"Let Us Build Monasteries"
St. John Monastery, Manton
The theme title of this year's All-American Council “How to Expand the Mission” has caused much fruitful reflection. It is a healthy theme. It shifts our attention to the importance of growth. It is commonly understood that a growing organism is a healthy one. This applies to the OCA, as a whole. This focus on growth moves us away from our pre-occupation with just surviving. We have endured wave after wave of crisis, turmoil, and scandal. Yet, we are alive. If we are truly alive, we must grow.
The whimsical watercolor illustration of our heroes of the past brings us back to an earlier era. We are invited to connect with the vision of Saints Tikhon, Innocent, and Raphael, and many others who devoted their lives to bringing the Orthodox faith to a new land. We are invited to join them in a certain purity of intention, an optimism that led them to make bold strides to advance the Gospel. Someone once said that if the 12 apostles had known just how far the “ends or the earth” were, they would have never ventured out of Jerusalem to fulfill the Great Commission. We are invited, like the apostles of the past and the not-so-distant past, to have great faith and rely on our experience of the Truth of our Faith rather than on outward circumstances. In that same spirit, I join in the discussion and offer my own “two cents” to try to answer that all-important question which was the theme of this year’s All-American Council.