An Exhortation to Newly-tonsured Monks

Featuring photographs from my first pilgrimage to Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville NY, November 2016.  Full gallery to follow soon…

 

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Fr. Luke serving a pannikhida, surrounded by the brethren.   © Ralph H. Sidway, North American Thebaid.

Orthodox Life, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville NY, January 4, 2017:

On the eve of December 20th, 2016 (o.s.), the first day of the Forefeast of Nativity and the feasts of St Ignatius the God-bearer and St John of Kronstadt, the abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery Archimandrite Luke tonsured two novices into the rank of rassaphore monks. Following the tonsure, Fr Luke greeted the new monks with this exhortation:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

Dear fathers,

I congratulate you on receiving the grace of the tonsure into the riassa and the kamilavka. Stand fast, fathers, stand fast! Before you opens a banquet, a festive banquet — that is, the banquet of monasticism. The Lord invites you to take part in that banquet and you must agree to that invitation. You must come and take everything that the Lord offers you. We have all that is necessary for salvation in this monastery, but no one can force you. You need to come from your own free will and take what we offer.

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Veneration of the holy icons, lower chapel. © Ralph H. Sidway, North American Thebaid.

We sometimes say that our life is difficult; we have suffering, pain, problems. How can this be when the Lord says, My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Mt. 11:30)? There is a contradiction here. And why is there a contradiction? I think it is because of  one simple phrase: “We want!” We frequently want what we should not want and even when we want what is good we do not want it in the right way.

So therefore you have a chance to learn to desire those things that are good for you, that are good for your salvation. And what does the Lord want? He says very clearly. He says, “Man, give Me your heart !” (Prov. 23:26) How can we give the Lord our heart? To do this we need to — with all these problems, which mostly we create for ourselves —to come to him with the sufferings and the difficulties, to hand them over to Him, and from the depths of our souls, cry out, “Help me! Help me! Take this burden from me. Your burden is lighter.”

We ask the prayers of the brotherhood, of the seminarians and of all of our worshippers tonight for the salvation of the souls of Fathers Lev and Angelos.

Congratulations! Save yourself in the Lord!

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