Walking Together

Walking together into the Kingdom I once heard a wonderful story about a group of African children who were assembled before a large basket of fresh fruit. They were told that the first child who could reach the basket could have all the fruit for themselves. The Western adults who had set up this “test” stood in awe as the…

The Planting of a Monastery (Part 11)

The Gift of Property On August 1st of 1992, having exhausted all our resources, we announced during what was to be our last Monastery Pilgrimage, our decision to leave Vashon Island. The monthly rent for the old farmhouse had risen, our chief benefactor had a series of setbacks in his personal fortune, and we were faced with just enough money…

The Planting of a Monastery (part 10)

Culture Shock The return to the United States After having spent almost a month in Greece, including ten days on Mount Athos, the return to the United States, via New York City, was major culture shock. I found myself grieving for the loss of the simple life of the Holy Mountain, with its lack of phones, electricity, vehicles, and noise.…

Rejoining Christ

Being the Body of Christ Each and every time we gather together to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, we are not simply commemorating an event that happened almost two thousand years ago. We are not simply commemorating the Last Supper, when Christ shared a meal with His disciples. When we come together to celebrate the Eucharist, we are rejoining an event…

The Cure for Our Sickness

Cooperating with the Physician of Our Souls Although imprecise, we often use anthropomorphic language when speaking about God. Thus, we can say that God is like a mother whose sick child is in need of healing, and is not offended by the child’s sickness. Yet, given the truth that God loves His fallen creatures, we can also say that God…

Hollow Orthodoxy

Taking Orthodoxy beyond the self-congratulatory Archbishop Averky of Syracuse, of blessed memory, once said of converts, “they are like envelopes, they have a tendency to come unglued”. Many a convert, once they’ve embraced the Orthodox Faith, mistakenly given themselves over to a zealotry that is without any form of temperance. They, in their excitement at having found “The True Faith”,…

Imaging the Light of Christ

We must not let the Light of Christ be shrouded in darkness We must try to share the joy and healing that is to be found within the walls of the Orthodox Church, and the depth of our encounter with Christ that brings about transformation, and the restoration of the human heart as God meant it to be. With God’s…

A Living Organism

The Church is a living organism, guided by the Holy Spirit It is important that we always remember, the Holy Spirit guides the Church. The early Christians worshiped in secret places, and were not able to have formal temples, yet as the Church gained her freedom, public places of worship were built. These new churches were built with a vision…

The Planting of a Monastery (chapter 9)

Leavetaking of the Holy Mountain Altogether, Father Basil and I visited seven different monasteries during our ten day pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain. Each monastery had its own powerful impact on my soul, and I found it very difficult to leave what must truly be the homeland of every Orthodox monk. Rather than attempt to describe my experience at each…

The Planting of a Monastery (chapter 8)

The German At the conclusion of the service we once again approached the holy icon, offering our final veneration. I joined the other monks, but I could not look upon her, shamed as I was. I prostrated, kissed the base of the holy icon, turned, and left the chapel.  Wandering about the grounds of the Great Lavra by myself, I…

Harmony

Creating harmony out of chaos The inevitability of death is particularly difficult to face for most Americans, as we’ve become a people that eschew traditional funerals, preferring to “celebrate the life of our loved one, while disposing of the body, and banning any sign of death from the memorial service should we even decide to have a service. Yet the…

The Authority of the Church

must be grounded in the love of Christ If she be true to herself, the Church acts with an authority that is grounded in love. She holds within her realm the authority to make her people the children of God. She has the authority to forgive, and the capacity to love. And just as her Head, Jesus Christ, she exists…