3 July 2018 round table “the Virtue of obedience in modern monasteries: practical aspects”, continued its work in the resurrection Novodevichy convent of St. Petersburg, reports the Synodal Department for monasteries and monasticism. The Presidium of the morning session of the section “Creation of life of the brotherhood in the spirit of obedience” was attended by Metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas, Chairman of the Commission inter-Council presence on the organization of the life of the monasteries and monasticism; the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga Varsonofy; Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev; the Metropolitan of Saransk and Mordovia Zinovy; the Bishop of Lida and Smarhon, porphyry, Chairman of the Synodal Department for monasteries and monasticism of the Belarusian Orthodox Church (Belarusian Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate); Bishop of Kasimov and Sasovo Dionysius.
The participants of the meeting welcomed the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga Varsonofy. The head of the St. Petersburg Metropolitanate said that the upcoming at the round table discussion is designed to actualize the essence of the monastic vow of obedience in relation to life in a modern monastery. Metropolitan Varsonofy also reminded the abbots and igumenia that the principle of obedience is perceived by modern man, coming from the world of the monastery with the baggage of their own ideas, through the prism of a secular understanding of external freedom, and therefore, it is important to care for the monasteries was more fatherly than overbearing. “The monk is difficult to entrust their freedom to the Abbot or abbess, when he not sees them as a loving father or mother,” said the Bishop.
The section was opened by the speech of Bishop of Lida and Smarhon of Porphyria. Bishop porphyry, in particular, shared with roundtable participants their observations about how quickly progress in the spiritual life of those who have obedience and trust in him, and what a storm and crash undergo those who believe in the Foundation of all confidence: “From the experience of confession, I very clearly see and understand what the words “they also carry management – Aki listvie fall” (Prov. 11:14)”. The special Rapporteur noted that obedience is only a virtue, not just discipline, when it is the result of free choice and out of love and respect for a novice to his spiritual mentor who cares about him, takes care of his weakness, and is responsible for the soul, being in his obedience.
Hieromonk Daniel (Konstantinov), acting Governor of the Zaikonospassky monastery of Moscow in the report “Obedience to “the brethren in Christ”: what does it mean in the context of monastic life” on examples of the lives close to us at the time the saints showed how important it is for the monk’s obedience, rendered equal in rank. The life of a monk-novice is in daily contact with the same as he is, monks. To render obedience to the brethren in everyday situations – so to get the hang of clipping one’s own will – qualities that distinguished the Holy teachers of the monastic life.
The abbess Constantine and Helen nunnery of St. Petersburg diocese abbess Hilarion (Feoktistov) in the report “the Virtue of obedience in the practical application of the monastic rule” has opened the idea that the Charter of the monastery is a school of obedience. The majority coming to the monastery, said mother, have a vague knowledge of the creed and the weak skills of Church life. In these circumstances, the study of the Charter and its assimilation in practice for monastics becomes an urgent task. The first step to virtue is obedience for admission to the monastery is the consent novokachalinsk with the Charter of the monastery. The Charter of the monastery depicts the saving way of life as a whole system of asceticism: distribution of time of day, the temple and prayer in secret, reading the Holy fathers, vigil, prostrations, rules of behavior, work and so on. Heart the adoption of the Charter as the principle of monastic life, the knowledge of the meaning of the statutory rules and regulations, worship and prayer helps the monk to acquire the virtue of obedience, removes him from the world of passions and brings to life the law of freedom and love. “We are all called to fulfill the legend and importance of the monastic rule very high. In our time, when little is left of the living bearers of tradition and respect for the Charter is of particular importance”, – said the mother of Hilarion.
Abbess Sophia (Silina), abbess of the Voskresensky Novodevichy convent in St. Petersburg, revealing the theme of the report “Enemies of obedience – questions: “why me?” – “Why?” – “How different?” – “And if I can’t?” and the other: their origin and methods of struggle”, noted that a desirable part of the soul has become for modern man defines his entire life. When the high culture of the intellect can observe the extremely low culture of the heart. In addition, the deep crisis was the image of the father; something similar can be said about the image of the mother, and, sadly, this is felt by many as a liberation. Coming to the Church, modern man is essentially returned to the original understanding of fundamental truths. The presence of the gift of reasoning, which cannot be obtained without purity of heart, it is difficult to expect from those who come to the monastery from the world. That’s why the advice to do obedience with understanding, choosing the monastery, to observe the actions of the rector, to verify their compliance svjatootecheskomu tradition are unlikely to have well-grounded. The fight for obedience is the fight against the old man. And the modern monk, embarked on the path of obedience, stands on the path of martyrdom. But, in the words of Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky), Archbishop of verey, there is no Christianity without the Church, so there is no monasticism monasteries are the instruments of divine Providence in the acquisition of obedience.
Abbess Domnica (Korobeinikova), abbess of St. Alexander Nevsky Novo-Tikhvin female monastery of Ekaterinburg, continued the theme of finding true obedience in the report “How to learn to render obedience with joy and desire of the heart.” In his speech, the mother Domnica deeply revealed vital for the monk’s problems control your free will that must always be consciously directed to the good that a man not enslaved to your selfishness. “The Lord never fails to knock at the heart of a monk and gives him a lot of occasions in everyday life, so he could be free from this domestic slavery and the freedom to stand before God,” said the speaker.
Next abbess Domnica said about the need to study not only external obedience, by refusing to sin, in fact, not revealing their passions, but also, more importantly, at the same time to launch the internal feat, banishing resistance, sadness, and distress of heart and mind. And contributing to this monk can only have a prayer with which he would speak directly to God, asking Him for assistance and capacity.
If monk “doing obedience with patience, sacrificial spirit, with prayer, he not only sanctified itself, but also creates around itself a truly monastic, spiritual atmosphere… the Monastery could not exist if it would not be such novices with a sacrificial spirit,” the prioress said, emphasizing that the most important mission of the Abbot, abbess – to teach the brethren and sisters in the perfect obedience, not only external but also internal. This obedience gives to the monastery life. It is through the obedience of the monastery surpasses this world and the life of the monks filled with the spirit of bezopastnosti – this conclusion at the end of the report abbess Domniki kind of summed up the result of all talks given at the round table.
After the break the meeting attendees had the opportunity to Express their opinions, share experiences, ask for advice in an open discussion format on the topic “the Heroism of obedience in a modern monastery: obstacles, challenges and help in overcoming them”. Leading the discussion was chaired by Metropolitan of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas, who in his opening remarks emphasized the role of Abbot in the education fraternity of true obedience: the Abbot himself must have skill of obedience, to render obedience to his Bishop. Otherwise, it is pointless to demand this from the brethren. The motivation for obedience is not fear, not to the benefit of, and humility before God, said the Archbishop.
For discussion were presented the questions received from both leaders and monks. The questions concerned various sides of monastic life in the light of obedience: the ratio of external concerns and internal monastic work; measures to care for the material dispensation of the monastery, forms of punishment for violations; rules for use of electronic technical equipment; selection by the monks of reading materials, etc.
After the discussion, Metropolitan Georgy read out the final document of the round table, which highlighted the atmosphere of spiritual unity, understanding and mutual enrichment experiences in which the event took place.
Organizers and participants expressed their deep gratitude to his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill for the opportunity conciliar discussions of monasticism. Sincere thanks for the hospitality was also brought by the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga Varsonofy, the abbess of the Novodevichy monastery abbess Sophia and to all who worked on the preparation of this meeting.
Also thanks participants noted the organization of the Novodevichy monastery in the days of the round table study tours to Kronstadt with a visit to the Museum-apartment of the Holy righteous John of Kronstadt and the opportunity to worship the relics of Saint-Petersburg, sightseeing of the Northern capital.
Two days of the roundtable were registered 170 members, including 13 bishops, 60 abbots, abbess 38 of the 86 dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church.