In St. Petersburg began the round table “the Virtue of obedience in modern monasteries: practical aspects”


2 July 2018 with the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill in the resurrection Novodevichy convent of St. Petersburg began the round table on the topic “the Virtue of obedience in modern monasteries: practical aspects”, reports the Synodal Department for monasteries and monasticism.

The Bureau first day of meetings included: the Archbishop of Sergiev Posad Feognost, Chairman of the Synodal Department for monasteries and monasticism of the Russian Orthodox Church, vicar of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev, vicar of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra, the Metropolitan of Smolensk and Dorogobuzh, Isidore; Archbishop Theophylact of Pyatigorsk and Cherkessk; the Bishop of Kasimov and Sasovo Dionysius.

Opening the event, the Archbishop of Sergiev Posad Feognost gave the meeting participants the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill thanked Metropolitan Petersburg and Ladoga Barsonophios and the abbess of the Voskresensky Novodevichy convent abbess Sophia (Silin) for giving the monks the opportunity to meet again in the Northern capital and wished them fruitful work.

Further the participants were offered reports section “Obedience – breath”. The Metropolitan of Smolensk and Dorogobuzh Isidore in his speech on the theme “Obedience as the Foundation of spiritual growth and the acquisition of other virtues” reminded that the spiritual truths taught in the Church’s Tradition should be we are not so much theoretical knowledge, as the necessary experience that we must live and which must study in the realities of today. “In the ontological sense, – said Metropolitan Isidor, – obedience is the restoration of the lost image of God in man.” Speaking more about the heart of joy as an important landmark in the creation of the virtue of obedience, the speaker recommended to pay attention to its causes: to look carefully, not whether it depends on external circumstances (the approval of the Abbot or the brethren), as only the inner acceptance of obedience, the desire to do the will of God is the human response to divine love gives true freedom and produces the fruit of humility – peace with God, peace with others, peace with yourself. Another reason for joy can be, for example, vanity. In concluding his report, Metropolitan Isidor gave good examples of obedience from the “modern Paterik” – the spiritual life of the current monks.

Trust and love as the basis of spiritual leadership was reflected in the speech of Bishop Dionysius of Kasimov and Sasovo. The theme of “Obedience as the basis of the relationship of the novice and his spiritual father,” according to Bishop Dionysius, always raises a lot of questions: how to choose a spiritual mentor? how to treat his infirmities? could the old man be wrong and whether it can bring harm to the novice? The answers to these questions have with the Church fathers and modern ascetics. Need to know the answers to these questions and the Abbot, recognizing that the monastery cannot be limited to concern for the external welfare of the brethren. Reminding the audience the formula of the Holy mountain – elder may be the only one who was himself a novice at the elder – Bishop Dionysius addressed a question to the participants of the round table: how should learn and teach obedience to those who passed this way in its classical sense? And, in answer to your own question, offered the attendees some advice to the “elders Willy-nilly”, which was designated as such and are designed to fulfill this obedience.

The Abbot Peter (Mazitov), Abbot of the monastery of the Holy Kosminskaya deserts of the Yekaterinburg diocese, the report “Obedience, obedience, obedience – “what is what” and what should be in monastic brotherhood”, dedicated to the motivation of obedience, in particular, offered to look at obedience as motivation, spiritual boldness. Obedience is the science that allows the monk to keep specific goals in life, losing that the monk ceases to hear the heart call of the Savior: “Come to Me”. A person always has their own opinion, and if he understands obedience as the suppression of their own will, nothing but discouragement, it’s a lesson he will not do. Lethargy and depression as manifestations of depression of spirit is very dangerous for the monk, which is designed to revere Those Who serve.

Archbishop Theophylact of Pyatigorsk and Cherkessk his speech on “the Virtue of obedience and the acquisition of inner prayer” began by thanking the organizers of the round table for the meetings, thanks to which, in the opinion of His Eminence, monks gain the ability to revive is interrupted during the Soviet years the spiritual tradition.

Among the dangers that arise on the path of acquiring the virtue of obedience, the Archbishop Feofilakt noted the desire pseudostates to suppress the critical thinking of their students. The Archbishop recalled that the exclusive and inaccessible to the reasoning of the teacher’s personality is of sects, including psevdopravoslavnyh. In the relationship of the Confessor and novokachalinsk the monk’s obedience is possible only in that measure in what it sees and perceives the experience of obedience to his elder, Lord and Savior Christ. The obedience and skill of prayer is best communicated not by precept, but by example. “Obedience is a means of teaching prayer work. At the same time, the prayer is a means that leads our mind and heart in the blessed obedience to God. And here ends and means are reversed. Blessed obedience to the Savior all the days of life becomes the aim of interior prayer,” concluded Archbishop Theophylact.

Abbess Anastasia (Mardilovich), mother superior of the Kazan women’s monastery in Kaluga, in the report “Obedience – the main monastic vow” emphasized the idea that obedience is not that other, as the law of human life, by which he must embody God’s design for him. Celestial Hierarchy is subject to the law of obedience: all the Heavenly Powers, including archangels and angels, live in joyful obedience to God, said the speaker. Abbess Anastasia led the patristic statements about the need for monastics fulfillment of the vow of obedience. “Fulfillment of the vow of obedience protects the monk from every snare of the enemy, stores, supports, comforts, and delights for the entire follow closely the monastic path,” concluded mother.


In the second part of the roundtable in the section entitled “What is a life of obedience” (on the examples of lives of saints and ascetics of the twentieth century, as well as personal communication with spiritually experienced mentors), the participants heard the speech of Metropolitan Volodymyr of Pochayiv, vicar of the Holy Dormition Pochaiv monastery; Archpriest Alexander Chesnokov, a clergyman of the Church of St. Nicholas in the city of Krasnodar, Ekaterinodar and Kuban diocese; hieromonk Raphael (Jankevica), a monk of the Saint Petersburg metochion of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Valaam monastery; abbess Filaret (Kalacheva), abbess pühtitsa Dormition stavropegic convent in Estonia; abbess Elizabeth (Evdokimova), abbess of our lady Zhitenev convent of Ostashkov Tver and Kashin eparchy. Speakers shared memories of life in obedience to the elders and told the audience about ascetics, the memory of which keep their present abode.

At the end of the meetings for the participants of the roundtable organized a trip to Kronstadt and a visit to the memorial apartment of St. John of Kronstadt. The tour was conducted by a cleric of St. Nicholas stavropegic Marine Cathedral in Kronstadt, priest Sergiy Reznichenko.

On 3 July, a round table will continue its work. The monks will discuss the issues of creation of life of the brotherhood in the spirit of obedience and will participate in the final roundtable discussion, “the Heroism of obedience in a modern monastery: obstacles, challenges and help in overcoming them”.

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