Latin Rite parishioner wanting to become an Eastern Monk

I am thinking of completely giving myself to God, renouncing worldly life in order to search Him out in silence, solitude, and peace. Originally I was thinking of joining the Franciscans, but the Eastern Rites of the Church attract me more. I’ve only been to a Divine Liturgy once recently, during Pascha, and to some that may sound like not enough to go ahead with the switch but I feel it’s what God wants for me. I’ve already emailed the monastery (Holy Transfiguration Byzantine Monastery in Redwood, CA) and got a preliminary response from them asking about my age, where I live, and occupation and even went into detail about certain aspects of my life that lead me to this decision just to break the ice. However I also mentioned I’m originally from the Latin Rite. Scrolling through some of the forums here and on other sites I realized that switching Rites seems a tad more complicated than I thought… So now I’m just a bit concerned about whether they’ll accept me even into the OBSERVERSHIP! I mean I’m not trying to become a priest( maybe at least not yet;)). Like I said, just a Monk. So my question is this: should I be worried? Should I expect any difficulty in getting accepted?



Start by becoming familiar with the Eastern, especially Byzantine, praxis.

Attend a Ukrainian, Melkite, Romanian, or Ruthenian parish for some time. (Figure at least a year. Preferably more.) Explain to the pastor your desire to investigate Byzantine monasticism. Begin taking spiritual direction.

Practice the “Traditional Fasting” of the Byzantine Rite. (Note: No more meat on wednesdays nor fridays. Except during certain festal weeks.)

Learn the office of the hours, and its ebb and flow. Get the compiled version, and after praying, see what came from which sources, and how it was put together. You’ll need a subscription, the Horologion (hours book), and the menaion (liturgical calendar and propers)…

Learn the Byzantine liturgical cycle - daily, weekly, and annually. It is considerably different from Roman in many ways.

Make arrangements to take a retreat at the monastery.

Clear your debts and financial obligations. (This is requisite for almost all monastic communities.)

Spend quality time with family - once you begin a noviciate, you no longer have the freedom to do so. (This is true for almost all monastic and friary communities, east and west.)

Where can I get this stuff, like the Horologion, and which is the best version of it?

You can get an online preview here:

Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic services are 99% the same so check out the hourly services on the side.

Holy Transfiguration Skete has vocational retreats

It might be a good idea to try a retreat at an Eastern monastery so you can get a glimpse at their life. They, or monks like them, would be the best source of information as to how to correctly discern a vocation to Eastern monasticism.

There was a monastery that switched from Latin rite to Eastern rite and they are today called the Monks of New Skete. They decided also to adapt an Eastern way of life and they have been very successful in acquiring permission to do so. Look them up on the internet to see what they have done and go on with their example.

I doubt you would have any problems with changing Rites to join a monastery…and don’t forget to check out Holy Resurrection Monastery in Wisconsin…I’ll be going there for PASCHA in a few weeks…can’t wait!

Since you’ve already established communication with the monastery, my best advice would be - keep communicating with the monastery. :thumbsup:

Thanks guys! All your words and advice have been super helpful and supportive. Praise be to God, as I’ve received another email back from the monastery and they said they’d love to have me go and spend a few weeks with them in June. So stoked!!!:smiley: Now I just have to get familiar with the theology and liturgical practices. There’s a decent amount of EC parishes here in L.A. too so I’ll start going more often to start learning the basics! Once again guys, thank you so much for taking time to place your input into this topic! Y’all will be in my prayers!

Peace and God Bless


Have you considered any of the other Eastern CATHOLIC monasteries? In my experience they each have their own flavor, one might be a better fit than another. Just my 2 cents. Prayers for your discernment!

Yes, please don’t rush this. The emphasis on a year, as that is the minimum time spent in another rite generally required for a change of rite under canon law, is to guarantee two things. The first is that you will see life in that rite under all circumstances (the praxis in Easter is very different than from Lent, for example). The other is that it ensures that this isn’t just an infatuation on something that is novel to you, that you truly do love the theological and liturgical life of that tradition.

It’s worth noting that not all who enter a different rite’s monastic or friary traditions are granted transfer, either.

I knew a Dominican hierodeacon, for example. (He didn’t realize he was byzantine rite, having been raised outside it due to location.)

Brother David, a Carmelite, is another Byzantine in a Roman order.

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