Saturday, March 1, 2014

Monasticism, a Type of Martyrdom

Monasticism has many definitions. One of them is martyrdom. Monasticism is considered to be a new type of martyrdom. Reading Metropolitan Kallistos’ book The Orthodox Church, I came across an interesting Celtic text – an Irish homily from the 7th century which relates the two, i.e. the ascetic way of life and martyrdom:

“Now there are three kinds of martyrdom which are accounted as a Cross to a man, white martyrdom, green martyrdom, and red martyrdom. White martyrdom consists in a man’s abandoning everything he loves for God’s sake…Green martyrdom consists in this, that by means of fasting and labour he frees himself from his evil desires, or suffers toil in penance ad repentance. Red martyrdom consists in the endurance of a Cross or death for Christ’s sake”[1].   

[1] Quoted in J. Ryan, Irish Monasticism (London, 1931), p. 197

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