Great Lent Monastery News & Pilgrimage Announcement!
We're not being very prompt with these blogs and we apologize for the silence. Stay tuned, though: Eventually we catch up! "Life happens" here at the monastery, and we are busy enough not to remember we should be chronicalling it for you. In the next day or so we will also post the Holy Week and Pascha schedule for the Monastery and St. Innocent's Mission, meeting in our chapel and also for vespers and study groups on Wednesday and Saturday evenings in the "undercroft" of St. James Episcopal Church, Main Street Oneonta.
Thanks to an amazing response to our last issue of Essays and Notes we will publish a printed edition again, one issue at a time, as our budget and your response allows. However we are not going to aim for a Pascha edition as the US Postal Service has created problems with our mailing list, returning as “undeliverable” far too many copies, some of which we have been able to verify as correctly addressed. There are a lot of them, though, and we are taking the time to verify each of them with the Post office. We will get our little magazine out as soon as is feasible.
It’s a wonderful time of the year to be at a monastery – sometimes we can even feel almost guilty for the spiritual wealth that surrounds us during this season! While the world around us has already celebrated Easter, we Orthodox are in the middle of Great Lent. Thanks to its lateness, spring is making an effort to arrive even here: crocuses have appeared as patches of color across the lawn and we have much more sunshine after a very gray winter. We are preparing for the lambing and kidding season which begins at the end of the month and goes into high gear right after Pascha. Our fall “peeps” are now full grown, producing dozens of eggs as they’ve grown into gentle beauties.
Check out our online store at www.holymyrrhbearers.com. It’s not too late for Orthodox Pascha cards, for prayer ropes and liturgical books!
God willing, our annual pilgrimage this year will be September 14th – the second Saturday in September. We plan a symposium with a panel of married couples, singles and monastics to open a discussion on love and intimacy with our families, friends, and church communities.
We especially invite our neighbors. We will be giving out fliers with the day’s schedule to other Christian churches in the area, inviting both pastors and Christian faithful. While we know that Christ came that we might know true love of God and of our neighbor, in this fallen world forgetfulness of God and neglect or abuse of one another is far too often the rule even – sometimes it seems almost especially – for Christians. Please come and with us look at the broken relationships in our own lives and in those around us – and find ways that even we as 21st Century Americans may return to God – repent – and restore our families and parishes.
More details and the schedule will follow. In addition to the symposium, the day will offer a chance to share in worship, meals and tours of the monastery’s farm.
Take a week sometime and treat yourself to a fuller flavor of Lent with us or with another monastery. While most Orthodox parishes have Presanctified Liturgies, much of the Lenten experience takes place at the other weekday services. In a monastery the effect is both visual and audible: Saturdays and Sundays remain outside of Lent, a celebration of the Sabbath and the Resurrection, with gold vestments and normal music. Sunday evening at vespers, however, we return to the Lenten purple and musical tones. The prayer of St. Ephraim says it all: Lord and Master of my life, do not give me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Your servant. Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge others, for blessed are You unto ages of ages. Amen.
Our prayers are with you and your loved ones during this holy season as we trust your prayers are with us. Please continue to pray for Nancy as she prepares to join us.