“Archimandrite” is a charming little documentary about a hermit in Poland, struggling with love and patience to establish a monastic skete there. He meets with temptations and trials but faces them with Christian peace and hope – showing us how we can do likewise when we encounter difficulties. I particularly enjoyed seeing the positive reception of the surrounding community to the holy monk; he is truly an impressive person.
Something else that had a big impact on me was at the end when the Archimandrite is asked, “Father, is it easy being a hermit in our times?” And Archimandrite Gabriel answers with an example. Three young men came to stay with him to see if they might be called to live the monastic life. The first lasted only 6 hours. The second stayed one day, but by 2:30AM his bags were packed and he was ready to leave. The third managed to stay 2 days, but was also ready to leave by 5:30AM. When the hermit asked them the reason they did not want to stay they all gave the same answer. Can you guess? I did. It was the silence. “The terrible silence.” They couldn’t handle it.
And this leads me to ask myself, and you can ask yourself, could you handle the silence? If not, what are we doing wrong and how can we change our dependency on noise?
Here is the video, below is the description of the video on youtube.
Archimandrite Gabriel — an Orthodox monk from the Podlasie province in Poland — is the founder and sole inhabitant of the Kudak grove hermitage by river Narew. During his first few years there, he lived and prayed in a wagon house, without electricity, running water, or contact with the outside world. After five years, thanks to the help of people of Orthodox faith from local villages, the grove saw the rise of a wooden church, a dormitory for monks, and outbuildings.
Pilgrims are drawn to the place by Archimandrite Gabriel’s personality: he can find common ground with anyone, he grants spiritual advice, heals with herbs, and keeps bees. When necessary, he rolls up his sleeves and works on building the hermitage right alongside everyone else.
The Archimandrite’s biggest concern is finding a successor. Prospective monks don’t last long in the hermitage, however. They can’t stand the lack of access to civilization, common comforts, and contact with their peers.