Monks and Monasteries

what do you guys think of monks, monasteries and the life of solitude?

Also, what do you think about all the changes that have happened to the monasteries in general lately? i.e cell phones, computers, cars, a/c, etc...? do you think it can go back to the way it was before?


  • I don't think it can go back to normal, but if they use it for serving God then I think there is no harm in it.
    I haven't been to the monasteries in Egypt for a while now but I still think it's more spiritual than any church or monastery in here even with all that new technology that is going on there.
    I think we all would love to go back to the days of the saints and what not but hey every age has it's own advantages and disadvantages.
    What I think of the monks in general...well I think the life of solitude is right for those who choose it for themselves, but no one can be forced in it. The life of solitude is hard especially if it's a monastery located in the middle of the desert where visitation is very limited. What they have here (hopefully to be built soon) is a monastery in the middle of the city right across from the church, so any monk that will be living there will have to see people whether he likes or not. Either way, living in a monastery is a very good thing but only for those who can handle it.
  • I agree with you, but I think all of this technology stuff just increases the temptation rate on the monks since satan can use these as weapons against them.

    My personal opinion, I think if Anba Antonius or Anba Bola come back to the monasteries and live again on earth, they would not be using this new technology... for example, if they need to go anywhere, they would walk it and not drive their own car, or would refuse adding the a/c to their cells and just bear the heat as a cross.

    also, our church is the only church that has kept its belief and didn't change anything about since the time of Christ... why are we introducing changes at the monasteries now knowing that monks set an example for all of us to live by???

    This just drives me crazy!! is it just me, or do you guys feel the same way?
  • Well............. to my personaly
    In my opinion, In my eyes, etc.........
    St. Mina's Monestary, I have been there everytime I visit egypt, and it grows ( besm el saleb) and grows.............!
    Pope Kyrollos would be so proud.
    If it wasn't for technology, we wouldn't be on this site talking to each other.
    I am sure just like 10 years ago they didn't have things we have now, 10 years from now they are going to have things we do NOT have. You can even ask engineers, I am sure they do their jobs other than cleaning! :P
    Satan using technology against monks, YES, I do think that is a possibility.
    El komos mekhaeal el beheari el mehreaki, may his blessings be with us all amen and guide us, He was introduced to a camera, the OLD fashion ones ( where you stick you head inside it) and the person who had that camera wanted to take a picture of him.... and he said (sorry not exactly) Something but it was very simple and made you see how much of a blessing he realy is.
    As cars go, Think about it....... I am glad it does exists, because if abona was walking in the street "no taxi is going to stop for him, and no bus, and he'd be having a hard time just getting to his destination"
    As phones, I am still glad they exists, because I call abonas right before i go take a test or exam on their cellphones!!
    so that is what i think!
    Pray for me,
    Anbabola I hope i'd hear from you!
  • having this kind of technology with normal abounas is ok, and i greatly support it... but why monks... i def don't see a monk in el baramos calling a monk in el maharaa` to ask him how is he feeling or something? right?

    ok... so what do u think about installing A/Cs or having PCs in their cells?
    i'm not trying to judge anyone, but i just don't understand this kind of change in their solitude life?
  • [quote author=AnbaBola link=board=4;threadid=4707;start=0#msg64913 date=1166131714]
    having this kind of technology with normal abounas is ok, and i greatly support it... but why monks... i def don't see a monk in el baramos calling a monk in el maharaa` to ask him how is he feeling or something? right?

    hahahahaha....... "how is he feeling?"hahahahaha.....
    I have never seen a monk, talking on the phone and say "Hey, ya ebni blah blah blah............."
    I still think Phones are a good way to communicated with people!
    It is good when you have a problem, and call your favorite monk at St. mina's monestary ( I am a St. Mina Monestarty maniac) and tell him what is bothering you etc...........
    [quote author=AnbaBola link=board=4;threadid=4707;start=0#msg64913 date=1166131714]
    ok... so what do u think about installing A/Cs or having PCs in their cells?
    i'm not trying to judge anyone, but i just don't understand this kind of change in their solitude life?

    A/C???? Air Cond. in their phone???? ( Hummm....... I have never heard of that......... :o ) P.C. on thier phone, maybe they want to check their email!
    Most abonas and bishops have email H.H. himself has an email!
    One time, abona came to visit, and he had 4 cellphones! I was Shocked :o

    pray for me,
  • I have never seen a monk, talking on the phone and say "Hey, ya ebni blah blah blah............."
    I still think Phones are a good way to communicated with people!

    yea.. to people not to monks I think...

    I am a St. Mina Monestarty maniac

    me too even though i haven't been there for a looonnng time...
  • Hi AnbaBola, everyone,
    U brings up a very important argument that is valid from both sides of the arguments.
    I first ask u r u a monk/novice? Are u planning to be one?
    The use of computers
    These are some of the things u have highlighted and others that from one point u believe is causing monasticism to loose its focus, purpose and above all providing the very true meaning of monasticism as represented in the past by our great fathers and saints even more providing unnecessary temptation.
    Now firstly I believe u need to look at the time difference, environmental differences, and genetical, physical differences etc.
    In the days of the great saints like anba Paula, st shenouda the arcmandirite , st hermaina..abba karas.etc these people lived in a time where there livelihood was from a strong foundation some of them spent there entire days fasting and praying while tending sheep!!!. I don’t think I could even last out there even if I had a grand breakfast and some lunch.
    Secondly in those days after st Anthony they had a lot of great support from God in terms of hardness of life and also usually they would have some who help them either bring them food/bread or carry them to church for the annual feast would bring news to them and sell their handiwork. There is no point comparing to the great Saints who had their food brought to them by the hand of God. In the beginning they would have started in a similar fashion. In those days travelling by horses and on foot was a common thing hack that was the only way to go. Today we have roads instead and that’s for cars. Remember pope Kirollis and the stubborn donkey/mule--mail
    In those days I believe the climate was more tolerable then it is today. With global warming happening temperatures in deserts reach a scorching high such that physically living there might be a risk to the health. In such a situation I don’t think having a wall fan is going to make much a difference. Then again today our people grow up with all the things that have been highlighted as a basic to live. Yes they can be misused but that is on the monk himself that’s his road. Today many of our youth grow up to live from a foundation that definitely cannot be a person who can walk for miles and miles no way yes if u still live in Egypt and come from a local village where u tendered the cow and sheep then sure but if u grew up where u had focused more on studies and family and indoor sports became an engineer or even trade and lived most ur life with the above and at the same time had freedom to abuse it when u r in the world then that person cannot change to be able to walk for miles. Yes some might be able to but not the majority. Also the location also matters here in Australia there r a lot of dangers in the wild not just scorpions but some of the worlds most deadliest snakes and spiders and a boy from the city cannot but keep to precautionary measures and take the car.
    In addition there is a great story that was told by a great fathers I don’t if anyone can remember it exactly but I think it goes as
    In a monastery in Egypt there were a group of monks. Amongst them was a mid aged monk who seemed to have more luxuries then anything, he had nice shoes, tea, had vegetable provided etc so much so that on the outside it seemed as though this monk still lived in the world. One this other younger who had been noticing this burst out in anger to the abbot saying and accusing him of not completely giving up the world.
    Then the abbot took this monk aside and explained to him. ‘what have u given from ur past life. U lived in a village miles away from the city u had half an acre and lived ur days as a farmer. Here this other monk is the descendent of this great lord who has lands and riches both in the city and country. He had servant at his side and wore shoes and clothes good enough for kings. He gave alms and lived a life of a prince. He gave up all this to be a monk. In ur eyes what u see as luxury to him is nothing more then basic.
    I hope u the idea in the above. In summary I believe as time changes they way we do certain things will also change but the underlying principles will not change the practise of humility and other will still exist. Monks will still take walks in the desert even if they have cars and the important values will still be there. Did u know that pope kirollis drank a cup a of coffee most morning with a I think it was a hyena. I don’t think I would argue with him that that is wrong. In the end my brother it comes down to u and ru foc and relationship with God.
    Also I believe for most successful monks the life in monasticism doesn’t begin when they enter the monastery it usually has begun many years earlier then that. And this is a affirmed truth. All the great saint had this. Pope kirollis started when he was 4 and in more hardness and strictness 5 yrs before he joined the monastery. In this manner one would have learnt to avoid and grow out of the temptations to misuse the net or phone. Personally I would add to the list a digital camera, pda, tablet pc printer the whole shebang. And yea I would not be able to go without a computer since so many theological stuff and reading can be accessed on a computer. And if I transcribe anything id rather do it on a tablet pc so that it can be available on paper and online. It’ll make sharing off materials/lecture between monasteries easier.
    That’s what I think. That’s what I will do God willing. Some great points as well put forward, by “HIS SWEET PRAISES”
  • Very good and valid points karas7

    I have one more thing to add though...we might see that they have all that luxury from outside...but in a way it can be helpful to us. Like they are using it for services of others not for their own advantages. I mean having a cell phone right now has become basic for everyone wherever you live...and well having an AC and a car like karas7 highlighted they have become a necessary thing in our age. However, a computer to some people might be overrated a bit...but look at all this wonderful websites that we have about the monasteries...this is not necessarly done by monks...but still a computer is necessary for them since it has become necessary for us. For example, there is a lot of live brodcasting from different monasteries...and in fact I find ourselves lucky to have this kind of technology now...because without us having that..people living outside of Egypt won't get to experience any of it. Like for me, when I can't go back to Egypt to see all this wonderful monasteries out there, I still need to experience kinda of what's going on over there and maybe I could feel like I am there without actually being there.

    One more thing is that monasteries of St. Mina and other ones that are build right in the city aren't mainly just for solitude. As explained by my abouna, there are two types of monasteries. A monastery for solitude and solitude only, and another for both solitude and servitude. Monks that are living in monasteries right in the city have to serve other people around them and spread the faith, so they need to interact with people not just "walk in the desert" So we should really be happy that these monasteries are crowded...because they are there mainly to help people not to push them away. Any monk living in those monasteries should have choosen another monastery that could only provide him with solitude...but he chose this monastery for another purpose and that is to help people.
  • Thanks guys... this has helped me alot... i greatly appreciate it.
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