Father Massimo da Qumran of the Sacred Order of the Hesychasts of San Giovanni Climaco, a spiritual community with residences near Milan and Florence, joins the podcast for this Christmas episode. He shares with us how he practices Christianity, how that practice relates to animals and veganism, and why religion often neglects the relationship between God and animals and their purpose on Earth. A priest and monk in the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht, with a belief system rooted in the very early practice of Christianity by the Essenes, Father Massimo explains his belief in the equality of humans and animals. He illustrates how he and others practice this belief by keeping animals off their plates, rescuing animals from slaughterhouses, running animal sanctuaries, rehabilitating wildlife, and incorporating animals into prayer. The Sacred Order of the Hesychasts of San Giovanni Climaco teaches people to truly connect with themselves to experience a deeper relationship with God and nature. Among their outreach efforts, during the ongoing pandemic, they launched a vegan food program for the surrounding community and increased their digital outreach efforts, helping them grow their community.
Father Massimo belongs to the Sacred Order of the Hesychasts of San Giovanni Climaco established by Archiepiscopal Decree and belonging to the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht. Members of this community do not eat meat or fish and believe in the equality of humans and animals. The community is part of the religious and spiritual tradition of the Christian Church of the East, that values above all the spiritual development of man, a contemplative life of quiet prayer, and attaining a mystical union with the Divine. Their two residential communities, Eremo degli Angeli and Montecuccoli Abbey, where Father Massimo is based, include animal sanctuaries and accept visitors who are interested in cultivating a lifestyle based on respect for nature, for others, and for animals.
Very special thanks to Julia Klauss to providing translation for portions of Father Massimo’s interview. To listen to the entire interview, complete with full Italian replies, click here.
“Jesus Christ came for animals, too.”
Highlights for Episode 624:
- How the Sacred Order of the Hesychasts of San Giovanni Climaco teaches people how to connect with themselves, and through this, experience a connection with God
- How the order incorporates respect for all beings into everyday life
- Living alongside animals rescued from slaughterhouses
- Their special program for international volunteers to help care for the animals who live at Montecuccoli Abbey, near Florence
- How veganism relates to Christianity
- Why the Order considers eating animals to be a sin
- Online activities that expanded during the pandemic and how their community grew by hundreds of people who then visited the Abbey and took courses with the Sacred Order of the Hesychasts of San Giovanni Climaco
- How widespread veganism is in Italy and whether people are becoming more interested in adopting a diet without animals
- Why Father Massimo and the Order are working on a television ad regarding our relationship with animals and how that integrates into their advocacy efforts
- How the Sacred Order celebrates Christmas
- How you can visit the monastery or learn more about its work
Connect with Father Massimo:
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