Every winter, the St. Herman’s Orthodox Youth Conferences are held on the America’s East and West Coasts. There, for their fortification in the faith and the salvation of their souls, pastors of the Church gather members of the younger generation.
This year, the “western” conference was held in Sunnyvale, CA. Over fifty college and high school students were in attendance. All were united by their shared faith, Church, and desire to learn something new. But this gathering also answers one of the most burning questions of youth: where and how to find upstanding peers. Many young people find friends here – those who are older find their sweethearts. “Walk not in the counsel of the wicked,” wrote King David, and for Orthodox youth this conference is a deserving worthy alterative to secular get-togethers.
A powerful 7.4 earthquake shook Mexico on Tuesday spared the small ROCOR mission in Mexico City, headed by Archimdnrite Nektariy (Haji-Petropoulos).
“Thanks to God nothing very serious happened,” wrote the abbot to the Fund for Assistance in an email.
“All our religious items fell to the ground, icons, bookshelves, lampadas, candelabra, furniture, kitchenware etc. Lots of broken glass and loose bricks everywhere; the major damage was in the cupola. Phone lines, Internet and electricity were interrupted for many hours. But all our parishioners are fine, just very scared. We have already had 15 aftershocks. “
In these joyous days, we ask you to consider how much Christ’s Holy Church means to us, and how difficult it would be to greet Pascha without being able to attend services in one’s home parish.
This was the situation once faced by our ancestors, who sought to escape the Communist regime in Russia. Through endless tribulations and tears they founded their new parishes where we pray today; they donated their last pennies to their dearly beloved Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and, thanks to them, today there is a Russian parish in nearly every state.
Mexico City - Beginning early Saturday morning and continuously over the course of eight hours, clerics of Holy Trinity Skete (Sagrado Skiti de la Santisima Trinidad) in Mexico City greeted dozens of families coming to have their kulichi, Paschal eggs, paschas, and traditional foods blessed, which they later shared with their friends and relatives.
Miami - Every year, on Great & Holy Saturday, in the parish of Saint Moses the Ethiopian in Fontamara, Haiti, after the Matins service, the Orthodox Mission of the Russian Church Abroad has baptized children, youths, and adults from different parishes throughout Haiti who were ready to receive baptism. This year, thirty-eight catechumens were baptized into the Orthodox faith.
Life in Haiti is rarely easy, but for Madeleine Randiche those few years seemed like paradise. She was happily married and had two beautiful children. Her husband, Reader Vladimir, was an active member of the Orthodox Mission in Haiti. He introduced not only Madeleine to Russian Orthodoxy, but catechized scores of believers. In the 11 years that the couple were members of the mission, more and more people started to rely on her husband for teaching, instructing catechumens, doing reader services for the local parish when the two priests – leaders of the mission – were unavailable, traveling to other parishes.
New York - When one lives in a monastery, one expects to be materially poor. When a person devotes his whole life to the Lord, he takes vows of chastity, obedience and poverty. The brethren at Holy Cross do everything they can to support themselves: they grow a portion of their own food, they make incense, candles and soap for sale, and they raise chickens and goats. But even a community of people dedicated to live simply need something to survive on.
We are asking you to support the FFA’s effort to provide health insurance to clergy in our church who cannot otherwise obtain it. We often come to our clergy, asking for their prayers and spiritual support when we are ill. Whether before surgery or during a prolonged hospital stay, our clergy pray with us and for us. But is it right that we seek spiritual care for medical illness from a person whose own family may not be able to afford the medical care we are about to get?
While all eyes are focused on Hurricane Sandy, another emerging catastrophe calls for our special consideration in helping our fathers and brethren at the Holy Trinity Monastery. This venerable ROCOR institution, founded in 1928, has touched the lives of countless monks, seminarians, pilgrims, and other Orthodox faithful.
I visited the monastery about a month ago in order to review the endowment and scholarship funds provided by the FFA earlier this year. I was shocked to learn that the monastery is now under severe financial difficulty on the back of two major developments:
When our parish sisterhood heard of the seemingly insurmountable troubles besetting the Holy Trinity Monastery by the NY EPA, we began to consider putting together a quick yard sale to see if we could help. Being a small, financially struggling church in the Protestant South, our fundraisers must inevitably be for our own church's upkeep, flowers, or children's programs. (St. Elizabeth the New Martyr Church - Columbia, SC) This time we were excited and honored to do something for this historic and important monastery in our Diocese.
When one lives in a monastery, one expects to be materially poor. When a person devotes his whole life to the Lord, he takes vows of chastity, obedience and poverty. The brethren at Holy Cross do everything they can to support themselves: they grow a portion of their own food, they make incense, candles and soap for sale, and they raise chickens and goats. But even a community of people dedicated to live simply need something to survive on.
I was recently asked "why is the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville so special for you?" In our appeal to raise funds to help this venerable ROCOR institution, the emphasis was made on their financial plight. I, personally, experienced a thought that terrified me: "what if there was no Jordanville!?" I'm sure most readers could share a similar feeling, based on their own experience at the monastery. You see, Jordanville served as a spiritual anchor for my family. My father emigrated to the US in the 1950s. Living in Buffalo, he found a slice of matushka Rossiya in the hills of upstate New York, within striking distance of Buffalo. As a doctor, he treated many fathers on a voluntary basis, including the late Metropolitan Laurus.
When hurricane Sandy spared his home in NJ with little damage, Fr. Timothy thought that, compared to most people, the situation of his young family of 4 was enviable. What are a few days without power when you still have each other and all your earthly possessions, minus the perishable food that had to be thrown out?
His happiness turned to anguish when he found out that both he and his matushka’s income was cut off indefinitely, because their employers suffered from Sandy. Like most ROCOR clergy, Fr Timothy’s parish does not provide him with a salary or health insurance. FEMA denied his claim. The family has no place left to turn to.
In 2009, Priest Gregorio Justiniano moved to San German to found Puerto Rico’s first mission, that of St. John of the Ladder, or San Juan Climaco. Inasmuch as Russians here are a vast minority, the parish decided to serve in Spanish, a language understandable to the locals, in order to better spread Orthodoxy. But here they ran into a problem: how could they serve without liturgical books or musical notes in Spanish? Moreover, how could they worthily perform the Orthodox divine services with only two people in the choir, neither of whom possess any musical training or education, or a knowledge of Church singing?
The civil holiday of Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder to us of the need to thank God for all that we take for granted; for all that we have had, and all that we think we will have in the future; for our churches, for our priests and matushkas, for our parishioners. This Thanksgiving, I especially thanked the Lord for all of you – the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Thank God for our parishioners! Without the bishop there is no Church, but without the parishioners, there is no parish and no community in which we all might care for one another.
The First Hierarch of ROCOR, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, expressed his deep concern over the critical condition in which Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY – the oldest monastery in the Russian Church Abroad – finds itself.
Holy Trinity Monastery is facing serious financial difficulties as a result of necessary renovations to the property, which will cost the monastery an estimated three million dollars.
"It was absolutely painful to see how many repairs are needed," said the Metropolitan after surveying the buildings. Deacon Michael Wengrin who came to the moanstery with the Metropolitan, said he was in a state of shock: "What I’ve seen here is just deplorable. I don’t know how the monks survive under these conditions. I wanted to cry."