Friday, July 17, 2009

Konstantina's Question...

A good while ago, a woman named Konstantina commented on my post about our recent trip to the Holy Archangels Monastery in Kendalia. She asked what might cause traditions now confined mostly to monasteries and certain parishes (in the comment in question, head coverings and separation of the sexes in worship were mentioned). Finally, I responded to her, but thought that she might notice a response better through a new post. That, and I find it something worthy of a post. So...

"My apologies for not responding earlier. My parish priest generally says that, if you want to effect change in a parish, embody the change you wish to see. If God blesses it, it'll spread. My wife prays with her head covered. No one prompted her to do this (especially not I, though I was happy when she said she'd start doing it). A Syrian woman and several Russian/Ukrainian women in our parish do, as well. Most don't, and that's fine, in the end, I suppose.

"If women start to see a trend developing, perhaps more will take up the practice. Perhaps more men will start to "shift to the right" if more men do so (especially in family situations, with fathers on right, mothers on left).

"An increased exposure to monasticism in America is absolutely essential not only to customs such as these, but to an entire Orthodox prayer life and tradition of the surrender of one's heart to Christ. We are babes in this country and need to drink as deeply from these monastic waters as we can (knowing, of course, that monastics are not perfect, either, and are, at times, even ruled by their sinful passions -- another monastery that no longer exists in Texas is proof of that -- but by and large, where the tradition is upheld and kept, we are blessed to be exposed to them). By their increased witness here -- may God grant! -- I think we'll see the biggest leaps forward in preserving and passing down an authentic Orthodox identity.

"Thanks for your comment."

1 comment:

Konstantina said...

Thanks for your comment. I couldn't agree more with you more about embodying the change we personally wish to see and that the monasteries have so much to offer us.
I also think that women (and men) might be inclined to "take up the practice" not only if, as you say, "they see a trend developing", but hopefully because they have either wanted to do them themselves but were unable or because they have come see these practices are worthwhile in themselves.
Thanks for your input.