When do Tourists become Pilgrims?

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.

 

When do Tourists become Pilgrims?

Pravoslavie, October 31, 2017:

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.

Igumen Daniel (Irbits), Abbot of the Monastery of St. George in Götschendorf (Germany), analyzes the characteristics of Christian pilgrimage, and when it has a good effect and when a harmful effect on the human soul.

Abbot Daniel, Burgomaster of Milmersdorf, and Prince Eduard von Anhalt.

—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.

Continue reading “When do Tourists become Pilgrims?”

Advertisements

New Gallery posted! St Paul Skete, Grand Jct TN

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…

 

Progress on the new chapel at St Gregory Palamas

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.

Delivery of construction panels for the new chapel. Note the four vertical support pillars, which will support the cupola and main roof.

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.

Continue reading “Progress on the new chapel at St Gregory Palamas”

Another New Gallery! Hermitage of the Holy Cross, Wayne WV

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.

Well used prayer and service books in theHermitage Guest House icon corner.

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.

Proceed to the Gallery page for Hermitage of the Holy Cross…

New Gallery Posted! Holy Archangel Michael & All Angels Skete

I’ve just uploaded the new gallery of almost two-dozen photographs from my recent stay at Holy Archangel Michael & All Angels Skete in northwest Missouri. Included are some excerpts from the skete’s website, and additional links and information.

Proceed to the new Gallery…

I’m finally getting caught up on photo editing after three weeks of continuous travel, and plan to post more galleries in the days ahead, so stay tuned!

As always, thank you for your support and prayers!

 

Missouri Trip, Part 1 – Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete

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….

Continue reading “Missouri Trip, Part 1 – Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete”

New Photo Gallery: Monastery of the Glorious Ascension

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.

I invite you to explore the many new images from Glorious Ascension in the Gallery, and stay tuned, as I am heading to Panagia Vlahernon in Central Florida tomorrow, and hope to have even more photographs posted here early next week.

Proceed to the Photo Gallery…

A Hermit’s Cell in the Russian North

“There is nothing here, at the Cell – no golden domes, no beautiful lakes, no trees to shelter and soothe. Bare earth, bare sea, bare sky – the skeleton of God’s creation, the naked bones against which all else seem un-necesary details…”

When I stumbled onto this blog post by Fr Seraphim Aldea it reminded me that I hope to find such places even here in the North American Thebaid. Perhaps in Alberta, or Nova Scotia? We shall see!

The Hermit Cell in the Russian North

by Fr. Seraphim (Aldea), Monastery of All Celtic Saints (Mull Monastery), August 28, 2017:

A Hermit’s Chapel in the Russian North; photo from Fr Seraphim Aldea at mull monastery.com

The Solovetsky Archipelago is less than 200 miles from the North Circle. To the North-East of the main Solovetsky island, silent and beaten by rabid winds, is Anzer – the isle of the Solovets hermits. Here, on a small peninsula, merely a few metres narrow and completely open to the sea is the small Cell of St Kirill of the New Lake. The storms have wiped all trees from this strip of land – nothing survives here, except small tundra bushes, mushrooms and wild berries. And one hermit, who is not even a monk, because he does not think himself worthy to wear the monastic habit.

Continue reading “A Hermit’s Cell in the Russian North”

Abbot Damascene Interview: Video 5 of 6

“The teaching of Father Seraphim Rose about the patristic view of the creation of the world and its impact to the life of the modern man and Christian is the subject of this part of interview to Pemptousia, given by father Damascene, Abbot of the Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska in California.”

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

September 2 will mark the 35th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. In the weeks leading up to this date, I will be occasionally posting a variety of media and articles of interest.

 

Source: Pemptousia