Friday, September 20, 2013

Someone please make sense of this for me.

From the Archdiocese of Canada (here):

(OCA-CA)- The Hesychastic Society of the Most Holy Mary is the Metochion of the Monastic Society of St. Silouan the Athonite

Mission: The Fraternity is specifically designed as a monastic haven for Aboriginal and Autistic Orthodox, who are called by Christ and His Church to pursue a life of radical hesychasm and little folly, under the protection of the Most Holy Theotokos; though the Society will welcome others who are similarly called. As a Fraternity, the Hesychastic Society is idiorhythmic in nature; and egalitarian, though spiritual deference is given to the elder brother.


  1. It is an Orthodox-related group home for high-functioning autistic and Native Canadian (First Peoples) in Toronto, without the rule of life that dictates most monastic settings.

  2. As a "high-functioning autistic" (trying not to spit nails at this stupid, absurd, DSM-V spawned, attempted synonym for Asperger's) and mother of another one, I fully fail to understand any need whatsoever to segregate these men into a para-track monastic environment. Obviously, it is just as ludicrous to segregate First Peoples.

    I thought it was a joke post here, until I followed links around and realized that it really exists.

  3. Good point. Why do they need their own segregated program?

  4. Are they saying that being Aboriginal is like being Autistic? Or, are they saying that the other OCA monasteries have too much 'folly'? This is confusing...

  5. The answer I received:

    "As Elder of the Hesychastic Society of the Most Holy Mary, we find your internet speculations less than Christian. If you had musings, we thought you would have approached us first by email, rather than employing language which to us rings close to ridicule, and is out of character both with the Gospels and The Pedalion, and to do so publicly on the internet, well? (As Autists and Aboriginals, we do have feelings, and we take our vocations seriously as Orthodox monastics).

    First, we are not a group home: we are a collection of sanctified hermitages with proper canonical papers for each; at the moment, situated in Toronto, ON. Second, we are not exclusive nor segregated, although we affirm different approaches and perspectives within Orthodox Christianity, and within the fraternity itself.

    We do not practice 'conventual' monasticism, but idiorythmy -- first because in Canada Roman Catholic and Protestant residential schools were designed and run up through the 1970s to 'kill' the Indian in the Aboriginal child, and were often attached to convents or cloisters. Second, when discussing Autists, one should consider the Fathers who teach that Grace builds upon nature. Again as to the first, St. Innocent of Alaska, realizing the disparity in cultures between Aboriginals and the 'newcomers' went so far as to provide 51 Instructions or Canons to protect Aboriginal rights to acculturate Orthodoxy, and as St. Paul taught, to come to Christianity as one was called by God. Again as to the second, we are also painfully aware that 'neurotypicals' dominate Christianity as well simply by their group-thought which comes to them naturally, hence in and of itself cannot but isolate and marginalize the Autist who does not share what Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen has dubbed 'Theory of Mind'.

    Formerly classified, myself, as a 'retarded savant,' and holding a doctorate in the triple areas of religious studies, theology and developmental psychology, it made sense to follow St. Basil's lesser known 'Third Rule', also called 'Discourse on Ascetical Discipline,' among other sacred documents. For Aboriginals, typical monastic confines and regimentation, as stated, have too great association with residential schools. And as far as Autists are concerned, room is left for approaching God which allows each personality to divinize according to one's natural propensities -- to pray as each can according to the gifts which God provides and purifies -- be that through interior repetition, pacing prayer, intellectual and artistic perseverations; or other ways should the monk be situationally mute -- all of which are dedicated to the glory of God and the intercession for others, and which could make regular mandatory 'choir' attendance for many a burdensome exercise.

    Aboriginal culture, at least in Canada, retains in pockets high respect for those who are perceived by the 'categories' glossed poorly in English as contraries, sacred clowns, deer-people, butterfly-people, and the like. Such persons continue in many communities to be specially valued and set aside/consecrated -- as they were once in Eastern Orthodoxy who were encouraged to seek folly--for-Christ -- and therein lies the overlap -- how one piece fits with the other in a logic not common to the norm: sometimes matters require looking through the eyes of God and not the eyes of men. As the Scriptures say, "My ways are not your ways, nor My thoughts your thoughts."

    From your comments it appears that we do need our own Holy Typikon and our own forum of enclosure: and you have proved our point painfully truthful.

    + Blessing you in Christ, Monk Pierre (Blais), ThD."

    1. You publicly posted your existence on the Internet. I publicly asked what the very confusing contrivance of words meant. Looking at your response this form of explanation is simply your style. If I had asked you directly it looks like this is the sort of obfuscatory wording would have been the result as the above rolls, kontakion-like, down the page leaving me as mystified as I was upon finding the description on the archdiocesan website initially.

  6. Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    I am saddened at the level of ignorance of which each respondent, and the blogger, have hastily and critically posted. Was it not Our Lord whom said: 'those things which proceed from the mouth comes forth from the heart; and they defile the man.'

    As a First Nations person with disabled relations, and whom came across the OCA's post when the community first formed in 2009 - long before the alleged DSM-V absurdity was introduced - I conducted my due diligence, and made an inquiry to them directly. I understood Elder Pierre's warm response then, and his intelligent response here. If Josephus is still mystified and running low on synonyms to describe his confusion and bolster his vocabulary, he should conduct an authentic interview of this fraternity to feature in his blog. Otherwise his response is a little more than a scorned and ordinary individual jealous of the intelligence of a disabled savant.

    It is quite apparent that you respondents are either guilty of the heresy of Philitism or are content to be of the father of lies, than being of Christ. Perhaps it would be wise to leave your gifts at the altar and to seek reconciliation with your fellow brothers in Christ.

    May the blessings given be returned to Elder Pierre and his community of hermitages 'seventy-times-seven,' for turning the other cheek to those that curse!

    Finally: why does it matter to each of you any way? This is group of autistics, [sovereign] aboriginals, and yes, autistic-aboriginals whom chose to form their own Society: where two or three are gathered in His Name, there He is! As a First Nations person, I applaud the foundation they have laid for our people here in Canada. We have suffered long enough under various missionaries, claiming to bring the message of Christ, only to be hypocrites. We do not need non-aboriginals to 'make sense' of us or our groups, speak on our behalf (under the feign concern that the OCA is segregating these people) nor should we be perpetually subject to you, the colonizer.

    What matters is that this fraternity is doing God's work: bringing healing and opening a door to Christ-loving aboriginals and autistics whom are excluded from such worldly individuals holding the Church hostage.

    Asking your forgiveness, will you do the same?

    In Christ,

    An Ojibway, Orthodox Sinner

    1. I'm going to end the bloviation here. Closing this comment box.