'Oblates and Friends of' - Printable Version
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'Oblates and Friends of' - Robin Westwood - 07-03-2007
As one of my main interests is Monasticism, and I have in the past been an Oblate of both Anglican and Roman Catholic Monasteries in the UK. Can anyone tell me if Coptic Monasteries have anything similar? I have searched the website on this subject, but have come up with a blank so far.
I know that our Bishop Seraphim is a Monk of the Monastary of the Syrians in Egypt, are any others in Britain attached to a Coptic Monastery in Egypt?
Is it possible for British Orthodox to be Ordained Reader, Deacon, Priest in Egypt?
- compline - 15-04-2008
This may be useful to some: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.stcolumbachurch.org/benedictine_oblates.html">http://www.stcolumbachurch.org/benedictine_oblates.html</a><!-- m -->
I, too, would be interested to learn more about oblatures within Orthodoxy. (Although the previous post being over a year old is not encouraging!)
As a former ObSB I understand the need for and attraction of a structured religious life. A self-imposed rule is adequate but one longs for the "real thing".
- admin - 15-04-2008
I think that in Orthodoxy all of the faithful are called to an 'oblate' form of life and that the rule of life is not so much 'self-imposed' but something given to all in the context of a relation with Orthodox priests, clergy, monks and bishops.
We are still in the middle of the Great Lent and the ordinary fasting structures of the Church are always present. And there are the Hours of prayer which we are encouraged to participate in as far as is appropriate and possible.
I think that one of the reasons we formed the British Orthodox Fellowship, under the guidance and supervision of our bishop, Metropolitan Seraphim, was to provide such a spiritual structure for a dispersed community of members of the Church and those interested in our Orthodox life, but I rather sense that there is nothing Orthodoxy has to offer an 'oblate' which is not offered to all, and which all are not encouraged to participate in.
If as Orthodox we are called to pray at least Morning and Evening prayers, then what more is an Oblate to pray? If we are to participate in all of the fasts of the Church, then in what further way might an Oblate fast?
I think I have come to see that all Orthodox and all those seeking to participate in the Orthodox life are secular monastics to some extent, and are oblates and tertiaries, living a vowed life in the world. Our vow is essentially that which we made at our baptism, and I am not sure that there is any other vow, short of those taken on becoming a monastic or a married person, which would modify that vow so that there could be an 'ordinary' Christian life and an 'oblate' one.
I am sure that the clergy and bishop of the British Orthodox Church are willing to help any person develop a structure in their experience of Orthodox spirituality, to preclude that sense of being under one's own rule, but for myself, I find the treasures of Orthodox spirituality and the ascetic tradition so rich and rewarding that I cannot imagine that making a further vow could mean more, in the sense that it is already clear to me how I should life.
Compline, might I ask whether you consider yourself on the way to becoming Orthodox - and thereby participating in the lay monastic Orthodox way of life - or do you think that you would benefit from and value being able to receive guidance and a more fixed spiritual structure even while not Orthodox? Would such a relationship benefit from some other name than simply Fellowship Member to indicate such a changed and more demanding relationship? Is it a Catechumenate?
I am sure that the British Orthodox Church and Fellowship will continue to try and help folk to experience and understand Orthodoxy. I'd be very interested, as the Fellowship Co-Ordinator, to understand how we could help more.