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To the Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of the West

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:14-21, Gospel reading for Forgiveness Sunday Liturgy)

Dearly beloved,

Mere moments before we enter the Great Fast, the Church in her wisdom calls us to reflect on the essential elements of a truly Lenten effort. Prayer is a part of every Orthodox Christian’s life — it almost goes without saying. That prayer becomes the foundation of everything else we do during Great Lent. Besides our personal prayer, the Church calls us to more corporate worship, giving us the Eucharist as many as four times a week to strengthen us in our efforts.

But the Lord brings our attention to the other great tools of true spiritual effort. First, fasting. The true fast does not find fruits in following mere “rules.” “What can I eat? Does this have any milk in the ingredients? When can we have fish, wine or oil?” Those rules are there as guidance and not as ends in themselves. We can feel so proud that we have “followed the rules.” But the self-denial of fasting also leads to peace, calm, a new look at the things we too often see as important. In our consumer society, we never deny ourselves anything at any time. We have truly come to believe that man does “live by bread alone.” The lengthy, and sometimes grueling, fast strips us of the superfluous and leaves only the essential. We learn to eat to live, and not live to eat.

Upcoming lenten retreat at the Monastery of St. John - 02/16/18

Facing Provocations, Thoughts, and Temptations: Taking Jesus as Our Guide", led by Monk Cosmas

March 16th, 17th, and 18th.Location: Monastery of St. John, 21770 Ponderosa Way, Manton, CA  96059
Cost: $125 per person, Couples $200

There are still some spaces left.  Register today to reserve your spot!

To register, contact the Monastery of St. John at: or by phone: 530-474-5964.
Payment options: online--visit the following website and make a $50 donation to the Monastery of St. John through PayPal.  Please type "Lenten retreat" in the field provided.
The balance can be paid upon arrival.

Retreat begins with Vespers at 5:00 PM on Friday and concludes with a final session from 11:30-12:30 on Sunday.

It is recommended that retreatants arrive before dark on Friday.  Please see the monastery website for directions:
http://www.monasteryofstjohn. org/documents/Guest_&_Visitor_ Information.pdf
For more details about the retreat visit our website: retreats/


MEMORY ETERNAL - Matushka Mary Perez - 02/15/18


Funeral services for Matushka Mary Perez, beloved wife of Priest Dimitri Perez, Rector of Holy Apostles Mission, Vancouver, WA, will be celebrated at the Church of the Annunciation, 13515 SE Rusk Road, Milwaukie, OR on Thursday and Friday, February 15 and 16, 2018.

Matushka Mary fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, February 12.

The Funeral Vigil will be celebrated on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The reading of the Psalms will follow and continue until 8:30 a.m. on Friday, at which time the Hours will be chanted. The Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:00 a.m., followed by a mercy meal. Interment will be at Saint John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery, Goldendale, WA on Friday afternoon.

Born Heidi Mary Perez on August 8, 1971 in Rochester, MI to Timothy and Diane Harvey, she and her family moved to Eagle River, AK, where she grew up. She graduated from high school in 1989. In 1991, she met the future Father Dimitri [Erik] Perez, whom she married on July 11, 1993, after which they moved to Santa Cruz, CA. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UCSC in June 2000. In June 2002, the Perezes moved once again, this time to Pennsylvania, where Erik enrolled in Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood by His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin at Holy Trinity Cathedral, San Francisco, CA in July 2005, taking the name Dimitri, while Heidi took the name Mary for her patron saint, Mary Magdalene.

During their years in Pennsylvania, Mary pursued her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Child Psychology at Marywood University, Scranton, PA, graduating in 2005. Later that year, Matushka Mary and Father Dimitri moved to Portland, OR, where they planted Holy Apostles Mission, which they have been serving for the past 13 years.


2nd Announcement -- Retreat in Manton - 02/05/18

Facing Provocations, Thoughts, and Temptations: Taking Jesus as our Guide

Retreat at the Monastery of St John March 16, 17, and 18 2018

led by Fr Cosmas


On the fourth Sunday of Great Lent we celebrate St John of the Ladder and his book, the Ladder of Divine Ascent. His book contains a wealth of counsel on the spiritual life, written for monks at the request of the abbot of another monastery. Some readers — including some of us monks — may find it so dense, though, that they have a hard time applying it to their lives. It’s almost as if St John catalogued and analyzed everything there was to say on the subject so thoroughly that we don’t know where to start in putting it to use.


Why not approach the topic of provocations, thoughts, and temptations in a more basic way? Why not draw on passages in the Gospels that show how Jesus handled these challenges? After all, the life and teaching of Jesus was as much a basic point of reference for St John of the Ladder as it is for us. Then those who want to go back to read — or re-read — the Ladder will gain a new appreciation of St John’s treatment, and all of us will have a deeper understanding of the Gospel readings we will encounter during Holy Week. 


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