Typicon of the Maronite Monks
of Most Holy Trinity
Revised Text Copyright © A.D. 2001
Most Holy Trinity Monastery
67 Dugway Road
Petersham, MA 01366-9725
Protocol No. 596/1/01
The Most Reverend
by the Grace of God and the favor of the Apostolic See
Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn of the Maronites
APPROVING THE REVISED TYPICON OF THE MONASTERY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY OF PETERSHAM; AND FIXING THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF.
To: Our Beloved Sons, the Right Reverend Abbot and the Reverend Monks of the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity of Petersham:
Whereas, the Maronite Monks of the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity of Petersham, a Monastery sui iuris in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, have recently concluded a General Assembly of their membership; and
Whereas, pursuant to the actions taken in said General Assembly, certain revisions of and amendments to the Typicon of the Monastery have been submitted for my approval in accordance with the provisions of ecclesiastical law and in the form of a Revised Typicon; and
Whereas, all substantive and procedural requirements pertaining to the valid and licit approval of the aforesaid Revised Typicon as required by the applicable provisions of ecclesiastical law have been complied with; and
Whereas, I am of the opinion that the Revised Typicon ought to be approved as submitted;
NOW THEREFORE, IN CONSIDERATION OF THE FOREGOING, AND BY VIRTUE OF THE POWERS CONFERRED UPON ME UNDER ECCLESIASTICAL LAW BY REASON OF MY EPISCOPAL OFFICE, I DECREE THAT;
I. I hereby accept, adopt and approve the Revised Typicon of the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity of Petersham according to the text of the same consisting of two hundred eighty-eight (288) numbered articles contained in fifteen (15) chapters, together with a Table of Contents, Introduction, Preliminary Statutes and Conclusion, and comprising one hundred twenty-three (123) numbered pages of printed text, according to the form thereof appended hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
II. I further determine, fix and order that the Revised Typicon hereby approved shall obtain force as of November 21, 2001, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, at which time the provisions of the former Typicon shall lose all force.
Dear sons, in our Father Maron, the Hermit, now that you have revised your “written” typicon, let me remind you that there is an “unwritten” typicon, Jesus Christ Himself. The texts you follow try to express Him to you. The holy monastic fathers you chose to be your masters lead you to Him, the only Master. Remember, also, that your greatest challenge is to be Eastern while having been born Western, that is, to coincide East and West, the Syriac world and the English world, the abandonment of the desert and the mechanism of today’s life. Your calling is to be, indeed, a sign of contradiction. Like the Church, do not cease to be controversial. Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. Never abandon the “Eastern” aspect of your vocation. Live it totally, and be creative in living it. You will then live in tension, but tension is good; it keeps you focused on the essentials. You are in the hands of God. Remember ultimately that you live in you the resurrection of the freedom of the Children of God, and that the significance of your “written” typicon resides in this.
GIVEN at Brooklyn, New York, at the Chancery of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, this Ninth (9th) day of November in the Year of Our Lord the Two Thousand First (Anno Domini MMI).
|+ Stephen Hector Doueihi, S.T.D.
Bishop of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
| Very Rev. Francis J. Marini, J.D., J.C.O.D.
God our Father throughout history has continually called men to the celebration of His divine love. He established His own people, nourished them with His word, sacramental gifts and miraculous power.
God our Father has spoken through His Son who, by His death and resurrection, opened for us His kingdom and made it visible in and through His Church.
Our Lord’s teaching is a call to repentance (cf. Mt. 4:17; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 24:47). Pouring out His Holy Spirit, the Lord invites generous souls to dedicate their lives to repentance and adoration in the silence of the monastery cloister.
The Maronite Catholic Church, originally having formed around the monastery dedicated to St. Maron, has always held the cenobitical and eremitical life in special esteem. The growth of monasticism and the enduring existence of monks and hermits was carried on in the East in a special way by the monasticism of the Maronite Church perduring through the centuries and shining forth in splendor to the whole world in the canonization of St. Sharbel Makhlouf in 1977.
The Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries, following in the long tradition of Maronite spirituality and monasticism, modeled on that singular witness to Christ found in the heart and spirit of their holy monastic Fathers, live a cloistered, monastic life of reparation and adoration with devotion, dedication and simplicity.
The particular goal of the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery is to participate in the hidden and suffering life of Jesus Christ. The spirit of the community is especially to consist in this: that it is joined to Christ as a body appropriated by Him in His love and adoration of the Father and pouring out of Himself in love for His brothers.
The Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries form cloistered, contemplative communities in which there is an harmonious fusion of cenobitic and eremitical living. The apostolate and ministry for the glory of God and the salvation of souls is intra-monasterial (i.e. internal) in a life of prayer, Eucharistic adoration, reparation and work.
As monks of the Maronite Church, we are nourished by the Maronite liturgical life and are formed by the rich spirituality which flows from it. The monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries propose for themselves an ideal of monastic living compatible with the traditions of the Maronite Church.
The manner of life then proposed in this Typicon is by its nature monastic, contemplative, cloistral and adorational. It is a life that is rooted in the long tradition of the monastic Fathers in the life of the Church.
Most Holy Trinity Monastery began on the feast of the Nativity of Mary, September 8, 1978 and is under the aegis of the eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn. It was approved as an eparchial sui iuris (self-governing) monastery on January 17, 1996.
1 The morally binding force sub gravi of the precepts of this Typicon does not obtain, without intending in any way that this should prejudice their faithful and spontaneous observance. Excluded from this appraisal are those precepts which either involve the divine law or which constitute a concrete application of the vows as they are interpreted according to criteria in use in the Church today.
2 Outside the monastery the norms of our monastic observance are not binding on the individual monk unless stated otherwise by this Typicon or the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (hereafter referred to as “CCEO”).
Our Gospel Form of Life
Title 1 — Life in Christ Jesus
3 a) The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of life for the Church and the good news of salvation for the world. The Church comes to know Christ through His Gospel and the total application of the Gospel precepts and counsels to her daily life.
b) Our holy monastic Fathers experienced from the beginning of their conversion the power of the Gospel. Hence, they enjoined the Holy Gospel upon their followers at the beginning and end of their monastic teachings and rules, even stating that it was revealed to them that they were bound to model their lives on Gospel teaching.
c) We are bound to follow our holy monastic Fathers under the action of the Holy Spirit and devote ourselves seriously to living the Gospel life. In all circumstances, we take the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as our first Rule.
4 a) Our whole life and everything we do is consecrated to God and leads us to union with Christ. Our life is centered on Christ both interiorly and exteriorly. It is a life that wishes to be wholly supernatural, whose actions and detachments are so many prayers and petitions. All our hours are dedicated to God, and all our actions should be the fruit of charity.
b) The glory which redounds to God from souls assembled for the increase of divine love—love increased day by day—sheds upon them an abundance of spiritual riches and treasures of grace.
c) We have then no other motive for our manner of life, for the dictates of this Typicon or for our existence as a contemplative, cloistered monastic community of Eucharistic adoration than this love of Christ which urges us on to union with Him.
5 As our Blessed and Immaculate Mother Mary treasured the words of salvation in her heart (cf. Lk. 2:19, 51), so under her protection we will more and more form our life on the Holy Gospel of her Son.
Title 2 — Life in the Church
6 Our contemplative, enclosed, monastic way of life, although hidden in the seclusion of the desert of its cloister, is like a city on a mountain which cannot be hidden. Its light shines before men—a light which must never be extinguished—although it is a light which shines forth from the desert.
7 The Church, brought together by Christ, her head, making her pilgrim journey through the world, is enriched by the Holy Spirit with her many gifts and charisms. By her hierarchical authority, the Church has approved and protected this form of monastic life so that a symbol of the praying Christ might more clearly be witnessed by the People of God.
8 Our prayers and good works edify the Church and contribute to the salvation of our neighbor. For this reason, we ought to desire nothing so much as to live an intensely spiritual life so that, while pleasing God, our prayers and power for good may be communicated to the hearts of the faithful.
9 As true sons of the Church and of our Father St. Maron, we reverence whole-heartedly and submit unhesitatingly to the teaching of our Holy Father the Pope, the Patriarch with the patriarchal synod of bishops and our eparchial bishop, who represent the magisterium of the Church in diverse degrees. (cf. art. 224)
Title 3 — Our Monastic Life: its Purpose and Nature
10 The first purpose for which we come together in a monastery is to live in unity in the house of the Lord so that we may love God above all things and then our neighbor, for these are the chief commandments given to us.
11 The means we have chosen to obtain this end of unity and love is the enclosed, adorational, monastic form of life. Living in solitude, seclusion and with the help of brother monks, we strive for and reach the perfection of the contemplative life so amply witnessed to in the life of our holy monastic Fathers.
12 The monk, no longer in the first fervor of his spiritual life but after long probation and perseverance and now able to live in a community of brethren, may, as he advances, go out from time to time to the solitary combat of the hermitage.
13 There are several forms of monastic life and there are different kinds of monks. We have chosen the form laid down in this Typicon.
14 With a spirit of monastic joy, simplicity and prayer, we undertake this life in order that we may be filled with Christ. And so that we may have an example and a way of life that help us to go to God by a most straightforward and sure road, we place our monastic life under the heavenly patronage and guidance of our holy Father St. Maron and our patrons St. Anthony the Great, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Sharbel.
15 We wish, then, to live in this enclosed, monastic community whose ministry and apostolate is prayer and reparation in the solitude of its enclosure. Within this sacred enclosure, our whole life, our daily schedule and our manner of living are geared and oriented to that recollection and solitude so wonderfully exemplified in our holy monastic patrons.
16 a) As a monastic community of the Maronite Church, we observe the Antiochene Maronite rite, i.e., liturgy, discipline and spirituality.
b) As such, it is our privilege to be under the heavenly guidance and protection of our Father St. Maron and all the saintly Maronite monks and hermits. As both a privilege as well as a duty, let us frequently invoke their aid and celebrate their liturgy.
c) The monks will familiarize themselves with Maronite sources: historical, liturgical and spiritual, as well as with lives of the Maronite saints.
17 The call of the desert, a call to the enclosed, monastic vocation, is its own reason for existence; it needs no other justification. Its contemplative life is essentially a life of intense and habitual companionship with God. It is judged by no other measure than that it be genuinely and truly contemplative. Although liturgical and intellectual life are integral to its monastic ideal, they do not form its essence or goal. Neither are its goals to be found in the social or ministerial. Thus, our monastic life seeks only to provide a witness to the presence of the living God, wherein the soul can live habitually in companionship with Him.
Our Life in Solitude
Title 1 — Life in the Monastery
18 The Holy Scriptures tell us that our Blessed Savior retired into solitary regions to fast and pray, that He spent the whole night in prayer and that He went off alone to commune with His Father. His holy life at Nazareth amidst the Holy Family in the quiet and simplicity of their humble lives prepared Him for His sojourn into the desert.
19 It was from the desert that John the Baptist came forward to preach repentance for sins. It was from the desert experience that the monastic Fathers of old tell us that the monk is to stay in his cell or nearby, pondering God’s law day and night and attending to his prayers. Again we are told that the monk should fast, keep silence and remain near his cell.
20 If the monk will be faithful to his monastic, desert calling, he will come by a labor of love to that perfection of monastic life wherein solitude will be his joy and true source of companionship with God.
21 The monks orient their whole lives, both individually and as a community, to that spirit of solitude which characterizes our form of life. All our exercises and other community acts converge toward this end such that we let no other work, ministry or endeavor impede this goal.
22 The Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries realize this goal through two forms of monastic living:
a) the common life in the monastery proper where the monks live in a spirit of solitude, mutually helping one another strive for the perfection of community living;
b) the eremitical life in hermitages of the monastery where certain monks may live a life of prayer and penance in accordance with the norms of Title 5 of this chapter.
23 In all our monasteries and hermitages, the full observance of our form of life is to be maintained. This includes especially the regular chanting of the principal canonical hours of the divine praises, the two hours of adoration, the daily work and other tasks of regular observance. Each monk, outside the time of common prayers, should be using his time in such a way that he may be able to maintain a spirit of recollection; for example, by engaging himself in private prayer, spiritual reading, study, work or exercise, in order to avoid idleness. Our monastic observance is the duty of all the monks, individually and as a community, although special allowances are to be made for the sick and the aged.
24 The heart of our monastic ideal—a life so dedicated to the pursuit of prayer, contemplation and solitude—is found in the teachings of the monastic Fathers as well as the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
Title 2 — The Life of Silence
25 In order to converse with Christ and to follow Him throughout the day, the spirit of silence is indispensable to the contemplative atmosphere of the monastery.
26 a) Interior silence requires one to forget oneself, to quiet discordant voices within and to establish oneself in interior peace. Holy Scripture reminds us that: “In much speaking, you will not escape sin” (Prov. 10:19); and “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). Speaking and teaching belong to the master; the disciple’s part is to be silent and to listen.
b) Our dialogue with Christ requires this silence. A monk cannot long survive solitude if he is not a lover of silence. If we do not constantly commit everything to Christ and if we do not talk to Him with the simplicity of a child, how then will we be able to bring order within ourselves?
27 The purpose of silence is to bring one to that most perfect fulfillment which is found only in Christ. Instead of creating any lack of fulfillment, the solitude of the monastery creates an intimate meeting with our Savior through a spirit-filled silence. Therefore, each of the monks has the task to guard jealously this essential observance within the monastery.
28 Silence is also necessary out of love for the monks who are praying, reading, writing or resting. The spirit of silence and its faithful observance as well as discretion in speech have never hindered human contact. A false, sullen or dumb silence could cause this breach. Such a silence is not required of us because it is not in itself conducive to the true spirit of inward, spiritual silence.
29 Areas of the monastery where silence is especially observed include: the chapel, the library, the chapter room, the refectory, the cloister and the area around the cells and the hermitages.
Title 3 — Monastic Enclosure
30 Our heavenly Father has called us in His love to a garden enclosed, to a desert place, that He may speak to our hearts. We believe that we are called to this desert place, to this life apart. The goal of this life is to be alone with God alone that we may glorify our Father in heaven and win salvation for souls in the ministry and apostolate of prayer and reparation.
31 All our monasteries must be places of solitude surrounded by peace and quiet, in an atmosphere conducive to monastic and contemplative living. By the nature of our life, we do not have monasteries in crowded and noisy locations.
32 a) The monastery and its grounds are reserved for the monks. Ordinarily, no one else should live within the enclosure except the monks. All the monks must do their share to preserve the sacredness of the monastery, its grounds and its enclosure.
b) Areas of enclosure must include: the chapter room, the library, the recreation room, the kitchen, the refectory, the cloister and the area around the cells and the hermitages.
c) Beyond those areas mentioned in art. 32b, the abbot, with the consent of the permanent council, may stipulate other areas of enclosure for the monastery and its dependent monasteries.
33 a) As is proper to men who love solitude, the monks should remain near the monastery, not leaving the grounds of the monastery enclosure without permission.
b) It is not expedient for a monk to remain outside the monastery overnight. Absences from the monastery for longer periods of time may be permitted only rarely or for necessary business for the monastery.
c) Permission of the abbot is required for extended absences from the monastery. Permission of the eparchial bishop is required for absences which exceed one year unless it is for reason of study or illness.
34 The monks who are sent out on business should go nowhere nor do anything not required by the business. Let them not frequent restaurants, except when traveling, nor go to places of public amusement. When outside the monastery, the monk will remember who he is and what he is called to, and not abuse the grace of his vocation.
35 Because of the cloistered nature of our form of life and the intensity of our ministry and apostolate of prayer and penance in the seclusion of our monastery, the monks, especially those who are priests, should not desire to engage in outside ministries and the active apostolates. It is not appropriate for the monastic community or any monk to seek or engage in any apostolate other than that of prayer and reparation in the cloister of the monastery.(cf. art. 125)
Title 4 — The Cells in the Monastery
36 Each monk is assigned a private cell which should be for him like an oratory in which he will spend many of the most precious hours of his life. He should love his cell and strive to remain in it as befits one who loves solitude. “Stay in your cell,” say the Fathers of the Desert, “and your cell will teach you all things.”
37 The cells of the monks should be sufficient in size, bright and cheerful in order to encourage them to remain in them. Within each cell a spirit of great simplicity and poverty prevails. The monks will be careful to avoid accumulating many little and unnecessary objects such as books and tools and other items which can be kept as well in their proper place.
38 In order to provide conditions which are conducive to prayer and spiritual reading:
a) an area is set apart within each cell as a place of prayer and spiritual reading where there may be a kneeler, crucifix and images of our Blessed Mother and the saints;
b) a vigilant silence is to be maintained within the cells of the monks as well as in the areas surrounding them;
c) entrance into another’s cell is forbidden unless permission is granted by the superior, which should be given only for real necessity.
Title 5 — Our Eremitical Orientation and our Life as Hermits
39 As Maronite Monks, we hold in special regard the eremitical tradition of monasticism. As such our common life in the local monastery is characterized by an eremitical orientation. Moreover, the self-governing monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries may have hermits.
40 a) A hermit is a monk of the self-governing monastery or one of its dependent monasteries who, completely separated from people and from the world, occupies himself totally with the contemplation of the things of heaven.
b) Every hermit is to live on the grounds of the local monastery in a place (hermitage) separated in a special way from the world and from other parts of the monastery.
c) Only a monk who has been perpetually professed for at least six years may become a hermit. It is necessary that he first obtain the permission of the abbot, given with the consent of the permanent council. For just reasons the abbot, with the consent of the permanent council, may withdraw such permission at any time even against the will of the hermit.
d) A hermit may not hold an elected office in the monastery. If he accepts an election he gives up his status as hermit. Moreover, a hermit may not hold any appointed office or fulfill any ordinary monastery function that is not reconcilable with his life as a hermit.
41 The following rules govern the proper observance of the life of our hermits and protect the eremitical life from being used for reasons other than that which should characterize a Maronite hermit. These rules will eliminate from hermit-living those puffed up with pride, infatuated with the novelty of anchoritic life, deluded by a misanthropic temperament or seeking life in a hermitage for merely human endeavors and escape:
a) monks aspiring to be hermits must have sufficient physical and emotional health and spiritual maturity to bear the task of eremitical living;
b) every hermit remains under the authority of the superior of the local monastery who is encouraged to visitate the hermitage from time to time;
c) the first duty of every hermit is to pray, meditate on the Scriptures and practice exemplary virtues. He will increase his monastic discipline; for instance, by observing a greater silence and by rising during the night for prayer and adoration, if he is able. With the permission of his superior, he may fast or abstain more than the community;
d) every hermit ordinarily follows the daily schedule of the monastery. Over and above this, he will strive to give more time daily to adoration before the Blessed Sacrament which may be reserved in the hermitage chapel;
e) the hermit should join the community of the monastery for major feasts and participate in its activities: the Divine Liturgy, the divine praises, the common meal and the recreation of the monks. As the sacred author exhorts: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and to good works, not neglecting to meet one another, and all the more as you see `The Day’ drawing near” (Heb. 10:25);
f) under the direction of his superior, every hermit should do some designated work daily as a powerful remedy for many temptations, as a proof that he is not deserting the human obligation and in accordance with the stern injunction of St. Paul: “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2Thess. 3:10);
g) the hermit is not permitted to wander from his hermitage enclosure. He should go out only for necessity and only with the permission of his superior. At the same time, he is encouraged to get exercise and, with the understanding of his superior, may take walks in the fields and woods, provided these are solitary and without distraction;
h) there should be no visiting at the hermitage. Its silent seclusion and enclosure must be carefully protected. This is the duty of the superior of the local monastery. However, the hermit may administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the hermitage to members of the monastery.
42 a) With the permission of the superior, monks may spend shorter time in solitude or make days of recollection, living the hermit’s way of life whether in their cells or in hermitages which may be available for this purpose. Novices, by way of exception, may also spend some time in like manner with the permission of the novice master and the abbot.
b) Superiors should allow and encourage all who can profit by solitude to spend some time in eremitical retreat. They should arrange the disposition of the schedule and duties of the monks to provide the opportunity for greater solitude.
Our Contemplative Life of Prayer
Title 1 — The Primacy of Prayer in our Form of Life
43 a) The Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries will do their utmost to maintain the contemplative and monastic spirit of our holy Father St. Maron and our holy patrons St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Sharbel. In so doing, the monks are convinced that they would be rendering one of the most invaluable and pressing services to the Church while laying a solid foundation for their own development.
b) It appears, in fact, that in the centuries-old history of monasticism, the greater or lesser effectiveness of monastic presence within the Church coincided with the degree of its contemplative fervor: while, when the latter was lessened and when the means of contemplation were neglected, there always ensued a rapid decline in the spiritual and disciplinary realm as well as in the number and quality of vocations. If we fail in our monastic calling, it will be our failure to be true penitents and true contemplatives.
44 We are consecrated more closely to the service of God by the Gospel counsels of obedience, chastity and poverty. We strive with ever-greater freedom of spirit to worship God, rendering Him the adoration that is His due. We esteem private prayer and above all common liturgical prayer. Led, then, by the Spirit of the Lord and desiring above all His holy operation and praying always with a pure heart, we worship God and give to the People of God a witness of genuine prayer.
Title 2 — Liturgical Life
45 a) We place the highest value on the sacred liturgy which is the exercise of the priestly function of Jesus Christ, the summit of all the Church’s activity and the source of Christian life. Individually and in common, we strive to nourish our spiritual life with the liturgy, allowing its treasures to become the source of our life of devotion. For this reason, we cherish as our first concern in prayer the Mystery of the Eucharist and the hours of the divine praises.
b) Only those liturgical texts approved by the Patriarch and the synod of bishops and our eparchial bishop may be used, observing all the liturgical rites prescribed in the eparchial statutes.
46 a) The contemplative climate of our monasteries will always be centered in the liturgy which is the most sublime ecclesial homage we can give to God through Jesus Christ, especially in the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice in which, by a profound immersion of ourselves, we render a living praise to God of all that we are and all that we do.
b) In every monastery there will be a daily community Divine Liturgy, possibly concelebrated, which all must attend. It should be celebrated according to the feast, with those elements of liturgy which render it a richer source of personal sanctification, of fraternal communion and of fitting worship to God.
c) Besides participating in the daily community Divine Liturgy, each priest may celebrate the Divine Liturgy on his own or with others. Such celebration may be reckoned as fulfilling one of the three daily periods of Eucharistic adoration.
d) The superior may permit absences from the community Divine Liturgy when, in his judgement, necessity demands; for example, in case of sickness or travel.
47 a) Every day, all the monks must chant together, in the chapel, the divine praises, particularly Ramsho , Sootoro and Safro .
b) The Divine Presence is everywhere and “the eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the bad in every place”(Prov. 15:3). Let us consider, then, how we ought to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and take part in the hours of the divine praises in such a manner that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
c) In the hours of the divine praises, we speak to God with His own words taken from Scripture, and in His Word, God Himself meets us and speaks with us. So that the Word of God celebrated in the divine praises may penetrate our hearts more deeply and shape our life and activity more effectively, it should be spoken and heard with the deepest reverence. It should be chanted or sung with calm, dignity, beauty, devotion and attention.
d) During the divine praises, nothing is to be gained by being upset by the difficulty which the monks may have keeping in unison and maintaining pitch. Yet, surrender of ourselves to a life hidden in Christ excludes laziness, routine or habit. It should be nothing other than the participation of our whole being in the work of God through our intelligence and lips. Above all, let there be no rushing of the psalmody. Neither let any slovenliness nor indifference be tolerated in the choir, remembering that this prayer is the very heart of our monastic life.
Title 3 — The Life of Private Prayer, Adoration and Devotion
48 In the Acts of the Apostles we read that: “All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). Again, “and they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The prayer of the liturgy and private prayer are one in the communion of saints. Common prayer however does not dispense the monk from private prayer. The one sustains the other. Therefore, let us show the utmost fidelity to both, knowing that this is the preferred way of life for the monk. Both the liturgy and our private prayer inform our humblest tasks. In the constant regularity and fidelity of our prayer-life, the love of Christ springs up within us.
49 As the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries, our whole life is directed to this purpose: that we spend ourselves in the apostolate and ministry of prayer and reparation. This is so true for us that we should let nothing interfere with this sacred obligation. And while this may seem an obstacle to some, let us be convinced that the ministry of prayer and adoration are the special calling of the monk to which nothing is to be preferred.
50 a) Responding to the summons of the Holy Spirit manifested through the Church, our community dedicates itself to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed. The magisterium safeguards and fosters this prayer form, teaching us that the Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic worship.
b) Further, the Church teaches that religious are bound in a special manner to the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and in virtue of the vows they have made are its `honor guard,’ so to say, here on earth.
c) For these reasons we safeguard this distinctive aspect of our charism and, after the public Liturgy of the Church, hold it in greatest esteem.
d) Since the abiding Presence of the Divine Savior in our tabernacles is a constant and welcome summons for each one of us, as it was for our monastic Fathers and for all the saints, there is no better use of time for ourselves and for the Church than that spent in the fervent adoration of Jesus Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist.
e) In order that we may participate more intimately and with greater benefit in the Eucharistic Mystery and in the divine praises of the Church, and in order that our whole spiritual life maintain a constant level of fervor, the superiors and all the monks are exhorted not to dispense themselves from at least two hours of Eucharistic adoration each day. Performed with a free choice of method, our adoration is taken in chapel before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, with the time ordinarily divided into three periods throughout the day. If we are faithful to this unrenounceable obligation, we can be confident that all the other gains of monastic perfection will follow in its wake.
51 Prayer is the training ground of the saints and the meeting place with grace for individual and community renewal. Every monk is to apply himself zealously to the required times of prayer, whether of liturgy or of private prayer and adoration, without becoming discouraged because of periods of aridity, convinced that he is thus cooperating in a most efficient manner in furthering the good of our monastic family and the entire Church.
52 a) We exercise all loving care for the celebrations of the Mystery of the Eucharist and of the hours of the divine praises and for the silence and peace of the times of adoration by suitable instructions, by meditative reading and study, by proper preparation of ceremonies and by a deep knowledge of the classics of spirituality especially in our monastic tradition.
b) In order to give full and meaningful attention to the time of liturgy and adoration, novel and secondary aspects of devotion and worship must be avoided. Our liturgy and adoration should be unencumbered by other lengthy vocal prayers.
53 a) For us, sons of our holy Father St. Maron and our holy Patrons St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Sharbel, devotion to the Passion of Christ and to His Holy Cross should have a preeminent place in our spiritual life. With hearts overflowing with love, we draw ever nearer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Joseph.
b) All exercises of piety ought to be firmly based on the Sacred Scriptures, be theologically sound, and in conformity with the liturgical laws of the Church.
c) A multiplication of exercises in common is to be avoided, for many profitable devotions are better reserved to individual needs and tastes.
54 In order to foster and renew the spirit of prayer, adoration and devotion, each monk should make a spiritual retreat of a few days every year within the monastery. This may also be done according to the manner of art. 42a.
Title 4 — Spiritual Reading
55 The life of prayer, liturgical and private, is nourished and maintained by the Word of God. This Word comes to us in a variety of ways, individual and collective: from the Sacred Scriptures, from the assiduous and meditative reading of the writings of the monastic Fathers and of the Fathers of the Church, from the study of Catholic theology and from events. Particularly helpful for us is the study of the lives of the saints.
56 Spiritual reading is understood as the equivalent to the ancient monastic tradition of the meditative, prayerful and contemplative reading of Scripture and other holy works. It has as its purpose to nourish and sustain us in our life of prayer and work. It helps each one to grow in his understanding of the Church and her teachings as well as of the goals and ideals of our monasteries. Spiritual reading helps us to commune more fully with the Lord.
57 The superiors of the monasteries should give careful attention to maintain a comprehensive library for the monks’ free use.
58 a) Due to the ever-present necessity of feeding his mind with the Word of God in order to sustain his prayer, his work and his life in the monastery, each monk is duty-bound to be faithful to spiritual reading.
b) Each monk strives to give at least the greater part of an hour each day to spiritual reading.
59 Articles of the Typicon are read every day in community at the evening chapter.
Our Life of the Vows
Title 1 — The Ideal of Obedience
60 a) Obedience is extolled by Sacred Scripture as preferable to all other sacrifices. Our Blessed Savior preferred death on the cross in obedience to His Heavenly Father. He humbled Himself becoming obedient unto death.
b) The monks in their profession of obedience offer their wills to God as a self-sacrifice. In this they follow the footsteps of the Lord Jesus and continually conform themselves to the saving will of God. This is the spirit in which they freely commit themselves to the Gospel counsels.
61 In our monasteries, as becomes true sons of our holy Father St. Maron and our holy patrons St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Sharbel, we live under the sanctifying yoke of obedience. There can be no other choice for those who are striving to consecrate themselves totally to God.
62 Religious obedience exalts the dignity of human nature for it is a gift of the individual monk freely given to God in his striving to walk in the footsteps of Christ and our holy monastic Fathers. The faithful monk obeys his superior as one who holds the place of Christ in his life. When the superior is absent, the monk owes the same obedience to the superior’s representative. Our obedience, then, as monks is to Christ who is our model in all things.
63 a) Whenever a monk who is totally given to obedience acts with the freedom of the sons of God and with a good intention, whatever good he does falls under true obedience as long as he knows that his actions are not against his superior’s will. If a monk were to judge something to be better and more useful for himself than what his superior requires of him, let him willingly sacrifice his will to God and, even in this case, do his best to carry out what his superior demands. This is genuine and loving obedience which pleases God and neighbor.
b) When a difficult or impossible task is laid on his shoulders, the faithful monk receives the order with all meekness and obedience. But if he sees that the weight of the burden altogether exceeds the limits of his strength, let him submit the reasons for inability to the one who is over him in a quiet way and at the opportune time without pride, resistance or contradiction. If the superior still persists in his decision and command, let the monk know that this is for his good and let him obey out of love trusting in the help of God.
c) Through this same love of God, to which the monk prefers nothing else, let him keep in mind that he must always strive to do that which is the more supernatural, living by faith rather than by natural reaction. It is most unbecoming, then, for a monk to contend that his superior’s command is against reason and that, therefore, he cannot fulfill it. For if he adopts this attitude, it will be impossible for him to live under a superior anywhere.
d) Rare is the case of a superior commanding something against conscience. If anything is commanded which is truly against a monk’s well-formed conscience, he may not on that point obey, but he cannot on this account withdraw from his superior or cease to obey in other matters.
e) Our monastic obedience is characterized by promptness and joy, as we remember that it is infinitely better to renounce one’s own will, one’s own ideas and one’s own counsel for the love of God.
64 When the monk entrusts himself to his superior in the spirit of obedience, he becomes available to the service of the whole community. At the same time, he advances in virtue and preserves our Gospel form of life. He humbly obeys his superior with all his abilities and gifts of grace, and strives to fulfill his assignments according to the norms of our Typicon. He may also propose his own ideas and plans for the common good. However, because of the social nature of the Church and the monastic community, the superior has the final right to discern and decide what is to be done after he has freely consulted the monks under his authority.
65 a) The monks should be mindful that they are called to convert the burdens and sorrows of their superior into joys by their holy living and sincere cooperation as is given in our form of life.
b) Let the monks be a true support to their superior: open, receptive and candid in their dealings with him. Let them receive his correction gracefully, mindful that the duty of correction can be rendered either rewarding or oppressive according to their response.
66 Freed from the obstacles of this world, we consecrate our obedience to God. Even if we suffer want, persecution or tribulation because of the witness of our Gospel life, we should put our total confidence in God who is to be loved above all else. As men of obedience, poverty and peace who are inspired and supported by the Spirit of the Lord and His holy operation, we should courageously set out to do great things in Him. If we are faithful to the end, God will reward us.
Title 2 — The Ideal of Chastity
67 Chastity for the sake of the kingdom, voluntarily assumed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and modeled after our Blessed Savior is valued as a precious gift from God. The reason for our life of chastity, in which we also give up married love, is the love of God and the witness to eternal things among the People of God. Through chastity, we have greater freedom of heart to cling to God with undivided love; and, through chastity, we are able to become all things to all men.
68 Consecrated chastity is a special sign of the mystery of the Church joined to her only Spouse when it is faithfully guarded as a gift and cherished at all times. Likewise, it heralds a future world in which, after resurrection, all will be brothers and sisters.
69 a) Consecrated chastity is preserved by participation in the sacramental life, especially the Eucharistic Supper, by fidelity to prayer, through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and through the closest union with Christ and His Blessed Mother.
b) All the monks in their love for this Christ-like virtue of chastity must do all they can to preserve it, mutually supporting one another through Christ-like love, companionship and fraternal service. Throughout their lives, they will develop proper psychological maturity by controlling drives and emotions. Along with controlling feelings and affections, they will apply themselves diligently and cheerfully to their work, living in humility and penance and using the means necessary for mental and physical health.
70 Through fraternal and friendly relationships, the monks love everyone in Christ and lead them to share in the kingdom of God.
71 a) We should be reserved, courteous and respectful in our relationships and attitude toward women, whether religious or lay.
b) Let us be mindful of the wise admonitions and examples of our holy monastic Fathers, always avoiding whatever would be harmful to morals or religious life and carefully guarding against anything that could arouse even the slightest suspicion about our life of chastity.
c) Our conduct, whether in visiting rooms because of necessity (and that only with permission) or in necessary business outside the cloister, is to conform to the norms of prudence.
72 The greatest reserve and prudence must be employed regarding books and periodicals that are brought into the monastery. With others, any expression that is scurrilous, indecorous or unsuited to religious dignity is to be absolutely avoided.
73 The monks will call to mind and reflect often on the lives of our holy monastic Father St. Maron and our holy patrons, St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Sharbel who show us how to put away all anxiety, to love and adore the Lord God in all His creatures with a pure heart, chaste body and holy action. Let there be nothing in us which hinders the Spirit of the Lord or separates us from Him. Then, His holy activity will be manifest in each one of us and in our community.
Title 3 — The Ideal of Poverty
74 Jesus Christ made himself poor though He was rich so that we might become rich by His poverty (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9). From His birth in the manger to His death on the cross, Christ our Savior bore witness to His love for poverty and the poor. Particularly incisive in Jesus’ teaching is the summons to material and spiritual poverty, making it an essential condition for discipleship and a specific way of life in His Apostolic Rule (cf. Mt. 5:3; Mt. 19:21; Mk. 6:7-10; Lk. 12:33; Lk. 14:33; Acts 4:32ff.).
75 Our holy monastic Father St. Maron and our holy patrons St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Sharbel, were particularly touched by the poverty of Jesus and His most holy Mother. They found in the life of the Apostles, in their total divestment, the true key to an understanding of their own vocation.
76 Three principal motives which impassioned the monks and hermits of the early Church urge us as Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries to a life of Gospel poverty:
a) first is the mystical motive, that is, conformity to and union with Christ. As Maronite Monks we set for ourselves a specific mission within the Church: the greatest fidelity to the spirit of the monastic Fathers as our chief means of growth in the love that will unite us to the Poor and Crucified Jesus. Like the monastic Fathers, we embrace Gospel poverty in imitation of our Lord Himself—promising to develop and observe a non-possessive manner of life. Such evangelical poverty is a high ideal of our contemplative and monastic way of life in as much as it perfects in us the love of God and neighbor;
b) second is the ascetical motive, that is, the zealous practice of evangelical virtues. Gospel poverty is the renunciation not only of outward possessions by the vow of poverty, but also of one’s bodily desires by the vow of chastity, and the right of self-determination of one’s own will by the vow of obedience. Like our holy monastic Father, St. Maron, and our holy monastic patrons before us, we strive to live a real adherence to the evangelical counsels through total non-possessiveness;
c) third is the apostolic motive, that is, the witness and example of a Christ-life offered to men enveloped in a world of hedonism and spiritual darkness. In response to the assault of consumerism and contemporary materialism, we discern a compelling summons to follow our monastic Fathers in the evangelical witness of a life of renunciation and non-possessiveness.
77 By the constant zeal for the life of Gospel poverty, we truly become pilgrims and strangers in this world (cf. 1Pt. 2:11), ever conscious that we must desire above all things to have the Spirit of the Lord and His holy operation. Casting aside all care and solicitude of this world in freedom of heart and steadfastness of hope, we daily continue that long pilgrimage which leads to the land of the living.
78 a) As the monks are united in mind and heart, so too should they share material things after the example of the primitive Church of Jerusalem in which all lived according to the Apostolic Rule of Life, living together and sharing everything in common (cf. Acts 2:44; 4:32).
b) Regarding all goods and property, the monks should assume a keen sense of responsibility for them. They are not to be removed or given away without the consent of the superior.
79 a) The holy monastic Fathers commanded their sons not to be preoccupied with money. They saw it as a sign of wealth, a temptation to greed and a device for power and domination in the world.
b) In the spirit of the holy monastic Fathers, every concern and preoccupation with money being ruled out, there remains for the community and for the monks the simple use of it for the necessities of life. Money is used as the ordinary means of exchange for the indispensable necessities of economic life as is done by the poor and always in accordance with the norms of the present Typicon. This also is poverty-oriented. Our penitential life proposes for itself a particular vigilance on this point.
c) Since it is the duty of the superior to care for the needs of the monks, he may use money for the necessities of life, for the work and the charitable concerns of the community. For these same reasons, other monks also may use money with the permission of the superior and with the duty of accounting for its use.
d) In keeping with the spirit of poverty and detachment, the monks should not solicit money or other things from parents and friends without permission of their superior, and then only by way of rare exception.
e) Superfluous monies of the local community should be given over to the abbot who in turn will use them for necessary expenses and for the poor.
80 a) Our monasteries are to be solidly built, simple, modest and austere. They should be kept in good repair, clean and neat in appearance.
b) Since our lives are spent in houses of solitude, silence and poverty, they should be humble dwellings that bespeak and witness to the fact that we are pilgrims and strangers and that those who dwell in them are lowly and poor.
c) In choosing a site for a new foundation, those responsible should keep in mind our life of poverty, the solitude necessary for our monastic, contemplative life and the spiritual good of the monks. Let them be especially mindful of our status of being poor and the example we must give to others.
81 a) The rooms of the monastery should be without unnecessary adornments. The cells of the monks should be especially simple, in accordance with art. 37. In furniture, we prefer poor and ordinary things. Any spirit or appearance of luxury in the use of such things is contrary to our evangelical ideal.
b) The chapel is to be simple, respectable, conducive to good liturgy and piety. The appurtenances of worship are to be decorous and in keeping with liturgical norms but neither rich nor expensive. Let us remember that God wants above all our hearts. Each of the monks will see to it personally that the chapel is kept in perfect orderliness and cleanliness.
c) Although our libraries are to be sufficiently stocked with books conducive to theological and spiritual life, they are to be inventoried periodically in order to avoid an accumulation of useless books. Any surplus should be donated to others according to the judgement of the superior. Personal libraries are forbidden.
82 Observing the poverty that we have promised, we wear clothes made of common materials which can be conveniently obtained in the regions where we reside.
83 a) Our food is to be wholesome and sufficient, but not fancy. It should have nutritional balance. Given that our way of life may impose upon us certain privations, let us accept them with joy and gratitude.
b) As need arises and insofar as we are dependent upon benefactors for food, we may accept and eat what is donated.
c) Accumulation of foodstuffs is to be avoided, so as not to sin against Providence and against the poor. Any incurring surplus is to be distributed to the poor, with whom we constitute one family.
84 a) Forbidden to the community as well as to the individual monk is the unnecessary use of electronic devices for entertainment, recreation or mere cultural enrichment.
b) As becomes the poor and so as to preserve monastic silence, which should envelop the monastery at all times, the use of unnecessary appliances should be avoided.
c) The use of the telephone and of the mail is kept to what is necessary, mindful that for the really poor, merely to satisfy their hunger is a struggle, and so we ought to moderate ourselves in every phase of life.
d) Tobacco in any form is always forbidden to all the monks at all times and in all places as contrary to our life of poverty and penance.
85 It is incumbent upon the local monastery to institute, in ways considered most suitable, a periodic inventory of all things used by the community, distributing to the poor whatever is not necessary, in order to avoid a gradual and imperceptible deterioration in the realm of monastic poverty, the unfailing cause of a general tepidity of the spirit, as history has so often demonstrated. Each monk, but especially the superior, is to consider himself responsible for this most precious treasure of holy poverty which our holy monastic Fathers and the Church have solicitously entrusted to us.
86 a) The monasteries of the Maronite Monks of the Most Holy Trinity may use profitable investments and stable incomes.(cf. art. 276)
b) The Abbot may accept perpetual legacies after obtaining the consent of the permanent council.
c) The monasteries of the Maronite Monks of the Most Holy Trinity may use insurance policies or forms of social security and retirement funds for everyone or for certain monks where such things are commonly used for and by the poor of the region. This may also include health insurance policies or any other kind that may be prescribed by ecclesiastical or civil authority.
87 Remuneration for any sacerdotal services as well as offerings for the Divine Liturgy may be accepted as alms but never as payment for services rendered.
88 Superiors and all the monks are warmly exhorted in the Lord that, even though a sincere and realistic consideration of actual circumstances does not permit that in every case we cling materially to the letter of the Typicon, this is not to be construed as a pretext for a facile deviation from that same Typicon, which is always binding upon the consciences of the monks. In this respect, it is not a minutiæ-oriented and quibbling mentality which brings us close to the monastic Fathers, but a conviction that preoccupation with managerial concerns and money is a threat to apostolic life and evangelical witness.
89 May we not be among the number of those false poor who wish to be poor in such a way as to want for nothing. At the same time, let us remember that Gospel poverty consists chiefly in non-possessiveness and renunciation in order that we may totally abandon ourselves to God. Like our holy monastic Father St. Maron and our holy monastic patrons St. Anthony, St. Francis and St. Sharbel, we wish to be fully detached from earthly things and from self so that we may use this world as though we used it not, for the glory and praise of our Father in heaven (cf. I Cor. 7:31).
Our Penitential Life in Christ
90 At the beginning of His mission and at the end, the Lord Jesus commanded us to do penance (cf. Mt. 4:17; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 24:47). In order, therefore, to respond fully to this summons of Christ, to be true disciples of the Master, the spirit of conversion and penance must animate our monastic life.
91 a) Our interior conversion will be manifested in outward as well as inward acts of penance and mortification which we, as monks and penitents, are especially called upon to perform.
b) Nevertheless, recalling that the best penance is found in the conscientious observance of our Typicon and cloistered manner of life, we deny ourselves above all through the performance of our daily duties. Thus, we imitate more closely Christ’s emptying of Himself and make more evident our love of God and neighbor.
c) This continuous and joyful penance manifests itself in our fervent observance of enclosure and silence, fidelity to the daily schedule, faithfulness to the daily two hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, in prompt and cheerful submission to lawful authority and in maintaining an all-pervading spirit of mortification.
92 An important and characteristic feature of our life of penance is the willingness to be corrected through fraternal correction, through the discipline of daily life and through superiors. The superiors and the monks together strive to make it a vital and efficacious renewal of spirit, avoiding routinization and desiring always the free flowing love of Christ within the community.
93 The monks must faithfully keep the penitential seasons and days prescribed for the Maronite Church (Ash Monday and Great Friday).
94 a) In order to preserve with fervor our monastic ideal, each monastery esteems and practices fasting and abstinence.
b) The abbot and the priors of dependent monasteries may dispense individual monks or even the entire community from fasting and/or abstinence and from the discipline of our penitential form of life for a just reason; for example, because of health or age (cf. art. 228d). However, the prior of a dependent monastery must inform the abbot when he dispenses the whole community.
95 With the understanding and blessing of both his superior and his spiritual director, the individual monk may practice additional penances beyond what is laid down by our community observance.
96 a) The highest regard should be held for the frequent use of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation by which we are more fully joined to the Body of Christ and which greatly stimulates our growth in holiness. Therefore, the monks should strive to receive this Sacrament frequently and at least twice monthly.
b) The superiors should endeavor to find and make available suitable alternate confessors for the monasteries. The monks may freely and often approach spiritual fathers and confessors.
c) A daily examination of conscience takes place during the liturgy of Ramsho .
97 Let all the monks continually offer to God the trials, sufferings, persecutions, misunderstandings and renunciations which accompany the profession of monastic vows and common discipline. At the time of death, let them finally commend life itself as their last sacrifice into the hands of the Lord.
Our Life in Fraternity
Title 1 — The Ideal of our Community Life
98 a) The Mystical Body of Christ, made up of a variety of members with diverse gifts in the one Spirit, grows in love and expresses itself in a particular way in a monastic family. The members are brought together in the mystery of God’s love to live as a community the ideals of our holy monastic Fathers. Growth in love is achieved especially by means of the common celebration of the Eucharist.
b) The community, living whole-heartedly in the brotherly love of a cloistered monastic family, bears a valuable witness to Christ and is a sign of hope and healing in a torn and fragmented world.
c) Responding to this exalted vocation, the superiors and all the monks strive to excel in that mutual love and understanding so fully described by our holy monastic Fathers. Let them be always courteous, compassionate and encouraging to one another, radiating peace and joy of heart.
d) Let us consider our little penitential family as having failed if we do not feel the need, indefatigably, to recapture the atmosphere of intimate brotherliness so typical of the early monastic communities.
99 As brother-monks given to each other by the Lord, each gifted in his own way, we should accept one another gratefully. While combating the tendencies to evil within himself, let each one direct the power of love toward his neighbor. We must, therefore, develop the ability to communicate with each other, confidently sharing our experiences and needs. A spirit of fraternal understanding and sincere esteem should surround those united in community so that the bond of charity will be preserved however much the work entrusted to individuals may differ. Therefore, we must never be jealous of the graces and successes of our brother-monks, but rather let us deem their human and supernatural endowments a common treasure and stimulus.
100 a) In our communities, let us promote cordiality, sincere friendship, mutual service and understanding, avoiding disputes and quarrels. Let us jealously guard the reputation of our brothers, mindful of the injunctions of the Sacred Scriptures and our holy monastic Fathers. Let us not forget that it will be the warmth of our brotherly love, after the grace of the Lord, that will sustain us in the austerities and fatigues of our form of life.
b) All together, superiors and subjects alike, proceed in an honest way, maintaining a family spirit. All must respect each other enough never to say in another’s absence what he would not dare to say charitably if he were present. If we act in this way, while yet in this world, we will be manifestly consecrated to His kingdom.
c) If we have publicly offended a brother, let us ask his pardon during the penitential act of the chapter of faults.
101 a) By reason of their common vocation as sons of our holy Father St. Maron, all the monks, ordained or not, are equal and are, therefore, brothers in community.
b) The precedence which is necessary for the service of fraternity comes from functions and offices actually held. All should help one another according to the gifts each one has received, including the performance of daily household duties.
c) Each monk receives his seniority in the monastery beginning with the day of his entrance into the novitiate.
d) Precedence according to office and seniority is observed in chapel, during chapter and in the refectory.
102 Charitable concern and gratitude will be shown to monks advanced in age. Younger members of the community should esteem them and willingly profit from their experience. Older monks should look favorably on healthy developments in the growth and spread of the monastic life. Both old and young will share with one another the wealth that each possesses. This assures that in our monasteries diversity of age will result in mutual enrichment and oneness of spirit.
103 a) The daily breaking of the Eucharistic Bread, our chanted liturgies in common and the faithful observance of the common life signify and nourish mutual love.
b) Every monk should participate as actively as possible in the recreation of the day, sharing with all the others the gift of his joy, mindful always of their need for his presence.
Title 2 — The Relationship between
the Superiors and the Community
104 a) Let charity be practiced first of all by the superiors as they consecrate themselves for the service of the brethren in their prayer, in their strength, in their heart and in their whole gift of self. As true brothers and friends, let the superiors be solicitous for the needs of all the monks, alert to discover and develop the gifts of God in them; and, while humbly respectful of their own authority, let them be as gentle servants to all, abounding in kindness and understanding.
b) As faithful servants, let the superiors be solicitous and available to listen to the monks, and let the monks’ every legitimate desire be treated as a command which they shall make every effort to carry out promptly and cheerfully. Let them not seek any other reward but that of loving and being of service.
c) As regards the material needs of the monks, the superiors should strive to provide for them in such a way that, while superfluities are not permitted, necessities are supplied.
105 Always mindful that the superiors are charged with the greater burden, the monks, while freely offering their own well-considered opinions, should be eager to help their superiors and should execute their decisions wholeheartedly in a spirit of loving, obedient faith.
106 It is the function of the superiors to bind together and to focus the ideals and observances of our monastic communities. Since the ideals of our holy monastic Fathers drew their origin from the Gospel and now draw us as monks into the Gospel life, we must strive conscientiously to grasp the meaning of these monastic ideals.
107 Toward erring monks, the superiors will combine firmness and gentleness, admonishing with inexhaustible patience and charity. It is above all these latter virtues that will enable them to succeed in winning the brethren for the Lord. The superiors must remember that they will have to render an account to God if any monk were to be lost either because of their neglect, weakness, bad example or because of impulsiveness or harshness.
Title 3 — The Relationship between Monasteries
108 All the monasteries are at the disposal of one another, assisting each other through the ministry of the abbot in matters of interchange of personnel, financial assistance, mutual support, moral and spiritual encouragement.
109 Since all our monasteries are interdependent and since we may be assigned to any house, let us carry with us, always and everywhere, the ideal and the zeal of our love for our monastic form of life.
110 By frequent and discreet communication between monasteries, the monks remain informed of their brothers in other houses.
111 Because of the nature of our monastic, contemplative manner of life, there will be a similarity of scheduling and custom in all our monasteries, despite different countries, climates and cultures.
Title 4 — Our Concern for the Monks who are Sick
112 The care of our sick brethren should be given our first consideration. Let them be served as if they were Christ Himself, for He says to us: “I was sick and you visited Me,” and again, “What you did for these least ones, you did for Me” (Mt. 25:36, 40). When there is sickness in the community, all should realize that Christ is present to the community in a special way.
113 The sick for their part should consider that they are being served for the honor of God and should not annoy with unnecessary demands those who are serving them. The sick, however, should be patiently borne with because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
114 The superiors shall take the greatest care that the sick, the weak, the aged and the young, if there are any, suffer no neglect.
115 The superiors and those entrusted with the care of the sick and the aged should make sure that the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is administered at the appropriate time, endeavoring to have it when the infirm monk is able to appreciate its consolation. The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, too, should always be available to the sick.
116 With gentle compassion let us nurture our infirm brothers and let us not spare any means to meet their needs, even at the cost of sacrifice. May the infirm keep Jesus Christ ever present, and if, notwithstanding the good will of the brethren, they should have to experience some consequence of poverty, may they have the wisdom and courage to give praise and thanks to God.
Our Life of Work
Title 1 — The Importance of Work
117 God the Father is at work even now and He calls us to cooperate with Him in His work of perfecting creation. Jesus Christ conferred a new dignity on labor and made it an instrument of salvation for all. He did this by working with His hands and by His cooperation and submission to St. Joseph in their life of labor.
118 The holy monastic Fathers admonish us to work faithfully and devotedly while submitting ourselves willingly to the common law of work.
119 a) We work first of all for the praise and glory of the Most Holy Trinity. We show this both in the quality of our work and the spirit of generosity in which it is accomplished. In order that our work may foster this spirit of generosity and faith, we should lovingly direct our intentions and energies toward God. We should offer in the celebration of the Holy Mysteries our daily work and its burden and so consecrate it to the Father through Christ.
b) In working, we develop our character and join our brothers in their work—mutual cooperation for the upbuilding of the community and God’s Church. We thus have the opportunity to do our share for the sustenance and needs of the community.
120 The principal actualization of our work, given the contemplative and monastic character of our monasteries, is realized in our apostolate of prayer. We thus recognize that a fundamental aspect of our charism is the harmonious fusion of contemplative and penitential fervor, manifested in the conscientiousness, generosity, fidelity and regularity with which we approach our work of prayer, adoration and reparation.
Title 2 — Ministerial Work
121 a) The Church has expressed in her documents her wish that monasteries share their gifts of silence and prayer. Therefore, it is an appropriate and fitting ministerial service on our part to encourage the faithful to assist us in adoration of the Most Holy Mystery of the Eucharist and to participate in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
b) Since guests are never wanting at a monastery, they should be welcomed as Christ Himself. And since there are always some men who wish to remain with us for a few days at a time, rooms may be provided for them in the area of the monastery reserved for guests, which should be apart from the cells of the monks. (cf. aa. 140-142)
c) With the understanding of their superior, priests who have the required faculties may administer the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation to visitors and guests of the monastery.
122 a) Our primary form of evangelization for the upbuilding of the Church is the silent witness of our life of prayer and adoration as well as the regularity of common observance in our individual lives and as a monastic community.
b) In order to maintain purity of purpose, it is forbidden to take upon ourselves works outside the monastery, whether manual or ministerial. The administration of parishes, public shrines, retreat centers (as distinct from the monastery guest house), chaplaincies, schools and teaching assignments whether salaried or not, are incompatible with the charism of our life of adoration in the cloister of our monastery.
c) It is not expedient for monks, whose manner of life is monastic, contemplative and cloistered, to absent themselves from the apostolate and ministry of prayer, adoration and reparation so necessary for the spiritual life of the Church and the good of souls.
123 It is the duty of the superiors of the monasteries and the novice masters so to instruct and train the aspirants to our monasteries that they realize from the outset that outside ministerial work in any form is not in keeping with our monastic form of life.
124 a) As the occasion may arise, it is the duty of the superior of the local monastery to explain to pastors our manner of life and the reasons for our maintaining cloister.
b) At the same time, the superior must guard the monastery chapel from being used for any other purpose than that which pertains to our monastic observance.
125 a) To guarantee and protect both the community and the individual monk in the spirit of their monastic calling, the superiors of the monasteries may not oblige a monk, ordained or not, to assist or undertake any work or project, ministerial or otherwise, outside the monastery.
b) The monk, ordained or not, may not at any time demand the right or privilege of outside work, ministerial or otherwise.(cf. art. 35)
Title 3 — Manual Labor
126 Manual labor is to be highly esteemed and engaged in by all the monks in some measure. Our holy monastic Fathers left us an example and a warm recommendation of it. All the monks, ordained or not, are to cooperate, according to their abilities, in the cleaning and all the other necessary tasks of the monastery.
127 In selecting manual labor as a means of sustenance, and possibly as an internal apostolic work compatible with our life, let preference be given to that choice of work which is more directly concerned with promoting religion and liturgy or which fulfills some real religious need.
128 For the sustenance of the monastery and as an expression of our life of work and poverty, it is permissible for us to maintain a small farm with a garden, in keeping with our monastic orientation of life.
129 With the direction of the superior, the brethren should so arrange the details of their daily living that there should be no conflict between common and private prayer, reading, work and free time. Let them always preserve that necessary balance in the monastic life of prayer and work. Our work will be acceptable before God insofar as it is sanctified and made fruitful by prayer and spiritual reading, and our generous and recollected manner of working will add new energy and fervor to our day of union with the Lord.
130 a) The work and activities of the monastery should be arranged so that each monk is able to develop those gifts of grace and nature over which God has given him personal stewardship. Thus, special training and encouragement should be given to each one in the different areas of service in which he is best equipped to excel. However, highly professionalized, technical training or purely academic scholarship are not normally reconcilable with our hidden life of worship, since a secondary good may not be preferred to or allowed to supplant the primary good which is our contemplative calling.
b) While the work we undertake should be carried out according to the demands and standards of present-day Christian culture and, while each one’s training should be adequate for the job, we must keep in mind that our monastic life is of its nature simple and hidden.
c) It pertains to the superiors of the monasteries and to those delegated to assign work, to respect the abilities and talents of each monk, to develop carefully each one’s sense of responsibility by consulting with him on projects and by guiding and encouraging him.
131 In order to facilitate an atmosphere of prayer and recollection, and to promote the goal of solitude characteristic of our monasteries, it is recommended that, as far as possible, each one try to work alone rather than in groups, since the spirit of prayer must not be lost either by unnecessary speaking or by unnecessary physical noise.
132 Although we should work towards economic self-sufficiency, at times when our work combined with alms spontaneously given do not suffice for our simple livelihood, we may humbly ask for help as is in keeping with our tradition and form of monastic life.
Our Relations with the World
Title 1 — Relationships with Seculars
133 a) Our contemplative, monastic life is deeply hidden with Christ in God. By this very fact, although we are physically separated from those in the world, we are more profoundly united with them in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
b) Thus, while the atmosphere of enclosure protects the monastic family and is a safeguard for contemplation, it is also, of itself, a witness to our union in charity with those in the world for whose salvation our lives are sacrificially offered. Only that purer love, which results from detachment from all earthly things, is powerful enough to be concerned with the destiny of the whole world.
c) The separation brought about by the atmosphere of enclosure places us at a suitable distance to enable us to view in proper perspective and truly to appreciate this world to which we belong. It is evident, then, that authentic signs of our separation will reflect a free and happy-hearted dedication to our form of life and offer material witness to the joyous reality of our going apart with the Lord to continue with Him the work of redemption.
134 Let the monks always be a source of inspiration and happiness to seculars, to any with whom they may have to do business and to visitors at the monastery. Let them be warm, simple and unaffected in showing forth a true religious spirit as they carefully avoid all worldly and prolonged conversations or any curious inquiring into matters not of their concern. The frequency and duration of visits, while limited, are otherwise left to the discretion of the superiors.
135 a) The superiors retain control over the correspondence of the monks, in the spirit of the ideals of our form of life. While permitted to do so, they have no obligation to read all the letters. At the same time, they ought to respect the dignity of each monk and the intimacy of family affairs. They should encourage a sense of mature, personal responsibility in each monk concerning this matter.
b) Although the superiors retain control over the correspondence of the monks, the monks are always free to receive and send uncensored letters to proper, higher ecclesiastical superiors.
Title 2 — Relationships with our Families
136 Even with the need for evangelical detachment, let us honor those who have given us life. Let us be concerned for them even though the concerns of the Kingdom do not permit us to do much for them in a material way. Nevertheless, let us nurture a particular love towards our parents and family.
137 When it is convenient and not against poverty and causes no hardship for the community, it is permissible (with due regard to the norms of art. 33) to visit our immediate family on special occasions as charity or necessity demand. This visiting should not be often or lengthy. Vacations, however, are not permitted.
138 The superiors of the monasteries must see to it that suffrages be offered for a recently deceased parent.
139 Let us always extend our friendship and love to all our living relatives, benefactors and associates who spiritually belong to our family. We ought to commend them to God in our community prayer along with all the faithful departed.
Title 3 — The Reception of Visitors and Guests
140 Since visitors and guests are seldom lacking in a monastery, it is necessary that we learn to recognize Christ Himself in those whom we receive. While they are among us, let us show them every Christian courtesy.(cf. art. 121b)
141 a) Because the nature of our monastic life is simple in its structure and accommodations, the presence of visitors and guests in the monastery should not significantly disturb our manner of life.
b) Visitors and guests should neither monopolize the monastery nor disturb the community, be they cleric or lay. They should not presume to chant with the monks unless invited to do so by the superior of the monastery.
c) If practicable, visitors and guests should take their meals apart from the monks. Otherwise, they may eat with the monks, but always with silence being faithfully observed.
142 Visitors and guests who come to us expect bread, but if we present them with stones, we shall fall short of our Christian duty. Since they seek in us men who radiate God, the life of Christ hidden in each monk, let each of us radiate to them the joy and love of Christ.
Admission to our Form of Life
Title 1 — The Manner of Receiving
Candidates and Novices
143 The response to a call to religious life is most frequently elicited by the example of joyous charity and complete self-dedication. Therefore, our best propaganda for vocations will always be continuous prayer and the authenticity and fervor of our monastic form of life. As adorers of the Most Blessed Sacrament in a monastic, contemplative community, and ever following the example of our holy Father, St. Maron, we know that “the joy of always belonging to God, an incomparable fruit of the Holy Spirit,” is the greatest source of edification to others.
144 Promoting vocations to our form of life is the responsibility of the whole community. The monks, individually and as a community, are bound to pray for vocations: that God, the Father of gifts, will deign to give us an increase of vocations and the means needed to bring them to perfection. Considering the nature of our particular form of life, recruitment among young boys is excluded.
145 a) We wish our life to be accessible to mature men who aspire to our adorational form of life. However, entrance into the monastery should not be readily given to anyone, but as the Apostle says: “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God”(1 Jn 4:1).
b) When an applicant presents himself to the monastery for admission, he should be examined on his Catholic Faith and the Sacraments of the Church. Inquiry should also be made concerning his background, the condition of his health (both physical and psychological) and his motives for choosing our form of life.
c) Every Catholic man who is not debarred by any legitimate impediments, who is truly inspired by the right intentions and who is fit to bear the burdens of our monastic life may be admitted into the monastery.
146 After examination, the aspirant may be admitted into the monastery for an observership of one month. Following this, he may be admitted to a candidacy which ordinarily will last at least six months. (At the discretion of the abbot, however, this time may be shortened). Having completed the period of candidacy, he may be admitted to the novitiate, which lasts for a period of one full year.
147 The abbot has the right to admit aspirants to observership, candidacy, novitiate and both temporary and perpetual vows after he has diligently seen that the requirements for valid and lawful admission proper to each stage have been fulfilled.
148 Before admitting an observer to candidacy, the abbot must first hear the opinion of the perpetually professed members of the local community.
149 Before admission to candidacy, the following documents and testimonials must be presented to the abbot:
a) certificates of baptism and confirmation;
b) testimonial letters from his pastor and/or another priest or religious who knows him well (testimonial letters from others who know him well may also be required as deemed beneficial by the abbot);
c) if he was in a seminary or novitiate, testimonial letters from the rector/superior;
d) if he is a priest, besides a certificate of ordination, testimonial letters of the last bishop under whom he worked for more than one year suffice;
e) if he is a religious, testimonial letters from his former major superior suffice.
150 Before admission to the novitiate, the following requirements must be fulfilled:
a) it must be shown that the candidate has the physical and psychological health necessary to follow our life, and that his temperament is suited for living in a contemplative, monastic community. He must manifest a sincere desire to serve God in a monastic way of life according to our monastic rules and form of life;
b) the candidate must show by his life that he firmly believes whatever Holy Mother the Church holds and teaches;
c) he must have a good reputation according to Catholic standards, particularly among those who know him well;
d) he must show appropriate maturity. Especially to be excluded from entering the monastery is anyone who does not clearly demonstrate stability in regards to sexual or emotional maturity. A just severity and great discernment are to be used in this matter;
e) ordinarily, it is best that one be educated according to the standards of the region where he is to be admitted, that is, that he be able to fulfill the requirements of assisting in choir and of spiritual reading, or its equivalent in prayer and diligent use of time;
f) ordinarily, one should not be younger than twenty years of age at the time of admission to the novitiate;
g) for a person coming later in life, other information besides the usual testimonial letters ought to be gathered concerning his previous life;
h) a thorough examination of the candidate, whether in writing or orally before the abbot or novice master and one of the senior monks, should take place.
151 The following cannot validly be admitted to the novitiate:
b) those who have been punished with canonical penalties, except those mentioned in CCEO (c. 1426§1);
c) those who are under imminent threat of a serious penalty on account of a crime of which they are legitimately accused;
d) those who are under seventeen years of age;
e) those who enter under the influence of violence, grave fear or fraud, or whom the superior receives under the same influence;
f) spouses, while the marriage bond lasts;
g) those who are held by the bond of religious profession or by another sacred bond to an institute of consecrated life, unless it is a case of lawful transfer.
152 The following are unlawfully, though validly, admitted to the novitiate:
a) anyone of a different Church sui iuris without permission of the Apostolic See;
b) clerics ordained to the subdiaconate or to a major order, without the knowledge of the local bishop or against his objection that their withdrawal would cause grave loss to souls, which cannot be prevented by other means;
c) those aspiring to the priesthood in the monastery but from which they are excluded by an irregularity or other canonical impediment;
d) children whose father or mother, grandfather or grandmother are in grave need and who, therefore, must be supported by them;
e) parents whose help is necessary for the support and education of their children;
f) those who are burdened with debts which they are unable to discharge;
g) those who are obliged to render accounts or who are implicated in other secular business from which the monastery may have reason to fear lawsuits and annoyances.
153 Before admitting a candidate to the novitiate, the abbot must first consult the permanent council.
154 Prior to entering the novitiate, every candidate shall make a spiritual retreat of a few days within the monastery.
155 a) The abbot invests the novices. In the absence of the abbot, the novice master has the right to invest novices.
b) The ceremony for the investiture of the novice takes place in the community chapter room, ordinarily before the liturgy of Ramsho . The prescribed liturgical rite shall be observed.
Title 2 — The Time of Probation and Formation
156 The work of formation belongs to the novice master. All the members of the community cooperate with him in this work, especially by their example.
157 As it is with the professed religious, the novices as well as the novice master remain directly under the abbot as their immediate superior in all things.
158 a) The candidates and novices should be formed in such a manner that they make wise use of their freedom with its corresponding consciousness of having to render to God an account of their lives and conduct. Such maturity can be fostered by entrusting to them duties which will sharpen their sense of responsibility so that, by cooperating fully with the grace of God, they become more effective members of the community.
b) All the members are to be formed in such a manner that they may make a positive contribution to the whole life of the community through their resources of mind, will and the gifts of grace. They will do this by carrying out the demands made on them and diligently fulfilling the duties assigned them.
c) Monastic discipline, which is a necessary part of the training procedure, helps the monk gradually to attain self-mastery and makes him able to foster and support community life and charity. Even if a novice assimilates rapidly or has had previous religious training in another religious institute, let him guard against any illusion of having reached his goal. It requires several years to understand this vocation in its full consequences.
159 During the course of novitiate, the novices will be formed in:
a) the Truths of the Faith through appropriate catechesis according to the magisterium of the Church;
b) the practice and spirituality of the liturgy of the Church, Maronite liturgy and spirituality;
c) the Sacred Scriptures and the spirituality of the holy monastic Fathers, including that of our Father St. Maron and our patron St. Sharbel;
d) the spirituality and the practice of silent and contemplative prayer, as well as our particular charism of Eucharistic adoration;
e) the spirit and the letter of the Typicon and customs of the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery.
160 a) In order that the novitiate be valid, it must last one full year in the self-governing monastery itself, or, by decision of the abbot after consultation with the permanent council, in another self-governing monastery of the same confederation. (cf. art. 198c; see also CCEO c. 456§3)
b) The validity of the novitiate is not affected if the novice is absent for less than three months continuously or cumulatively; but he must make up any unfinished time if it exceeds fifteen days.
161 Having completed the novitiate, the novice shall be admitted to profession if he is judged suitable; otherwise he shall be dismissed. If a doubt remains whether he is suitable, the time of probation may be prolonged but not beyond one year.
162 During the novitiate the novice shall not be assigned to tasks outside the monastery nor engage in the regular study of letters, sciences or art.
163 A novice, during the time of his novitiate, cannot validly renounce his property in any manner whatsoever, nor can he burden it with obligation.
164 a) The novice can freely leave the monastery or be dismissed for a just cause by the abbot who must first consult with the novice master and the local council.
b) When there is serious reason which allows for no delay, the novice master, after consulting with the local council, has the same authority of dismissal regarding an observer, candidate or novice. The abbot should be informed as soon as possible.
Title 3 — The Monastic Habit
165 The monk not only lives for Christ but strives also, according to the beautiful expression of St. Paul, to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14). The sacramental meaning of the monastic habit which the monk puts on revivifies the significance of his baptismal robe: it is “to put on Jesus Christ.” The holy habit is a sign of the monk’s consecration made to God, as well as a sign of our brotherhood. It reminds the monk that his whole being, even his body, has been clothed in Christ to the making of the new man. It serves to praise God by means other than words and helps him to remember who he is and to what he has been called.
166 The monastic habit of the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries consists of a tunic and hood, a leather belt and a five-decade Rosary which is suspended from the belt. Over this is worn the choir habit. The use of a calotte is optional.
167 a) The monastic habit is generally worn all the time. It may be removed and work clothes assumed when, in keeping with poverty and cleanliness, the nature of the work dictates.
b) If a monk leaves the monastery for some necessity or on some business, let his behavior and manner of dress be in no way singular or attract attention to itself. Clerical clothes may be worn when and where it is not advantageous to wear the habit outside the monastery grounds.
168 All clothing worn by the monks should express the poverty which is so dear to our holy monastic Fathers and so essential to our life. It must be simple, according to the nature and place in which they dwell, and becoming, as befits ordered and responsible men, preserving modesty and cleanliness.
Title 4 — The Religious Profession
169 a) The liturgical rites prescribed for investiture and profession of vows shall be observed. The abbot receives the vows in the name of the Church but he may delegate this to another monk. Profession of temporary and perpetual vows shall ordinarily be made after the service of the Word during the Divine Liturgy. The following formula shall be used:
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Joyfully and voluntarily I, N.N., offer what I am and what I have, consecrating myself to Jesus Christ, to the service of the Church, His Mystical Body, in the religious dedication demanded by the vocation, the ideal and the observances of the monasteries of the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery. Therefore, in the presence of Almighty God, and before you, N.N., I humbly vow and promise [for three years/for all the days of my life] to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the Typicon of the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery. With the help of Mary, the Mother of God and of the Church, and of our holy Father, St. Maron, and our holy patrons, St. Anthony, St. Francis, St. Sharbel and all the saints, I trust with the grace of God and the support of the community to persevere in the vows of obedience, chastity and poverty.
b) The ceremony of the renewal of vows takes place at the Divine Liturgy, after the sermon, on the Feast of St. Maron, February ninth. It is read together, each monk reciting in turn his own name.
170 All the monks should reflect often and seriously on how great is the grace of monastic profession. By it we embrace, under a new and special title, a life dedicated to the honor and service of God which urges us on to the perfection of charity. In religious profession, we firmly and intimately consecrate ourselves to God; we represent Christ united by an indissoluble bond to His Spouse, the Church; we support its saving mission by the witness of our consecration. The monks are exhorted, then, to remind themselves of, and the novices to prepare themselves for the monastic profession with the greatest care, by an intense sacramental life centered around the Eucharist, fervent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, and an ever deepening growth of life in the virtues.
171 Prior to the profession of temporary vows, every novice shall make a spiritual retreat of a few days within the monastery. This may also be done according to the manner of art. 42a.
172 a) Profession of temporary vows is made concluding the year of novitiate as determined by the abbot.
b) This profession can be renewed several times but such that, taken as a whole, it never lasts for a time less than three years nor longer than six years. (cf. art. 169a)
173 For the validity of temporary profession, it is required:
a) that the novitiate has been validly completed;
b) that the novice be admitted to profession by the abbot with the consent of the permanent council and, after having consulted the novice master and the other perpetually professed members in the novitiate house, that the profession be received by the abbot in person or by another delegated by him;
c) that the profession be expressed, made and received without force, grave fear or fraud.
174 a) A monk in temporary vows is held by the same obligation to observe the Typicon as the monk in perpetual vows. He lacks active and passive voice.
b) Temporary profession renders acts contrary to the vows unlawful but not invalid.
c) Temporary profession takes away from the monk only the use and administration of his own goods but not the ownership of his own goods or the capacity of acquiring other goods. Prior to making profession, the candidate for temporary vows must assign to whomever he wishes, outside of this institute, the management of his property which he actually possesses or which, perhaps later, will come to him, and dispose freely of its use and income. This assignment lasts for the entire time he will be bound by the profession. It is not permitted for him gratuitously to abdicate the right of disposing of his goods by an act effective during his life.
d) The temporarily professed cannot change of his own free will the assignment or disposition mentioned in art. 174c. This change can only be made with the consent of the abbot, as long as the change (at least of a notable part of his goods) is not in favor of the monastery. The assignment or disposition ceases to have force if ever the monk should forsake the monastic life.
e) Whatever the temporarily professed acquires by his own industry or in respect to the monastery is acquired for the monastery; and unless lawfully proven to the contrary, it is presumed that he acquires in respect to the monastery.
f) As soon as the temporary profession is made, whatever offices held by the professed become vacant by the law itself.
175 Every candidate for perpetual profession, prior to the time of profession, shall make a spiritual retreat of a few days within the monastery. This may also be done according to art. 42a.
176 For the validity of perpetual profession it is required:
a) that the time of temporary profession has passed;
b) that the monk to make profession be admitted to profession by the abbot with the consent of the permanent council, after having consulted the other perpetually professed members of the house of his domicile, and that the profession be received by the abbot in person or by another delegated by him;
c) that the profession be expressed, made and received without force, grave fear or fraud.
177 Perpetual monastic profession renders acts that are contrary to the vows invalid, if the acts can be nullified.
178 a) Within sixty days prior to perpetual profession, a candidate for perpetual profession must renounce, in favor of whomever he prefers, all property which he actually possesses, on condition that his profession subsequently takes place. A renunciation made effective before this time is by law invalid.
b) The profession having been made, all necessary steps shall be taken at once in order that the renunciation become effective also in civil law.
179 Any temporal property whatsoever which accrues to the member after perpetual profession by force of any title is acquired by the monastery.
180 A member, having made perpetual profession, loses by law itself whatever offices he may have held. He loses his eparchy/diocese and is aggregated to the monastery with full effects of the law.
181 Those coming to us from other religious institutes having already made perpetual vows will hopefully retain their perpetual vows. Their perpetual vows, however, do not grant them the canonical status of final vows in this community until such time that they may be granted this privilege. (Concerning transfers, cf. CCEO cc. 487–488 and 544–545)
182 From the entrance to the monastery as an observer to perpetual vows, each succeeding stage must have documents drawn up which are to be carefully preserved in the archives of the monastery. The documents recording the making of temporary and perpetual profession are to be signed by the professed himself and by him who received the profession, even by delegation, as well as by two witnesses. In the case of perpetual profession, the superior is to notify, soon after, the pastor with whom the baptism of the professed is recorded.
Title 5 — In-House Monastic Oblates
183 For those wishing to share our monastic and contemplative life, this Typicon provides for in-house monastic oblates who are members of the community.
184 a) The abbot may permit an individual to live as an oblate in the self-governing monastery or one of its dependent monasteries after he has obtained the consent of the perpetually professed members of the local community in which the oblate is to reside. A contract is to be made.
b) The status of oblate assumes the serious obligation and ability to live our monastic form of life, according to our Typicon. Careful consideration is to be made in each individual case with respect to the suitability of a person aspiring to be an oblate, with due regard to the articles bearing on admission into the monastery.
185 The oblate is formed by the same novitiate, wears the same habit and assumes seniority as the monks of the community. He binds himself by promises of celibacy and obedience to live our monastic form of life, observing the norms of our Typicon under the direction of the abbot or his representative. He may make use of his own temporal goods only with permission. The oblate remains bound by his promises as long as he remains attached to the monastic community.
186 With the permission of the abbot, the oblate may have an individualized schedule to serve the special needs of the self-governing monastery or its dependent monasteries.
187 a) The oblate may depart the monastery at any time. The abbot may dismiss an oblate for a just and reasonable cause, after having consulted with the perpetually professed members of the local community. The prior of a dependent monastery may do the same in regard to an oblate under his authority. The abbot should be informed as soon as possible.
b) A departing oblate cannot claim anything from the monastery for his work performed there. However, evangelical charity shall be extended to him.
Ordination to Major Orders
188 a) The needs of worship in the monastery and the spiritual needs of the monks, visitors and guests may require that the abbot, with the consent of the permanent council, prepare a sufficient number of monks and present them with his dimissorial letters, to the bishop for ordination to major orders.
b) Still, the Church reminds us that the ordained priesthood cannot be reduced to the merely functional and that there is a natural harmony existing between religious and priestly consecration. Priesthood is primarily a configuration to and union with Jesus Christ, the one Priest and Mediator, who offered Himself in obedience to the Father as a Victim for the life of the world. It is this spirit, this truth that characterizes the priesthood of the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries. Therefore, the ministerial needs within the monastery cannot be the sole criterion for the advancement of a monk to the priesthood: due attention is paid as well to the individual monk’s attractions, aptitudes and the workings of God’s grace in his soul.
189 Regarding clerical studies the following is prescribed:
a) the self-governing monastery with its dependent monasteries shall strive to have its own study facilities;
b) the candidates for sacred ordination shall apply themselves to the study of philosophy and theology according to the norms of CCEO (cc. 347-350), unless these studies were undertaken before;
c) the professors of philosophy and theology shall take as their guide the teachings of the magisterium of the Church and the Fathers and Doctors of the Church;
d) the monks in study are to be entrusted to the special care of a spiritual director. This care is incumbent upon the abbot or the person he will appoint for this task;
e) after their ordination, the monks should continue their studies in an adapted way.
190 It is required that candidates for sacred ordination profess perpetual vows before the reception of the order of the diaconate.
191 Candidates for the diaconate and the priesthood must make a spiritual retreat of a few days within the monastery prior to ordination. This may also be done according to the manner of art. 42a.
192 Any monk may remain until his death in the same order he has received.
Christ in our Midst: the Service of Authority
Title 1 — Authority informed by Charity
193 Guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Maronite Monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries are a living cell in the Mystical Body of Christ. The monks, joined together for the following of Christ, contribute to the upbuilding of the Church in love through the various offices of authority. In God’s design, the assemblies ( synaxes ), the abbot and the other superiors perform the function of binding the members together in order to strengthen the unity of this community which is both spiritual and visible. The monks, then, should be sensitive to their obligations of furthering the good of the Church and the community in keeping with the graces of their vocation.
194 a) In order that our community be a vital and authentic religious family of cloistered contemplative monks, it is necessary that genuine love shine out in the juridical ordering of structures and exert its influence according to the specific character of our monastic life.
b) The governmental structures of our community and of individual monasteries must correspond with our spirit and life as contemplative, cloistered Maronite Monks. Therefore, they will be simple and informed with brotherly love in a deep sense of cooperation and responsibility.
Title 2 — The Structural Divisions of the Monasteries
195 a) Most Holy Trinity Monastery is a self-governing monastery, dependent on the eparchial bishop of Saint Maron of Brooklyn.
b) A self-governing monastery is an autonomous monastery that elects its own abbot, may have its own novitiate and is financially self-supporting.
c) It shall be our ideal that a self-governing monastery have about fifteen to twenty monks.
196 A self-governing monastery can erect dependent monasteries which, by virtue of this Typicon, live the same charism, life and customs of the self-governing monastery. (cf. aa. 271-274)
197 a) The self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries strive to assist one another in exchange of personnel and financial support, as necessity demands.
b) Every monk incorporated into the self-governing monastery by profession is at the disposal of the abbot for service in any of the dependent monasteries.
198 a) When a dependent, filial monastery of Most Holy Trinity Monastery has attained sufficient growth as a monastery in personnel, spiritual and material development, it may become a self-governing monastery, united in a confederation with the Most Holy Trinity Monastery of Petersham, under the appropriate statutes, in accordance with the respective norms of CCEO (cc. 439 & 440).
b) A self-governing monastery, as a member of the confederation, maintains the Typicon, charism and the statutes of the confederation of the Most Holy Trinity Monastery.
c) The confederated monasteries may share common novitiates and study facilities for the sake of greater unity and better training of their members.
199 The supreme authority and the symbol of unity and solidarity for the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries is the general assembly ( synaxis ) which is composed of: the abbot and the permanent councilors, the priors of the dependent monasteries, all perpetually professed monks who have domicile at the self-governing monastery and elected delegates from each of the dependent monasteries (cf. art. 203). To this assembly are reserved those powers attributed to it by CCEO and this Typicon.
200 a) Outside the time of the general assembly, the abbot alone has power of governance and is the principal interpreter of the Typicon and customs of our monastic life, though always in accordance with the ideal of our founder. He is assisted by the prior of the self-governing monastery. (cf. aa. 229 & 236a)
b) The prior of a dependent monastery is a superior having authority only over his own monastery. He is assisted by the sub-prior of the dependent monastery.(cf. art. 236b)
201 a) The self-governing monastery with its dependent monasteries shall form a permanent council composed of four perpetually professed monks (councilors) who are elected by the general assembly. The permanent council assists the abbot in making major decisions. For the validity of some juridic acts, the abbot is obliged by law to seek the consent or counsel of his permanent council. In these cases, the abbot must provide the permanent councilors with the necessary information and must ensure in every way their freedom of expression. The councilors, on their part, are obliged to offer their opinion sincerely and to observe secrecy, an obligation which can be insisted upon by the abbot.
i) When consent is required the abbot is to convoke the permanent council according to the norms of CCEO (c. 948). Councilors who cannot be present at the time and place designated in the convocation may vote by mail or telephone. The decision of the council is valid if at least three out of the four councilors are able to submit their votes. An absolute majority of the total number of votes submitted determines whether consent is given. If the councilors’ votes are even, this means that consent has not been given, since the abbot does not have the right to vote, even to break a tie. Without the required consent, the abbot may not validly place the juridic act. On the other hand, he may freely decide not to place the juridic act, even after obtaining the required consent.
ii) In cases where counsel is required, the abbot is encouraged to convoke the permanent council so that they might gather to discuss the issue as a group. However, for the validity of the juridic act it is only required that the abbot consult with the councilors individually and, if he is legitimately impeded from consulting with all of them, at least three out of the four. Although under no obligation to accede to their counsel, even if it be unanimous, the abbot is, nevertheless, not to depart from their counsel, especially if it is unanimous, unless there is in his own judgement an overriding reason.
b) A local council serves the superior of the local monastery by giving him counsel as needed. The abbot appoints (cf. art. 216a) for the self-governing monastery a local council composed of the prior of the self-governing monastery and two other perpetually professed monks who have their domicile in the monastery. Likewise, the abbot appoints (cf. art. 216a) for a dependent monastery a local council composed of the sub-prior of the dependent monastery and two other perpetually professed monks who have their domicile there. In cases prescribed by the Typicon, when the superior is required to consult with the local council, the respective norms of art. 201a are to be followed.
Title 3 — The Government of the Monasteries:
Assemblies, Elections and Offices
202 a) The supreme governing and legislative body of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries is the general assembly.
b) The principal duty of the general assembly is to guard our monastic ideal and foster renewal in our communities according to this ideal. The general assembly interprets the Typicon and the customs of our monastic life, in keeping with our holy monastic traditions, according to the mind of the founder.
c) The general assembly elects the abbot and his four councilors, deals with community matters of greater importance and issues decrees and directives. (cf. art. 214)
d) The general assembly is convoked every six years. Extraordinary assemblies may be convoked more often in case of a vacancy of the abbot or for any other grave reason.
203 a) Those who have the right to active voice at both ordinary and extraordinary assemblies are:
i) the abbot;
ii) the permanent councilors of the self-governing monastery, whether residing in the self-governing monastery itself or in one of its dependent monasteries;
iii) the priors of the dependent monasteries;
iv) the perpetually professed members who have domicile at the self-governing monastery;
v) the elected delegates from the dependent monasteries. One delegate may be elected for every three perpetually professed members in each dependent monastery, excluding from the count the prior of the dependency as well as any permanent councilors residing there.
b) With due regard to art. 257c, all perpetually professed members, whether present or not at the general assembly, have the right to passive voice.
204 Before every general assembly, special prayers will be sent up to the Holy Spirit to preside over this important event.
205 a) The eparchial bishop has the right to preside over the elections of the general assembly in person or through another.
b) In the absence of the eparchial bishop or his representative, the abbot presides.
c) If the abbot is absent from the general assembly, the first councilor presides. If the first councilor is impeded from taking the abbot’s place, then the second councilor will substitute for him. However, those who preside in place of the abbot at the general assembly do not make decisions ordinarily reserved to the abbot, such as the appointment of offices or the erection or suppression of monasteries.
d) The general secretary assumes the office of secretary during the general assembly.
206 a) The regulations of CCEO (cc. 947-960; 961-964) shall be observed for all elections.
b) Three tellers will be chosen first with the power to oversee all voting and the application of the rules. The eldest of the three tellers acts as president and the youngest as secretary.
207 The first act of the general assembly is to vote to confirm the present abbot or to elect a new abbot. The abbot abstains from the vote. If an absolute majority chooses to have an abbatial election, this takes place before any other action.
208 All the electors shall seriously strive to elect him whom they know to be truly worthy in the Lord and suitable for the office of abbot, abstaining from any abuse whatsoever and especially from procuring votes for themselves or for others.
209 For the valid and licit election of the abbot the following requirements must be observed:
a) the candidate must be outstanding in virtue, prudence, ability and gifts necessary to rule the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries in the proper manner;
b) he must be at least forty years of age;
c) he must be professed at least ten years since his first profession;
d) he must be a priest.
210 a) In the election of the abbot, he who is chosen by an absolute majority vote of the general assembly is elected. If, in the first, second and third scrutinies, no perpetually professed priest obtains this majority, then a fourth scrutiny is held and the two highest in votes from the third scrutiny are voted upon, themselves abstaining from the vote. If the vote is equal, the monk who is senior by first profession is accounted elected. And if both were professed the same day, then the senior in age is accounted elected.
b) In any confederated, self-governing monastery, the abbot to be elected may be chosen from any monastery within the confederation.
211 The newly-elected abbot acquires authority over the self-governing monastery, its dependent monasteries and all the members. His term of office is indefinite, and he shall remain in office until such time as a new abbot is elected by the ordinary general assembly or until he is otherwise lawfully removed or has resigned from office. (cf. aa. 207, 220 & 221)
212 a) Next to be elected are four councilors, starting with the first councilor. The four elected councilors constitute the permanent council. Their terms are for six years. He who is chosen by an absolute majority vote of the general assembly is elected. If, after the third scrutiny, no one obtains an absolute majority, a relative majority suffices.
b) The first and second councilors must be priests in perpetual vows. The third and fourth councilors must be in perpetual vows but need not be priests. All must be professed at least five years since their first profession and at least thirty years of age.
213 a) All are bound to secrecy concerning the election. The votes are destroyed after the session is completed.
b) The eparchial bishop is to be notified by the newly-elected abbot of the results of the election.
214 a) At the general assembly, the topics that are to be discussed are the principal issues and problems relative to the spiritual, constitutive and material development of our form of life. (cf. aa. 222-223)
b) Since all the perpetually professed are to be consulted in a manner most suitable, the lists of items, drawn up by the abbot and the permanent council, are to be made known in due time to all the perpetually professed members. However, the general assembly itself will decide which topics are to be discussed. If a monk wishes an item to be placed on the agenda, it can be done after a two-thirds vote of the members of the general assembly.
c) Since it pertains to the general assembly to supervise the financial administration of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries, the general econome shall present for review a report to the general assembly on the financial administration of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries.
d) Decisions of the general assembly are made by secret vote and absolute majority. They may be issued either as decrees or directives, as determined by a relative majority vote of the general assembly. Promulgation is by means of a document which is to be sent to all the monasteries under the jurisdiction of the general assembly. The superiors are to see that decisions of the general assembly are made known to all the members of the local monastery.
i) Decrees have the force of law as soon as they are promulgated by the general assembly. All are bound to obey them, even the abbot.
ii) Directives of the general assembly are not as strictly binding as decrees. For a just reason, the abbot may decide not to implement, in whole or in part, a directive of the general assembly. All are bound to obey any given directive only to the extent that the abbot stipulates.
e) Modifications to the Typicon may be submitted to the eparchial bishop for approval after a two-thirds majority vote of the general assembly (cf. art. 225a). Such changes may be made only rarely and in order to further the expression and actualization of our original charism. Changes may not be introduced which are contrary to our original charism.
f) Changes may be introduced into the customary by a relative majority vote of the general assembly. Such changes are to be in accord with the spirit of our charism and our Typicon.
215 Before the dismissal of the general assembly, the acts of election and of the general assembly are to be read aloud by the secretary. They are then to be signed by the presiding abbot and all the members of the general assembly and are carefully preserved in the archives of the monastery.
216 a) Within one month after assuming office, the abbot, after consultation with the permanent council, will appoint a prior as assistant superior of the self-governing monastery, an econome for the self-governing monastery, a general econome, a general secretary, the priors and sub-priors of the dependent monasteries, the economes of the dependent monasteries, the novice master, the director(s) of studies for the monasteries and as many other assistants as are necessary for the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries (cf. aa. 201b & 283a). The abbot after consulting with the permanent council may change any of these appointments as necessary.
b) Priors must be monks in perpetual vows, at least five years professed and thirty years of age. Although the prior of the self-governing monastery need not be a priest, it is required that the priors of the dependent monasteries be priests.
c) The novice master must be at least ten years professed and thirty-five years of age. Furthermore, he must be a priest.
d) The prior of a dependent monastery may be appointed director of studies. By way of exception, the abbot himself may fulfill this function.
e) The abbot will appoint a sub-prior for each dependent monastery with the consent of the prior of the dependent monastery.
217 Since humility is the profession of the monk, no monk should be anxious for a position of authority. But if one is called to it by election or by the confidence of his superiors, he should not obstinately refuse to serve as superior or in some office. However, no one may directly or indirectly solicit an office for himself or for another, nor may any monk validly vote for himself.
218 a) If the office of abbot becomes vacant, the first councilor assumes governance of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries. He shall notify the eparchial bishop as soon as possible. He remains in this office, but not for more than ninety days.
b) No innovations are to be made during the vacancy. If a major decision is required, the delay of which would be detrimental to the self-governing monastery or its dependent monasteries, the eparchial bishop is to be consulted.
c) It is the responsibility of the one who has assumed governance of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries to convoke an extraordinary general assembly for the election of a abbot within ninety days.
219 a) If the office of one or the other of the councilors becomes vacant, the abbot, with the consent of the other councilors, will appoint a new councilor who will be the fourth councilor until the next general assembly.
b) If, in a dependent monastery, the office of prior becomes vacant, the sub-prior assumes the duties of superior until a new one is appointed by the abbot after consultation with the permanent council.
220 a) At the completion of his seventy-fifth year, the abbot shall submit his resignation to the general assembly, which is competent to accept it.
b) Likewise, the abbot may submit his resignation at any time to the general assembly for a just cause.
221 If, after consultation with appropriate experts such as physicians, the abbot is deemed incapable of fulfilling his office, he can be removed by an absolute majority vote of the general assembly together with the permission of the eparchial bishop.
222 a) Besides the general assembly, the administrative assembly may be convoked every three years and for other grave reasons. It is formed by the abbot, the permanent council, the former abbot (if he is able to attend), the priors of the dependent monasteries and the novice master.
b) The functions of the administrative assembly are:
i) to promote the faithful observance of the Typicon;
ii) to foster fraternal charity and unity among the monks;
iii) to inculcate in all the monks a deep contemplative, monastic spirit of poverty, penance, prayer and zeal for the ideals of our monasteries;
iv) to promote collaboration and shared responsibility among all by continuous conversion and renewal;
v) to ascertain the mind of the various dependent monasteries in matters of great importance and to correct abuses and faults;
vi) to study the various material and administrative problems of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries.
223 a) The concerns of the administrative assembly must also be discussed at every general assembly. However, in the general assembly, the vote is deliberate while in the administrative assembly, it is consultative.
b) Attendance at the assemblies, whether general or administrative, is obligatory except for grave reasons. The abbot must personally notify all perpetually professed monks of an upcoming assembly at least two months before its meeting. The abbot cannot validly open the assembly unless there are at least two-thirds of the members of the assembly present.
Title 4 — The Superiors
224 All the monks are submitted to:
a) our Holy Father, the Pope of Rome, as to their Supreme Superior, to the magisterium and the common law of the Church;
b) the Most Blessed Patriarch of the Maronite Apostolic Church of Antioch, the Father and Head of our Church, and to the Holy Synod of Bishops and their instructions and directions;
c) the eparchial bishop of the self-governing monastery.
225 The eparchial bishop possesses the following authority over the self-governing monastery:
a) he approves the Typicon and any changes to be introduced into it according to the law (cf. art. 214e), excepting those which had been approved by higher authority;
b) the bishop may grant dispensations from the Typicon which exceed the power of the abbot, when lawfully requested from him, in single cases and for individual occasions only;
c) the bishop can make a canonical visitation, not to be confused with a fatherly visit, of each monastery, including dependent ones, whenever he conducts a canonical visitation in his territory, as well as when truly special reasons require it according to his judgment; (cf. art. 246a)
d) the monks and monasteries are also subject to the Patriarch and the eparchial bishop with respect to the public celebration of divine worship, to the preaching of the word of God to the people, and other works of worship, charity and instruction, within the limits, however, imposed by the contemplative character of monastic life as practiced in our monasteries;
e) the abbot is obliged to submit every fifth year a written report on the state of the monasteries under his authority to the eparchial bishop, or even more often if such is desired by the bishop. A copy of the report shall be forwarded to the Roman Pontiff in the care of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. (cf. art. 278b)
226 a) The major superior according to the law is the abbot of the self-governing monastery. He has the power of governance insofar as it is expressly granted to him in law or by the eparchial bishop. The use of this power is regulated by the norms of CCEO (cc. 979-995). Other superiors, such as the prior of the self-governing monastery or the priors of dependent houses and their sub-priors, have the powers granted them by the Typicon and their office.
b) The superiors shall reside in the monasteries which they govern and shall not be absent from them unnecessarily. Let them be mindful of their obligation to be faithful to our monastic enclosure.
227 When elected, the abbot shall request the liturgical blessing from the eparchial bishop. As a sign of his dignity, he may make use of a crosier, miter, pectoral cross and ring.
228 The rights and duties of the abbot, among others, are the following:
a) he manages the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries spiritually and temporally according to this Typicon to which he himself is subject and must faithfully conform;
b) he is the superior of the self-governing monastery;
c) he may impose canonical censures or penalties upon his monks according to the CCEO (cf. art. 252);
d) he may mitigate the laws of fast and abstinence for a just and reasonable cause. Likewise, he may dispense from the disciplinary norms of the Typicon in particular cases and for a time (cf. art. 94b);
e) he may grant permission to become a hermit and withdraw permission to be a hermit with the consent of the permanent council,
f) he is obliged to make the appointments required by the CCEO and this Typicon within one month of assuming the office of superior, or whenever any of the offices becomes vacant for whatever reason (cf. aa. 216a & 201b). If, after one month of a written warning from the eparchial bishop, he fails to appoint an econome for the self-governing monastery, the right of appointment devolves upon the eparchial bishop;
h) he may confer the minor orders, including the subdiaconate, for monks of his monasteries.
229 The prior of the self-governing monastery should be the chief support and principal assistant of the abbot. Let all the monks render the prior the loving respect he deserves as one who shares in a special way the authority of the abbot. (cf. art. 236a)
230 The other superiors and officers of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries should likewise share the burdens and responsibilities of the abbot, giving him loyal support and the benefit of their opinions, whether solicited or freely offered, on matters which regard the welfare of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries and the good of individual monks. The abbot should give careful consideration to the opinions offered.
231 a) Let every superior exercise his office according to that Gospel concept of loving service which was the understanding of our holy monastic Fathers, an authority of service. His actions should bear out his words of instruction and direction so that the monks have the benefit of his example in accomplishing what he asks of them. Let his concern always be for his monks: their progress in holiness of life, their personal well-being, their fidelity to the Typicon and the ideal of the monastic life. Let him not forget that he must render an account to God for the souls entrusted to him (cf. Heb. 13:17).
b) The superior should always be willing and happy to listen to and learn from his monks, while maintaining his own authority in decision making. If obedience is to be vital and creative, all must cultivate a keen sense of shared responsibility in fulfilling the directions of God-given authority.
c) In matters regarding the life of the monastery, the superior should strive to facilitate obedience by fostering a spirit of mutual trust and genuine affection among his monks, and by encouraging individual initiative.
d) Major changes of assignment in the communities or within the local monastery will be better lived in faith and charity if they are prepared for by intelligent dialogue and explanation.
e) Ordinarily, the superior should not bind a monk in virtue of the vow of obedience unless true charity and necessity demand it, and then only with great prudence.
Title 5 — The Government of the Local Monastery
232 The local monastery, with its fervent and regular observance of all that pertains to our contemplative, monastic ideal, is the heart and focal point of our monastic community. It is in the local monastery that each monk strives for the perfection of his interior development, through the monastic observance of his community. Hence, the local monastery, its good observance and peaceful functioning, is always the first concern of the brethren and the superiors.
233 The self-governing monastery, the dependent monasteries, the house of studies, the novitiate and hermitage are to be of full, regular observance.
234 a) It is incumbent upon the superior to see that all the prescriptions of the Typicon are observed and that a diligent and fervent spirit is maintained. It is his duty to amend any infractions of the rules that are not being observed and, if necessary, correct the offender(s) firmly but with kindness and charity. Let him beware of authoritarianism within himself, but let him not be weak in maintaining the brethren in the fervor of the Typicon.
b) The superior must concern himself with the guidance of souls and seek within each monk his particular gifts so that the monk may be led to discover them in himself.
c) The superior must feed his flock by good example and by ministering to them the word of God. He should, therefore, provide the monks with appropriate instruction, religious formation, homilies, conferences and spiritual discussions, encouraging them to become witnesses and models of holiness.
d) As servant and spiritual father to the monks, the superior focuses the unity of the community. He indicates the path to follow in matters of practical detail by unifying, coordinating and directing the community. In all matters of importance, however, he listens to the local assembly or the local council before making a decision.
235 a) When a superior deems it advantageous, he may convoke a local assembly composed of the perpetually professed members in the community. The purpose of the local assembly is the same as outlined in art. 222b. Its decisions are consultative.
b) Regarding the local council, see art. 201b.
236 a) The prior of the self-governing monastery, as assistant superior, carries on the ordinary affairs of the monastery in the absence of the abbot. He does not make decisions reserved to the abbot such as the appointment of offices or the erection or suppression of monasteries.
b) In a dependent monastery, the sub-prior assists the prior in carrying out the burden of the administration of the monastery and is to represent him when absent or incapacitated. (cf. art. 216e)
237 In dependent monasteries with a study facility, the director of studies and the student monks are directly under the authority of the prior as their ordinary superior.
238 a) There should be archives in each monastery. All necessary documents should be kept there in an orderly fashion and under secrecy. All matters worthy of memory should be accurately recorded by one of the monks who has this responsibility. An inventory of all documents in the archives should be kept.
b) It is the responsibility of the general secretary to oversee that this task is carried out in the self-governing monastery and in each of the dependent monasteries.
Title 6 — The Economes
239 The econome of a monastery has charge of the finances and temporalities of the house and is to be as a servant to the whole community. (cf. art. 282)
240 The appointment of economes is made by the abbot, after consultation with the permanent council. (cf. art. 216a)
a) An econome must be appointed for the self-governing monastery. (cf. art. 228f)
b) While it is better that an econome be appointed for each dependent monastery, nevertheless, the office of econome may be fulfilled by the prior of a dependent monastery, if necessity demands it.
c) A general econome is appointed to oversee the financial administration of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries. He may reside in either the self-governing monastery or one of its dependent monasteries. An econome of one of the monasteries may be appointed to fulfill the office of general econome.
241 The econome should do nothing contrary to his superior’s commands but should keep to his instructions. He must be a wise, mature and temperate man, neither haughty nor excitable, not offensive, slow or wasteful, but a supernatural man who is as a father to the monks.
242 The econome must be careful not to upset the monks. If a monk happens to make an unreasonable demand, instead of upsetting him with a contemptuous refusal, he should humbly give the reason for the refusal. Let him keep an attitude of serving while maintaining a careful guard over his own soul.
243 The utensils, tools and furnishings of the monastery and all its property are to be regarded by the econome as sacred to the community. Let nothing be neglected, either through miserliness, prodigality or squandering of the community substance. Let the econome do all things with measure and in accordance with the instructions of his superior. He should strive to be a genuine assistant to the superior so that the latter may more readily attend to the spiritual welfare of the monastery.
244 The econome is to oversee property maintenance and insurance and he is to see that the buildings conform to local codes. Let the econome have humility; and if he has nothing else to give, let him give a good word and answer, as it is written: “A good word is above the best gift” (Sir. 18:16).
Title 7 — The Canonical Visitation
245 The canonical visitation is prized among us as an excellent and necessary means for more earnestly promoting the renewal of the spirit and life of the community. Anticipated and carried out in charity and peace, it should strengthen the bonds of community and deepen the sense of reciprocal responsibility in brotherly love.
246 a) The right of visitation belongs to the abbot, who should visit each of the dependent monasteries once a year. If the abbot is impeded from this task, he nominates another perpetually professed monk who will fulfill the task. The eparchial bishop also has the right to make a canonical visitation.
b) When there is a confederation of self-governing monasteries, the president of the confederation conducts the canonical visitation or may appoint a substitute.
247 a) During the time of the visitation, the visitator is the superior of the house and has ordinary powers of a superior.
b) The visitator must carefully note and be informed about the total observance of the Typicon, the manner of celebrating the Divine Liturgy and divine praises, the observance of silence, the manner of receiving guests, the observance of enclosure, and the practice of the evangelical vows of obedience, chastity and poverty. Care must be taken to inquire about the care of the sick and those advanced in age. If he finds anyone negligent or of stubborn and incorrigible behavior, let him reprimand such a one and impose a proportionate penance. Careful note must be made of anyone who is attempting to change the goals and ideals of our manner of life or neglecting the time of adoration.
c) The visitator must speak with all the members of the community, including novices and candidates. He should be understanding and flexible so that each monk can freely and sincerely express himself and work for the preservation and deepening of our form of life.
d) The members of the community are to deal with the visitator confidentially and are obliged to respond to legitimate questioning truthfully and in charity. No one is permitted to divert them from this obligation in any way or otherwise impede the object of the visitation.
248 a) Both visitator and community must look upon the visitation as a most serious and necessary aspect of our monastic form of life. For this reason, the visitation should be conducted in a manner of seriousness that reflects the community’s understanding of the gravity of canonical visitation.
b) If visitation has not been made, provisions of CCEO (c. 420§3) are to be followed.
249 a) A delegated visitator must give a report of his visitation to the abbot of the self-governing monastery shortly after the visitation. If necessary, the visitation reports are presented to the general assembly, which will take the necessary steps to correct or to improve any difficult situations existing in a monastery. In each monastery, a copy of the visitation report is to be read to the community at least once in the course of the year and is presented to the next visitator.
b) When there is a confederation of self-governing monasteries, the visitator will prepare a report of his visitation for the general assembly of the confederation.
Corrections, Forgiveness and Sanctions
250 a) When our Lord bade us to pray the Father to forgive us as we forgive others and when He enjoined us through Peter to forgive our brother seventy times seven times a day (cf. Mt 18:21f.), He knew how weak we are and in need of the most elementary help that is forgiveness.
b) Therefore, the proof of true brotherly love is mutual forgiveness. It is also the first remedy for healing and correcting a situation, as well as the best means to keep the good spirit of humble helpfulness. Especially the abbot and the priors of the dependent monasteries should keep this in mind so that their fatherly watchfulness for keeping discipline should not turn into reproaches or degrading and impatient remarks.
251 a) Before having recourse to penances and sanctions, brotherly corrections should be tried to their utmost, in obedience to the merciful Lord (cf. Mt. 18:15-17). In the family spirit of our monasteries, this is always to be done with great patience, adapted to each person and presupposing his good will, while hating sin.
b) As painful as it might sound, it is often impossible not to have recourse to penances and sanctions in view of our human weakness, which sometimes needs a stronger incentive, as the old Wisdom already knew: a father who “spares the rod, hates his son”(Prov. 13:24). The penances and sanctions should be personally applied and lovingly adapted.
252 The abbot is endowed with the necessary judicial and coercive power. But for special cases, a tribunal can be set up by the abbot and the permanent council. Appeal can be made to the eparchial bishop for serious reasons and in important matters. (cf. art. 228c)
253 a) The most usual forms of penance are prayer, fasting or abstinence. If the case warrants it, recourse may be had to public correction, deposition from office or from membership in a council or assembly, exclusion from the brotherhood for longer or shorter time, exile in another monastery or expulsion from the monastery.
b) All penances should be accepted by an erring brother in humility and without rancor or protest, knowing that the Lord will then be at work to heal him and the whole community as well.
Departure from the Monastery
Title 1 — Leaving the Monastery,
the Indult of Exclaustration and the
Indult of Returning to Secular Life
254 The professed of temporary vows may freely leave the community at the completion of the time of the vows.
255 The abbot, after consulting with the permanent council, can, for just and reasonable causes, exclude the temporarily professed from the renewal of the temporary vows or from making the perpetual profession.
a) Physical or psychical infirmity, even if contracted after profession, which in the judgement of experts renders a monk of temporary profession incapable of leading his life in the monastery, constitutes a reason for not admitting him to the renewal of profession or to making perpetual profession, unless the infirmity was contracted on account of negligence of the institute or because of work performed in the institute.
b) However, if a monk becomes insane during temporary vows, he cannot be dismissed from the monastery even if he cannot make a new profession.
256 The indult of exclaustration cannot be granted to a monk in temporary vows. However, in particular cases, the abbot may grant to a monk in temporary vows a leave of absence from the monastery but for a time no greater than one year.
257 a) At the petition of a member of perpetual profession, the indult of exclaustration from the monastery is granted by the Apostolic See or even by the eparchial bishop, having heard the abbot together with the permanent council. The eparchial bishop, however, can grant this indult only for up to three years.
b) At the request of the abbot, with the consent of the permanent council, exclaustration can be imposed by the Apostolic See or the eparchial bishop for grave reasons, with observance of charity and equity.
c) The exclaustrated member remains bound by the vows and other obligations of his profession which are compatible with his condition; he must deposit the monastic habit; he lacks, during the time of the requisition, active and passive voice; in place of the superior of his monastery, he is subject to the local hierarch of the territory where he dwells by reason of the vow of obedience.
258 A monk who, during the time of temporary vows, wishes to leave the monastery for a grave reason and return to the world, shall direct his petition to the abbot, who shall forward the petition, along with his opinion and that of the permanent council, to the eparchial bishop, whose competence it is to grant an indult of departure from the monastery and return to secular life.
259 The monk of perpetual profession shall not request the indult to leave the monastery and return to secular life except for the most grave reasons, pondered before the Lord. He shall direct the petition to the abbot, who shall forward it, together with his opinion and that of the permanent council, to the Apostolic See. An indult of this kind is reserved to the Apostolic See.
260 The indult of leaving the monastery and returning to secular life that has been lawfully granted and intimated to the member carries with it, by force of law, unless it was rejected by him at the moment of notification, the dispensation from the vows as well as from all obligations resulting from profession, but not of duties that are connected with sacred orders, if he had been promoted to a sacred order.
261 One who had perpetually assumed the monastic state and had been promoted to sacred orders, if he has obtained the indult of departure from the monastery and return to the world, cannot exercise sacred orders until he has found a benevolent bishop who has received him.
262 If a member who had left a monastery and returned to secular life is again received into the monastery, he shall anew go through the novitiate and profession as if he had never been in religious life.
263 A monk who, after making temporary or perpetual profession, has unlawfully left the monastery must without delay return to the monastery. The abbot must solicitously seek him out and receive him back if he returns animated by sincere penitence; otherwise, he shall be punished according to norms of law, even with dismissal.
Title 2 — The Dismissal of Monks
264 a) A member shall be held dismissed from the monastery by the law itself, who:
i) has publicly rejected the Catholic faith;
ii) has celebrated or attempted marriage, even only a civil one.
b) The abbot, together with the permanent council, in such cases without delay, after collecting the proofs, shall issue a declaration on the facts so that the dismissal is juridically established, and he shall inform the eparchial bishop as soon as possible.
265 a) If a member is the cause of an immediate or external scandal or harm to the monastery, the abbot, with the consent of the permanent council, can oust him at once from the monastery, with the member having deposited there the monastic habit.
b) The abbot, if the case warrants it, shall see to it that the dismissal procedure progresses in accordance with the law, or shall defer the matter to the eparchial bishop.
c) A member expelled from the monastery who has received a sacred order is forbidden to exercise the order unless the bishop to whom the monastery is subject has decided otherwise.
266 a) A professed of temporary vows can be dismissed by the abbot with the consent of the permanent council. But for validity, the dismissal must be confirmed by the eparchial bishop.
b) In deciding about the dismissal, the following must be observed:
i) the reasons for dismissal must be grave and, on the part of the member, external and imputable;
ii) the lack of religious spirit, which can be a cause of scandal to others, is sufficient cause for dismissal if repeated warnings, along with salutary penances, have remained in vain;
iii) the reasons for dismissal must be certain in the mind of the abbot, although it is not necessary that they are formally proven. Yet, they must be always made known to the member, granting him full opportunity to defend himself, and his responses are to be faithfully submitted to the abbot;
iv) a recourse against the decree of dismissal has suspensive effect.
267 With due regard for art. 264, one who has assumed the monastic state by perpetual profession cannot be dismissed except in accordance with the following:
a) the abbot president of the monastic confederation or the abbot of a non-confederated self-governing monastery is competent to issue a decree of dismissal, with the consent of his respective permanent council, which in this instance must be composed, for validity, of at least five members, counting the presiding abbot, in such a way that, if the number of ordinary councilors is insufficient or they are absent, other monks in perpetual vows are to be called according to the presiding abbot’s choice. All, including the presiding abbot, vote by secret ballot and an absolute majority determines the decision. Since in this instance the council is acting as a collegial body, the abbot must abide by the final outcome of its vote.
b) In order to decide on dismissal, it is required for validity:
i) that there is a lack of reform and that the reasons for dismissal are grave, culpable and juridically proven;
ii) that the dismissal was preceded, unless nature of the reason for dismissal precludes it, by two canonical warnings with the formal threat of dismissal which were of no avail;
iii) that the reasons for dismissal were presented in writing to the member, granting him, after each warning that dismissal would follow, full freedom to defend himself;
iv) that ten days since the last warning have elapsed.
c) The responses of the member, reduced to writing, shall be enclosed in the acts which are to be submitted to those mentioned in art. 267a.
d) The decree of dismissal cannot be executed unless it is approved by the eparchial bishop.
268 The decree of dismissal shall be communicated as soon as possible to the interested member, granting him the right, to be exercised within fifteen days, either to take recourse with suspensive effect to the Apostolic See or, unless the decree of dismissal has been confirmed by the Apostolic See, demand that the case be tried in judicial proceedings.
269 By lawful dismissal, all bonds as well as obligations stemming from monastic profession automatically cease. If a member has been promoted to a sacred order, art. 261 is to be observed.
270 a) Those who lawfully depart from the monastery cannot claim anything from it for the work performed there.
b) The monastery shall extend equitable and evangelical charity toward a member who is being separated from it.
The Erection and Suppression of Monasteries
271 a) The abbot can establish a dependent monastery after obtaining the consent of the permanent council as well as the required authorization of the eparchial bishop of the self-governing monastery and of the Maronite eparchial bishop of the place of the proposed new monastery.
b) A dependent monastery, which may assist the needs of the self-governing monastery, shall be established according to the decree of erection as either:
i) a subsidiary monastery;
ii) a filial monastery, that is, one intended to become a self-governing monastery.
272 A new monastery should be founded when there is a sufficient number of monks to allow for a new monastery without imposing an unnecessary strain on other houses.
273 a) It is always of the utmost importance that a proper location be chosen for a new monastery. It must offer sufficient solitude for the monks while at the same time be so situated that it will provide the opportunity for support, according to our form of life.
b) Since all our houses are of full observance, they must be situated in places of solitude. The houses and the grounds surrounding them should be conducive to prayer, recollection, silence, solitude and a genuine spirit of simplicity.
274 The monks chosen for the task of founding a new monastery must be proven to have an understanding and a total dedication to the contemplative, monastic and cloistral ideals of our community. There must be a minimum of four professed members, of whom one is perpetually professed and one a priest.
275 a) If a monastery can no longer exist in silence and solitude or for any other reason that essentially interferes with the nature and atmosphere so necessary for our life, let the abbot and the permanent council not hesitate to close the monastery. It will be pertinent to the visitator to recommend the need to vacate a monastery, as our life of silence and solitude always comes first. If the visitator sees that there are not enough monks to maintain the full observance and schedule of our form of life, he should readily recommend the closing of the house.
b) Self-governing monasteries and dependent, filial monasteries can be suppressed only by the Apostolic See.
c) A dependent, subsidiary monastery can be suppressed by a decree given by the abbot with the consent of both the permanent council and the eparchial bishop.
d) The property of a suppressed, dependent monastery shall accrue to the self-governing monastery, and that of the self-governing monastery itself to the eparchy. If there is a confederation, the property of a suppressed self-governing monastery accrues to the confederation.
Temporal Goods and their Administration
276 a) Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries are lawfully capable of acquiring and possessing temporal property of any kind, real estate, with the necessary equipment and supplies, as well as personal belongings and sources of income.
b) This capability of acquiring and possessing temporal property is guaranteed to Most Holy Trinity Monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries as a non-profit corporation in accordance with civil laws. This corporation is governed by approved canons and bylaws. This civil setup is necessary for the moral person of the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries, in order to exercise fully its right of owning and handling temporal goods.
277 The abbot is designated by this Typicon ex officio president of the above corporation and the administrator of its temporal goods. He is seconded by the general econome, who is treasurer of the above corporation, together with the general secretary who is secretary of the above corporation. All have power of signature, but the treasurer and secretary, for larger amounts, in conjunction with the abbot. All operate under the supervision of the general assembly.
278 a) The abbot and the priors of the dependent monasteries shall render an account of their financial administration at the ordinary general assembly through the general econome. (cf. art. 214c)
b) A financial report shall be sent annually to the eparchial bishop, who also has the right to inquire into the economic state of the self-governing monastery, its dependent monasteries and the administration of its properties.
279 a) The abbot and the permanent council will determine the amount which the priors of the dependent monasteries can spend, without having recourse to higher superiors, for both the ordinary expenses in running their monasteries and for the extraordinary expenses or donations.
b) The priors of the dependent monasteries are obliged to render an account of their administration at any time to the abbot.
280 All our monasteries are interdependent, i.e., each monastery will always assist other monasteries, as needs arise.
281 The handling of goods and property should conform to modern methods of administration. When dealing with business matters of greater moment, the monks should consult experts.
282 It is the task of the econome (who is also the treasurer) to take care of the ordinary needs and expenses of the community, subject to and under the direction of his superior. At all times he should be able to give an account of his administration to the superior and his councilors.
283 a) As need arises, the abbot, consulting the permanent council, may appoint competent monks to form a commission for the building and maintenance of houses. It is the duty of the commission to advise the abbot of the self-governing monastery or the prior of the dependent monastery and to offer help in the construction of houses, especially cooperating with architects in preparing plans, by ensuring that ecclesiastical and civil laws are complied with, and by assuring that the spirit of poverty is observed in all things.
b) A prior of a dependent monastery may not build, tear down or make additions to houses or buildings without the consent of the abbot, the advice of the local community councilors and the building commission.
284 The superiors and economes must be wary of contracting burdensome debts and economic obligations as well as allowing others to do so, unless it is certain that the interest on the debt can be met and the debt itself liquidated within a reasonable time. In all such matters, when and as necessary, ecclesiastical advice and/or permission must be sought.
285 The consent of the Apostolic See is required to alienate precious objects or other property, or to contract debts and other obligations if the value exceeds the sum determined by the local episcopal conference. Always, in case of contracting a debt or obligation, the other debts and obligations must be expressed, for the validity of the transaction.
286 a) When the self-governing monastery and its dependent monasteries contract debts or obligations, even with the permission of higher Church authorities, the self-governing monastery is responsible for them.
b) The self-governing monastery is responsible for the debts and obligations which a member, after profession of perpetual vows, contracts with the permission of the abbot. If, however, the member contracts debts without permission of the abbot, the member must be held responsible. (Concerning those temporarily professed, cf. CCEO 529§5).
c) It shall be a fixed rule that suit can always be brought against him for whom the contract has been a source of profit.
d) Gifts from the substance of the monastery, by way of almsgiving and for other just reasons, may be made only with the explicit permission of the abbot.
287 The consent of the Apostolic See is required to change the destination of the money received for Divine Liturgy or for works of charity. Nevertheless, the eparchial bishop can change it if the benefactor had expressly ceded the faculty to him.
288 a) All the monks constantly live in the awareness of being but stewards of the temporal goods that the Lord has put at their disposal, although these goods are necessary to create the sphere of seclusion and peace we need for our spiritual security and growth.
b) Therefore, we should use them with loving care and respect, in a spirit of worship for the Lord and Owner of all things in heaven and on earth. We especially must avoid all implications in trials and contentions about earthly possessions, and live as simply as possible before the eyes of our loving Father.
Blessed is the monk who shall observe this Typicon and the daily schedule of the monastery, for they are trustworthy and true. To everyone who shall follow them may there be given forever an abundant measure of grace, peace and the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Zeal for our Rule of Life
Each of us should have the greatest zeal for the observance of our way of life as one who loves his vocation. And this to such an extent that each one individually, as well as a Community, tolerate no lessening of our observance of solitude and contemplative life.
Let all anticipate one another in charity. Most patiently endure one another’s infirmities of character as well as of body. Vie in paying obedience to the superiors and to one another. No one following what he considers useful for himself, but rather what benefits another. Tender the charity of brotherhood chastely. Fear God with love as sons. Love the superior with a sincere and humble charity. Prefer nothing whatever to Christ, so that He may bring us all together to life everlasting.
Blessed is the person who shall observe this Rule, for it is trustworthy and true. To everyone who shall follow it, may there be given forever in abundance measures of grace, peace and consolations of the Holy Spirit.
We have no bond other than the bond of love, which is a bond of perfection, for the bond of love is as strong as death. What stronger bonds, then, can we have than this bond of love which is the bond of perfection?
There are several kinds of monastic life flourishing among the people of God. We have chosen to live by this Rule, confident and trusting in the Lord that we have a sure road to union with Him, if we persevere with zeal in this manner of life.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand fast in the Lord, in the uniqueness of your vocation. I ask you and beseech you to be all of one love and live all with one accord, and in great fidelity to the prophetic witnessing of your calling, for the “love of Jesus Christ compels us.”