JUNE 18-19, 2020


 The 2020 James Lloyd Breck Conference on Monasticism and the Church will discuss the topic of “Monastic Practices in the Parish.” Looking at Evagrius’ conception of praktiké, the conference will explore both the theological nature of praktiké and its implementation in the life of the Christian believer and, in particular, in the parish. Since all baptized believers are to aspire to contemplation of the Holy Trinity, then all initially begin with praktiké – practicing the Christian life in the context of the local church. In what ways, then, can the local church become the crucible for these monastic practices? What monastic practices can a parish adopt in order to move her members closer to union with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

In the fourth century, the monastic theologian Evagrius of Pontus (d. 399) offered a tripartite division of the spiritual life: praktiké, contemplation of the physical world and contemplation of God. This division is summarized most clearly in his three works: Praktikos, Gnostikos and Kephalaia Gnostica. In the initial stage of praktiké, one eradicates evil through the acquisition of virtues via grace and practice. In the next stage of his schema, the contemplation of the physical world, one begins by contemplating the “earthly” creation and then moves up to a contemplation of the “heavenly” creation. From here one may finally transition to the third stage —contemplation of the Holy Trinity. This tripartite division greatly influenced subsequent monastic and spiritual texts.

Comments from 2019 attendees:

"Chapel and Worship was beautifully prepared, instructed and led, a real spirit of prayer."

"The networking and hospitality provided at the conference far exceeded my expectations and reflected the true spirit of Nashotah House."

"I really can't explain the impact the conference had on deepening my belief and giving me room to grow."


the Rev. Dr. Greg PetersConference Chair
The Rev. Dr. Greg Peters
Servants of Christ Research Professor of Monastic Studies Dr. Greg Peters received his Doctorate in Monastic Studies from the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’Anselmo in Rome, his PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto and has Masters Degrees from St. John's School of Theology, Collegeville, MN and Dallas Theological Seminary.  He has published several articles and books specializing in monasticism including his most recent books:  The Monkhood of All Believers: The Monastic Foundation of Christian Spirituality and The Story of Monasticism: Retrieving an Ancient Tradition for Contemporary Spirituality. 

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