Monday, December 25, 2023

Christ is Born!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Wishing you all a merry and blessed Christmas from all of us at Christ the Bridegroom Monastery. May we all find a place around the cave in Bethlehem and meet Christ there in this festive period. 

"I see a strange and marvelous mystery: heaven is a cave, the cherubic throne a virgin; the manger has become the place in which Christ the incomprehensible God lies down. Let us praise him and extol him." -Irmos of the Nativity 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Watch and Read More about "The Light of His Eyes"

Recently, Mother Iliana was interviewed by Matt Fradd on his show "Pints with Aquinas." Among other things in this long-form interview, she talks about her new book, The Light of His Eyes. You can find the video of the interview here

To read more about her book, you can check out this article in the National Catholic Register, "Never Forget: God Is Your Loving Father, and He Thinks You're Worth Dying For."

We have been really blessed to hear how Mother Iliana's book is touching so many people's lives! 

Monday, November 20, 2023

“A Man of Trust” -- Father Vasyl Lonchyna

 We'd like to share with you the story of the life of our very own, Mother Iliana's, great-grandfather, Father Vasyl Lonchyna, who was martyred for the faith on November 21st, 1946. Recently, his story was translated into English by Christine Gilbert, and so we are blessed to be able to share his story with you.

He was born on February 1, 1886, in the family of a wojt* in the village of Derniv in the Lviv region. He finished German gymnasium and Theological faculty of the Lviv University. In 1912, he got married (in marriage he had three children) and was ordained a priest. Until 1915, he was parochial vicar in the village of  Hlyniany (Lviv region). After that, he labored in the church of St. Paraskeva and its daughter church of St. Nicholas, both in Lviv.  He was a prisoner of  Thalerhof. He was very active in church ministry. Father Lonchyna was imprisoned on October 22, 1945, and in the spring of 1946 he was condemned to ten years  imprisonment and was sent to a camp in the Donetsk region. There, after  a brutal beating during an interrogation, he died on November 21, 1946.

Humble and gentle by nature, with a soft and compassionate heart, Father Vasyl showed amazing resilience, courage and uncompromisingness when there was a concern about important things  –  his faith in God, Church and parishioners. He never left his faithful, he never renounced the Greco-Catholic faith, he despised threats because, as he used to say, “I know what I will die for.” He consciously accepted his arrest, exile, and, eventually, his martyr’s death.

Born in a family respected among the villagers (Father Vasyl`s father was the wojt) and the boy was raised well and obtained a good education. While he was studying at the Lviv University in Theology Faculty, he attended the Third Velehrad Congress. The young student became enamored of the idea of the union of churches towards which Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was striving. The young man dreamed to become a genuine apostle of Christ, sacrificial and selfless…

Already in the first month of the 26-year-old priest’s ministry in the village of Hlyniany, he was noticed as the person with excellent pastoral and organizational skills. In 1915, Father Lonchyna was transferred to St. Paraskeva Church and the daughter church of St. Nicholas in Lviv,  where he labored until his arrest in 1945 (first as vicar, later as a pastor). 

Before long the priest faced a serious challenge:  he was suspected in “russophilism” and the Austrian government sent him to Thalerhof  (one of the most terrible concentration camps  of   the  20th Century;  there, in a picturesque area at the foot of the Alps, the imprisoned died from cruelty, hunger, and inhumane conditions).Who knows if Father Lonchyna would come back if the protohegumen of the Basilian Fathers had not interfered. After almost two years of imprisonment, the priest returned again to his family and parishioners. Being thankful to God for salvation, the shepherd returned to work with zeal. At the parish, he founded fellowships and fraternities, which developed successfully, in particular, The Apostolate of Prayer, the Fraternity of St. Nicholas, the Fraternity of Good Death (the first one in Lviv), and the Marian Sisterhood. In addition to that, Father Vasyl during a long period of time was head of the “Cantors’ Mutual Help” fellowship, since  he understood very well the value of the art of cantorship in the preservation of the Ukrainian tradition of liturgical singing. On the whole, Father Vasyl’s activity was multifaceted and active, and so his part in Theological Scientific Society should be mentioned here. 

Father Vasyl was not only a wise and good spiritual father for his flock, but also a wonderfully practical man. St. Nicholas church was not in its best condition, so the pastor, together with the help of his faithful (mostly poor residents of Zhovkva and Krakow suburbs), did not only rebuild his church:  thanks to his efforts the exterior of  the church was decorated by the work of the famous painter Petro Kholodny. 

Despite his comprehensive and fruitful activity, Father Lonchyna remained very mild and modest in everyday life. His daughter recalled: “Daddy was gentle, calm, noble, and very much loved by all. He always prayed with me before bed, teaching me to be good, kind, obedient, and to obey the elders…” 

The priest`s calm and sincere nature did not impede him to stand for his principles, for in such cases he was completely imperturbable and unbreakable. For example, in the so called “language case” in 1930 when he and two other priests were sued for daring to use the Ukrainian language in correspondence with the government. The priests managed to win the case, which was a great rarity at that time. 

Father Vasyl showed indomitable character in those difficult times when Soviet soldiers occupied Galicia and started the first persecutions of the Ukrainian Church. He did not have any illusions about the new government and said to his family that the priesthood will be in relative safety as long as Metropolitan Sheptytsky lives. The pastor, as his faithful, understood well the danger. More than once parishioners tried to convince the priest to leave the region. He invariably answered, saying that he will remain with his congregation until the end, and will not betray his vow. 

They began to call the priest in for questioning. One day when he was at the district prosecutor’s office, he heard a loud noise behind the door – it was indignant parishioners come to free their priest. The enraged prosecutor promised to release him. Amazed by the father`s authority among those people, the prosecutor tried to persuade Father to enter the service of the new government. He asked the priest does he not fear imprisonment and death… No, Father Lonchyna was not afraid, because “he knew what he will die for”. This whole story ended with the wife of that same prosecutor (who  really  did release him) bringing her child to Father Vasyl to be baptized. Obviously, they decided that such priest can be trusted. 

But the government didn’t leave Father Vasyl in peace, and he continued to be called in for  questioning. Fr. Havryil Kostelnyk who was infamous for his“reunification” activities, tried  to convince Father Vasyl to  transfer to Orthodoxy. Finally, on October 22, 1945, they arrested the unbreakable  priest. The “socially dangerous priest” was accused of many “sins,” such as being “a man of trust” during the German occupation (as the Ukrainian Central Committee called community representatives who protected their community’s interests).  Being in that position, Father Lonchyna especially cared for poor families in need of help. 

Father was convicted to ten years in prison. The priest was sent to Donetsk region in Novobutovka’s mine in the Makiyivka district where there were truly inhumane conditions: exhausting work, hunger, and dysentery, since the prisoners often ate straight from trash cans. And in all this horror, Father Vasyl preserved his human dignity and faith. He drew his strength from prayer. This made an impression on the prisoners: when they were unable to think about anything else other than finding something to eat, they saw someone next to them calmly, praying over a crumb of the daily ration and consuming it nobly as is from God’s hand. They often saw the priest  as he sat tired on a bench,  and having humbly bowed his head, spoke something to the Lord… 

In the camp Father lost his health very quickly. But even in this state the government did not leave the nearly powerless priest in peace. They again started to call him for questioning. During one such interrogation he was beaten so hard that he could not stand on his feet again. In his 60th year of life, on the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, November 21, 1946, Father Lonchyna departed into eternity. Another wonderful person passed away, a person who knew how to love God and people and be faithful to the ideals of his own faith up until his last breath.

*“A Polish senior civil administrative officer and the highest representative of the government of a rural gmina, i.e., of a commune (gmina) comprising only villages... The word wójt is derived from Latin  advocatus  via German Vogt.” –Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

A Thank You Letter from Mother Cecilia

Dear friends and benefactors,

Thank you for your incredible support of our monastic life! At our Bridegroom's Banquet on Saturday, November 4 (and in donations given remotely), we raised over $135,000, $100,000 of which will be matched! These funds will allow us to continue our monastic life and to save for our next building project, which may be more poustinias or an addition to the monastery building. We continue to discern the next step.

As I shared at the end of the banquet, your support is incredibly important to us, because there are few things that we do that actually bring in any income. And, as I said, the things that we do don't seem like much of anything to the world. But you believe. You believe that our life of prayer is enough. You believe that just being and being loved by God are enough. And your support allows us to continue to do this and to be an example of this to you and to others. So thank you!

The banquet was a beautiful event! Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB, was our first monastic Emcee, and he shared some beautiful thoughts and stories about how people are encouraged simply by the knowledge that monks and nuns exist and are praying. Our video on obedience was probably the most beautiful yet of our videos. And for the first time, we nuns were the "entertainment," answering questions submitted by our guests and presented by Fr. Boniface. The questions ranged from topics such as "What saints have personally impacted you?" to "What's your favorite junk food?" Everyone enjoyed some laughs as our minds blanked and we passed the mic off to our sisters! We also just enjoyed being with 300 wonderful people, who are just some of those who make our monastic life possible.

Being hegumena for the first time at our banquet gives me an even greater appreciation for all the ways that you support us: financially, with your time and talent, and through your prayers!

God bless you! And know that you are in our hearts and prayers!

Mother Cecilia

Photos from the Bridegroom's Banquet can be found here

Sunday, November 5, 2023

"'Be It Done unto Me': Reflections on Obedience" is on YouTube!


Without further ado, we are very excited to share with you our newest video, "'Be It Done unto Me': Reflections on Obedience." We encourage you to watch and pray with what you hear and see. We also would like to express our gratitude to David Bratnick, our filmmaker friend who did an incredible job putting this together for us. We hope that this video will bear much fruit!

Saturday, November 4, 2023

You can still donate online today!

The day of the Bridegroom's Banquet has finally arrived, and we're busy getting ready to welcome everyone!

The funds we raise tonight, as well as the donations that have already been sent in, will be matched by a generous donor, up to $100,000. If you'd still like to donate and have your generosity doubled, you can donate online by this evening. Please visit this link to make a pledge or donate by credit card or EFT. 

We are so grateful for your generous support of our monastic life. We're amazed by the magnitude of the generosity we receive each year at Banquet time. We couldn't live this life without you. Thank you. 

Stay tuned on Sunday for the release of our new video "Be It Done unto Me: Reflections on Obedience" on YouTube!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Thank you!


We have a lot to be grateful for! 

Thank you to everyone who came out and braved the cold and rain for our Fall Work Day. We were so glad to be able to welcome so many new people to our monastery. We were also amazed that we could get everything on our lists done and still have time for more jobs. We're really grateful for everyone's willingness to help us, especially when the weather was so cold and wet. The day ended with Vespers in our chapel (photo above), and then we all crammed into the monastery for the potluck dinner. It was great to be with all of you who came! Thank you!

We are also very glad to see that we were able to reach exactly the number of people we hoped for for our Bridegroom's Banquet. Registration ended on October 16th, and we have just over three hundred people registered! This year's banquet is going to be the biggest yet, and we're praying that the evening will be a blessing for all of you who come. We're looking forward to it! 

For those who are unable to attend the banquet, if you'd like to make a donation to our monastery and have it matched by our matching donor, you can donate online here. Donations can also be sent in by mail. Please write out the check to "Christ the Bridegroom Monastery" and mark it as "Bridegroom's Banquet," and your donation will be doubled. Our address is 17485 Mumford Road, Burton, OH 44021. To have your donation matched, please send it in by the evening of November 4th. We're so grateful for your support of our monastic life! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Hear Mother Petra's Story on "The Journey Home"

Mother Petra's interview on The Coming Home Network's show, "The Journey Home" recently aired. She tells her story of growing up Wesleyan and how she came into the Catholic Church.  Mother Petra was especially grateful to get to visit The Coming Home Network because their ministry was very helpful to her as a new Catholic, and she hopes that others struggling with questions like hers will find resources and accompaniment through the CHN. 

You can find her interview here

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Banquet Registration Ends on Monday!

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Here's one last reminder to register for our Bridegroom's Banquet! It's on November 4th, and the registration deadline is October 16th, this Monday! WE ARE UNABLE TO EXTEND THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE THIS YEAR, so please register as soon as you can if you haven't yet. 

You can find all of the details about the evening as well as the online registration form here

We hope to be with you at our Banquet! 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Come and connect with us at our Bridegroom's Banquet!

There are just a few days left to register! 
Come and connect with us at our Bridegroom's Banquet!

This past year, as we've been transitioning into Mother Cecilia's service to our community as hegumena, we've had to say no to many requests to spend time with people, in order to focus more fully on our relationships with Christ and each other as a monastic community. However, the Banquet is an open invitation for you to come and be with us for an evening. We hope as many people as possible will be able to come and be a part of this beautiful event with so many amazing people who support our monastic life. 

This year's Banquet is on Saturday, November 4th, starting with Vespers at 4pm at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. Then, we'll head over, across the parking lot to the Astrodome Event Center for the rest of the evening which includes dinner, the premier of our new video on Obedience, Q & A with the nuns, and the opportunity to support our monastic life. We are also very glad to welcome Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB, as our emcee this year. 

All of the details about the evening can be found here, as well as a link to reserve your spot. 

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 7, 2023

There's just about a week left until the Banquet doors close!


Our Bridegroom's Banquet is less than a month away, and the deadline to RSVP is quickly approaching! We want to be sure that everyone registers by the end of the day on October 16th because this year, we are unable to extend the deadline like we have in years past. 

The Banquet is on Saturday, November 4th, in Parma, Ohio, and it is free to attend. All donations given at the banquet or designated ahead of time will be matched up to $100,000. By attending the banquet, you have the unique opportunity to be in a room of a couple hundred amazing people who all love Christ, our Bridegroom, and to grow closer to Him together as He leads us all to Himself. We'll get the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of obedience together through our new video, as well as the opportunity to ask the nuns your questions while the donations are counted. We really hope to be able to be with you at the banquet to experience these things, and more!

Please visit The Bridegroom's Banquet page above for details and to register. 

For those who are unable to attend the event, donations can still be made online or by mail. You may send a donation and/or pledge marked "Bridegroom's Banquet" by cash or check payable to "Christ the Bridegroom Monastery" to:

The Bridegroom's Banquet

Christ the Bridegroom Monastery

17485 Mumford Rd.

Burton, OH 44021

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Come and Pray with us November 4th!

Glory to Jesus Christ!

The Bridegroom's Banquet is exactly a month away! One of the things we're really looking forward to is praying Vespers in a beautiful place with so many beautiful people to begin the evening the best way we can. 

We'd love to welcome you into our weekly experience of transitioning into the Lord's Day (Sunday) in a very intentional and traditional way by praying Byzantine Vespers.

Vespers will be at 4:00 pm on Saturday, November 4th, at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Parma. We are really grateful that the Cathedral has allowed us to host Vespers there before our banquets the last few years. It's a really awesome place to pray, and we hope you'll be able to join us. 
After Vespers, we'll head over, across the parking lot to the Astrodome Event Center for the rest of the evening. 

We hope you'll be able to come and pray with us!

For more information and to register for the banquet, please visit The Bridegroom's Banquet page above. 

 If you haven't RSVPed yet, please do it soon! The deadline is October 16th, and we are unable to extend the deadline as we have in years past. 

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Invite your friends and family!

 Have you invited anyone to the Banquet yet? Please consider taking a moment to send this poster to a few people who you think would be interested in supporting our monastic life. 

We're really grateful to everyone who has reserved their spot so far, and we're eager to welcome more people to the Bridegroom's Banquet! 

For details about the event and to let us know you're coming, please visit The Bridegroom's Banquet page

Thank you so much for your support of our life! 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

A Season of Feasts!

Glory to Jesus Christ!

We were recently remarking on how many great feasts there are this time of year (Transfiguration, Dormition, the Nativity of the Theotokos, and Exaltation of the Cross) and how wonderful it is to have everything that goes along with them: beautiful liturgical services, private prayer, and days off from our usual work. 

Last month, on the Feast of the Dormition, we were blessed to have a beautiful group of people come to pray Matins and Divine Liturgy with us. Occasions like this fill us with gratitude for the gift of those who come to pray and that we now have a beautiful chapel to welcome them into. It's crazy to think that a year ago, we were "wandering in the wilderness," praying in a tent in our parking lot! 

After the Liturgy on Dormition, Sister Onuphria combed through the gravel by our front porch and found many of the beautiful rocks Mother Petra has collected and spread among the gravel. She arranged them into the burial shroud for Dormition on the front porch. You can see a photo above. 

A few days later, came the Eparchial Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch. This year, we were really happy to be able to just be there and cantor some of the services (instead of being busy with many tasks). We were so moved by the conversations that we had with so many different people during the pilgrimage. It was a beautiful pilgrimage. Bishop Kurt joined in Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. We are so grateful for everything he's been doing to shepherd our eparchy through this time of transition between bishops. (We are looking forward to welcoming Fr. Robert Pipta as the next bishop of the Eparchy of Parma on Nov. 8!) Photos from the pilgrimage can be found here

The final of several icons from Greece finally arrived, and our chapel walls are filling out more. The icons on the left side of the chapel are (starting near the holy place and moving back toward the vestibule) St. Macrina, St. Basil and his family of many Saints, St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, St. Photina, our patronal Bridegroom icon, and then St. Mary of Egypt. On the right side of the chapel, we have Blessed Theodore Romzha, St. Nektarios of Aegina, St. Anthony of the Desert, St. Elijah the Prophet, and St. Porphyrios. The chandelier in the center on the nave has icons of the Twelve Apostles around it. It's awesome to be surrounded by these icons, and the presence of the Saints they are, as we pray each day!

We're enjoying the shift toward autumn very much. Mother Cecilia bought a couple beautiful pumpkins from one of our Amish neighbors around the corner on Exaltation of the Cross. She remarked that she doesn't want to waste any time in enjoying the season, and we are grateful! We're looking forward to other ways of enjoying the fall in this beautiful part of the country. 

In the midst of all of the glories of the last couple of months, there have been many heartaches as well. We are so honored to be welcomed into the lives of so many people as they ask us for prayers. All of these beautiful feasts, combined with all of the prayer requests, often for very difficult and tragic situations, have been showing us different dimensions of the Feasts of our Church. It's a great blessing to get to be here, at the heart of the Church, "apart from the world," but also one with all of you. 

As we wrap up this blog post, just a couple of reminders: 

  • Our Fall Work Day is coming up on October 14th. Details and the link to RSVP can be found here
  • The registration deadline for the Bridegroom's Banquet is less than a month away (October 16th). To find details for the event and more information, please visit the Bridegroom's Banquet page above. We're looking forward to being with you! 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Behold! Fr. Boniface is coming!

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Behold! The Bridegroom's Banquet is coming!  

It's on November 4th, starting with Vespers at 4:00pm at St. Josaphat's Cathedral, and then we'll move over to the Astrodome for the banquet. 

One of these monastics is not like the others!
We're very glad to welcome Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB, as this year's emcee. He's a good friend of our community, and we're sure you'll all love him. You can read more about Fr. Boniface, find more details about the Banquet, and reserve your spot here

The registration deadline is October 16th. Please keep inviting your friends and family! We still have more room!


Saturday, September 2, 2023

It's Video Filming Day!

 As of yesterday, we already have 102 people registered for The Bridegroom's Banquet! Keep inviting your friends and family! We have a lot more space still available. 

We're excited to be filming our new video on obedience this weekend. Here's a photo from a full day of filming. It's always so amazing to see the video come together each year, from all the hours that go into discerning an outline for it, each of us praying with our particular parts, to working with David Bratnick on actually filming, and giving feedback during the editing process. We are really glad to get to share these fruits of our monastic life with you again this year. 

The new video will be premiered at this year's Bridegroom's Banquet on Saturday, November 4th, at the Astrodome in Parma, Ohio. Registration is totally free. For all of the information on the event and to register, please visit the Bridegroom's Banquet tab above. 

For those who are unable to attend the banquet in person, the video will be posted on our YouTube channel the day after the premier. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Fall Work Day Registration is Open!

You're invited to join us for a day of work projects (mostly outdoor), prayer, food and fun at the monastery on Saturday, October 14th. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome!
The day begins at 1 p.m. 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.

Please RSVP using this link by Tuesday, October 10th, so that the appropriate amount of food can be prepared.   

Please share this and invite your friends and family! 

The monastery is located at 17485 Mumford Rd. Burton, Ohio.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Have you seen last year's banquet video?

 Glory to Jesus Christ!

As summer is reaching it's climax, and the subtle feel of fall can occasionally be felt, we're preparing for this year's Bridegroom's Banquet which will be on Saturday, November 4th. We're getting ready to film another video, and we wanted to make sure we share our video from last year,  "Receive the Gift: Reflections on Chastity".

We are all currently in the process of praying about what each of us would like to say in this year's video which will complete our three part series on poverty, chastity, and obedience. We are really blessed to be able to create these videos with our filmmaker friend David Bratnick. It's a really incredible way for us to get to share the fruit of our prayer and to show you a glimpse of our life. Our hope is always that the videos will inspire you to follow Christ our Bridegroom with your whole life, whatever that may mean for each person. 

We look forward to premiering a new video with you this year at the Bridegroom's Banquet. Please pray that it will bear much fruit! 

For details about the banquet and to register, please visit "The Bridegroom's Banquet" tab at the top of this page. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Guest Speakers for Mariapoch Pilgrimage!

We hope to see you at this year's pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch on August 19th and 20th. We're looking forward to hearing our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Kurt's, talk as well as Bishop Malesic's homily.

We'll see you soon!

You can find more information about the pilgrimage here.


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

New Book by Mother Iliana: The Light of His Eyes


We have an author among us! 

Mother Iliana was blessed to have the opportunity to publish a book which has been six years, or really a lifetime, in the making. It was released last week, and we're so excited to get to share it with all of you. 

The Light of His Eyes: Journeying from Self-Contempt to the Father's Delight is a beautiful compilation of stories of how she has come to know the Father's love for her. We have all loved hearing Mother Iliana's stories, both the beautiful and the hilarious for many years now, and now, you can read them. 

Reading Mother Iliana's stories helps us to recognize that we are also beloved children of the Father. As we read, we begin to interiorly write our own stories of how we've been given glimpses of the Father's delight in us. Since we received the first copies of the book, all of us nuns have been reading them and this has very much been our experience. We're so glad to get to share this fruit of our life of prayer with you. 

Story telling isn't the only talent Mother Iliana poured into this book though. Each chapter has a print of an icon she's written and closes with one of her original poems. 

If you'd like to purchase a copy, we'd encourage you to support Sophia Institute Press directly, to help them in their ministry of publishing works like this one. 

You can hear Mother Iliana talk about The Light of His Eyes and read its introduction on the What God is Not Podcast with Father Michael O'Loughlin and Mother Natalia on Wednesday, August 16th. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

Pilgrimage is Coming Up!

 Details for the Eparchy of Parma's annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch can be found here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Late Spring and Early Summer Happenings around the Monastery

 Glory to Jesus Christ! 

As we enter the home stretch of the Apostles' Fast, we wanted to share with you a bit about what's been happening around the monastery. 

Spring Work Day

We are so grateful to all those who came out to help at our Spring Work Day. This year's work day was shorter than usual, with just a few hours to get all of the jobs done. We were able to get everything done with an hour to spare before Vespers. It was amazing! So thank you so much to everyone who was able to come, and thank you as well to those who wanted to come but couldn't because registration filled up. 

We hope to see you all again at our Fall Work Day on October 14th. 

Annual Retreats

Over the last month, a few of the nuns have had the opportunity to go away for their annual retreats. We're all so grateful for these opportunities to rest and spend some very intentional time with the Lord, diving deeper into experiencing everything He's already giving us. A few weeks ago, Mother Natalia and Sister Onuphria were both on retreat at the same monastery and went out for a hike together part way through. Here's a photo they took of themselves enjoying some natural beauty midway through their hike.  

Fun at Home while our Sisters are Away 

Since many of our nuns have been going out for their annual retreats and home visits in the last month, we have had the fun of having different assortments of nuns at home. 

This past week, Mother Cecilia, Mother Petra, and Sister Onuphria were the only ones home for Sunday night community recreation. They realized that we have three hammocks, so a plan was hatched: take the hammocks to this beautiful spot at a nearby park and read some of our favorite poems to each other. They had a beautiful time together. 

A couple weeks earlier, Mother Gabriella, Mother Iliana, and Mother Petra were the only ones home on Sunday night, so they were able to go out to the shore of Lake Erie to enjoy some time on the beach. What a great gift to get to enjoy creation and community! 

Preparing for the Election of a New Hegumena 

Since Mother Theodora discerned to step down from her position as hegumena (abbess) in April, we as a monastery have entered a season of transition and discernment.  In order to focus more fully on the Lord during this time, we are not scheduling more poustinias or retreats until further notice. We are also taking a break from scheduling guests to join us for meals until after the election for a new hegumena, after which point we may begin scheduling again. We also discerned to not accept invitations to give talks or retreats until further notice.  Please trust with us in the fruitfulness of our union with the Lord, both for us and for you, and be assured of our presence alongside you in prayer.

Please keep us in prayer as we prepare to elect a new hegumena in July. Thank you!

Join us in Prayer! 

As always, we'd love to have you join us for any of our services each day. It's always a good idea to give us a call or send us an email ahead of time just to make sure we didn't need to change our schedule on the particular day you want to come. In general, we pray Matins at 6:30 am, one of the Hours at noon, Vespers at 4:45 pm, and Compline at 9:00pm. On Sundays, we don't have prayer at noon, and we pray Compline privately in our cells.

Our Divine Liturgy schedule can be found here

Another upcoming opportunity to pray with us is at our Eparchy's annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch. This year's pilgrimage will be on August 19th and 20th. On Saturday, there will be the Blessing of Water and Moleben to the Theotokos, Divine Liturgy and an evening campfire and chat. Sunday will include Matins, activities for children and teens, and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. No registration is required. We hope to see you there! 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Eternal Memory, Sr. Adalberta

Sr. Adalberta, one of the two Social Mission Sisters from Hungary who preceded Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in this house in Burton, Ohio, fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, June 16. She and Sr. Flora (who passed away in 2015) served the pilgrims to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch for decades. Shortly before our monastery was founded, they both moved to Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio, and when finding out about our desires to found a monastery, they gave us their house and property. 

Visiting Sr. Adalberta (left) & Sr. Flora (seated) at Regina Health Center, March 2012
When we visited Sr. Adalberta at Regina Health Center, she would always pour hospitality upon us. She would abandon her walker and disappear down the hallway and come back with a chair so that we would all have a place to sit! Even when we visited her recently when she was on hospice, she was still somehow full of energy, sitting on the edge of her bed and making sure there were enough seats. Sr. Adalberta was deeply prayerful, and when we didn't find her in her room we knew where to look: the chapel. It was often difficult for her to communicate with words with us, because her main language was Hungarian and her English wasn't very good, but it didn't matter because she communicated with love. Though we never knew her in her days of cooking chicken and rice dinners at the shrine and loving the pilgrims here, our moments spent with her at Regina tell us much about what her service at the shrine must have been like.

Sr. Adalberta was Roman Catholic and probably had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart; she fell asleep in the Lord on the Roman Catholic Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. In the photo above, there is an image of the Sacred Heart right behind her.

Please join us in praying for the soul of Sr. Adalberta. The obituary and funeral arrangements are given below:

Sister Mary Adalberta Rohaly, SM (Teresa)

Died: June 16, 2023

Age: 92, born September 12, 1930

Preceded in death by: parents, Rosa and Martin and two sisters, Mary and Helen

Special friend of Karen Thrasher, Mary Smith and Sr. Margaret Taylor, SIW.  

Sr. Mary Adalberta, SM was born in Faj, Hungary, the second of three children.  Her older sister was Mary and her younger sister was Helen.  She had a very religious upbringing as her father was a shoemaker who also assisted at the village church by ringing the bells and working in the sacristy for 25 years.

Sr. Mary Adalberta came to know the Social Mission Sisters because her pastor’s mother knew of them.  She entered the Order at age 15.

Sr. Mary Adalberta began her ministry by teaching kindergarten for twenty years.  In 1971, she came to Burton, Ohio, to minister at the Byzantine Shrine of Mariapoch.  She kept a very busy schedule of welcoming all the visitors to the Shrine over many years.  She compared herself to being “Veronica” as she responded to the needs of the Shrine visitors.  She worked with Sr. Flora Kovics in cooking Sunday dinner for the pilgrims to the Shrine; preparing for the Sunday Mass as well as keeping a religious goods store in their convent.  She and Sr. Flora even kept up with all the lawn mowing of the Shrine grounds.  

Sr. Mary Adalberta celebrated her 70th Jubilee of Religious Life in 2020.  She was always caring, sensitive and loving.  A good holy nun, she was prayerful, faithful and loyal to hours of prayer and Eucharistic Adoration.

Regina Health Center welcomed Sr. Mary Adalberta on January 4, 2008.

Wake:   Regina Health Center Chapel                  Funeral: Regina Health Center Chapel

             5232 Broadview Rd.-Richfield                Tuesday, June 20, 2023

             Tuesday, June 20, 2023                            11:00 a.m.

             10:00 am – 11:00 a.m.                             .

Father John Burkley will celebrate the Mass of Resurrection.

Burial:  All Saints Cemetery

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Thank you, Mother Theodora, for these fourteen years of leadership

After founding Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in 2009 and leading the monastic community in the role of hegumena (abbess) for fourteen years, Mother Theodora has discerned that the Lord has called her to step down from the position of hegumena. We trust her discernment and we ask for your prayers for her and for the monastery during this time of transition.

We are deeply grateful to Mother Theodora for her courage and faith in following God's call to found our monastery, and for all of the incredible work and love that she put into these first fourteen years. The monastery has grown tremendously during this time. She will now take a sabbatical (some time of rest) away from the monastery.

An election to fill the position of hegumena will be held in about three months. Until that time, Mother Cecilia, who is the protos of the monastery, is leading the community. 

We are grateful for your prayers and support for our monastic community, and we assure you that we carry you with us as we stand in the presence of God in prayer each day.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Spring Work Day, May 27th!


Update: Time Change (see below)

You're invited to join us for a day of work projects (mostly outdoor), prayer, food and fun at the monastery on Saturday, May 27th. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome!

The day begins at 1 p.m. 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.

Please RSVP using this link by Thursday, May 25th, so that the appropriate amount of food can be prepared.   

Please share this and invite your friends and family! 

The monastery is located at 17485 Mumford Rd. Burton, Ohio.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Celebrating the 14th Anniversary of our Monastery as we Pray Bridegroom Matins

"Behold the Bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night.
Blessed is the servant He shall find awake.
But the one he shall find neglectful will not be worthy of Him.
Beware, therefore, O my soul!
Do not fall into a deep slumber, lest you be delivered to death
and the door of the Kingdom be closed to you. 
Watch instead and cry out: Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O God.
Through the intercession of the Theotokos, have mercy on us."
(Troparion of the Bridegroom)

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Great and Holy Week, we pray Bridegroom Matins, and this year, it's particularly beautiful that the fourteenth anniversary of the founding of our monastery (April 3) is during these days. As we celebrate our patronal commemoration and prepare for Pascha, please pray for us.  

If you'd like to join us for prayer this week, opportunities to pray with us are posted on the Liturgy and Events Schedule tab above. If you have a large family or group that will be joining us, please email us ( to let us know, so that we can prepare enough candles, booklets, Eucharist, etc.

We pray that you all will have a prayerful and holy week, drawing ever closer to Christ our Bridegroom. 

Saturday, April 1, 2023

From the Triodion: Lazarus Saturday

 "Today, Lazarus rejoices in your word, O Word of God, as he begins his life again; and the crowd greets you, O almighty One, with palms and branches; for by your death, You have utterly destroyed the kingdom of Hades."
- Matins for Lazarus Saturday, Hymn of Light

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Save the Date! Spring Work Day 2023

We’re getting close to that time of year again! Plants are coming up. The weather’s getting warmer. The sun is getting higher in the sky. That means that we’ll be needing your help at the monastery soon for our Spring Work Day. 

Save the date for this year’s Spring Work Day on Saturday, May 27th. It will go from 10 am into the evening and includes a potluck lunch and dinner as well as Vespers and time to hang out in the evening. 

So, mark your calendars, and keep an eye out for the opportunity to RSVP in about a month or so. 

We look forward to seeing you soon! 

(The above photo is from our Spring Work Day back in 2012, way back when Mother Gabriella was a dokimos, and the vegetable gardens were just being made.) 

Friday, March 24, 2023

March: Annunciation, Sourdough, and the Great Canon

Glory to Jesus Christ! 

Happy Feast of the Annunication! It's also Akathist Saturday! AND it's about time for another update on what we've been up to at the monastery lately. 

This past Monday, a few of the nuns tuned into God With Us Online's latest webinar The Incarnation and the Cross with Father David Anderson. We highly encourage you to check it out. In it, Father David gives us some REALLY beautiful reflections to pray with for the Feast of the Annunciation. He also clarifies for us how the calendar dates of Annunciation and Nativity came to be, which is fascinating. 

Here's a little from the beautiful liturgical texts for today's feast:

"That mystery which is from all eternity * is being revealed today. * The Son of God becomes the Son of Man. * He accepted the lowliest in order to give us the highest. * In times of old, Adam was deceived; * he desired to become like God and did not. * Now God becomes a man that He may make Adam God. * Let all creation he happy; * let nature dance with joy * because the archangel stands in awe before the Virgin and greets her. * He brings the greeting which changes our grief into joy. * Through the mercy of you compassion, You became incarnate; * O our God, glory to You!"

(From the Praises for Matins for the Feast of the Annunciation, bolded portions are themes in Fr. David's talk)

We have just one more week of the Great Fast, then on to Great and Holy Week, and finally, Pascha! It's so close, yet so far away. 

Leaven and Levity during the Great Fast

We've been getting pretty serious about sourdough bread lately. Mother Iliana and Sister Onuphria were occasionally making bread, but since the start of the fast, they've been doing it more often to go with our plethora of fast-friendly soups. Then, Mother Gabriella learned how a couple weeks ago (the photo to the left is Mother Gabriella's sourdough first-born), so our sourdough starter, Frankie, has been very busy. (His name is Frankie, after Frankenstein's Monster because "IT'S ALIVE!") We also like making sourdough pancakes, brownies, cookies, flatbread, cinnamon rolls, etc. We've done a lot of experimenting in the last year and a half, and it's been super fun, delicious, and nutritious. We're looking forward to being able to do more fun things with Frankie after the Fast is over. 

Sourdough is really interesting for a lot of reasons, but one particularity about it is that you never know quite how it's going to turn out. Depending on the humidity, temperature, rise times, how Frankie's feeling that day, and probably lots of other mysterious factors, the bread or whatever we're making turns out differently every time. Sourdough, like our Byzantine Catholic faith, is full of mystery. 

We've been glad to also be able to share Frankie with some people who have come to visit. He now has lots of progeny, and even multiple generations as people we've shared him with share their starter with others. It's pretty fun. 

The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

This past Thursday evening, St. Joseph's parish in Brecksville, Ohio, hosted us for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. We were so glad to get to give the local faithful the opportunity to pray this service with us, and we're so grateful for the work of those who helped us organize the evening. It was also wonderful to be joined by so many families and their children. Thank you very much to the priests who were present to hear Confessions. It was a beautiful evening. This canon is such a great gift to us, handed down through the traditions of the Church. Below, you can see some photos from the evening, including photos of the veneration of a relic of St. Mary of Egypt.