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.
Major news on key aspects of the North American Thebaid project, plus a new gallery of monastery images, makes this a very special update…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Yesterday, December 13, was the Winter Feast of St. Herman, Elder and Wonderworker of Alaska.
The Eleventh Ikos of the Akathist Service to this first Orthodox Christian saint glorified in America provides an inspiring summary of why Fr. Herman, a humble monk (not ever ordained to the priesthood) from Valaam Monastery in Russia who came to Alaska in 1794 with the first Orthodox mission, is so significant for Orthodox monastics on our continent, and indeed throughout the world:
To all future members of the monastic order, you are a source of light and inspiration. For you foretold, O Venerable One, the founding of a monastery and of an Episcopal throne in this land. Today a choir of hierarchs and of monastics glorifies you in these words:
Rejoice, instructor of monastics and converser with angels;
Rejoice, most glorious founder of the ascetic way in our land;
Rejoice, foreseer of the growth of this great vineyard of Christ;
Rejoice, fulfillment of this prophecy to the coming generations;
Rejoice, giver of a true image of the monastic way;
Rejoice, for your love is made manifest to all;
Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.
Property in upstate New York was recently purchased and blessed for a new Russian Orthodox convent, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia’s Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York.
The community, named in honor of the “She Who is Quick to Hear” Icon of the Mother of God, was initially founded two years ago with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
The life of the monastery will flow within the same Russian Tradition as Holy Trinity Monastery, with services in English, and under the spiritual administration of Holy Trinity.
I was able to make a quick “get acquainted visit” at St John’s Skete on November 20, on my way south from New Skete in New York.
This historic men’s skete was initially an OCA monastery, but the property was transferred to the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR) after the original community was invited to retire to a monastery in Ukraine.