Monasticism as social and cultural phenomenon

Irina Valerievna Aster, PhD in philosophy, assosiate professor, The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (Moika Embankment, dom 48, korpus 20a, St. Petersburg, Russia, 191186)

Aster I. V. Monasticism as social and cultural phenomenon, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2012, vol. 1, pp.50–60

DOI: 10.24411/2308-0698-2012-00010

Language: Russian

The article observes the purpose of monastic service and various aspects of singleness (chastity, continence, celibacy). Y. Lotman in his papers clarifies the differences between the perspectives of «Ego-Id» (with «Id» implying the outer world) and «Ego-Ego». The author notes taken as an ideal model monastic service is efficient for deeper world perception and creative activities on account of less need of interpersonal relationships and social stereotypes susceptibility.

The article focuses on monastic functions performed for centuries: worldview, ecology, integration, ethics, communication, information and education, economics, social work, art and aesthetics, spiritual healing. The author maintains monasticism is of cultural character, since all the above functions are commonly attributed to human culture as such.

In the matter of education, the author points to a highly successful model «mentor-disciple». Personal example was of primary importance in such kind of relationships; the modern educational system adopts it to a degree, wherefore it is necessary to avoid didactic approach and «bring along a likeness» instead, that is personal dignity of everyone. Social work of the Russian Orthodox Church should be determined by the proper intentions; some of its forms are mentioned in the article.

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Key words: monk, monasticism, Y. Lotman, Eastern Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodox Church, Catholicism, Buddhism

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