Monasticism in the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America
By: The Reverend Hieromonk Barbara (Martzall)
Throughout the history of any Church, there has always been people drawn to a “different” way of living and experiencing their faith. These people often pull away from the world and live in either groups or as individuals and follow a life of monasticism. Monasticism (from Greek: monachos — a solitary person) is the religious practice in which one renounces worldly pursuits in order to devote one’s life fully to spiritual work. Within the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America, the life of monasticism has returned and is practiced both in the Western tradition (some monastics live the Rule of St. Benedict and St. Francis) and in the Orthodox tradition. Slowly monasteries are are also returning. Monastics are not required to be celibate within the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America. Monastics can be single or married members of the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America. For the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America, monasticism has taken a new form that has and will encourage people to find their way of walking their spiritual pathway. The Orthodox-Catholic Church of America is a jurisdiction that requires that their members both clergy and laity be self sustaining. Even when one is living in one of the monasteries, one is required to help pay for the functioning of the monastery. Thus all monastics hold outside jobs. Monastics within the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America are both male and female.
Presently there is an Eastern tradition monastery, The Skete at Crosswood Centre, that is accepting monastics. There are several monastics that are considered externs to the Skete as they are living away from the Skete but living their lives as monastics. Each of the monastics determine under the guidance of the Metropolitan of the Jurisdiction as to what their personal rule of life shall be and how they shall live their life as a monastic. The monastics receive the same “ranks” (Risaphor, Stavrophor and Angelic Schema) as are found within the Orthodox Church. For a more in depth information concerning the different ranks, please see the official web site for the Skete at Crosswood Centre. There is also dependency community (the Holy Theotokos of Mercy Community) of the Skete at Crosswood Centre which is presently located in Three Rivers, MA. The Holy Theotokos of Mercy Community is a hermitage housing two female monastics.More dependencies will form as there is a need for them.
Also there is a Western tradition Religious Community that follows the Rule of St. Benedict, the Holy Trinity Orthodox Community. This Community (which does not have a physical monastery) is Western in tradition and is a “virtual” community (that is, they communicate daily via computers with the members). Within this Community are found two ranks as within the Western tradition, the novice (those taking temporary vows) and professed (those having taken their permanent final vows). There is also one Western tradition hermitage, which is not affiliated with the Holy Trinity Orthodox Community, that is located in Whitefield, ME. One fully professed hermit monk lives there.
As part of our Community’s ministry, we also make available to laity, seminarians and the clergy of the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America courses concerning Orthodox theology. These courses shall be on a one on one basis for each student. The only cost of the course will be the student will purchase their own book(s). If one is interested in taking a course please contact the Reverend Hieromonk Barbara directly (see the “Contact Us” icon/graphic to the left).
COURSES AVAILABLE FOR STUDY
1.) Fundamentals — This Course introduces one to the Orthodox Church as a whole.
2.) Church History — This Course delves into the history of the Christian Church through the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
3.) Liturgical Theology I — This course starts to introduce you to the Scaraments of the Orthodox Church, especially the Divine Liturgy and Eucharist.
4.) Liturgical Theology II — This course continues your introduction to the Sacraments of the Orthodox Church and Monastism.
5.) Patristics — This course will introduce you to the early Christian writers, known as the Church Fathers.
6.) Pastoral Theology I — This course will introduce you to a branch of theology that is concerned with the practical application of theology.
7.) Pastoral Theology II — This course continues the exploration of Pastoral Theology.
8.) Doctrine I — This course starts introducing you to Orthodox Theological Doctrine.
9.) Doctrine II — This course continues the study of Orthodox Theological Doctrine.
10.) Spirituality — This course starts to open the student to the idea of spirituality.
11.) Church History II — This course covers the history of OCCA, constitution and canons of OCCA.
12.) Dogmatic Theology — This course covers the dogmas of the Orthodox Church.
13.) Western Eucharistic Theology — This course challenges you to compare Eastern and Western Eucharistic Theology.
14.) Old Testament Scriptures — In this course you develop an overview of the Old Testament scriptures.
15.) New Testament Scriptures — In the course you develop an overview of the New Testament scriptures.
16.) Christology — In this course you learn the teaching of the Church Fathers concerning Christ and Christology.
17.) Eschatology — In this course you are challenged in your thinking about the End Times and about death.