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Fascinating Friday

A couple months ago our parish had a visitor, a monastic, Fr Seraphim Aldea. He told us about his vision for bringing Orthodox monasticism back to the British Isles.

While at our parish he told us that there might be three nuns joining him at the Mull Monastery of All Celtic Saints. He was cautious about the opportunity but he recently posted to the Monastery Facebook page that it has come true and the monastery has grown from only one monastic to now four.

If you know anything about the history of the Church you'll know how important Celtic Christianity was to preserving the faith when the lights went out on continental Europe in the "dark ages". (Here's a good book on that.) So, I'm fascinated by the growth of the Celtic Orthodox monastery as it seeks to preserve and bring the Orthodox faith back to Celtic lands. May God give the growth!

The Three Nuns

"I don't know how to share this with you all. When I think how important this is for the Monastery, my heart stops. If we ever needed your prayer - this is the moment.

After eight years of working on my own to establish the Monastery of All Celtic Saints on the Isle of Mull, God has sent three sisters to join me. Orthodox monastic life is back to the Hebrides after more than a millennium.

They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here it is - the first icon of the Holy Nuns in the Nuns' Cave, just over the mountain from our Nuns' House. The icon of these three Holy nuns, hidden in God's grace in the womb of the earth, came at the same time with our three sisters. None of this was planned here, but everything is planned in His Love.

None of it was planned here, but the sisters also came on the Feast Day of St Elena Diveyevskaya, the first of St Seraphim of Sarov's holy nuns. St Seraphim of Sarov, my heavenly protector, is looking over me despite my sinfulness and lack of any virtue.

My heart is silent in awe at Christ's care and love and blessing over this humble Monastery - I wish my heart remains silent, for it is a beautiful, sweet silence.

Pray for us and continue to support God's work in the Celtic Isles. We pray for you all." - Fr Seraphim Aldea

The Loch Ness Monster

As a kid I loved dinosaurs, in fact I wanted to be an archaeologist! My Grandma Mueller watched me many a Saturday on her errands and she'd take me to the public library to check out books, I must've checked out every kids dinosaur book they had a dozen times. Anyway, the Loch Ness monster always fascinated me because it was the possibility of a living dinosaur! So, this story from CBS News caught my attention. A New Zealand scientist and professor plans to do DNA tests in Loch Ness that will reveal exactly what creatures are living there! I didn't know that they could do this kind of thing, that they can is kinda cool, BUT the kid in me doesn't want him to do this. Let the mystery remain!

Ireland: An Obituary

I read this story at First Things about the decision in Ireland to roll back right-to-life protections in Ireland. What an unspeakable tragedy! What I know of Irish history is that their people have had struggle upon struggle for life and liberty and acceptance. So now, in the name of "progress" they willingly allow for the destruction of their own children when much of their history involved preventing that very thing? In college we had to read the 1729 satirical essay by Jonathan Swift called "A Modest Proposal" where he mocked the cruelty of British policy towards the poor by suggesting that the Irish sell their children as food to rich people. Quo Vadis, Ireland? Stories like this make me realize how strong a need there is for an Orthodox presence like the Mull Monastery of All Celtic saints.

Canonization of St. Iakovos (Tsalikis) of Evia

God is glorified in his saints! It's an honor for me to share a name with this new saint of the Church. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew led the service, check it out here.

Italy Challenges the Postwar Order

The changes going on in our world are totally fascinating to me and I wonder where we're going. Peace with North Korea? Seems unimaginable. Donald Trump is still president, again, seems impossible. We've had Brexit and talk of Grexcit. Russia has embraced Christianity again and is returning to more traditional Christian values. The post world war II order does seem to be a bit shaky.

This story about what is happening in Italy totally blew me away. You have a coalition of "left wing" and "right wing" that don't like Euro zone. I'm amazed and am watching with wonder at the changes happening in my lifetime. Check out the article here.

The Fall of Constantinople

The Fall of Constantinople - May 29th, 1453. Today is the 565th anniversary of the fall of the great city to the Turks. A history teacher I once had called this date the most important date in world history. This event would have profound implications for age of European exploration and economy It is often not appreciated, though, that Byzantine Christians who fled west brought their Orthodox perspective with them and their learning. These individuals would have a profound impact on the coming Reformation. Throughout history Islam has been a cause of Orthodox diaspora into the west. While many of the immigrants who came from these countries were simply trying to survive and preserve their culture in many respects they also have given us in America a tremendous gift: the Orthodox faith.

May the memories be eternal of those who defended the great city, her emperors, Patriarchs and leaders.

Enough Bad News

Lest we end Friday on a negative note, I wanted to share a really cool story. In 2010 thousands of Mayan Indians converted to Orthodoxy and more have followed in Guatemala and southern Mexico. You have to check out the photos and stories at Mayan Orthodoxy.

Honest VBS Volunteer

I know today's edition was pretty heavy, but I wanted to end on a lighter note. Enjoy this video from Christian comedian, John Crist. An "Honest VBS Volunteer". May it strengthen those of you embarking on VBS season with good humor as you get ready for your week of fun and sharing the faith with the kids of your community!

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