Author Topic: What does Orthodoxy say of those of us who neither marry or become monastic?  (Read 570 times)

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Offline Nicholas_83

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This may be a bit of hangover from the Roman Catholic ideas on vocation I grew up with; but I've come to the point in my life where I've given up the idea of marriage but am also too old for monasticism (30 is cutoff in my church's tradition... I considered it seriously in my twenties but other factors sidetracked that)... I admit to some serious anxiety about purpose in my life. What does the Church have to say to those like me?

Online William T

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That you don't deal with the craziness of marriage or monasticism and have to deal with the craziness of not being married or monastic.

Offline biro

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So, nothing.
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Offline Volnutt

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1 Corinthians 7 talks about how the unmarried are freer to devote themselves to God. Given that monasticism in its modern form didn't exist in the first century, it seems pretty clear to me that there was an informal version of consecrated virginity.
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Offline Iconodule

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For some elite men in Byzantium lifelong bachelorhood seemed to be a respectable option. Photios was in his late 40’s before he was ordained and raised to Patriarch.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 07:44:02 AM by Iconodule »
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Offline Hinterlander

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You have the freedom to volunteer around your parish and wider community.

Also, what is your job? You could take on a profession that might pay less but be of more direct service to people.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Single and happy!

I didn't "plan" on ending up single and childless...but...that's how it panned out for me.

Other than a few odd days when I allow loneliness to infiltrate my being, I am truly blessed, happy and busy.

I am able to volunteer not only at my local parish, the greater Church family, local Orthodox churches, food pantries, homeless shelters, etc.  I am also able to pursue my hobbies.  Nobody awaits me at home...so, if I linger longer over a project....nobody is missing me, or not fed because I am not there, etc.

I am able to devote time and energy to endeavors other than spouse and family.

It is all what YOU choose to do with YOUR life.  I know some miserable singles...and I know some very happy ones.
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Offline Dominika

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This may be a bit of hangover from the Roman Catholic ideas on vocation I grew up with; but I've come to the point in my life where I've given up the idea of marriage but am also too old for monasticism (30 is cutoff in my church's tradition...

Wow, really? Isn't it against stroies like st. Moses the Black?
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Offline Nicholas_83

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Dominika:
Well. I keep hearing and reading this number. I suppose there may be exceptions. I never talked to my father of confession about it as I simply assumed this was correct

Offline Sharbel

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First off, cut off ages are not hard limits, especially if you're still in the ballpark.  So, do not let this stop you from looking further into monasticism and contacting monasteries to discern your commitments.

On the other hand, as others have mentioned, the freedom to not have a time to be back home and to to answer a distress call from a friend at the drop of the hat allows you to give more of your time to others. I'm sure that it would bring you happiness to serve others in the many ways suggested throughout this thread.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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The Christian life is applicable to all, in my analysis. Specifically, as others have implied, be busy, be brotherly. Don't fail to build friendships, even with families, and to have plenty of work and activity to do with others -- loneliness is death.
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Offline Iconodule

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In the introduction to his translation of Saint Ephrem's "Hymns on Paradise," Sebastian Brock talks about two forms of celibate life that were fairly common in Saint Ephrem's region and in other Christian communities, before Egyptian-style monasticism spread there. One was the ihidaya (the same word could mean solitary, only-begotten, and other related words) which was a single man or woman living alone though not cut off from the community. I guess this is more-or-less what Saint Paul has in mind in the first letter to the Corinthians. The other was the qaddishe which was married couples who voluntarily renounced marital intercourse. Neither category would be considered monks really, as they generally remained involved in the community. Saint Ephrem himself was an ihidaya, though he is often anachronistically portrayed as a monk. As such he was zealously involved in public service.
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Offline MariaJLM

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I've often wondered about this myself. I think I do feel the call to monasticism, but in the case that I don't end up doing that I know marriage isn't exactly an option either. Through some exploration I have discovered there's other options, fortunately. You could do missionary work. That could be anything from engaging with local troubled folks to interacting with orphans. My particular jurisdiction does plenty of work for Ukrainian orphanages.

Essentially, as Christians we are called to serve the needy. Doing it as an unmarried person could actually be beneficial imo. While married people channel most of their energy into raising their families, unmarried people obviously have to channel it elsewhere? Why not channel it in serving humanity in a compassionate Christ-like manner?

Offline RobS

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Essentially, as Christians we are called to serve the needy. Doing it as an unmarried person could actually be beneficial imo. While married people channel most of their energy into raising their families, unmarried people obviously have to channel it elsewhere? Why not channel it in serving humanity in a compassionate Christ-like manner?

I can make a pickup line out of this... ;)

Hey there are single folks that are in need of love from another, that's Christianly no? ;D
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Essentially, as Christians we are called to serve the needy. Doing it as an unmarried person could actually be beneficial imo. While married people channel most of their energy into raising their families, unmarried people obviously have to channel it elsewhere? Why not channel it in serving humanity in a compassionate Christ-like manner?

I can make a pickup line out of this... ;)

Hey there are single folks that are in need of love from another, that's Christianly no? ;D

I need love, RobS. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Offline Alpha60

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Essentially, as Christians we are called to serve the needy. Doing it as an unmarried person could actually be beneficial imo. While married people channel most of their energy into raising their families, unmarried people obviously have to channel it elsewhere? Why not channel it in serving humanity in a compassionate Christ-like manner?

I can make a pickup line out of this... ;)

Hey there are single folks that are in need of love from another, that's Christianly no? ;D

It actually is, although matrimonial love, and love for strangers are I think equally legitimate variations on the same divine principle.  I love love and I love that there are different forms of love.  :)
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