Various Photos: Monks and nuns; the monastic life
The monk can be an inspiration for the common man, not so much as to follow him in his calling, but
to follow his example with regard to respecting to God's will, strengthening his belief in God,
reviewing his habits and rearranging his values and priorities in life. He strives continuously to
have the name of Lord Jesus always in mind, in heart, in thought and on his lips. The Orthodox monk
is the guardian and the living proof of a long standing and holy Tradition. In an Orthodox Monastery,
Byzantium lives forever as an environment of devotion and a special way of worship.
The monastic rule has as its strength to safeguard the monk in his daily life, helping him, through
obedience, to keep unceasing vigil upon his inward integrity so that the union of heart and spirit
may become for him a reality and lead him, as far as this is possible upon earth, to union with God.
It is the primary rule of the order of Offices and also covers the obedience of intellectual and
manual work. Work is itself a prayerful activity with the ascetic end in view of overcoming our
rebel nature and to keep us from idleness which is so harmful to the spiritual life. Hagiography,
icon painting, Byzantine music, woodcarving, incense preparation, making Church vestments,
translating or writing books on the spiritual life and printing them, all arts that originated in
Byzantium are still performed and flourish in the Monasteries. Art and especially Byzantine
iconography is one of the basic ways for someone to approach God. Byzantium and the particular
Tradition we inherit from it, mainly through the monasteries, constitute one of the main components
of Christian identity. It is one of our deepest roots.