Author Topic: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons  (Read 1028 times)

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Offline RaphaCam

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The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church this week commenced a program called «Liberation through Literature», an outreach initiative aimed to establish libraries with spiritual materials in correctional facilities around the country.

The program is managed by the Sts. Cyril & Methodius Orthodox Cultural Center in Warsaw.

https://www.orthodoxianewsagency.gr/foreignnews/polish-orthodox-church-working-to-open-spiritual-libraries-in-prisons/?fbclid=IwAR1MyonJ9Pi4BkcQfVCJW3kVmHH84tWDqzUFrmKEI5nPIYaPWN-qZ8seDzk
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Offline Dominika

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 03:17:05 PM »
It's not the first initiative of the POC for prisoners; there are also regular chaplains plus courses of painting icons, also visitis to monasteries for helping monks/nuns etc. :)
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 03:22:13 PM »
Wonderful! :)
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Offline Agabus

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 04:33:42 PM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 04:44:00 PM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

Well, I'm neither knowlegable in this area, but this idea remins me very nice book (btw recommended to me by an Orthodox nun) about Clayton Fountain :)
Pray for persecuted Christians, especially in Serbian Kosovo and Raška, Egypt and Syria

My Orthodox liturgical blog "For what eat, while you can fast" in Polish (videos featuring chants in different languages)

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2019, 12:54:57 AM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

+1

I would not propose limiting such a scheme to long term prisoners however.  Let us consider the scenario of a man who engaged in domestic violence, severely injuring his wife, and thus, justly  divorced by her and imprisoned for say, five years, with possible early release.  This is a man with poor control over the passions, who might become homeless when released, and who might struggle to reintegrate with society; this is also a man who due to conditions within prisons might, within the prison system, without the option of diversion into an in-prison vocations program like what you describe, might instead join one of the prison gangs and thus become a career criminal involved in drugs, larceny, and so on.

These short sentence prisoners, who were imprisoned for succumbing to the passions, strike me as being particularly able to benefit; they are not a “captive audience,” and they are at grave risk for recidivism (and thus a public safety risk) because prison is not going to, in most cases, help tame these passions, and indeed a prisoner who for whatever reason became involved in additional criminality within prison, for example, drugs, is someone who could greatly use a safe place to go on release, a monastery, where the focus is on training through prayer to overcome the passions and attain to theosis.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

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Offline Alpha60

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 12:57:20 AM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

Well, I'm neither knowlegable in this area, but this idea remins me very nice book (btw recommended to me by an Orthodox nun) about Clayton Fountain :)

You and Agabus come across as angelic to me for the extreme compassion that underlies this post.  It is just simply beautiful to see Orthodox Christians being so beautifully Christian and right-glorifying our Lord. :)

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Agabus

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 09:20:55 AM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

+1

I would not propose limiting such a scheme to long term prisoners however.  Let us consider the scenario of a man who engaged in domestic violence, severely injuring his wife, and thus, justly  divorced by her and imprisoned for say, five years, with possible early release.  This is a man with poor control over the passions, who might become homeless when released, and who might struggle to reintegrate with society; this is also a man who due to conditions within prisons might, within the prison system, without the option of diversion into an in-prison vocations program like what you describe, might instead join one of the prison gangs and thus become a career criminal involved in drugs, larceny, and so on.

These short sentence prisoners, who were imprisoned for succumbing to the passions, strike me as being particularly able to benefit; they are not a “captive audience,” and they are at grave risk for recidivism (and thus a public safety risk) because prison is not going to, in most cases, help tame these passions, and indeed a prisoner who for whatever reason became involved in additional criminality within prison, for example, drugs, is someone who could greatly use a safe place to go on release, a monastery, where the focus is on training through prayer to overcome the passions and attain to theosis.

Since I am not part of such a program, I do not know how long-term the prisoners in question are. But length of tenure is a consideration in some programs (Orthodox are not the only ones who have them; they are just the ones I have followed in recent years) because concerns about formation. I suppose if someone was willing to spring from prison straight to a monastery, and they would be willing to take him and parole officials were agreeable, that would be all the better.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Offline Agabus

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 09:21:46 AM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

Well, I'm neither knowlegable in this area, but this idea remins me very nice book (btw recommended to me by an Orthodox nun) about Clayton Fountain :)

You and Agabus come across as angelic to me for the extreme compassion that underlies this post.  It is just simply beautiful to see Orthodox Christians being so beautifully Christian and right-glorifying our Lord. :)

I'm much more of a scumbag than you give me credit for.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2019, 11:53:58 AM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

+1

I would not propose limiting such a scheme to long term prisoners however.  Let us consider the scenario of a man who engaged in domestic violence, severely injuring his wife, and thus, justly  divorced by her and imprisoned for say, five years, with possible early release.  This is a man with poor control over the passions, who might become homeless when released, and who might struggle to reintegrate with society; this is also a man who due to conditions within prisons might, within the prison system, without the option of diversion into an in-prison vocations program like what you describe, might instead join one of the prison gangs and thus become a career criminal involved in drugs, larceny, and so on.

These short sentence prisoners, who were imprisoned for succumbing to the passions, strike me as being particularly able to benefit; they are not a “captive audience,” and they are at grave risk for recidivism (and thus a public safety risk) because prison is not going to, in most cases, help tame these passions, and indeed a prisoner who for whatever reason became involved in additional criminality within prison, for example, drugs, is someone who could greatly use a safe place to go on release, a monastery, where the focus is on training through prayer to overcome the passions and attain to theosis.

Since I am not part of such a program, I do not know how long-term the prisoners in question are. But length of tenure is a consideration in some programs (Orthodox are not the only ones who have them; they are just the ones I have followed in recent years) because concerns about formation. I suppose if someone was willing to spring from prison straight to a monastery, and they would be willing to take him and parole officials were agreeable, that would be all the better.

Indeed.  This is the specific scenario I am contemplating.  Particularly for short offense prisoners who are not “on paper” to use LEO terminology, for example, someone who has spent a year in county jail for a class A misdemeanour for battery and domestic violence, or two years or so in prison, basically, people who lost control of the passions and were involved in an offense like domestic violence, felony DUI, or what have you, who are at risk of further “criminalization” and recidivism, and indeed, in the case of Muslims, Islamist radicalization,  owing to exposure to the criminal gangs and drugs culture behind bars.

 If they could be diverted into positive faith-based programs such as an Orthodox monastic program while behind bars, or equivalent programs for members of other religions (since this kind of a program in a country like the US would have to be implemented in a manner respectful of a diversity  of religions and the pre-existing religious sentiment of the prisoner), they could be be given an outlet for therapeutic repentance and access the safest, cleanest and most reliable form of what is otherwise euphemistically referred to as “transitional housing” or “community correctional facilities” (that is to say, a halfway house), in the form of a specialized Orthodox monastic community*, or other equivalent facilities for Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims and Whathaveyouists. 

I expect however that based on the focus on theosis and resurrection attained through conquering and controlling the passions, reshaping them for good purposes**, the Orthodox facilities would by far outperform the others (particularly if operated on a joint EO/OO basis with a synthesis of Coptic and Byzantine monastic wisdom, but any Orthodox monastery would work, with the exception of a mismanaged monastery with an abusive hegumen exploiting the novices, such as was the tragedy at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston, or some other farce such as the home for troubled teenagers run by an abusive convertodox priest formerly of HOOM, which was shut down and referred to the Alaska State Troopers by the Bulgarian Orthodox bishops in North America following several complaints, which was not a bona fide monastic environment as it was coeducational and was run by a married priest with his wife as opposed to being a celibate, single sex environment under a worthy hegumen).

*Or a generalized one; I am not certain on this point, but I think one of the brethren and one postulant at St. Anthony’s in Florence, AZ, had previously been inmates in one of the massive private prisons that dominates Florence.  I should note Florence is an eerie place owing to the preponderance of prisons, but this atmosphere of dread does not reach the front gate of the monastery, which is a place of pure beauty.

** See Metropolitan Kallistos Ware in The Orthodox Way, and The Orthodox Church for that matter, or any other entry level introduction to our religion; our goal is not to destroy the passions but to train them and be delivered from servitude towards them, reshaping them for positive ends, thus, for example, passions related to sexuality in an ideal case would be retrained for monogamous matrimonial love, reproduction and the raising of a family.

*** This thread on OCNet contains pertinent details: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,63140.45.html
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 11:57:55 AM by Alpha60 »

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2019, 02:16:46 PM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

Well, I'm neither knowlegable in this area, but this idea remins me very nice book (btw recommended to me by an Orthodox nun) about Clayton Fountain :)

You and Agabus come across as angelic to me for the extreme compassion that underlies this post.  It is just simply beautiful to see Orthodox Christians being so beautifully Christian and right-glorifying our Lord. :)

I'm much more of a scumbag than you give me credit for.

In which case I have no other option except to quote Jabba the Hutt and bellow:  “Ho ho ho ho, [You’re] my kind of scum...”   ;D

 

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline reclusivus

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Re: Polish Orthodox Church working to open spiritual libraries in prisons
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2019, 02:25:37 PM »
This is excellent.

I don't know about the Polish penal system and if their sentencing is harsh enough to keep people in long enough to do this, but I am also a fan of those programs that allow long- and life-term prisoners to become tonsured as monks, converting prison cells into monastic cells.

This is a lovely idea! I wish this was widespread, especially with the death penalty gone in many countries, prisoners should be able to reform their lives for eternity and turn to God instead of just being taught more labor. Do all Orthodox churches and countries do this?
ΕυλÃÄ

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