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 


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.


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. 



The One who’s far off

Draws near to His friend who sleeps. 

Mercy’s hour has passed. 


Two hearts ache with One. 

Closeness would have spared His friend. 

Earth encloses death. 


Two hearts cry to Hope. 

Brother sleeper quakes for joy. 

Mercy’s hour awakens. 


“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.