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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Novice Conference on Early Monasticism

Monday 25 January saw an Internovitiate study week held at The Convent Of The Incarnation in Oxford on the subject of Early Monasticism. Novices from a wide variety of Anglican Religious Communities attended. Br Thomas from Mucknell Abbey led all the sessions. Initially, we looked at desert hermits. We discussed how largely illiterate people operating at a time when Christian monasticism was amorphous, armed with as many psalms and new testament passages as they could memorise set out to seek God in the wilderness. Renouncing everything and having little sleep and little food they sought to imitate Ezekiel, John the Baptist and especially Jesus. They forced themselves to do battle with a variety of temptations describing them as demons. These were later called passions or impure thoughts that needed driving out through prayer and hurling scripture at them.

We then looked at how these hermits formed small communities of around ten growing into larger more organised cenobiums of up to five thousand. We looked at the rules of Pachomius, Cassian, Basil, Augustine, The Master and Benedict. We discussed how these rules, and the communities they governed developed over time until they had all of the basic features of modern monastic life. Focus was directed at their food and drink, novice formation, authority and rules governing excursions. John Cassians’ edict that postulants should lie outside the monastery for ten days before entering was, thankfully, omitted from later rules! Time was given for participants to get to know each other and share experiences. I was struck by how madly, deeply in love with God these early monastics were that they would go to such extreme lengths to purify their hearts and obtain the peaceful mind of the full knowledge of his love when all other distractions (demons) have been removed.  Richard Fryar

 

Richard is currently a Postulant resident in Alnmouth Friary.

Funeral arrangements for Br Damian SSF

Br Damian’s Funeral will be at St Michael’s Parish Church, Alnwick on Wednesday 3rd February at 1.00pm and will be followed by a private cremation.

No flowers by request.

Damian SSF

Br Damian SSF RIP

Brother Damian died peacefully at St Oswald’s Hospice in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne at 7am on Sunday 17th January, a year after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The Brothers of the Society of St Francis are grateful for your prayers but would respectfully ask that you do not contact either Alnmouth or St Anthony’s Friary. Details of Damian’s funeral arrangements will be posted on the website once they have been finalised.

May Damian Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory!

 

Damian and St Francis (from the franciscan)

Damian and St Francis (from the franciscan)