In this email
Message from Fr Alexander — Monasticism
The Amazing Strength of Jesus
Live stream information
News of Future Services
Saints and Feasts — 24th September–1st October
Offer of help
Monasticism has been a defining aspect to the Church since the fourth century. Following on from the witness of Abba Anthony the Great—who heard the call of the Lord, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me,” (Matt. 19:21) as if said directly to him—monasticism grew through the centuries.
To be a monk or nun is to willingly set aside ones own ego for the sake of the Gospel: yet this is not the calling of only monks and nuns, it is the calling of us all. The monks and nuns do not have a special spirituality inaccessible to outsiders, they are our guides to our own spiritual journey towards the Lord.
I strongly encourage you to make pilgrimages to monasteries as much as you are able. In this country there are three to visit: in Essex, in Shropshire and on the Isle of Mull.
Today we celebrate one of the greatest saints of the last century, St Silouan the Athonite. His simple witness to the love of God would have gone unnoticed in our world had it not been for his disciple, St Sophrony, who would go on to found the monastery in Essex. The providence of God, granting us through the disciple the word of the saint, has given us a great treasure to cherish.
St Silouan tells us,
Obedience is necessary not only for monks, but for all people. Even the Lord was obedient. The proud and self-regarding do not allow grace to live in them, and therefore they never have spiritual peace, while in the obedient soul the grace of the Holy Spirit enters easily and gives joy and peace. Whoever bears even a little grace in himself joyfully submits himself to all direction. He knows that God directs even the heavens and the netherworld, and himself, and his business, and everything in the world, and therefore he is always at peace.
Such obedience is for us all. We must be obedient to the one, or ones, whom the Lord has sent to us: our husband or wife, our parents, our friends, our bosses. This is not a blind obedience—we do not obey no matter what and obedience is always offered freely, never demanded.
This is a mindset so foreign to our post-Christian society. Society tells us “Do what makes you happy.” Yet ours is a message our society needs to hear, has a right to hear and we have a duty to tell it. Our society believes that freedom is to do whatever one wants yet this is no freedom at all—a wild animal does what it wants yet does not have the God-given freedom possessed by all humanity: such a view is not freedom, it is slavery.
Monks and nuns, on the otherhand, are our example of true freedom and we would do well to follow them. Pray for them, visit them, talk with them, learn from them.
Holy father Silouan, pray to God for us!
The Amazing Strength of Jesus
In this latest episode of Be the Bee, #151, Steve asks to reconsider what is strength and what is weakness.
We should follow government advice whenever we can. We are not being asked to give up or deny our Faith, but many are being told to stay socially isolated and this will last, perhaps, for many months.
How can you respond? Pray. We pray because we love and because we know the power of prayer. We pray not as a last resort but as a first response.
Is there anything you need or anything you can offer? Let me know — my telephone number and email address are on each of the emails: please get in contact if you are feeling isolated: I am here for you.
Are you willing to contact isolated people via email or phone? Let me know! It would be good to match up those who need help with those who can offer it.
The Monastery of Saints Antony and Cuthbert, Shropshire, is live-streaming its services for all who are unable to go to their own churches. These are over YouTube and can be accessed here:
Usually Vespers on Saturday evenings at 5 pm and Matins and Liturgy on Sunday mornings from 7.30 am.
News of Future Services
We want to start to hold services together: things are difficult now but they remind us that we can do nothing by our own power. Only when we place our hope in the Lord—and not in our own skills, talents, ideas, imaginations—will we be able to build a house for the Lord.
Today is the feast of His Eminence our bishop, Metropolitan Silouan, and we wish him much health and many years. Please remember him and his ministry in your prayers.
Today is also patronal feast of the Orthodox Parish of St Silouan of Mt Athos, the parish of the Diocese of Sourozh in Southampton and we wish Fr Joseph and his community many years!
Our Facebook Page, facebook.com/orthodoxeastleigh, too, has daily additions during the week as well as on feast days. Please do like and share our page and content so we may reach a wider group of people.
Do you receive the weekly (on Fridays) text message? If not, then let me know.
Saints and Feasts
Thursday 24th September — St Silouan the Athonite (1938). Holy Protomartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Thecla (1st).
Friday 25th — St Sergei, Abbot and Wonderworker of Radonezh (1392). St Finbar (Barry), Bishop of Cork (c 633). St Ceolfrid, Abbot of Jarrow (716).
Saturday 26th — Holy Apostle and Evangelist John (2nd).
Sunday 27th — 16th after Pentecost, 1st Sunday of Luke. Apostles Mark, Aristarchos and Zenas of the Seventy (1st).
Monday 28th — St Chariton the Confessor, Abbot of Palestine (c 250). Prophet Baruch (6th BC). St Lioba of Wimborne, Abbess of Bischofsheim (c 780).
Tuesday 29th — St Kyriakos the Hermit of Palestine (556).
Wednesday 30th — Hieromartyr Gregory, Bishop of Greater Armenia (c 335). St Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury (653).
Thursday 1st October — The Protecting Veil of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Apostle Ananias of the Seventy (1st). St Romanos the Melodist (6th).
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
I ask your prayers for me.
With love in Christ