Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Angel Exclaimed / Shine in Splendor - New Video on YouTube

 
Christ is Risen!

We'd like to share with you the fruit of many recent choir practices. We are really enjoying singing this beautiful choral composition of The Angel Exclaimed and Shine in Splendor which Mother Cecilia introduced us to this year. It came from her home parish, St. Joseph in Brecksville, and after many hours at the piano, she was able to transpose it from four parts into two, within our vocal range. It was quite the project, but we're so glad she was able to persevere with us who have no vocal training and who had never heard this version of the hymn before. 

We hope you enjoy listening to it, and that you would be able to persevere in Paschal joy! 

Christ is Risen!


Some more information:

  • This hymn in sung during Resurrection Matins and Paschal Divine Liturgies in place of "It is Truly Proper."
  • We don't know who the composer is. (If you do, please let us know!)
  • It was adapted into English by Michael Karaffa, former choir director of St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church in Brecksville, Ohio. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Spring Work Day, 2022

Hello friends, 

You're invited to join us for a day of work projects (mostly outdoor), prayer, food and fun at the monastery and the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch on Saturday, May 28th. 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 here by Thursday, May 26th, so that the appropriate amount of food can be prepared. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Photos from Holy Week and Pascha 2022

Christ is Risen! 

We'd like to share a little glimpse into what our Great and Holy Week and Pascha looked like this year. The full photo album can be viewed here, and a little taste of it is below. It started out with sunshine, crocuses and daffodils and ended with a light dusting of snow on Pascha. 

It was so wonderful to pray with all of the guests we had during the week. We are so glad to get to share our prayer with all of you, and we are especially grateful to all of the priests who celebrated the services and liturgies for us throughout the week. 


Palm and Flowery Sunday Procession


Great and Holy Friday, Procession during Entombment Vespers

Resurrection Matins Procession ending at the chapel door


Monday, April 18, 2022

Christ is Risen! & "The Linen Cloth" -- a poem by Mother Cecilia


Christ is Risen!

Indeed He is Risen!


We couldn't share so many poems during the Fast and Great and Holy Week without sharing one for Pascha. Enjoy!


The Linen Cloth

April 13, 2020

Bright Monday


Clean linen cloth,

Joseph purchased you

to wrap this precious body.

You were the last one

to touch Him at the end.

You held Him close, or rather

He pressed into you

as He rested on the Sabbath.

Cold stone, cold body

and silence, darkness.


Linen shroud,

unlike the cloth of Lazarus,

no one needed to unwind you

from around His tender body.

He sprung from within you,

leaving you whole.

Now you are resting in the tomb,

imprinted with His image,

and when the disciples see you,

they will believe.


Why must I be humiliated

again every day?

He tells me that I am the linen cloth,

and I am to be a witness

to His Resurrection.


Friday, April 15, 2022

"A New Tomb" -- a poem by Mother Gabriella

A New Tomb 


Empty.

I sit and wait.

Will I ever be filled, used

to hold a body, for which I have been cut?


I was a stone,

A rock, placed in a garden

chiseled and carved

emptied to be filled.


Behold! One comes

to be placed in me and fill my ache

to hold a body, for which I was cut.

He is placed with care.


At last! I am filled.

My purpose is complete!

Lain upon my inmost parts

is a body for me to hold.


But what is this?

This Body is not like others

which are placed in tombs

without Life.


It vibrates,

with something I do not know.

An unquenchable Flame,

an Eternal Light.


This Body is here

and yet not. 


How can one dead

not be where He is?

I do not feel the weight

of death in this Body.


He is here,

yet elsewhere.


How strange

is this mystery

that I hold within me

sealed inside.


I feel the weight

of desire from without.

They press in

wanting to know He is here.


The guards

to preserve their lives.

These women

to lose their lives, instead of Him.


What

shall I tell them?

He is here,

yet He is not.


At the moment

when I am finally filled

with a body for which I have been cut,

how can I give Him up?


Is He not mine

to hold?

Is this not

my purpose?


It seems

I have become a Door

that opens 

to a deeper place.


If I do not let Him go

as it seems I must,

how will He finish

the work He must need to do?


The weight

of expectation presses in.

But His presence

asks a gentle question.


Will you

allow Me to give you

a new purpose than to hold a body 

for which you were cut?


If I consent

then He will surely leave,

but if I do not,

what would I violate?


It seems

I must trust this One,

this Body that I hold

for which I was cut.


To give new purpose

to this rock,

this tomb,

this soon-to-be empty place again.


I consent.


He fills me

not with His Body of death

but with His marvelous Light,

a light weight I can hardly bear.


Burst forth, O door!

Break free, O stone!

For you cannot

hold back love!


This New Door must open

to announce

her purpose

to the world.


What once laid in this tomb

a body, for which it was cut,

breathes Life in her

and makes her a Door for all.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

St. Dismas -- a poem by Mother Petra

Today, we have another poem to share with you. St. Dismas is the "good thief", crucified next to Christ. May we emulate his repentance and faith today as we remember Christ's death on the Cross. 


St. Dismas


How could you believe

in the word of One dying?

How could you trust

in the power of One defeated?

How could you hope

in a coming kingdom

as you hung naked

beside its conquered King?


What kind of King is this,

falsely condemned,

forgiving His killers

(even in suffering,

heeding such a sinner),

naked before the mocking crowd,

the tears of these women

His only possession?


Hearing His final cries

you saw Him give up His spirit.

When the soldiers came

to crush your legs,

did you doubt

the promise He had given you?

Behold, today

you will be with Me in paradise.


Three hours longer you suffered.

Did the trembling earth

and splitting rocks,

the darkened sun

confirm His reign?

Were you comforted

by His Mother

standing beneath your cross?

Monday, April 11, 2022

"After the Anointing," a poem by Mother Petra

In honor of Bridegroom Matins which we pray this week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and our journey toward the Paschal Mystery, we'd like to share this poem by Mother Petra.


After the Anointing


I kept my jar of nard until

the time for love had come.

Then I broke the alabaster

and poured my treasure over You.

The fragrance filled the house.

But having once given all,

I have nothing left to offer You:

My hands are empty,

save for these broken shards.

Yet You see in my emptiness

the poverty of love.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Your Brother Will Rise -- a reflection by Mother Iliana

When the war broke out in Ukraine, my heart was torn to pieces. My own people were being slaughtered. I felt so helpless – what could I do to help them so far away, here in a little monastery in Ohio? My heart was filled with grief for all the broken families, and all those who have lost or been separated from fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, friends, and even their precious little children. As I sat in the chapel one day, I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “Your brother will rise,” and I wept. I did not understand what His words meant, but I was consoled to hear them, because in hearing His word, I understood that He was with me and with each of them. “God is with us, understand all you nations” we sing over and over at Great Compline, especially during the time of the Fast.

During Matins on Lazarus Saturday, as we sang the Praises, these words came off the page –though they were simply retelling the story directly from a very familiar Scripture, in that moment they became alive. “Martha and Mary said to the Savior: Lord, if You had been here, our brother would not have died.” Is this not the cry of every heart in the midst of tremendous human loss? “God, if You had been here, my brother, my sister, my child, my parents, my nation, my dream would not have died! If You had only done something, I would not have this grief in my heart day and night” (see Psalm 12). As we continued to sing the Praises, again a line jumped out to me: “Martha said to Mary: The Master is here!” While I think, “If He had only been here,” Martha reminds me that “the Master is here.” Here, in the midst of this sorrow and grief, He is here, and what does He say to me? “You brother will rise.” 

St. John Chrysostom says: “We do indeed die, but we do not continue in it; which is not to die at all. For the tyranny of death, and death indeed, is when he who dies is nevermore allowed to return to life. But when after dying is living, and that a better life, this is not death but sleep” (Christ Our Pascha, pg. 79). Jesus, when He raises Jairus’ daughter, says, “the girl is not dead but sleeping” (Mt 9:24), and before raising Lazarus He says, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep” (Jn 11:12). “Today, Lazarus rejoices in Your word, O Word of God, as he begins his life again” (Lazarus Saturday, Hymn of Light). And the word he hears, this brother who will rise, is the Incarnate God calling him by his name. “Through Lazarus, O Christ, You have already despoiled Death; where is you victory, where is your sting? Now You bear the grief of Bethany! Carrying branches in our hands, let us all praise the victory of Christ” (Lazarus Saturday, Hymn of Light).

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Lazarus -- a poem by Olivia

Icon from the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

In honor of Lazarus Saturday, we'd like to share a set of haikus from our dokimos, Olivia, which she wrote a few years ago during a discernment visit at our monastery. 

Lazarus

I. 

The One who’s far off

Draws near to His friend who sleeps. 

Mercy’s hour has passed. 

II. 

Two hearts ache with One. 

Closeness would have spared His friend. 

Earth encloses death. 

III. 

Two hearts cry to Hope. 

Brother sleeper quakes for joy. 

Mercy’s hour awakens. 

IV. 

“Lazarus, come forth!”

One life bursting through the veil 

Will cost the Other’s.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Save the Date for the Bridegroom's Banquet!


Please save the date for our annual benefit dinner, The Bridegroom's Banquet. More details will be coming out in the next few months, so please stay tuned for more announcements and the opportunity to register. 

 

Friday, April 1, 2022

"Mary of Egypt," a poem by Mother Cecilia

On the Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast, we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt, a profound model of repentance. (And Her feast day is April 1.) If you are unfamiliar with the life of St. Mary of Egypt, you can read the full account, recorded by St. Sophronius, here


Mary of Egypt -- a poem by Mother Cecilia, April 1, 2019


A sulfuric fire smolders in your flesh

as you stand paralyzed in the doorway.

My pitiful child!—

Out of Egypt I have called you.

Untie these rough, heavy ropes

with which you have enslaved yourself.

Cross the Jordan, and I will give you rest.


Now your coals smoke and hiss

as the Jordan water dries and the sun shrivels you.

My hungry one—

Man does not live by bread alone.

The manna has stopped; I feed you with My Word.

Let your tears flow; be emptied,

as I secretly break the strings that tether you.


Now I give you My eyes, with their light,

to see into man’s heart and love him.

O radiant one!—

Stand up and walk!

Though your old clothes have worn away

and your hair is white as snow,

I have clothed your shame with glory.


Now the man touches your lips with the burning coal—

it slips within and engulfs you completely.

O My Ark!—

Cross the Jordan, and I will give you rest.

The last worn thread is severed,

and though none but a lion roams this land,

your body, all aflame, I will protect and take to Myself.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

"And God Came Down" -- a poem by Mother Petra for Annunciation

 
"And God Came Down" -- a poem by Mother Petra


He saw the bondage

of His people in Egypt

and God came down

in a burning bush

to set them free,

promising Moses,

“I will be with you.”


He saw the oppression

of the youths in the furnace

and God came down

into the conflagration

with cooling dew,

assuring His faithful three,

“I am with you.”


He saw the affliction

of Mankind fallen

and God came down

to a Virgin’s womb,

burned yet not consumed,

proclaiming by the angel,

“I am with you.”

 

He sees the suffering

of His pilgrim Church

and God comes down

with tongues of fire

to each washed heart,

declaring to the end,

“I am with you.”

Friday, March 18, 2022

"The Garden of My Heart," a poem by Mother Iliana

A still from our video Be Poor With Me: Reflections on Poverty, filmed by David Bratnick
 

In honor of the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, Mother Iliana would like to share her poem "The Garden of My Heart" with you. 


In the place where He was crucified

        there was a garden 

        a garden locked,

        a fountain sealed;

then one of the soldiers pierced His side,

        and out of His heart

        flowed rivers of life,

        to water His garden enclosed.

“You have ravished my heart!” He cried,

        as He watered His garden bride.

“Let my beloved come to His garden,”

        His dear one replied,

        as she bathed Him with myrrh and nard.

“Now let my fragrance be wafted,

        even to earth’s farthest bounds,

        for I have become a living well, 

        a flowing stream.”

In the place where He was crucified

        there was a garden

        and the garden was my heart;

        the spear which pierced His side,

        opened the gate of mine.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

LIVE Recording of What God is Not's 100th Episode

Mother Natalia and Father Michael O'Loughlin's podcast "What God is Not" is about to hit a major milestone: their 100th episode. 

You're invited to join the live recording of the 100th episode of the "What God Is Not" podcast at Holy Resurrection Byzantine Parish in Euclid, Ohio, on Tuesday, March 29th, 2022.

Be part of the audience and meet Mother Natalia and Fr. Michael O'Loughlin, as well as other fellow listeners.

The schedule for the evening is:

        5:30pm - Vespers for St. John Climacus
        6:15pm - Lenten Potluck (no meat, dairy or eggs)
        7:00pm - Live Recording

Those who can't attend the live recording are welcome to watch it live on Instagram or to wait for the episode to be released on Wednesday, April 27th. 

New episodes of "What God is Not" are released every Wednesday. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Weight of War: A Mother's Lament - A Reflection from Mother Petra

The war sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a poignant, throbbing backdrop for my experience of the Great Fast this year.  On the second day of Lent, I read these words of St. Sophrony of Essex: 

“I have been in continuous and terrible pain as a witness to the nightmare of men—who are all brothers—killing one another.  At times, this pain causes me to howl like a wild animal, to yelp like a poor dog whose paws have been crushed by a car.  And just like a dog, shaking from pain, to crawl away from the paths of men.  But when the pain in the heart reaches the limits of our physical endurance, then the invocation of the Name of Jesus Christ brings PEACE which alone keeps us alive.” 

My prayer, around which all of my life revolves, has taken on a deeper urgency, and I glimpse the global (even cosmic) dimensions of the prayer of the Church.  I understand that when I pray, the whole Church prays in me, and this prayer is for the whole world.  The pain in my heart is but a taste of the great ocean thundering across the globe.

During the Fast, we once again start reading Scripture at the beginning, with the book of Genesis.  Woven throughout our Lenten prayers is the theme of the Fall, the suffering of Man who has exiled himself from Eden by his sin.  Recently, Genesis 4:8-15, which recounts Cain’s slaying of his brother Abel, was given me to read aloud during Vespers.  My heart grieved as I chanted the dialogue between Cain and God:

[Cain] “[A]m I my brother’s keeper?”

[God] “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground…. [Y]ou shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth…”

[Cain] “My punishment is greater than I can bear…from Your face I shall be hidden…”

Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord…

Once again, Man is exiling himself by the spilling of his brother’s blood.  We taste anew the bitter cost of sin.

The next day, we read the conclusion of this same chapter in Genesis:  “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him’” (v. 25).  Often I have meditated on Cain’s killing of Abel, but never from the perspective of their mother.  Eve, who apparently had never yet known human death, experiences the death of her son Abel, and she clearly understands he was murdered by her other son Cain.  In effect, she loses two sons, the slain and the exiled.  Surely, her agony is compounded by the awareness that she had in some way contributed to this fracture, this rending of her family, by heeding the serpent and grasping after the knowledge of good and evil.

I’ve been praying in recent months about the nature of motherhood as I experience the reality of my own spiritual motherhood:  both the sobering weight to which I consent when I accept a spiritual son, and the mysterious, hidden ways in which I am a mother to souls across the world.  From this vantage point, I looked at Eve’s grief and recognized my own lament over this war in Slavic lands and the choices of my children closer to home as an echo of her lament.  Crying out to the Crucified One as I live these dark days, I have prayed for God’s people, both those with whom I have personal relationships and those suffering in Ukraine and Russia.  Yet I am haunted by the conviction that my own sin has made me in some manner complicit; I am not an innocent bystander.  I also am one who seeks self, objectifies my brother, desires domination, and have harbored hatred in my heart.  As we sing in the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, “I have followed in the footsteps of Cain, I have chosen to become a murderer; for I have led my poor soul to death by living according to the flesh in the wickedness of my deeds” (Ode 1).  This conviction fuels my repentance. 

Repenting in my prayer, I suddenly saw Eve’s suffering mirrored, not in my poor heart, but in the pure heart of the New Eve:  The Theotokos looks down from heaven and weeps because one of her sons slays the other.  Each day this blood cries out from the ground!  But Mary stands at the foot of the Cross, ready to receive as her sons both the apostle and the criminal because she knows her first Son died in order to open the way back to Eden for all Mankind.  The flaming sword has been quenched by the blood and water gushing forth from His side.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, she pleads with us to embody His love by living His Gospel of peace in the power of the Holy Spirit given us in baptism. 

So as we journey deeper into this desert, of the Great Fast and of human wars, let us offer the Father our repentance as a worthy sacrifice.  Let us assume our great dignity as disciples of Christ by being our brother’s keeper.  Let us vigorously fight evil, not by the world’s violent means, but by the spiritual weapons of the children of Light—prayer, penance, fasting, and self-sacrifice.  And let us keep our heart’s eye fixed on the promise of the Resurrection.



Monday, March 14, 2022

Upcoming Opportunities to Pray with Us: The Great Canon and Bridegroom Matins



The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete:

Join us for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete on Thursday, March 31, at Holy Resurrection Parish, 532 Lloyd Rd, Euclid, Ohio. 
The hundreds of prostrations unite our body and soul as we repent of our sins and experience God’s mercy. We will also listen to the life of St. Mary of Egypt and venerate her relic. 
The opportunity for the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession) will also be available. 
A simple Lenten meal will be served from 5:00-5:45 p.m., and the Canon will begin at 6:00 p.m. All are invited to come for part or all of the Canon, even if you are not physically able to participate in the prostrations. The duration of the Canon is approximately 3.5 hours. 

Please RSVP by filling out this form.









Bridegroom Matins on Great and Holy Wednesday

We invite you to join us and Bishop Milan for Bridegroom Matins, our patronal commemoration, on Great & Holy Wednesday, April 13th, at 8:00 a.m. at the monastery. 

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. 
A light breakfast will follow.

Please RSVP by filling out this form

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

A Reflection from One of the Nuns on the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste

I’ll admit it is somewhat odd what struck me while praying this year with the commemoration of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. I realized that I have, in my mind, formed a subconscious link between “Forty Martyrs of Sebaste” and “Mother Cecilia’s birthday.” You see, Mother Cecilia’s birthday is March 8 and the Forty Martyrs’ feast is March 9. In the Byzantine Tradition, we always begin a feast at Vespers on the preceding calendar day. Which means the evening we celebrate Mother Cecilia’s birthday, we begin singing the hymns for the feast. As I was contemplating this overlap, something just felt right about it. My next thought was…that’s pretty weird. Why does it seem “right” to joyfully celebrate Mother Cecilia’s life and simultaneously commemorate the torture and death of forty men? Then, I remembered having a similar feeling almost two years ago as we sat at the bedside of a dear friend who was dying. We were there with his whole family, including his brand new granddaughter – his first grandbaby. As the baby made all the baby-sounds of new life, our friend took his dying breath. Despite the obvious grief of the temporary goodbye, I saw a beauty in the dichotomy of the death and new life existing in the same room. Because, as Christians, we of course believe that a holy death brings forth new life. The martyrs remind us of the need to die for Christ, and our birthdays, our celebration of life, should remind us of the need to live for Christ. So, as we struggle through this journey of life together, let us remember the goal, remember the reason we live…and the reason we die. Let us keep in mind these two lines from the propers for the feast of the 40 Holy Martyrs:

     The holy martyrs bravely endured their present suffering,                

     They rejoiced in things hoped for but not yet seen.       

You can read the story of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste here

Monday, February 28, 2022

Resources for the Great Fast


Glory to Jesus Christ!

Hello dear ones, 

As we begin the Great Fast today, we'd like to share a couple of resources you might find helpful. 

"Living With Christ: Great Lent at Home" is a booklet from the Melkite Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Newton that has reflections for every day from Clean Monday to Lazarus Saturday. 




We'd also like to share these upcoming webinars from God With Us Online: 

  • A series of talks on the Jesus Prayer by Fr. Maximos, heiromonk of Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin, begins on Monday, March 7th. 
  • Additionally, on March 28th, our very own Mother Natalia is giving a talk with her spiritual father Fr. Michael O'Loughlin for God With Us Online. The title of their talk is "Entertaining Angels: The Ascetical Practice of Hospitality."

We hope that these resources will enrich your experience of the Great Fast this year, and that you'll be able to be immersed in the beauty of this season in your parishes and homes.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Pray with us for peace, through the intercession of the Ukrainian saints

We are praying earnestly for our family and friends (and all people) in Ukraine! We are also praying for the people of Russia, especially those who have been detained for protesting war, and for the conversion of leaders. Please join us in prayer and fasting, through the intercession of all the saints of Ukraine, especially Mother Theodora's patron, Blessed Theodore Romzha, and Mother Iliana's ancestors who died for their faith in the last century under communism.


Here is a prayer we found:

Ukraine is a land of martyrs and saints. As the world turns to war and destruction, we call on these holy men and women to stand with the Prince of Peace and pray for us.

Blessed Vasil Velischkovsky and the other 27 ‘new martyrs of Ukraine,’ pray for us.

St. Volodymyr, pray for us.

St. Olga, pray for us.

St. Anthony of the Caves, pray for us.

St. Josaphat, pray for us.

Sts. Cyril and Methodius, pray for us.

Our Lady, venerated as Mother of God at Zarvanytsia, the “Place of Disruption,” pray for us.

Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail;

    let the nations be judged before you.

Put them in fear, O Lord;

    let the nations know that they are only human. (Psalm 9:19-20)

We fly to Your patronage, O Virgin Mother of God. Despise not our prayers in our needs, but deliver us from all dangers, since you alone are pure and blessed.

O most glorious Ever-Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers and present them to Your Son and our God, that for the sake of You, He enlighten and save our souls.

(Kathleen N. Hattrup - John Burger - published on 02/24/22)

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Our Winter Newsletter is Finally Published!

 


Our winter newsletter is finally published! It features the life profession of Mother Natalia and Mother Petra, their reflections, reflections about the profession from each of the other members of the community, some photo highlights from 2021, and a recap of our Bridegroom's Banquet. We hope you are blessed by all of our reflections and photos! 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Publican, the Pharisee, and the Snow Pile


We got a couple feet of snow three weeks ago, and it's kept snowing since. As the snow pile in our parking lot kept growing and growing, our dokimos couldn't help making a meme. 

We hope everyone had a blessed feast of the Encounter of Our Lord with Simeon and Anna, and we're looking ahead to tomorrow, the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. May we embrace repentance with our lives like the publican and not be so concerned about appearances (as this meme communicates in a silly way).