Monasteries are the center of Orthodox Spirituality and are unfortunately mostly highly underrated. For a while I thought of them as a place to pray and plant seeds. But after visiting St. John the Baptist Monastery in Warwick, MA on many occasions my perception changed.
This small monastery in Western Massachusetts has a very relaxed atmosphere. Encompassed by forest, this place is surrounded by beautiful nature. Having this relaxed, calm setting sets a deep sense of inner peace. The quiet area helps calm the soul and leave all the worldly cares behind.
There are many monasteries around the world, and all of them have a unique setting. But the important key to the quiet beauty is the peace and calmness that is in the core of these Orthodox communities.
Day 3 of our vacation at Cape Cod and by all accounts this was a very good idea. The house we rented from a Family friend is extraordinarily well-organized, with drawers and even light switches labeled. Situated in Chatham Massachusetts, our lodgings sit in proximity to several good beaches, a private freshwater lake, and bikeable roads leading to dedicated rail trails. It is the perfect cure for families tired of being cooped up in quarantine. We simply take our quarantine somewhere else with only a few more added to the mix.
News of the Kingdom of God first sounded not in the muggy, dusty capital cities, but on the shores of an azure lake among green groves and hills, reminding us that the beauty of the earth is a reflection of the eternal beauty of heaven.
— Fr. Alexander Men
I can still remember the strong impressions from my first time apple picking with our local Orthodox Christian School. I was a recent transplant from the Midwest, a good ole’ boy adrift in the complicated, concrete urban jungle of Boston. My idea of fun was sitting on the front porch and watching the grass grow. The city overwhelmed me, and I pined away for the countryside where a blade of grass stood a chance to survive.
Ever since we saw our first Little Free Library on the beach at Cape Cod, our family has been envious. We love books, but especially free books, and the democratic concept of engaging the open public with your particular collection that you have outgrown is just too appealing.
We founded our own Little Free library on Sunday, April 28, 2019 to commemorate Pascha (Easter). We decided to call it The Farm Church: “Farm” because my father made it out of 200 year-old wood from our original family farm in Gibsonburg, Ohio; “Church” because it is constructed in the shape of the church and so many of the books we will donate to it concern matters of theology and the world to come. We also offer an assortment of children’s picture books, other religious texts, and classics. Continue reading →
Tuesday, August 15/28, 2018, Boston, MA
Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God
It is an amazing gift that with the blessing of Patriarch Neofit and the blessing of the beloved Prelate of our diocese, Metropolitan Joseph, three Hierarchs, the Metropolitans Serafim of Nevrokop, Grigorii of Vratsa, and Daniil of Vidin, together with Archimadrite Epifaniy came from Bulgaria to Boston to officiate the tonsuring and ordinations of our beloved Brothers in Christ from the parish of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Boston, MA. Continue reading →
At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. (I Kings 18:27-29)
There is a long and venerable tradition of mocking evil in the Church. The Prophet Elijah taunted the devotees of the false god Baal and revealed this demon’s utter powerlessness. The righteous maiden Justina fouled the plans of the arch-sorcerer Cyprian and made light of his demonic powers to seduce her into an unlawful and sinful union. And the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ, mocked death itself and eventually defeated death by deceiving the deceiver with his outward weakness and humility. Continue reading →
74 degrees. A very pleasant temperature on most days, but on a day when the ocean water on the south shore of Cape Cod reaches this temperature, it is time to hit the beach! We have been planning this mini-vacation for years as we always travel here on the occasion of a friend’s birthday. But we always come down on a Sunday in mid-August just for the day. This year a forecasted heat wave and my wife’s excellent last minute suggestion sent us scrambling to rearrange work schedules, gather beach toys and supplies, and book a cheap motel near our friends’ bungalow in West Yarmouth. Continue reading →
I cannot believe it has taken our family this long to start camping seriously. It is such a close cousin to the dacha experience in Russia only without the growing of crops, for camping tends to be of much shorter duration than Dacha. Growing up with Asthma, I was rarely able to even go anywhere overnight in a tent. Now that I am older and less affected by allergies, I am making up for lost time in my contact with the natural world. Continue reading →
Wanted to tell you about a talk and worship service demonstration I am giving at the end of this month. Would be delighted if some of you local to Boston could make it. See information below and on the attached flier.
“Orthodox Christian Worship in Five Senses”
Come take a tour of the sensory-rich Eastern Orthodox worship service that enlightens the mind through the heart. Engage with a 2000 year-old Christian tradition that has been called America’s best kept secret.
Aaron W. Friar
Associate, Institute for Christian Unity M.Div.,
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Friday, March 27, 7:00pm
Refreshments: 6:30pm, WEE Forum: 7:00pm
Fellowship Church, 47 Milton Street, Dedham, MA 02026
Have you ever been so close to a whale that it can splash you in the face? Our family traveled to Gloucester on Columbus Day for a whale watch.
We drove to the harbor and boarded a ship named Miss Cape Ann. The ship zoomed into deep ocean and started looking for whales. The people were amazed when one of the passengers shouted, “THERE SHE BLOWS.” Off in the distance, two whales were spouting. Continue reading →