Centenary of the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

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Saint-Silouane Monastery

Three years after the canonization of Saint Silouane, an Orthodox monastery was born in France in 1990, placed under his protection. On August 1, 1990, its igumen and founder, Bishop Simeon of Domodiedovo, after receiving the blessing of his bishop and of Saint Sophrony, founder of the monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Maldon (Essex), began this spiritual adventure. Two novices, a man and a woman, joined him.

The monastery was established in an old farmhouse, all of whose buildings were to be renovated. First, it was the old barn, transformed into a church and then, little by little, the rest of the buildings: a house for the monks, another for the nuns, common premises: refectory, kitchen, library, workshops, reception areas for our guests (around fifteen rooms). A crypt, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was fitted out in the monks' building and a small wooden bell tower was built. Our monastery depends on the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian tradition in Western Europe, attached to the Patriarchate of Moscow, and our Archbishop, residing in Paris, is Metropolitan John of Dubna.

Liturgical prayer brings together the whole community and sets the pace for daily life: in the morning at 6 a.m. (Midnight and Matins Office, or Divine Liturgy), at 5.30 p.m. Vespers. All the offices are celebrated in French, the Divine Liturgy, preceded by the Hours, four times a week - Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and - at 10 am - Sunday; the Office of Jesus Prayer, Friday morning. An acathist to the Mother of God, on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m., and a pannychide for the deceased, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., are also celebrated.

Our monastery is of the cenobitic (community) type, living on the spiritual tradition of our Fathers, which is passed down from generation to generation. He particularly strives, of course, to draw inspiration from the teaching of Saint Silouane and Saint Sophrony, his disciple.

Saint Silouane was born in Russia in 1866. At the age of 26, he went to the monastery of Saint-Pantéléimon, one of the twenty monasteries of Mount Athos. He is a very simple man whose depth of spiritual life will only be guessed by a few monks around him. He fell asleep in the Lord in 1938.

We can note two particularly important points of his teaching. First, his intercession for the whole world: "Merciful Lord, hear my prayer. Let all the peoples of the earth know you through the Holy Spirit ”, a theme that comes up many times in its pages. Second, the love of enemies, of which he makes the absolute and ultimate criterion of the correctness of Christian spiritual life according to the Gospel.

Our igumen welcomed those who asked him to be received in this monastery. Thus our community brings together monks and nuns of several nationalities. This is not the result of a premeditated initial choice. But that's how God wanted this place. Monastic life is one, and the leaven of unity. It has always been prophetic, affirmation of the Kingdom and a sign of contestation of this world. Our uniqueness is perhaps a prophetic sign for our time.

Among the sources of income for the monastery are traditional monastic crafts: painting and collage of icons, making tapers and candles, prayer beads, jams, selling books and religious objects.