Monday, July 20, 2009

Righteous Fr. Seraphim Rose

I have a photo on the wall in my studio, that is a photograph of Fr. Seraphim walking down the dirt lane between the buildings at the Monastery of St. Herman of Alaska outside of Platina California. It is in the book that was published by the Brotherhood on him, Father Seraphim Rose, His Life and Works, by Hieromonk Damascene.

In the photograph it is a snowy morning. A light dusting of snow is on the ground around the buildings; but the road itself is mostly bare. The air in the distance behind the figure is a soft blur of fog or of light snow.

I love to look at the figure of Fr. Seraphim. The is a quietness and a peace about his form, a solidity in his walk and a presence in that photograph that makes me expect him to arrive here soon, for he is just a little bit down the road.

Several years ago I sat at his grave praying for something, I didn't really know what it was. God knows.

Now as I sit and look at his figure I think I was praying for that same peace and acceptance of life as it is in every moment which is given to us, as I perceive that I see in his figure. It is good to realize for myself what my prayer was about. I feel that knowing what one prays for is 85% of any prayer.

Photo courtesy of St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Hieromonk Damescene, Author

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Off for a bit

I am off in the morning for a short trip to Colorado and will be gone for a few days.

Thought I had better get something written in my discipline of writing here once a week at least.

I picked up the book, Bread and Water, Wine and Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Webber. I have found the first chapter stunning. Some wonderful exploration of the human mind vs. the heart.

One that gives me pause to think. I am paraphrasing...When we see someone we don't know, we judge them in some way, peg them, so that the mind can understand them.

Hmm, said I, yes indeed that is true.

The author suggests a practice of being aware of that, and resisting that urge to do so.

Very thought provoking.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Saints Peter and Paul

I found this wonderful Akathist on line at the website of St.s Peter and Paul Antiochian Church in Topeka, KS. Http:// ..if you too would like to have it.

What a treasure it was to pray this during the fast. How enriching! How lovely of that Church to provide food for the hungry!

As I proceeded in the fast I became curious where St. Peter and St. Paul's relics actually were in Rome. I knew of course that St. Peter's were under the Basilica in Rome and knew that St. Paul was was martyred at the same time according to Church Tradition...during the reign of Nero. Many Christians were martyred during that time. As Nero set fire to an area of Rome to destroy an unsightly neighborhood, much of Rome caught fire. As a result of the furor over so much of Rome burning, Nero, felt it expedient to blame the Christians as the culprits and the instigators of the trouble and so began the martyrdom of many.

I went again to Google Earth and explored the areas where the relics of St.s Peter and Paul are noted.

But that wasn't enough. I wished that I could understand more. I searched the web and came across the book, The Archeology of the New Testament, The Mediterranean World of the Early Christian Apostles by Jack Finegan, Westview Press, Croom Helm 1981. I ordered it and sure enough it provides much of the information that I had been seeking. The book discusses the tombs of those saints as well as providing information on others. It is hard to know where some of the place locations currently are from Bibical reference as many place names have been changed.

Mr. Finegan lists references of the writings by authors of the time , one of the things that I wished that I had access to, as well as mapping and the description of locations. I will include here this wonderful map of the catacombs, from page 32, of the above book,

which stunned me as I saw the names and locations of the relics of saints that are patrons to many in the Orthodox world. (Sadly this can't be any bigger than this, but get the book and you will love what you see.) This book is a wonderful treasury of information. If you are interested in knowing the early saints in a personal way this is a marvelous help in that journey.

I know a Pricilla (#4) for instance who would surely welcome this map.

I also have to say how very awesome where the lives and the energies of St.s Peter and Paul. What they did was stunning!