Антоний Печерский и начальная история русского монашества (Рясофор в Древней Руси)
According to the Russian Primary Chronicle, when St. Anthony settled in his cave near Kiev, people joined him and he tonsured them as monks. We know, however, that in certain cases he did not tonsure the newcomers but sent them to be tonsured by a priest (hieromonk). Obviously St. Anthony was not a priest. Why, then, in some cases did he do it himself and yet in other cases, he did not? If he was not a priest, how could he tonsure people? The author of the present article attempts to answer these and similar questions with reference to historical, philological, and liturgical data. The article is devoted to the evolution of the monastic tradition in Rus' of the 11th century.
History of the catholic monastic order of Mercedarians.
With the vow of non-possession being an essential concept in Russian monasticism, real monastic practices of the 17th-century Muscowy, as we can perceive relying on preserved documents, demonstrated certain negligence of the vow. Large monasteries acted as corporations that produced goods and traded them to cover living expenses. Although, in theory a monetary profit was not the goal, certain monasteries would often not only trade, but lend out money, sometimes even with interest. By the 2nd half of the 17th century in Muscowy, there existed not only monastic communities, but also independent monks only formally affiliated with some Moscow monastery. As a rule, they were natives of the South-Western regions of Russia (modern territories of Belorussia and Ukraine). In general, they were educated in Poland or in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, took their vows in home monasteries and then moved to Moscow in search of a better life or due Monks and money in the early modern Muscowy to war or social instability in homeland. They would enjoy greater mobility and freedom in their activities than a common monk would – they were employed at the Tzar’s court, interacted with boyars and church leaders. One of the most well-known monks of the type was the first Muscowy court poet and preacher Simeon Polotsky (1629-1680). His manifold background and experiences, as well as his preserved archives, inspired me to look into his financial situation: ways in which he earned and accumulated money, expenditures he may have faced during his life in a Moscow monastery and his service at Tzar’s court, currency of his savings. I will address in detail Simeon’s last will – a unique document, providing an extensive data on the financial sphere of Simeon’s life. The study is meant to be comparative, thus giving a general perspective on Simeon’s place in the economic structure of the Muscowy Tzar court and Moscow monastic and clerical communities.
Preserved from the seventeenth century, a corpus of documents that relates to Muscovite monasticism is vast and embraces a range of manifold texts such as acts, literary works, formal and official records, correspondence and testaments. The latter bring to the foreground various issues of interest, both for a historian and a philologist. Above all, the very fact of an ascetic monk legally bequeathing money and possessions and documenting it in a will demonstrates a certain gap between formal monastic rules, which on a regular basis include the vow of poverty and non-possession and real monastic practices. On the one hand, as we see from archived sources, it was not uncommon for a monk to compose and get approved a testament, thus bringing his worldly life into order before death; on the other hand, these monastic testaments were obviously to come into a conflict with a holy order of testator and with existing monastic rules, either oral or written. My principal goal in this article is to enhance our understanding of practical and conceptual aspects of a monastic life of the seventeenth-century Muscovy through discussing real practices of observation, neglection, and re-interpretation of the vow of poverty and non-possession by individual monks, as represented in their testaments – acts of last will. The study focuses on a peculiar document – a testament of a monk Simeon of Polotsk (1629-1680), a court poet and preacher of the Tzars Aleksei Mikhailovich (1629-1676) and Fedor Alekseevich (1661-1682). Simeon’s testament illustrates one of the ways in which monks used to reconcile worldly riches with keeping the vow and gives a glimpse of the everyday life of a monk, highlighting the ways in which money was earned and spent in monasteries.
The review analyses the international conference “Christian Monasticism from East to West: Monastic Traditions and Modernity in Europe”, organized in June 2015 by sociologists and theologians from the Universities of Graz (Austria), Turin (Italy), and Bucharest (Romania). The conference initiated a sociological reflection of different monastic traditions, and the role of monasteries in terms of the decline of trust in religious institutions. It raised the question of the dynamics of monasticism as a traditional institution in modern societies, not only in Europe, but also in Asia, Africa, and America. The scholarly discussion paid particular attention to the adaptation and resistance of religious traditions to social changes. Researchers from different countries have demonstrated the innovative potential of monasticism in the economic sphere (monasteries from different countries are pioneers in the development of the sector of organic products), the cultural sphere (the development of tourism and excursion services), and the religious sphere (the emergence of so-called “new religious communities”). Alongside traditional roles, monasteries have acquired new social roles. The secularization of the concept of “monasticism”, and its use in relation to the phenomenon of “consuming the tradition” apart from a religious context is stressed. The conference continued to develop the theme of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of religion. The position of a researcher and his or her professional identity, the issues of objectivity, and the idealization of the research subject are analyzed.
The article focuses on how the method of participant observation can be applied in such an understudied and hard-to-access field as monastic communities. Monastic studies generate interest in academic circles but rarely become subjects of methodological reflection. The article fills the gap and analyzes the specifics of this method, its strengths and limitations as applied to monastic environment. The article discusses the ways of formulating a legend and two methods of gaining access to field: through official channels and church administration, “top-down,” and unofficial routes and gatekeepers, direct contacts, “bottom-up.” Predominantly referring to the research in Christian monasteries, the author examines four roles of a researcher depending on the degree of participation, they are: a guest, a pilgrim (or trudnik), a potential monk and a monk. Special attention is paid to professional identity conflicts that are solved with the help of “research bargains.” Such compromises as observing body discipline, mastering self-control skills, physical work and sometimes even participation in liturgical activities of a monastery are mentioned. Some aspects of reciprocal relations between a researcher and an informant and the ways to sustain them are examined. The paper covers several limitations of the method of participant observation in relation to the monastic environment, among them are: seasonality of rural monastic life, unsystematic nature of observation, researcher’s subjectivity, lack of access to certain areas of monastic life. In conclusion, the author draws attention to the selection of observation units, in particular, the difference in observation in small and large monasteries. The author gives first-person examples of empirical research in various monasteries which can be used as recommendations in conducting similar fieldwork. The article draws on the author’s fieldwork in Russian Orthodox monasteries since 2011, as well as the experience of Russian and foreign colleagues who study monastic communities.
The paper examines possibilities of using the «Vita Columbani» as a primary source for history of the monastic community in the late 6th – early 7th century Gaul. Columbanian monasticism is regarded as one of the development models of the Gallic monastic movement. Interpretation of the Life reveals such aspects of Columbanian monasterial organisation as the role of the abbot, rules for the monks, economic functioning of the monastery.