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Each successive grade is given a portion of the habit, the full habit being worn only by those in the highest grade, known for that reason as the "Great Schema", or "Great Habit". The various profession rites are normally performed by the Abbot, but if the abbot has not been ordained a priest, or if the monastic community is a convent, a hieromonk will perform the service. The abbot or hieromonk who performs a tonsure must be of at least the rank he is tonsuring into. In other words, only a hieromonk who has been tonsured into the Great Schema may himself tonsure a Schemamonk.

A bishop, however, may tonsure into any rank, regardless of his own.


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Novice Church Slavonic : Poslushnik , lit. After coming to the monastery and living as a guest for not less than three days, the revered abbot or abbess may bless the candidate to become a novice. There is no formal ceremony for the clothing of a novice, he or she simply receives permission to wear the clothing of a novice. The inner-cassock and the skoufos are the first part of the Orthodox monastic habit. In some communities, the novice also wears the leather belt.

Daily Practice Made Easy: Recitations to integrate Buddhism into your life

He is also given a prayer rope and instructed in the use of the Jesus Prayer. If a novice chooses to leave during the period of the novitiate, no penalty is incurred. He may also be asked to leave at any time if his behaviour does not conform to the monastic life, or if the superior discerns that he is not called to monasticism. When the abbot or abbess deems the novice ready, he is asked if he wishes to join the monastery. Some, out of humility, will choose to remain novices all their lives. Every stage of the monastic life must be entered into voluntarily.

Rassophore Church Slavonic: Ryassofor , lit. Although there are no formal vows made at this point, the candidate is normally required to affirm his commitment to persevere in the monastic life.

The abbot will then perform the tonsure, cutting a small amount of hair from four spots on the head, forming a cross. He is then given the outer cassock Greek: Rasson , Exorasson , or Mandorasson ; Church Slavonic: Ryassa —an outer robe with wide sleeves, something like the cowl used in the West, but without a hood—from which the name of Rassophore is derived. He is also given a brimless hat with a veil, known as a klobuk , and a leather belt is fastened around his waist. His habit is usually black, signifying that he is now dead to the world, and he receives a new name. Although the Rassophore does not make formal vows, he is still morally obligated to continue in the monastic estate for the rest of his life.

Some will remain Rassophores permanently without going on to the higher degrees. Stavrophore Church Slavonic: Krestonosets , lit. This degree is also known as the Little Schema , and is considered to be a "betrothal" to the Great Schema. At this stage, the monk makes formal vows of stability, chastity, obedience and poverty. Then he is tonsured and clothed in the habit, which in addition to that worn by the Rassophore, includes the paramandyas Church Slavonic: paraman , a piece of square cloth worn on the back, embroidered with the instruments of the Passion see picture above , and connected by ties to a wooden cross worn over the heart.

The paramandyas represents the yoke of Christ. Because of this addition he is now called Stavrophore , or Cross-bearer. He is also given a wooden hand cross or "profession cross" , which he should keep in his icon corner , and a beeswax candle, symbolic of monastic vigilance the sacrificing of himself for God.

He will be buried holding the cross, and the candle will be burned at his funeral. In the Slavic practice, the Stavrophore also wears the monastic mantle. The rasson outer robe worn by the Stavrophore is more ample than that worn by the Rassophore. Great Schema Greek: Megaloschemos , Church Slavonic: Skhimnik —Monks whose abbot feels they have reached a high level of spiritual excellence reach the final stage, called the Great Schema.

The tonsure of a Schemamonk follows the same format as the Stavrophore, and he makes the same vows and is tonsured in the same manner. But in addition to all the garments worn by the Stavrophore, he is given the Analavos Church Slavonic: Analav which is the article of monastic vesture emblematic of the Great Schema.

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For this reason, the analavos itself is sometimes called the "Great Schema". The analavos comes down in the front and the back, somewhat like the scapular in Western monasticism, although the two garments are probably not related. It is often intricately embroidered with the instruments of the Passion and the Trisagion the angelic hymn. The Greek form does not have a hood, the Slavic form has a hood and lappets on the shoulders, so that the garment forms a large cross covering the monk's shoulders, chest, and back.

Another piece added is the Polystavrion or "Many Crosses", which consists of a cord with a number of small crosses plaited into it. The polystavrion forms a yoke around the monk and serves to hold the analavos in place, and reminds the monastic that he is bound to Christ and that his arms are no longer fit for worldly activities, but that he must labor only for the Kingdom of Heaven. Among the Greeks, the mantle is added at this stage. The paramandyas of the Megaloschemos is larger than that of the Stavrophore, and if he wears the klobuk, it is of a distinctive thimble shape, called a koukoulion , the veil of which is usually embroidered with crosses.

In some monastic traditions the Great Schema is only given to monks and nuns on their death bed, while in others they may be elevated after as little as 25 years of service. Eastern Orthodox monks are addressed as "Father" even if they are not priests; but when conversing among themselves, monks will often address one another as "Brother".

Novices are always referred to as "Brother". Among the Greeks, old monks are often called Gheronda , or "Elder", out of respect for their dedication. In the Slavic tradition, the title of Elder Church Slavonic: Starets is normally reserved for those who are of an advanced spiritual life, and who serve as guides to others. For the Orthodox, Mother is the correct term for nuns who have been tonsured Stavrophore or higher. Novices and Rassophores are addressed as "Sister". Nuns live identical ascetic lives to their male counterparts and are therefore also called monachai the feminine plural of monachos , and their community is likewise called a monastery.

Many but not all Orthodox seminaries are attached to monasteries, combining academic preparation for ordination with participation in the community's life of prayer, and hopefully benefiting from the example and wise counsel of the monks. Bishops are required by the sacred canons of the Orthodox Church to be chosen from among the monastic clergy. The requirement is specifically that they be monastics, not simply celibate see clerical celibacy.

Monks who have been ordained to the priesthood are called hieromonks priest-monks ; monks who have been ordained to the diaconate are called hierodeacons deacon-monks. A Schemamonk who is a priest is called a Hieroschemamonk. Most monks are not ordained; a community will normally only present as many candidates for ordination to the bishop as the liturgical needs of the community require. Within Catholicism , a monk is a member of a religious order who lives a communal life in a monastery , abbey , or priory under a monastic rule of life such as the Rule of St.

Benedict of Nursia , or AD is considered to be the founder of western monasticism. He authored the Rule of St.

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Benedict , which is the foundation for the Order of St. Benedict and all of its reform groups such as the Cistercians and the Trappists. He founded the great Benedictine monastery, Monte Cassino , in The religious vows taken in the West were first developed by St.

These vows were three in number: obedience, conversion of life, and stability. Obedience calls for the monk to obey Christ, as represented by the superior person of the monastery, which is an abbot or prior. Conversion of life means, generally, that the monk convert himself to the way of a monk, which is death to self and to the world and life to God and to his work.

A Christian monk is to be an instrument of God's work.

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Stability entails that the monk commit himself to the monastery for the remainder of his life, and so, upon death, will be buried at its cemetery. The vow of stability is unique to Benedictines. The solemn vows in other religious communities were eventually established as vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity.

Poverty requires that they renounce any ownership of property or assets, except for items that were allowed to them by their superior such as a religious habit , shoes , a cloak , etc. Chastity requires that since they were willing to dedicate their lives to God, they sacrificed the love between men and women and would not marry. Also, they give up any act of sexual conduct.