A Ruthenian Catholic women’s community, Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in Ohio was canonically established as an eparchial monastery sui iuris.
“For your husband is your Maker; the LORD of hosts is his name. Your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.” – Isaiah 54:5
Last week on September 27th, Bishop Milan Lach of the Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Parma in Ohio signed a decree establishing Christ the Bridegroom Monastery as a “female monastery sui iuris of eparchial right.”
Located in Burton, Ohio, Christ the Bridegroom Monastery was formed in April of 2009 after Pope Saint John Paul II’s call for the revitalization of Eastern Monasticism in the United States. In March of 2010, their community was received into the Eparchy of Parma, and in November of 2011 their first stavrophore (cross-bearer), Mother Theodora, was tonsured.
The decree completes the canonical process of its founding, the last step after they were declared a Public Association of the Faithful in August of 2015. Currently, the community is comprised of six members: four stavrophores and two rassophores (robe-bearer). Following the decree, the four elected Mother Theodora as their hegumenia (abbess).
Sister Natalia, a rassophore, told CNA that:
“Our canonical establishment is a promise that our eparchy is here for us and desires our presence. It’s a promise, too, that we are here for our eparchy, as we are for the world, dedicating our lives in prayer, fasting, and hospitality. What we hope to give to our eparchy, and to the world is a witness of the joy and love that come from radically loving Christ as our Spouse. There is also a tangible change in the atmosphere of our community – an abundance of joy and peace, fruits of the Holy Spirit.”
Sister Natalia says after the decree they now have “a greater responsibility to live the life laid out in our typikon,” the rule of life a sui iuris monastery is governed by.
Bishop Milan Lach says the “the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom express and model in a new manner the gift of monastic life.”
“In silence, prayer, and hospitality, the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom are called to rediscover the spousal language from the falsifications of our culture, displaying faithfully not only that monastic consecration refers to mankind’s union with God in Heaven, but also that longings of human hearts for the beloved are meant to be fulfilled in the intimate union with Christ and participation in the life of the Holy Trinity. Being guided by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the monastery seeks to hark back to the original call of God for all baptized Christians to seek the Kingdom of God above all else with the holiness of their lives.”
The community professed their gratitude in a post on their website, thanking “all those who have supported us in so many ways and helped us to make it to this day.”
“We are so grateful to Bishop John Kudrick for his invitation to begin living this life ten years ago, for taking the initial canonical steps in our foundation, and for his spiritual fatherhood. We are also so grateful to our current bishop, Bishop Milan, for taking the final steps needed to reach this canonical approval as an eparchial monastery and for loving us as a father.”