Theologica

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It is my honor to have been welcomed as a new member in the Group. My goal in this discussion is to introduce me.

I identify me as an unworthy sinner who grows in grace according to a modicum of repentance that I exercise by cooperating with God. My day-to-day theme of repentance is utter dependence on God's mercy, which ignites a flame of spiritual tears drawn from the well of "living water" that you and I share in Christ.

My name is Ioannis--a name that the Church gave me thanks to the patronal friendship of John the Baptist--Ioannis tou Prodromou [St. John the "Forerunner" in Greek]. I am an Orthodox monk/priest in the Greek tradition. It seems like just a few inches ago in years that I had been a Roman Catholic monk/priest of the Trappist reform. By using "Trappist," I am speaking of the common name for the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.), a reform of a much older rule that began with St. Benedict of Nursia way back in the 5th/6th Christian century.

Reforms amongst monks and nuns resemble in some ways the plethora of divisions in Protestant history. Perhaps it was a similar wish to immortalize the rightness of battles and glory of yore that led Shakespeare to craft the following words of King Henry V on St. Crispin's Day:

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he'll remember, with advantages,

What feats he did that day.

If he's lucky, that is. Alas, even charismatic leaders of reforms, as King Henry V, pass away. We might consider identifying the vanity of every reform as testimony to Christ, Whose Incarnation truly resolved the Gordian knot of sin tied about your neck and mine.

Some folks know the Trappists as the beer and cheese guys, and others as linked to Thomas Merton. Monks have been around a long time in the Church--perhaps long enough to deserve worse associations than to beer, cheese and good ol' Tom (Father Louis in monastic profession).

I also serve as one of six current Administrators for an Orthodox-interest group on Facebook, called "Ask an Orthodox Priest." In addition, I serve as an associate editor of a journal entitled In Communion [http://incommunion.org], which is published by the "Orthodox Peace Fellowship."

Tags: Church, Orthodox, Shakespeare, forgiveness, grace, monasticism, monk, reformations

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Which of the monasteries are you at?  When not doing the religious stuff, what is your "job" there?  I remember going to the local Catholic monastery several times as a kid.  It was interesting to see how they all had their assigned jobs.  I remember one time they didn't have strawberries because the one guy whose job was the strawberry patch was ill - so they just didn't have any that year. 

BTW, I have mentioned before, but I have family that is part of the Orthodox Church - the Antiochian to be specific.  He has some interesting OC links and resources at http://www.discover-original-christianity.info/ 

The same where the film crew from CBS recorded--Simonos Petras.

Fr. Ionnis,

Welcome to Theologica, from a fellow Orthodox, albeit much newer in the Faith than you.  I was raised Baptist, and discovered Orthodoxy a couple of years ago, and was received into the Church on Dec. 24, 2010.  Yesterday was my name day (on the New Calendar), since St. Stephen is my patron.

It is fascinating to find an actual Athonite monk on Theologica!  I didn't even know the Holy Mountain got internet, let alone was interested in it's discussions. :)  Welcome!

Pray for me, a sinner!

Blessings and prayers from the unworthy hieormonk Ioannis. Please pray for me, a sinner.

Πάτερ Ιωάννη (Παπαγιάννη;) καλώς ήλθες στη Θεολογική ιστιοσελίδα!  

Είμαι σίγουρος ότι η συμμετοχή σου εδώ θα είναι αμοιβαίως ωφέλιμη. Τα μέλη που συμμετάσχουν στις συζητήσεις είναι από διάφορες θρησκευτικές αποχρώσεις και (κατά τη γνώμη μου) αυτό εμπλουτίζει το διάλογο.  

Ο Κύριος Ιησούς να σε ευλογεί και να σε κατευθύνει πάντα στο θέλημά του.  

John From Down Under (είμαι Αυστραλός Ελληνικής καταγωγής)

Ευχαριστώ πολύ, Ιωάννης. Είστε το είδος για να γράψει στα ελληνικά. Προσεύχομαι ότι σας ενατένιση της Ιεράς Γεννήσεως συναρπάζει , προκλήσεις και βαθαίνει την απάντησή σας για την αγάπη και την πίστη στο Χριστό.
π. Ιωάννης -- το ανάξιο αμαρτωλό

Ok back to Queen's English! Tell me, are you a Greek national or a foreigner living in Greece?

Fr. Ioannis said:

Ευχαριστώ πολύ, Ιωάννης. Είστε το είδος για να γράψει στα ελληνικά. Προσεύχομαι ότι σας ενατένιση της Ιεράς Γεννήσεως συναρπάζει , προκλήσεις και βαθαίνει την απάντησή σας για την αγάπη και την πίστη στο Χριστό. π. Ιωάννης -- το ανάξιο αμαρτωλό

Of Irish-descent and native to the USA, I hold dual citizenship with Greece. Technically I am Greek...and 'USA-dian' ["American"], and not a foreigner. However, I am both at home and not at home wherever I lay my hat in this island planet that God has made in bountiful love to call it and us "good."

How do you feel about Abott Ephraim's recent arrest for fraud? Also which of the 20 monasteries do you live in?

Fr. Ioannis said:

Of Irish-descent and native to the USA, I hold dual citizenship with Greece. Technically I am Greek...and 'USA-dian' ["American"], and not a foreigner. However, I am both at home and not at home wherever I lay my hat in this island planet that God has made in bountiful love to call it and us "good."

Don't know his opinion on Abott Ephriam, I'd already asked about which monastery and he said it was the same one in the CBS special, Simonos Petras.

JFDU said:

How do you feel about Abott Ephraim's recent arrest for fraud? Also which of the 20 monasteries do you live in?

Fr. Ioannis said:

Of Irish-descent and native to the USA, I hold dual citizenship with Greece. Technically I am Greek...and 'USA-dian' ["American"], and not a foreigner. However, I am both at home and not at home wherever I lay my hat in this island planet that God has made in bountiful love to call it and us "good."

You asked for my "feelings." I feel compassion for every person who has been imprisoned, either in a place that curtails personal liberties like jail or prisons of the mind, body, family or insufficient resources. In addition, I feel confident that Father Ephraim thanks God for this experience, knowing his simple trust in God's providence. I also acknowledge the facts that +Ephraim is getting along in years and increasingly frail--facts that are coupled with an intense fire of the Holy Spirit that illumines his mind and body. His face and eyes glow with love of Christ, and in adversity they shine even more.

Hegumenos Ephraim has been remanded to Korydallis, an Attika prison about 10 km from Athens city center, after arrest at his home Monastery of Vatopaidi on Mt. Athos-the Holy Mountain. Two bodies of law relate to varied charges of fraud and misappropriation of government and Church funds.

The first is Greek constitutional law and associated criminal codes, and the second is law of Church canons. The Church of Greece is the Orthodox Church according to the nation's constitution.

The constitutional questions connected with charges against Father Ephraim are complicated due to autonomy accorded all monks attached to any Mt. Athos monastery. More than one third of Athonite monks with active passports are expatriots. However, all become Greek citizens and "Greek" ethnos regardless their country of origin after monastic tonsure and/or official acceptance by one of 20 monasteries.

Because the questions require a lenghty process to answer, an unknown amount of time is required to answer them. Habeas corpus exists in the constitution, but administrative codes favor judicial caprice. For this reason Father Ephraim's arrest could lead to remand for an indeterminate period of time.

I beg your prayers for Father Ephraim of Vatopaidi, second in hierachy on Mt. Athos to the Great Lavra, and the members of the Vatopaidi brotherhood who grieve the absence of their spiritual father.

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