Last fall I visited Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York (a ROCOR monastery) for the second time in two years. On the first visit, I did not have a conversation with any monk and only attended the Divine Liturgy. This time around, I spent several hours in dialogue with a monk named Father Theodore and three seminarians. Below are twelve things I learned from the visit.

1. The search for truth is a process

Even when you receive a strong dose of God’s grace, you will not come to know everything at once. Understanding the truth is a process that takes place for the duration of your life, and it must be approached with patience and humility. While you have the most necessary truth upon declaring Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the rest takes time. God gives you what you need to know when you need to know it, so don’t look for shortcuts by attempting to digest things that you are not spiritually prepared for.

2. Level of faith is inversely correlated with fear

When I walked into the monastery’s church for Liturgy, I was expecting most parishioners to be wearing a face mask since we were in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. I was filled with joy when I counted not one of the forty or so parishioners wearing one. I was stunned that no one in the church, not even the elderly, supplanted their faith in God to the pervasive secular fear that was groomed into them by Bill Gates and his cronies. I immediately felt the presence of a living faith that I had read about in Orthodox books, where parishioners rely only on the strength and armor of Jesus Christ instead of modern medical solutions.

I have noticed that the more fear a person has, the weaker their faith. The bigger the city a Christian is in, and the more connected he is to secular propaganda, the more likely he will wear a face mask out of fear. While there are those who wear masks in consideration of others, we cannot deny that many Christians are scared of getting an infection, and are putting more faith in a piece of useless cloth than in God.

3. Having Christian parents makes a huge difference

In the hundreds of interactions I’ve had with Christians both online and off, it’s clear to me that the more you were catechized as a child in a faithful church, the less you will fall as an adult. If you weren’t catechized at all then practically anything goes, and you may end up like me where the bottom had no floor.

I’ve also observed that adults raised in Christian households are more mature, come to that maturity at a younger age (before 30), and are more likely to dutifully serve Christ as an adult, just like two of the seminarians I met in Jordanville who had at least one devout parent.

I imagine that raising your children in a secular household during the 1950s may not have spelled a guaranteed bad outcome, but if you attempt that today, while evil is much higher, I fail to see how your child won’t stumble badly before even their eighteenth birthday. If I have children, I would never force God upon them, but they will know through my actions, behavior, and leadership that Jesus Christ is their King.

4. Don’t get bogged down with interpretations of the end of times

It’s hard not to develop a minor obsession with the last days and how the story of humanity will end. I asked for details from Father Theodore. He gave it but then warned me not to get too caught up in the specifics. It’s not knowledge of potential traps that will preserve our faith but faith itself, and if you have that faith, you will not be deceived. Our understanding of the end times, which probably won’t happen during our lifetimes, should not be the cornerstone of our faith.

5. Many priests-in-training are based and red-pilled

Some people complain that Christian clergy are “soft” or blind to modern realities, but I couldn’t say that about the seminarians I met at the monastery, which also has a seminary on its grounds. I didn’t have to dumb down my speech and they seemed up-to-date on all the latest innovations in degeneracy that I spend too much of my time reading about online. It turns out that many of them were raised on red pill content that shared a lot of general truths about men and women. Unlike myself, they were able to separate the sinful baggage from those truths.

6. Secular life is exceedingly more worldly than monastic life

Monks and seminarians spend most of their time in prayer, worship, labor, or study. They are constantly surrounded by God or reminders of God, unlike secular life where the goal seems to be about forgetting God to pursue fun, pleasure, and pride. Even a devout Christian living in the city has many secular cares that aim to pull him away from God—bills to pay, job tasks to perform, appointments to meet, shopping to do, and on and on.

The layman will never be able to accomplish the full ascetic ideal. This must be accepted since we are not monks and should not pretend to be. I am even hesitant to use the phrase “monk in the world” to one day describe myself if I were to remain single, as useful as that phrase may be.

7. I’m not obviously deceived

After sharing my current spiritual state with Father Theodore, he did not think I had fallen into deception. Of course it’s possible that I am deceived in some ways, but perhaps not severely. I have taken a guarded and measured pace to learning about the faith so that I don’t get puffed up from merely reading a lot of books, and I do my best to ignore compliments given to me. It helps that I’ve met so many men and women whose faith is stronger than mine. Their witness keeps me humble.

8. I don’t currently have the calling to be a monk

As I mentioned in my book American Pilgrim, whenever I leave a monastery, I feel spiritually filled with no desire to stay longer.

Father Theodore told me that Kallistos Ware once remarked that a man must be 100% sure he wants to become a monk, because if he’s only 99% sure, Satan will use the 1% to breed doubt in his heart, jeopardizing his monastic vocation. I wonder if men should also use this approach in deciding whether to marry a specific woman.

9. The fate of other people’s souls

From the Biblical parable about the wide and narrow gate, Jesus Christ suggests that more people will go to hell than heaven. I asked Father Theodore about the borderline cases of those who aren’t necessarily evil but perhaps did not have proper faith. “What happens to them?” I asked.

“It’s none of your business,” he replied, echoing what God told St. Anthony in the desert.

Antony was confused as he mediated upon the depths of God’s judgements, and he asked God, ‘Lord, how is it that some die young and others grow old and sick? Why are there some poor and some rich? Why are there those who are bad and rich and oppress the good poor?’ He heard a voice saying to him, ‘Antony, worry about yourself; these other matters are up to God, and it will not do you any good to know them.’

I understand that our salvation is in our hands, and not an arbitrary decision by a Creator who wants us condemned. Wherever we end up after this life, we chose it.

10. Barbarian souls can’t handle God’s presence

The souls of those who deny God from a lifetime of sin become so corrupted and evil, like the demons whose thoughts they have acted upon, that they would not even be able to handle the mercy of God. The mere presence of God would cause them such pain and torment that they would prefer hell, and many people while alive make such a choice. Your soul cannot handle what it was not prepared for, and even if you use mercy on an unrepentant sinner, the sinner would refuse it, because his heart knows not what mercy is and cannot accept your gift, even if it’s for all eternity.

11. We don’t have enlightened spiritual fathers because we wouldn’t listen to them

We don’t even follow the basics. Most Christians do not fast or pray daily. They come up with all manner of excuses not to attend church on Sunday. They don’t seek guidance with their priests before making major life decisions, and even if they did, they frame their situation in a way that the priest will agree with what they already decided to do. So why would God send them a clairvoyant and wise elder to help guide their lives? The elder would give them correct advice and advance warnings and they’d ignore him to serve their own will. God doesn’t waste the holy on the non-holy. The holier we become as a society, and the more we repent, the more likely that we will also receive powerful spiritual fathers.

12. Satan knows when to distract you

Father Theodore made the astute observation that Satan leaves you alone when you’re committing sin. “When you used to watch pornography,” he asked me, “were you ever distracted?”

Never. While watching porn, my mind would be totally fixated on the screen with the utmost concentration. Any problems or anxieties in life I had were temporarily gone so that I could commit the sin.

“And how about with prayer? Do you get distracted?”

I can count on my two hands the number of prayer sessions where I was in complete peace. Prayer is a continual struggle, because Satan does not want me to perform it. There is a noise outside my window—time to look! There is dust on my icons—time to clean it! There is a meal in an hour—what will I eat?!

When you want to do something unnatural that destroys your faith, such as masturbation, Satan leaves you alone, but when you want to do the natural act of speaking to your Creator, in a similar way that a child speaks to his father, Satan makes it very difficult. That should be a clue to the Christian to persevere in that which is hard, because if it’s not hard, and you seem especially focused without expending any of your willpower, it may be something that Satan wants you to do.

Conclusion

In my relatively short time as a Christian, I’ve been blessed to speak with so many monks and priests. From their wisdom, and also from the simple sharing of their faith, I have been able to grow spiritually in a way that would be much harder from books alone. I highly recommend serious Christians to consider a day trip to a monastery. Who knows, maybe at the end of your trip, you will wish that you could stay longer.

Read Next: I Lived Most Of My Life Under Demonic Influence

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Roosh, may I kindly make a request to be unbanned on your telegram? I apologize if I upset you or a mod, or if I broke any rules. It certainly wasn’t my intention. If you decide no I’m okay with that, but I do miss reading the comments very much and can refrain from commenting anymore so I don’t cause disturbance again. My telegram name is BrotherTerry as well if you decide it’s okay. Again apologies for any disturbance and hope you have a good day brother.

P.S. under the 6th point you have a grammatical error I thought you’d like to know about, since I can tell you’re very scrupulous with your writing! “They are constantly surrounded by God or reminders of God, unlikely secular life where the goal seems to be about...” should be ‘unlike’.

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Roosh, may I kindly make a request to be unbanned on your telegram? I apologize if I upset you or a mod, or if I broke any rules. It certainly wasn’t my intention. If you decide no I’m okay with that, but I do miss reading the comments very much and can refrain from commenting anymore so I don’t cause disturbance again. My telegram name is BrotherTerry as well if you decide it’s okay. Again apologies for any disturbance and hope you have a good day brother.

P.S. under the 6th point you have a grammatical error I thought you’d like to know about, since I can tell you’re very scrupulous with your writing! “They are constantly surrounded by God or reminders of God, unlikely secular life where the goal seems to be about...” should be ‘unlike’.

Pedantry is nearly always the best way to go when seeking to get back into someone's good graces. I'm sure the unbanning will swiftly follow.

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We don’t even follow the basics. Most Christians do not fast or pray daily. They come up with all manner of excuses not to attend church on Sunday. They don’t seek guidance with their priests before making major life decisions, and even if they did, they frame their situation in a way that the priest will agree with what they already decided to do. So why would God send them a clairvoyant and wise elder to help guide their lives? The elder would give them correct advice and advance warnings and they’d ignore him to serve their own will. God doesn’t waste the holy on the non-holy. The holier we become as a society, and the more we repent, the more likely that we will also receive powerful spiritual fathers.

So true. It is easy to get discouraged when local priests and religious groups are lukewarm and un-based, but what are we actually doing to deserve a based society? Because of what you said I will put more efforts into getting the basics done properly.

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Pedantry is nearly always the best way to go when seeking to get back into someone's good graces. I'm sure the unbanning will swiftly follow.

Hey I’d want to know if there was a mistake in my writing. I understood the irony and honestly I found it mildly humorous. Unfortunately being a smart alec isn’t a ban-able offense so I had someone to commiserate with. Props on the pedantry, that’s a good word.

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I think it's very important to be cognizant of the 'end times' because we're in them now. On the other hand, it's important not to be overtaken and obsessed with them to the point you start delving into the millions of alternative paths and useless information that the devil has for you to consume like arguing about flat Earth and reptilians.

With that said we have to be watchful of the things to come because the Bible tells us that even the elect might be deceived:
Matthew 24
23 Then if anyone says to you [during the great tribulation], ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will provide great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones).

The media is ramping up talk about aliens because they are planning on introducing the world to the fallen angels, and these beings will have powers to do lying signs and wonders to deceive the masses. They already have the Mark of the Beast available via Neurallink and other similar implantables and the move to the digital economy is underway. This is important because a lot of people are spiritually asleep and really lax, especially Christians, and Jesus told us he will spit the lukewarm out of his mouth.

In regards to those who didn't have proper faith but are not seemingly evil, they will be with those who are evil because the Bible tells us we cannot please God without faith.

Hebrews 11​

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Those who are 'not necessarily evil' but lack proper faith remind me of the lukewarm, who Jesus tells us he will spit out of his mouth.

Revelation

Revelation 3

16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.


It is our job to tell lukewarm Christians and 'on the fence Christians' to step their faith and fervor for God because they are playing the edge and will be tossed in the camp with nonbelievers.

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The point about Satan not distracting those who are engaged in sin is a very interesting and true one. Satan already has the nonbelievers and sinful, so no need to bother them, but only rather to make them comfortable in what they are doing and provide rationalization for them to continue what they are dong.

Another telltale sign that you are going in the right direction is that suddenly you will become unpopular. People simply don't like hearing about Jesus or living Holy. This can be a very isolating walk in many aspects and all of the accolades you once got from the world will disappear.

John 15
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,[b] but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also.

So something you might have experienced is greatly decreased traffic and attention on the conversion to Jesus, and this is natural and part of our journey with Jesus. The world will simply dislike what we have to say, ignore us, berate us, etc., but all of these sacrifices are worth it

Matthew 19: 29
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[e] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

So the sacrifice you made leaving the 'worldly rewards' from your past lifestyle will compare in comparison to the rewards Jesus has for you. The worldly rewards never satisfy anyways, noted by the fact that so many in the entertainment industry end up taking their own lives despite having access to nearly unlimited women, drugs and money.

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Good read. I am planning to take a week off of work in a few months and will be attending a monastery for 4 or 5 nights. I wish I had longer to go there, but I feel blessed to have the time I do have to visit. This post makes me feel even more excited and looking forward to it.

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Regarding your 9th Point of observing the fate of other people's souls, in my opinion, the reason that father Theodore said to you "It's none of your business" when asked for "borderline cases" is because not having such know how goes against the forces of Satan.

Satanism is built upon the idea that "Knowledge is the Greatest Gift" where knowing everything, even acquiring the knowledge of the arbitrary system of God's judgement is appreciated.

With this, Satan intentions are explicitly clear - to make people hungry to increase their knowledge with an intention for people to understanding the god's judgement system and then perhaps identify loopholes in the judgement system and later on, exploit those loopholes to game the system.

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Could you give further detail on point 10? Could this further be fleshed out to those who are not barbarians but are living and framing their existences based off of non-Godly distinctions like comfort and fear?

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