New Report: Orthodox Monastic Communities in the United States

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America has published a new report on Orthodox Monastic Communities in the United States (here). The report contains a lot of great information (“great” for nerds like me, anyway), including a whole section entitled, “‘Monastic Economy:’ Ownership of Property and Sources of Income in US Orthodox Monasteries.” According to the report, In summary, the three most common sources of income in US Orthodox monasteries are: Occasional private donations including bequests and offerings for performed sacraments (87% of all monastic communities mentioned this source of income); Sale of religious items (except candles) that are not produced by monastery (52% of all monastic communities mentioned this source of income); Production and sales of candles (24% of all monastic communities mentioned this source of income). Continue Reading...

Thomas Merton on Marxism and Monasticism

A friend of mine recently shared this short clip of Thomas Merton’s last lecture. He has some interesting things to say about communism and monasticism, as well as what is clearly a sly promo for Coca-Cola at the end. Continue Reading...

Monks and Markets

Not Abba Pistamon Today at Ethika Politika, I examine some ancient economic wisdom from one of the desert fathers: Abba Pistamon. Far from the newest of Nintendo’s Pokemon monsters (despite the sound of his name), Abba Pistamon was one of the first Christian monks. Continue Reading...

Sophia Institute 2013 Annual Conference

An icon of Christ as the Divine Sophia, the Wisdom of God (See Proverbs 8) by Eileen McGuckin This past Friday, I attended the Sophia Institute annual conference. I am a fellow of Sophia and presented a short paper there on Orthodox Christian monastic enterprise. Continue Reading...

The Blessed Business of Beer

A recent story from Catholic News Service highlights an interesting encounter between markets and monasticism, a subject that I have commented on before, this time centered around the Monastery of St. Continue Reading...

Philip II of Moscow: A Model of Christian Enterprise

Philip at the Solovki monastery In the most recent issue of Religion & Liberty, the “In the Liberal Tradition” section profiles Metropolitan St. Philip II of Moscow for his defense of faith and freedom in the face of the tyranny of Tsar Ivan IV, known to history as “Ivan the Terrible.” In contrast to Ivan, who used his power to oppress his own people, Philip taught, “He alone can in truth call himself sovereign who is master of himself, who is not subject to his passions and conquers by charity.” Among the many spiritual disciplines of the Orthodox Christian spiritual tradition geared towards freeing a person from being “subject to his passions,” we can see Philip’s love of labor in his many projects at the Solovki monastery in the years before he was made Metropolitan of Moscow. Continue Reading...

Asceticism and the Free Society

This past Friday, I had the opportunity to present a paper at the Sophia Institute annual conference at Union Theological Seminary. This year’s topic was “Marriage, Family, and Love in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition.” My paper was titled, “What Makes a Society?” and focused, in the context of marriage and the family, on developing an Orthodox Christian answer to that question. Continue Reading...

Benedict of Nursia on the Value of Work

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. Today marks the feast day of St. Benedict of Nursia, one of the fathers of Western monasticism. One of his most famous dictums was ora et labora: “pray and work.” His Rule served as the standard community rule for monasteries in the West for hundreds of years. Continue Reading...