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Regular version of the site

Book

Monasticism and Economy: Rediscovering an Approach to Work and Poverty: Acts of the Fourth International Symposium, Rome, June 7-10, 2016

Rome: Studia Anselmiana, 2019.
Academic editor: I. Jonveaux, T. Quartier OSB, B. Sawicki OSB, P. Trianni.
Under the general editorship: I. Jonveaux, T. Quartier, B. Sawicki.

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.

Chapters
Monasticism and Economy: Rediscovering an Approach to Work and Poverty: Acts of the Fourth International Symposium, Rome, June 7-10, 2016