frjosiah_holycross06.aspx

I don't believe the monasteries give meat even to their guests, or at least I know the monasteries of the Elder Ephraim doesn't.  How do you think they live so long?  Cheesy

Okay I'm wrong and you're right.  It's only the Athonite monasteries like those of Elder Ephraim that never serve meat.  I found out that meat was brought to some monasteries in Greece by guests, no doubt to serve other guests.   Undecided
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« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2012, 05:11:51 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

Wrong, because monasticism is Orthodoxy.  Our belief has always been that the world exists today only because of the prayers of the monks.  They are considered 'angels' because of their pure hearts.  I was reminded of a story today of my son in law who visited Mount Athos.  During the liturgy, jackals were howling outside and making a commotion.  Finally the Elder couldn't take it anymore and told them enough is enough and they stopped.  Now that's power...at least over demons it is.

Which reminds me of another story.  A Lutheran minister visited Mount Athos and he was so amazed that he could stand for seven hours during Liturgy, that he gave up everything and entered the monastery.  Elder Paisios said the reason so much money was given to monasteries by Emperors, is because they fed the poor... and  no doubt took care of the sick as well.   Now isn't it better to have dedicated people who demand and expect nothing,  being in charge of people's well being than a State?   Monasteries are still free you know, but it is nice to give them some gifts, especially food...but never give them meat. angel
Do give them meat: they feed their guests with it.  Otherwise, they would have to buy it.

Monasticism IS Orthodoxy.  That might be stretch, but it is relatively true.

An excellent talk on this by Fr. Trenham (he speaks better than he reads)
http://orthodoxinfo.com/audio/frjosiah1.WMA
"Old Creation and New Creation: How the Gospel forms Monks and Married People"
http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frjosiah_holycross06.aspx

I don't believe the monasteries give meat even to their guests, or at least I know the monasteries of the Elder Ephraim doesn't.  How do you think they live so long?  Cheesy
lack of stress.

I only remember eating fish: it was Transfiguration, so I noticed.  I wouldn't notice meat if it wasn't a fasting day, though I can swear we had some beef at the Convent in Kenosha (but I can't swear to it).
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« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2012, 05:15:00 PM »

Do you know any monastics personally, Achronos?
Just in books and videos

That's why you think the way you do. Knowing the real thing would change your mind.  Smiley

Perhaps, LBK, but in America, Canada, and Australia, there are not that many monasteries, and what we have are spread out and often not the most culturally accessible. Besides, there is the difficulty of having a relationship with a monastic--someone who by virtue of the name is alone and isn't supposed to have particular friends, but rather love everyone equally. Some attain divine love, others are still struggling, and while one would like to talk, to have conversations like one does in the world, this is not possible.

If you go to an Elder for confession, he will become your spiritual father and you can speak to him.  Other than that, monks are not allowed to talk about themselves at all...period.   I guess it's to release oneself of all ego and pride.  I do know a relative of mine, who I really didn't know as a child,  likes to have me visit.  I guess I remind him of home, and they do miss their families and everything they left behind.   Smiley

Well, besides Christ's commandments, which are the same for monastics and non-monastics, the monk's only rule is that of his elder, so it's impossible to say that all monastics follow X all the time.
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« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2012, 06:22:00 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

No.  Monks job is to pray for the world, not to convert it. It is not that God needs our prayers to help the world, He can indeed do that on His own, rather, we need somebody to better represent ourselves before the throne of God in constant prayer. There are plenty of priests and laity to shine their lights, monks are busy lighting the candles.  Besides  somebody has to dedicate all their time to prayer, the rest of us have day jobs Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2012, 06:42:29 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

There seems to be a much more self-serving posturing purpose rather than worrying about the salvation of others.

The monks I know whom you define would be more or less Hermit types.  There are monks that are exposed in the world, loved by villages etc.  The same exists for nuns, but hermit types, and nuns that are exposed to the world more.
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« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2012, 06:43:30 PM »

Some monastics claim that living a normal life with a wife, family and secular life is even harder than monasticism because of the greater potential for temptation.

I could have a very interesting conversation with the ones who say this.
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« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2012, 07:12:01 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

This is a good question, Achronos.  My answer stems mostly from my readings, but also from my interaction with the EO nuns in my area.

Although from an exterior perspective, it may at first seem as though monastics are sheltered from the troubles of the world,  in truth the same troubles that afflict you and I, Achronos, also afflict the monastics; lust, greed, power, pride, etc... there is no hiding from these illnesses of the heart.  In fact, I would assert that rather than being sheltered, the opposite is true; because monastics have fewer distractions than those of us in the world have, they fight the spiritual warfare like true warriors.  You and I can turn on the TV or computer, read a book, call up a friend.  You and I can get drunk, take a pill, get in our cars and go for a drive.  Monastics do not have these distractions.  As has been pointed out, monastics can be mean spirited, lazy, foul-mouthed, etc.  And why not?  They are human and suffer from ancestral sin just as you and I do.  In fact, they are under constant attack from the Evil One because he can't stand for anyone to be saved.  If we aren't fighting the good fight, the Evil One doesn't need to focus on us.  Have a look at the icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent. 

Monastics do not become monastics to represent Orthodoxy; they do so to repent and pray.  Some achieve what they set out to do and some do not, just like we in the world.   
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« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2012, 07:46:05 PM »

People forget that before the printing press, Bibles were almost non existent except for the few the monks had hand copied, and they were owned by the nobility and Bishops. 

In Xth century Novgorod people used to write their shopping lists on birch bark.
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« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2012, 08:57:53 PM »

People forget that before the printing press, Bibles were almost non existent except for the few the monks had hand copied, and they were owned by the nobility and Bishops. 

In Xth century Novgorod people used to write their shopping lists on birch bark.

There were scribes in ancient Egypt too.  I know that according to the historian Durant, that when the Turks took over Constantinople in the fifteenth century,  it had more schools than all of Europe, more libraries than all of Europe and more educated people than all of Europe...which doesn't say much for the literacy in Europe.  Other than the Bishops and priests, and maybe the merchants that had to list their products and know some math, did anyone really need to read and write?  What would they have done with it, they didn't have books...except maybe in   the homes of the nobility? Undecided   
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« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2012, 05:20:38 AM »

At least some people in the past were not idiots, really.
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« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2012, 09:49:15 AM »

At least some people in the past were not idiots, really.

Can I nominate this for the post of the month?
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« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2012, 08:42:47 PM »

Is it not true that monks live sheltered lives and hide from any sort of exposure of the world that contains both goodness and wickedness? And doesn't that mean they are ineffective in representing the Orthodox faith by not letting their light shine before men?

This is a good question, Achronos.  My answer stems mostly from my readings, but also from my interaction with the EO nuns in my area.

Although from an exterior perspective, it may at first seem as though monastics are sheltered from the troubles of the world,  in truth the same troubles that afflict you and I, Achronos, also afflict the monastics; lust, greed, power, pride, etc... there is no hiding from these illnesses of the heart.  In fact, I would assert that rather than being sheltered, the opposite is true; because monastics have fewer distractions than those of us in the world have, they fight the spiritual warfare like true warriors.  You and I can turn on the TV or computer, read a book, call up a friend.  You and I can get drunk, take a pill, get in our cars and go for a drive.  Monastics do not have these distractions.  As has been pointed out, monastics can be mean spirited, lazy, foul-mouthed, etc.  And why not?  They are human and suffer from ancestral sin just as you and I do.  In fact, they are under constant attack from the Evil One because he can't stand for anyone to be saved.  If we aren't fighting the good fight, the Evil One doesn't need to focus on us.  Have a look at the icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent. 

Monastics do not become monastics to represent Orthodoxy; they do so to repent and pray.  Some achieve what they set out to do and some do not, just like we in the world.   

I'd like to go into this a little deeper.  According to the Elder Porphyrios, everyone and everything in this world is interconnected, so that everything we feel and do will affect others in either a positive or negative way.  If we take this into account, then the love and prayers of pure hearted monks would be  counter balancing the negative affects of all the evil in this world.  In that sense they are needed. angel
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