Dear in the Lord reverend Fathers, brothers, and sisters, Whenever we are in need or in sorrow, we turn our prayers to our Lord, His Mother, and the holy saints. At the same time, our Orthodox monastics are in constant prayer for us and for the entire world every day of their lives. It is in our best interests, as well as being our solemn duty as Orthodox Christians, to support the life of our monks and nuns.
On Tuesday February 13, 2013 Holy Trinity Seminary celebrated the Feast of the Holy Three Hierarchs. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion led the services. We had the special blessing to have also the Kursk Root Icon for Vigil and the Divine Liturgy which brought by the Rev. Priest Nikolai Olhovski. S
We are grateful!
We pray that God will mercifully bless and reward all the kind donors, the laborers of the Fund for Assistance, and the Eastern American Diocesan Council who generously support Holy Trinity Monastery. Your continued assistance will help us maintain the many buildings of Holy Trinity Monastery which is the home for our Monastic Brotherhood, our seminarians, the alumni among all ranks of our clergy, and the thousands of pilgrims who visit us throughout the year. We are deeply grateful for the love and attention you have shown us.
Love in Christ,
and the Brotherhood of Holy Trinity Monastery
St. Jonah Orthodox Church, a parish of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, sponsored an exhibit of historic Russian icons and a Liturgical Choral Concert in the English language, March 1-3, 2013 in Spring, Texas. Guest speakers were the Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), Dean of Holy Trinity Seminary and Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery, along with Dr. Kurt Sander, composer of Orthodox Liturgical Music and Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition and Music Department Chair at Northern Kentucky University.
On Tuesday he was asked to speak to the adult Scripture class at St. Joseph's Antiochian Church in Houston. Questions and answers concerning the role of monasteries in Church life, apocalyptic times and Scripture were presented.
On Friday March 15 2013 his Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion gave a talk to the fathers of Holy Trinity Monastery about his recollections of the various holy monastics that lived in Jordanville. He talked about the virtues of the founders of the monastery, Fr Panetelimon and Fr. Joseph, about Fr Germogen the gardener, Fr Vladimir, Fr Prokopy the cook, Archbishop Averky, Archbishop Vitaly and about the life of Metropolitan Laurus, his monastic beginnings in Vladimirona and the virtues that characterised him namely his love, purity and simplicity. The Metropolitan then gave practical advice to the monastic about cultivating prayers, good thoughts, not relying on our own judgement and discernment which often lead one astray and on cultivating humility and obedience in our monastics duties. He also shared from his own experience that there are no perfect monastic situations. He concluded by saying that he believes that many of the fathers who struggled in our monastery and are now in the cemetery attained sanctity.
Saturday March 16, 2013 marked the fifth anniversary since the repose of Metropolitan Laurus. A hierarchical liturgy was served at 6 am presided by Metropolitan Hilarion and accompanied by many clergy. At the end of the service a pannykhida was served for the reposed of Metropolitan Hilarion. May God grant rest to his soul and his example serve for us a reminder of our calling to strive to fulfill Christ's commandments in all aspects of our life as did Vladyka Laurus throughout his life.
The first week of Great Lent was observed at Holy Trinity Monastery with customary solemnity. There were no classes at the seminary that week, so the seminarians, the monks, and the local Orthodox community all joined in prayer at the divine services.
Every day the services began early in the morning, before dawn. The semantron woke the monastery and seminary communities and called them to prayer. The full liturgical cycle was followed each day, with Midnight Office, Matins, the Hours, Typika, and Vespers. On Wednesday and Friday, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts was served at Vespers. The services took over seven hours with readings from the Holy Fathers, and ended after noon, when the only meal of the day was served without oil. After a rest, at six o’clock in the evening all gathered again in the monastery church for Great Compline. Archimandrite Luke read the Great Canon of St. Andrew from Monday to Thursday. On Friday we read the canons for Holy Communion. Everyone in the community prepared to receive Communion on Saturday morning, which this year commemorated both St. Theodore the Tyro and the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
On Sunday, which celebrates the Triumph of Orthodoxy, His Grace Bishop Jerome of Manhattan came to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with the monastery clergy. At the end of the Liturgy, the Anathema Service began. Protodeacon Joseph Jarostchuk intoned the anathemas. This year, another anathema was added to the service taken from from the Pan-Orthodox Council of 1583 anathematizing all who, “[do] not confess with heart and mouth that the Holy Spirit proceeds out of only the Father, essentially and hypostatically, as Christ says in the Gospel.”
On Tuesday, April 2, the Northern Lenten Retreat for clergy of the Eastern American Diocese and the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA officially commenced at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. On the eve of the retreat, many clerics began to arrive in Jordanville, traveling great distances to be with one another in these sacred days of Great Lent. Over 85 clerics and matushkas are participating in the Northern Retreat, in addition to all of the seminarians of Holy Trinity Seminary.
Before the beginning of the Great Compline, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, together with His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop George of Mayfield, and gathered clergy, greeted the holy relics of the Holy Hierarch St. Luke of Simferopol in Holy Trinity Cathedral. The relics have been traveling across the East Coast with the blessing of the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, His Eminence Justinian, Archbishop of Naro-Fominsk, and will remain in Holy Trinity Monastery for the duration of the conference.
On Tuesday morning, upon completion of the appointed lenten services, retreat participants assembled in the seminary hall for a moleben before the beginning of any good work. Metropolitan Hilarion then welcomed the participants, wishing them God’s aid for a fruitful retreat. Monastery abbot Archimandrite Luke (Murianka) also welcomed the clergy and noted the pleasant effect that the unexpected snowstorm had on the penitential spirit of the retreat. "The holy fathers of our monastery have always maintained that snow and wintery weather during Great Lent, help us to focus more intently on prayer," said Fr. Luke.
On Tuesday, April 2, marked the first full day of the Northern Lenten Retreat for clergy of the Eastern American Diocese and the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. The day included a full schedule of lectures on the lives of the saints, the history of the Diocese, and exciting missionary activity abroad.
The first lecture was "One who came to love suffering," by Archpriest Victor Potapov (dean of the South and rector of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC), who spoke on the life of St. Luke, Surgeon of Simferopol. This was followed by two video lectures by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov (dean of New Jersey and rector of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ) on the lives Archbishops Averky (Taushev) and Nikon (Rklitsky), touching on personal recollections and remarks by the senior-most cleric of the Eastern American Diocese (who unfortunately could not attend due to illness, and recorded the lectures in conjunction with the diocesan Media Office).
After a luncheon, the retreat broke for free time, resuming with a talk by Priest Peter Jackson (rector of Sts. Theodore Church in Buffalo, NY) on his visit to Guatemala and the 50,000 recent Maya Orthodox converts. Archpriest Gregory Naumenko (rector of the Protection of the Mother of God Church in Rochester, NY) then led a group discussion with the assembled priests and hierarchs. During Compline and Matins, retreat participants’ confessions were heard by Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop George.
Wednesday, April 3, marked the final day of the Northern Lenten Retreat for clergy of the Eastern American Diocese and the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. The retreat concluded with the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, led by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion. The First Hierarch was concelebrated by His Grace, Bishop George, and retreat participants. During the Little Entrance, Priest Job Watts (rector of St. Nektarios Church in Lenoir City, TN) was awarded the kamilavka.
The Liturgy was an expression of the spiritual unity that has dwelt among the clergy, and is characteristic of past lenten retreats in the Diocese. "Our unity as the Body of Christ is manifested when we partake of the one Holy Bread," said Fr. Job. "That unity is the basis from which everything else flows. Roundtable discussions and lectures will bring us no benefit if we are not mystically tied together through the Holy Bread."
Archpriest Mark Shinn (rector of St. Andrew’s Patriarchal Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA) echoed his sentiments: "Love reigns at the altar table. Prior to communing, we embrace one another with the words, ‘Christ is in our midst – He is and ever shall be.’ One cannot imagine the Church without this understanding of love and unity, centered on the Holy Eucharist. It is the living incarnation of what it means to be the Church."
After the Liturgy, a farewell luncheon was held in the monastery refectory, followed by an akathist in the main cathedral to St. Luke, the Surgeon of Simferopol, before a piece of his holy relics. The Northern Clergy Retreat thus concluded, and participants departed to their home parishes, spiritually energized for the remainder of the Fast.
Source : http://www.eadiocese.org
On Friday Aril 12, 2013 the Presanctified Liturgy of the Apostle James was served for the first time at Holy Trinity Monastery.
A short History of the Presanctified Liturgy of the Apostle James by Bishop Jerome of Manhattan
The Presanctified Liturgy of St. James was the traditional form of the Presanctified, as celebrated by the Church of Jerusalem in the Holy Sepulchre. The oldest Greek text was published in 1896 and subsequent editions of Brightman's "Liturgies Eastern and Western", Vol. I: Eastern Liturgies, on pp. 494-501. This edition contains only the litanies, exclamations and some rubrics, but not the inaudible prayers of the celebrant. It is found complete, in the "Liturgicon of Jerusalem" (also entirely in Greek), published some years ago by the Jerusalem Patriarchate.
Judging by the text in Brightman, this Liturgy was at first celebrated, not in conjunction with Vespers, but together with the Typica. Therefore the Litanies said "Let us complete our prayer unto the Lord", and not "...our *evening* prayer unto the Lord". This also explains several other peculiarities of the text. The earlier form of the Liturgy began with a procession from one chapel to another in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is why it substitutes the "Tropar of the day" for "O Gladsome Light" at the Entrance.
The Presanctified Liturgy of St. James includes the Creed, the prayer "Vouchsafe O Lord", and other material not normally found in the Presanctified. A translation into modern Serbian was published by Bishop Chrysostom of the Banat diocese, where it is celebrated on specific days in Lent. However, the Jerusalem edition says this Liturgy can be celebrated on any Lenten weekday.
On Friday April19, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada led the service of the Akathist to the Mother of God during the matins service. Following the Matins service Novice Victor Gregory was tonsured a riassophore monk. Archimandrite Luke wished the newly tonsured monk patience and perseverance in his monastic struggles.
On Monday April 22 2013 a moleben and Akathist was served to the myrrh bearing icon "Softener of Evil Hearts". The icon will be in Jordanville until Bright Tuesday. Usually during Lent the icon does not give much myrrh according to its keeper Sergei but for the first time it has been giving a lot of myrrh during its stay in Jordanville for the past two weeks. Archimandrite Luke had to change the myrrh soaked cotton from the icon as the container which hold the cotton was soaked with myrrh. Myrrh forms as drops which then run down the glass and icon and collect onto the cotton.
On Friday April 26 2013 after the Matins service for Lazarus Saturday, Archimnadrite Luke tonsured Novice Alexander to a Riassophor Monk. Father Alexander makes church candles as his obedience. Archimandrite Luke said that the candle is a symbol of Christ and a symbol of prayer and wished the newly tonsured monastic that his life be with Christ always doing the Jesus Prayer.
Homily on the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
One of the most miraculous details of our Savior’s life was foreseen by the Prophet Zacharias through the dark glass of time, and described thus: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King is coming to thee, just, and a Saviour; he is meek and riding on an ass, and a young foal And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.(Zach. 9:9). The Apostle Luke, an eyewitness, describes this event:
And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, and he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him (Lk. 19:28–48).
This is the description of an historical event that took place twenty centuries ago, as related by an eyewitness. But this event has more than historical significance; it also has a spiritual meaning, and therefore also a moral meaning for every modern-day Christian. According to the spiritual meaning, Jerusalem signifies the human soul, and the entry of the Lord into Jerusalem signifies the entrance of God into the soul.
The multitudes of people, crowded and pushing one against another, joyfully awaiting and greeting Christ, symbolize the noble sentiments and exalted thoughts of a person who joyfully greets God, his Savior and Deliverer. The leaders of the crowd of people, who hate Christ and want to kill Him, personify the lower desires and earthbound thoughts, which take the upper hand over man’s noble nature and oppress it. Now this lower human nature rebels against God’s entry into the soul, for when God is enthroned there, the lower nature will inevitably be destroyed.
The Temple in Jerusalem symbolizes the holy of holies of the human soul—that sacred place where the Holy Spirit has if only a miniscule haven even in the greatest sinner. But earthly passions penetrate there also, and lower human nature has used even it to achieve its base aims.
Christ heals the soul of those sick ones who fall down before Him with faith, and this means that certain impulses of the soul, although sick, thirst for unity with God and seek for Him, the only true Doctor in the world. Christ’s prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction symbolizes the destruction of any soul that God rejects, lays low, and spews forth from Himself.
No one in this world is happy unless he has opened wide the gates of his spiritual Jerusalem—his soul—and received God into himself. A godless man feels lonely to despair. The society of others does not make his loneliness go away, but only increases it. However he who has taken God into his soul will never feel lonely even in a desert. No one dies an eternal death other than one in whom God has died.
The Mystery of Healing and Forgiveness
So they (the Apostles) went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them (Mark 6: 12–13).
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven (James 5: 14–15).
Christ as Saviour and Healer
Christ came into the world for the salvation of all. One of the signs of His divine ministry was the healing of the sick. He healed those who were blind, paralysed, possessed, crippled, deaf and dumb, and, in general, all types of physical infirmities. The power of healing remains in the Church since Christ Himself remains in the Church through the Holy Spirit. The power of healing was given to the Holy Apostles and through them to the bishops and priests. One of the ways that healing was done was through the anointing of the sick with blessed oil.
The Purpose of Holy Unction
The Mystery of Holy Unction is a service of the anointing of the sick with blessed oil. It is the Church’s specific prayer for the spiritual, physical, and mental healing of a sick person, whatever the nature or seriousness of the illness may be–and there is not one of us who does not need healing for some physical, mental or spiritual illness. However, not only is Holy Unction for healing, but, as Saint James says in his Epistle, it is also for the forgiveness of our sins.
Holy Unction and Confession
Orthodox Christians who confess on a regular basis and are struggling for their salvation are able to participate in the Mystery of Holy Unction. The proper order is:
1. Repentance and Confession
2. Holy Communion
3. Holy Unction - anointing with Holy Oil
Holy Unction and Fasting
In general, one does not need to fast when receiving Holy Unction.
Homily On the Mystery of Holy Unction
By Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
‘... and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them’ (Mark 6:13)
The Holy Apostles did this, and we are commanded to do likewise. The Apostle James wrote for us: ‘Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven’ (James 5: 14–15). One must call no-one but the priest, the elders of the Church, and they must anoint him in no-one’s name (so that it be not diabolical) but that of the Lord. No-one but the Lord will raise him, neither can anyone but the Lord forgive him his sins. But why with oil, and not by some other means? Because it is so commanded; and it is for us simply to show our obedience and faith. Why is it commanded that we be baptised with water, chrismated with myrrh and communicated with bread and wine? These things are God’s choice and God’s business, and it is for us to be obedient and to believe. The elements used in the various Mysteries differ, but the grace is one even as the Lord is one, and everything is from the Lord. Why does the Lord use material means to pour His grace upon us? The Lord does not need these material things, but rather we, as long as we are material, need them. In condescension to our weakness, the Lord makes use of matter. To the immaterial angels, He gives grace by immaterial means.
Of itself, the oil is powerless, as is every material thing on its own, but God’s grace is all-powerful. God gives His grace through the oil, and it heals the sick, raises the weak and restores the insane to sanity.
Oh, my brethren, how ineffable is God’s goodness! What has the Lord not done for us? What more could we desire? He has foreseen all our needs and provided medicine for them in advance. He only seeks from us that we believe in Him and fulfil His commandments. Is it not blind of us, and shameful, that we often carry out the directions of doctors, mortal men like ourselves, more carefully and conscientiously than we do those of God immortal?
O all-gracious Lord, shatter the stone of our hearts with the power of Thy grace; that we may, before our last hour, show Thee the gratitude we owe Thee, O our gracious and most wise God. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ochrid by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
We have begun the first phase of the electrical upgrade to the main monastic dormitory and the Cathedral. This involves adding 4, 100 amp fused disconnects in main electrical room in the basement of the monastery, installing conduits , cabling and 42 main lug panels on all floors and the church as well as running new undeground cable from the dormitory to the Church. This phase is nearly complete. The next stage is the most difficult and time consuming stage of the project which will require the rewiring of the buildings, disabling and removing old wiring and connecting new wires to the new panels. We ask for your support to help us continue this work.
Since our last update with phase one of the electrical work at Holy Trinity Monastery we are now continuing with phase two of rewiring each floor by disabling old electrical panels and connecting everything to the new panels and then beginning the difficult task of running new wires to each room. We have also begun doing exterior stucco work repairs for the Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral as well as the Dormition Chapel in the Cemetery as over the years the old stucco was crumbling. Exterior repair work is already in progress for the main monastery garages which over the years have begun to decay in many areas forcing us to close the outdoor rest rooms due to water coming in through the roof. The Kitchen project is currently in its last stage of planning which we hope to complete by the end of the year and also replace the septic system. We will be posting more pictures as work progresses.
Repairs are very costly and we appreciate your continued prayeful and finacial support!
Every year during Labor Day weekend the monastery hosts a pilgrimage where many come to pray to the Mother of God and Saint Job of Pochaev. So also this year between August 31 - September 2 the monastery kept this tradition and had His Grace Bishop Jerome lead the services accompanied by monastic clergy and visiting clergy. Archpriest Vladimir Malchenko came with many pilgrims from Toronto to take part in the celebrations and to support the monastery. Also a group of youth came for the weekend where they participated in monastery work, listened to a talk on spiritual struggle and took part in the monastery services. The Kursk Root Icon was present during all the services and the icon was taken to all the monastery and seminary quarters to be blessed. On Saturday after lunch a pannykhida was served by Archimandrite Luke for the repose of Metropolitan Laurus and Archimandrite Flor who saints day this was. At 3 pm the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God was brought to the Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral from the Dormition Chapel which due to rain this year the procession was canceled. An Akathist was served followed by the Communion Rule and at 7PM vigil. Around three hundred pilgrims came on Sunday. As has been the tradition in the monastery, two liturgies were served on this day. One at 6am in the Saint Job of Pochaev Church and one at 9am in the main cathedral. Bishop Jerome gave two short sermons, one in Russian on the Epistle theme, "Бог ны посланники последния яви", where "poslanniki" can mean both "apostles" and "exiles" (from our true Home), and in English on the Gospel words about "Faith as a grain of mustard seed". After the liturgy a moleben was served with procession around the Church. A meal was served for all the pilgrims after the service.
By God's grace work is continuing to complete as much as possible outside work before winter sets in. Stucco work is continuing in the Cemetery Chapel which will be followed by the placing of a new floor as it is raising due to water absorption, fixing the interior to prevent leaks and upgrading the electrical work. The summer kitchen that is used as an extra trapeza for pilgrims and the music school was found to be in a very bad condition with much of the framing having decayed right through. Also roof repairs are being made where needed before winter sets in. God willing plumbing work will begin during the winter.
Monday, September 9, 2013 was the first day for the Seminarians of Holy Trinity Seminary. After the liturgy a moleben was served by Archimandrite Luke asking God to bless the undertaking of studies for the seminarians and that their life in the Monastery would be one of spiritual benefit. There are a total of thirty students.
On Wednesday, September 18, Protodeacon John Onopko, longtime cleric of the Eastern American Diocese, reposed in the Lord. He was 87 years old. Fr. John was born on August 17, 1926 in Zmiev, Ukraine, near Kharkov. On Thursday, June 4, 1981, on the great feast of the Ascension of the Lord, he was ordained a deacon. On Saturday, July 2, 1994, on the very day of the Glorification of the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco, he was elevated to the rank of protodeacon. Fr. John’s diaconal service lasted over 30 years; during this time, Fr. John became one of the senior-most deacons in the Diocese. He taught Liturgics at Holy Trinity Theological Seminary, and fulfilled his service at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, where he reposed in the Lord.
His funeral will be held at Holy Trinity Monastery on Friday September 20 at 1PM. There will be a memorial meal for Fr John at 12noon at the monastery. All are welcome.
Memory eternal to the newly reposed Protodeacon John!
On Friday September 20, 2013, the funeral for Protodeacon John Onopko was held at Holy Trinity Monastey. The funeral was served by Archimandrite Luke, monastery clergy and clergy friends, friends of the newly reposed Fr. John. Friends and relatives came from Canada, Cleveland and many other places. Among those mourning were fellow members of the Displaced Persons Camp of Fishbeck, Germany where Father John lived with hunderds of other Russian refugees after World War II before arriving in America in 1950. Father Protodeacon Victor Lochmatow perhaps the one person in the monastery community who knew Father John the longest gave a very moving eulogy. He pointed out Father John's great love of the Church's services and his zeal in serving them. He was known for his love and service to Metropolitan Laurus and the Monastery in general. Over the years Father John personally purchased new vestments for the monastery services in all the different liturgical colors. Father John accepted the news of his incurable illness not only without complaint but with a certain joy and submission to God's will. People will remember him for his kindness and love he showed everybody. May God grant rest to his soul!
On Monday September 24, His Grace Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin and Ladeinoye Polye celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Monastery together with Monastery and visiting clergy. At the end of the liturgy His Grace Bishop Mstislav greeted the Abbot, Archimandrite Luke and brotherhood, the students and faithful, and presented to the Monastery relics and an icon of Saint Alexander of Svir. Following this His Grace Bishop Mstislav and all the clergy processed to the burial crypts behind the Church to serve a litia for Metropolitan Laurus.
Thursday, October 31 2013 marked the 16th Anniversary memorial of the repose of Brother Jose Munos-Cortes, the guardian of the myrrhstreaming "Montreal" Iveron Icon of the Mother of God who was killed in Athens, Greece in 1997. The monastery brotherhood commemorated and prayed for his repose on his anniversary and on Saturday November 2, a large group of pilgrims headed by Protopriest Victor Potapov came to Holy Trinity Monastery for the weekend to pray at the grave of Brother Jose, attend the services at the monastery and visit the grounds and various places of obediences. May God bless all the pilgrims and grant rest with the righteous to the soul of Brother Jose Munos-Cortes.
Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple
If a tree is known by its fruit, and a good tree bears good fruit (cf. Mt. 7:17; Lk. 6:44), then is not the Mother of Goodness Itself, She who bore the Eternal Beauty, incomparably more excellent than every good, whether in this world or the world above? Therefore, the coeternal and identical Image of goodness, Preeternal, transcending all being, He Who is the preexisting and good Word of the Father, moved by His unutterable love for mankind and compassion for us, put on our image, that He might reclaim for Himself our nature which had been dragged down to uttermost Hades, so as to renew this corrupted nature and raise it to the heights of Heaven. For this purpose, He had to assume a flesh that was both new and ours, that He might refashion us from out of ourselves. Now He finds a Handmaiden perfectly suited to these needs, the supplier of Her own unsullied nature, the Ever-Virgin now hymned by us, and Whose miraculous Entrance into the Temple, into the Holy of Holies, we now celebrate. God predestined Her before the ages for the salvation and reclaiming of our kind. She was chosen, not just from the crowd, but from the ranks of the chosen of all ages, renowned for piety and understanding, and for their God-pleasing words and deeds.
In the beginning, there was one who rose up against us: the author of evil, the serpent, who dragged us into the abyss. Many reasons impelled him to rise up against us, and there are many ways by which he enslaved our nature: envy, rivalry, hatred, injustice, treachery, slyness, etc. In addition to all this,he also has within him the power of bringing death, which he himself engendered, being the first to fall away from true life.
The author of evil was jealous of Adam, when he saw him being led from earth to Heaven, from which he was justly cast down. Filled with envy, he pounced upon Adam with a terrible ferocity, and even wished to clothe him with the garb of death.Envy is not only the begetter of hatred, but also of murder, which this truly man-hating serpent brought about in us. For he wanted to be master over the earth-born for the ruin of that which was created in the image and likeness of God. Since he was not bold enough to make a face to face attack, he resorted to cunning and deceit. This truly terrible and malicious plotter pretended to be a friend and useful adviser by assuming the physical form of a serpent, and stealthily took their position. By his God-opposing advice, he instills in man his own death-bearing power, like a venomous poison.
If Adam had been sufficiently strong to keep the divine commandment, then he would have shown himself the vanquisher of his enemy, and withstood his deathly attack. But since he voluntarily gave in to sin, he was defeated and was made a sinner. Since he is the root of our race, he has produced us as death-bearing shoots. So, it was necessary for us, if he were to fight back against his defeat and to claim victory, to rid himself of the death-bearing venomous poison in his soul and body, and to absorb life, eternal and indestructible life.
It was necessary for us to have a new root for our race, a new Adam, not just one Who would be sinless and invincible, but one Who also would be able to forgive sins and set free from punishment those subject to it. And not only would He have life in Himself, but also the capacity to restore to life, so that He could grant to those who cleave to Him and are related to Him by race both life and the forgiveness of their sins, restoring to life not only those who came after Him, but also those who already had died before Him. Therefore, St. Paul, that great trumpet of the Holy Spirit, exclaims, The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).
Except for God, there is no one who is without sin, or life-creating, or able to remit sin. Therefore, the new Adam must be not only Man, but also God. He is at the same time life, wisdom, truth, love, and mercy, and every other good thing, so that He might renew the old Adam and restore him to life through mercy, wisdom and righteousness. These are the opposites of the things which the author of evil used to bring about our aging and death.
As the slayer of mankind raised himself against us with envy and hatred, so the Source of life was lifted up [on the Cross] because of His immeasurable goodness and love for mankind. He intensely desired the salvation of His creature, i.e., that His creature would be restored by Himself. In contrast to this, the author of evil wanted to bring God's creature to ruin, and thereby put mankind under his own power, and tyrannically to afflict us. And just as he achieved the conquest and the fall of mankind by means of injustice and cunning, by deceit and his trickery, so has the Liberator brought about the defeat of the author of evil, and the restoration of His own creature with truth, justice and wisdom.
It was a deed of perfect justice that our nature, which was voluntarily enslaved and struck down, should again enter the struggle for victory and cast off its voluntary enslavement. Therefore, God deigned to receive our nature from us, hypostatically uniting with it in a marvellous way. But it was impossible to unite that Most High Nature,Whose purity is incomprehensible for human reason, to a sinful nature before it had been purified. Therefore, for the conception and birth of the Bestower of purity, a perfectly spotless and Most Pure Virgin was required.
Today we celebrate the memory of those things that contributed, if only once, to the Incarnation. He Who is God by nature, the Co-unoriginate and Coeternal Word and Son of the Transcendent Father, becomes the Son of Man, the Son of the Ever-Virgin. Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8), immutable in His divinity and blameless in His humanity, He alone, as the Prophet Isaiah prophesied, Practiced no iniquity, nor deceit with His lips (Is. 53: 9). He alone was not brought forth in iniquity, nor was He conceived in sin, in contrast to what the Prophet David says concerning himself and every other man (Ps. 50/51: 5). Even in what He assumes, He is perfectly pure and has no need to be cleansed Himself. But for our sake, He accepted purification, suffering, death and resurrection, that He might transmit them to us.
God is born of the spotless and Holy Virgin, or better to say, of the Most Pure and All-Holy Virgin. She is above every fleshly defilement, and even above every impure thought. Her conceiving resulted not from fleshly lust, but by the overshadowing of the Most Holy Spirit. Such desire being utterly alien to Her, it is through prayer and spiritual readiness that She declared to the angel: Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto Me according to thy word (Lk. 1:38), and that She conceived and gave birth. So, in order to render the Virgin worthy of this sublime purpose, God marked this ever-virgin Daughter now praised by us, from before the ages, and from eternity, choosing Her from out of His elect.
Turn your attention then, to where this choice began. From the sons of Adam God chose the wondrous Seth, who showed himself a living heaven through his becoming behavior, and through the beauty of his virtues. That is why he was chosen, and from whom the Virgin would blossom as the divinely fitting chariot of God. She was needed to give birth and to summon the earth-born to heavenly sonship. For this reason also all the lineage of Seth were called sons of God, because from this lineage a son of man would be born the Son of God. The name Seth signifies a rising or resurrection, or more specifically, it signifies the Lord, Who promises and gives immortal life to all who believe in Him.
And how precisely exact is this parallel! Seth was born of Eve, as she herself said, in place of Abel, whom Cain killed through jealousy (cf. Gen. 4:25); and Christ, the Son of the Virgin, was born for us in place of Adam, whom the author of evil also killed through jealousy. But Seth did not resurrect Abel, since he was only a foretype of the resurrection. But our Lord Jesus Christ resurrected Adam, since He is the very Life and the Resurrection of the earth-born, for whose sake the descendants of Seth are granted divine adoption through hope, and are called the children of God. It was because of this hope that they were called sons of God, as is evident from the one who was first called so, the successor in the choice.This was Enos, the son of Seth, who as Moses wrote, first hoped to call on the Name of the Lord (Gen. 4:26).
In this manner, the choice of the future Mother of God, beginning with the very sons of Adam and proceeding through all the generations of time, through the Providence of God, passes to the Prophet-king David and the successors of his kingdom and lineage. When the chosen time had come, then from the house and posterity of David, Joachim and Anna are chosen by God. Though they were childless, they were by their virtuous life and good disposition the finest of all those descended from the line of David.And when in prayer they besought God to deliver them from their childlessness, and promised to dedicate their child to God from its infancy. By God Himself, the Mother of God was proclaimed and given to them as a child, so that from such virtuous parents the all-virtuous child would be raised.So in this manner, chastity joined with prayer came to fruition by producing the Mother of virginity, giving birth in the flesh to Him Who was born of God the Father before the ages.
Now, when Righteous Joachim and Anna saw that they had been granted their wish, and that the divine promise to them was realized in fact, then they on their part, as true lovers of God, hastened to fulfill their vow given to God as soon as the child had been weaned from milk. They have now led this truly sanctified child of God, now the Mother of God, this Virgin into the Temple of God. And She, being filled with Divine gifts even at such a tender age, ... She, rather than others, determined what was being done over Her. In Her manner She showed that She was not so much presented into the Temple, but that She Herself entered into the service of God of her own accord, as if she had wings, striving towards this sacred and divine love. She considered it desirable and fitting that she should enter into the Temple and dwell in the Holy of Holies.
Therefore, the High Priest, seeing that this child, more than anyone else, had divine grace within Her, wished to set Her within the Holy of Holies. He convinced everyone present to welcome this, since God had advanced it and approved it. Through His angel, God assisted the Virgin and sent Her mystical food, with which She was strengthened in nature, while in body She was brought to maturity and was made purer and more exalted than the angels, having the Heavenly spirits as servants. She was led into the Holy of Holies not just once, but was accepted by God to dwell there with Him during Her youth, so that through Her, the Heavenly Abodes might be opened and given for an eternal habitation to those who believe in Her miraculous birthgiving.
So it is, and this is why She, from the beginning of time, was chosen from among the chosen. She Who is manifest as the Holy of Holies, Who has a body even purer than the spirits purified by virtue, is capable of receiving ... the Hypostatic Word of the Unoriginate Father.Today the Ever-Virgin Mary, like a Treasure of God, is stored in the Holy of Holies, so that in due time, (as it later came to pass) She would serve for the enrichment of, and an ornament for, all the world. Therefore, Christ God also glorifies His Mother, both before birth, and also after birth.
We who understand the salvation begun for our sake through the Most Holy Virgin, give Her thanks and praise according to our ability. And truly, if the grateful woman (of whom the Gospel tells us), after hearing the saving words of the Lord, blessed and thanked His Mother, raising her voice above the din of the crowd and saying to Christ, Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps Thou hast sucked (Lk. 11:27), then we who have the words of eternal life written out for us, and not only the words, but also the miracles and the Passion, and the raising of our nature from death, and its ascent from earth to Heaven, and the promise of immortal life and unfailing salvation, then how shall we not unceasingly hymn and bless the Mother of the Author of our Salvation and the Giver of Life, celebrating Her conception and birth, and now Her Entry into the Holy of Holies?
Now, brethren, let us remove ourselves from earthly to celestial things. Let us change our path from the flesh to the spirit. Let us change our desire from temporal things to those that endure. Let us scorn fleshly delights, which serve as allurements for the soul and soon pass away. Let us desire spiritual gifts, which remain undiminished. Let us turn our reason and our attention from earthly concerns and raise them to the inaccessible places of Heaven, to the Holy of Holies, where the Mother of God now resides.
Therefore, in such manner our songs and prayers to Her will gain entry, and thus through her mediation, we shall be heirs of the everlasting blessings to come, through the grace and love for mankind of Him Who was born of Her for our sake, our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory, honor and worship, together with His Unoriginate Father and His Coeternal and Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
St. Gregory Palamas
On Tuesday, December 10, the Holy Trinity Monastery and the Seminary celebrated the Feast of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the “Hodegetria” of the Russian diaspora and the protectress of the Russian Church Abroad. But for the monastic and seminary community this year, this feast was also chosen as an occasion to mark the conclusion to the year-long commemoration of the 400th anniversary since the accession of the Russian Imperial dynasty of Romanov to the throne (1613)...
This glorious saint, celebrated even today throughout the entire world, was the only son of his eminent and wealthy parents, Theophanes and Nona, citizens of the city of Patara in Lycia. Since he was the only son bestowed on them by God, the parents returned the gift to God by dedicating their son to Him...