Women’s Monasticism

From Conciliar Press comes an interesting book on a topic rarely specifically considered: women’s monasticism. “The Scent of Holiness: Lessons from a Women’s Monastery” by Constantina R. Palmer.
“Every monastery exudes the scent of holiness, but women’s monasteries have their own special flavor. Join Constantina Palmer as she makes frequent pilgrimages to a women’s monastery in Greece and absorbs the nuns’ particular approach to their spiritual life. If you’re a woman who’s read of Mount Athos and longed to partake of its grace-filled atmosphere, this book is for you. Men who wish to understand how women’s spirituality differs from their own will find it a fascinating read as well.

Constantina R. Palmer is originally from New Brunswick, a quaint province on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Currently, however, she lives in Thessaloniki, Greece, with her husband, a deacon in the Canadian Archdiocese of the OCA. She has called Greece home for five years, in which time she has received her Master’s degree in Theology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She is also an iconographer and a student of Byzantine chant.”

See http://www.conciliarpress.com/the-scent-of-holiness/ and http://lessonsfromamonastery.wordpress.com/the-scent-of-holiness/
“Throughout the book, woman’s spirituality is shown in its God-intended beauty. Not only this, but there are two ‘themes’ (or additional lessons) which live within the lessons of the book, and these should be kept in mind throughout.

The first theme is found in the introduction of the book, where it begins: “There is a well-known saying in the Orthodox Church: Angels are a light for monastics, and monastics are a light for the world.”

Then, the dedication page quotes the second theme:
“It is said that a certain brother asked an elder, ‘What shall I do, father, in order to fear God? The elder answered, ‘Go and cling to a man who fears God and from the fact that he fears Him, he will teach you to do likewise.'”

Both of these themes are related, and should not be regarded as separate from each-other or even from the other lessons in the book. Where there is God, there is no dividing of knowledge, but an all-encompassing knowing.
Schema Nuns
Therefore, we can see here, that Orthodoxy is taught not by simple word of mouth or because of printed word or document (though, certain of these supplement); neither is it taught as a dry philosophy meant to be absorbed only by the mind, and then by the body separately, by personal interpretation, or by some odd earthly form of morality. Instead, we find that Orthodoxy is Life (and not a segregated part of life), and is attained, strived for and taught by direct and full participation with the ascetic lives of those who Live it: the Church (the clergy: Priests, Bishops,etc; and the laity: monastics and lay-men) and in Synergy with the Divine energies of God in the Life Himself: Christ.”

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