Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/525

This page needs to be proofread.




and fasting, doing nothing at all. In the eighteenth century, when an attempt was made to found monas- tic schools, they fiercely resented such a desecration of their ideal. During the early Middle Ages the Or- thodox remained immeasurably beliind the Catholic monks, who were converting western Europe and making their monasteries the homes of scholarship. The chief event of this period is the foundation of the Athos monasteries, destined to become the centre of Orthodox monasticism. When St. Athanasius of Athos founded the great Laura there, there were al- ready cells of hermits on the holy mountain. Never- theless he is rightlj' looked upon as the foimder of the communities that made Athos so great a centre of Orthodoxy (seeAxHOS, MouNTjalso Kyriakos,'E)CKXr)(r- lauTiKT] i<TTopia, Athens, 189S, III, 7-1^78; "Echos d'Orient", II, 321-31).

In the tenth and eleventh centuries the famous mon- asteries called the Meteora (Mer^wpa) in Thessaly were built on their inaccessible peaks to escape the ravages of the Slavs. The Turkish conquest made little dif- ference to the monks. Moslems respect religious. Their Prophet had spoken well of monks (Koran, Sura V, 85) and had given a charter of protection to the monks of Sinai; but they shared fully the degradation of the Orthodox Church under Moslem rule. The Turkish conquest sealed their isolation from the rest of Christendom; the monasteries became the refuge of peasants too lazy to work, and the monk earned the scorn with which he is regarded by educated people in the East. Eugenios Bulgaris (d. 1800) , one of the chief restorers of classical scholarship among the Greeks, made a futile attempt to found a school at Athos. The monks drove him out with contumely as an athe- ist and a blasphemer, and pulled his school down. Its ruing still stand as a warning that study forms no part of the "angehc" life.

(4) Monasticism in the present Orthodox Church. — The sixteen independent Churches that make up the Orthodox communion are full of monasteries. There are fewer convents. One great monastery, that of Mount Sinai, follows what professes to be the old rule of St. Anthony. All the others have St. Basil's rule with the additions, expansions, and modifications made by later emperors, patriarchs, and synods. There is no distinction of religious orders as in the West, though many lauras have customs of their own. All monks are "Basilians" if one must give them a special name. A monk is ii6mxos, a priest-monk Upofiivaxos. A monastery is liiv-q or XaOpa. The novice (apxip^os) wears a tunic called pacros with a belt and the kalimauchion of all the clergy, he is often called pa(TO(p6pos. After two years (the period is some- times shortened) he makes his (solemn) vows and re- ceives the small habit (/xavdiias). Technically he is now a p.LKpba-x-np-0^. though the word is not often ased. After an undefined time of perseverance he receives the great habit (/couKoyXiov) and becomes luyaKhaxviw^. The popular Greek name for monk is "good old man" (KoMyepoi). The election, the rights and duties of the hegumenos and other dignitaries remain as they were before the schism. The title "archimandrite" ap- pears to be given now to abbots of the more important monasteries and also sometimes as a personal title of distinction to others. It involves only precedence of rank.

Most monasteries depend on the local metropolitan. In the Orthodox states (Russia, Greece, etc.) the Holy S>'nod has a good deal to say in their management, confirms the election of the abbot, controls, and not unfrequently confiscates their property. But certain great monasteries are exempt from local jurisdiction and immediately subject to the patriarch or Holy Synod. These are called (rToi/po7nj7ia. One Ortho- dox monastery (Mount Sinai) of which the abbot is also "Archbishop of Sinai", is an autocephalous Church, obeying only Christ and the Seven Councils.

The TiviKol Kavoi/uTfiol of the CEcumenical patriarch- ate contain a chapter about monasteries (pp. 67 sq.). They are divided into three classes, those with more than twenty, more than ten or more than five monks. Only those of the first class (more than twenty monies) are boimd to sing all the Divine office and celebrate the holy Liturgy every day. Monasteries with less than five monks are to be suppressed or incorporated in larger ones. Monastic property accumulated in the as in the West. Many quarrels between the Church and State have arisen from us\irped control or even wholesale confiscation of this property by the various Orthodox governments. The first Greek Par- liament in 1833 (at Nauplion) suppressed all mon- asteries in the new kingdom that had less than six monks. In 1864 Cusa confiscated all monastic prop- erty in Rumania, of which much belonged to the mon- asteries of Mount Sinai, Jerusalem, and Athos. In 1875 Russia confiscated three-fifths of the property in Bessarabia belonging to the monastery of the Holy Sepulchre. Of the rest it paid itself one-fifth for its trouble and applied two-fifths to what it described euphemistically as pious purposes in Russia. Many monasteries have farms called purSxia in distant lands. Generally a few monks are sent to administer the ?«e(o- chion of which all the revenue belongs to the mother- house. The most famous monasteries in the southern part of the Orthodox Church are Mount Sinai, the Holy .Sepulchre at Jerusalem, the Meteora in Thes- saly, Sveti Naum on the Lake of Ochrida and, most of all, Athos. The national quarrels in the Orthodox Church have full development at Athos. Till lately the Greeks succeeded in crushing all foreign elements. They drove the Georgians from Iviron, the Bulgars from Philotheos, Xenophon, and St. Paul's. Now they are rapidly losing ground and influence; the Slavs are building large Sketai, and Russia here as everywhere is the great danger to the Greek element. The Russians have only one laura (Panteleimon or Russiko) but with its huge Sketai it contains more monks than all the Greek lauras together. All the Athos monasteries are stauropegia; only the Patriarch of Constantinople has any jurisdiction. For ordina- tions the hegumenoi invite the neighbouring Metro- politan of Heraclea. The monasteries have also the dignity of "Imperial" lauras, as having been under the protection of former emperors.

(5) Monasticism in Russia. — The writer is indebted to Mr. C. Faminsky of the Russian Embassy Church at London for the following account and the Russian bibliography. There have been monks in Russia since Christianity was first preached tlicre in the tenth centurj'. Their great period was the fourteenth cen- tury; their decline began in the sixteenth. Peter the Great (1661-1725) at one time meant to suppress the monasteries altogether. In 1723 he forbade new novices to be received. Under Catherine II (1761- 1796) a more prosperous era began; since Alexander I (1801-1825) monasteries flourish again all over the empire. The latest census (1896) counts 495 monas- teries and 249 convents of n\ins. These are divided into 4 lauras (in Russia the name means a certain precedence and special privileges); 7 stauropegia (subject directly to the Holy Synod and exempt from the ordinary's jurisdiction), 64 monjvsteries attached to bishops' palaces. The rest are divided into three classes. There are 73 of the first class (which have at least 33 monks or, if convents, 'i'2 nuns), 100 of the second (17 monks or nuns) and 191 of the third (12 monks or 17 nuns). There are further 350 monas- teries not classified. Catherine II introduced the practice of drawing up official lists of the monasteries. She found 1072 mona,steries in her empire of which she abolished 496 and classified the rest. In Russia, as at Athos, monasteries are either cftnobic (obshe- jitel'nyie) or idiorhythmic (neobuhejUeV nyie) ; but these latter are not in favour with the Holy Synod