Seems like community relgious is not too well
launched yet. Thinking about what could be discussed, how
about one thing: people write about monasteries or religious
communities they visited, maybe post a couple of pictures,
it could be a on and off theme ...I bet most of you reading
this have visited, or will visit, one or another or maybe
many communities and remembrance of them can be interesting..
so here is my offering from last summer, from my journal,
and it is of a visit to the monastery at chevetogne Belgium,
Catholic and Benedictine but using both eastern and western
rites... after posting I will try to find a photo or two
to add to make it more interesting
Some notes from Chevetogne. It is a monastery
near a small town in southeastern Belgium. There
are wheatfields and a forest and enough silence
To continue this visit with me click to
the right here please
Dom Lambert Baudeuin founded the community which
is monastic and Benedictine but praying in two
rites, the eastern and western liturgies, and
commited to Christian unity. Dom Lambert was in his
time persecuted for his openness to other Christians
and refusal to make his community part of an effort
to convert people. Yet probably not so many eastern
Christians now are friendly to Chevetogne, and
apart from that it may be that their way is a little
bypassed by time and a sort of artifact of a situation
50 years ago... Taize is surely a different world and
one beyond these problematics maybe...
Yet maybe it is not so entirely...anyway not for us
to judge who are only here as pilgrims at the end of
a pilgrimage which has come thousands of miles and
through many spiritual worlds. Certainly there are
young monks here and as many as before.
The eastern chapel is a little older, dark and
domed and warm and mysterious in the flickering of
Rather Tibetan says an old friend and professor
of Japanese literature, Paul McCarthy , who has
joined us here.
A Dutch man at tea remarks that the east is
mystical as he surmises from the dark.
Andrey says that the western one could have been
dark and the eastern bright just as well but
there is some freedom in the awarneness of
the other while standing in the one.
The western chapel is bright and white with
frescos by the Russian Orthodox iconographer, the
greatest now or in recent time Zenon Teodor, based
on Romanesque models such as the Chartres Christ
on the Rainbow throne, and Zenon allos himself
as always great freedom of form so that the
rainbow seems to pulse like vibrating light.
But greater freedom still he allows himself to
pour out his talent without hesitation or measure
for brothers not apparantly of his family.
Talk with a Dutch teacher of Russian literature
Ton Lathouwers about Buddhism and about some
religious writers, he says of one "he is too happy,
because I am a sad man I prefer Kierkegaard or
Dostoyevsky". He knows the Dutch mystery and
Zen writer Janwilliam Vandewoettering and fears that
he is allowing himself despair after disillusion with
For St Philarets conference in Moscow I propose
to speak ,in October, about Taize as a daring to
begin ,where most spiritual ways hope to end, with
simplicity. Opposite to usual Japanese way for
example "enter through the form". Rather could one
say "begin at the center"?
Paul cites the Chinese "no dependence on words
or formulas...pointing directly at the heart."
At meals there is silence and reading of
various spiritual and secular books. The abbot
has a blue folder in which, alone, his napkin
is carefully folded after eqch meal.
We lunch at Bouraing nearby , a bright village,
wonderful duvel beer and chimay bleu beer and sausages...
although Karina remarks that seeing the soulful
cows on the road from the abbey to the guesthouse
she for the first time is sad that they become
sausage. But not sad that the wonderful sausage is
here just now.
We pray together thanking God for all the meetings
and all the spiritual gifts of each moment...
remembering so many fellow pilgrims from so
parting, three to the road to Moscow, I in two
days will fly to New York, and to Moscow on
September 7, we sing Alleluia and clap a little
like children while singing.
Dom Lambert the founder of Chevetogne
Chevetogne, main complex of buildings.