I am determined to get caught up on posting photographs I’ve made at the wonderful parishes which have hosted my presentation on Orthodox monasticism and helped support the Thebaid Project.
My heartfelt thanks to Fr Basil Rusen and the parish of St Herman of Alaska in Hudson OH, for their friendship, generosity and prayers! If you are in the area, I urge you to visit this thriving mission parish!
I was honored to be invited by Fr Timothy Sawchak to give my presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and the North American Thebaid on September 30. Holy Trinity is celebrating their Centennial this year, and it was very special to me to be able to honor this milestone by making some photos for them.
UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 40TH PARISH ANNIVERSARY THIS OCTOBER, AND THE NEW CHURCH GROUNDBREAKING FROM JUNE 2013!
I’ve been visiting St Symeon the New Theologian for thirty years, soon after the parish moved to its current location in Birmingham. In recent years I have photographed the groundbreaking for their new church building, their unique collection of hand-painted icons, and group photos and divine services surrounding the 40th anniversary celebration of the parish.
This selection of images conveys the feel of the festive Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the 40th Anniversary of the parish. A mix of wide, overall views, with closeup images, seeks to tell the story of this landmark event.
Yesterday, October 12, I was at the OCA Diocese of the Midwest Assembly at St Michael’s Orthodox Church in Broadview Heights, south of Cleveland, where I set up my full Thebaid display, and was able to meet and discuss the project with numerous clergy and lay representatives from several states.
I have found that when I meet people and describe the Thebaid Project in person, there is a much more vivid grasp of the inspiration and purpose of the project, and a corresponding affirmation of it. I arrived during the morning registration check-in and breakfast, and had great conversations through the entire day.
Fr John Memorich, the host priest of St Michael’s, asked me if I was going to photograph any dendrites, and I had to admit I was not familiar with the term, so he explained that referred to monastics who lived either in the hollows of trees or in their branches, like St David of Thessalonica, or St Tikhon of Kaluga (see icon at right). So, all you dendrite, tree-dwelling hermits of North America, be on the alert, as I hope to find you and make some photographs of your ascetical, transfigured life (preserving your cherished anonymity and privacy of course!). (Of course, I doubt there are any hermits, living in trees or elsewhere, who are on the internet to read this, so there is a real sense of irony in this musing!)
The weekend of September 16-17 found me at St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Roswell GA, where I had been invited by Fr John Townsend to give my presentation on the History of Orthodox Monasticism, and the North American Thebaid Project.
The warm hospitality of the entire parish, the beauty of the church and iconography, and the vivid sense of the nearness of the heavenly kingdom and the saints (especially accentuated by the two reliquaries flanking the nave) embraces one upon entering, and made my experience of Saturday’s Vigil and Sunday’s Divine Liturgy quite lofty and edifying.
As I typically do when visiting parishes, I made some photographs during the Liturgy to gift St Mary’s as a “Thank You”, and wanted to share a few highlights with you.
My heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Fr John and the parish, and I look forward to return visits in God’s timing.
If you are interested in scheduling me for a parish presentation, I’d love to make that happen! Please contact me at [zosimas at thebaid dot org], and also check out this page which may answer many of your questions.
Technically, I’ll be in Kansas for this one! — If you are in the greater Kansas City area, please join us at Holy Trinity Orthodox Churchin Overland Park, Kansas, on September 30, for my presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and the North American Thebaid.
Vespers at 5:00pm, presentation to follow. Full details on the flier…
I’ll also be at coffee hour following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 1, with my Thebaid Project display, including handouts and a continuous digital slide show, and hope to see you there.
Holy Trinity is celebrating their Centennial Anniversary this year (and in fact are holding their official celebration and banquet the following week), and I am deeply honored to be speaking here.
My sincere thanks to Fr Timothy Sawchak for the invitation! I have known Fr. Tim and Matushka Jennifer for many years (Jennifer’s father, George Stansbury of beloved memory, and I were on one of Fr Alexander Atty’s memorable Mt Athos pilgrimages together back in 1990), so this will be a special reunion, and one very dear to my heart…
Stay tuned for a hoped-for Part 3 of this Missouri trip…
Vespers at 6:30pm, followed at 7:15pm by my presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and a slide show of images from the North American Thebaid Project!
This coming week kicks off my Summer travels with a highly anticipated (certainly by me!) mid-week presentation at a thriving parish of the OCA Diocese of the South: St Athanasius Orthodox Church in Nicholasville, just a few miles south of Lexington KY.
If you’re curious about Orthodoxy and/or monasticism, I think you’ll find this a rich and informative evening.
I have long wanted to visit this growing Orthodox community, to worship in their new church building (which they moved into in 2014) to be sure, but also to get to better know these dear brothers and sisters just “down the road” from us in Cincinnati. It’s always a joy when Fr Justin and Mat. Tamara and sons stop in to join us for Vespers when passing through the area, and we have known each other now for years.
You can learn more here about the inspiring history of the still young parish of St Athanasius (especially significant for Protestants and Evangelicals wishing to learn more about Orthodoxy). Their journey is unique in some surprising ways, yet will sound very familiar to those of us who have likewise been converted in our hearts by our own encounters with the early Church Fathers.
Check their Directions page and make your plans to join us this coming Wednesday evening!
My sincere thanks to Fr Justin Patterson for his invitation, and to Kathy and Audrey for promotion, logistics and refreshments!
If you’re in the Lexington or Central Kentucky area, we hope to see you! Free and open to the public, refreshments provided, plenty of time for fellowship and Q&A.
Wednesday, July 19
6:30pm – Vespers
7:15pm – Presentation on Orthodox Monasticism and the North American Thebaid
The weekend of March 11-12 was very special for me, as I visited the fervent mission parish of St Herman of Alaska in Hudson Ohio, and gave a presentation on the Thebaid Project.
Fr Basil Rusen was one of the earliest supporters of the Thebaid Project outside of my home parish, strongly encouraging me at its very launch last Summer. We had corresponded about me visiting, and the timing happily coincided with one of the great monastic saints of the Church, Gregory Palamas, on the Second Sunday of Great Lent.
In addition to giving my presentation and slide show on the history of Orthodox Monasticism and its presence in North America, featuring many of my images from my monastery travels, I also was able to make some photographs for my gracious hosts, who took up a generous collection in support of the Thebaid Project.
I’ll be posting galleries of photos from my parish visits soon, but wanted to at least share one of my favorite images from the weekend with you.
My sincere thanks to Fr Basil, Popadija Patty, and the entire parish of St Herman’s for their hospitality. support and friendship. This was a very special event, and I look forward to repeat visits during my travels.
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.
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.