I finally have some internet access! Mother Cassiana has ‘descended’ from the mountains into Colorado Springs to do some shopping, so I can use the internet for a few hours in a cafe (quite a beautiful place, Agia Sophia Cafe, full of icons and great books).
Holy Week and Easter have been wonderful – this is the first time in my (almost) nine years as a priest, when I celebrated alone (that is, as the only priest) all the services in Holy Week, from Monday to Easter Night. In my monastery in Bucovine, this honour was reserved to the elderly Fathers, while we (the young & the restless) had to deal with pilgrims, tourists, and do all the preparations for the Big Night – to be honest, it would have been too much for us to do all this work, celebrate at the Altar AND keep the particularly strict fast of the Holy Week.
Holy Week was especially beautiful: just myself, Mother Cassiana (who has lived here for over 18 years now) and a visitor. Each day was a succession of services, meals (or lack of meals in the fasting days!), and long, wonderful walks in the mountains. I attach some photos – we had so much snow, I found myself singing Christmas carols! I felt as if, after all these mad weeks of running from parish to parish, fundraising for the monastery, God has given me this gift as a wonderful sign of His love and encouragement. You know, the way you give a candy to a child after he’s done something (relatively) good.
Well, this break into Heaven will end this week’end, when I return to visiting some of the parishes in area, to fundraise for the land we need to buy for the monastery. Thanks to some of you (you know who you are, and God definitely knows as well!), we’ve managed to raise slightly over half the money we need to have by September. I pray for you with all my strength; may God reward you both here, and (especially so) in His Kingdom.