Today we celebrate the feast of Pokrov, the Protection of the Mother of God. This feast, though not widely celebrated outside the Russian Church, is very dear to the hearts of the Russian people. It is on this feast that we celebrate the love that the Mother of God has for us. It is a celebration of the protection and great care that the Mother of God shows us. A motherly love, with warmth and affection, yet a love with great power – and the Mother of God proves this to us time and time again.
Several years ago during a long car ride, a monk from another shared a little of the story of his coming to the monastic life after an at best nominal Orthodox upbringing. He and his brother had been baptized as infants through the influence of a Orthodox Christian grandmother, but had rarely attended Church, and were not given any religious instruction as they grew older. As an adult, impelled by a spiritual longing or hunger, the likes of which have brought many of us to the doors of the Holy Church, he received the catechism so long delayed, and in time left the world to devote his life wholly to Christ.
“Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death, by thy holy nativity, O Immaculate One, which thy people, redeemed from the guilt of sin, celebrate by crying to thee: The barren woman giveth birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life.”
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Indiction, which is the first day of the new church year. It is an ancient tradition to mark the beginning of the New Year on September 1st. This practice was observed in the Byzantine Empire until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and in Russia until the reign of Peter the 1st.
Last night in the beautiful Akathist to St. Panteleimon we read in the third Ekos, “Rejoice, unsleeping guardian of the monastery that honoreth thee!”
“What shall we call thee, O thou who art full of grace?” Our helper, our protector, our comfort, our joy, our guide, our Mother!
Fourteen years ago on this date, nine monks and one nun arrived at this site to begin the monumental task of building a monastery from nothing. There was only one building here and that was the home of our benefactors the Sills, so numerous cells for monks had to be built along with a church and workshops, and converting a double wide trailer into a trapeza.
On ‘this chosen and holy Day’ when the world ‘that is visible and invisible’ (see: the Canon of Holy Pascha) glorifies the Prince of life and Victor over death, I send my heartfelt greetings to all of you through the Paschal exclamation: CHRIST IS RISEN!
I extend my heartfelt greetings to my eminent brother Archpastors, beloved in the Lord reverend fathers, brothers, and sisters, on this most radiant of feasts, the Resurrection of Christ from the dead!
CHRIST IS RISEN!
It is as if tears pour out of your letter. You strived to reach a high position. You thought that you would also find happiness. Many others around you did the same. So you had to fight for it, push, and endure anxieties. You figured that happiness, not just happiness, but life itself, would begin with obtaining this position. Until then, you considered yourself unfortunate, almost non-existent. Finally, you attained the desired goal. For a few days you felt like you were born again. Then the disappointment came. Of course, you were as far from happiness as you were before. Except earlier, you believed that happiness did exist—somewhere in the high positions—but now you have lost that faith. You have reached the clouds but not the stars. Now you regret your running after happiness on the wrong path and encouraging others to do the same. So you wish to go back to your former modest position where the burden of responsibility is lesser and the stings of envy weaker. Perhaps you will find this story useful: