Posts Tagged ‘Eremetic’

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.

Monastic rules are generally written for purposes of inspiring and governing a community–when and where and how  to pray, describing the nature of the ministry of the community, who makes the decisions, who does the dishes, who takes out the garbage, who cares for the sick and the guests, who settles the quarrels….you get the idea.

Historically, many hermits and anchorites have lived under the Rules of the monasteries to which they were attached, with exceptions to the rules for their particular circumstances; others have been directly under the authority of their local bishop.  And there have been yet others who were, well, simply solitary. Such persons may or may not have had a formal rule.

In my own situation, while not being attached to any monastery or religious community, but rather making my vows directly to my bishop, I chose to draft my own rule as a contemporary expression of the eremetic tradition. It may be viewed here: Anchorite Rule



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