Yesterday …
The Canonical Chapter of Saint Michael Archangel of Sozan was founded in Galicia, today in the Republic of Ukraine. First recorded in 1291, it was an orthodox monastery under the rule of Saint Basil the Great.
The monastery becomes the private property of the Sozański family, and is led by a Prince Abbot who is always member of this family.
Middle of 17th century:
With the union of the Armenian Church of Lemberg, later Lvov, with the Roman Church (October 24, 1630), the Sozan monastery is united with Rome. The monastery is transformed into a noble canonical chapter of secular canons, and the Latin rite is adapted for the liturgy.
The Chapter receives its final recognition and privileges from Stanisław August Poniatowski, king of Poland.
The Canon Chapter and its properties exist as a sovereign territory.
The Prince Abbot, with his family and the resident canons of Sozan, are expelled by the Soviet Army.
During the period of Communist rule in Eastern Europe the Canonical Chapter is led by a Provost as the spiritual head and as the representative of the Prince Abbot (in exile in the United States). The life of the community almost ceases.
… today …
In 1995 the leadership of the ancient noble chapter passes by decree to Dr. Maximilian Peter von Sozan. Around him new followers have gathered since 2009 to continue the life of this institution, which is now opened for non-noble candidates.
The life of the community has been revived on the foundations of this ancient institution. Its dual history as both a monastic house and a secular canonical chapter is reflected in the two aspects of the lives of its members.
Unlike monastic orders, members do not take a vow of stabilitas loci, the traditional commitment to one location, and thus the members (clergy as well as laity) can continue their lives and professions. At some time in the future, it is envisaged that a community may again be formed, with the establishment of a chapter. At that time, it is expected that each canon will be able to choose, based on his personal situation, whether to join this new aspect of the community, and for how long.
The spiritual life of the community continues to takes place on the one hand, in private prayer, and on the other, in communal celebrations of the Liturgy.
T the moment, we have regular meetings for the communal celebration of the Holy Mass and the recitation of the Breviary. We also hold chapter-sessions to nourish the life of the community and to organize plan its future.
and tomorrow!
We are committed to continuing the centuries-old history of the Canonical Chapter of Saint Michael Archangel, and to preserving this time-honoured institution for future generations. We want to restore it to being a visible witness for Jesus Christ’s Gospel and – following the instruction of Saint Augustine – intent upon God, with one heart and one soul (anima una et cor unum in Deum).
To give this inner community also an outward and visible sign, we want to go back to the historic traditions of canonical vestments: the cassock, the biretta, and the mozzetta with the chapter-cross.
In addition to the traditional form of the Roman Rite, already maintained by us, we want to revive the other liturgical custom of the Chapter, the celebration of the Liturgy in the Ritus Leopoli (rite of Lemberg (Lvov)).
For the moment we remain dependent on the hospitality of other communities and religious congregations for our liturgical celebrations and chapter-sessions. But in the future, we continue to look for a fixed location for the Canonical Chapter, giving our spiritual base of prayer and liturgy as permanent physical presence.
The chapter is directly subordinate to the Holy See, and thus is not confined to national or diocesan borders. We are able therefore to welcome canons and sponsors from all countries.
Inspired by the love of God and of His Holy Church, we are pledged to conserve the faith and the worship of the Holy Trinity in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
Our focus is on the celebration of the Holy Mass and on the recitation of the Breviary in community, but also includes private prayer and devout spiritual exercises.
We place our confidence in the protection of the Blessed Mary, Virgin and Mother of God, and of Saint Michael Archangel, the leader of the heavenly hosts and patron of the Chapter.
Sanctify us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, with Thy blessing, and grant us, by the intercession of Saint Michael,
that wisdom which teaches us to lay up treasures in Heaven by exchanging the goods of this world for those of eternity,
Thou Who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.
Saint Michael Archangel, pray for us.
zum Heiligen Erzengel Michael zu Sozan
Welschnonnengasse 2
D-55116 Mainz am Rhein
IBAN: DE49 3706 0193 4008 3990 13
To all our supporters we assure our prayers and our gratitude. On request we will issue a receipt for all donations.