Okay. I have to brag about this. My favorite prof from Seminary, Dr. Tim Patitsas has finally succeeded in bringing what used to be blandly called “the senior trip” into a full fledged Orthodox pilgrimage. I can only believe it is due to the communications vision of new Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology President, Fr. Chris Metropulos. Kudos to my Alma Mater for granting this rich experience to her graduates. I am happy to be among the first pilgrims back in 2011 where I recorded my observations in a Pilgrimage_Memory_Book.
The following is so much more worthy of the good donors who make the pilgrimage possible. God bless you all, my dear fellow graduates of Holy Cross!
Blog celebrates its 4th birthday today. So glad for all the pilgrimages and chances to reflect on cultural trends and spiritual matters. Thank you to all my readers for sticking it out this long. We hope to keep it going as long as we are taking trips to inspiring places. Also look on the about page for an updated photo of the fam. God bless you all.
Rarely do I watch or read talks written so densely and passionately. This lecture by a Christian violinist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra covers so much ground I don’t know where to even begin. For one thing, she nails what is missing in the Evangelical church’s love with popular culture and contemporary music. It is well worth the 15 minutes, but I warn you, it takes some undivided listening to really hear all the important things Ms. Ostling has to say.
I remember so well the first time I stayed overnight in an Orthodox Christian monastery. I dreamed of every Christian camp and conference I had attended up to that point in my life, for they represented the highest and deepest of my spiritual experience. After just one day in the concentrated prayers of the monastic daily cycle, those previous experiences of prayer became as mere foretastes of reality. Continue reading →
From a small city church in Russian Siberia to one of America’s largest cathedrals in San Francisco, our batiushka (endearing term for priest) is about to finally complete his mission and strengthen a Cross-Pacific relationship that began in the middle of this past century. The story is bound up with one of America’s most beloved saints, Archbishop John of Shanghai and San Francisco, who after establishing St. Tikhon’s Orphanage in China, fled Shanghai in 1949 when the flood of communism spilled into that ancient land as well. The saint fled first to a storm-ridden island in the Philippines and then to San Francisco in 1962. What concerns our Siberian pastor is that many other Russians fled with the Archbishop from his home city of Kyakhta, an important trade center on the northern border with Mongolia. To mark this connection between the mother city and the place of these emigrants’ exile, batiushka has brought a copy of the icon Mother of God, Surety of Sinners, all the way from its original home in Kyakhta to the San Francisco Cathedral “Joy of All Who Sorrow” on Geary Boulevard. Continue reading →
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. (I Peter 2:11)
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here. (John 18:36)
This world and all its lusts make us who live here forget that our true home lies elsewhere. Pilgrimage is the God-given tool for overcoming our excessive attachment to this world. On this Eve of the Feast, having arrived at the birthplace of Orthodox Christianity in North America, our small group of pilgrims assembles in the early morning around the relics of America’s first Orthodox saint, Herman of Alaska, to pray for the salvation of our souls. I am here in Kodiak, Alaska with my brother-in-law and a priest who has almost circumnavigated the globe from a city if Siberia just north of Mongolia. We are guests at St. Herman Seminary in an unfamiliar place, but the common love for St. Herman makes us feel right at home as we meet other pilgrims from places as far flung as ours.Continue reading →