The monastic vocation is a special calling from God that is all about relationships. It is a relationship that involves community (the monastic brotherhood), but primarily revolves around the monk’s relationship with God.
Monks are not holy men who are living lives set apart from the world, but men who are seeking holiness by entering into a relationship with the God Who, through that relationship, promises holiness. The monk attempts, with God’s help, to live a life that is in imitation of the angels, thus the monastic life is often referred to as the angelic life. Through his continued communion with God the monk attempts to give himself over to the transformation of his own life that comes with the action of the Holy Spirit.
Holiness is not something that is just about the saints, whose icons we venerate and whose lives we read about. Holiness is better understood as wholeness, made whole, or healed. We seek healing from the darkness and estrangement that we’ve inherited as a result of the fall. We seek out the God of righteousness Who alone can heal us of our infirmity. As Christ increases in us, our fallen nature decreases. In monastic obedience, the self is replaced by the will of God and the ego is trampled down.
The goal of the monk is to acquire the Holy Spirit from whom comes true repentance and a humble and contrite heart. This relationship that brings healing for the monk also brings healing for the world. Saint Seraphim of Sarov said that if you acquire inner peace, a thousand around you will be saved. The monk is thus not someone who leaves the world because he cares little for those in the world but because he cares for everyone and everything. Because he loves his neighbor and the whole of the cosmos, he gives himself over to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, becoming a living martyr to self.
The monk stands before God as an intercessor for the whole of mankind, not because he intentionally flees from others, but because he becomes closer to others by entering into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, Whom he serves.
Love in Christ,
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery is a non-profit, 501 C3 organization, under IRS regulations. All donations are therefore tax deductible.
We support ourselves through the sales of Monastery Blend Coffee, our fine line of teas, and a little gift shop. We grow as many of our fruits and vegetables as we can, raise bees, and have nine Rhode Island Reds for our fresh, organic eggs.
Contrary to popular belief, the monastery receives no support from the diocese, or diocesan institutions, so we are dependent on the generosity of our friends, supporters, and benefactors. Just as these have been difficult economic times for many American families, the monastery has also struggled to make ends meet, pay our monthly mortgage, heat the buildings, and place food on the table for ourselves, and our many visitors.
We thank you for your prayerful and financial support.
Sunday March 24, 2013
First Sunday of the Great Lent: Triumph of Orthodoxy. Tone one.
Great Lent. Food with Oil
“Cyprus” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos from the village Staromniy, Moscow region (movable holiday on the 1st Sunday of the Great Lent).
St. Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem (638).
St. Euthymius, Bishop of Novgorod, wonderwoker (1458).
Venerable Alexis of Goloseyevsky Skete, Kiev Caves (1917).
Venarable Patrikius confessor (1933).
New Hieromartyr Basil, priest (1937).
Venerable Sophronius, recluse of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
Hieromartyr Pionius of Smyrna and those with him: Asclepiades, Macedonia, Linus and Sabina (250).
Translation of the relics of Martyr Epimachus of Pelusium to Constantinople (250).
St. Sophronius of Vratsa (1815) (Bulgaria).
Venerable George, abbot of Sinai, brother of St. John Climacus (7th c.).
Venerable John Moskhos (622).
Venerable Oengus the Culdee, compiler of first Irish martyrology (824) (Celtic & British).
Venerable George the New, wonderworker of Constantinople (970) (Greek).
St. Theodora, queen of Arta, wife of Despot Michael II of Epirus (1275) (Greek).
Hieromartyr Eulogius, metropolitan of Cordova (859).
Martyrs Trophimus and Thalus of Laodicea (300) (Greek).
Hieromartyr Constantine, in Kintyre.
You can read the life of the saint in green, by click on the name.
24By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
32And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35Women received their dead raised to life again.
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
39And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
The Race of Faith
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Philip and Nathanael
43The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
48Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
50Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”