Leicester monastery ad wants prior with social media skills

Prayer Image copyright Thinkstock

A unique job, with potential for infinite upward progression, is being advertised.

The Diocese of Leicester is setting up a monastic community in the heart of the city - and wants a prior to run it.

The role requires "spiritual maturity and wisdom... a discerning and prayerful heart" but may also involve deciding who does the washing.

Earthly reward is about £25,000 pa, plus accommodation and a council tax waiver.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Monasteries have never returned to the grandeur they enjoyed before Henry VIII got hold of them

Popular images of monks have not moved on much from the Middle Ages, partly because Henry VIII almost destroyed the lifestyle with the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1536.

Canon Barry Hill, mission enabler for the diocese, said: "This will be a long way from that, while maintaining the traditional values of prayer.

"It will see people taking a step back from the sometimes frantic pace of modern life, to get rid of some of the monkeys in our mind and push into the love of God.

"This will be combined with taking that love into the community and showing hospitality to those who seek it."

The community will give 18-35 year olds a year-long residency focused "prayer, study and service" with an emphasis on community work.

The prior's role is open to both men and women, but only ordained priests need apply.

New monks versus old monks

Old New
Men only Mixed
Vows of Chastity/Poverty/Obedience Prayerful commitment to the community
Complete silence Periods of quiet
Hessian smock Polo shirts
Funny haircut No enforced baldness
Lifetime role Year long placement
Walled exclusion Community work
Manuscript illustration Wide range of traditional and digital design work

According to the advert, the role will involve the "rare challenge of setting up a monastic order in the middle of a modern, multi-cultural city" - but also "organising cooking, cleaning and washing rotas".

The church also said the new prior should be computer literate and familiar with social media.

The community will be housed in old council buildings which stand on part of the former Grey Friars abbey, where the remains of Richard III were originally buried.

Applicants have until 30 January, with the new community to start in September.

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