Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Abba Poimen

“A complaining, vindictive monk, prone to anger, cannot exist,” said Abba Poimen. “That is to say that, any who have such faults are not actually monks, even if they wear the schema.”

The question I am certain people are asking is “What is a schema?”  While I am not certain what it was back in Abba Poimen’s day, but today in Eastern Orthodoxy the schema is a garment bestowed on a monastic by one’s monastic superior to indicate that the monastic has reached the highest level of spiritual excellence.

This Saying has application for all of us.  If we substitute the word “Christian” for “monk.” We Christians are supposed to be beyond complaints, vindictiveness, and even anger since these choices are not motivated by love of God or neighbor.

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