Wednesday, November 24, 2021

"What Silence is Not," with Mother Cecilia

Today on the podcast, "What God is Not" with Mother Natalia and Fr. Michael O'Loughlin, the first of a series of episodes with the other nuns of our monastery begins, kicked off by an episode with Mother Cecilia, titled, "What Silence is Not." (The other episodes will air periodically throughout the coming months.) Mother Cecilia takes a unique angle regarding silence, speaking about more than just the obvious physical reality of silence. She defines it as, "the emptiness of self," and challenges both those who would rather avoid silence and those who naturally like it. We hope that everyone will find some food for reflection in this episode and be challenged to dive into some true silence.

Monday, November 15, 2021

"Be poor with Me: reflections on poverty"

Today is the first day of the 40-day Nativity Fast (or "Philip's Fast," because it begins on the eve of the feast of the Apostle Philip). Today we begin to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus in the Incarnation, who enters into our physical and spiritual poverty and takes on the poverty of our humanity. 

As we begin this fast, we offer for your reflection a video that we produced this year and just released this past weekend for our Bridegroom's Banquet. It is called, "Be poor with Me: reflections on poverty." We hope that it will help to set the spiritual tone of your preparations for Christmas.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Discernment Retreat, Dec. 17-19

Single Catholic women, ages 18-35, who would like to take a weekend to pray about a possible vocation to the monastic life, are invited to inquire about attending the upcoming discernment retreat at Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, December 17-19, 2021. Experience the life of prayer at the monastery, listen to talks on prayer and discernment, make use of the opportunity to get to know the nuns, and receive healing through the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession). If you are interested in this retreat, or a future discernment opportunity, fill out the Vocation Inquiry Form. Please fill out the form by Dec. 6 for this retreat. Space is limited and may fill up before Dec. 6. Mother Theodora will contact you to talk about availability. With questions, call 440-834-0290 or email christthebridegroom@gmail.com. Visit this link for the schedule and more information.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Bridegroom's Banquet deadline extended to Nov. 8!

The registration for our annual benefit dinner on Saturday, November 13, has been extended to Monday, November 8. We still have space left and we would love for more people to be able to join us! Registration is free and donations will be doubled!

We are also excited to announce the entertainment for this year's banquet: musicians Matthew Trovato and Natalia Wohar. They are both dear friends of ours, and Natalia is a budding Byzantine Catholic singer/songwriter who just released her first album! Visit this link to listen to or purchase her music. Click on the photo to the right to listen to her music video.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Day-after banquet video premier

If you are not able to attend our Bridegroom's Banquet benefit dinner in person, you can still join us online on Sunday, November 14, the day after the banquet, for a livestreamed greeting from us and the online premier of our new video, "Be poor with Me: reflections on poverty." More information about the time of this online event will be available on our website closer to the date of the banquet. You can also donate toward the matching funds even if you cannot attend either the live or online events. More information is available on the "Bridegroom's Banquet" tab. Please pray for the fruitfulness of our event and for all those who will participate. Thank you so much for your support! God bless you!


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Thank you to our fall work day volunteers!

Wow! We had an amazing crew of volunteers that came with only a week's notice to help at our fall work day on Oct. 9! We accomplished all of our projects!! Enjoy these photos to get a glimpse at the hard work, good food, fun and prayer of the day. Thank you so much to everyone!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Join us for our Fall Work Day, Oct. 9


Sorry for the late notice! (We've been overwhelmed with the life profession!) We hope you can join us for a day of outdoor and indoor work projects, prayer, food and fun at the monastery on Saturday, October 9. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome! The day begins at 10 a.m., includes lunch, and closes with vespers at 5 p.m. followed by a cookout. Come whenever available, and bring a side dish to share if you can. The monastery is located at 17485 Mumford Rd. Burton, Ohio. Please RSVP* by Thursday, October 7, to christthebridegroom@gmail.com or 440-834-0290 so that the appropriate amount of food can be prepared.

Tools we especially need this time: weed whackers


*Please RSVP with:

1. The number of adults (include teens) and the number of kids (12 and under)

2. Will you be here for lunch or dinner or both?

3. The dish you plan to bring

Thursday, September 30, 2021

God grant you many years, Mother Natalia & Mother Petra!

 

The life profession of Mother Natalia & Mother Petra on Sunday was an incredibly beautiful day of grace, as these two new stavrophore ("cross bearer") nuns committed their lives completely to Christ as their Bridegroom. 

If you were not able to experience the profession in person or via live stream, the video is still available for viewing. Here are some links you can use to experience this unique service of monastic profession:

Video of the live stream (the actual profession service begins at 38 minutes into the liturgy)

Liturgy booklet

Also, you might enjoy the commentary by Matt Fradd about his experience attending the profession. It will make you chuckle, give you a taste of the profession, and help you to relate it to your own life.

We will share more about the life profession (and photos) later!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Letter from Sr. Natalia

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Beloved Friends and Family,

As I was praying very intentionally with the profession service on my pre-profession retreat, I was moved to share part of those reflections with all of you. I find that there is a common misconception at the tonsure of a monastic that I’d like to clarify. I know that some come to this service thinking, “Wow. How beautiful! This woman is giving up all the goods and beauties of the world for the sake of the Lord. This is the epitome of virtue. Of holiness. She is entering the life of holiness.” There are truths in all of this, but really none of these capture the fullness of what a monastic tonsure is, and I think they can even distract us from the reality of what you will witness today.

As Sr. Petra and I come down the aisle in our simple white garment (which we will be buried in some day), we are barefoot. Hair untied. Hands crossed across our chest as though they were bound. Because at this point we are bound—by our own sin. We walk down the aisle totally poor, with nothing to offer but ourselves. And as we make our three prostrations (a sign of penance), the hymn being sung is not “Here Comes the Bride,” but it is the troparion of the Prodigal Son. Proclaiming our deep sinfulness, and our deep need for mercy. I remember when a monk, who has been fully professed for many years, gave a retreat at our monastery. He said, “When you are making that final prostration, and you are praying to be received into the ranks of the penitent, your prayer should be, ‘Lord, I need this life of healing. I need this life of recovery.’” This is very similar to what St. John Climacus writes in the Ladder of Divine Ascent, “Let no one, by appealing to the weight and multitude of his sins, say that he is unworthy of the monastic vow...Where there is much corruption, considerable treatment is needed to draw out all the impurity. The healthy do not go to a hospital.” At the ordination of a Byzantine deacon or priest, when they receive each article of their vestments, the priests and people cry out, “Axios!” meaning “He is worthy!” You will notice today that when Sr. Petra and I receive each article of monastic clothing, the priests and people cry out, “Lord have mercy!”

Please don’t misunderstand me. Though this is a day in which Sr. Petra and I enter the ranks of penitents and promise a life of self-denial, it is by no means a gloomy day. On the contrary, it is a day of great rejoicing. But I firmly believe the joy is that of Luke 15:7, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” In this sense, today you are all joining in with the rejoicing of the angels over two sinners who desire to transform their prodigal pursuit of sin to the prodigal love of their Bridegroom.

Please pray for us that we may fully embrace this life of joyful penance. And be assured of our prayers for each of you as well.

In Christ our Bridegroom,

Sr. Natalia

See the previous post for more information about the upcoming life profession of Sr. Natalia and Sr. Petra on Sept. 26.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Announcing the Life Profession of Sr. Natalia & Sr. Petra on Sept. 26!

On this feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we are full of joy to announce the life profession of Sr. Natalia and Sr. Petra as stavrophore ("cross-bearer") nuns on Sunday, September 26! After several years of discernment as rasophore ("robe-bearer") nuns, these two nuns are answering the call of the Bridegroom to commit themselves to Him in the monastic life for the rest of their lives, taking up their crosses and following Him in all of the sorrows and joys of this prophetic vocation. Please pray for them in these final days of preparation!

Though capacity restrictions in the church prevent us from opening the Divine Liturgy to the public, you are invited to join by watching the life stream of the service on our Facebook page, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view. The video will also still be available afterward for viewing.

Below, you can read about the two nuns and about the meaning of the profession service. Also, on the podcast, "What God is Not," Sr. Natalia will be explaining the profession service for the next few weeks, beginning with this week's episode which will be released tomorrow, Sept. 15.



Sister Natalia
entered the monastery in 2015 and has been a rasophore nun since 2016. As a military kid, Sister Natalia grew up in a variety of places from Cuba to Denver.  She earned her B.S. in Engineering Physics from Colorado School of Mines.  Her route to monasticism passed through urban missions both with A Simple House of Sts. Francis and Alphonsus and teaching high school math.  Though her role in the monastery is wide, she spends much of her time coordinating all the guest logistics involving our poustinia retreat houses, ensuring visitors are received with hospitality.  Sister Natalia and Father Michael O’Loughlin co-host the podcast “What God is Not” that focuses on Byzantine Catholicism and Mystery.

Sister Petra entered the monastery on the Encounter of our Lord in the Temple in 2017, and was tonsured on the same feast in 2018.  She earned a B. A. in History from Indiana Wesleyan University, and an M.A. in History from John Carroll University.  Prior to her entrance, she worked as the secretary of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Circleville, Ohio.  Raised Protestant, her path to the Byzantine Rite led her through the Roman Rite: she was received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 2009.  Among her varied monastic obediences, she assists in coordinating poustinia retreats and serves as librarian.  She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and biking.



The Meaning of the Profession

When people ask us what changes at our life profession, we often joke, “Well, then I’m stuck here and can’t leave!”  In reality, though, the rite of profession formalizes and makes permanent the nun’s interior commitment to live her life in an exclusive union with Jesus Christ.

The liturgical rite for the tonsuring of the stavrophore (“cross bearer”) nun, situated in the context of Divine Liturgy, is adapted from the Great Euchologian.  It marks the commitment of the nun to remain in the monastic life of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery for the rest of her life.  Prior to being made a stavrophore, the nuns relinquishes all money, possessions, property, etc.  Three themes are woven throughout the profession service.  The first theme is the espousal of the nun to Christ as her Bridegroom.  As our Typikon explains, “Monastic chastity is the renunciation of the human marital embrace and the blessing of biological children, in order to exclusively embrace nuptial union with Christ the Bridegroom, which is blissfully real.”  As a symbol of this union, the nuns of our monastery receive a wedding band with “ICXC” engraved on it.  The stavrophore nuns will no longer be addressed as “Sister,” but as “Mother” in recognition of the fruitfulness of their spousal union with Christ.

The second theme is that of a second baptism.  The service runs parallel to the baptismal ceremonies of the third and fourth centuries (when Christian monasticism was first established).  The Desert Fathers believed that those who enter the monastic life receive the same grace given as Baptism—that is, the remission of sins.  The nun is unclothed (that is, clothed only in a white robe) as though about to be baptized by immersion, signifying that she is to “put off the old man and put on the new.”  She makes three full prostrations upon entering the church, analogous to the three plunges into the baptismal font.  The vows are taken in response to formal questions, as at Baptism.  She receives, as do the newly baptized, a candle—which is her actual baptismal candle if she still has it.

The third theme is the Return of Prodigal.  The profession service mystically enacts the drama of the return of the Prodigal to his Father’s house.  Entering barefoot and bare-headed, the nun approaches the bishop, who represents the Father, in poverty and repentance.  The tropar of the Prodigal Son is sung as the nun walks toward him and prostrates three times.  The bishop takes her hand and lifts the nun from the third prostration, clothing her, putting sandals on her feet and a ring on her finger (Luke 15:22).

Our monastery prays a chapter of the Song of Songs at the end of Compline each night.  These verses capture the Bridegroom’s call to which stavrophore nuns respond with a single-hearted, all-encompassing, “Yes!”  “Set Me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion.  Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away…” (SOS 8:6-7)  Whatever sufferings the future may hold, our Bridegroom’s love will be our constant support.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Bridegroom's Banquet registration open!

Registration is now open for our Bridegroom's Banquet benefit dinner on Saturday, November 13!

Visit the banquet page to register! The first five people to register will receive a gift!

The banquet will take place this year at a new location: the Astrodome Event Center in Parma, Ohio (at St. Josephat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral).  There is no cost to attend the dinner, but registration is required (by October 29).  Adults 21 and older may attend.  Enjoy a dinner, entertainment, and an evening with us and their guests.  Watch the premier of our new video: “Be poor with Me: reflections on poverty.” Learn more about us and support our life of prayer and hospitality.  Donations given at the event or designated ahead of time will be doubled by matching donors, up to $100,000! 



Monday, August 16, 2021

Photos from the Youth Camp & Mariapoch Pilgrimage

We helped with two beautiful events at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch this summer: the Eparchy of Parma's Youth Camp in July, and the annual pilgrimage to the shrine this past weekend. We hope you enjoy these photos from the youth camp and pilgrimage. The photos say more than we could in words!

Monday, August 9, 2021

Mariapoch Pilgrimage this weekend!

Join us this weekend at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch for the annual pilgrimage! We will be cantoring all of the services other than the hierarchical liturgy on Sunday, and we are running the teen and children's activities. And, there will be nun hugs...plus all of the other great things about the annual pilgrimage!


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Save the Date for the Bridegroom's Banquet, Nov. 13!

The Bridegroom's Banquet is returning this year in person! Save the date for our annual benefit dinner on Saturday, November 13, at a new location: The Astrodome Event Center in Parma, Ohio (at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of St. Josaphat). There is no cost to attend the dinner, but registration is required. More information and registration will be available soon!

This photo is from last week's filming of our video for the banquet. The video, being made by David Bratnick, is about poverty, and will begin a new 3-year series of videos on the monastic virtues of poverty, chastity and obedience. Previous videos can be found on our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Our "Year of St. Joseph issue" of Pomegranate Blossoms

Enjoy the newest issue of our newsletter! This issue includes reflections about St. Joseph from a Byzantine Catholic monastic perspective, quotes from some Church Fathers, a poem by one of the nuns, photos and an article from Olivia's entrance, and more!



Sunday, June 20, 2021

Happy Father's Day!



To all fathers, biological and spiritual,

Thank you for the ways that you have taken responsibility in our lives and in the lives of so many others. May the Father draw you close to Himself and refresh you with His fatherly love for you!

With love & prayers,

The nuns

(Icon of St. Joseph by the hand of Mother Iliana)

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Olivia's Entrance

The following will also be published in our upcoming issue of Pomegranate Blossoms:

Olivia Kijauskas was received into the monastery as a dokimos on May 12, 2021, during Vespers for the feast of the Ascension. In a short service after the Old Testament readings for the feast, two special readings were added, then Bishop Milan prayed a prayer of blessing over her: “…bless the good intention of this Your handmaiden, Olivia, and grant a good beginning to her time in this monastery….” The bishop then blessed the head covering and cross that she will wear during this period (one to two years). It is tradition that the youngest member of the monastery (in monastic years) helps the new dokimos to put on these items of clothing.

The Ascension is the feast in which we celebrate Jesus being “taken up in glory” (troparion of the feast) and taking our human nature to the right hand of the Father. At first glance, it seems sad that Jesus is leaving His disciples, but He is actually even closer to them after His Ascension, for He ascended to the throne of God which is in their hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Bishop Milan’s remarks at the end of Vespers, he exclaimed that what Olivia has done by entering the monastery is “an offense to the world.” In the homily during the Divine Liturgy for the feast the next morning, Fr. Michael O’Loughlin (visiting from the Proto-Cathedral of St. Mary, Sherman Oaks, Ca.) recalled these words of Bishop Milan and said, “Yes, the world is offended, because you’ve said to it, ‘You are not enough for me.’” Just as Jesus said to his disciples, “It’s better for you if I go” (Jn 16:7), Fr. Michael continued, “Olivia, it’s better for the world that you’ve left it. …This is an example to all of us: the world is not enough [to fulfill us].”

During this first stage of monastic formation, Olivia will be close in spirit to those she loves in the world, though her communication with them will be limited for the sake of her deepening relationship with Christ. As she continues to discern her vocation, please pray for her that she will become a witness of the joy of surrendering everything to God. Below, you can learn a little more about Olivia.

Age: 23 

College & degree: Cleveland State University (Class of 2020), Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art

A few favorite saints: John the Baptist, John the Beloved, Onuphrius the Great

Some favorite activities & interests: Hiking, looking at gardens, listening to old, quiet jazz, taking in beauty any way I can and creating beauty any way I'm called to

How did you meet the nuns of our monastery? 
I met the nuns during my freshman year of high school. The youth minister at my parish introduced me to them at an event in the Diocese of Cleveland, and he asked them to pray over me for me vocation. I had absolutely no idea where that introduction would lead!
 
Where did you grow up and go to church? What drew you to the Byzantine Catholic Church as an adult?
I grew up in Euclid, Ohio, at Saints Robert and William Roman Catholic Parish. In high school, I was really involved in my parish's LifeTeen group, and through that, I learned a lot about our faith. As my faith grew, it started to look more and more Byzantine without me realizing it. Eventually, I found my way to St. Stephen's Byzantine Catholic Church in Euclid (now Holy Resurrection Parish), for a talk by Fr. Michael Lee. As he spoke about Eastern traditions, my heart was burning within me. I knew I had found others who loved what I loved. I attended that parish for just over four years before entering the monastery. 
 
What attracted you to discern your vocation with our monastery?
When I was in high school, whenever I saw the nuns at any event around the Cleveland area, my eyes completely lit up, and I wanted to be close to them. I couldn't help it; it was simply the natural movement of my heart. I think I saw the nuns’ joy, their striving for holiness, and just loved who they were. I also knew that they loved me, long before I began discerning with them, and this love was free; I was even completely free to step away from discernment for a while at one point a couple years ago, and as you can see, I was completely welcome to come back, or else I wouldn't be here today. 

What is something you look forward to during this time of discernment as a dokimos?
As my relationship with the nuns has deepened over the years, I've been able to see some ways they've each been uniquely called closer to the Bridegroom. I'm excited to see what that will look like for me. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Please pray for Olivia, entering on May 12!

We are full of joy to announce that we will welcome a new member of our monastery on May 12, the eve of the Ascension! Olivia Kijauskas is from Holy Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Parish in Euclid, Ohio. She has been discerning with our community for several years. Olivia studied art at Cleveland State University; this photo was taken at her senior art show in 2019. We are excited for Olivia to enter into our monastic family! Please pray for her as she takes this next step in her journey and continues to discern God's will for her life.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Spring Work Day, May 22

Join us for a day of work projects (mostly outdoor), prayer, food and fun at the monastery on Saturday, May 22. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome! The day begins at 10 a.m., includes lunch, and closes with vespers at 5 p.m. followed by a cookout. Come whenever available, and bring a side dish to share if you can. The monastery is located at 17485 Mumford Rd. Burton, Ohio. Please RSVP* by Monday, May 17, to christthebridegroom@gmail.com or 440-834-0290, so that the appropriate amount of food can be prepared.

*Please RSVP with:

1. The number of adults (include teens) and the number of kids (12 and under)

2. Will you be here for lunch or dinner or both?

3. The dish you plan to bring

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Christ is Risen!


"O Women, be the heralds of good news and tell what you saw; tell of the vision and say to Zion: 'Accept the good news of joy from us, the news that Christ has risen.' Exult and celebrate and rejoice, O Jerusalem, seeing Christ the King coming from the tomb like a bridegroom." (from the Paschal Hymns)

As we continue to celebrate this 40-day Paschal season, we hope that you are rejoicing in the gift of eternal life that has been opened to us by the death and resurrection of Christ! May this hope penetrate all of your sorrows and sufferings and help you to turn your gaze to eternity, which begins even now in your relationship with God who desires to give Himself to you at every moment!

For a little taste of the joy of our celebration on the morning of Pascha (Easter), here is a short clip from Resurrection Matins.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Recording of "The Noble Joseph"

We hope you enjoy this beautiful choral piece we learned this year! This version of "The Noble Joseph," which is sung during the procession with the burial shroud during Vespers for Great & Holy Friday, is one of Mother Cecilia's favorite pieces that she remembers the choir singing at her home parish, St. Joseph in Brecksville, Ohio. We hope it draws you into prayer!

(Arranged by Fr. Michael Staurovsky when he was serving at St. Joseph church in 1966; adapted into English by Michael Karaffa, former choir director of the St. Joseph parish choir) 


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Join us for our patronal commemoration on Great & Holy Wednesday

We invite you to join us for Bridegroom Matins, our patronal commemoration, on Great & Holy Wednesday, March 31, 8:00-9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, in person at the monastery, or via live stream on our Facebook page. (We will pray the Jesus Prayer in silence for the first 15 minutes.) The readings and hymns of this service rouse the heart to conversion and vigilance for the coming of the Bridegroom and offer strength to His Bride the Church as we journey with Him in His passion. 

You are also invited to pray with us throughout the week for any of our public services.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Liturgical Schedule (including live stream) for Holy Week & Pascha

Below is our public schedule for Holy Week, Pascha and Bright Week. The services in yellow will be live streamed on our Facebook page. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view; just visit our page and click on the currently streaming video. Links to the service booklets are provided when available. May you have a blessed journey to the great feast of feasts of the Resurrection of Our Lord!

Saturday, March 27
Lazarus Saturday
8:00-9:30 a.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Matins 
4:45-6:00 p.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Great Vespers for Palm Sunday (click "Palm Sunday" for propers)

Sunday, March 28
Palm Sunday
6:30-8:30 a.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Matins (link for propers)
10:00-11:15 a.m.        Divine Liturgy
5:15-6:15 p.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Vespers
8:30-9:00 p.m.           Small Compline

Monday, March 29
Great & Holy Monday
8:00-9:30 a.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Bridegroom Matins 
12:00-12:30 p.m.       1st Hour
8:00-9:00 p.m.           Great Compline

Tuesday, March 30
Great & Holy Tuesday
8:00-9:30 a.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Bridegroom Matins 
12:00-12:30 p.m.       3rd Hour
2:45-4:30 p.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Presanctified Liturgy
8:00-9:00 p.m.           Great Compline

Wednesday, March 31
Great & Holy Wednesday
8:00-9:30 a.m.           Our Patronal Commemoration: 
                                   The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Bridegroom Matins 
12:00-12:30 p.m.       6th Hour
2:45-4:30 p.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Presanctified Liturgy
8:30-9:00 p.m.           Small Compline

Thursday, April 1
Great & Holy Thursday
6:15-8:00 a.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Matins 
12:00-12:30 p.m.       9th Hour

Friday, April 2
Great & Holy Friday
7:30-10:00 a.m.         The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Matins w/ 12 Gospels 
11:30-12:30 a.m.       1st & 3rd Royal Hours 
2:00-3:00 p.m.           6th & 9th Royal Hours 
4:45-6:30 p.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Entombment Vespers    

Saturday, April 3
Great & Holy Saturday
7:30-10:00 a.m.         The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Jerusalem Matins 
3:00-5:30 p.m.           The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Vespers and Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 
9:00-9:30 p.m.           Midnight Office 

Sunday, April 4
Pascha: The Resurrection of Our Lord
9:00-11:30 a.m.         Resurrection Matins, Divine Liturgy, Basket Blessing 

Tuesday, April 6
Bright Tuesday
8:00-10:15 a.m.         The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Resurrection Matins, Divine Liturgy

Thursday, April 8
Bright Thursday
8:00-10:15 a.m.         The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Resurrection Matins

Saturday, April 10
Bright Saturday
4:45-6:00 p.m.          The Jesus Prayer in silence (15 min.), Great Vespers for Thomas Sunday (link for propers)

Monday, March 15, 2021

Live streaming the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete


We invite you to pray the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete with us this Thursday evening at 6:00-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time via our live stream on our Facebook page. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view. Simply visit our Facebook page and click on the currently streaming video. 

The Great Canon is prayed each year on the 5th Thursday of the Great Fast. The hundreds of prostrations unite our body and soul as we repent of our sins and experience God’s mercy.  As is tradition, we will also read the powerful life story of St. Mary of Egypt. This epic Lenten service is a favorite for many who have experienced it! It will help propel you into the final days of the Fast and into Great & Holy Week. 

Here is the service booklet if you would like to follow along. We will not be praying the Canon in the context of Matins but rather praying it in the evening (so that more people can pray it with us), so we will begin with some opening prayers and then with Psalm 50 on p. 6; we will also skip the other portions of Matins that come near the end of the booklet.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Silence of the Cross: At the anniversary of the pandemic

As we celebrate this Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, marking the half-way point of the Great Fast, let's reflect for a moment on the silence of the Cross. Though Jesus spoke much in His public ministry, when it comes time for His passion and death, He is almost completely silent. The offering of Himself is greater than words. The mystery is veiled and reverenced by silence. 

It also happens that we come now to the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and a year full of many types of sad divisions. Of course, in the face of conflict, sometimes we must be courageous and speak up, but often we are invited by God to make an offering of ourselves in silent suffering. This offering is one He often asks monastics to make, but He asks you as well. One of the nuns of our monastery recently wrote this poem, and she shares it with you to encourage you in those moments when the greatest offering you can make is a gift of exterior and interior silence in the face of division.


The Power of Silence


This opinion

I hold so dear;

the stance I stake,

confident in my correctness;

that argument

which will trounce

the illogic of my opponents—

what if

I offered them all

as a holocaust

in the silent flames

on the altar of the Your Heart?

What if,

thus stripped,

I willingly joined myself

to the failure of Your Cross?

Not by words

are the powers of the earth subdued,

but by love

speechless as the Lamb.                    


Then let me not strive

to make my point

or build a case.

Let me not fight

noise with noise.

Let me be humble

in all I think I know.


The universe wordlessly

declares Your glory.

My self-satisfied assertions

add nothing.

Even true words

can drown out Your Voice:

In quietness and trust

shall be your strength.

Be still and know

that I am God.


So as the conflict

roars around me,

and Your Body is torn

by division and pride,

accept my silence

as healing oil

poured over You

like nard

from the emptied vessel

of my heart.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Livestream Schedule: Remainder of the Great Fast

Below is our livestream schedule for the remainder of the Great Fast (the schedule for Great & Holy Week is forthcoming). If your parish offers any of these services, we encourage you to pray with your parish community in person, if possible. To pray with us, visit our Facebook page and click on the currently streaming video (you do not need to have a Facebook account to watch). In the schedule below, the links to the texts are given for the services that are available online. (All times Eastern)

Tuesday, March 9

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins 

Wednesday, March 10

8:00 p.m.     Great Compline

Thursday, March 11 

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins

Saturday, March 13 

4:45 p.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

5:00 p.m.     Great Vespers for the Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast (Propers)

Sunday, March 14 (Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast – St. John Climacus)

6:30 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:45 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Tuesday, March 16

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins 

Wednesday, March 17

8:00 p.m.     Great Compline

Thursday, March 18

6:00-10:00 p.m.     The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (begin on p. 6), including the Life of St. Mary of Egypt

Saturday, March 20

4:45 p.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

5:00 p.m.     Great Vespers for the Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast (Propers)

Sunday, March 21 (Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast – St. Mary of Egypt)

6:30 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:45 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Tuesday, March 23

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins 

Wednesday, March 24

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins 

Thursday, March 25 (Annunciation)

7:00 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

7:15 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Saturday, March 27

4:45 p.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

5:00 p.m.     Great Vespers for the Palm Sunday (Propers)

Sunday, March 28 (Palm Sunday)

6:30 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:45 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Theology of the Body One-Day Course, March 13

Mother Gabriella will speak at a Theology of the Body one-day course on March 13, in person in Gates Mills, Ohio, and also via Zoom. Registration deadline is this Saturday, March 6!



Thursday, February 18, 2021

Livestream schedule: 2nd & 3rd weeks of the Great Fast

Below is our livestream schedule for the second and third weeks of the Great Fast. If your parish offers any of these services, we encourage you to pray with your parish community in person, if possible. To pray with us, visit our Facebook page and click on the currently streaming video (you do not need to have a Facebook account to watch). In the schedule below, the links to the texts are given for the services that are available online.

Sunday, February 21 (First Sunday of the Great Fast)

6:30 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:45 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Tuesday, February 23 

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins

Wednesday, February 24

8:00 p.m.     Great Compline

Thursday, February 25 

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins

Saturday, February 27 

4:45 p.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

5:00 p.m.     Great Vespers for the Second Sunday of the Great Fast (Propers)

Sunday, February 28 (Second Sunday of the Great Fast)

6:30 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:45 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Tuesday, March 2 

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins 

Wednesday, March 3

8:00 p.m.     Great Compline

Thursday, March 4 

6:15 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:30 a.m.     Matins 

Saturday, March 6 

4:45 p.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

5:00 p.m.     Great Vespers for the First Sunday of the Great Fast (Propers)

Sunday, March 7 (Third Sunday of the Great Fast)

6:30 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:45 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Friday, February 12, 2021

Livestream schedule: First week of the Great Fast

We will be livestreaming some of our services again this Great Fast! Below is our schedule for the first week of the Fast. If your parish offers any of these services, we encourage you to pray with your parish community in person, if possible. To pray with us, visit our Facebook page and click on the currently streaming video (you do not need to have a Facebook account to watch). In the schedule below, the links to the texts are given for the services that are available online. We will post a more detailed schedule for the rest of February later in the week. May God bless the beginning of your Great Fast, and we hope to pray with you this coming week!

Sunday, February 14 (Cheesefare Sunday / Forgiveness Sunday)

6:30 a.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

6:45 a.m.     Matins (Propers)

Monday, February 15 (First Day of the Great Fast)

8:00 p.m.     1/4 of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (It's tradition to pray the Great Canon in four parts on the evening of the first four days of the Great Fast, then all at once on the Thursday of the 5th week of the Fast) (begin on p. "3")

Tuesday, February 16 

8:00 p.m.     1/4 of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (begin on p. "3")

Wednesday, February 17 

8:00 p.m.     1/4 of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (begin on p. "3")

Thursday, February 18 

8:00 p.m.     1/4 of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (begin on p. "3")

Saturday, February 20 

4:45 p.m.     The Jesus Prayer in Silence

5:00 p.m.     Great Vespers for the First Sunday of the Great Fast (Propers)

Monday, January 18, 2021

Winter Newsletter: "Weakness: a Path to Holiness"

In this issue of Pomegranate Blossoms, we focus on the theme of weakness. Mother Cecilia writes about the problem with hagiography (idealizing biographies of saints), we reflect on several saints with obvious weaknesses--and what they can teach us, we recommend a few books related to the topic, and more! We hope that this issue helps you to grow in your relationship with God.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Livestream Schedule for the Feast of Theophany

Below is our schedule of livestreamed services for the Feast of the Theophany of Our Lord (the Baptism in the Jordan River). This is one of the greatest feasts in the Byzantine Church. If your parish offers any of these services, we encourage you to pray with your parish community in person, if possible. To pray with us, visit our Facebook page and click on the currently streaming video (you do not need to have a Facebook account to watch). In the schedule below, the links to the texts are given for the services that are available online. Have a blessed feast!

Tuesday, January 5--Eve of Theophany

6:30-8:00 a.m.           Matins 

9:30-10:30 a.m.         1st & 3rd Royal Hours (music supplement)

Noon-1:00 p.m.          6th & 9th Royal Hours  (music supplement)            

8:30-9:30 p.m.           Great Compline with Litija (propers)

 Wednesday, January 6--Feast of Theophany

7:00-8:30 a.m.            Matins (propers)

Saturday, January 2, 2021

New teen & young adult online sessions

We are excited to share with you a new online program for teens and young adults, by the Eparchy of Parma Youth Committee. The hosts of the first meeting are friends of ours; David (in the photo on the left) is the filmmaker of several of our videos, and all three guys have beautiful, prayerful, energetic hearts. Please share this new opportunity with the Byzantine Catholic young people that you know! (Or those who are not Byzantine Catholic but may be interested anyway.)

The Eparchy of Parma Youth Committee invites all teens and young adults to our online Youth Sessions titled "I WILL COME TO YOU". Give us 45 minutes of your time and share with us how you live out the faith in your community. We will see each other for the first time on January 9, 2021. Our seminarian candidates who are studying at the International Theological Institute will tell you how the vibrant community and strong Byzantine presence that they are experiencing are strengthening their spiritual life. More information can be found at parma.org.