History Leaves its Traces: “A Hunger for Faith”
At various times during my time here in Gagauzia I have posted short essays about the situation of Orthodox Christianity here. This time I would like to do something different, because a friend of mine has written something that I myself would not have been able to write, because she wrote it from the perspective of a young woman who grew up here, being born just as the Soviet Union was breaking up and the churches and monasteries were being reopened, but her parents and grandparents had grown up during the Soviet period, exposed to the Communist propaganda against Christianity and with little knowledge of the Church or even interest in it. She writes about the struggle that can occur within the family when people of her age want to return to their Orthodox roots. -Father Cosmas
by Kristina Kochan (tr. into English by Monk Cosmas Shartz)
As we know, in our lands there was terrible hunger in the years 1946 and 1947. At that time there was a hunger for food, but now there is a hunger which has lasted longer — a hunger for faith. One hunger resembles the other. Both began in the time of the Soviet Union and the Soviets are responsible for both. In the hunger for food our bodies die, but in the hunger for faith our souls die and we become like zombies, like dead people walking around but inside, there is death in our souls and we don’t know it.
Reflections on Navigator/Orthodox Serbia Trip
From June 5-August 1, a number of young people from our diocese went on the "Navigator/Orthodox Serbia Mission trip," where they spent time visiting areas throughout Serbia, helping others learn about Orthodoxy and exposing them to young people from the West.
A blog written by the young members of that team has been uploaded with their thoughts and impressions. The bloggers are:
Mariah (Bozeman, MT)
J.P. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Mara (Colorado Springs, CO)
Matti (Calhan, CO)
Seraphim (Santa Rosa, CA)
John (Colorado Springs)
You can read their thoughts and impressions, and see some pictures from their trip here.
REFLECTION - Fort Ross Pilgrimage
Matushka Sophia Sokolov
On Monday, July 4th, faithful pilgrims from throughout the Bay Area converged upon Fort Ross State Historic Park in Jenner, California, for divine worship, memorial, and a festive picnic lunch. His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, presided over the Divine Liturgy and was joined by numerous clergy and faithful from Santa Rosa, Calistoga, San Francisco, Berkeley, and beyond.
The morning, like many in West Marin, began under a blanket of fog with a crisp breeze nipping at our noses. We made our way through the gates of the fort and up to the chapel, a rather simple structure built from wooden boards. The original chapel was built in the mid-1820s and is heralded as the first Russian Orthodox structure in North America, outside of Alaska. In 1836, Father Ioann Veniaminov, who later became Bishop Innocent, the first hierarch in our land, visited the California settlement and conducted sacraments of marriage, baptism, and other religious services. In 1977, he was glorified as one of our first saints. How fitting it is that this year’s pilgrimage fell the day after the Sunday we commemorate our North American Saints!
MEMORY ETERNAL - Matushka Anna Union
Matushka Anna Union, beloved wife of Protodeacon Elias Union, fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, July 4, after a long battle with cancer. Her burial service will take place at St. Susanna Mission in Sonora, California on Wednesday, July 6, at 12:00 pm (noon). May the memory of Matushka Anna be eternal!
"My chains, the bond of our unity"
This letter was received from Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo who, as you may know, is the brother of Patriarch John X of Antioch and who was abducted in 2013. I encourage our clergy and faithful to continue to pray for him. That he is still alive after all this time and the drama that is unfolding in Syria is truly a miracle of prayer and God's mercy. But, I think his letter is moving and worthy of reading by a wider audience. -Archbishop Benjamin
Buenos Aires, June 24, 2016
An open letter from
METROPOLITAN PAUL of ALEPPO
addressed to all the Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church on the Feast of the Holy Spirit
My chains, the bond of our unity
“Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you… may become what I am, except for these chains”
Your Holinesses, Your Beatitudes, Your Eminences and Your Graces,Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church,
My Fathers and brothers in the grace of the episcopate,“Apostles of Christ” and “Servants” of the people of God in all the oikoumene,
This year, an inexpressible joy flooded my heart on the Feast of Pentecost, because of the Holy Spirit who unites us, in a visible and invisible way, in the apostolic ministry that the Lord bestowed on us.
Pacific Northwest Summer Camp
More than 80 children and volunteer staff had a great time at our annual Pacific Northwest Deanery Summer Youth Camp, June 20-23rd. Located on Raft Island near Gig Harbor, All Saints Camp is quiet, peaceful and leafy, surrounded by water.
Fr. Barnabas and Pda Lela Powell organize and lead the camp drawing on their many years of experience with the Rocky Mountain Youth Camp in Colorado. Each day follows a natural pattern of prayer, meals, spiritual instruction and activities for youth according to their various ages, with campfire singing and skits in the evening. After the younger campers head to bed in their various cabins, the teens have time around the campfire to ask clergy any questions they may have. It is amazing how quiet the camp became after that, the healthfully tired campers ready to hit the sack, especially by their second night.
Orthodox Alaska Cruise September 2-9!
With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, and the support of Bishop David of the historic diocese of Alaska (who will be on board!), a cruise and conference at sea will be held September 2-9, 2017.
Sailing from Seattle and while exploring Juneau, Sitka, Glacier Bay, and other sites on the Holland America Westerdam, conference participants will attend a wide variety of daily lectures, services and workshops offered by Fr Michael Oleksa, a recognized authority on Alaskan history and spirituality, and Fr Laurent Cleenewerck, Rector of Saint Innocent Church, Eureka, CA, who is also an academic and author.
Detailed information, including rates and agenda, may be found at here (www.orthodoxcruises.com)
Only 50 “seats” are available for this event, and registrations are accepted now on a first-come, first-serve basis.
REFLECTION - All Politics are Local
by Father John Dresko
Tip O’Neill, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, once famously said that “all politics are local.” What he meant was that if potholes are not fixed, no one can get a job where they live, and house prices are skyrocketing out of reach for most people, no one will be happy with the work of any politician, no matter how eloquent or hard-working. Grand visions (if there are any) are words wasted as they float off ignored into the air.