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Highlights from Archimandrite Sergius' address to the 18th All American Council

During the 6th Plenary Session Archimandrite Sergius addresses the delegates about monasticism and it role in the contemporary American Church.  He held up Metropolitan Tikhon as an example: "...he is a direct product of St. Tikhon’s Monastery and that starting as a simple novice, history will
show you that he is the first Metropolitan of this Orthodox Church in America that began as a lowly novice cleaning sinks, toilets, cooking, directing, and serving in whatever capacity he was asked …just as he serves in that same humble way now."

The Archimandrite pointed out that both monastics and married laity are both  "Called to live 100% for our Lord 100% of the time."  Prayer, the primary vocation of monastics, is important and as St. Silouan points out that this prayer "Keeps the world going and when
real prayer fails the world will perish."

Continuing, he gave three points for encouraging the growth of Orthodox monasticism in America which, like the Orthodox Church in general, is small in comparison to other 'churches'.  The first and most important point was to   "Never disdain or discourage any vocation'  to monasticism, the priesthood or any clerical office.  To do so will hinder the call of God in that person's life.  Archimandrite Sergius secondly encouraged pilgrimages to monasteries to benefit from the spiritual atmosphere there and finally to be inspired by the example of prayer that monasteries set for the Church.

Monasticism effects the entire Church: "We, as members of Christ’s body, can and must support the building and growth of monasteries and monastic vocations. By so doing, we invest in the well-being and preservation of the Church as well as in the “churching” of America. Through the monasteries, organic Orthodox life will grow and flourish, and acting like a catalyst, it will empower and inspire local parishioners to give more of their own hearts and lives to God and to prayer. The power that emanates from a monastery is not only real and tangible, it is intensely powerful, life-creating and life-changing."

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