Monasticism in Southern Africa – a fragile plant
Orthodox monasticism in Southern Africa is a fragile plant.
For the last few years there have been one or two people trying to live the monastic life, in one or other of the three “monasteries” in Gauteng (can you call it a monastery when there are no monks?)
Father Nazarius and Father Elias established the Monastery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Gerardville in 2000. Then Fr Nazarius died in 2008, and there were no monks there for a couple of years. Deacon Nectarius lived at Hennops Pride for a while, and then at St Nectarius, and then went overseas for a kidney stone operation and hasn’t returned. Fr Seraphim, as far as we know, was the first monk to be tonsured in South Africa, by Patriarch Theodoros, in 2006, but then he was ordained and sent to work in a parish as a parish priest.
At the beginning of this year, however, Fr Seraphim returned to the Monastery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, and has been joined by Brother Justin, who, though not quite a novice, seems as though he may become one. They have been doing maintenance work on the buildings, which had deteriorated quite a lot, and are trying to make the place more habitable. There are a couple of others living on the property, who are not monastics, but form part of the wider community.
Earlier in the week I took Tim Sparks of Durban to go and spend a few days with them. Though they are not really geared to receive vistitors, certainly not in large numbers, it is possible now for people who are interested in the monastic life to go and spend some time with them, for prayer, work and study.
Please pray for them!