There are times when the grace of the Holy Spirit seem especially abundant in the Holy Trinity Monastery. Such has been so these past few days.
Today (October 31) marks the 25th anniversary of the martyric death of Brother Jose, the Guardian of the Myrrh-bearing Icon of Iveron. As usual, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist sponsored a pilgrimage to our monastery to commemorate the death of Brother Jose. This year, being a jubilee year, two buses came from the nation’s capital with pilgrims. Another bus arrived with pilgrims from Brooklyn, NY and Lakewood NJ. Of course, many cars also made the trip to celebrate together this commemorative date.
With the pilgrims also arrived His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas from Georgia and also Deacon Nektarios who brought with him the miraculous Hawaiian Icon of Iveron. For fifteen years, this icon has been giving off huge amounts of myrrh. It was no different this weekend. On Saturday, during the pannikkhida at the grave of Brother Jose, the myrrh literally poured forth and covered the analogion, which held the icon at Brother Jose’s grave.
The monastery was also blessed with the presence of His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas, our new First Hierarch. This was his first visit as our new metropolitan. He presided over the services, along with our own Bishop Luke.
The usual schedule for such pilgrimages was followed with the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy on Sunday at their perspective times. The church on Sunday was packed, even more than on Pascha, with most of the pilgrims availing themselves of the Holy Mysteries. There was truly felt a grace-filled atmosphere, enabled by the Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God.
So that their presence would not be a burden to the brotherhood, the parish from Washington, as always, brought many platters of pre-prepared food, which was enjoyed by all those present.
After lunch, St. John the Baptist parish sponsored a small conference about Brother Jose. Before departing for home, another pannikhida was served at Brother Jose’s grave.
The following evening and day, the monastery celebrated the memory of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, the patron saint of our abbot, His Grace, Bishop Luke. This was also done with the presence of the miraculous icon, which is to stay here in the monastery all week. Interestingly enough, Vladyka Luke pointed out that without the apostle, we would not have the Iveron Icon, as according to tradition, he pained the original Iveron Icon, found on Mount Athos. Thus the connection between this weekend’s events.
Vladyka Luke served Liturgy on Monday morning along with the monastery clergy. Due to the presence of the icon, there were many pilgrims as well as neighbors at the services. At the end of liturgy, there was a small moleben, followed by breakfast.
Vladyka treated the brotherhood and seminarians to a delicious lunch. At the end of the meal, following some warm greetings from Metropolitan Nicholas, Archimandrite Theophylact greeting our bishop in the name of the brotherhood, seminary teachers, seminarians, pilgrims and neighbors.
Following lunch, in the seminary hall, there was a reception with desserts for all the community and visiting pilgrims. Fr. Theophylact presented Vladyka with a painted icon of St. Paisios from the brotherhood. The seminarians also presented Vladyka with a gift close to his heart. Igumen Cyprian, who organized the reception also organized a choir of seminarians who sang a Greek spiritual hymn about living in the desert.
During this week, we expect to have the icon present at further church feasts and also on the Name’s Day of our dear, recently departed Metropolitan Hilarion, on which day Vladyka Nicholas expects to preside at a liturgy. Glory to God for such a possibility to be around such holiness in our midst, together with our hierarchs.
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