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Fort Ross Pilgrimage - 07/05/18

His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, led the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of the West in the annual (since 1925) pilgrimage to Fort Ross on the 4th of July. This year's weather was overcast and cooler than usual -- a very comfortable day. Fort Ross is now a state historic park and is the site of the first Orthodox house of prayer south of Alaska.

His Grace, Bishop Gideon of Makarov, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, prayed at the Divine Liturgy and received the Holy Gifts.

(Photographs courtesy of Matushka Sophia Sokolov)

Link to full gallery:

July 1st is "Monastery Appeal" in DOW - 06/27/18

At the request of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, all parishes in the Diocese of the West will be taking a special collection this Sunday to benefit the various monastic communities of our diocese:

St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
Manton, California

St. Barbara Monastery
Santa Paula, California

Holy Assumption Monastery
Calistoga, California

Our Lady of Kazan Skete
Santa Rosa, California

Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery
Lake George, Colorado

Monastery of St. Macarius of Egypt (2015)

Monastery of St. John the Baptist (2017)

The following reflection on monasticism was published on and is recommended reading to prepare for our efforts to assist the monastic communities of our diocese.

MONASTICISM: The Way to Perfection
by Professor Emeritus George Mantzaridis
Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

With the advent of monasticism, a special way of life appeared in the Church, which however did not  proclaim a new morality. The Church does not have one set of moral rules for the laity and another  for monks, nor does it divide the faithful into classes according to their obligations towards God. The Christian life is the same for everyone. All Christians have in common that “their being and name is from Christ”1. This means that the true Christian must ground his life and conduct in Christ, something which is hard to do in the world.

What is difficult in the world is attempted with dedication in the monastic life. In his spiritual life the monk simply tries to do what every Christian should try to do: to live according to God’s commandments. The fundamental principles of monasticism are no different from those of the lives of all the faithful. This is especially apparent in the history of the early Church, before monasticism appeared.

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