Coptic Orthodox Monasticism

What is Monasticism?

Monasticism is an interior and spiritual life. The pursuit of monasticism is one way of living a state of true happiness and peace by spending time in constant striving to be close with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Monasteries are crucial to the foundation of the Apostolic Church. The monks are a source of prayer for the entire congregation. Many people with various religious backgrounds have great stories of healing, counsel and fulfilled petitions through the prayers of the monks. The monastery is a peaceful place for all members of the community to visit for peace, meditation and tranquility.
The Origin of Monasticism
There were many martyrs in the first four centuries while Christianity was spreading throughout the world. When martyrdom began to decline, many people began seeking a new way to offer their life to Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of the monastic movement.
St. Anthony the Great is believed to be the father of monasticism across the world.  He found his way into the inner desert and lived a life of solitude. Soon, others heard about St. Anthony and went to the desert seeking to live a life like him. They lived around him and learned the monastic life from him.
The Three Vows
A monk makes three vows when he is tonsured: poverty, obedience and chastity and the bond of patience unites all three in perseverance.
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Matthew 19:21
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
Exodus 19:5
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21
Necessary patience in seeking the Lord is better than he that leadeth his life without a guide.
Sirach 20:32
Day-to-Day Life of a Monk
The monk lives his day-to-day life in complete peace, love, and joy. When any of these fruits dry up within him, he returns to the Lord, seeking to restore his relationship with Him following Jesus’ words: “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (Rev 2:5).
Therefore, for the monk focused on Christ, living the commandments, and repenting when he falls, he will be the faithful and wise monk spoken of by John Climacus in the Ladder:
So who is a faithful and wise monk? He who has kept his fervour unabated, and to the end of his life has not ceased daily to add fire to fire, fervour to fervour, zeal to zeal, love to love. (John Climacus)
The secondary work of the Monk is to fulfill his assigned obediences with integrity of heart and due diligence. He may be given any task by the Abbot according to the needs of the Monastery. Each member of the community works at his work joyfully without comparing himself to others or complaining.  These obediences support the prayer life and prevent idleness which the Fathers warn: “An idle mind is the devil’s playground”.
Relevant verses from the Holy Bible
Seeking monasticism emanates from an inner desire and urge, as these The Holy Bible verses below manifest:
One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.
Psalm 27:4
When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
Psalm 27:8
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
Psalm 73:25
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10
So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
Luke 5:16
He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
John 6:35
‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’
Acts 13:22
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

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