Monks were never perfect
Monasticism is a beautiful part of the Orthodox Christian tradition.
Stories of how remarkable men and women lived the Gospel and dedicated their lives to being Christ-like as a form of martyrdom are at the centre of our Orthodox Church.
Somewhere along the way, though, we (ironically) dehumanize those who are called to monasticism.
We put them on a pedestal. Forgetting that they’re human too.
After Bishop Epiphanius’ death, and the apparent news that the killer was another monk at the monastery of saint Macarius, many were scandalized and much noise surrounded the matter.
Is it unfortunate that a monk committed this heinous crime? absolutely.
Is it scandalizing and shocking? not one bit, monks are human too!
We hold monks (and at times clergy) at the ideal standard of their calling – forgetting that we too are called to the same standard of Christianity.
Take Abba Poemen’s word for it:
Abba Poemen said, ‘If a man has attained to that which the Apostle speaks of “to the pure, everything is pure,” (Titus 1.15) he sees himself less than all creatures.’ The brother said, ‘How can I deem myself less than a murderer?’ The old man said, ‘When a man has really comprehended this saying, if he sees a man committing a murder he says, “He has only committed this one sin but I commit sins every day.”
If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab a copy of my graphic novel “Anastasis: the Harrowing of Hades” and if you’ve read it, leave a quick review on Amazon and tell your friends and parish about it! 🙂