Monastery Pilgrimages to mark Great Feast of the Transfiguration

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pilgrimage

The word “pilgrimage” means “a journey of spiritual significance.”  And every year, the month of August proves to be significant for two monastic communities of the Orthodox Church in America observing their annual pilgrimages marking the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

Mother Christophora and the sisterhood of the Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA, extend an invitation to join them for their 50th Anniversary Pilgrimage August 5-6, 2018.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and His Eminence, Archbishop Nathanial will be among those joining the sisterhood and pilgrims for the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 5 at 9:30 a.m.  The Vigil for the Great Feast of the Transfiguration will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by supper for all pilgrims.

On August 6—the Great Feast of the Transfiguration—the Akathist “Glory to God for All Things” will be sung at 9:00 a.m.  The greeting and vesting of Metropolitan Tikhon will follow at 9:30 a.m. in preparation for the celebration of the festal Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and the traditional blessing of fruit.  After enjoying a catered lunch at 1:00 p.m., the Sacrament of Holy Unction and anointing will be celebrated at 3:00 p.m.  The Pilgrimage will draw to a close with the celebration of Vespers at 5:30 p.m.

The Monastery of the Transfiguration was established in the late 1960s as the fulfillment of the dream of Mother Alexandra, the former Princess Ileana of Romania, to provide a community in which Orthodox Christian women from all backgrounds could live the monastic life and benefit from the liturgical cycle in the English language.  She fell asleep in the Lord on January 21, 1991.  Mother Christophora, the current Abbess, was elected in 1987, and since then the monastery has continued to develop, both spiritually and physically.

A detailed schedule is available online.

The Monks and Nuns of New Skete, Cambridge, NY, will open their annual Pilgrimage on Saturday, August 11, with the celebration Matins at 8:00 a.m.  Metropolitan Tikhon will preside at the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.

At 1:30 p.m., Alexei Krindatch, Researcher Coordinator for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, will offer a presentation titled “Singing an Old Song in a New World: How Orthodox Christian Churches Contribute to America’s Diverse Religious Landscape.”  Also on the Pilgrimage schedule are activities for children, tours of the monastery’s churches, a guided hike, and an iconography demonstration.  The day will close with the celebration of the Vigil and a Healing Service at 5:00 p.m.

New Skete was established in 1966 by a small group of Byzantine Rite Franciscan monks who were joined by seven Poor Clare nuns from Indiana three years later.  The communities embraced Orthodox Christianity and were received into the Orthodox Church in America in 1979.  In 1983, eight dedicated parish members expressed their desire to live in accordance with the monastic way of life and formed the Companions of New Skete.

A detailed schedule is available online.

UOC of the USA Introduces New Web Site

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A Note from Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel: 
“We Invite You to Explore This Website Now and Then Visit Again!”
 
At its founding in 1918 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA immediately began serving the immigrant communities that settled in the continental United States of America. Today, a century later, we continue to serve over sixty thousand Ukrainian Orthodox Christians in two Eparchies – Eastern and Western. Within our Metropolia you will find 100 parishes and missions with liturgical services offered in Ukrainian and English languages. We worship together and also serve our neighbors through active social service, education and charitable outreach.  

Bishop Tikhon of Ivano-Frankovsk and Kolomyia reposes in the Lord

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On Saturday, July 14, following a lengthy illness, at the age of 71, Bishop Tikhon of Ivano-Frankovsk and Kolomiya reposed in the Lord. 

Holy Synod approves text of Akathist to Venerable Herman of Alaska

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During a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, the text of the akathist to Venerable Herman of Alaska was approved for church-wide and private use. 

Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk appointed co-chairman of commission with Ethiopian Church

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On July 14,  during a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, a report was heard by the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk on the recent visit to Russia of the Patriarch-Catholicos of Ethiopia Abune Mathias…

West Sacramento, CA church suffers serious damage after fire

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The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was one of three icons that were untouched by the fire.

According to multiple media reports, the West Sacramento Fire Department quickly responded to an 8:00 a.m. call alerting them of a fire that engulfed the interior of Holy Myrrhbearing Women Church on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

While the blaze was quickly entinguished, the church suffered significant damage, not only to its interior—the iconostasis and altar area were especially hard hit—but also to its bell tower.  No one was in the church at the time, and an investigation to determine the cause of the fire is underway.

According to KCRA-TV 3, an unidentified person called 911 to report flames coming from three church windows.  Fire Department representative John Heilman told KCRA reporters that crews arrived to find the church fully engulfed in flames.

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Before and after photos of the church interior.

“Investigators believe the fire originated somewhere in the altar,” long-time parishioner Constantine Baranoff told reporters.  “So that’s where most of the damage appears to be.”

In what Baranoff called “a miracle,” three large icons—the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, Saint Nicholas and Saint John of San Francisco—were barely touched by the fire.

“We’ll start cleaning up and decide how we’re going to rebuild this church,” Baranoff said.

Upon learning of the tragedy, His Eminence, Archbisihop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West contacted Archpriest Matthew Ismailov, Rector, and pledged to visit the parish on Monday, July 16.

Donations for reconstruction efforts may be sent to the Holy Myrrhbearing Women Church, 833 Water Street, West Sacramento, CA 95605.  A GoFundMe relief fund also has been set up to help the church.

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Before and after photos of the church interior.

At the heart of the West Sacramento community for over 100 years, Holy Myrrhbearing Women Church traces its roots to the early 20-th century arrival of Russian and other Slavic immigrants lured to the region by work for the railroad, food processing plants, and agriculture.  As major waves of Russian immigrants began to arrive in San Francisco and the Sacramento area in the 1920s, plans to establish a church were initiated in 1925, and funds were collected to buy land on the corner of Hobson Avenue and Water Street.

While the church was being built, services were held in a private home.  One of the first resolutions made by the parish was that parishioner labor alone was to be used in building the church.  Many parishioners who worked on the railroad, with the permission of their supervisors, began using railroad equipment and materials to build the church.  Women played a major role in the effort — they were not only involved with fundraising, but also with the actual construction of the church.  These “Lady Builders” inspired Archpriest Vladimir Sakovitch to suggest the name Holy Myrrhbearing Women for the church.

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The bell tower also sustained significant damage.

Construction of the church was completed during the pastorate of Archimandrite John [Zlobin], who served the parish from 1927 until 1933.  A hall was erected in the late 1940s during the pastorate of Archimandrite Varnava [Karateev].

Shortly after the end of World War II, a new immigration of Russians arrived in the Sacramento area from war ravaged China and Europe, significantly increasing the parish’s membership.  A third wave of immigrants from the former Soviet Union followed in the early 1990s.  While the majority of these immigrants are zealous Protestants, some are of the Orthodox Christian faith, and many have found a spiritual home at Holy Myrrhbearing Women Church.

SVOTS welcomes new faculty member Dr. Tracy Gustilo

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12 July 2018 • Yonkers, NY

St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Tracy Davis Gustilo as Sessional Assistant Professor of Theology.

Dr. Gustilo joins the Seminary faculty as a graduate of both its Master of Arts (M.A.) program (’13) and Master of Theology (Th.M.) program (‘18). Dr. Gustilo also studied philosophy and biology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and obtained a Ph.D. from the University of California (Davis) in Ecology, writing a dissertation on environmental ethics.

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Aug. 31-Sep. 3 — Family Fest 2018

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360° Virtual Tour

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Take a fully interactive 360° Virtual Tour of the Metropolia Center in S. Bound Brook, NJ.

SVOTS begins academic collaboration with theological school in Romania

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Fr. Chad Hatfield, left, signs agreement with Archbishop Laurentiu and Fr. Nicolae Chifar.
Photo credit: mitropolia-ardealului.ro

Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary [SVOTS] has signed a concordat of cooperation with Saint Andrei Saguna Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Sibiu, Romania in an effort to encourage future student and faculty exchanges and other collaborations between the two institutions.

The agreement was signed Monday, June 25 at the Faculty in Sibiu by Archpriest Chad Hatfield, SVOTS President, and Priest Nicolae Chifar, Dean of Saint Andrei Saguna Faculty of Orthodox Theology.  The signing of the agreement was attended by His Eminence, Archbishop Laurentiu of Sibiu, Metropolitan of Transylvania, who blessed the agreement between the two institutions.  SVOTS Director of Web Services Alexandru Popovici, a native Romanian, and teachers of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology were also present.

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Photo credit: mitropolia-ardealului.ro

“It is important for us to understand that signing this agreement is only a beginning, and with the help of God we believe that this agreement will evolve and change,” said Father Chad.  “It is very important for us, those studying theology as a minority in different cultures, to have strong ties with the theological faculties of the mother countries, where Orthodoxy is well rooted in the culture of those countries.”

At the signing, Archbishop Laurentiu awarded Father Chad the “Sagunian Cross for Priests” and welcomed him back for future visits to Sibiu.  Father Chad presented His Eminence and members of the Faculty with books published by Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press.

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