Quickly! Up the stone staircase to the heavens, to the bells! Filling the vast spaces of Valaam with the joyful ringing, the tour guides were in no hurry to descend, but wrapped in their jackets and hoods they happily smiled, standing under the bells in the cold, penetrating wind.
Every once in a while, you can hear them shout to each other over the clamor of the machines. All of the noise disturbs the peace and quiet of the monastery. But we know it’s temporary. We know it’s necessary, so that the walls of our New Jerusalem—our own “vision of peace”—might be built.
Hundreds of thousands of Romanians had recourse to his priestly stole, for advice and a word of edification, turning a small seaside resort from a place of physical healing into an unseen citadel of the Spirit.
The Theotokos is now the common mother for all of us, “who constantly cares for us and stands before the throne of God, raising her holy prayers to the throne of God for every person and for all of us together.”
The commemoration of the uncovering of the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov comes at the peak of summer, when the beauty of Diveyevo Convent, which St. Seraphim founded and where his holy relics rest, blossoms forth exuberantly to the delight of thousands of pilgrims.
Before my ordination I told him, “Vladyka, I want to warn you that if you ordain me, my heart will stay in my native country, and when I retire from my secular work, I will return to Puerto Rico. If you want to keep me in the United States, don’t ordain me.”
The Patriarchate’s statement placed great responsibility on the official authorities that fail to follow up on the attackers on churches and their property, especially when the attackers are from the far right, which made these radicals persist in their attacks.