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#328016 - 07/21/09 07:25 PM Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA
John Doucette Offline
Member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 402
Loc: Long Island
To Good Members of the Byzantine Forum:

Slava Isusu Khrystu!

I am wondering if any of you would information about the Ruthenian Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA which I think comes under the jurisdiction of the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh are they still Benedictine are they no longer under the Benedictine order. Any assistance in this matter is most appreciated.

Bude eemya Hospodne Blahoslavenne,

John Doucette

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#328096 - 07/22/09 05:35 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: John Doucette]
Erie Byz Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 461
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

Holy Trinity Monastery in Butler, I believe still holds the Benedictine tradition, but are now part of the Archeparchy. Fr. Leo, the Hegumen, is the current pastor of St. John's in Lyndora (my former parish before I just relocated to Buffalo).

The monastery is barely staying alive. There are 3 men who live in the Monastery and one in some form of assisted living facility. Fr. Leo and Fr. Anselm are still serving parishes, even with Fr. Anselm just having a stroke about 2 months ago. Monk Michael is the other and he takes care of a lot of the matters at the Monastery.

To have enough funds to sustain the monastery, they rent out the land they use to farm to another farmer, and sold several acres of land and the old Monastery/House to a family who now lives there. As well as the two priests serving in parishes.

I hope that info helps, if you need anymore I will be talking with Fr. Leo soon and can ask him for you.

Peace in Christ,
Ed

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#328100 - 07/22/09 06:02 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Erie Byz]
The young fogey Offline
Member

Registered: 11/03/01
Posts: 1285
Loc: Private
I stayed in the old house 14 years ago when it was the guest house but they'd long stopped maintaining it - the plumbing was rusted etc. Glad it's been restored and is in use.

Fr Leo's little spiritual conferences were helpful and I still use (heavily customised - added/replaced pages with Hapgoodish translations and Slavonic pages made with a computer and printer) the little six-ring binder book of the hours I got there. (The one St Mary's ACROD in Elkhorn made about 20 years ago.)

Another thing I remember are the many barn cats (not pets but not fully wild) on the grounds, lots of eyes shining back at you as you drove up at night: some congregating at the monastery door for kitchen scraps, another after hunting and catching a mole in the tall grass.

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#328238 - 07/23/09 03:18 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: The young fogey]
Erie Byz Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 461
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
I spoke with Fr. Leo a little while ago and he informed me that the Monastery is a sui iuris monastery under the Protection of the Metropolitan. It was realeased from the Order of St. Benedict but it still follows the charisms and Rule of St. Benedict.

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#328243 - 07/23/09 03:58 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: John Doucette]
Anna Offline
Member

Registered: 08/03/03
Posts: 380
Loc: USA
Why was it released from the Order of St. Benedict? I understand the matter is jurisdictional but why wouldn't they stay under the Order's jurisdiction?

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#328254 - 07/23/09 04:43 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Anna]
Erie Byz Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 461
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Different reasons. one being if they stayed under the order the Monastery would have been closed because of there only being 4 community members. From my discussions it was also a way to be Eastern, Religious Orders are a Western Tradition.

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#328277 - 07/23/09 06:17 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Erie Byz]
StuartK Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 7399
Loc: Falls Church, VA
Ultimately, it would serve the Eastern Catholic Churches better if all "Eastern rites" of Western religious orders were suppressed in favor of an authentically Eastern monasticism. Existing members could be offered the option of either becoming monks of a sui juris monastery, or of transferring to the Western rite of their order. But Eastern Christianity admits of only one order: monastic.

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#328297 - 07/23/09 07:33 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: StuartK]
Administrator Offline

John
Member

Registered: 11/02/01
Posts: 6250
Loc: Virginia
I agree that in the East there is just plain monasticism. Yet I think those who wish to belong to Western religious orders and yet be Eastern should be able to find a home in the East. Chevetogne is a good example of a dual rite community. It is, I understand, difficult yet not impossible. I would think that the main issue with religious orders who choose to follow the Eastern liturgical practice is that they often fail to follow the Eastern liturgical practice.

But that is not what has harmed the male religious communities within the Byzantine Catholic Churches. What appears to have harmed them is the fact that bishops raided them because they needed priests in parishes. Taking a hieromonk away from his community on a regular basis over a long period of time effectively kills the community.

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#328301 - 07/23/09 08:10 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Administrator]
StuartK Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 7399
Loc: Falls Church, VA
There have been, unfortunately, too many instances where the rule of the order has been allowed to override the Tradition of the Eastern Churches. Even Father Taft has admitted the conflicts that result, and the difficulty of maintaining one's integrity. It depends entirely on the individual monk or religious, and the attitude of his superiors.

That's another thing, too--the Franciscans, the Dominicans and the Jesuits are not, technically speaking, monastics at all, but mendicant orders. It's hard to reconcile an active apostolate in the world with the Eastern conception of a monastic vocation, whether eremitic, cenobitic or something in between.

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#328351 - 07/24/09 06:32 AM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: StuartK]
Fr Serge Keleher Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 5599
Loc: Dublin
I would suggest that Butler seriously consider following the Studite Typicon, which has provision for "independent" houses.

Fr. Serge

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#328386 - 07/24/09 02:39 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Fr Serge Keleher]
Erie Byz Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 461
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
When I spoke with Fr. Leo yesterday he told me that when he was elected Hegumen he attempted to institute more Eastern Practices, but some were met with resistance because people were so engrained in their ways of doing things. He mentioned trying to get the community to become Vegitarians, he told me that is a tradition of Eastern Monasticism. Out of the three in the Monastery only one eats meat, he basically told me that old habits die hard.

From talking with him, although they are financially stable, the community is facing many challenges. With the only two hieromonks in the community serving parishes, they are struggling to keep that community. Fr. Leo not only serves as Hegumen, but as the Porter and Cook as well, although they had to hire a cook to come in 3 nights a week. The men are struggling so much to fills the roles in the community and the Archeparchy that they almost have no time for community.

Just a note: Fr. Leo and Fr. Anselm are 76 and 82, respectively, and Brother Michael (that's how he is addressed, must be a Western remnant) is 70. Another Monk, James, is in a nursing home after having brain surgery last year, he is in his late 60's, but faces ill health. Fr. Leo is worried that in a year, the community could be down to one monk and it is only through the generosity of the Metropolitan, that with 4 members the community is still around.

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#328417 - 07/25/09 12:08 AM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Erie Byz]
Pavel Ivanovich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 2846
Loc: Western Australia
This is why the American-Cassinese Congregation wanted to move the monks into other communities. They had become so old and they were everywhere but in their monastery and vocations were not at all. Years ago I met one in Australia who was a chaplain in the US navy. I dont think he is associated with them anymore. The Benedictine sisters plan to become a dependent house of another Priory within the federation they belong to and that priory will look after the last of them and all they have will pass to them when they die. They are also very old and few in number.

cool

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#328475 - 07/25/09 09:22 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Pavel Ivanovich]
Athanasius1967 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/06
Posts: 51
Loc: Butler, PA
I live in Butler, PA and know the monks at Holy Trinity well. Erie_Byz has summed up the situation well. In October 2005 the monastery left the Benedictine Confederation because of their dwindling numbers. The Benedictines wanted to absorb Holy Trinity into a western monastery, which the monks did not want to do. Wanting to stay eastern, Archbishop Basil took them in.

Holy Trinity has not had a vocation since 1979 when Br. Michael came to the community. I talked with Br. James at the assisted living home about three weeks ago and I thought he was looking pretty good.

Holy Trinity is liturgically eastern in terms of Divine Liturgy and Divine Office but they still observe the Rule of St. Benedict.

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#328481 - 07/25/09 11:51 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Athanasius1967]
Pavel Ivanovich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 2846
Loc: Western Australia
The 'Rule' started out as the Typicon of the Monte Cassino Monastery.

They left the 'American-Cassinese Congregation' and could very well have kept their links with the Confederation where there are a few independent monasteries as members.

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#331477 - 09/02/09 07:59 PM Re: Byzantine Catholic Monastery in Butler, PA [Re: Athanasius1967]
JAP Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Pennsylvania
Athanasius, I'm interested in learning more about Holy Trinity Monastery. I read in another forum that they sometimes offer retreats. I grew up in Mercer County, and I often travel to western PA. I'm Roman Catholic, but I'd like to visit the monastery some time, if I would be welcome. Can you tell me any more?

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