CELTIC ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE FATHERS
Holy Trinity Celtic Orthodox Monastery
1703 Macomber St., Toledo, Ohio 43606
(419) 810.1692 firstname.lastname@example.org
A MONASTIC COMMUNITY OF STRICT OBSERVANCE
DIVINE OFFICE IN THE CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
CELTIC ORTHODOXY IS UNIQUE –
BY THE GRACE OF GOD
BISHOP BRIAN J. KENNEDY, O.S.B.
Established in the 6th century, the Benedictine Community fell victim to the moral lapses of the world in which it found itself. The Abbots were usually from the wealthy families and were interested only in power, money and position. All forms of Religious pieties were conspicuous in its absence. While there were some who rose above the sin and depravity of the Monastery to become great Saints, the norm was Monks who had become victims to the world, the flesh and the devil.
In 836, the Council of Aix-La-Chapelle openly admitted that homosexuality and other forms of sin and vice was rampant in the Monasteries. Reforms were needed. The needed reforms came at a price, a political price.
Pope Sergius III Canonically established the Monastery at Cluny in 910. The Monastery brought many reforms to the Order and enhanced academics to the Monastery. In many ways, the Monastery was a much-needed remedy to the ills of the time. The price exacted was involvement in the political ambitions of Pope Sergius III. When the Pope established the Monastery, he made it exempt from interference by the local Bishops. They were responsible only to him and to him directly. The Pope appropriated to himself authority over other Patriarchs and attempted to establish an office higher than Bishop.
This was unacceptable to any who wished to retain the faith and praxis of Holy Orthodoxy. This caused the first split in the Order of St. Benedict. It was now a family divided. Those who rejected the political involvement, the arrogance of Sergio's III and the innovated theologies of the Vatican fled to the East. All that were left were under the suppression of the Pope.
Today there are many large, rich and impressive Monasteries and Churches that were established in their wealth by the sins of the founders and early inhabitants. Their goal was only to establish wealth, power and social position. Rather than being a temple to the glory of God, they are temples to the avarice and greed of the early Churchmen who built them. The Papal re-invented community continued calling itself Benedictine but had abandoned the Orthodox and Catholic faith of Benedict for the rewards and the temporal blessings that came from Rome. Under the Pope and with Vatican support they grew in power and worldly recognition.
The Monastery at Cluny lived up to the expectations of Rome in producing 5 Popes from their number. Notable among these is Hilderbrand, known as Pope Gregory VII. He wrote: The Dictates of the Pope:
"The Roman Pontiff alone can rightly be called Universal, He alone can depose or reinstate Bishops, in a Council the Papal Legate, even if a lower grade, is above all Bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them, All Princes shall kiss the feet of the Pope, It is permitted to him to depose Emperors, No Synod shall be called a general one without his order, No Chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority, and He himself may be judged by no one. That the Roman Pontiff, if he has been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter. He who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic."
Also of note, from the Monastery at Cluny, was Pope Paschal II who used a forged letter attributed in error to St. Andrew that said any who did not agree with the See at Rome was a heretic.
THE FIGHT TO REMAIN ORTHODOX IN FAITH AND PRAXIS:
In 925 many Benedictine Monks who wished to remain faithful to Holy Orthodoxy left the West and went to MT. Athos in Greece while others went to Jerusalem. The Archabbot from Amalfi, Italy was among those who went to Jerusalem. Most of the Monks went to MT. Athos with whom they already had connections and friends. They were the Benedictine of Amalfi, Italy who served under Archabbot Gerard Tonque, O.S.B. This was a time when Rome was diminishing and Constantinople was ascending as the New Rome and center of the Empire.
ABOUT THE ARCHABBOT:
Archabbot Gerard Tonque was born in Sasso di Scalo near Amalfi. He was from the famous family of Saint Didier and the first generation born in Italy. His parents were from Provence, France and he retained strong ties to Provence.
THE MONKS IN JERUSALEM
Archabbot Tonque, O.S.B. went to Jerusalem to further develop a hostel (hospital) and a program for the protection of pilgrims passing from Jaffa to Jerusalem who were constantly besieged by bandits and conflicting Princes. This was not a new ministry for the Benedictine of Amalfi but now it was a ministry that was to receive the undivided attention of the Archabbot who would personally direct the effort. As part of the effort to expand the ministry, the Archabbot directed other Monks to establish hospitals and small Orthodox Benedictine Monasteries and service centers along the path used by pilgrims. The Monks established a hostel in Saint Gilles, Asti, Pisa, Bari, Otranto, Taranto and Messina.
The Benedictine who left Amalfi and went to Jerusalem became known as the Latin Orthodox Benedictine. The Latin Orthodox Benedictine had previously established them selves in Jerusalem with the Monastery of St. John the Baptist. The Monastery of St. John the Baptist and the Latin Orthodox Benedictine ministry to the sick pilgrims had been financed and supported by the wealthy merchants of Amalfi prior to their permanent departure from Amalfi. Soon it became obvious not all the Monks had the same vision for the future.
Archabbot Tonque was a good man but his vision was not a shared vision by all the Monks. Conflict arose over the number of laity who was being recruited into ministry. To some, the aspect of devotion and Monasticism was being lost in favor of more mundane activities. It was thought the mundane activities had merit but were beginning to compete with the Monasticism of the Benedictine Community.
Archabbot Tonque resigned his position as Archabbot and withdrew from the Benedictine Order to establish a new Order upon the Rule of St. Augustine. The Benedictine relocated to the nearby Monastery of Santa Maria Latina.
The division was without rancor or hostility. Archabbot Tonque remained emotionally attached to the Papacy. This was another sentiment not shared by all the Monks.
THE MONKS AT MT. ATHOS
At the urging of St. Athanasios of MT. Athos, many of the Benedictine from Amalfi founded the Monastery of the Virgin of the Amalfians near Morphonou, a small bay north of Great Lavra. The Monastery was supported by the inhabitants of the Amalfi quarter of Constantinople who had come from southern Italy. Before Venice began to extend its control into the Eastern Mediterranean, Amalfi had been the emporium of the Orient in the West. Ships from the rich port at Amalfi supplied goods for the Latin people in Constantinople and on MT. Athos. When they took refuge from the arrogance and innovated ecclesiology of Rome they were welcomed at MT. Athos because the Amalfians were already known and had friends at MT. Athos. Some of the Benedictine from Amalfi who wished to remain Orthodox in faith and praxis went to Jerusalem and in 1050 established the hostel for pilgrims, which was the starting point for the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.
A Benedictine Monk from Amalfi and living at the Benedictine Monastery of the Virgin of the Amalfians at MT. Athos was a man named Leo who translated the famous MIRACULUM a S. MICHELE CHONIS PATRATUM, the legend of the oldest shrine to St. Michael in all of Christendom.
The translation was made from the writings of Patriarch Sisinnius of Constantinople (426-27). Leo also translated many Greek Novels. Bishop Anselm of Havelberg writes of the scholarly Benedictine monks and other scholarly Western Orthodox living In Constantinople. The report is contained in the second and third books of the "Dialogi" written around 1149.
MONKS FOUND SAFE HARBOR
In 933, Patriarch Theophylactus of Constantinople established as a Parochial Entity the Benedictine who had fled from Amalfi, Italy and were then at MT. Athos, giving them the name Athonite Benedictine. They were a recognized and canonically established part of Orthodoxy under his personal Omophor.
SILENT VICTIM OF THE CRUSADES
The Papal Crusades that ravaged and raped Constantinople and violated all Christian sensibilities created a hatred for anything from the West among many Orthodox in the East. For this reason the Athonite Benedictine Monks eventually had to leave the East. In the 14th century (1345) Patriarch John IV Kalecas established all Athonite Benedictine Monasteries as autocephalous (independent of any Patriarch).
THE BENEDICTINE MONKS LEAVE MT. ATHOS
The Monks, for the most part, went to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and England.
The Monks that went to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and England became integrated into the Celtic Orthodox Church that was a catacomb church in resistance to the Papal onslaught on the Celtic Church that began actually in the 7th Century when the Celtic Bishops and Clergy were murdered and replaced with the Papal Bishops and Clergy over the dating of Pascha. The Monks who went to Ireland in 1345 became known as the Celtic Orthodox Benedictine Fathers as a result of their association with and membership in the Celtic Orthodox Church that was a church in resistance, a catacomb church. All Celtic Orthodox Monastic under life time vows wear a gold wedding band on the left hand.
The Celtic Orthodox Benedictine Fathers are a traditional, Western Rite, Orthodox Monastic Community of strict observance.
The Celtic Orthodox Benedictine Fathers are a 'Mendicant' order. The word Mendicant means beggar so the Celtic Orthodox Benedictine Monks own nothing at all and receive no compensation for their Priestly and religious ministry. The Monks are supported by the love offerings of the people who wish to cooperate with the Monks in serving the poor and wish to help support the Monastery. Mendicant Monks never live better than the people they serve. We live and work in the poor areas where are found the people we serve. Our Motto is
"WITH THE POOR PEOPLE OF THIS EARTH WE CAST OUR FATE."
dreamed that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We
walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel
guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the
Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are
I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.
Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them."
I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.
Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.
"How is it that there is no work going on here?" I asked.
"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings?" I asked.
"Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy."
"And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity."
"If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."
"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 700 million people in the world."
"If you can attend a church/synagogue without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are envied by and more blessed than three billion people in the world."
"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm. You're unique to all those in doubt and despair."
"Okay. What now? How can I start?'
If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special, and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
Have a good day. Count your blessings. And if you care to, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.
ATTN: Acknowledge Dept.
"Thank you Lord for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people with whom to share it."
If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been blessed with, how can you not send it on? I thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends.
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