The Monastery and Christian Unity
In our monastery we live out fully the unity of the Church in spirit and in truth, in anticipation of its visible attainment ecclesiastically. Through our genuine openness of heart and spirit to all men, no matter what their confession, it has become possible for us to see ourselves, or rather Christ, in others. For us, Christian unity is to live together in Christ by love. Then divisions collapse and differences disappear, and there is only the One Christ who gathers us all into His holy Person.
Theological dialogue must take place, but we leave this to those who are called to it. For ourselves, we feel that the unity of the Church exists in Christ and that we therefore discover in Him the fulness of unity in the measure in which we are united to Him. "If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation" (II Cor. 5:17). And in this new creation there is no multiplicity but "one new man" (Eph. 2:15). Although we practise our Orthodox faith, and are aware of all the truth and spiritual riches it contains, we still recognize that in Christ "there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3:11). While wounds in the Body of Christ exist, we would offer our lives daily in sacrifice for the reconciliation of the Churches.
We have found in the religious life the best means of attaining union with Christ and hence the best way of fulfilling that new creation which gathers men "of every nation, race, people and tongue" (Rev. 7:9) into unity of spirit and heart. This has been a clear feature of the monastic life in Scetis since the beginning. The particular gift of St. Macarius was that, as a spiritual director, he was able to gather together men of conflicting temperaments, different social classes and diverse races. Among his spiritual sons were Abba Moses, a Nubian bandit, alongside Arsenius, a Roman philosopher and tutor to the children of the emperor, illiterate Egyptian peasants side by side with the princes Maximus and Domadius. And they all lived in perfect spiritual harmony through the great spirit of love which was the life breath of St. Macarius, and was passed on by him to contemporaries and then· to his spiritual heirs up to our own time.
It is our hope that the desert of Scetis will become once more the birth place of good will, reconciliation and unity between all the peoples on earth in Christ Jesus.