Holy Myrrhbearers Suffers Serious Fire Damage - 07/20/18
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 Churchon 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.
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.
Fort Ross Pilgrimage - 07/05/18
His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, led the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of the West in the annual (since 1925) pilgrimage to Fort Ross on the 4th of July. This year's weather was overcast and cooler than usual -- a very comfortable day. Fort Ross is now a state historic park and is the site of the first Orthodox house of prayer south of Alaska.
His Grace, Bishop Gideon of Makarov, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, prayed at the Divine Liturgy and received the Holy Gifts.
(Photographs courtesy of Matushka Sophia Sokolov)
Link to full gallery: https://holy-trinity.org/community/2018-0704-fortross
July 1st is "Monastery Appeal" in DOW - 06/27/18
At the request of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, all parishes in the Diocese of the West will be taking a special collection this Sunday to benefit the various monastic communities of our diocese:
St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
St. Barbara Monastery
Holy Assumption Monastery
Our Lady of Kazan Skete
Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery
Monastery of St. Macarius of Egypt (2015)
Monastery of St. John the Baptist (2017)
The following reflection on monasticism was published on pemptousia.com and is recommended reading to prepare for our efforts to assist the monastic communities of our diocese.
MONASTICISM: The Way to Perfection
With the advent of monasticism, a special way of life appeared in the Church, which however did not proclaim a new morality. The Church does not have one set of moral rules for the laity and another for monks, nor does it divide the faithful into classes according to their obligations towards God. The Christian life is the same for everyone. All Christians have in common that “their being and name is from Christ”1. This means that the true Christian must ground his life and conduct in Christ, something which is hard to do in the world.
What is difficult in the world is attempted with dedication in the monastic life. In his spiritual life the monk simply tries to do what every Christian should try to do: to live according to God’s commandments. The fundamental principles of monasticism are no different from those of the lives of all the faithful. This is especially apparent in the history of the early Church, before monasticism appeared.