Fruit Flies

Okay, I give up. Where do fruit flies come from? I had a banana on my counter and came home today and say fruit flies. How do they get in the house? Maybe they come from the planet Pluto, oh yea, we can’t call it a planet anymore…

Fire heavily damages Russian cathedral

This is sad to see!

Fire heavily damages Russian cathedral

By Irina Titova, Associated Press Writer August 25, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia –A fire raged through a 19th century cathedral in this former imperial capital Friday, collapsing the main rooftop dome and sending clerics scurrying to save treasured icons.
The fire erupted in the early evening and burned through scaffolding outside the soaring blue central dome of Trinity Cathedral, a duty officer at the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said.

The central dome collapsed and one of four smaller cupolas surrounding it — painted a striking light blue and in some cases spangled with gold stars — was also destroyed, St. Petersburg emergency department spokeswoman Lyudmila Rubasova said. There were no reports of injuries, she said.
Firefighters battled to save the other three cupolas as emergency workers and church employees removed icons and other religious articles. A helicopter brought in to fight the blaze dumped water on the historic structure.
About four hours after the blaze broke out, Rubasova said one of the three remaining cupolas had been damaged but that the fire was contained. A department spokesman later said the fire had been extinguished.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but acting St. Petersburg emergency department chief Leonid Belyayev said the blaze apparently started on scaffolding on the outside of the church, which was undergoing restoration.
He said the most valuable icons and other items had been saved, and that structural damage beneath the roof area was minor.
The cathedral was consecrated in 1835. State-run Rossiya television said the main dome was the second-largest wooden cupola in Europe, and Channel One said that writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky was married there.
It was used as a storehouse during the Soviet era and was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990.

New Project

Today one of my guys and I drove to New Hampshire and picked up my new travel trailer. Well, it is not new. She is a 1977 Nomad Travel Trailer. So we took it back to the church property and I started working on it. She was a little dirty on the outside. A little Mr. Clean and a scrub brush and she cleaned right up. A little floor work and some wall paper replacement and she will be as good as new. Look for some pictures soon.

Sunday Sermon

Not that I think I am this great preacher, but I thought I would post some of my Sunday sermons here. In the past I written out the text and preached from that. Yesterday however, I took the chance and preached from the hip! I did have a text all worked out but while I was getting ready for liturgy the Holy Spirit put a new idea in my head. It actually began Saturday night when I flipped on Turner Classic Movie Network and my all time favorite move was on The Nun’s Story. Okay before you start to ridicule me, have you seen the movie?
Anyway it struck me that the movie is all about motivation. What motivates us to do what we do. Sister Luke, Audrey Hepburns character in the movie was not motivated to be a nun, but to be a nurse in the Congo. Not a bad motivation but she needed to be a nun first. Okay so where am I going with this… I don’t know.
So I took that into church with me and talked about our motivation for doing the things we do. When we give to the church, what is the motivation? When we come to church what is the motivation? All sin begins with the motivation.
I just finished teaching an ethics class and all ethics boils down to the motivation for doing something. If our motivation is pure than more than likely our ethics will be pure. Same thing in the church. If our motivation is pure than we cannot go wrong.
Okay this needs more work, but it is a place to start…

St. Dimitrie Parish

I had the opportunity yesterday to take a little trip down to Bridgeport, CT to St. Dimitrie Romanian Orthodox Church. It was festival day for the church, and some of the people there have been after me for three years to come. There is come crossover between my parish here in Southbridge and the parish there. So I decided to drive on down. Bridgeport is about an hour and half from Southbridge. It was nice to see some of the old faces again and meet Fr. Cornel who is the priest there. They have begun to build a new church. So right now they are borrowing space from another Orthodox Church in town. The festival was quite large and the food was outstanding. Now I will have to say it was not as good as the food at our festival but I am a little biased.
Okay, I forgot something so I am now in edit mode. Most of the people there are big Yankees fans, why I don’t know. It was hard to sit there and listen to them go on about how great there team is, but then again the Yankees are 4 1/2 games up now on our beloved Red Sox. Well, football season is just around the corner so we have the Patriots anyway.

Urban Monks Part II

Well, this topic has provided much to talk about. But we won’t be able to figure this question out here. I will be meeting on Sunday with another Monastic person who shares the same vision as I do. The model would be something like this. One house that could be called the mother house. Several monks would live in different locations and come to the house maybe monthly or more frequently if necessary. We would live in the world doing what we do and promise to pray with and for each other and follow a monastic life as best we can. Of primary service would be to the local parish and those in need. More on this to come.

Domestic Mission

The other day on Orthocelts blog, he wrote about missions and how we need to get more people involved in missions. I posted a reply to his post but I wanted to mention something here and see if the other bloggers would pick up the flag on their sites and maybe get some discussion going. I think that the OCMC is doing a great job. In fact, I have been exploring mission possibilities with them. I also think that the OCF is doing a great job with mission also. But we have stuff that we need to do right here in the good ol’USA. We need domestic missionaries to come to the inner cities and teach in Orthodox Schools and help in parishes. We need people who will go to the poorest people and bring them the love of Jesus. This is what we need. Come on all let’s chat it up!


Last night several priests from the area celebrated vespers together at St. Mary’s in Worcester. It is always nice to have priests from other jurisdictions celebrating together. Here in the Worcester area we have 12 Orthodox Churches from Various Jurisdictions. We do many things together and this is one of those times.
Back there today for liturgy and then off to our nursing home for the celebration of the founding of the place. This is the only Nursing Home in the country that is run by a Pan-Orthodox group. Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Check it out. More on the Dormition latter on.

Urban Monks

Fr. Greg asked in one of his comments for my musings on urban monasticism. I want to thank Fr. Greg for getting me back on message.
Having monks in the Orthodox Church is a necessary part of who we are. However monasticism from the old world will not work here in the new world. We do not need monks who live out in the middle of nowhere we need monks to live in and about the people. We need monks that live in the bad parts of town and minister to the peoples needs. This is not a new idea, I only have to point to Dorothy Day and the early days of the Catholic Worker Movement in the US. This is what Orthodoxy needs we need urban monks.
I have this vision of a monastery in a three decker in the middle of the city where the monks will be advocates for new immigrants and teach English and help with citizenship classes and the like. We need monks who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Who will see Jesus in the poor and the desolate, but who are also not afraid to pick up the phone and call politicians and advocate for justice for the poor and disadvantage. This is what I meant a few posts back about a preferential option for the poor.
How will these monks support themselves. Wait, here is a radical idea, they get jobs and work in the community. Perhaps teaching or hospital ministry would be part of this monastery also. We should not live off of the parishes and expect them to support us in our ministry. Monasteries should be able to support themselves.
Another thing that Orthodox monks could provide, but in a different place than the urban ones, would be retreat space. Our monasteries should be houses of hospitality. St. Benedict writes of this in his rule for monasteries.
These are just some random thoughts, and I look forward to your comments.

Walking on Water

Yesterday’s Gospel passage for the liturgy was from Matthew 14. In this passage we see Peter attempting to walk on water. I thought I would post some comments from my homily yesterday on this very passage. This is not a full text just some bullet points. To hear my whole homily, you have to come to St. Michaels.

– We all face storms in our life, and God never said it was going to be easy if we followed Him, after all, even Jesus had to face the cross.

– What God does promise is strength to face the storms we face in life. No matter how heavy the cross is that we have to bear he is there to help us.

– Peter took his eyes off of Jesus. Peter represents all who dare to take that first step as Christians in confidence, and then when the storm starts we take our eyes off Jesus and try to go it alone. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and not on what is going on around us.

– The more difficult the task or temptation, the more we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

– In the end, Jesus immediately grabbed Peter. Jesus was right where Peter needed him to be. He will always be where we need him to be even to the end of time. He is our ever present help. So as we run the race of life look to Jesus for help in faith.

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