Unexpected Visit of Kursk Root Icon & Bishop Nicholas of ManhattanOn December 17th, the commemoration of the Holy Great Martyr Barbara and St. John of Damascus, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God visited Holy Cross. Archimandrite Seraphim and all the brethren greeted His Grace and the Holy Icon with great joy and with the ringing of a new set of Russian bells recently installed at the monastery by Constantine Stade of New Creation Bellringing. A short moleben was immediately served by the brethren.The Holy Icon remained in the monastery church for Vespers and during the night while members of the monastic community kept vigil. After Matins, the monks blessed the site for the new monastery church with the Icon. The sacred image departed the monastery with the festive ringing of the brotherhood’s new bells.Metropolitan Jonah Visits on St. Herman’s FeastOn December 24, 2020, Metropolitan Jonah presided over the All-Night Vigil for the Venerable Herman of Alaska, and the following day served a Hierarchal Divine Liturgy along with Archimandrite Seraphim and the monastery clergy. The Metropolitan and monastic brotherhood celebrated this joyous feast of the leader of Russian Orthodox monastics of North America in the quietude of the Appalachian wilderness and during a heavy snowfall. During his homily at the end of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Jonah exhorted the brotherhood to be beacons of faith to our people and land by embracing true repentance, which is accomplished by an internal renewal of mind and heart. Using the example of St. Herman who embodied living faith and awareness of God, the Metropolitan encourage the brotherhood to be aware of the presence of God and to surrender to His will, thus bringing the surrounding people into the presence and awareness of Christ.