September 19, 2011

The Relationship Between Parishes and Monasteries

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

We create a distinction between the Monasteries and the Parishes. Usually we create conflicts and splits between these two centres of life.

But in Orthodoxy we say that there is a relationship between the Parishes and the Monasteries. St. John Chrysostom urges his listeners to visit the Monasteries to see the earthly angels, as he calls the monks, so that then they can live a sound community and family life.

The Monastery and the Parish are the two centres of Christian life. The Monasteries are nourished by the Parishes, and then they help the Parishes in their way. St. Kosmas the Aitolian grew spiritually mature on the Holy Mountain and then became a great missionary. St. Nektarios of Pentapolis created a Monastery, and through this Monastery he helped the people. To honor St. Nektarios and criticize monasticism, in which he lived, does not constitute an Orthodox ethos; it is a splitting of the catholicity of the Church and a spiritual schizophrenia.