"I had always known that a secular career was not what I wanted. Although I enjoyed my studies, my main interest was always the Church: the services, the Church’s history, Holy Scripture, church music, Church-Slavonic, etc. I always planned to serve the Church in some capacity when I grew up. Taking my father’s advice, I enrolled at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville when I was 17. There I continued my study of Russian and familiarized myself with Dogmatic Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Patrology, and much more. I also met many wonderful people there, with whom I hope to remain in touch for the rest of my life, even if service to the Church takes us far apart. Although the seminary’s tuition is fairly inexpensive – especially compared to that of other universities – it was still beyond my means."
For Fr. Alexei, an umbrella was an essential thing to have. He had lost the last two within a week of purchasing them – both times on a bus, on the way to serve Liturgy. After making sure that his suitcase – which was even more essential – was all right, Fr. Alexei got off the bus. It was getting ready to storm. There was no one there to meet him this time, so he shifted his suitcase into a more comfortable position and set off on foot. A strong wind picked up, and it began to rain. It was awkward carrying a heavy suitcase in one hand and an umbrella in the other: it was also ineffective. A sharp gust of wind tore the umbrella away and carried it off. Fr. Alexei only sighed, without setting his old suitcase down even for an instant: it contained his vestments, liturgical Gospel book, and vessels. “My suitcase is my church,” he would often say.
At 5 a.m. Brother Lev began to clear the snow off the path to the church – there was just enough time to do it before Liturgy. It was -4°F, and an icy wind was stinging his face. He was frozen to the marrow and was having comforting thoughts about there being just enough time to warm himself in his cell before the service. However, when he got back to his cell the radiator was cold; the old furnaces were not always able to cope with the cold New York winters, but Holy Trinity Monastery did not have the money to repair them. "The monks and visitors complain that it is very cold in some of the rooms. We need to resolve this issue, but at the same time we need to stop using these dangerous radiators in the rooms," says Archimandrite Luke, the monastery's abbot. "We recently replaced the boilers in the basement. Now we need to replace the old pipes and renovate the building so that all the floors are at the same temperature. This is a huge problem for us at present."
Fr Mark was one of the biggest contributors to his parish: he devoted endless hours to his parish, often bought necessary items, like vigil lamp oil and incense out of his own resources and tithed back to the parish. “Fr Mark pays us to be our priest,” said parishioner Nell Shaw.
"Father Chris is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He is always in good spirits and loves to laugh. He welcomes all those that come to him, will give you anything you ask, but will never ask for anything in return."
You are invited to take a pilgrimage to a unique church on Bukasa Island, Uganda. You can click through this amazing panorama and listen to Liturgy served in a local language. The wooden chapel was built by Fr Christopher Walusimbi, who heads the small ROCOR mission there. FFA has been supporting Fr Christopher for several years.
Paris: Wonderful news for those whose hearts are touched by our brothers’ plight in Haiti: on Wednesday, February 12, in the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Korsun in Paris, Bishop Nestor of Korsun ordained into the deaconate a Haitian seminarian Augustine Gesnel, who is studying at the Russian Orthodox seminary in France. Until he graduates, the newly-ordained deacon will serve as a deacon as part of the seminary clergy, and after returning to Haiti, he will serve at his home parish of St Augustin in Jacmel.
Sea Cliff, NY - In today’s day and age, when evil forces vigorously wage war against the fundamentals of Christianity by giving people false hope through materialism and secularism, the most vulnerable victims of this warfare are the youth. Television programs and social networks bombard young people with images of celebrities and politicians, who proudly live immoral lives and preach messages that go against all of the teachings of the Holy Church. But despite all of these horrors, there are still those among the youth who try not to succumb to the temptations of this world, and for this reason the Russian Church Abroad hosts the annual St. Herman’s Youth Conference during the traditional winter recess during the Gregorian Calendar feast of the Nativity of our Lord. On December 22-26, a group of approximately 75 high school- and college-aged Orthodox Christians gathered in Long Island to continue this tradition.
Mulino, OR - Your donations in action - see what future Church leaders: priests, matushkas, choir directors, readers, etc. say about a wonderful annual youth conference! This year the conference, organized by the Western American Diocese and sponsored by the FFA, was held in Mulino, OR, at the parish of New Russian Martyrs in Mulino, OR.
Please watch this excellent film about the recent St Herman's conference in Sea Cliff, NY, produced by the Eastern-American Diocese Media Office.
The participants of the conference held in the Mid-America and Chicago Diocese made this wonderful Thank you video for us. Check out the bloopers at the end!:)
Stricken with grief, Lena ran to the only Russian Orthodox church in Costa Rica – the Our Lady of Vladimir Church. Her thoughts were scattered, despair crushed her throat…
Could it really be that Peter, her youngest son, was dead?! Only a few hours earlier, the 20-year-old youth had died in a car accident… But the church was closed. The priest came to serve once a week from several towns away. Lena had to wait several ‒ oh, how painful and never-ending! ‒ days until she could have a comforting talk with him, and attend divine services in church.
For almost a year, Fr. Ignacio Miranda, who cares for the Russian Orthodox community of Costa Rica, has been traveling to church every Sunday with two stops. Each way takes two hours – he takes two buses and a taxi ride. Parishioners serve the All-Night Vigil as laymen, since two such trips per weekend would be too much to handle; moreover, Fr. Ignacio works a secular job on weekdays.
Dear friends, Christ is risen!
Thanks to your incredible generosity, we have collected around $20,000 for the mission in Costa Rica! Members of the mission are actively looking for a good car - the process is taking a little longer than expected, because money is still coming in. This means that they have had to change their plans several times - because each time the sum would grow. So they would have to start looking for a different and better car!
Thank you so much for your kindness and for giving the members of the small mission so much hope. Your support is so important to them - who live far away from their homeland and in a place with very few Orhtodox Christians. They can now rest assured that their priest will always be able to come to them in their time of need! This would have been impossible without your help. Thank you! May the Lord save you!
We’ve had a request from Gregory (Grisha) Levitsky – a third- year student at St Tikhon’s seminary in PA.
He needs your help to pay tuition for his Master of Divinity program. You might wonder why do I need to help him?
Because here we have a talented highly-educated young man (his B.A. is in Political Science and Russian) who is determined to...
"In 2013, my husband of 53 years, Archpriest Alexei Ohotin, died of cancer.
Thanks to the Fund for Assistance, he was able to die in peace, free of worry. He knew that his family would not be burdened with his astronomical medical bills.
If you are or ever have been a donor to the Fund for Assistance, I would like to offer my deepest thanks for your...
An anonymous donor has put a $20,000 on the table for two of our most prominent monasteries - Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, and Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV.
But there’s one condition before they can claim it...
Thanks to your great generosity, the ROCOR mission in Costa Rica bought an almost new Toyota Yaris.
We collected over $20,000 for the mission, which allowed them to buy a much better car than they had originally planned.
According to matushka Elena Aragon, when Fr Ignacio, saw the car, he couldn't believe anyone would care so much as to buy this nice of a car for his use.
The first numbers are in for the monastery matching drive!
Every time you give to FFA, someone like Deacon Andrei Psarev works hard to honor your generosity. Because without you, his story may have been very different.
Jordanville, NY, is not easy place to live — especially if you have a family to support.
There are very few employment opportunities, even for someone as highly educated as Deacon Andrei Psarev, who is
“Christ is Risen!” – rang Igumen Seraphim’s triumphant voice through the small packed church. “Truly He is Risen!” –replied brethren and parishioners alike, many with tears of joy. Pascha of 2014 was even more joyous for them this year. After months of pain and suffering, months of aggressive treatment for his cancer, Fr Seraphim was finally able to serve again.
Your tremendous response to our fundraising drive for Holy Trinity Monastery resulted in over $168,000 in assistance in 2013. Thanks to your generosity, the brethren have been able to make improvements in several areas of their life, which would not have been possible had they not benefited from your financial support. Our mission prevents us from sponsoring repairs, but there was a lot of interest from our donors to help the monastery, so we agreed to help the brethren with day-to-day expenses, which freed up funds for the needed repairs. Here’s how you helped Holy Trinity Monastery in 2013 in the words of monastery accountant Hieromonk Theophylact.
Her family disowned and abused her when she converted to Orthodoxy. But your kindness let her find a new family within the Church.
Dear brothers and sisters,
May I introduce you to Bogdan?
He’s a cute little guy. He loves playing hide-and-seek and watching cartoons.
He looks like a typical 4 year old. But Bogdan has already witnessed horrors that will likely affect his whole life.
Bogdan is a refugee from Eastern Ukraine. His grandmother was able to scrape enough money to flee the war-torn region with him. Bogdan’s mother and father, his sister Anya and his parrot Plut had to stay back.
When watching TV, Bogdan continually asks his grandmother: “Is he going to be killed? What about her? Is she safe?”
This 4-year old has already experienced grief and death, want and hunger... Night after night he screams with terror and calls for his mother. He may never see her again...
There are thousands stories like this one.
Thanks to your generosity, brethren abandon temporary housing for monastic cells
Brother David entered Holy Cross Monastery as a novice 3 years ago, at a time when Holy Cross Monastery was growing so fast, it was splitting at the seams. There were so many prospective novices, there was a waiting list to enter the monastery.
How you saved a Jordanville monk from going blind
The last thing you expect to hear when you’re only 30 years old is: “You are losing your eye sight”. Riassophor monk Alexander, candle maker and reader at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, has had vision problems for years. And his sight was rapidly deteriorating.
Svyatogorsk (Holy Mountain) Holy Dormition Lavra in Eastern Ukraine has admitted 800 refugees from the current warzone. The holy habitation has turned over the monastery guesthouse to the refugees to use as shelter and living quarters, as well as provided free meals, medical assistance, and any required clothing.
We've received bad news from Mexico City. Fr Nektariy Haji-Petropoulos - abbot of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Mexico City - says the monastery may need to close its doors before Western Christmas.
Fr Oleg Yarovoy (Royal Martyrs Church in Sparks, NV) gets a small salary from his parish - it's enough for the bare necessities of his family. But there isn’t anything for emergencies.
He was getting along, but then one day this happened.