This landmark address by the Abbot of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery is one of the primary motivators behind the effort to launch The Northern Thebaid Pilgrimage Project as quickly as possible. The Project can help foster a “culture of monasticism” in the Church, one which continually turns our hearts and minds towards prayer, pilgrimage, and the one thing needful.
“The health of the Church in a particular area can be measured by the health of monasticism in that area, and thus the relation of monastic life to the greater Orthodox Church in America is one that concerns all the faithful.”
Address of Abbot Schema-Archimandrite Sergius of St. Tikhon’s Monastery to the 18th OCA All-American Council
St Tikhon’s Monastery, July 26, 2015
During the 6th Plenary Session of the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, Archimandrite Sergius, the abbot of St. Tikhon’s Monastery in Waymart, PA addressed the delegates concerning monasticism and its role in the contemporary American Church.
His address is of interest to all the faithful for as he noted both monastics and married laity are “called to live 100% for our Lord 100% of the time,” and the monastic life has traditionally been accepted as the inspiration for the laity. As St. John of Climacus wrote: “Angels are a light to monks, and the monastic life is a light to men.” The health of the Church in a particular area can be measured by the health of monasticism in that area, and thus the relation of monastic life to the greater Orthodox Church in America is one that concerns all the faithful.
In his practical talk Fr. Sergius gives three points for encouraging the growth of Orthodox monasticism in America which, like the Orthodox Church in general, is small in comparison to other ‘churches.’
The first and most important point is to “Never disdain or discourage any vocation” to monasticism, the priesthood or any clerical office. To do so will hinder the call of God in that person’s life.
Archimandrite Sergius secondly encourages pilgrimages to monasteries to benefit from the spiritual atmosphere there and, finally, to be inspired by the example of prayer that monasteries set for the Church.
Monasticism effects the entire Church:
We, as members of Christ’s body, can and must support the building and growth of monasteries and monastic vocations. By so doing, we invest in the well-being and preservation of the Church as well as in the “churching” of America. Through the monasteries, organic Orthodox life will grow and flourish, and acting like a catalyst, it will empower and inspire local parishioners to give more of their own hearts and lives to God and to prayer. The power that emanates from a monastery is not only real and tangible, it is intensely powerful, life-creating and life-changing.
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The full text of Fr. Sergius’ address is below:
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