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Monastery of the Theotokos and Saint Martin

fresque de l'entrée

Set amid forests and farm fields, the Monastery of Cantauque, in the Hautes Corbières region, is about 30 km from Carcassonne, in the Department of Aude in south-eastern France.

The Monastery is affiliated with the Romanian Metropolitan Region for Western and Southern Europe.

The Monastery was founded by monks who had previously lived in Israel for over twenty years. The Monastery's daily language is French, which is also used for liturgical services, with melodies adapted from Greek religious chant (psaltic).


A monk is a man who, answering the call of Jesus Christ, has foregone a life of laity in the world (among other things, foregoing the founding of a family and pursuing a professional career) to engage himself on the road to the "Kingdom of God". With this goal in mind, he centres his activities on prayer, meditation, fasting and, at all times, the recollection of God.

A monk divides his time mainly among church services, the study of sacred sciences (the Bible, the Fathers of the Church, theology) and work necessary for his upkeep.

After his vows, a monk may not own anything. He also voluntarily foregoes any disposition of his own person by obeying the monastery's abbot, the higumen or superior.

détail de la fresque du cloître
détail de la fresque du cloître

Different people will feel in different ways their calling for the monastic life. For some, it will be the result of a gradual understanding of the tragic perspective of human life and the vain character of the world. Others will perceive this calling in a growing process of awe in front of God's goodness and greatness.

Monastic life is not solely offered to people with special qualities of temperament or to "good Christians". Nevertheless, as the expression of a total and sacred vow of consecration of oneself to God, it consists in a radical abandonment of self in Christ and requires in addition to faith, other qualities, such as generosity and faithfulness.

The best of motivations are rarely simple and pure, and a judicious discerning is required before committing oneself to this "royal road". The decision lies in the final analysis with the abbot, following a more or less lengthy trail period of a candidate.