Will You Help Our First Hierarch Metropolitan Hilarion?
Will You Help Our First Hierarch Metropolitan Hilarion?

July 30, 2019

I’m writing to you because I know that you love our First Hierarch and care about his physical and spiritual wellbeing. Metropolitan Hilarion never asks for anything. But today - Vladyka needs your help.

You see, there’s a small skete – the Hermitage of the Holy Protection in Buena, NJ, that is very dear to Vladyka’s heart. And I’m hoping that you can assist him in moving this skete out of survival and into growth mode.

To understand why Vladyka cherishes this place of prayer, you need to understand what it means to be the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Every day for Vladyka starts and ends with his flock’s pain.

MANY of the biggest problems and challenges of our Church from across the entire world, go directly through this one man. Every decision that he makes can potentially impact the spiritual wellbeing of thousands of people across the entire world!

It is hard for you to imagine how difficult it is for one man to process so many issues. He has to grapple with all of this and still maintain the inner peace of his soul.

It is of utmost importance for Vladyka to spend quiet time alone with God. That’s why he goes to the skete. And this is why I’m asking you to help Vladyka.

Vladyka needs just 100 people to become monthly donors to save the skete.  

All it takes is $30 per month. That’s just $1 per day and you can help the skete, go from survival mode to growth mode. If you cannot become a monthly donor, can you at least help with a one-time donation? That is what Vladyka needs from you today. Will you help him?

You might be wondering why you have never heard of the skete before. That’s because Vladyka is a quiet and humble man. He does not like to draw attention to himself.

Even though he’s a Metropolitan and First Hierarch, he sees himself as nothing more than an ordinary monk. This is what makes him an outstanding spiritual leader. And the skete is one of the only places where he can go to be just that – an ordinary monk.

When he opened the skete four years ago, Vladyka did not even make himself the abbot. He appointed his faithful assistant, Fr. Tikhon (Gayfudinov), as abbot of the skete. “Appointing Fr. Tikhon the abbot, means that I’m just a brother of the monastery,” says the Metropolitan.

Over the course of four years, Vladyka and Fr. Tikhon converted this formerly abandoned parish into a small monastic community. This is how Fr. Tikhon describes the beginning of the monastery:

We started coming here and working together – just the two of us. I would be working outside while Vladyka was inside, wiping away decades of dust from the icons.

There was no place to sleep so we slept in the basement on regular cots. We had to shower in the woods using a bucket.

All of their hard work is now being threatened by a problem much greater than mold, rotten floors, and leaking roofs. The biggest problem at the skete is a lack of income. 

The only stable source of income that the skete has right now is the modest salary of its abbot, Fr. Tikhon. He works as Vladyka’s personal assistant and uses his salary to pay everything from electricity and insurance to maintenance costs. He doesn’t just work for free - he actually pays to work at the skete!

Now you have a chance to help him! All Vladyka wants to do is help Fr. Tikhon as much as he can but he can’t do it without your help.

The skete would not be around if it weren’t for Fr. Tikhon’s hard work. He works there from early morning until late at night. This is on top of the work that he does as my personal assistant. He needs our support. – Met. Hilarion

If you sign up today to become a monthly donor for just $30, you can help Fr. Tikhon pay for basic operating costs such as food, electricity, and insurance. Vladyka just needs 100 people to sign up and donate $1 per day.

Will you help Vladyka and Fr. Tikhon move the skete from survival mode to growth mode?

With your help, you might even get the chance to see what I’m talking about with your own eyes. That’s one of my favorite parts about this story. The skete is not just a place for Vladyka to be alone with God. He opened the skete so that you and I could do the same!

He wants to give you an opportunity to tear yourself away from all the noise of everyday life. That’s how much he loves you! That’s why he kept insisting, “This is not about me.”

We are surrounded by constant noise. Sometimes you don’t even realize how loud it is until you come to the skete. It’s only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City, but you feel like you’re in a completely different world. 

Ringing phones, flashing billboards, skyscrapers, and traffic are replaced by lakes, forests, and wildlife. The first thing that you notice when you get here is the silence. In this silence, your heart yearns to pray.


When you are surrounded by nature, it is easier to pray. This is why so many of the saints would go into the deserts and forests. It is simply easier to pray. And when it’s easier to pray, your prayer becomes stronger. This is what keeps our Church strong. – Met. Hilarion

This is what the skete is all about – a ceaseless cycle of prayer. When you pay for basic expenses such as food, electricity, health insurance, and car payments, you are helping monks do what they are called to do – pray for the salvation of the world.

As an FFA donor, you understand how important it is to support your monks and monasteries.

Donors like you have made miracles happen for other monasteries such as the Hermitage of the Holy Cross in West Virginia. You helped them with the same basic operating expenses and the monastery has since flourished. You have done so much already.

But today I’m writing about a very unique opportunity – to help Vladyka himself. Because he needs you.

Vladyka is not getting any younger. But if you help him, he can use the skete to train the next generation of monks for ROCOR.

“As the Russian saying goes, words may admonish, but examples persuade.” Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky)  

This is how Metropolitan Hilarion trains new monks. Vladyka trains them by being a living example of how an ordinary monk should work and live.

Will you help Vladyka? Will you sign up right now to become a monthly donor for the skete? 

When you donate $1,000 or pledge to donate $30 per month for three years, your name (or another name of your choosing) will be added to the “Golden Book of Eternal Commemoration.” You will be prayed for at every Liturgy by Vladyka and Fr. Tikhon.

With your help, the skete will continue to serve as a training ground for a whole new generation of monks. Monks who will grow up under the homophorion of ROCOR and Her humble First Hierarch - the First Hierarch who wants nothing more than to be an ordinary monk.

And – best of all – you will be able to continue the cycle of ceaseless prayer that is so essential to you, to our dear Metropolitan, and to the whole world. Please give today.

May God richly bless you for your amazing generosity and for caring for our dear Vladyka and Fr. Tikhon.

Mark Selawry Fund for Assistance to ROCOR President

P.S. Please help Vladyka today. I’m sure that one day you’ll look back on the skete and your heart will rejoice that you were able to fund the growth of this beautiful monastery.

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