Saturday, June 20, 2009

Greek Orthodox sisters in the Vatican...


Now and then one sees Greek Orthodox priests and sisters making a visit to the Vatican. They each are quick to anger when they notice their photo is being taken. This is in part evident Jansenism and hygene is sometimes a challenge for them, too. Some might think it a mark of holiness to be seen in filthy clothes and to be crabby, but that is not how He was/is. Change is good, friends!

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

huh?

Anonymous said...

Jansenism is a strictly Roman Catholic phenomenon. Greek Orthodox monastics are usually disinclined to be photographed even in Greece. They consider it worldly. As to hygiene, well, beginning with St. John the Baptist and the Desert Fathers I suspect monastic standards would be considered very "different" by worldly individuals, especially those inclining to dapper Italian style and cigars.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you said that. Many people think that Our Lord was a poor, communist hippy. The way Mel Gisbson portrayed Him was horrible.

Even in poverty, He was nobility itself made flesh, He was The Sublime hidden in a small town.
Imagine the ambiance He would create.
It was God made man, and even if you didn't know it, you knew that there was something incredibly different.

Roland de Chanson said...

I don't understand about the Jansenism and the hygiene. Are there rules of this order that prohibit cleanliness? Can you elaborate a bit - I am truly in the dark.

Beautiful photographs of Rome and your commentary is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Would those who worked to bring Catholic unity such as Blessed Leonid Feodorov, Blessed Bishop Charnetsky, or Patriarch Josef Slipy make comments such as these about the Orthodox? I don't think so. We already have the utterly heretical Balamaand agreement which does much damage in bringing the Orthodox into union with Rome, let's not push them away further by nasty comments about them being Jansenists or not having proper hygiene.

Strom said...

That has to be one of the most unchristian comments I have every read about nuns by a catholic

Bill Strom

Anonymous said...

Their habits look clean to me, but of course I wasn't there.

That's disgusting, however, if they consider it a mark of humility/penance to wear filthy clothes and not bathe, etc. That's the way monks and nuns were like....in the MIDDLE AGES!! Not now.

I read once that people in Western Europe, all the way up until the 17th century, thought that bathing was somehow injurious to the health, and that people would not bathe for weeks and would instead shower themselves with tons of perfume.
Unfortunatly, it was only in the East, in the Muslim empires and in Imperial China and Japan where people knew the value of cleanliness and bathing, at least 2-3 times per week and usually daily.
The Ancient Egyptians knew it, and the Romans of course (with their hundreds of public baths).

If these nuns don't, then that's gross....even if they do wear traditional habits!!!! : )

Anonymous said...

Notice how they're all young?

HMMMMMMM! Maybe these nuns in traditional habits, and other traditionally habited friars and nuns (most are also young), could teach the very aged, crabby, and bitter femminist habitless nuns and slovenly liberal layclothes priests a thing or two about the value of being a visible (but clean), witness in habit for the Catholic Faith.

JPSonnen said...

Those of us who have been to Mount Athos or Athens for Greek Easter or to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem have had our share of experiences with Greek Orthodox clergy. Not fun, guys.

Father Abbot Gregory said...

There is no such thing as Jansenism in the Eastern Church---that is strictly a Western phenomenon. Orthodox/Eastern monastics prefer not to be photographed because it is vain to desire your picture taken---and it involves SINGULARITY, which even in the Latin Church was never EVER permitted for religious men and women before this present post-Vatican II era. Even monastic habits in the East are alway quite simple: tunic , belt, and apostolnic (veiled head covering) and the carrying of the chotki (rosary). In church a monastic puts on the riassa (wide sleeved over-cassock) and a larger veil, but even these garments would be worn by most widows in Greek, Russia, or any Orthodox country. Again, for the same reason: not to draw attention to oneself.

In His Holy Name,
+Father Abbot Gregory

Anonymous said...

Ecumenism? Change? Orthodox Church is always and always has been the cogwheel of the State.

Anonymous said...

"Those of us who have been to Mount Athos or Athens for Greek Easter or to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem have had our share of experiences with Greek Orthodox clergy. Not fun, guys."

So that justifies derogatory comments about Orthodox nuns????

"Do unto others..."

A said...

Your comments about Jansenism and hygeine are wholly inappropriate and gratuitously offensive.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. Who's being the Jansenist here -- the snoots who are quick to judge monastics on their violation of hygiene rubrics or the monastics who are too busy studying, praying, and fasting to give a hoot? Sonnen's comment is emblematic of the dainty, effete Victorianism of most traditional-minded Western Catholics and has little to do with the ancient, apostolic Church. I remember being freaked out by the Legion of Christ seminary in CT which had hygiene, polish, and perfectly sculpted coiffs in spades but little else in the ascetic masculinity dept. Look at his language judging the Orthodox of all things for being "not fun," "crabby," hygienically-challenged. It's the language of Oprah & The View, not the Church. Keep it up. I think this bourgeois middle-class lifestyle Catholicism is part of what's killing the Western Church. As a Roman Catholic I love the Orthodox for not giving a hoot about our modern imitatio Oscar Wilde and for understanding that ascesis is not just another lifestyle choice for Apostolic Christians.

That said, I do appreciate the photos of Rome. Stop ruining it with your stupid commentary. The Orthodox are not the enemy, even when they're being meannies to us Catholics. If you want nice and clean and thin-skinned, there's always Oprah.

Anonymous said...

Where charity and love prevail......

Anonymous said...

"Ecumenism? Change? Orthodox Church is always and always has been the cogwheel of the State."

You have a point but then again Orthodoxy never went to the extreme of making itself into a State ala the Vatican. As to Greek Orthodox clergy on Mount Athos or in Athens for Greek Easter or at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem providing "fun" experiences I don't think that is in their job description. Actually, I've seen a number of Latin religious on this very blog exhibiting, how did you put it, "crabby" reactions, to being pounced upon to be photographed. Even in Hollywood paparazzi are not always met with beaming smiles. BTW, whatever happened to your photographs of the Greek Easter? Were your experiences so very sour that you threw away the negatives?

Discreet Observer said...

John,
I am very disappointed. If these nuns were upset at their photo being taken then you should not have published it. This, is an invasion of privacy and, unfortunately, is a particularly American trait that completely disregards the feelings of others in the pursuit of a story.
Your second comment about their habits is also ungentlemanly and unchristian. I have always found that ladies are much more particular about personal hygene than men and your (unwelcome) photograph seems to show that their habits are not 'filthy' but look clean and well pressed.
Perhaps a bit more thought and sensivity next time?

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to look pristine in black when you can't get to the dry-cleaners easily. Some of the filthiest habits I've seen have been on Benedictines. And I'm met people with the most charming manners who have been anything but Christian. Our Blessed Lord was indeed nobility itself, but he sure didn't have an en-suite . . .

Anonymous said...

Why do Orthodox clergy have long hair like womean and little or no education.

Lauren said...

A bizarre comment for you, JP. I don't need to ditto the comments about Jansenism being foreign to the East.

True, most especially the Mt. Athos clergy are not particularly fond of Catholics (oh and don't get me started on "uniates").

I think perhaps your question of hygiene is one of Western Europe v. Eastern Europe. I remember something similar when I went to Greece. However nothing compares to rush hour on the A-line in Rome. Che schifo!

Jusztinián G. Rathkaj said...

I have never shared this fascination about the orthodox by some catholic milieus, which of course is rather unilateral the mainstream of the orthodox is very hostile to Rome and catholicism in general. There is also nothing which the eastern churches have that the Roman Church does not have even after the changes following Vatican II. John, Continue in making photos of catholic sisters, the unique papal heritage of Rome and send this Zealots to Coventry.

Father Abbot Gregory said...

Greek, Russian, Serbian, Antiochean (Arab) Ukrainian, Romanian (etc.) Orthodox clergy are usually just as educated as Roman clergy...although the system is often a combination of seminary study with on-the-job training under a senior priest or monastic mentor. What I can tell you (after almost 30 years as an Orthodox priestmonk) is this: the spiritual formation of Orthodox clergy generally outweighs by a long shot anything most Roman seminaries have produced since Vatican II (I graduated from a pontifical seminary in 1973...when there was NO Liturgy of the Hours and little else...so I know from experience what I'm talking about here!). Orthodox monastics run the gammit from PhD to those who can at least read, but the last time I checked, holiness didn't have a LOT to do with education. After all the Cure of Ars was so bad at Latin that he wasn't allowed to preach or hear confessions for a time after ordination...and many VERY holy Saints of the West (St. Martin de Porres and St. Joseph Labre were not known to be great intellectuals)---yet they WERE great Saints! I think this discussion shows exactly what the problem is and probably has always been with the relationship between Roman and the East---they seldom approach one another with reverence and an understanding that it IS OK to be different and salvation can still come from several approaches!

I thank JP for allowing this discussion...which is healthy, I believe.

In His Holy Name,
+Father Abbot Gregory

Anonymous said...

"Why do Orthodox clergy have long hair like womean and little or no education."

Orthodox monastics and clergy traditionally do not shave or cut their hair in imitation of Christ, probably following the rules of the Nazarenes (remember Samson?). In the East it is the shaven, primped Latin clergy who are considered effeminate, with faces "like womean." Orthodox seminaries and theological academies speak for themselves. Really, how many Latin parochial clergy out there (outside the tony papal universities)even know the names of the patristic writers much less have read them?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, how are you sure they are Orthodox and not Byzantine? I have seen Byzantine sisters dressed exactly like that.... and it seems Byzantine Catholics would be more likely than Orthodox to be visiting St. Peter's.

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed to discover that in the Orthodox Church, there are no "Religious Orders" either male or female per se.
Just monasteries of monks and nuns...all pretty much dressed the same.
Also, no hospitals, nursing homes, etc. run by nuns.

Anonymous said...

'No nursing homes' etc.: well here's something for starters:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7093128.stm

I'm sure there are others. . .

berenike said...

An extremely crass comment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I'm always amazed to discover that in the Orthodox Church, there are no "Religious Orders" either male or female per se.
Just monasteries of monks and nuns...all pretty much dressed the same.
Also, no hospitals, nursing homes, etc. run by nuns."

Actually this isn't always the case. In Spring Valley, New York there is a large nursing home run by Russian Orthodox nuns...and several in Greece and quite a few medical clinics and social service centers now in Russia run by the Sisters of Mary and Martha founded by St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, the former Grand Duchess. Generally though you are correct, Orthodox monastics are comtemplatives. Active religious orders are very few and far between in the Orthodox Church...but not completely unknown, especially in modern times. All monastics (male and female) belong basically to the same "order"---the Order of Monks & Nuns and follow the monastic rule of St. Basil the Great (and a few follow the monastic rule of St. Anthony). There is no such thing in the East as "dispensation from vows," once a monk or nun is tonsured, it is considered FOREVER...and rarely has there ever been given a blessing to 'return the state of laity' and marry. It had never been done before 1820, but was done once by the Moscow Patriarchate in the (I believe 1840's?) and the monk was allowed to marry. Even when this happened, Greek Orthodox canonists didn't consider it to be proper canonical order. Once one is tonsured, the only path is UP (to Paradise)! This having been said, one can remain a 'novice' for many many years without taking the tonsure, but once tonsured, it is forever!

Humbly in His Holy Name,
+Father Abbot Gregory

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ about this deal of "unchristian" comments.

First of all, in the times of Our Lord, things were different sure.
But remember that Our Lord suffered the effects of the original sin, but that does not mean in the same state of ugliness. I forget if it is Bl. Anne Catherine that says His sweat was like a perfume...
Plus the Holy Family was part of a radical Jewish group that had distinct customs, of which who knows keeping clean was among them.

Second, about the Middle Ages and hygiene: The monasteries were the VERY ONES WHO INTRODUCED THE MODERN PRINCIPLES OF IT! Take washing your hands before a meal.
Monastery of Cluny. And eating with utensils as well.
And authoritative historians argue that in the Middle Ages they bathed everyday and that only in the decadence of the Renaissance did it cease to be so.


But I will side with someone who talked against the general "feminine" tone of "traditionalists". Yes, I said it.
They love all these horrible baroque (sensuality in an art form) junk, they but silk in everything yet they have the most "soft" demeanor ever.
Sure they follow the rubrics like a nuclear physicist, but with such a lack of manliness, a lack of force behind it. They all walk in the procession with their heads down, with their little fingers together and and then speak softly.

A characteristic of the saints is the combination of seemingly opposite virtues. One needs to be delicate, but also a tank. Fire and breeze, lamb and lion.
Hygiene is not a feminine thing, it is not worldly. And because the dessert fathers did so it does not mean we should, because precisely, the Precious Blood bought all these things that christian civilization has developed.

Lastly, I would like to say that these deal of being "nice" does not mean charitable.
To attack evil is greater that to simply preach good. Errors must be denounced, with prudence but with all the indignation that one must have because it is not us that are offended, but God, because God created an order in this Universe and it must be maintained. That 20th century spirit of horror of any polemics is precisely what permitted us to get to where we are now.

Cosa ne pensi John? Forse un nuovo post su questa tematica di carità e polemica?

Anonymous said...

thats why the catholics had to kill and steal (from what is written)the most valuable booty to ever exist)in constantinople...catholic barbarians

Anonymous said...

for someone who claims to be christian your comment was rather un-christ like.