Photo, from left : Archabbot Prokop Siostrzonek, new Abbot President Jeronim Marin and outgoing Abbot President Edmund Wagenhofer

On 21 Oct 2021, the General Chapter of the Slav Benedictine Congregation took place in the Archabbey of Brevnov in Prague. The main topic this time was the question of whether the congregation, which was established after World War II, still has its right to exist today or whether other ways should be sought.

It was helpful to look at the first statutes of the congregation, which had been forgotten. At that time, intensive thought was given to the justification of the existence of a separate congregation. It came to light that the cultivation of the relationship with the Eastern Churches through the celebration of the liturgy in other rites was expressly declared desirable, since especially the history of Emauzy can point to a long tradition in this regard. This is a dimension that is hardly taken into account today. The importance of a monastic congregation as an association of several monasteries under its own leadership was also emphasized in a presentation. Reference was also made to the “Cor Orans” document. Today, this document obliges women’s monasteries to unite in a congregation. This is even more true for men’s monasteries, which is why tendencies to break away from the congregation were viewed very critically.

When it came to the election of a new president, it became evident that the Slav Congregation has the will to survive. Thus, a young experienced monk was elected as the new president. In the person of the Prior of Cokovac Priory in Croatia, Fr. Jeronim Marin, someone was found who also knows the situation of the Benedictine Sisters in Croatia well and can help them on their way to forming a congregation of their own.

The outgoing Abbot President, Fr. Edmund Wagenhofer, Prior of Maribor Priory in Slovenia, was thanked for his 25 years of commitment to the monastic orders in the former Eastern Bloc countries. The Ostfonds, which he established, was a great help for a new start of many monasteries in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia. As Prior of Maribor he intends to continue his activity for a little while longer.