Pilgrimage to Seattle

I fly Saturday from the beautiful autumn leaves of Appalachia and make a pilgrimage to Seattle. Every three years the Orthodox Church in America has an “All-American Council,” in which we conduct a certain amount of Church business, pray some, and do the sorts of things you do at conventions. St. Gregory the Theologian thought that Councils were a waste of time, “producing only anger and rancor.” He was correct, of course, but the specific council of which he was speaking turned out to be the Second Ecumenical Council, so some good can come from such endeavors.

Every such gathering in the Church is fraught with temptation, both personal and institutional. May God protect us all.

I hope to be able to post and respond while there (at least a little), though I probably will not post on the Council itself. Not my thing.

I’ll also be signing books and helping out at the Ancient Faith Radio table.

The pilgrimage part – is to see the Pacific Ocean – something that has escaped me lo these 57 years.

Glory to God for all things!


  1. Thanks for letting us know, Fr. Stephen, may God grant you traveling mercies and a blessed communion!

    (Seeing the ocean is the best! God is certainly good to allow us to enjoy its beauy. Glory to God for all things! — from a land-locked Tennessean)

  2. You’re coming to Nikolai’s and my corner of the world! I love Puget Sound. Hopefully you can take the time to get on a ferry, even if just the short one from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. I grew up in that area, but live two hours east now. I try to get over at least once a year for a ferry ride. I pray it all goes well, Father Stephen. I wish we could come over to meet you and to get a blessing.

  3. Dear Fr. Stephen,
    We welcome you gladly to Seattle, which is enjoying unparalleled Fall Beauty right now, and which you will get to witness first hand, God willing. I will be at the AAC, connected with the booth being hosted by St. Katherine Mission in Kirkland (Fr. Barnabas Powell) and I pray that somehow our paths may cross. I know I can not ask your blessing in the presence of the Bishops or Metropolitan so I make a low bow now and ask for it, in advance, as I dearly covet your blessing. May God grant you safe travel and may His peace reign over the AAC this coming week.

  4. Father bless!

    It has been many years since I have seen the Pacific Ocean. I “envy” you (in the best way possible of course). Our prayers go with you and are offered for you personally, all the other participants, the Council and its deliberations, and the well-being and witness of the Orthodox Church in America as a whole.

  5. If there’s any sunny weather you should try to visit the Vashon Monastery – it’s a wonderful monastery, but the community aside 🙂 it looks like it’s set in heaven when the sun is shining.

  6. Juliana, I’m sure you know my friend Patty Joanna! She played a pivotal role in our conversion to Orthodoxy two years ago (St. Katherine’s was the first parish we ever attended). Love her. And I’m so glad I read your post — I’d forgotten about not asking for a blessing in the presence of a bishop. I probably would have crossed myself, too, as I asked (like I did with Abbott Tryphon at the Vashon monastery — he quipped, “I’m not dead yet!”). I so would love to get over there this weekend or next week, but don’t think it can happen.

  7. I second Juliana’s recommendation that you get on a ferry and ride the waters to one of the beautiful islands – well worth the time. The rains may have set in by then, but you will love our misty, moisty northwest! Sending prayers for your safe journey and pilgrimage.

  8. MUCH have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
    Round many western islands have I been
    Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
    Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
    That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
    Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
    Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
    Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken;
    Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
    Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

  9. NW Juliana,
    Patty Joanna is my Goddaughter and I share your sentiments. She is indeed a lovely woman and instrumental in my “daily conversion” as she always points me back to Christ. We should connect sometime. The last priest I asked for a blessing from while the bishop was present gently reminded me that I couldn’t do that and then just gave me a big bear hug instead. Not a “blessing” but wonderful all the same (he had baptized my first child many years earlier and I hadn’t seen him in a decade). We are surrounded by amazing people burning with love for Christ, but especially this week. Glory to God for All Things, indeed.

  10. Dear Father Stephen,

    What does one say on an occasion like this? Have fun, enjoy, good luck, bon voyage,…nah, not quite.

    Guard your soul, Father.

    With Love in Christ,


  11. God grant you travel mercies (and everything else you need for this trip), Father. I love that quote about the 2nd Ecumenical Council! Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

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