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Appendix from Order of Creation/Order of Redemption


from Order of Creation/Order of Redemption
by Michael Azkoul, publ. Orthodox Research Institute, 2007, pp. 87-88.

Republished on our website with permission of the author.

The community of monks, the monastery of male (monachos) and the monastery of females (monache), is an eschatological phenomenon. The monastery adumbrates the Age to Come where there shall no "giving and taking in marriage." The monastery (and convent), as someone said, is "the city on the edge of to­morrow." It has one foot in time, the other in eternity.

Naturally, then, the liturgical order in the monastery (male and female) differs from the liturgical order in the local parishes "in the world" With special regard to the liturgical practices of the female monastery (convent), its "nuns" chant, read the Apostles, serve as acolytes (but may not touch the altar); and in some convents, the Abbess (Amma), the head of the monastery, may even carry the Holy Gifts out of the sanctuary and around the temple. She may not, however, reenter through the Royal Doors, but transfers the Gifts to the priest who lays them on the altar. Neither may she, or any of her nuns, read the Gospel. She may give "spiritual talks" to them, but not from the pulpit (ambon). The female monastery requires a priest for its liturgical worship. He may be assigned to it, or borrowed from a male monastery. He may even be the Abbot (Abba) himself.

Thus, the monastery, as part of the Church, follows her theology and discipline. The difference between male and female monastery is not explained by an ideology of power. Such worldly notions play no part in the monastic culture. Monasticism is the "angelic life" whose ligaments are poverty, chastity, obedience. They know, too, the danger and penalty of power, even priestly power, for as St. John Chrysostom said, "It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle, than for a priest to enter the Kingdom of heaven." Indeed, it is the powerless, not the powerful who will inherit the earth.


from Order of Creation/Order of Redemption
by Michael Azkoul, publ. Orthodox Research Institute, 2007, pp. 89-91.

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About the Author

from Order of Creation/Order of Redemption
by Michael Azkoul, publ. Orthodox Research Institute, 2007, pp. 101-102.

Fr. Michael Azkoul was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his BA in Philosophy from Calvin College (1954), his BD in Theology from St. Vladimir's Russian Orthodox Seminary (1958) and his MA and PhD in Medieval History from Michigan State University (1963-1967). He has taught at Michigan State University, St. Louis University and Washington University and also at Seminex Lutheran Seminary. Apart from numerous articles and pamphlets in St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Theological Studies, The Byzantine and Patristic Review, Fr. Azkoul authored several important books, including: Narcissus and the Magi Microform: A Study of the Relation between Faith and Reason in Greek Patristic life and in Western Thought (1957), Anti-Christianity: The New Atheism (1981), On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit by Photius of Constantinople (1983), The Teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church (1986), The Influence of Augustine of Hippo on the Orthodox Church (1990), Why Christianity (1994), St. Gregory of Nyssa and the Tradition of the Fathers (1995), The Toll-House Myth: The Neo~Gnosticism of Fr. Seraphim Rose (1997), Once Delivered to the Saints: An Orthodox Apology for the New Millennium(2000) and God, Immortality and Freedom of the Will according to the Church Fathers: A Philosophy of Spiritual Cognition (2006). Ordained to the Diaconate in 1956 and to the Priesthood in 1958 by Archbishop Anthony Bashir he served successively in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of the USA, in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and in the Holy Orthodox Church in North America.

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