• For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

How can one "laicize" a monk/nun?

mike

Protostrator
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
24,873
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
30
Location
Białystok / Warsaw
I thought that, especially after stavrophore, you can't. Even Patriarch Philaret is referred as "Monk Philaret", not Mykhajlo Denysenko, by the Orthodox Church.

Yet Antiochians are laicizing two nuns. so how is it supposed to work exactly? What is the point?
 

Alpo

Merarches
Joined
Dec 9, 2007
Messages
9,878
Reaction score
2
Points
0
If clergy can be laicized why not monastics?
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,004
Reaction score
107
Points
63
mike said:
What is the point?
The point, as I understand it, is so that these nuns don't represent themselves as nuns to laity who don't realize that they aren't under anyone's obedience. In recent years, the OCA has had trouble with monastics who were just sort of floating out in the world still as freelance monastics after having been "released" from their monasteries to no one in particular. To my mind this idea of laicizing monastics makes more practical sense (I can't speak to theology) than having monastics who aren't responsible to anyone.
 

mike

Protostrator
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
24,873
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
30
Location
Białystok / Warsaw
Alpo said:
If clergy can be laicized why not monastics?
Clergy can be laicized so that they no longer can do clergy stuff. There is no monastic stuff that is not allowed to do for non-monastics.

Samn! said:
The point, as I understand it, is so that these nuns don't represent themselves as nuns to laity who don't realize that they aren't under anyone's obedience. In recent years, the OCA has had trouble with monastics who were just sort of floating out in the world still as freelance monastics after having been "released" from their monasteries to no one in particular. To my mind this idea of laicizing monastics makes more practical sense (I can't speak to theology) than having monastics who aren't responsible to anyone.
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
 

Alpo

Merarches
Joined
Dec 9, 2007
Messages
9,878
Reaction score
2
Points
0
mike said:
Alpo said:
If clergy can be laicized why not monastics?
Clergy can be laicized so that they no longer can do clergy stuff. There is no monastic stuff that is not allowed to do for non-monastics.

Samn! said:
The point, as I understand it, is so that these nuns don't represent themselves as nuns to laity who don't realize that they aren't under anyone's obedience. In recent years, the OCA has had trouble with monastics who were just sort of floating out in the world still as freelance monastics after having been "released" from their monasteries to no one in particular. To my mind this idea of laicizing monastics makes more practical sense (I can't speak to theology) than having monastics who aren't responsible to anyone.
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
Laicized monastics can get rich or married.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,004
Reaction score
107
Points
63
mike said:
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
Well, it means they can't go around seeking support (financial or otherwise) as monastics. They can't present themselves as having a relationship of monastic obedience to the Church of Antioch that they don't have... I think, outside of such a relationship, one shouldn't be able to claim to be an Orthodox monastic.
 

DeniseDenise

Taxiarches
Joined
Apr 22, 2013
Messages
6,823
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Age
50
Samn! said:
mike said:
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
Well, it means they can't go around seeking support (financial or otherwise) as monastics. They can't present themselves as having a relationship of monastic obedience to the Church of Antioch that they don't have... I think, outside of such a relationship, one shouldn't be able to claim to be an Orthodox monastic.

I think Mike's point is...

Liars gonna lie.




I would be interested to know why they are being laicized........it might have zero to do with something dubious and everything to do with say a family situation where they have no intent on deceiving people, but rather might need to go care for ill loved ones or parents.
 

mike

Protostrator
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
24,873
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
30
Location
Białystok / Warsaw
Alpo said:
mike said:
Alpo said:
If clergy can be laicized why not monastics?
Clergy can be laicized so that they no longer can do clergy stuff. There is no monastic stuff that is not allowed to do for non-monastics.

Samn! said:
The point, as I understand it, is so that these nuns don't represent themselves as nuns to laity who don't realize that they aren't under anyone's obedience. In recent years, the OCA has had trouble with monastics who were just sort of floating out in the world still as freelance monastics after having been "released" from their monasteries to no one in particular. To my mind this idea of laicizing monastics makes more practical sense (I can't speak to theology) than having monastics who aren't responsible to anyone.
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
Laicized monastics can get rich or married.
Then laicization is a reward, not punishment. still not making any sense.

Samn! said:
mike said:
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
Well, it means they can't go around seeking support (financial or otherwise) as monastics. They can't present themselves as having a relationship of monastic obedience to the Church of Antioch that they don't have... I think, outside of such a relationship, one shouldn't be able to claim to be an Orthodox monastic.
Imagine I am a priest or bishop and I am visited by two nuns that want my plate money from sunday and say they are Antiochian nuns. I call Met. Joseph "Are they your nuns?" "No, I kicked them out". And the case is closed. And I believe that was their former situation.

so why was creating something like that necessary?

DeniseDenise said:
I think Mike's point is...

Liars gonna lie.
My point is: why to create pastoral anomaly that does not solve any problems?
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,004
Reaction score
107
Points
63
mike said:
My point is: why to create pastoral anomaly that does not solve any problems?
I'm not sure how much of an anomaly that is. It differs from what Russian-tradition churches do, but it's within the range of things that often differ between different autocephalous churches and traditions. I don't know the specifics of what led to this, but clearly Met Joseph thought it was pastorally necessary to announce publicly that these ladies aren't nuns. It doesn't seem that strange to me.

As for if it's a reward or a punishment, I don't think that's necessarily the logic being applied. Couldn't it be possible that the bishop thought that it's best for their salvation that they not be nuns?
 

Alpo

Merarches
Joined
Dec 9, 2007
Messages
9,878
Reaction score
2
Points
0
mike said:
Then laicization is a reward, not punishment.
Not for people who had high aspirations for celibacy and poverty.
 

wgw

Taxiarches
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
5,816
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Cast adrift in a lifeboat of the SS Aurora
In a sense, the church is using its power to bind and loose (Matthew 16:18) to forgive these monastics from a failure to uphold their religious vows and is releasing them from these vows so as to prevent further sin through a violation of vows.

I think in Orthodoxy we should let monks transfer between monasteries with the agreement of abbots, if they aren't spiritually healthy at one monastery due to language problems, the workload, problems with pilgrims, illness, climate conditions, et cetera, but monks who leave and live in a secular manner should be released.

If a monk has a psychological breakdown and leaves temporarily, or is washed out for some reason, but wants to continue monastically there should be avenues for this. 

Also due to incidents of sexual or other abuse, I think monks should be allowed to retain posession of their automobiles and a savings account, CD or trust fund, so that if their anbot false into heresy or abuses them in such a way that they need to seek out a different monastery or not work as a monk but obtain a release, they will have some means of survival.  I would not blame any of the monks sexually exploited by Elder Panteleimon of HOCNA for being in a psychological state where they could not trust a spiritual father or offer unqualified obedience, and this requires a secular living condition or perhaps an idiorythmic condition.

But the OCA problem of monks who leave their monasteries and wander about as vagrant monks, entering parishes and claiming to be monks, is a problem; there was a Coptic monk who was excommunicated for charismatic heresy, who was admitted to St. John's in the Bay Area as a Rassaphore; he then left, set himself up in Phoenix and was preparing to use his position to lead a Charismatic convention in South Korea, but fortunately the OCA monastery received a complaint from Metropolitan Serapion and recalled him to the monastery; I do not know whether he obeyed or not, but if he did not, I imagine he was struck off (I believe it is fairly easy for an abbot to wash out a disobedient Rassophore).

Elsewhere on the Net, I have encountered a pair of disagreeable Melkite monks in the Phoenix area who live outside a monastery without proper ecclesiastical approval.  They object to joining St. Anthonys, which would provide for their ill health among other problems, because of some rumoir that Elder Panteleimon turned away the local Melkite bishop and would not admit him to the property (I suspect he jist was not warmly welcomed nor admitted to the nave, because the story they told me referred to a non-existant singular entrance door to the entire grounds) and this violated the rules of St. Pachomius and St. Benedict (in fact it doesn't; the obligation to receive all visitors as though they were our Lord obviously does not extend to persons the abbot deems potentially harmful or who he might regard as falling under Galatians 1:8, but I do know the Copts from the other St. Anthonys were allowed to visit and while not welcomed with superabundant enthusiasm, were not ejected as heretics).  Yet these same self proclaimed* Rassaphores live on their own outside a monastery and without the full approval of the same bishop, so their complaint strikes me as ridiculous.

*They may have been from the defunct Holy Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Monastery which is now the Coptic retreat house for the other St. Anthonys; there was some vagueness on this point which makes me think they are probably not legitimately tonsured.
 

Antonis

Archon
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Messages
2,996
Reaction score
0
Points
0
mike said:
I thought that, especially after stavrophore, you can't. Even Patriarch Philaret is referred as "Monk Philaret", not Mykhajlo Denysenko, by the Orthodox Church.

Yet Antiochians are laicizing two nuns. so how is it supposed to work exactly? What is the point?
What is the point of granting an ecclesial divorce to a married couple?
 

Fr. George

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
21,917
Reaction score
85
Points
48
Age
40
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
It's an extraordinary measure, to be sure, but it happens.  There have been monks and nuns of all ranks who have left the monastic life to seek marriage.  Usually the discipline of monks is left to the Hegoumenal (Monastic) Council of their community; in this case, since there are only two monks to the convent and they're both being disciplined, the actions should be taken by their ruling hierarch (as they have). 

As far as I know, the only times (again, very rare) when the action is taken is (a) for those who leave the monastic life for marriage or to make a profit in the world, and (b) for those who un-tether themselves from their monastic communities without the blessing of their Abbot/Abbess or Spiritual Father.
 

Porter ODoran

Toumarches
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
12,135
Reaction score
6
Points
38
Age
48
Location
Eugene, OR
mike said:
Alpo said:
If clergy can be laicized why not monastics?
Clergy can be laicized so that they no longer can do clergy stuff. There is no monastic stuff that is not allowed to do for non-monastics.
This seems especially obtuse. Monastics have rights such as founding and operating monastic communities.
 

Porter ODoran

Toumarches
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
12,135
Reaction score
6
Points
38
Age
48
Location
Eugene, OR
Is this the community of nuns that was abusing young women who came to inquire? (Well, the male chauffeur was doing it, without any hindrance from the Abbess.)
 

scamandrius

Merarches
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
9,377
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Age
44
Location
Omaha
mike said:
Alpo said:
mike said:
Alpo said:
If clergy can be laicized why not monastics?
Clergy can be laicized so that they no longer can do clergy stuff. There is no monastic stuff that is not allowed to do for non-monastics.

Samn! said:
The point, as I understand it, is so that these nuns don't represent themselves as nuns to laity who don't realize that they aren't under anyone's obedience. In recent years, the OCA has had trouble with monastics who were just sort of floating out in the world still as freelance monastics after having been "released" from their monasteries to no one in particular. To my mind this idea of laicizing monastics makes more practical sense (I can't speak to theology) than having monastics who aren't responsible to anyone.
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
Laicized monastics can get rich or married.
Then laicization is a reward, not punishment. still not making any sense.
So being free from materialism and single/celibate is a punishment?
 

ialmisry

Strategos
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Messages
41,813
Reaction score
6
Points
38
Location
Chicago
mike said:
Alpo said:
If clergy can be laicized why not monastics?
Clergy can be laicized so that they no longer can do clergy stuff. There is no monastic stuff that is not allowed to do for non-monastics.

Samn! said:
The point, as I understand it, is so that these nuns don't represent themselves as nuns to laity who don't realize that they aren't under anyone's obedience. In recent years, the OCA has had trouble with monastics who were just sort of floating out in the world still as freelance monastics after having been "released" from their monasteries to no one in particular. To my mind this idea of laicizing monastics makes more practical sense (I can't speak to theology) than having monastics who aren't responsible to anyone.
But how is it going to change how these nuns (or ladies) represent themselves?
why are they being defrocked (or deveiled)?

Being laity in the first place, I wonder if they are still not allowed to get married (at least in Church).
 

Indocern

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Aug 5, 2014
Messages
1,351
Reaction score
0
Points
0
mike said:
I thought that, especially after stavrophore, you can't. Even Patriarch Philaret is referred as "Monk Philaret", not Mykhajlo Denysenko, by the Orthodox Church.

Yet Antiochians are laicizing two nuns. so how is it supposed to work exactly? What is the point?
The monastic vows can't be broken and those who broke it are sinning very much.
According to the canonical rules of the church if a monk go in marriage, he still remain to be monk, but fallen, living in sin monk.
 

Orest

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Jun 14, 2007
Messages
1,567
Reaction score
1
Points
36
Indocern said:
mike said:
I thought that, especially after stavrophore, you can't. Even Patriarch Philaret is referred as "Monk Philaret", not Mykhajlo Denysenko, by the Orthodox Church.

Yet Antiochians are laicizing two nuns. so how is it supposed to work exactly? What is the point?
The monastic vows can't be broken and those who broke it are sinning very much.
According to the canonical rules of the church if a monk go in marriage, he still remain to be monk, but fallen, living in sin monk.
That's not true about monks not asking to leave & being granted permission.  In the Russian Orthodox Church there have been monks who asked to leave the monastery and the Holy Synod gave them permission & they left.
 

FatherGiryus

Protokentarchos
Joined
Jun 24, 2009
Messages
4,195
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Orest said:
Indocern said:
mike said:
I thought that, especially after stavrophore, you can't. Even Patriarch Philaret is referred as "Monk Philaret", not Mykhajlo Denysenko, by the Orthodox Church.

Yet Antiochians are laicizing two nuns. so how is it supposed to work exactly? What is the point?
The monastic vows can't be broken and those who broke it are sinning very much.
According to the canonical rules of the church if a monk go in marriage, he still remain to be monk, but fallen, living in sin monk.
That's not true about monks not asking to leave & being granted permission.  In the Russian Orthodox Church there have been monks who asked to leave the monastery and the Holy Synod gave them permission & they left.
Monasticism is much like the clerical orders in that monks are tonsured to a community, just as clergy are tonsured to an altar.  When a priest or deacon abandons his altar, he is no longer functioning according to his ordination and is usually deposed unless he repents and returns.  All this is true of monastics as well. 

Of course, the Church has gone through something of a breakdown in this regard, especially when it comes to the elevation of Archimandrites outside of monasteries.  An Archimandrite is a monastic office, though it is generally awarded to 'celibate' priests who do not profess genuine monasticism.  Instead, a priest can be elevated to Archimandrite without so much as a visit to a monastery, so long as the bishop doing the elevating has some degree of monastic tonsure.  That might be only as much as being a rassaphore.

Recently, this loose approach to monastic tonsure was displayed at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, where a 'monk' was tonsured to the chapel (where, incidentally, no monks belonged).  From the website:

Fr Kilian, a second-year seminarian, made history by being the first monk ever to be tonsured in Three Hierarchs Chapel—though many monastics have studied at the Seminary. After petitioning for tonsure, Fr Kilian discussed with Metropolitan Jonah where the rite would take place; they concluded that it should be in the seminary chapel. As Fr Kilian says, “This is my community now. This is where I have been placed. I really feel loved by people here, and I really love the people here. It made a lot of sense for me to have the tonsure here.” Many community members came to witness Fr Kilian’s tonsuring—possibly the only opportunity many will ever have of seeing the rite, outside of a monastic setting.

“It was really good,” commented one teenager, who had made a special effort to attend. "That so many people came to his tonsuring shows how loved Fr Kilian is within the community." Fr Kilian himself speaks fondly of his relations within the community, of friendships he has made with married students and their families, and of being “monkle” to some of the children.


The danger with this practice is that it has cheapened the importance of the tonsure to a monastic community.  This is the very foundation of monasticism.  I found it rather surprising that Metropolitan Jonah would have done such a thing, but then again he surprised me with several other decisions during and after his tenure.  To those who did not follow the story, the 'monk' ended up deposing himself through his actions, which made erasing this error all the easier.

In the case of the nuns of the Antiochian Archdiocese, they were sent to America with the hope that they could start a monastic community.  However, they could not obey their Primate, and so they were returned to the laity.  In essence, they could not even form a community under obedience.  So, they were put back into lay status.

This usually isn't a canonical problem, since neither of them reached the degree of Great Schema, which is generally regarded as the 'final vows' of monasticism.  Those tonsured to this degree, even if they are men without any other canonical impediments, cannot be consecrated as bishops due to the nature of this final stage of monastic 'cloister.'  I heard long ago that Mt. Athos rushed promising young men into the Great Schema to prevent just such an eventuality. 

For a Great Schemamonk to be deposed, I believe the common practice is for a for a Synod to consider such a matter.  However, a bishop can expel and depose other degrees of monk of his own authority (local churches may vary in this practice).

In closing, I would say that to think that monastic office is retained in the midst of disobedience is rather nonsensical, just as a 'rebellious priest' can hardly be considered a priest at all.
 

Deacon Lance

Protokentarchos
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
4,218
Reaction score
37
Points
48
Age
48
Location
Washington, PA
wgw said:
*They may have been from the defunct Holy Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Monastery which is now the Coptic retreat house for the other St. Anthonys; there was some vagueness on this point which makes me think they are probably not legitimately tonsured.
Holy Resurrection is not defunct it moved to St Nazianz, Wisconsin nor did it lose any members in the move.
 

Gunnarr

Archon
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
2,113
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
28
FatherGiryus said:
In closing, I would say that to think that monastic office is retained in the midst of disobedience is rather nonsensical, just as a 'rebellious priest' can hardly be considered a priest at all.[/size][/font]
Isn't it only nonsensical if they are not excommunicated?

Why don't they just excommunicate them for disobedience rather than "laicize" them? That will remove their status will it not?

Looking at historical instances, vagrant monks seemed to have been excommunicated. The Church might ask the state to force them to be recalled if they still do not come back to their community or become obedient after this. Obviously cannot ask the state to do this today. But why is the step of excommunication skipped?
 
Top