The weekend of September 16-17 found me at St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Roswell GA, where I had been invited by Fr John Townsend to give my presentation on the History of Orthodox Monasticism, and the North American Thebaid Project.
The warm hospitality of the entire parish, the beauty of the church and iconography, and the vivid sense of the nearness of the heavenly kingdom and the saints (especially accentuated by the two reliquaries flanking the nave) embraces one upon entering, and made my experience of Saturday’s Vigil and Sunday’s Divine Liturgy quite lofty and edifying.
As I typically do when visiting parishes, I made some photographs during the Liturgy to gift St Mary’s as a “Thank You”, and wanted to share a few highlights with you.
My heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Fr John and the parish, and I look forward to return visits in God’s timing.
If you are interested in scheduling me for a parish presentation, I’d love to make that happen! Please contact me at [zosimas at thebaid dot org], and also check out this page which may answer many of your questions.
Technically, I’ll be in Kansas for this one! — If you are in the greater Kansas City area, please join us at Holy Trinity Orthodox Churchin Overland Park, Kansas, on September 30, for my presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and the North American Thebaid.
Vespers at 5:00pm, presentation to follow. Full details on the flier…
I’ll also be at coffee hour following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 1, with my Thebaid Project display, including handouts and a continuous digital slide show, and hope to see you there.
Holy Trinity is celebrating their Centennial Anniversary this year (and in fact are holding their official celebration and banquet the following week), and I am deeply honored to be speaking here.
My sincere thanks to Fr Timothy Sawchak for the invitation! I have known Fr. Tim and Matushka Jennifer for many years (Jennifer’s father, George Stansbury of beloved memory, and I were on one of Fr Alexander Atty’s memorable Mt Athos pilgrimages together back in 1990), so this will be a special reunion, and one very dear to my heart…
Stay tuned for a hoped-for Part 3 of this Missouri trip…
Travel these days is nearly continuous for the Thebaid Project, for which I am very thankful! And I am greatly anticipating my first pilgrimage to Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete, in Weatherby, Missouri, September 25-28.
From the Skete’s website, you can get a real sense of their life and growth:
We are two communities serving God as one, Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete (led by Hieromonk Alexii) and St. Xenia Sisterhood (led by Abbess Brigid). The brotherhood has two monks and one novice; and the sisterhood has three nuns and one novice. Thanks to the mercies of our Kind Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, the prayers and sacrificial gifts of many, we acquired a property that included a total of 80-acres, with 15-acres of farmable pasture, 65-acres of forest, trails, and ponds, and 7 well-built structures….
A summary of Thebaid Project activity over the past six weeks, with exciting news about upcoming monastery and parish visits, and some additional surprises.
Dear Fellow Thebaid Pilgrims,
I’m a couple of weeks late on my monthly Thebaid Update Schedule, but I hope you’ll appreciate the reasons for the delay, as the last six weeks have been filled with travel and photography, and have generated growing interest in and momentum for the Project.
For this September 2017 Edition, there are several categories of note:
As mentioned in the August 2017 Update, through the support of a generous sponsor, I have been able to eliminate the overhead of housing and utilities costs, which has really propelled scheduling both of monastery visits and parish presentations. The immediate benefits of this logistical change can be seen in the updates below…
MONASTERY TRAVELS —
August 25-27 — Monastery of the Glorious Ascension (ROCOR) in Resaca GA, a women’s monastery with a long history, which is an important part of Orthodox mission efforts in northern Georgia. View the Photo Gallery here.
September 5-7 — Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery in Williston FL. This is my first visit to one of the monasteries founded by Elder Ephraim (former abbot of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos). Due to Hurricane Irma, I cut short my stay by one day, and had to cancel my pilgrimage to the women’s Annunciation Monastery just 10 minutes away. Perhaps a return visit may occur in the winter. Photo Gallery here.
UPCOMING: Looking ahead, I just this morning confirmed the dates for my first pilgrimage to Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete in Weatherby MO, on September 24-28. A women’s monastic community is adjacent to the men’s skete, St Xenia Sisterhood. I am hoping to add more monasteries in the region to make a circuit, before returning to Birmingham.
Although I had to leave early due to Hurricane Irma, I was able to make some photographs and provide some glimpses of the incredible beautify of this sacred monastery. You can view the entire gallery here.
I am very excited to share with you some images from my recent visit to the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension in Resaca GA.
The rugged beauty of the forested grounds, nestled in the mountains of northwest Georgia, and the luminous chapel and monastery building, stir the heart and evoke a deep yearning for God, for the Living God.
This serious article is a valuable resource for those of us seeking to live the Life in Christ in these last days, and may be read and re-read profitably.
Fr. Seraphim Rose (†1982) is a saint for our time, a trustworthy guide and example for us as we struggle against the deluge of apostasy, madness, and demonic activity which has been unleashed on the world.
The life of Fr. Seraphim Rose shows us that the way to recover our souls as Westerners is to return to the roots of the real culture of the West—Patristic Christianity, to form our souls, not of the pablum and poison of contemporary culture, but on apostolic faith, catacomb spirituality, Orthodox piety, and the mind of the fathers.
The American Acquisition of the Patristic Mind
The Significance of Fr. Seraphim Rose for the Christian of Today
In the back of the St. Herman Calendar published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, there is a page entitled Remember Your Instructors, on which we find among others the name of Hieromonk Seraphim Rose of Platina.
Why do we need to remember our instructors? The purpose of remembering our instructors is, it seems to me, threefold:
first, to reverence their memory as holy, wise, and beloved counselors and teachers (as St. Paulinus of Nola said, “Only if the sky can forego its stars, earth its grass, honeycombs their honey, streams their water, and breasts their milk will our tongues be able to renounce their praise of the saints, in whom God is the strength of life and the fame of death”);
second, to pray for the repose of their souls and to seek their intercession on behalf of our continuing spiritual warfare here on earth (“Give rest to our fathers and brethren who have departed this life before us, and through the prayers of them all have mercy on my unhappy self in my depravity,” says St. Peter of Damascus in the prayer at the end of Compline);
and third, to imitate their example (as St. Basil the Great points out, “The righteous themselves do not want glory, but we who are as yet in this life need remembering them, so as to imitate them”).
In a sense, this third purpose for remembering our instructors, to imitate their example, implies the other two, and is the really important reason for us to keep fresh in our memories the lives of those who handed down the Orthodox faith and tradition to us.
I believe the example of Fr. Seraphim Rose, both in his life and in his work, contains a key that is of universal Orthodox significance in these last days, and is especially important for all those seeking to find and struggling to preserve true Orthodoxy in the West.
I believe the example of Fr. Seraphim Rose, both in his life and in his work, contains a key that is of universal Orthodox significance in these last days, and is especially important for all those seeking to find and struggling to preserve true Orthodoxy in the West. For Fr. Seraphim is our contemporary, a man who lived and breathed the same deadly modern atmosphere of godless humanism, atheistic hedonism, and soulless ecumenism that is the common experience of all modern children of the West.
“‘Pray for us!’ is the message that comes from the people from the USA to the Greek Orthodox Christians. ‘Orthodox Christians hold your faith!’ With these words ends the interview of Archimandrite Damascene, abbot of St. Herman’s of Alaska monastery in California, in this last part.”