“In 1905, on the Friday before Memorial Day, a group of Russian Orthodox faithful set out from Mayfield, Pennsylvania. Some rode by train, buggy, and wagon, but many simply walked, crossing over Mt. Salem to a common meeting place in Waymart. Once everyone had gathered, the procession then continued on foot to the little village of South Canaan and the sacred grounds of the newly-founded St. Tikhon’s Monastery. Patriarch Tikhon—now St. Tikhon of Moscow and the Monastery’s founder—along with the Monastery’s first Abbot, Fr. Arseny, led the procession. This was the first Memorial Day Pilgrimage.”
That’s how the story began. Each year, the faithful, the hopeful, the curious, even the despairing join the annual procession from home to the monastery, to the monastery church, the gardens, the bookstore, the picnic quilts on the grass, the procession into worship and fellowship and memory making.
This year, we are overjoyed to announce that Ancient Faith Radio will join in the procession! We will be part of this 114th Annual Memorial Day Pilgrimage to St. Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. We sincerely hope you will come with us! You are invited! Everyone is invited – this is an event for every branch of the Orthodox tree, for the faithful, for seekers, for cradle and convert, for catechumens, for the newly illumined, for YOU!
We strongly recommend that you visit the official Pilgrimage website, where you’ll find all the information you need about events, lodging, and what it’s like to participate. In the coming weeks, we’ll be airing interviews with the people behind the Pilgrimage, so you can learn more about what to expect and about what makes this experience so special and important.
As in prior years, the myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God will be present at the monastery during the pilgrimage, and you will have the opportunity to venerate the icon and be anointed with its miraculous fragrance.
If you come, you’ll likely see Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick walking around talking to people, holding a small recorder as they speak. He’ll be collecting interviews, impressions, sounds, and songs for a St. Tikhon Memorial Day Pilgrimage documentary, created in collaboration with monastery staff. The documentary will air on Ancient Faith Radio, and promises to be a vivid, thought-provoking reflection on this one-of-a-kind event.
There are two other special opportunities that will occur during the Pilgrimage weekend. First, you are invited to a live performance of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil (don’t worry – it’s about 90 minutes long!) at the amazing St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral in nearby Wilkes-Barre. Information about the concert and tickets is available on the pilgrimage website. Click here and scroll.
Second, if you love music, especially Orthodox church music, and want to sing it or learn to sing it, you are warmly invited to St. Tikhon’s Choir Festival, also happening on Pilgrimage weekend. You’ll be learning, but you’ll also be singing for beautiful services, with bishops, priests, monks, and pilgrims. Come and sing! You can learn all about it and sign up on the pilgrimage website. Click here and scroll.
Those who live and work at St. Tikhon’s Monastery like to say that if you come there, you will walk in the footsteps of saints. This is not a figure of speech. The monastery was founded by a saint, and other saints have lived there. It is a special place, peaceful and holy, away from the world but still praying for its salvation. Come and see! Put your feet on the path. This is the time for pilgrimage!