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The Brave Monks Of Kiev


Via Elizabeth Scalia, here’s a story, with astonishing photos, of Orthodox monks (including no doubt priest-monks) in Kiev, keeping vigil between riot police and protesters, trying to prevent bloodshed. Scalia writes, underneath one of the shots:

An Orthodox priest here places himself between the frustrated mobs and the armed soldiers; urging calm, he holds up the cross. Note the rifle, poised, behind him. He is directly in the line of fire, where he clearly feels called to be.

Priests tend to do stuff like this. In fact, while people may misunderstand and deride the vows of celibacy taken by Catholics priests, and also by Orthodox monks, these Christ-minded men consistently show the sort of toughness that is conceived and nurtured within a most paradoxical tenderness; in pictures like these, they are the very model of forthright masculinity, quite unlike anything preferred by the pop culture.

Amen. Last night, I was telling my son Lucas a few things about St. Herman of Alaska (Lucas and his mother are going to Alaska later this summer for 12 days; he received an icon of St. Herman, above, for his birthday). “He was not soft,” I said. “He was a real man, tougher than anybody you know. And he loved God and the people he served with all his heart.”

I have a feeling that those monks of Kiev are made of the same stuff.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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