Monday, January 31, 2011

On retreat

So here I am at Holy Transfiguration Skete. Was up just after 4am to be in good time for Matins and Divine Liturgy which all commenced at 5am. Five monks (two priests, a deacon, two lay - in the canonical sense of non-ordained). Beautiful singing and sweet odours of incense. Mary is very prominent in all the liturgical services:
You are more honorable than the Cherubim, beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim! In virginity You bore God's Word; O Mother of God, we extol you!
And again:
Since we have no one in whom to confide because of our many sins, O Virgin Mother of God, intercede for us with the one who was born of you, for a mother's prayer is a powerful means for obtaining the Master's favor. O you who are most worthy of veneration, do not turn away from the pleading of us sinners, for the one who willed to suffer in the flesh for our sake is full of mercy.
Was all over as we approached 8am. After which the monks invited me to join them for breakfast (normally breakfast is not had with the monks but in one's cabin) at which I enjoyed their friendship. Will maybe get some photos of the monks and the liturgy in due course.

Although I attended the Divine Liturgy and received Holy Communion, Fr Basil the guestmaster kindly arranged for me to celebrate the Latin Rite Mass which he said I may do at any time. Tomorrow I shall concelebrate at the Divine Liturgy after a practicum following mid-day prayer today.

Some photos:

The Church

The Holy Doors

Latin Rite Mass (Extraordinary Form) arranged on the Eastern altar.

My cabin!

Downstairs study.

Upstairs bedroom/sitting room.

Cold outside, warm inside! Icicles are a sign that there is heat inside, some of which has escaped causing some of the ice/snow to melt only to re-freeze as it falls from the roof.

Kitchen which has been well stocked with provisions by the monks.

Downstairs bedroom.

I recommend it!


  1. Have a wonderful retreat Father,please remember me and my intentions at your prayers.

  2. Hoping you have a peaceful time.

  3. Father,

    Your blog is full of treasures. Hopefully you will keep it up for a long time to come.

    What you are writing may be personal experiences in one insignificant place in the world, but it's making all the difference to a young man from Auckland, New Zealand.

    May the Lord bless you abundantly!

  4. Thank you Aaron. I shall add you to my prayers at Mass today. It is my hope and that of the monks that more young men like you get to hear about them and consider prayerfully their vocations. God bless you too.

  5. I like the word "cabin", Fr. John - looks like a rather nice house! Keep up the praying!


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