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Monastery Incense is now available through the Online Store!

We are very happy to announce that we now have incense available that has been hand crafted in a monastery in Kosovo.

We have tried the incense in our monastery church as well, and were favorably impressed! This incense was of very good quality, burned for quite a long time, put out a good amount of smoke and also burned cleanly. When it was done it left no “dirty stains” or resin, etc. on the charcoal.

Due to limited on-hand supply the incense is available at present only in 1 ounce boxes.

For more information about this incense, GO HERE.

To order this incense, GO HERE.

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We are expanding our Online Store!

ALL-NATURAL, HOME-MADE SOAPS

We are most excited to announce a new line of products for our bookstore, namely hand-crafted, all-natural soaps made here in the monastery made by our own monks.

Our soaps are made of 100% vegetable oil base, each oil chosen for the quality it brings to the soap: coconut oil, for its cleansing effects, olive oil for its conditioning properties, palm oil which makes for a hard, durable bar, and castor bean oil, which imparts a nice, rich lather.

In addition, wherever possible, we make use of both natural, botanical colorants and a wide array of essential oils.

Be sure to check HERE frequently to see what new varieties we are offering!

PRAYER ROPES

After offering prayer ropes in our monastery bookstore for some years that were hand tied by the monks themselves we are now making them available online as well.

These ropes are tied using either 100% Marina Wool or Rattail. We offer these Prayer Ropes in a variety of sizes – both 10 knot finger rings (only available in wool), 33 knot bracelets as well as the more standard 50 and 100 knot sizes.

For more information and details on other variations, sizes and options available for these ropes, please CLICK HERE.

 

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The Island of My Salvation

Continuing my struggle where God has placed me

Following the foundation of the monastery in 1986, we chose to dedicate it to Christ Our All-Merciful God and Saviour. Thus began a journey that would lead Father Paul and me to a deeper commitment to Christ, even though it proved to be a difficult path, with many trials and hardships along the way. I remember a night when I sat up crying, and in the depths of despair, because our former bishop had turned against us, and as a result, we’d lost all financial and spiritual support from most of those we loved, and depended on. Father Paul, my co-struggler, stood by me when others could find no good in me. We, together, suffered greatly during those early years. These were times when we were misunderstood, and ostracized by most. This was also a period of extreme poverty, when we knew not where the next meal was coming from, or how we were going to pay the rent.

At one of the lowest points in my monastic struggle, I remember going to Father Dimitry, and asking his blessing to leave for the Holy Mountain of Athos, feeling that I’d totally failed in establishing a monastery. He told me that my salvation was on Vashon Island, and that I should continue my struggle where God had planted me. The passing of time proved my Spiritual Father to be correct, and that this monastery exists is proof that Father Dimitry knew God’s plan for Father Paul and me. This beautiful monastery, in a forested setting, and on an island in the Salish Sea, is truly a miracle, and I am grateful that God has blessed me to be a part of it, however small and insignificant I have proven to be.

When Father Dimitry told me that my “salvation was on Vashon Island”, I found myself thinking that this was utter nonsense. How could this possibly be true, living as we were in a rental house, with no prospects of owning property, and seemingly no viable way of building a new monastery in the Puget Sound region. However, I knew as a monk that I was bound by my vows of obedience to my spiritual father. I also believed, as did many, that Father Dimitry had been blessed with the gift of clairvoyance, and that he undoubtedly saw something in the future that was hidden from me. So I withdrew my request to depart for the Holy Mountain,  and renewed my commitment to Vashon Island as the place God had chosen for me to work out my salvation.

Once we were gifted with the original five acres, I suffered a physical attack by a neighbor who did not want a monastery next to his property. Yet the Lord, in His great mercy, allowed us to eventually purchase this neighbor’s land, so we now have sixteen acres, bordered on two sides by a forty acre water shed. Giving up and walking away was never an option, even though we were hated, for we knew our monastic struggle must continue. My spiritual father, Blessed Archimandrite Dimitry, had suffered great humiliation and slander during his many years as a monk, and counseled me to keep my eyes focused on Christ, and not to put my trust in any person. His loving counsel gave me strength during a time when I did not receive support from those in authority over me. It was the Elder Dimitry’s holiness, and his unwavering joy, that served as a beacon to me.

The freedom a monk experiences in being obedient to his Elder can not be exaggerated, for such obedience is as unto Christ Himself. There is no other way that is more time tested as monastic obedience, for the crushing down of the ego and the taming of self-will, has to be the ultimate goal of every Christian. My saintly Elder was himself schooled in such obedience, for he had been formed by the thousand year old Monastery of Valaam in Russia, before being forced by the invading Soviet Army to flee for Finland, and finally, Paris and the United States. My Elder’s own spiritual father had been none other than the Abbot of Valaam, Chariton, himself renowned as a great elder and spiritual father. And I, as the spiritual son of Archimandrite Dimitry, and the spiritual grandson of Abbot Chariton, have been blessed by God to have their example of holiness and monastic commitment, as my guiding light in world of confusion and darkness.

In June of 1991, my elder reposed, and the loss for all of us who were his spiritual children, was devastating. Following the funeral service, which took place in the small chapel of the Kazan Skete in Santa Rosa, where Mother Susanna, my spiritual sister, is abbess, we all drove to Healdsburg, for the burial. Northern California had been suffering under a severe drought, with the usual rainy season having passed, and the whole region parched for lack of rain. Yet on the morning of the funeral the skies opened, and we were hit with torrential rains that lasted all day. During the drive to Healdsburg, where the Elder’s holy relics where to be laid to rest, it poured so hard we could hardly see the pavement ahead. For Russians, it has always been seen a sign of God’s blessings for it to rain on the day of one’s burial, as though the heavens themselves were weeping. The very next day, the region was returned to full drought conditions. Since those days, I have always felt the prayerful support of my Elder, and I am comforted with the knowledge that one day, if God permit it, I will be sharing, once again, the joy I felt whenever I was in the presence of Father Dimitry.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Abbot Chariton

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