Monday, March 30, 2020

Live stream schedule for the next two weeks

[Updated 4/5]
Below is our live stream schedule through Pascha (Easter). To pray with us, either live or later, visit our Facebook Page and click on the currently playing video or a past video. You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch (simply click "not now" when prompted to create an account).

Also, here is a resource we put together to help you pray the Holy Week & Pascha services at home! Praying for you!!

All times EDT
Monday, March 30
4:45 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
5:00-6:00 p.m.     Vespers

Tuesday, March 31
6:15 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
6:30-8:00 a.m.     Matins

4:45 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
5:00-6:00 p.m.     Vespers

Wednesday, April 1
6:15 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
6:30-8:00 a.m.     Matins

8:00-9:00 p.m.     Great Compline

Thursday, April 2
6:15 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
6:30-8:00 a.m.     Matins

4:45 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
5:00-6:00 p.m.     Vespers

Friday, April 3
8:00-9:00 p.m.     Great Compline

Saturday, April 4
Lazarus Saturday
6:15 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
6:30-8:00 a.m.     Matins

4:45 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
5:00-6:00 p.m.     Great Vespers for Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 5
Palm Sunday
6:15 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
6:30-8:00 a.m.     Matins

5:15 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
5:30-6:10 p.m.     Vespers

Monday, April 6
Great & Holy Monday
8:00 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
8:15-9:30 a.m.     Bridegroom Matins

2:45 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
3:00-4:00 p.m.     Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Tuesday, April 7
Great & Holy Tuesday
8:00 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
8:15-9:30 a.m.     Bridegroom Matins

2:45 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
3:00-4:00 p.m.     Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Wednesday, April 8
Great & Holy Wednesday
8:00 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
8:15-9:30 a.m.     Bridegroom Matins

Thursday, April 9
Great & Holy Thursday
6:15 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
6:30-8:00 a.m.     Matins

We encourage you to watch the live stream of Vespers & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil from the cathedral of your own eparchy, if possible. Here is the link for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Parma, Ohio. We will update with the time when it is available.

Friday, April 10
Great & Holy Friday
7:30 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
7:45-9:45 a.m.     Matins with the 12 Gospel readings

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.     1st & 3rd Royal Hours

2:00-3:00 p.m.     6th & 9th Royal Hours

We encourage you to watch a live stream of Entombment Vespers from your own parish, if possible.

Saturday, April 11
Great & Holy Saturday
7:30 a.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
7:45-9:30 a.m.     Jerusalem Matins

3:00 p.m.             Jesus Prayer in Silence
3:15-5:30 p.m.     Vespers & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (The Paschal Vigil)

9:00-9:45 p.m.     Midnight Office

Sunday, April 12
Pascha: The Resurrection of Our Lord!
We encourage you to watch the live stream of Resurrection Matins and Divine Liturgy from your own parish, if possible.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Introduction to Sacred Silence: A Prayer for the Empty"

You can watch below the recording of Mother Cecilia's webinar about silence from last week.

About this talk: Silence, the most mysterious form of prayer, is also the simplest. But most people either run away in fear from this simple route of Theosis (union with God) or attempt it but quickly become discouraged. Mother Cecilia will clear up some misconceptions about silence and stir up your desire to plunge into the mystery. Her talk will be encouraging news to those who feel that they are empty and have nothing to bring to prayer, and it will be challenging news to those who feel the opposite!

You can still sign up for further talks in this Lenten series on prayer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A poem during the pandemic

An Acceptable Time*

Lord, help us to find You
waiting in our souls,
when Bread is withheld and
Your Voice falls silent.

In this desert darkness,
may the invisible glow of
Your indwelling Presence
enfold us in hope.

You are not removed,
cannot be kept from us.
Closer than our own selves,
You’re buried in our hearts.

Teach us to keep vigil
with You in the Garden,
to surrender—not my will
in trust that our tears water

other gardens, a million gardens
that have lain dormant
in our dust.  We submit
to this pruning.

Bring forth a harvest
for Your Church, renew us
in the faith that God is with us:
We cannot be shaken.*

*Title taken from Isaiah 49:8 (Douay-Rheims and KJV--rendered in modern translations as "a time of favor").  The last lines allude to Psalm 46/45, v. 5  "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved".

--Sr. Petra

Monday, March 23, 2020

An open letter to the faithful: A Eucharistic "fast"

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

I have been praying for all of you, especially during this Great Fast, during this time of turmoil in the country, in the Church and in the world.  I believe I have a message of hope to share with you, which I pray is from Our Father.  Please allow me to share my reactions to the current situation in the Church, as well as the light I believe that God has given me to accept and find grace during this time.

Over the past week, our country has plunged into a radical reactionism unlike anything I have experienced in my 33 years of life.  Over the course of several days, precautions have been taken and bans put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, commonly spoken of as the coronavirus, which has been labeled a pandemic.  It seemed like each day, there were more freedoms limited, more opportunities taken away--most especially, our freedom to worship the Lord at Mass and the Divine Liturgy.  As a nun, this was a great pain for me.  During the Great Fast in the Byzantine Tradition, we fast from the consecration of the Eucharist on weekdays, but the Church in her wisdom, knows that we cannot fast from the Bridegroom completely, so she prescribes what is called "The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts," which is a communion service with Jesus’ Precious Body consecrated on the previous Sunday given to the faithful in the context of Vespers, or evening prayer.  But now, in the current state of affairs, we will also abstain from this--and even from the Sunday celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

My first reaction was anger and frustration.  How can the bishops do this?  How can it be good for the faithful to be without the sacraments or public worship, especially during this difficult time?  How can we conceivably cancel Holy Week and Pascha (Easter)?! Perhaps some of you can relate to these sentiments--or have felt them yourselves.

As I was shopping this past week to prepare for a three-week self-quarantine at the monastery, in an attempt to protect our immuno-compromised sisters, I felt all these feelings welling up within me.  As I turned to the Father in the midst of this seeming "apocalypse shopping," I felt His overwhelming presence and invitation to trust.  In His goodness, I also felt Him place upon my heart an answer to my question.  Not the question I asked of, "Why is this happening?"  But the deeper question of, "What am I supposed to do?"  The response was staggeringly simple.  “Consent.”

“Ok, Father.  You are asking me to consent.  To trust that You are at work in the request of our bishops.  To give my ‘yes’ to that which I would not choose for myself.  Yes, Father.  I consent.”

As this prayer tumbled around in my heart while I moved 50-pound bags of rice, I also became aware of a deeper reality.  My consent was to bear fruit!  I saw another invitation--to offer my ache to receive Him in reparation and repentance for those who do not receive Him worthily.  My pain was becoming fruitful before my eyes!  I saw a great opportunity to offer my own living sacrifice--a contrite heart--which the Lord will not refuse.  As my spiritual father has often told me, we don’t need to seek out penance--our lives and vocations will present us with the penance and suffering that God desires for us.  Since I believe this to be true, I see the invitation of this Great Fast and Pascha to enter into an Even Greater Fast--from the very sacraments that bring me into contact with God’s presence--because God is allowing this to happen and asking me to consent.  And you, too. 

In a sense, we now know for sure what the Father is asking us to give up for the Great Fast--and it’s not just chocolate!!  Though we continue with our other observances for the Great Fast, there is more He is asking.

I believe this is precisely the purification that we need--as a culture and Church in America.  We need to know Who we receive in the Eucharist.  We need to know that He is God, and we are not.  We need to fast from our need to control--to have things ‘on demand’--even sacraments .  We need to allow this purification to drive us inward in the right way--to the presence of God in each of us.  To learn to pray.  To seek relationship with the Trinity.  We need to learn to pray as a family, to make God’s love present in our homes.

So, I make a radical request of you, dear brothers and sisters.  I ask you to share in the Father’s request of me, the request He is making of each of us, to "consent."  Consent to the situation that God has placed us.  Pray for our bishops and trust their discernment.  Pray intentionally in your hearts and in your homes for our Church and for the whole world during this time of crisis.  Allow your ache for Him to be fruitful.  In this time of cleansing our bodies to remain free from COVID-19, allow the Father to purify your soul from the virus of pride, self-love, self-determination and control.  And trust that the Father will be faithful and bring more good than we can imagine out of what seems to be evil.

I am praying for all of you and I love you.

In Christ’s Heart,
Mother Gabriella

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Resources for prayer in your home

[UPDATED 3/25/20]
Because most public liturgies are cancelled for the time being, here are some resources so that you can pray from home. Let's make use of this opportunity to revive our domestic churches!

We are working on a project to help you pray during Holy Week and Pascha (Easter) at home!

For Sundays:

Office of Typika for Home Use (This service can be used when there is no possibility of attending Divine Liturgy)

For the propers (changeable parts) for Typika for a particular Sunday, follow these instructions:
1. Visit the Metropolitan Cantor Institute website
2. Find the "Liturgical Calendar" column on the right side of the page
3. Scroll down to find the current date
4. Click on the "Divine Liturgy" link under that date

Byzantine Act of Spiritual Communion

Epistle and Gospel Readings
Scroll down to find the correct Sunday
(March 29 is the 5th Sunday of Great Lent)

Another option:
Live Stream from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Parma, Ohio
At least for this weekend, Matins is at 10:00 a.m. and Divine Liturgy is at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time
Find a Live Liturgy at another church or monastery

For video reflections on the Gospel reading, given by two Melkite Byzantine priests:
Click on the gold box to the right
Or, here are reflections for the Roman Catholic Gospel readings

For Other Days of the Week:

The People's Book for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (To follow along with the live stream)
As of now, the Presanctified Liturgy is streamed on Wednesdays(?) and Fridays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time

"Byzantine Daily Office": Daily prayers of the day sent to you each day by email or available through a smart-device APP. Here is the link to subscribe.

To use to pray on your own or to follow along with our live stream:
Daily Lenten Matins (does not include the daily Lenten propers)
Daily Vespers (does not include the daily Lenten propers)
Sunday Evening Vespers during the Great Fast
Great Compline for weekdays during the Great Fast

For the texts for other services, including Holy Week services: Follow the 4-step instructions above to access these services on the Metropolitan Cantor Institute's website. There are also tons of resources on this website, so explore around!

Monastery Live Stream:

We are live streaming some of our services from our chapel! Visit our Facebook Page to find out which ones and to watch the videos live or later. You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Live stream of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
Monday, March 23, 6:00-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Go to our Facebook Page and click on the video
You can watch even without a Facebook Account
The video can also be viewed later

After some opening prayers, we will begin on p. 6

About the Great Canon:
A canon is one of the elements of the daily liturgical service of Matins, or Morning Prayer. It is made up of nine sections called odes, based on nine biblical canticles (songs). The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete is an extra-long canon of repentance that is prescribed to be prayed in portions during the first week of the Great Fast, and in full on the Thursday morning of the 5th week of the Fast. This year, the Great Canon is transferred to Tuesday morning because of the feast of the Annunciation. We will pray it on Monday evening so that more people will be able to pray with us. The Great Canon's hundreds of prostrations unite our body and soul as we repent of our sins and experience God’s mercy. It is also tradition to read the life of St. Mary of Egypt in two parts during the Great Canon. Listening to St. Mary of Egypt's story of repentance is one of the most moving aspects of the Great Canon. We hope you can join us for the live stream and pray with us, for all or part of the canon. 

Some advice!:
Unless your knees are in perfect shape, we advise you to make your prostrations on carpet or a rug! Don't hurt yourself! Only do as many prostrations as you reasonably can! And be sure to stretch afterward. We recommend that you set up your own icon and candle (if you don't already have an icon corner) to place next to your computer screen, so that you are prostrating toward the Lord in your own icon. We look forward to praying with you!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

"The Jesus Prayer: A Prayer for the Weak during the Week"

Did you miss Mother Cecilia's webinar on the Jesus Prayer? You can watch it here! Also, consider signing up for her second webinar, "An Introduction to Sacred Silence: A Prayer for the Empty," which will take place this Thursday. A talk that didn't need to be canceled due to the virus! :) We are praying for all of you during this difficult time.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

News and thoughts about the coronavirus

Below is the decree of Bishop Milan announcing his decisions for the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus in the Eparchy of Parma. (Click on the images to enlarge them.) In addition, at the recommendation of the bishop (because of the immune-system deficiencies of some of the nuns), the monastery, chapel and poustinias will be closed to guests until further notice. We are very sorry for this difficulty. Also, the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, which was scheduled for March 23 at the Cathedral, is cancelled, but we hope to be able to live-stream it from the monastery chapel so that you can pray with us at home. Please know that we are united with you in prayer, and we are praying for you and your loved ones.

It is times like these that remind us of what is always true: 1) We must be prepared for death, and 2) We are made for eternal life. As Christians, we are called to witness to eternal life. We cannot preserve our lives here forever, and we are made for something much greater: eternal union with God. May our hope in God banish fear from our hearts. Of course, we are called to act in charity and prudence, but fear must not overcome us. May this be a beautiful time in which can grow in faith and hope, and in which we can rejoice in the destruction of eternal death by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ--the Bridegroom--the One who comes to save His Bride, the Church, and unite her to Himself. This is what the Great Fast is all about. Let us rejoice!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Lenten Prayer Opportunities with the Nuns

Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
Monday, March 23, 6:00-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Go to our Facebook Page and click on the video
You can watch even without a Facebook Account

Join the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete on Monday, March 23, at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 1900 Carlton Rd., Parma, 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 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. If you plan to come for dinner, please RSVP by Thursday, March 19, to or 440-834-0290.

Bridegroom Matins with Bishop Milan (CANCELLED)

The nuns of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery invite you to join them and Bishop Milan for Bridegroom Matins, their patronal commemoration, on Great & Holy Wednesday, April 8, at 8:00 a.m. at the monastery: 17485 Mumford Rd., Burton, Ohio. 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 Friday, April 3, to or 440-834-0290.