‘Jordanville Conference’ available in both Audio and Video, from Ancient Faith Radio

High quality recordings in both audio and video from the landmark ‘Jordanville Conference’ which took place just last weekend (March 7-9) are now available for online listening and download from Ancient Faith Radio.

img_1262Titled ‘Chastity, Purity, Integrity: Orthodox Anthropology and Secular Culture in the 21st Century’, this is shaping up to be the most significant Orthodox Christian conference yet of the new century. The fifteen presentations — more than five hours, not including the 48 minute long keynote address by Rod Dreher, author of The Benedict Option — present a wide variety of traditional, authentic, Orthodox perspectives on the anthropological heresy of our age. AFR’s special page for the conference recordings states:

Held at Holy Trinity Seminary (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) March 7 – 9 2019, scholarly and pastoral perspectives were shared with the goal of articulating the application of Orthodox Tradition and apologetics to current needs, in the face of current social trends regarding sex, body, and human nature.

Someone might ask, “You are doing a photo book on Orthodox monasticism. Why are you blogging about such a hot button topic completely tangential to your work?”

Fair question.

I am blogging about this conference precisely because it reveals something quite dynamic and critical to the health of Orthodoxy in America, namely the massive contribution Orthodox Christian Monasticism has to make to the very life and witness of the Orthodox Church, in America and around the world. It is precisely the Orthodox monastic ethos and phronema that undergirds this Conference which gives it its legitimacy, its authenticity, and its prophetic tone and urgency. I made that very point in my earlier post, in which I wrote:

This visionary conference, perhaps the first of its kind in North America, features speakers and a planning committee who hail primarily from Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (ROCOR, Jordanville NY) and St Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (OCA, South Canaan PA), both of which are unique in North America among Orthodox seminaries for being linked to and deriving their traditional Orthodox ethos from the monasteries out of which they grew.

Clearly, there is a large amount of material to cover here. So far, I have watched four of the presentations (quite out of their chronological order), those by Dr. Mark Cherry, Fr. Peter Heers, Fr. John Parker, and Fr. Alexander Webster. These are each so weighty and intense, that I look forward to the rest, and am determined to make the viewing of these presentations an important part of my Lenten effort for 2019. Indeed, that may have been the aim of the conference planning committee, who timed the conference for the threshold of the beginning of Great Lent, and who obviously coordinated tightly with Ancient Faith Radio to make the presentations available less than a week after the conclusion of the conference.

(I should add that the videos are not raw, unedited uploads, but benefit from three or four camera angles, nicely varied, with the brief introduction of each speaker, and the speaker’s name and position/title recurrently displayed at bottom. This professional presentation adds to the significance of the entire effort.)

The talks by Dr Mark Cherry (Professor of Philosophy at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas) and Fr Alexander F.C. Webster (Dean and Professor of Moral Theology at Holy Trinity Seminary (ROCOR) in Jordanville, New York) serve to frame the conference as a prophetic moment in the life of the Orthodox Church in North America and the West in general.

Continue reading “‘Jordanville Conference’ available in both Audio and Video, from Ancient Faith Radio”

St Tikhon’s 2019 Liturgical Calendar to feature photographs from The North American Thebaid Project

I feel deeply honored to have several of my images from my two-year pilgrimage to over thirty Orthodox monasteries across North America included in this important calendar, which is an annual “must have” resource for Orthodox Christians in the USA and Canada.

St Tikhon 2019 Calendar Promo
Free custom imprint and free shipping for orders of 20 or more.

Previous years have featured photos of Orthodox parishes, rare festal icons and frescoes, and other beautiful scenes to accompany the journey through the year. The inclusion of daily scripture readings, major feasts, fasting guides, and saints’ days makes a liturgical calendar such as this essential to the serious Orthodox Christian who has dedicated him or herself to follow hard after Christ.

In addition to the photographs of life in American Monasteries, the 2019 St Tikhon’s Calendar also features select excerpts from His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon’s landmark work, Of What Life Do We Speak?, making this an especially edifying and inspiring keepsake.


From St Tikhon’s Monastery Press announcement:

The St. Tikhon’s Lectionary Wall Calendar has become a most treasured item in homes and churches throughout the Orthodox world in America. The 2019 calendar includes 12 photographs of North American monasteries, plus detailed information for each day of the liturgical year.

Calendars include:

  • Major Feast Days & Saints
  • Fasting Guidelines
  • Scripture Readings
  • ‘Old Calendar’ Dates for Major Feasts & Saints
  • Excerpts from His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon’s, Of What Life Do We Speak?
  • Special Liturgical Notes
  • 12 photographs of American monasteries including images from the forthcoming book from photographer Ralph Sidway, The North American Thebaid
  • Free Custom Imprint and Free Shipping on orders of 20 or more.

Visit the St Tikhon’s Monastery Press website for more info and to order. Below are a few of my photographs set to be featured in the 2019 Calendar:



The Western Pilgrimage Begins…

Parish visits and a special encounter with a monastic writer and abbot, plus great travel weather, have ‘put the wind in my sails’ for this major leg of my American Thebaid Pilgrimage.

Sorry for the spotty posting lately, but my limited multitasking capabilities have been limited to a variety of deadline-driven tasks. Now that I’m actually on the road towards my next monastery destination, I wanted to take a moment and share with you some recent experiences.

North American Thebaid Photographic Pilgrimage
Fr Damascene of Platina and Fr Gregory Schultz of St Michael the Archangel (Serbian Archdiocese), celebrate Vespers during the annual Parish Retreat in Huntsville AL, June 1.

After leaving Birmingham AL on Thursday last (May 31), I headed ‘just up the road’ to Huntsville, where Fr Damascene, abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina CA, was giving a series of talks for the annual parish retreat of St Michael the Archangel (Serbian Archdiocese – English language).

St Herman’s was, as most of you know, co-founded in the late 1960s by Fr Seraphim Rose of Blessed Memory (†1982) and Abbot Herman (Podmoshensky), who reposed just a couple of years ago. Fr Damascene was one of the last spiritual sons of Fr Seraphim Rose, and is the author or editor of three remarkable and essential books: Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, Christ the Eternal Tao, and Genesis, Creation and Early Man – The Orthodox Christian Vision (by Fr Seraphim Rose, edited by Fr Damascene).

This retreat was a wonderful experience, both for Fr Damascene’s talks on Creation, Salvation, and Deification (deeply immersed in the words of the Holy Fathers of the Church), and for the experience of camping out at Monte Sano State Park with the St Michael’s parish community.

Continue reading “The Western Pilgrimage Begins…”

Recent Elders on Monasticism

First in a new series of blog posts featuring reflections on monasticism by 20th century Orthodox monks and nuns.

In working on the design for the North American Thebaid coffee table book — the publishing goal of my two-year photographic pilgrimage to Orthodox Christian monasteries of the USA & Canada — I am going back through favorite books for pithy sayings on monasticism and the spiritual life. Some of these may make it into the finished Thebaid book, providing prose glimpses into the monastic way to complement the photographs.

Some are lofty, some are challenging (a ‘hard word’), but in every case, it is a joy to rediscover these pearls, and I wanted to share some of them with you.


“The spiritual life has great joys. You fly away and leave this world and don’t take anything else into consideration. You become a child and God lives in your heart.”

“Love Christ, have humility, prayer, and patience. These are the four points of your spiritual compass. May the magnetic needle be your youthful Christian heart.”

“My children, I don’t want paradise without you.”

~ Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (†1970)

From  Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit