On awareness of the God who searches your heart

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On awareness of the God who searches your heart

St. Theophan the Recluse, also known as Theophanes or Feofan Zatvornik (Russian: Феофан Затворник), (January 10, 1815 – January 6, 1894) is a well-known saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. He was born as Giorgiy Vasilievich Govorov in the village of Chernavsk. His father was a Russian Orthodox priest. He was educated in the Orthodox seminaries at Livny, Orel and Kiev. In 1841 he was tonsured as a monk and ordained as a priest, and adopted the name Theophan from the Greek θεοφάνεια, denoting a theophany (an appearance or manifestation of God). Theophan later became the Bishop of Tambov.

The Saint is well-known today in Russia through the many books he wrote concerning the inner spiritual life, especially on the subjects of the Christian life and the training of youth in the faith. He also played a leading role in translating the Philokalia from Church Slavonic into Russian. The Philokalia, a classic of Eastern Orthodox spirituality, is composed of the collected edited works of a number of Church Fathers which were placed in a four volume set beginning in the 17th century. A persistent theme is developing an interior life of continuous prayer, learning to cultivate a profound awareness of God’s presence and to “pray without ceasing” as St. Paul teaches in 1 Thessalonians.

April 13: Third Annual Bishop Basil Rodzianko Memorial Retreat

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Dear Friends,

I hope you have all enjoyed a blessed and contemplative start to your Lenten journeys!

I want to encourage all of you who are able to attend the Saturday, April 13 memorial Lenten retreat at St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral here in Washington, D.C. in honor of the late and venerable Bishop Basil (Rodzianko). The Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation of Washington, D.C. will sponsor this special event.

For those of you who may not have heard of this remarkable man, Bishop Basil was an Orthodox luminary of the last century whose extensive writings, radio broadcasts and travels contributed to the revitalization of Orthodoxy both in the last years of the Soviet Union and then following the collapse of communist regimes throughout Eastern Europe. Bishop Basil was my godmother’s spiritual father, and so I have been greatly blessed to hear many wonderful stories and anecdotes from her about his extraordinary life.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, former Primate of the Orthodox Church in America and Archbishop of Washington, will offer a talk centered around the Orthodox spiritual life titled “Let us take refuge in the Lord”. 

All are welcome to join us for the morning services before the talk. Matins begins at 7:40am followed by the Divine Liturgy at 9:00am. Lunch will be served at 11:00am, and the talk will commence at 12:30pm.

Interested clergy, students, professionals, Russian scholars, and Orthodox inquirers are encouraged to attend!

 If you would like to read more about Bishop Basil’s life and legacy, I would direct you to the following links:

1) The main website dedicated to Bishop Basil’s memory.
2) The chapter “His Eminence the Novice” by Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov) in the abbot’s bestselling book Everyday Saints.
3) In all humility, two brief articles which I wrote about him, which may be found here and here.

Here is the link to a Facebook event which I have created to spread the word about the retreat. For those who cannot access the embedded link, here it is unembedded:  
https://www.facebook.com/events/418810168214587/?context=create

I hope you will attend what promises to be a wonderful Lenten retreat dedicated to the memory of a venerable hierarch in our times!

Yours in Christ,

-Ryan

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart

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God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart

St Seraphim of Sarov, born Prokhor Moshnin, is one of Orthodox Russia’s most beloved wonder-workers, monks and elders (startsy).

The saint was born in 1759 in Kursk during the reign of Empress Elizabeth (Yelizaveta Petrovna), daughter of Peter I, and died near Sarov in 1833 during the reign of Emperor Nicholas I.

O Holy Father Seraphim, pray to God for us!

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart

Col. Philip Ludwell III: The Forerunner of Orthodoxy in North America

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In this video (posted to the YouTube page maintained by the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist), Mr Nicholas Chapman, a renowned British historian and editor at Holy Trinity Seminary Publications in Jordanville, NY, offers fascinating insights into the life and legacy of one of the first known converts to Orthodoxy in colonial Virginia.

Colonel Philip Ludwell III was the grandson of the first royal governor of the proprietary colony of North Carolina. Most of his family were nominally Anglican, as was expected of established Virginia gentry during the period, but some were Non-Juror Jacobites who refused to recognize the regime change of the 1688 Protestant Glorious Revolution which saw the Catholic Stuart James II abandoned in favor of his Protestant son-in-law and daughter, respectively, William of Orange and Mary II. Ludwell became Orthodox in 1738 as a young man while in London, where the Russian Orthodox church there, frequently attacked by local Protestants, attracted a considerable number of native English converts amid a mostly Alexandrian Greek congregation. Returning to his home country of Virginia, Ludwell would become a luminary in the pre-revolutionary colonies. He was the wealthiest man in Virginia, which was the wealthiest of the North American colonies, but had he made his conversion public, he could have faced capital punishment, as the Church of England (Anglicanism) was the established faith in colonial Virginia and any religion outside Protestantism was illegal. As one of the King’s ministers, his conversion was technically treason.

Col. Ludwell commissioned the young George Washington into the colonial militia, served in the Williamsburg House of Burgesses, endowed what would become the University of Pennsylvania, and alongside his close friend Benjamin Franklin established a school to educate blacks in Williamsburg. He died after a long illness in London in 1767 having translated many Orthodox liturgical and doctrinal writings into English, including the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and the Catechism of the venerable Peter Mogila (1596-1646), Metropolitan of Kiev. Following his wife’s untimely death, he eventually brought his three daughters with him to London, where they too were received into Orthodoxy of their own volition. One of his daughters would become a friend to President Thomas Jefferson, while Confederate General Robert E. Lee was also a descendant.

Mr Chapman’s lecture, given Sunday, March 10 at the Cathedral following the English Liturgy, is titled “The Righteous Shall be in Everlasting Remembrance: Further reflections on Colonel Philip Ludwell III, the forerunner of Orthodoxy in North America”. In his lecture, Mr Chapman expanded upon this article which he published through the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA), to which he is an active contributor.

“Acquire the Spirit of peace. . .”

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This is perhaps the most famous quotation from St Seraphim of Sarov, born Prokhor Moshnin, one of Orthodox Russia’s most beloved wonder-workers, monks and elders (startsy).

The saint was born in 1759 in Kursk during the reign of Empress Elizabeth (Yelizaveta Petrovna), daughter of Peter I, and died near Sarov in 1833 during the reign of Emperor Nicholas I.

O Holy Father Seraphim, pray to God for us!

The soul that loves God has its rest in God alone

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The soul that loves God has its rest in God alone

St Issac the Syrian (also known as Isaac of Nineveh) was a seventh century monk and mystic. Like many pre-Schism saints, he is also revered by the Roman and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches. He was born on the Arabian Peninsula, near present-day Qatar.

A strict ascetic, the saint entered monastic life at a young age along with his brother, and studied the Scriptures in isolation for many years. Eventually elevated as bishop of the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, he abdicated this role after five months to return to the desert. He reposed around the year 700.

Holy Father Isaac, pray to God for us!

Let mercy outweigh all else in you

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Let mercy outweigh all else in you

St Issac the Syrian (also known as Isaac of Nineveh) was a seventh century monk and mystic. Like many pre-Schism saints, he is also revered by the Roman and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches. He was born on the Arabian Peninsula, near present-day Qatar.

A strict ascetic, the saint entered monastic life at a young age along with his brother, and studied the Scriptures in isolation for many years. Eventually elevated as bishop of the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh, he abdicated this role after five months to return to the desert. He reposed around the year 700.

Holy Father Isaac, pray to God for us!