Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monasticism 3

The average layperson in an OLD CALENDARIST parish would lead a far more ascetic life than Roman Catholic priests (I am simply stating a fact and not praising or condemning anyone.) My wife attends mass every day and is a lector, Eucharistic minister and has studied so much that she knows as much or more than some priests. She is Filipina and several of the priests are Filipinos. She just now mentioned that one of them has probably gone to a folk dance. I know the priests in her parish and they are good people, good clergy. But a pious Old Calendarist layperson would not dance even though it is permitted to them. A married parish priest is forbidden to dance under any circumstances. One parish priest joked and said the only dance he does is the circumambulation done thrice at baptisms and also at wedding which may be seen as a stately procession. A monastic would not even listen to worldly music. The monasteries I was at had need of automobiles but would remove the radio to remove temptation. The monks would not read newspapers or worldly magazines. Several senior monks were given the duty to look at the news for things that might affect the Orthodox Church.  Usually they assigned such tasks to people who by nature destested such an activity. As a novice I very much wanted to read the Pedalion (Rudder) which is a collection of legalistic rules which govern the Greek Orthodox. I was forbidden to ever read it because they said my mind is too legalistic. Another monk was given the task of reading the Pedalion and he was not attached to it. He was ordained as a deacon so he had some need of such knowledge. The first thing I did when I left the monastery was purchase a copy of The Pedalion which is on my bookshelf to this day. Once I was no longer forbidden to read it the passion/desire to read it left me. As an aside, a curious note, an ordained priest must never shed the blood of any mammal. They are forbidden to hunt red-blooded mammals. IF a priest is driving a car and has an accident in which someone dies then he has shed human blood and may never again celebrate the Liturgy. This all goes back to the fact that King David COULD NOT build the temple because "Saul slew his thousands and David his tens of thousands."  Solomon was able to build the temple because he had never shed blood. Of course Solomon had other problems with his 800 wives and the foreign wives who built altars on high places.

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