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AustralianDiaspora
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« on: February 06, 2013, 10:22:41 AM »

Hi everyone
I desperately want to visit a monastery and there is one not far from me, but I don't know how to go about this? I believe they are doing some renovations in their Church so there are no services scheduled as of yet (they should resume this month so I'm about to email the Abbott. But are there any particular rules of conduct besides general respectfulness that I need to be aware of? Also is it appropriate to refer to the Abbott as an Abbott or are they referred to as Father as well? (On the website, he is listed as Abbott Fr). Are you allowed to talk to the monks/nuns? Are people invited to stay after Liturgy etc. or do you just go there for the service and then have to leave again?

Sorry if these are silly questions and if this is in the wrong forum.
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 10:30:10 AM »

The answers will depend on the monastery, but generally there are some guidelines about dress and decorum. Feel free to ask the Abbot any questions.
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 10:32:02 AM »

Here is a good article on basic monastery ettiquette:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/monastery_etiquette.aspx

You refer to all monks as "Father", whether they are a priest, an abbot, or neither.  Of course, bishops are the exception (they are monks too).  

The monastery may have a list of rules on its website.  Otherwise, just call and ask.  Every monastery is different.  

It is also a good idea to find out what bishop the monastery is under, to make sure it is actually a sound Orthodox monastery and not a schismatic one.  
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 10:36:13 AM »

You would want to call ahead to let them know when you want to come. Oftentimes they have to clear it with the abbot. You could probably refer to the abbot as "Father." As for talking to the monks and nuns, that depends. From my limited experience you can usually talk with them, but I've been to one women's monastery where the nuns generally didn't speak with guests, except one nun who was designated as the person to talk to people. Staying after liturgy should usually be okay. There may be a meal, which might be shared with the monastics, or you might eat separately with other pilgrims. You may be asked to help out with some labors at the monastery, or you may be allowed to go about the grounds, read, or pray in one of the churches or chapels. There might also be a bookstore for you to peruse. But whatever you do, make sure you ask about it first.
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 10:38:04 AM »

I can't say how they are over there but from my experience of Romanian monasteries, one thing I'd definitely suggest is to dress appropriately - cover your legs at the least. In some Romanian monasteries not doing this will result in you being pursued with a long wrap around skirt to cover yourself with and even in those where this isn't normal, bare legs (and sometimes bare arms) are decidedly frowned on. As someone who never wears shorts, this never affected me personally, but I do have amusing pictures of friends of both sexes wearing what looks like a rather unflattering thick green sheet!

If I were you I'd just get in touch and ask about when you can visit. Generally in my experience you're welcome most of the time (but again this was in Romania) whether there are services or not. You can talk to the monks. My first real example of Orthodoxy came from an encounter with a monk in a monastery I was visiting.

James
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 10:55:37 AM »

Thanks very much for your help. The Monastery is affiliated with one of the Greek Orthodox churches here so it's (presumably) not schismatic. I am thinking to send an email to the Abbott of the monastery making some general enquiries, is that appropriate? It just seems less invasive than calling. I believe my parish visits from time to time but there is nothing scheduled in the near future that I'm aware of so I'll take the initiative and hope for the best!
The link says to bring a gift such as olive oil . . . as in, olive oil from the supermarket? This particular monastery produces it's own so perhaps something else would be more useful?
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 12:51:15 PM »

If you do bring a gift, wine is usually appreciated.
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 01:17:14 PM »

The link says to bring a gift such as olive oil . . . as in, olive oil from the supermarket? This particular monastery produces it's own so perhaps something else would be more useful?

Again, ask the Abbot. Tell him that you would like to bring a gift, and ask what would be appropriate.
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 01:25:17 PM »

If you do bring a gift, wine is usually appreciated.

People bring presents to monks? Huh

Sometimes I don't understand the "Eastern" aspect of Orthodoxy despite being an EO. I could understand financial contributions to the monastery but bringing actual presents sounds a bit foreign idea to me.
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 01:31:41 PM »

Personally I would thank them humbly and buy something like candles or incense from them if they have shop. It is perhaps better to support them financially than bringing gifts? Just a thought.
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 01:41:15 PM »

I was always under the impression that giving gifts was fine. After all, you are (generally) giving the gift to all the monks in the monastery collectively, not to a particular monk.
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2013, 01:49:25 PM »


Wow!  I never thought about bringing a gift.  I suppose wine would be find, as they could drink it, or if it's the right wine, perhaps use it in the Liturgy.  Nice idea.

I do always stop by the bookstore and find something I simply must buy!  Smiley

I love candles from monasteries....they always smell soooooo good!
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 05:39:39 PM »

If you do bring a gift, wine is usually appreciated.

Wine is a good gift. So is coffee (ground beans, not instant!). I've yet to meet a monastic who doesn't like good coffee. It's practically a canonical requirement.  Wink laugh
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 05:41:24 PM »


Wink

...also, women usually are required to cover their heads.

No smoking, no loud laughter, and if kids are allowed, they must be strictly supervised.
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2013, 04:07:44 AM »

I've yet to meet a monastic who doesn't like good coffee. It's practically a canonical requirement.  Wink laugh

Last time I was visitting a monastery I was heavily disappointed. Coffee was awful.
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2013, 09:03:30 AM »

Personally I would thank them humbly and buy something like candles or incense from them if they have shop. It is perhaps better to support them financially than bringing gifts? Just a thought.

This is what we did.  We bought several candles and they were very happy!  I encourage everyone to visit a monastery if they have a chance! 
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2013, 12:10:14 PM »

I've yet to meet a monastic who doesn't like good coffee. It's practically a canonical requirement.  Wink laugh

Last time I was visitting a monastery I was heavily disappointed. Coffee was awful.

Usually folks don't visit a monastery for the coffee.   Undecided
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2013, 12:22:24 PM »

I generally ask what they need every time I go. I usually bring staples like rice or things they need for cooking that are a little pricey like nuts.
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2013, 03:08:45 PM »

No smoking

Why not?
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2013, 03:11:12 PM »


Because it's a nasty, addictive habit.

Besides, it competes with the incense.  Wink
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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2013, 03:15:15 PM »

Because it's a nasty, addictive habit.

I disagree with nastiness if we're talking about cigars and pipes. As for addictiveness, it's not for me since I smoke only occasionally.

But really, is smoking forbidden for laymen visiting in monasteries? I understand that it must be forbidden for munks and nuns but for laymen too?
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« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2013, 04:20:36 PM »

Because it's a nasty, addictive habit.

I disagree with nastiness if we're talking about cigars and pipes. As for addictiveness, it's not for me since I smoke only occasionally.

But really, is smoking forbidden for laymen visiting in monasteries? I understand that it must be forbidden for munks and nuns but for laymen too?

Temptations. Passions.
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« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2013, 04:23:46 PM »

Because it's a nasty, addictive habit.

I disagree with nastiness if we're talking about cigars and pipes. As for addictiveness, it's not for me since I smoke only occasionally.

But really, is smoking forbidden for laymen visiting in monasteries? I understand that it must be forbidden for munks and nuns but for laymen too?

Temptations. Passions.

Coffee.
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« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2013, 04:28:05 PM »

Because it's a nasty, addictive habit.

I disagree with nastiness if we're talking about cigars and pipes. As for addictiveness, it's not for me since I smoke only occasionally.

But really, is smoking forbidden for laymen visiting in monasteries? I understand that it must be forbidden for munks and nuns but for laymen too?

Temptations. Passions.

Coffee.

Coffee is sustenance. Tobacco is not.  police
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« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2013, 04:36:05 PM »

Because it's a nasty, addictive habit.

I disagree with nastiness if we're talking about cigars and pipes. As for addictiveness, it's not for me since I smoke only occasionally.

But really, is smoking forbidden for laymen visiting in monasteries? I understand that it must be forbidden for munks and nuns but for laymen too?

Temptations. Passions.

Coffee.

Coffee is sustenance. Tobacco is not.  police

Could not resist: Do you mean munks .. as in chipmunks?

Back to topic: Sometimes, the Abbot or Abbess will allow a postulant or novice to smoke if they are trying to kick the habit of smoking. It is tough for some people to stop smoking. Some can do it cold turkey, but not all folks.

If I am not mistaken, a while ago, smoking was allowed in certain monasteries. Many priests did smoke, until it was "scientifically" proven that tobacco smoke can lead to cancer.

Most priests today consider smoking to be sinful as it is a form of slow suicide and potential homicide in others because streaming side smoke and exhaled smoke can cause "second-hand cancer" in others. Children can become asthmatic when exposed to the "second-hand smoke" of their parents and relatives.
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« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2013, 04:46:47 PM »

I generally ask what they need every time I go. I usually bring staples like rice or things they need for cooking that are a little pricey like nuts.

Yes, nuts of different varieties, dried cranberries and raisins are always appreciated. If you can get organic cranberries and raisins, those are always appreciated. I know some monastics who have allergies and chemical intolerances, so they need to eat organic.
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« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2013, 07:47:09 PM »

From my experience being at monasteries here are a few things you should know. The Abbot, is always referred to as Abbot. The monks are always called Father (even if they are not priests) and novices are called Brother (don't call a novice Father, they haven't earned the right to be called that yet). Most monasteries are rather poor, they don't want to admit it but they are. They survive on donations alone, and those donations are going to be paying for you time being there. So make sure to pay for your stay, to help pay for the food they are going to give you and everything else. Normally for a 3 days stay I'll pay about $150. That's about as much as a standard hotel(without food). Make sure to follow monastic dress code, long sleeve shirts, pants(no jeans) and for women to wear long skirts and head coverings. Bring a book because changes are you'll be spending hours alone in your guess cell, if you want to get the full feeling of the monastery leave your phone in the car and don't use it the whole time. Ask if you can help with any cooking, cleaning, or fixing up anything, get involved, it'll help you grow spiritually! Go to every service they have.

Below is an article that can be found online, it helped me out but remember that not all monasteries are the same.

Try again, this time pasting no more than two paragraphs and providing the source as the rules require you to do so - MK.
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« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2013, 08:50:53 PM »

Quote
pants(no jeans)
Why, may I ask?
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« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2013, 08:53:21 PM »

Quote
pants(no jeans)
Why, may I ask?

I've worn jeans to every monastery I've ever stayed at.
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« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2013, 09:30:22 PM »

Quote
pants(no jeans)
Why, may I ask?



Temptation.
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« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2013, 09:33:23 PM »

I've only just joined this forum but there is a wealth of topics about homosexuality and pictures of hard-bodies . . .

 Huh
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« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2013, 09:53:08 PM »

I've only just joined this forum but there is a wealth of topics about homosexuality and pictures of hard-bodies . . .

 Huh

 Cheesy WELCOME!
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« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2013, 10:25:10 PM »

Quote
pants(no jeans)
Why, may I ask?



Temptation.
I see. Would leather pants be an acceptable compromise?
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« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2013, 12:08:38 AM »


Because it's a nasty, addictive habit.

Besides, it competes with the incense.  Wink
My pipe is my incense. Grin
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« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2013, 12:51:04 AM »

I've only just joined this forum but there is a wealth of topics about homosexuality and pictures of hard-bodies . . .

 Huh

Perhaps. But ask 10 women whether they find guys like the one in the picture above attractive, and 9/10 will say no.  Wink  As for homosexuality, yeah, that's a favorite topic 'round these parts.
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« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2013, 02:51:27 AM »



Try again, this time pasting no more than two paragraphs and providing the source as the rules require you to do so - MK.

Oops, sorry  Wink

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/monastery_etiquette.aspx
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« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2013, 10:56:34 AM »

Because it's a horrible drug and a sin. It destroys, kills and pollutes your body which is a temple for the Holy Spirit.




Quote
pants(no jeans)
Why, may I ask?

Because you need to treat the entire monastery grounds as if it is a Church. You don't wear jeans in Church so don't do it on the monastery. A lot of the time, they'll have their own dress code which will state no jeans. If you wear jeans anyway, they will be humble and not fight you on it but you should respect their rules. Jeans are normally only okay if you are going to be doing physical work for them and plan on getting dirty.
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« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2013, 11:08:43 AM »

Because you need to treat the entire monastery grounds as if it is a Church. You don't wear jeans in Church so don't do it on the monastery.

I always wear jeans in church too if I'm not serving.
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« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2013, 04:46:55 PM »

Because you need to treat the entire monastery grounds as if it is a Church. You don't wear jeans in Church so don't do it on the monastery.

I always wear jeans in church too if I'm not serving.




You go to a Protestant church?
« Last Edit: February 08, 2013, 04:49:27 PM by Peacemaker » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2013, 04:50:50 PM »

It destroys, kills and pollutes your body which is a temple for the Holy Spirit.

So is McDonalds sinful too?
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« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2013, 04:56:12 PM »

It destroys, kills and pollutes your body which is a temple for the Holy Spirit.

So is McDonalds sinful too?

I had a feeling you'd say that, Lord have mercy and destroy that demon of pride! Again, you treat a monastery ground like a Church. You don't smoke in Church so don't smoke on monastery grounds. You go to get away from the sins and passions of the world to help cure your sickness.
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« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2013, 05:01:52 PM »

You don't smoke in Church so don't smoke on monastery grounds.

You don't go to the bathroom in Church so don't go to the bathroom on monastery grounds.
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« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2013, 05:05:32 PM »

You don't smoke in Church so don't smoke on monastery grounds.

You don't go to the bathroom in Church so don't go to the bathroom on monastery grounds.

Church's have bathrooms!!!
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« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2013, 07:22:45 PM »

You don't smoke in Church so don't smoke on monastery grounds.

You don't go to the bathroom in Church so don't go to the bathroom on monastery grounds.

Church's have bathrooms!!!

Not traditionally they don't, I don't think. I'm sure building codes in America and elsewhere insist on it though, at least in theory.
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« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2013, 07:44:12 PM »

It destroys, kills and pollutes your body which is a temple for the Holy Spirit.

So is McDonalds sinful too?

I had a feeling you'd say that, Lord have mercy and destroy that demon of pride! Again, you treat a monastery ground like a Church. You don't smoke in Church so don't smoke on monastery grounds. You go to get away from the sins and passions of the world to help cure your sickness.

I disagree with your views on smoking in general (I won’t get into the details of why), but I agree you shouldn't smoke on the monastery grounds or in church, especially if asked or if it is accepted as the general rule.  I do remember in the past monks with pipes clinched in their teeth.  Roman Catholic perhaps?
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