Where the Icons Aren't Yet Dry

This monk is not letting us go without a sermon, but he’s earned it. We—a group of scholars brought together for a conference in Romania celebrating the legacy of the historian Peter Brown—have been treated well. We are standing in the Neamț monastery library, where the Philokalia, that . . . . Continue Reading »

Pope Francis and the Hidden Path to Holiness

Five years ago the Catholic Church had a Year of the Priest, and now Pope Francis has declared a Year of Consecrated Life. To mark this year, he has issued an Apostolic Letter, building upon Vatican II’s decree on religious life, Perfectae Caritatis (1965), and St. John Paul II’s post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata (1996). While everyone seems to have a concept of the priestly ideal, the unique charism of consecrated life, especially for men, is more obscure. In particular, religious brothers tend to have lower profiles than do priests and nuns. Continue Reading »

Elder Iosef’s Rules for Hermits

Wake at four o’clock, Byzantine time.Attend to yourselves.Recall that all is vanity.Say together Matins.At the First Hour, lift the sunwith open palms.Water now may slake your thirst.Remain here close enough to be seenbut far enough apart to be unheard.As is our custom, the Third Hour.You often . . . . Continue Reading »