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.