The Fund for Assistance Asks "What if There Were No Jordanville"

I was recently asked "why is the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville so special for you?" In our appeal to raise funds to help this venerable ROCOR institution, the emphasis was made on their financial plight. I, personally, experienced a thought that terrified me: "what if there were no Jordanville!?" I'm sure most readers could share a similar feeling, based on their own experience at the monastery. You see, Jordanville served as a spiritual anchor for my family. My father emigrated to the US in the 1950s. Living in Buffalo, he found a slice of mother Russia in the hills of upstate New York, within striking distance of Buffalo. As a doctor, he treated many fathers on a voluntary basis, including the late Metropolitan Laurus.

Mark Selawry, FFA president. Mark Selawry, FFA president.
Although the family ended up living in subtropical Miami, close ties were maintained with the clergy in Jordanville. For example, the late Abbot Vladimir Suhobok would stay as a guest, delighting me with his soccer skills, and patiently trying to teach me to read Slavonic. Having our house blessed or reading molebens was always a special treat, as it seemed o. Vladimir brought a slice of the monastery to our house, and not just the bread that was baked on premises along with the whipped honey! It was under the care of my father that o. Vladimir spent his final days with brain tumor in 1988.

At the age of 16, I had the fortune of spending the summer at the monastery as a “summer boy.” I loved the rhythm of the place, especially attending daily services. Metropolitan Hilarion, who resided at the monastery as a Hieromonk, would hear my lengthy nearly daily confessions in the altar, with the summer boys joking, “there goes Mark again!” When I left, I declared to my parents I would return as a monk. They gently coaxed me to postpone my decision until after I completed my college education.

I’m comforted my father rests in peace at the cemetery, being prayed for on a daily basis. I, too, have purchased my plot to lie beside him, glad that I will, someday, fulfill my wish to return on a more permanent basis.

Every time I visit, I easily slip back into contemplation and quiet prayer in what to me is an oasis of Orthodox spirituality.

Archimandrite Vladimir (Suhobok). Archimandrite Vladimir (Suhobok).
Doesn’t everyone who visited have similar stories? What would happen if we were deprived of the consolation to know that our remains will rest next to our parent’s, and our children were deprived of a chance to experience Jordanville for themselves, reaping a lifetime’s worth of spiritual treasure? What if Jordanville were to collapse, or forced to sell land for development because we didn’t have the time or heart to help in time?

I was overjoyed and full of thanks with the outpouring of generosity last year for the Holy Cross Monastery, which was saved from their own “fiscal cliff.” I ask that all of us whose lives were enriched to, please, send what you can to keep the Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary a beacon of our church abroad.

Remember, the first $50,000 of donations received will be matched. So far, we have received $25,000. Thank you for remembering our fathers and brothers in need. The brethren will always pray for you as their benefactors. God bless!

Mark Selawry

Fund for Assistance to ROCOR


Please donate now by sending a check to the Fund for Assistance at: 75 East 93rd Street New York, NY 10128 USA;

or, even more quickly, by clickinghere.

*The first $50,000 of contributions will be matched.

Official website of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad


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