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St. Panteleimon's Monastery (Athos)

Monasticism (from Greek: μοναχος—a solitary person) is the ancient Christian practice of withdrawal from the world in order to dedicate oneself fully and intensely to the life of the Gospel, seeking union with Jesus Christ.

The focus of monasticism is on theosis, the process of perfection to which every Christian is called. This ideal is expressed everywhere that the things of God are sought above all other things, as seen for example in the Philokalia, a book of monastic writings. In other words, a monk or nun is a person who has vowed to follow not only the commandments of the Church, but also the counsels (i.e., vows of poverty, chastity, stability, and obedience). The words of Jesus which are the cornerstone for this ideal are "be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Thus, monks practice hesychasm, the spiritual struggle of purification (καθαρσις), illumination (θεωρια) and divinization (θεοσις) in prayer, the sacraments and obedience.

Recently featured: St. Catherine's Monastery, Church of Romania, Ligonier Meeting. Newly featured articles are presented every Friday.