In medieval times, an anchorite made his or her vows, and was often sealed up inside a small room attached to the side of a church. I have joked that I could not find a church willing to have me! Truth be told, I didn’t look for one. Rather, both my bishop and I knew that my vocation was truly as an anchorite of the whole diocese, and the cloister walls of my anchorhold consisted of the tall firs and cedars surrounding my small house situated in a quiet neighborhood a few miles out of town.

As a priest, my community of peers was that of the clergy, and my bishop asked that I make my vows during the Holy Week liturgy for the reaffirmation of ordination vows, and  the consecration of the Chrism, the oil used in baptism. Drawing on the ancient tradition of monastic vows and the enclosing of anchorites and the blessing of hermits, (see especially The Hermits and Anchorites of England), I wrote my portion of the liturgy, which was then integrated into the larger form. The final combined liturgy may be seen here: Vows of an Anchorite.

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