An Exhortation to Newly-Tonsured Monks
On the night of April 5th, 2019 (o.s.), the eve of the 40th day of the Great Fast, the abbot of Hoy Trinity Monastery Bishop Luke of Syracuse tonsured three monks into the lesser schema. Following the tonsures, Bp Luke greeted the new monks with this short exhortation:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
Our dear newly-tonsured fathers, dear brothers and sisters:
Over one hundred fifty years ago, our father among the saints Ignatius (Brianchaninov) and other fathers said that monasticism is over. Such was the state of affairs in Russia, so weak were the monks in their strivings that they could not envision a continuation of the monastic life. However, this evening, by a miracle of God we here have celebrated the mystery of a monastic tonsure a century and a half removed from these sorrowful expectations of our fathers.
This is truly a miracle, for how many people among the human race today, men and women, desire to dedicate themselves with their whole heart to the service of our Lord and Saviour and to His Holy Church? But this miracle places on us today a great responsibility to make use of the mercy of God and the grace of this event, of this Mystery. You have chosen the monastic life. How does this differ from a worldly lifestyle? In many ways, and in one way especially; that is, you have been freed from many worldly cares. Because you are free from these cares you must be more diligent and focused on your ascetic struggle and attentive to yourselves, to your thoughts, to your prayer life, to your salvation in general, to the call of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the keeping of all His commandments. All Orthodox Christians are called to to fulfill the Gospel commandments, but especially we monastics, who find ourselves in the most conducive surroundings to this aim.
Always turn to our Lord and Saviour, to his Most Holy Mother, and to your own heavenly patrons — St John Cassian, St Paisios the newly-Glorified of the Holy Mountain, and St Theodore the Studite, praying to them to strengthen you through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God and of all the saints. Pray for yourselves and also pray for all of us here today celebrating this great miracle. The most important thing for you must be the attendance of services, the revelation of thoughts, Confession, and Communion of Christ’s Holy Mysteries! This is your safeguard; it will protect you from our common enemies: the Devil, the world, and our own sinfulness.
The above text was transcribed from audio and lightly edited for readability and to fit our editorial style.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article listed the date of the tonsure as April 3rd (o.s.). We apologize for the error.