Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Conservation of Love -- a reflection and poem by Mother Natalia
Friday, December 16, 2022
The End of Our Wandering and Today's Feast
Glory to Jesus Christ!
The Feast of the Three Holy Youths:
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
It's been a little over a week since Sister Onuphria's rasophore tonsure, and we'd like to share some photos from the evening with you. We hope you enjoy them!
Thank you very much to everyone who came out to pray with us as well as to all of those who prayed for Sister Onuphria as she prepared for her tonsure. Please keep praying for her and for all of us.
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Introducing Sister Onuphria!
I met St. Onuphrius for the first time during my observership. Someone mentioned him in a conversation joking that I could eventually be named for him, if I were to follow the tradition of taking a name with the same first letter of my baptismal name. I had never heard of him before. A couple of weeks later, I was flipping through books in the monastery library about the Desert Fathers, and I came across Paphnutius’s account of the life of Onuphrius. Out of curiosity, I began to read, and as I read about his life, my heart was burning within me. That night, I felt like Onuphrius adopted me. He felt so close. I didn’t think a hesychast from a millennium and a half ago could feel so close. He is my desert father, and has been my consistent companion since then, gently present as a light in dark times.
Onuphrius was a wild man. He had lived in solitude for sixty years when Paphnutius found him. Paphnutius recounts his first encounter with the Saint: “Suddenly, I looked in the distance. I saw a man coming who was completely fire, his hair spread out over his body like a leopard’s. Indeed, he was naked… Now when he came close to me, I climbed up on a mountain ledge, thinking he was a mountain man.” Onuphrius calls Paphnutius by name, having spiritual knowledge that he was coming.
The two go back to Onuphrius’ cell, and he tells Paphnutius his story. “I walk in the mountains like the wild beasts, and I live on plants and trees, and I have not seen anyone I know.” He started his monastic life in the Erete Monastery, a cenobitic community. He ached to live in the desert as Elijah and John the Baptist did. He sought to follow their lives of complete dependence on God in the desert where there is no human help for a man. Eventually, Onuphrius found an experienced solitary to teach him the eremitic life, and from that point onward, he struggled in the wilderness. After sixty years of struggle, he was so open to God’s love that he appeared to be on fire, and angels brought him the Eucharist. After Onuphrius tells his story and the two spend the night in prayer, Onuphrius breathes forth his spirit, and Paphnutius buries him and continues his journey, heartbroken that he couldn’t stay there.
The journey of Paphnutius is one of returning more and more to Paradise. Each ascetic he encounters as he goes deeper into the desert reveals to him a deeper layer of how monastic life returns us to Eden. Onuphrius is an image of this in his nakedness, in his total trust in the Father who provides him with everything he needs and in his dominion over the land. In this posture of utter dependence on his Father, Onuphrius burns with love as a “burnt offering wholly consumed.”
For me, Onuphrius is an image of a bride. He is totally given. When we chant the fourth chapter of the Song of Songs at Compline, I can’t help but think of him when we chant the invitation of the Bridegroom: “Come from Lebanon my bride, come from Lebanon, come! Descend from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the haunts of lions, from the leopards’ mountains.” The bride of God is a wild one, and Onuphrius images this for me.
Friday, October 28, 2022
Olivia to be tonsured as a rasophore nun on Nov. 20!
We have some exciting news! On Sunday, November 20, dokimos (postulant) Olivia will be tonsured as a rasophore ("robe-bearer") nun! During Vespers for the feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple, at Holy Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Parish in Euclid, Ohio, the bishop will cut four small sections of her hair as a sign of her deepening commitment to God in the monastic life. She will also be clothed in the monastic habit, including the tunic, apostolnik (veil), belt, riassa (robe) and skufia (soft-sided hat). And finally, she will receive her new monastic name!
Ahead of time, the dokimos submits three names to the hegumena (abbess), and the hegumena, through prayer, chooses one of the three, or she may choose another. When the name is spoken by the bishop during the tonsure--Sister _______--this is the moment that Olivia (and all of us) find out the name that God is giving her in monastic life. If she is called to remain in the monastic life and make her life profession in a few years, the Holy Spirit will continue to reveal to her the intimate meaning of this name for the rest of her life!
Please pray for Olivia as she enters this next step in her monastic formation and discernment!
All are invited to join us for Vespers and the tonsure. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of space, we cannot invite everyone to the reception.
4:00 p.m., Holy Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Parish, 532 Lloyd Rd., Euclid, Ohio
The service will also be livestreamed through our Facebook page, and can also be viewed afterward. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view.
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Chapel Updates, a Monastery 10k, and More
Glory to Jesus Christ!
We're nearing the end of the month of October now, and all kinds of different things have been going on, from continued chapel renovations, to a monastery 10k race. Here are some updates:
All of the participants did amazingly, and it was so much fun to work toward a goal and then to achieve it together. (Fr. James Kulway won the race with a time of 38:49.)
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Renovations Updates: Inside, Outside, and a Sad Good-bye
Glory to Jesus Christ!
It's been a while since we had a chapel renovations update, and a lot has happened since then! We have a lot of photos for you, so make sure you keep scrolling to the end to see all of them.
After all of the electrical wiring was completed, new insulation was put in.
Next, drywall and mudding.
We've been choosing design details like paint colors, tile for the sanctuary, and lighting. We're getting really excited to see what it's going to be like when it's finished!
The new sidewalks, poustinia entry pads, and chapel entrance are nearly complete.
Also, a big thank you to everyone who came to our Fall Work Day last weekend. We got a lot done, including painting the trim of our chapel sign, so we'll have a fresh sign to match our freshened up chapel. We can't thank you enough for the work you have done to help us maintain our monastery.
Finally, good-bye to our St. Anthony Poustinia.
One really important project we needed to have done was the demolition of our oldest, dearest poustinia house, dedicated to St. Anthony of the Desert. The foundation was irreparable, and at times, nuns and guests would feel the entire house shift on its foundation. We knew it was time to say good-bye to St. Anthony. Many of our nuns received their call to the monastery and to make steps in their monastic lives in this poustinia, so we are certainly feeling the loss. We also know that many, many people have had profound experiences of prayer in this poustinia as well. It was becoming more and more unsafe though, so we had to let it go.
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Thank you for your generosity!
Sunday, September 11, 2022
"Receive the Gift: Reflections on Chastity" is now on YouTube!
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Our new video which premiered last night at our Bridegroom's Banquet is now available on YouTube!
This year’s video is entitled “Receive the Gift: Reflections on Chastity.” Chastity is not merely about sex: it’s an attitude toward life, a posture that receives all good things as a gift and refuses to grasp. In this video, we journey through what chastity looks like in several areas: Creational chastity, intellectual chastity, emotional chastity, sexual chastity, and spiritual chastity. This video is an invitation to open yourself to receive the gift the Lord desires to pour into your heart...
God bless you for your generous support for our monastic life at this year's Bridegroom's Banquet! We're so happy to announce that we surpassed our goal! We are so grateful.
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
The Newest Fair in the Country
Last week, in community we were talking about the Geauga County Fair, which was celebrating it's 200th anniversary this past weekend and is just a few miles away from us. We learned that's it's the second oldest fair in the country, so we decided to create the newest fair in the country. Thus, our own personal monastery fair was born. Mother Natalia spearheaded the planning process, which included inviting a couple of friends, gathering supplies, and inviting all of us to plan some part of it if we'd like to. Sunday afternoon, amidst our usual rest time and much rain, some of us were preparing our contributions to the fair. We tried to keep everything a surprise as much as possible. Then we prayed Vespers, and it was time for the fair to begin.
We also had a "corn maze," planned by Olivia and Mother Natalia. At this point, the sun had set, and it was pouring rain, so it was pretty spooky. The "corn maze" consisted in walking into a corn field near the monastery, and trying to get lost, and then getting out again. For the most part, we all split up, and it was very difficult to find one another because of the loudness of the rain and the corn stalks all around us. But no worries, we all made it out alive (but very wet).