NEW GALLERY: Monasteries of Our Lady and St Laurence, in the Colorado Rockies

I just posted an extensive gallery of images from my week at The Monasteries of Our Lady and St Laurence in the mountains above Cañon City, Colorado, and invite you to view them!

The stunning vistas and beautiful church, monastic dwellings, and rustic retreat lodge make for an inviting experience, and hospitality is certainly one of the monastics’ primary aims…

North American Thebaid Photographic Pilgrimage

This has been my first direct experience with the Orthodox Western Rite, so I have written a little also about this somewhat lesser known (and often misunderstood) Orthodox tradition, and have included several links for further reading.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and photos, God willing on a weekly basis, as I have two more monasteries scheduled for the next couple of weeks (see the schedule on the right hand panel), and more to add very soon!

Here are a few more images before you proceed to the Gallery…

 

The Western Pilgrimage Begins…

Parish visits and a special encounter with a monastic writer and abbot, plus great travel weather, have ‘put the wind in my sails’ for this major leg of my American Thebaid Pilgrimage.

Sorry for the spotty posting lately, but my limited multitasking capabilities have been limited to a variety of deadline-driven tasks. Now that I’m actually on the road towards my next monastery destination, I wanted to take a moment and share with you some recent experiences.

North American Thebaid Photographic Pilgrimage
Fr Damascene of Platina and Fr Gregory Schultz of St Michael the Archangel (Serbian Archdiocese), celebrate Vespers during the annual Parish Retreat in Huntsville AL, June 1.

After leaving Birmingham AL on Thursday last (May 31), I headed ‘just up the road’ to Huntsville, where Fr Damascene, abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina CA, was giving a series of talks for the annual parish retreat of St Michael the Archangel (Serbian Archdiocese – English language).

St Herman’s was, as most of you know, co-founded in the late 1960s by Fr Seraphim Rose of Blessed Memory (†1982) and Abbot Herman (Podmoshensky), who reposed just a couple of years ago. Fr Damascene was one of the last spiritual sons of Fr Seraphim Rose, and is the author or editor of three remarkable and essential books: Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, Christ the Eternal Tao, and Genesis, Creation and Early Man – The Orthodox Christian Vision (by Fr Seraphim Rose, edited by Fr Damascene).

This retreat was a wonderful experience, both for Fr Damascene’s talks on Creation, Salvation, and Deification (deeply immersed in the words of the Holy Fathers of the Church), and for the experience of camping out at Monte Sano State Park with the St Michael’s parish community.

Continue reading “The Western Pilgrimage Begins…”

Recent Elders on Monasticism

First in a new series of blog posts featuring reflections on monasticism by 20th century Orthodox monks and nuns.

In working on the design for the North American Thebaid coffee table book — the publishing goal of my two-year photographic pilgrimage to Orthodox Christian monasteries of the USA & Canada — I am going back through favorite books for pithy sayings on monasticism and the spiritual life. Some of these may make it into the finished Thebaid book, providing prose glimpses into the monastic way to complement the photographs.

Some are lofty, some are challenging (a ‘hard word’), but in every case, it is a joy to rediscover these pearls, and I wanted to share some of them with you.

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“The spiritual life has great joys. You fly away and leave this world and don’t take anything else into consideration. You become a child and God lives in your heart.”

“Love Christ, have humility, prayer, and patience. These are the four points of your spiritual compass. May the magnetic needle be your youthful Christian heart.”

“My children, I don’t want paradise without you.”

~ Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (†1970)

From  Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit

 

Special Thebaid Presentation at St Symeon Food & Culture Fair, Sat. April 28!

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I hope you can join me for the St Symeon Food & Culture Fair for a special day of events, presentations, beautiful chorale music, food, exhibits, church tours, and much more. 

I will be giving an introductory presentation on Orthodox Christian Monasticism throughout the day, featuring photographs from over a dozen monasteries in North America from my book project, The North American Thebaid.

When & Where:

  • Saturday, April 28, 10am – 4pm • Event Page
  • at St Symeon Orthodox Church • Website
  • 3101 Clairmont Ave, Birmingham AL 35205 • Map

Continue reading “Special Thebaid Presentation at St Symeon Food & Culture Fair, Sat. April 28!”

New Gallery & Thebaid Project Update

Major news on key aspects of the North American Thebaid project, plus a new gallery of monastery images, makes this a very special update…

Cemetery Chapel in winter, Dormition Monastery, Rives Jct, Michigan

Well, it wasn’t exactly intentional, but following my pilgrimage to the Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery in Rives Jct, Michigan in early February, my photo editing workload resulted in me taking a break from posting online. So I’m especially eager to share with you some new images and the latest developments.

Continue reading “New Gallery & Thebaid Project Update”

First Photographs from Dormition Monastery

I’ve been at Dormition Monastery in Rives Jct, Michigan, for a little less than a week now, and am very pleased with several images I’ve made so far. Of course, I’ll post a full gallery after I finish my visit, but I didn’t want to wait that long to share these with you.

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The main church at Dormition Monastery transports you to the heavenlies the moment you enter…

So, I hope you enjoy this small selection of my first photographs in 2018 for the Thebaid book! Scroll down for the slide show…

This visit to Dormition Monastery marks a great start to 2018 for the Thebaid Project. With 15-20 monasteries still to be visited on my pilgrimage, we’re on track with our original plan to finish the photography by early Summer, and have the book printed and in distribution by early Autumn 2018. By pre-ordering the book, you are helping to support a unique photographic pilgrimage to dozens of Orthodox Christian monasteries across the USA and Canada, providing a compelling glimpse into the beautiful, prayerful realm of these monks and nuns, who support the world through their ceaseless prayers.

You can view hundreds of photographs from over a dozen monasteries (so far!) on the Thebaid Project Galleries page. Learn more about the Thebaid Project here.

Asking your prayers and support

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Thebaid Project Update – January 2018

Continued growth and progress as we pass the midpoint of the Thebaid Project, but we need contributions to keep gas in the tank!

This was originally posted to our GoFundMe and Indiegogo crowdfunding sites last week.

Thebaid Project Update, January 2018

Dear Friends, Supporters, and Fellow Thebaid Pilgrims,

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas, New Year and Theophany season!

No, you didn’t miss an update in December, I did! But this one is well worth the wait, covering recent travel, upcoming schedule, and two special announcements.

Announcement #1 — We are officially at the midpoint of the photography, with fifteen monasteries photographed to date, and dozens of images already selected for the book. WE’re on track to finish the photography by June (or July), and for the book to be sent to the printer soon after that, to be in distribution by Autumn 2018.

Announcement #2 — I have been in communication with a leading Orthodox publisher since just before the new year. No agreement in writing yet so we cannot share any details, but their interest in publishing the Thebaid book is yet a further affirmation of the Thebaid Project.

Sanctifying the internet…

MONASTERY PHOTOGRAPHY —

NOVEMBER 14-19, 2017 — Monks and Nuns of New Skete (OCA), Cambridge NY. Having just celebrated their 50th Anniversary, New Skete is perhaps best known outside the Orthodox Church for their breeding and training of German Shepherd dogs. You can view my extensive gallery of images at thebaid.org. My heartfelt thanks to Br. Christopher, Sr. Cecilia, and the communities of New Skete for their invitation and hospitality.

NOVEMBER 20, 2017 — Skete of St. John the Theologian (ROCOR), Hiram OH. This was a brief, “get acquainted” visit, to a small but historic monastic community in northern Ohio. I hope to return soon to do some serious photography, but on my blog you can get a good sense of the beauty of the chapel and grounds from the few photos made with my iPhone.

Continue reading “Thebaid Project Update – January 2018”

The Thebaid Pilgrimage Resumes – Dormition Monastery, Rives Jct MI

After several weeks working behind the scenes on photo editing, writing and such, I am more than eager to get back on the road and resume my pilgrimage to Orthodox Christian monasteries  across the USA and Canada.

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Aerial view of the new monastery church and main courtyard, from the Dormition Monastery website.

This week I will be at Dormition Monastery in Rives Jct , Michigan, a growing women’s monastery in the Romanian tradition, which has established a strong spiritual presence since its founding three decades ago in 1987.

Watch for more posts and photographs coming soon!

 

Thebaid Presentation at St. Mary of Egypt (OCA), Norcross GA

My heartfelt thanks to Hieromonk Cyprian (DuRant, rector)  and the parish of St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church (OCA), in Norcross GA, for hosting me this past Sunday.

The Divine Liturgy was beautiful in this handsome wood-timbered church, itself reminiscent of churches in the Russian north. In spite of the epic snowfall two days before, the church was nearly full, a testimony to this vibrant parish. I gave my presentation during the fellowship meal in the church hall, where I quickly discovered many of the parishioners have strong ties and make pilgrimages to several monasteries in the region.

I am truly grateful to Fr Cyprian for his gracious invitation, Reader Thomas for organizing the event, and to all the faithful, who helped refill the Thebaid Project gas tank with a generous collection.

If you’re ever in the Greater Atlanta area, be sure to search out this parish, a strong and inspiring example of Orthodoxy thriving in the midst of (and in spite of!) our post-modern and post-Christian world. I look forward to scheduling a return visit, with the express purpose of making some photographs for the parish in thanks for their support of the Thebaid Project.

Visit the St Mary of Egypt website here…

Learn more about hosting a Thebaid presentation for your parish here.

Documentary Film: ‘The Relics of Saint Herman’

The complete, 25 minute documentary, finally available for online viewing, and in much better quality!

This impressive and award-winning film was for years only able to be viewed in two 9-minute parts (the third and final part was apparently never uploaded), until PressValaam posted the complete video in January 2017, and in higher resolution.

I’m very pleased to be able to share this excellent film on our beloved “Apa”, Saint Herman, Elder and Wonderworker of Alaska!