On the night of January 29th (16th O.S.), after the Vigil Service for St. Anthony the Great, Ryassaphore-monk Michael made his life vows and was tonsured into the Small Schema by Archimandrite Seraphim. The tonsure of a new monk and his full reception into the brotherhood is always an occasion of great and sober joy. It is a second Baptism and another beginning of the life in Christ for the newly-tonsured monk, and to all the brotherhood it is a reminder of our first zeal for Christ. The newly-tonsured monk truly takes upon himself Christ’s light and good yoke: in truth and deed to love the Lord our God above all, and to love our neighbor as if he were our very own self.
To mark the beginning of Fr. Michael’s new spiritual birth and life, he was given a new name: Monk Isaac, after St. Isaac the II of Optina. This great saint and hieromartyr was the last abbot of Optina monastery, and was distinguished by his great calm, simplicity and the abundance of tears he shed during the Divine services. After the closure of Optina by the Bolsheviks, St. Isaac served the flock of Christ in exile until he made the final offering of his life to Christ as a martyr.
Please pray for Fr. Isaac, that he would receive the grace to follow his new patron saint’s glorious example and likewise take up his own cross of monasticism, offering himself as a living sacrifice to Christ our True God!