It goes without saying that a life of a monk is connected to a monastery. Monasticism is a special way of life within a church as a community. All Christians want to serve God and the monks do it by secluding themselves from the world (a town, a village, a one’s family) and chose a life of austerity and asceticism (spiritual exercise) and prayer – within the Church. When becoming a monk, among other things, a man gets a new name, meaning he has become a new man, ready to live by the laws of the Kingdom of God. Since a monk no longer needs the natural, family ties, in the monastery he gets his spiritual father, an old man. There are two types of monastic life – an eremitic, a solitary way of life and a coenobitic, a communal one. Hermits live in hermitages, and coenobites in monasteries. However, it is quite common to find hermitages built by a monstery, where the monks withdraw and become recluses.
The word monk comes from the Greek, monos – lonely, alone, one, the one who lives a solitary life. Kaluđer [kalu-dʒer] comes from the Greek kalos – good and geros – an old man, i.e. a good old man, but it does not refer to the actual age of a monk.
RELIGION AND TRADITION
The church refers to the holy monks as saints or the venerated, God-like .
Organised monasticism originates in the 3rd century A.D., and more than a millennium ago, when the Serbs adopted Christianity, many chose a monastic way of life. Monasticism in Serbs became particularly revered when members of the ruling families started becoming monks. The best known Serbian monk, was certainly St Sava, the youngest son to the Serbian ruler, Stefan Nemanja, who at his old age took on the life of a monk himself, dedicating himself to God so much that he finally became St Simeon the Myrrh Streamer. Many others of the Nemanjic family also took on the lives of monks.
Today there are fewer monks in the Serbian monasteries than there were in the times of the mediaeval Nemanjic Dynisaty, who gave its people a great number of saints. But today, as it once used to be, the monks strive to measure up to the high task to be “salt to earth”, Christian examples and a visible link with God.
St Petar Koriški, St Joanikije Devički, St Prohor Pčinjski, St Grigorije Gornjački, St Romilo Ravanički, St Justin Ćelijski, St Simeon Dajbabski