Abbot Damascene Interview – Video 3 of 6

“Athos is the motherland of orthodox monasticism in the world!”

In this third part of his interview to Pemptousia, Archimandrite Damascene, abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California, talks about his pilgrimages to Mount Athos. He also reflects on encountering such sincere veneration of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) by the monks of the Holy Mountain, especially meaningful as monasticism in America is so young by comparison.

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

 

Abbot Damascene of St Herman of Alaska Monastery – Video 2 of 6

In this second of a six-part video interview, “Father Damascene, abbot of St. Herman of Alaska Monastery, talks to Pemptousia about the history of the brotherhood of the Monastery and how the brotherhood turned from missionary to monastic. He is mentioning some important spiritual words of Father Seraphim Rose and he is describing the situation of Orthodoxy in USA today.”

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

 

The Glorification of St. Mardarije of Libertyville IL

A patriarch, two monasteries, and numerous hierarchs, clergy, monastics and laity from several Orthodox jurisdictions join together as another saint who shone forth in America is glorified by the Church.

St. Mardarije is a unique saint for our time, a Serbian monastic who loved Christ and His Church from his youth, received his theological training in Russia, was sent to America as a missionary bishop, and served in that capacity with St Nikolai (Velimirovich) of Ohrid. He died from lung disease at the young age of 46 after laboring for his flock for many years. When his remains were disinterred in May of this year, they were found to be incorrupt.

The below article from the Midwest Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) relates the Glorification and events surrounding it, and provides a good overview of St Mardarije’s life.

Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Paul concelebrate at Glorification of St. Mardarije of Libertyville

LIBERTYVILLE, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest were among the numerous hierarchs present for the celebration of the Glorification of Saint Mardarije of Libertyville, North America’s first ruling Serbian Orthodox bishop, at Saint Sava Monastery here July 14-16, 2017.

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia being greeted at his arrival at St Sava Monastery, Libertyville IL; Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA is the second hierarch from the left. (Photo: St Sava Monastery Facebook Page)

Presiding at the pan-Orthodox celebration was His Holiness, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, who was greeted upon his arrival in Chicago by His Grace, Bishop Longin of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwest America and the clergy of Chicago’s Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral. En route to Chicago, Patriarch Irinej visited the site of Saint Sava Cathedral, New York, NY, which had been destroyed by fire on Pascha 2016, where he was met by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and His Grace, Bishop Irinej of Eastern America of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who brief the Patriarch on plans for rebuilding the historic cathedral.

In Chicago, the weekend opened with a Friday evening symposium—“The Life and Times of Saint Mardarije”—at which His Eminence, Metropolitan Amphilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral delivered the keynote address, titled “Saint Mardarije: Wondrous is God in His Saints.” A new 35-minute documentary and dramatization of Saint Mardarije’s life, “Christ’s Quiet Corner”, also made its debut. [See also the St Sava Monastery Facebook page for photo coverage and more.]

[The trailer for the documentary is currently available in the Serbian language only, with no English subtitles, yet it immediately draws one in with the fragrance of Orthodoxy. We look forward to the full documentary being made available, with subtitles, as it was premiered for St Mardarije’s Glorification.]

Other hierarchs present at the Glorification were His Eminence, Archbishop Nikodim of Northern Donetsk and Starobel’skii of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America and His Grace, Bishop Theodosy of Seattle of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; His Eminence, Metropolitan Antonii of Vani and Baghdati and His Eminence, Metropolitan Sava of America of the Patriarchate of Georgia; His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Canada; and others. Countless clergy, monastics and pilgrims filled the monastery grounds throughout the weekend.

The weekend continued on Saturday with the celebration of the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy at New Gracanica Monastery, Third Like, IL. In his address during the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Irinej noted the “exceptional personality” of Saint Mardarije, who lived the life of the holy apostles and other great saints, thus emulating the Lord. He noted that, as a saint in the likeness of God, Saint Mardarije belongs to all Orthodox Churches, and not just the Serbian Church.

Continue reading “The Glorification of St. Mardarije of Libertyville IL”

Abbot Damascene of St Herman of Alaska Monastery – Video 1 of 6

In this first of a six part interview to Pemptousia, Archimandrite Damascene, Abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California, speaks about his acquaintance with Father Seraphim Rose and the influence of his presence on Fr Damascene’s Christian life.

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

 

 

The Elder Ephraim of Arizona: His contribution to North America

Here is a wonderful spiritual reflection on Elder Ephraim of Arizona and the significance of his establishing 17 monasteries in North America in the Athonite tradition.

You can learn more about St Anthony’s Monastery in Florence AZ here, which relates the story of Elder Ephraim’s monastic life and how he began establishing monasteries in America in 1995.

I have several of the Elder’s monasteries on my itinerary, and look forward very much to imbibing spiritual nectar from them, and, God willing, to making some compelling photographs of their hidden life.

The author of the below article, Igumen Gregory (Zaiens), is a monastic himself, and writes from the Hermitage of St Arsenius in Texas. Fr. Gregory describes the unique gift which Elder Ephraim has planted in America as follows,

For those in America who have chosen monasticism and have the thirst for an intense struggle in prayer, the Elder Ephraim has brought them the Athonite Hesychast tradition.

The Elder Ephraim of Arizona: His contribution to North America

by Igumen Gregory (Zaiens), The Panagia: She Who is Quick to Hear, July 8, 2017 (thanks to OrthoChristian.com):

The Elder Ephraim recently reached the age of ninety. He has not been functioning as an elder for more than a year because of health issues; and at his age and with his physical condition it is doubtful that he will again function in that capacity. As one who has become somewhat renowned, however, there has occasionally been controversy over him. Most of the spiritual children of his monasteries consider him to be a saint and one who has wrought a miraculous renewal among the Greek Orthodox in North America. This effect did not cease with the Greek faithful but spread elsewhere, as well.. Indeed, the lives of many have been touched and changed by the Elder. However, he has also been under attack at times, and negative opinions have been expressed concerning him—I do not want to approach this subject. But there is one aspect of the work he has accomplished that has been much on my mind recently and this is what I want to write about. I will introduce this topic with a question: What has Elder Ephraim done for monasticism in our land?

Continue reading “The Elder Ephraim of Arizona: His contribution to North America”

Ven. Athanasius, Founder of Coenobitic Monasticism on Mt. Athos

“Orphaned at an early age,” this great saint “was raised by a certain good and pious nun.” He “imitated his adoptive mother in the habits of monastic life, in fasting and in prayer,” and grew to be a shepherd of souls, founding a monastery which thrives to this day, over a millennium later.

From this we see how proximity to monasteries through regular pilgrimages can help children and young people — all of us, really — grow in the Life in Christ by cultivating the good habits of the monks and nuns. And who knows, some of us may eventually become monastics ourselves!

Venerable Athanasius the Founder of the Great Lavra and Coenobitic Monasticism on Mt. Athos

OCA.org, Commemorated on July 5; reposed ca. 1003 A.D.:

Saint Athanasius of Athos, in holy Baptism named Abraham, was born in the city of Trebezond. He was orphaned at an early age, and being raised by a certain good and pious nun, he imitated his adoptive mother in the habits of monastic life, in fasting and in prayer. Doing his lessons came easily and he soon outpaced his peers in study.

After the death of his adoptive mother, Abraham was taken to Constantinople, to the court of the Byzantine emperor Romanus the Elder, and was enrolled as a student under the renowned rhetorician Athanasius. In a short while the student attained the mastery of skill of his teacher and he himself became an instructor of youths. Reckoning as the true life that of fasting and vigilance, Abraham led a strict and abstinent life, he slept little and then only sitting upon a stool, and barley bread and water were his nourishment. When his teacher Athanasius through human weakness became jealous of his student, blessed Abraham gave up his teaching position and went away.

During these days there had arrived at Constantinople Saint Michael Maleinos (July 12), igumen of the Kyminas monastery. Abraham told the igumen about his life, and revealed to him his secret desire to become a monk. The holy Elder, discerning in Abraham a chosen vessel of the Holy Spirit, became fond of him and taught him much in questions of salvation. One time during their spiritual talks Saint Michael was visited by his nephew, Nicephorus Phocas, a military officer and future emperor. Abraham’s lofty spirit and profound mind impressed Nicephorus, and all his life he regarded the saint with reverent respect and with love. Abraham was consumed by his zeal for the monastic life. Having forsaken everything, he went to the Kyminas monastery and, falling down at the feet of the holy igumen, he begged to be received into the monastic life. The igumen fulfilled his request with joy and tonsured him with the name Athanasius.

Continue reading “Ven. Athanasius, Founder of Coenobitic Monasticism on Mt. Athos”

Children and Monasticism: Ideas for Summer reading (and pilgrimages!)

Children love pilgrimages to Orthodox Christian monasteries, as any Orthodox parent who has taken their kids to one can tell you. These books help reveal why.

Maybe it’s the total simplicity, beauty and peacefulness of the surroundings, or perhaps it is because the nuns or monks themselves have a child-like quality about them which allows children to relate to them with ease. Or maybe it’s because being at a monastery is like being at church, but even more!

Whatever the reasons, children love monasteries!

I was reminded of this by a mailing I received this week from Nancy Colakovic at Ancient Faith Publishing, recommending books for children. The first title really caught my eye: In the Candle’s Glow. Writes Nancy:

The first is In the Candle’s Glow, by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson, illustrated by Amandine Wanert. Our 8-year-old granddaughter loves this book. She’s read it over and over, and even took it to church with her. I especially like that this book teaches us where the candles in church come from, the emphasis placed on the Jesus Prayer as well as the Lord’s Prayer and the prayer for family and friends, and even that it helps us remember to bless the bees, and ask God to care for them.

I immediately looked up the book, which is getting great reviews on Amazon both for its story and for the illustrations. Here is one of the more descriptive 5-star reviews:

Continue reading “Children and Monasticism: Ideas for Summer reading (and pilgrimages!)”

‘Orthodox Music’ by Monk Martin at Vashon Island

Here is an outstanding resource for Orthodox Liturgical Music, created by an American monastic.

Fr Abbot Tryphon (center) and the Brotherhood of All Merciful Saviour Monastery, Vashon Island, Washington.

When I was on pilgrimage at Archangel Michael Monastery in Canones NM in Autumn 2014, I recall being surprised by the compunctionate and familiar tones of some of the chants the brothers sang during Matins. Came to find out that one of them had been at St John of Shanghai & San Francisco Monastery in Manton CA, and brought with him a familiarity with the music on their beautiful CD, The Eyes of All Look to Thee with Hope.

So, when I recently happened across Monk Martin’s website, Orthodox Music, which includes sheet music for the hymns on the CD, plus much, much more, I was doubly intrigued. Not only do I long to return to Archangel Michael Monastery in New Mexico, but now I am even more desirous of making my first pilgrimage to All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, from where Monk Martin hails.

Continue reading “‘Orthodox Music’ by Monk Martin at Vashon Island”

‘Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries’ now available in digital format for free

I have been using this outstanding book as a resource in planning my travels for the North American Thebaid Photographic Pilgrimage since the Atlas’s publication at the start of 2016, and downloaded this digital edition onto my iPad immediately after it was announced. The linked table of contents makes navigation a delight, and the ability to search the text likewise makes this an even more powerful tool than the already excellent print edition. Once you download the PDF file, you can easily import it into your Kindle or iBooks library, or most other ebook readers.

I have always felt the timing of the Atlas to be uncanny, as I had begun planning the NA Thebaid Project almost a full year before Krindatch’s Atlas was published. Now this digital edition comes out just as I am resuming travel and photography after a brief hiatus.

Our twin efforts clearly herald a growing vibrancy in and awareness of Orthodox Christian monasticism in the USA and Canada, and my hope is that the Atlas, the North American Thebaid Project (and the finished Thebaid book, due in Autumn 2018), and similar future efforts, will help inspire Orthodox monastic vocations, as well as draw spiritual seekers to the Orthodox Church, inviting them to “come and see” the ancient and timeless Christian Faith, which was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries Electronic Edition is Now Available

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, June 12, 2017:

The electronic version of the widely popular Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Monasteries has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA and made available free of charge to everyone. The PDF file with the Atlas can be downloaded free of charge here. The hard copy of the Atlas can be purchased directly from the publisher, Holy Cross Orthodox Press.

Drawing on extensive research, as well as fascinating stories and insider information, the Atlas offers readers:

  • A scholarly introduction into traditions of Eastern Christian monasticism and a history of Orthodox monasteries in America
  • A full and comprehensive directory of 80 American Orthodox Christian monasteries
  • An enticing travel guide for those seeking to visit American monasteries and to “sample” monastic life.

In addition, twenty-two featured monasteries share their personal stories and offer a glimpse into the surprising spiritual appeal of monastic life in 21st century America.

Edited by Alexei Krindatch. 150 pages of text are accompanied by four sets of color maps and more than one hundred photographs depicting everyday life in US Orthodox monasteries. The full table of contents is provided below. Continue reading “‘Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries’ now available in digital format for free”

Join us this Sunday at St Herman of Alaska Church in Hudson OH

Announcing a special opportunity for those living in Northeastern Ohio (Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown):

Through a very gracious invitation by Fr. Basil Rusen, I will be giving a presentation on Orthodox Christian Monasticism and the North American Thebaid this coming Sunday, March 12, at St Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, in Hudson, Ohio.

Join us for the Divine Liturgy at 10:00am, and stay for a lenten potluck lunch and my full digital presentation, covering the history of Orthodox monasticism from its formation in the 4th and 5th centuries, through the development of the ‘Northern Thebaid’ in Russia a thousand years later, and on to today.

With Orthodoxy sending down deep roots into the American continent and nearly eighty monasteries in the USA and Canada, we can properly speak of a spiritual geography called the ‘North American Thebaid’. My presentation features some of the most compelling photographs made so far on my pilgrimages.

See my special article, ‘What is a Thebaid?’

Located at 86 Owen Brown St, just off N. Main St and SR 303, St Herman’s is very easy to get to from any direction, being just south of I-80 (Ohio Turnpike). Visit the St Herman’s parish website for directions and map.

If you’ve been curious about the North American Thebaid, and are in the general area, this is a great opportunity.

Hope to see you there!