Marriage and Monasticism

Metropolitan of Nafpakos, Hierotheos

“Indeed we know very well that the Church praises both ways of life, both the monastic life and the married life. But this does not mean that one is praised at the expense of the other. And at this point we must say that the interpretation of the Parable of the Talents applies, which we mentioned before.

It can be maintained that in the Church the people are not divided simply into unmarried and married, but into people who live in Christ and people who do not live in Christ. Thus on the one hand we have people who have the Holy Spirit and on the other hand people who do not have the Holy Spirit. Moreover, in the early Church, as it seems in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, all the Christians, unmarried and married, lived like monks, because even marriage has its asceticism. Therefore, if some monk criticises marriage in Christ, he shows that he has a problem with the monastic life, and if a married person criticises and looks askance at the monastic life, it means that he has a problem with the way in which he is living his life. A good monk never criticises what God praises and a good married person never criticises anything that God praises, such as the monastic life.”

The Mind of the Orthodox Church, p.157

Comments

  1. I think the saintly Metropolitan speaks another truth in this excerpt, about whom one finds within the Church. Not all have the Holy Spirit because not all are living in Christ, and not all are really keeping the faith unadulterated from heresy. This cuts against our puritanical Utopianism, since we have to face the fact that not all are saints or even will be saved from among the true Christians, the Orthodox. In a way it is a liberating truth, since we then do not have to do mental gymnastics reconciling things spoken by certain modern teachers in the Church– they might simply be in error, and we know for certain they are if their teaching is not in accord with the consensus of the fathers.

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