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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.