Our Name


What’s In A Name?

Novi Kloštar  Kloštar is a city in County Istria, Croatia.  Our ancient founder, St Romuald (951 – + 19 June, c. 1027 AD) had spent 6 years in ascetic solitude in a cave by the Lim Channel. Once he left his reclusion St Romuald established one of his many monasteries —Samostan Arhanđela Sv. Mihovila— dedicated to Archangel Holy Michael on property owned by his family. The overlap of East & West in St Romuald’s life and spirituality we seek to emulate.  The ancient Dalmatia was under Byzantine influence during St Romuald’s life and there are signs he perhaps was not only Italian, having been born in Ravenna, also Slavic.  St Romuald was known as a hesychast; well aware of the Eastern Desert Fathers.  Disconcertedly but complementarily, he was trained by an old Irish Elder known as Marinus in the severe ascetic practices that Celtic Monasticism learned directly by missionaries from the pustinje of North Africa.  Ours is a monastic/eremitic house that is liturgically “eastern rite” while celebrating the 1, 000 years of Orthodox Christianity in Western Europe –from Ireland to modern-day Serbia– prior to the year 1054 a.d. We embrace the cultural and religious observance of both West & East.  

Hermitage  One definition being, “A hermitage is any type of domestic dwelling in which a hermit lives1.  A monastery being a community of numerous monastics following the communal (coenobitic) form is in no manner a Hermitage.  Our co-religionist in Scotland, Hieromonk Michael has a good description of historical hermitages here. 

of St John the Theologian  The Beloved Apostle of the Lord.  St John, one of the youngest of the Apostles, had been given the awesome responsibility to care for our Lord’s Mother, God’s Mother; likewise John becomes her son.  St John had moved to the port city of Ephesus to minister to the new Christians there. Proportedly, the Holy Theotokos (Mother of God) Marija settled just outside Ephesus around the years of 42 AD {read & see}  on Mount Koressos, located close to Ephesus.   It is known in our Orthodox Tradition there had been a Basilica dedicated to St John in Ephesus.  There is, according to Sacred Tradition, a direct connection from Ephesus of St John’s time to the Orthodox British Isles.  

Liturgically, there was an “Ephesian Rite” which passed to Smyrna by St John’s disciple St Polycarp; then to Lyon by St Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, and so on.  The Ephesian Rite developed into the Gallican Rite in Gaul (ancient France) and gave to the Iberian Peninsula (ancient Spain) the Mozarabic Rite.  Then to Ireland & Britain where it became the Celtic Rite (as given in the Stowe Missal) and the English Rite (precursor to the Sarum Use of the Roman Rite in Norman England). We, in fact, have the Divine Liturgy of St John the Divine (here) from the Orthodox British Isles. 

Novi Kloštar Hermitage of St John the Theologian’s primary liturgical life is according to the Slavo-Byzantine (“Eastern”) Rite.  We are known for advocating the use of Western Rites within the Orthodox Church.  However, our support is limited to genuine Orthodox Western ritual that originates from before the Great Schism and its manuscripts are extant in our times. These are limited to the Gallic Rite, Keltic Rite & the Anglo-Roman Rite.  This Orthodox Anglo-Roman Rite might be said to be an anglicized Roman Rite after the Roman Rite had been brought to the Britans by St Augustine of Canterbury (who had been sent there by St Pope Gregory the Great). 

In his Gospel & Epistles St John’s theology reflected in his message is one of shared Divine Love. Love for mankind by God, love for God by creation and love between all creation while being in union with God. What did our Lord say about God’s Law?

He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets'”. (Matt. 22:37-40).

It just made sense to seek St John the Theologian as the Hermitage’s heavenly patron.