Rule of Theodosius of Manjava

as followed by


The Temple at the Manjava Monastery in Ukraine
[Photo taken by Vladyka Ioan in 2002]


At the Skytyk by the Church of the Most Pure Mother of God,
where there is also a chapel of
Our Venerable Father Onuphrius the Great


and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, may [this skytyk] grow firm and develop for the prospering of those who want to live following the narrow path. Amen.

By the grace of God, our skete way of life, which was initiated by the blessed elder, our father, for two or three persons, has developed into a cenobitic way of life for many, where the requirements of good order and active work, talking and the care of common and necessary interests have multiplied, on account of which mitigation has to be permitted in food and stillness and the rule, or attentiveness. For this reason, I, the lowly superior Theodosius, sorrowing for the stillness that was and the straitness of the narrow and most grievous road that I tasted at the beginning, have renewed this second abode of asceticism, the skytyk begun by our venerable elder, and assign to it the church of the most holy Mother of God. Four or six brethren are to live there, imitating the primitive asceticism and observing the stillness, under the authority and blessing of the father ihumen of the great monastery and by his provision. One among them is to be superior, if there be a priest or elder, who is to admonish and have care of the others. All are to submit to him, obey him, and receive his blessing and permission for everything. He, on his part, is to give account of everything to the ihumen and take his advice.

[1] First of all, they are to observe stillness, keep silence with their lips and never converse with one another. In only four matters may they speak:
1. to sing and to pray, to call out to God;
2. to read to oneself or to talk to another for “spiritual” profit;
3. to instruct or reprove a brother lovingly;
4. to speak about things necessary in life, what to do and how.

[2] About the rule of prayer in church.
The rule of prayer in church is to be in common, without singing: Vespers, Compline, Matins, and the hours. The liturgy, when it is possible, once or twice a week, is to be song softly and devoutly. If there is no singer, the cherubic hymn is to be read three times in a drawn-out manner and in unison, twice before the entrace and once after. Similarly, the communion verse, but with faith and the fear of God. For Vespers, the strophes are to be taken from those that are available, sometimes in the monastic manner, sometimes the akathist, sometimes of the church. If there is an Octoechos or Menaion, the service is to be taken according to the proper order.

At Matins, the psalter reading and sessional hymns are to be taken according to custom, then one canon from among those that are available, for six or eight troparia. If it is a Sunday or great feast, then everything in the Menaion is to be read devoutly, without haste, the polyeleos is to be read, the versicle may be sung. The troparion and the doxology may be sung, for spiritual consolation. God is Lord and the Glory after the strophes are to be sung.

[3] About daily food and drink.
There is to be one meal a day. Mondays - one dish is to be kysil’, the other with gruel. Tuedays - likewise one dish dry, the second with honey or gruel; the same on Thursdays. On Wednesdays and Fridays, dry food or stewed fruit and parboiled beans, with a side dish of whatever is available, radishes or cucumbers, mushrooms, or some fruit, always with moderation and avoiding satierty, so that we may not lose the benefit of stillness. On Saturdays and Sundays, and on great feasts, two meals: one dish dry and the second with oil, and in the evening one dish with honey or gruel or a side dish. In the weeks without fast, two meals or a side dish with oil, if there is any; nevertheless, on Wednesdays and Fridays one meal. Drink is always water or vegetable broth, and even this with moderation; beer or fish are never to be sought.

On feasts or on a Sunday, if we come to the monastery, we eat what they have, or when the ihumen and brethren in their charity visit us and send something along, we partake of it.

Fasting may be increased for a time, out of zeal or love, with the blessing of the ihumen or the spiritual father. If someone becomes sickly of afflicted, he is to be taken into the monastery, to obedience in serving many brethren, and another is to be received into the skytyk in his place.

[4] About clothing and footwear.
Clothing there should be poor and worn and coarse, given from the monastery. In the cell and outside, especially in the summer, the monks are to go barefoot, like the ancient anchorites.

[5] About the rule of prayer in the cell.
In the cell, the rule of the Psalter two times a week, and a paraclesis or other canon, one every day. Evening and morning three hundred or more prostrations, everyone according to his strength, but with his spiritual father’s knowledge. Six rosaries of the Prayer of Jesus a day and six at night are to be recited, with the utmost attentiveness and heedfulness, devoutly, with contrition of heart. The monks are to remain in uninterrupted prayer, that is, always have their minds fixed on the Lord Jesus, and sitting, standing, lying, walking and working, they are unceasingly to strive to keep their minds on and to say: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. As Saint Basil says: Fasten your fault in the remembrance of him. And as Saint Ephrem says: In toiling toil hardily, that the suffering of vain toil may pass you by. And as Saint Chrysostom says: May your heart consume the Lord, and the Lord your heart. and other holy Fathers speak about this.

[6] About manual work.
Manual work is to be whatever one knows: to make wooden crosses or spoons, or things out of wool, in silence, with the memory of Jesus, after reading the third and sixth hour and until the ninth hour. The ninth hour is always to be sung after midday, before the meal. After the meal, again manual work or chores in the cell, that is, preparing the wood and tidying outside, then Vespers. After celebrating Vespers, a brief pause, or water may be drunk, then Compline is to be read. After Compline, the monks are not to gather or talk among themselves, not even about necessary things, but everyone is to recite his rule or prayer, and be attentive, and meditate on the grave and death. If there is need, manual work may be taken up by candlelight, for one hours, in silence. Then, however, after a prayer, they are to go to sleep and give nature its due. Then, again, rising soberly they carry out their obligations, the prayers of the midnight office and the prostrations, presenting their first thought to God, offering him the compunction of their hearts and humbling their spirit before him. they they are to come for the common prayer of Matins [and the first hour], standing attentively and listening to the reader. The reader is to read slowly, clearly, and devoutly, as if conversing with God. After Matins, if it is still early, they may take up manual work. If it is already deawn and there is light, they are to recite their rule of prayer, with prostrations, the rosay, and the Psalter, until the third and sixth hour, and take up manual work only after these have been read.

The brother who is carrying out the service of cooking and the refectory service is to receive the blessing [from the superior] and go about his duties with attention so as to be ready on time and come with the other brothers for the ninth hour and for every other rule of prayer, unless something unexpected turns up. One’s handicraft is to be turned in on Saturday or Sunday to be sent to the monastery, so that the father ihumen may dispose of it, and to pick up the required food supplies from the monastery. If the ihumen with the council should need one of the brothers of the skytyk, to send him for supplies or for some other common service for the monastery, the brother is not to use his stillness as an excuse, but recall that he who obeys is greater than he who fasts. He is to serve out the time needed for his obedience with faith, so as not to be deprived of the common prayers and blessing and possess blamelessly the peace of stillness.

If the brethren live according to this rule, everything will be of benefit, and the bonds of love will not be transgressed, and the praises of God and prayer will be multiplied. Pray for me and work out your salvation. Amen.

© Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, Inc. 2013