Requirements to joining a Monastery?

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Justice
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Requirements to joining a Monastery?

Postby Justice » Mon 12 June 2017 5:43 am

Do you have to have any special requirments to joining a Monastery? such as, a college degree so they don't think your trying to mooch of of them?
Last edited by Maria on Tue 20 June 2017 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: correcting spelling in title
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Maria
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Re: Requirements to joining a Monastery?

Postby Maria » Mon 12 June 2017 8:10 am

No, you do not need a college degree.

A college degree can be detrimental to your faith. Trust me, a few years ago, I completed my M.A. in Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Some of the courses, especially those required courses in upper division and graduate level English and in Education (TESL), left my head spinning. They were not good for my salvation because of the explicit sexual content in many of the English texts. Note that LGBT studies are now required to be taught from Kindergarten through college in California, and Pearson who has a monopoly in publishing tests and textbooks insists that LGBT studies (or whatever the current alphabet is), sexual immorality, abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty be taught in almost every course if they can get away with it. That is at least four weeks of immorality per semester. These are called Diversity Studies. Because of the prevalence of these corrupt text books, I cannot teach ESL courses as I would be required to teach this perversity.

The only college classes that may be beneficial with less chance of perverse teachings are engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, and Chemical Engineering) and computer sciences, and even then you must be careful with the general education and electives. Guidance counsellors are noted for pushing naive college students into taking Diversity Classes. Beware of these.

Note: you do not need a degree. Just take courses toward the degree without intending to graduate. Thus you will not need the diversity or general ed courses.

Agricultural courses are valuable as many monasteries grow their own food. Beekeeping can be learned at some community colleges or extension courses. Studying food preparation is very beneficial as many monks rotate kitchen duties. Gourmet cooks are always appreciated.

Ask your friendly monastics when you visit a monastery. Oh, and taking a two to three week vacation at a monastery is a great summer get away. You will be asked to help, so you can learn some new skills there too, as well as enjoying some great food.

I am moving this topic to the forum on Monasticism.

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Luke
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Re: Requirements to joining a Monastery?

Postby Luke » Tue 13 June 2017 4:20 am

You may be required to do 50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, and run a four-minute mile. :wink: Really, you should write a letter to a few of them and see what they have to say.

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Re: Requirements to joining a Monastery?

Postby Bishop_Irineos » Tue 13 June 2017 4:48 am

Justice wrote:Do you have to have any special requirments to joining a Monastery? such as, a college degree so they don't think your trying to mooch of of them?


Is this an academic inquiry or something you are trying to discern as a vocation?

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Re: Requirements to joining a Monastery?

Postby Justice » Tue 13 June 2017 11:28 pm

I'm Thinking of Joining a monastery after I get baptized into the TOC.
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Re: Requirements to joining a Monastery?

Postby Bishop_Irineos » Wed 14 June 2017 1:15 pm

Justice wrote:I'm Thinking of Joining a monastery after I get baptized into the TOC.


You will find that the requirements vary from monastery to monastery. There will be some commonalities. Generally:

1 - You must be Orthodox
2 - You must not be legally responsible for the support of another (no kids, no wife/alimony, etc.). In theory a wife with no kids could consent to you joining, but this is very rare.
3 - There will be a minimum age.
4 - You must be capable of living in community. This requirement may manifest via requirements for being physically capable of contributing to the community and/or psychological fitness.

The best practical advice would be to visit prospective monasteries, for a day first and later for a more extended period of time. During the longer visits you can actually live the daily schedule, including obediences. Take the time to visit with the monks about their experience. Ultimately not only must you be satisfied with the monastery, but they also must believe you can function in their community. The wrong person can be very disruptive to a community.

Most TOC monasteries in the states are very small, so be prepared for that. In Greece or Russia your options increase significantly.

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Re: Requirements to joining a Monastery?

Postby Barbara » Thu 15 June 2017 3:40 am

I didn't know that about the ruling out of a person who has to pay alimony. Really ? I guess that could apply to either a man or a woman these days, since sometimes women are required to pay child support [ or is that something different ? I am a little hazy here ].

Regarding Justice's question, the most important requirement for any serious monastery is : ability to obey your superior [ in any reasonable order. Not something dangerous, but hopefully such a request would never be made of a monk ]. Any order given by a superior which is a little weird but not perilous MUST be followed. This can be the litmus test for who can be admitted and who will be rejected. The following story told by St Joseph, the Elder of Optina after St Ambrose :

5 laymen petitioned the abbot of a monastery to receive them. The abbot did not ask them anything about their pasts or abilities.
He only instructed the 5 men to plant cabbages upside down, with the leaves in the ground.
3 of the prospective monastics sniffed, "This is ridiculous. We know how to plant vegetables." They planted their cabbages in the reverse way, with the leaves above the ground and the core beneath. These 3 were dismissed immediately.

The other 2 strove to fulfill the superior's exact order. They planted their cabbages as he asked, crazy as it seemed.

Needless to say, this duo was accepted into this hermitage [ which one it was was not revealed by Elder Joseph - or did not make it into the biography of the great spiritual guide].

The anecdote illustrates how rare it was to find souls who are humble enough to submit their wills to an experienced Abbot, even in the late 1800s - early 1900s. Imagine today where many people are so self-willed - and narcissistic - that they can not follow ANY order, even the most reasonable one ! They even sometimes deliberately change some part of the instruction so as to proclaim their own superiority.

Justice sounds like he might pass The Cabbage Test, as he seems to be a sincere striver in the spiritual life.

So we can see by this example, though it is a little extreme, that a college degree might hinder a novice's ability to submit and obey as well as to work hard at his obediences to benefit the general community. Some graduate might grumble, "Why am I slaving away in the hot prosphora bakery when I earned a degree in English Lit ?" Of course, English literature is of zero use in his future monastic life. Better to have spent those years instead reading Lives of Saints and the Fathers.


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