Friday, November 30, 2018

Enjoy our video: "Christ our Bridegroom"

The amateur nun-videographers are at it again, with another video that we produced for our annual “Bridegroom’s Banquet” benefit dinner. This time, our video is titled “Christ our Bridegroom,” and in it we explain why our monastery is named "Christ the Bridegroom," the symbolism of the icon of Christ the Bridegroom, more about why Jesus is the Bridegroom, and how we model this relationship for the Church and the world. A few monastery guests also share their thoughts. We hope you enjoy it!

Past videos:
Silence, Prayer, Poustinia (Produced by David Bratnick)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Giving Tuesday: Your donation can be matched!

Our matching donor for the Bridegroom’s Banquet, which took place on Nov. 10, has offered to continue to match donations after the event, until the end of the year, up to the $100,000 goal for the event. Some donations have already come in after the event, so this means that $3,108 in donations and pledges can still be matched! Please mark “Bridegroom’s Banquet” on your donation to include it in the matching funds opportunity. Donations beyond this amount are also very welcomed, and will help with...

Where will the donations go?
Donations will go towards the general operation and maintenance of the monastery for our daily life of prayer and hospitality, and also towards the renovations and repair of our chapel. Our chapel has been in need of repair for a while, and now that the poustinia project is just about finished, it’s finally time to get started! Elements of the project include: waterproofing and mold-removal in the basement, new siding and roof, new gutters and downspouts, new bathroom, and new lighting. Enjoy the slideshow below to see the "before & after" photos from our recent poustinia project, as well as photos of chapel problems that we hope to repair and renovate with your help. Thank you for your support of our monastery and for your help in making a safer and more beautiful place to praise God!

Donation options
1. We are happy to announce that we can now receive online donations! Online options also include pledges and automatic monthly donations.
2. Or, mail in a donation, payable to "Christ the Bridegroom Monastery":
Christ the Bridegroom Monastery
17485 Mumford Rd.
Burton, OH 44021

Monday, November 19, 2018

Sister Iliana's Life Profession, Dec. 8!

We are overjoyed to announce that Sister Iliana will make her life profession and be tonsured as a stavrophore ("cross-bearer") nun on Saturday, December 8, at 1:00 p.m., at St. Stephen Byzantine Catholic Church, 532 Lloyd Rd., Euclid, Ohio. All are invited to the profession service and Divine Liturgy on this feast of the Maternity of Anna. Here is some information about this step in the monastic life and what you will experience at the profession:

After several years of discernment and experience in living the monastic life as a dokimos (postulant) and then as a rasophore (“robe-bearer”) nun after her tonsure, a nun may request to make her life profession and commit her whole life to Christ as His bride. If she is determined to be ready to make this commitment, she is received as a stavrophore (“cross-bearer”) nun during the monastic profession service. At the beginning of the service, she is led up through the center of the church in a white robe (symbolic of her baptismal garment), barefoot, with her head uncovered and long hair flowing. She makes three prostrations as she walks up through the church, symbolizing the three immersions in the baptismal font. As she walks and approaches the bishop standing before the Royal Doors, the people sing a troparion about the return of the prodigal son to his father. After the final prostration, the bishop helps her up. He then asks a series of questions to determine her free will, her intentions, her willingness to renounce the things of the world, and her willingness to embrace poverty, chastity, obedience and all the “sorrows and restraints of the monastic life for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.” She answers, “Yes, Master, with God’s help.” The bishop then recites a powerful catechesis (instruction) about the monastic life and beautiful words of encouragement, such as, “May He be with you when you fall and when you rise up again, consoling and cheering your heart with the comfort of His Holy Spirit.” The bishop then prays to God that He may accept her and help her. The bishop then asks her to give him the scissors that he will use to cut her hair.  She must hand them to him three times to demonstrate her free will. Then he tonsures her (cuts her hair) “as a sign that she has renounced the world, and everything that is in the world, and for the restraining of her will and of all fleshly desires.” The bishop then blesses each piece of the habit one by one with prayers that explain the significance of that piece of clothing, and she is clothed in each piece. In addition to the habit she has been wearing since her tonsure as a rasophore nun, she also receives the klobuk (hat with veil), the paramandyas (a square of black wool embroidered with a red cross and the instruments of the Passion), the mandyas (cape), a hand cross, a 300-knot chotki (prayer rope), and a lighted candle.  In Christ the Bridegroom Monastery the nuns also receive a wedding ring to symbolize their union with Christ as their Spouse. The nun is now led in front of the icon of Christ where she will stand holding her hand cross and lighted candle for the duration of the Divine Liturgy that follows, just as the newly baptized would do.

A stavrophore nun experiences the fullness of monastic life, sharing in the passion, death and resurrection of her Bridegroom. She is given the title of “Mother” to express the fruitfulness of her union with Christ. Before the nun is tonsured as a stavrophore she relinquishes all monies, possessions and property. At this point, the nun is committed to remain for her lifetime in Christ the Bridegroom Monastery. Many people ask, “Is the life profession the same thing is ‘final vows?’” Yes, but Eastern monastics do not make “temporary vows” as other types of religious communities do, so there is no need to specify that these are the “final” vows. To read more about the stages of monastic life, visit the “Discerning?” tab.  Please pray for Sr. Iliana as she prepares for this serious, yet exciting and joyful day!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Overflowing with gratitude!

We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our monastery! At our Bridegroom’s Banquet this past Saturday, and through donations sent in ahead of time, $87,486 was donated or pledged and will be matched by a generous donor! These funds will go towards the general operation and maintenance of the monastery for our daily life of prayer and hospitality, and also towards the renovations and repair of our chapel (we will share more about this project soon).

At the event, held at St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church in Brecksville, Ohio, our guests joined us for Vespers (evening prayer) in the church, at which Bishop Milan presided, and then we enjoyed dinner in the hall. After dinner, our MC—Fr. Eric Garris—introduced the video we produced for the event, called “Christ our Bridegroom.” In the video, we explained why our monastery is named "Christ the Bridegroom," how we model this relationship for the Church and the world and how we have been a model of this relationship for different vocations in the Church. Fr. Eric then shared how his relationship with the nuns of our monastery has enriched and supported his priesthood. He then shared the slideshow we compiled, which included some “before and after” photos from our poustinia renovations, as well as photos of the problem situations in our chapel and its basement, siding and roof, which need repaired. Our guests then generously made donations and pledges. While the donations were being counted, two seminarians from the Diocese of Cleveland, Deacon David Stavarz and Joe Menkhaus, played some music while we all continued to enjoy each other’s company. Mother then opened the envelope containing the total donation/pledge amount and shared the good news!

We are so grateful for the sacrifices that were made and joined to our monastic sacrifice. May we all continue to offer a “sacrifice of praise” to God together! Enjoy more photos from the event here.