Patriarch Kyrill: The most repulsive thing in the Church is monastic careerism

Source: Russian Orthodox Patriarchate. Translated by: Prot. Alexander Lebedeff

August 22, 2010, in celebration of the Synaxis of Solovetsky saints, the Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill served Divine Liturgy at the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral of the Solovetsky stavropegial monastery.

At the fraternal meal after the service Patriarch Kirill made a speech to the bishops and priests, who had accompanied His Holiness during the days of his staying at Solovki, to the brotherhood of the monastery and to distinguished guests.

His Holiness expressed his joy over the fact that during the visit two patriarchal episcopal consecrations were performed, with the highest level of service to the church given to pastors who strove not after honors, but gave their whole lives to the “humble, not very noticeable, but sincere service to the Lord.”

According to His Holiness, “there is something to think about” the fact that to the congregation of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church were joined people such as Archimandrite Panteleimon (Shatov) “ a pious pastor, who spent many years of carrying out parish obediences and who raised four daughters, and Archimandrite Veniamin (Likhomanov) – “a monk, confessor, modest, educated man who never boasted about his education and humbly served in those places where he was sent.

The most repulsive thing in the Church is monastic careerism – stressed the Primate. – I think the two consecrations which took place in Solovki “ send a very clear signal to all of our monks, whose heads spin with thoughts of episcopacy and who believe that there is no life, if by reaching thirty years they have not become archimandrites.

“All corrupt careerism in the church – this is what needs to be eradicated, and with God’s help, we’ll deal with it, – said His Holiness. – And everyone who really wants to become a bishop, I want to warn: the Patriarch sees it and is unlikely you will become bishops. The Bishopric will be for those who are not seeking it.

His Holiness said that the consecration of Father Panteleimon was supposed to be performed on Aug. 10 at the Novodevichy monastery, but in those days the capital was covered with the smoke of forest fires and so His Holiness was asked to cancel the Patriarchal Liturgy in order to avoid a large gathering of people and not to endanger people’s health. The Primate called Father Panteleimon and said that consecration would be postponed. “He told me quietly in response:” Maybe it can be canceled? ” – said the Patriarch. – Thank you, Vladyka Panteleimon, for these words – they warmed my soul. “

“I think that we should treat the Episcopal service thus: the lot fell on you “ take it, if the lot does not fall on you – do what is your occupation, – added the head of the Russian Church. – After all, before God we all stand in line not by the order of our ordination, and not by the number of crosses, and not by whether you serve in a mitre or kamilavka. It may come to pass that the Patriarch will be standing behind a cleaning lady and will look into her eyes and say: “Maria Ivanovna, could you pray for me …” “

“We have very clearly understood that our ecclesiastical career is a relative thing, not having any direct connection to our salvation, – reminded the Patriarch Kirill. – God gives strength and understanding, pay attention to the conciliar wisdom of the Church “ you will be made a bishop, a Metropolitan and a Patriarch. “You need to be there where you carry out your ministry – Carry it with boldness, prayer and love.”

Press office of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia


  1. Blessed memory of Elder Paisios (the Athonite) of Mount Athos, July 12 (+1994)

    When a monk doesn’t find spiritual work, he cannot be helped even by his elder, and spends his time with external things. He becomes spiritually wild and, even if he was to be tied down in his cell, he could not sit still. He will always enjoy contact with people, to give tours, to speak about the domes and archeology [of the monastery], to show them the pots with various flowers, to treat them to rich, worldly meals, and to give rest only to worldly people.

    The monk flees far from the world, not because he detests the world, but because he loves the world and in this way he is better able to help the world through his prayer, in things that don’t happen humanly but only through divine intervention. In this way God saves the world.
    For this reason some bishops, very rightly, would like to have these sites, for monastics must love poverty, which they were ordered by God to preserve. Unfortunately, however, they do not limit themselves to the necessary, the simple, as much for themselves as, more generally, for the monastery. Nor do they refuse things from the faithful, or encourage them to help, on their own, our poor, suffering brethren. But what do they do instead? They gather the sweat even of the poor and fill the monastery with a huge amount of oil lamps and bells, thinking that God is glorified in this way. This type of piety, however, is like the piety which many Russian clerics had who became the cause, though they didn’t intend it, of the oil lamps, chandeliers and bells being made into cannons so as to hit the very Church of Christ.

    When an elder doesn’t have much experience, but has a great deal of love and much humility, he is able to help his spiritual children by means of the guidance of more experienced elders, as well as by the grace of God, which he continually receives due to his great humility. However, the young cleric who gathers young people as his disciples reveals his great pride, which he has down to the marrow of his bones. He is like a baby born with a beard-a monster-and those that follow him reveal that they have an ailment of the brain or heart. Also, those clerics who study psychology so as to help souls using human contrivances are not spiritually well. The strange thing is that their teachers of psychology don’t believe in God or in the existence of the soul. If they accept the soul’s existence, they do so in their own unique way. In this way these clerics show that they are spiritually sick and that they need to be examined by the Holy Fathers. Having been healed, they would be able to discern, on their own, the sick spirit and would experience divine grace at the same time. Thus from that time forth they would use the divine energy for those suffering souls and not human contrivances.

  2. George Michalopulos :

    …perhaps we can restrict the title of archimandrite to monk-priests who are the abbotts of real monasteries?


  1. […] what do I mean when I say “uphold the Gospel”? For one thing, +Kirill has openly condemned “careerism” in the Church. Secondly, he has issued strict protocols which will make it difficult for single men […]

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