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.
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.
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.
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.
I am very pleased to announce an extensive gallery of images (over three dozen!) from my recent pilgrimage to New Skete (OCA), in Upstate New York, near the Vermont border.
This new collection provides glimpses of the divine services, the grounds, and the daily life and work of the monks and nuns of New Skete, who just recently celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the community’s founding in 1966.
Also, this collection takes advantage of a new gallery feature, presenting the images in a tiled mosaic. Click on any image to enlarge and enter an attractive lightbox-style slideshow, with arrows to navigate. I am applying this new layout to all existing galleries, and to all future ones.
Here is a very insightful article/interview on monastery tourists versus true pilgrims. Though coming from a European perspective, the principles for welcoming the curious and showing them the warmth and welcome of Christ’s love are especially applicable to American monasteries.
There is nothing bad about cameras, provided somebody wants to take pictures of holy sites so that he and his descendants could hold on to memories of that visit. That is very good, but one should remember one important thing.
A pilgrimage is not a mere visit to a geographic location; it is a spiritual exercise which involves physical strain, prayer, meditation, repentance for sins, taking Holy Communion and being with the Lord alone.
—Fr. Daniel, is there such a problem as “spiritual tourism”? If it does exist, then how, in your opinion, does it manifest itself? What are its negative effects on both “spiritual tourists” and monasteries?
—I will speak on the basis of our local experience in Germany, still a modest experience of our small monastery in Götschendorf.
At our St. George’s Monastery we are faced with the phenomenon of “spiritual tourism”, as you call it.
Our monastery is often visited by groups of Germans. These are local Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, representatives of federal and regional authorities of Germany, and public figures. Among our visitors was Eduard, Prince von Anhalt, head of the Ducal House of Saxony. I cannot call all these visits “pilgrimages”. But thanks to encounters like these Germans can know the Russian Orthodox Church and our Russian culture better. And that is of great importance for us, for through such meetings we can bring the light of our faith to the German society and elsewhere.
Let me be quite frank: in many cases people after their acquaintance with Orthodox Christianity in the German lands, German have with time embraced the Orthodox faith. For example, last year the first baptism was performed at our monastery—a young German woman was received into the Orthodox Church.
We live in a non-Orthodox country; to be more precise, we live in the state of Brandenburg—in its predominantly Protestant area—and for native residents (Protestants and atheists alike) the very presence of a Russian Orthodox monastery in the region is something extraordinary; and believe me, it evokes great interest. In my opinion, it is very important that we answer to their interest not with pharisaical arrogance but with our benevolence and willingness to help them get to know Christ.
After a couple of months of nearly continuous travel, I am getting caught up on photo editing, and just posted a new gallery of images, these from St Paul Skete (Antiochian, women’s) in Grand Junction, Tennessee, about an hour outside of Memphis.
Please proceed over to the St Paul Gallery to see a selection of images, both of the skete chapels and grounds, and glimpses of the services…
During a return visit last week to St Gregory Palamas Monastery in Hayesville, Ohio, I was able to see the progress on their new chapel, designed by the esteemed Orthodox architect Andrew Gould.
You can read about the chapel and see the architect’s renderings here, and view my extensive gallery of images from St Gregory’s here.
The old structure has been removed, and the foundation completed on the existing footprint of the old chapel, with an extension of several feet allowing for a larger nave, narthex and covered porch.
Just the week before I arrived, the main pillars had been set in place, and while I was there, a large shipment of panels were delivered. Unfortunately, soon after the panels were unloaded, it began to rain, so the workers had to carefully secure and cover everything in plastic, and retreat to wait for dry weather.
When I visited the Hermitage of the Holy Cross last October, I was only able to stay for a couple of days due to a last minute schedule change. For this return visit, I was able to stay for several days, which led to several unique images, as I settled more into the rhythm of life.
It was good to renew my acquaintances with some of the monks I first met last year, and the obvious signs of continued growth, including the completion of St Herman’s House and the new candle workshop, made this an eventful and fruitful visit.