Magnificent Medieval Latin Communion Hymn

Video

A little more than two years ago during my time in Edinburgh, Archimandrite Fr. Avraamy (Neyman), a dear Greek Orthodox hieromonk there, first shared with me sixteenth century Sevillan choralist Francisco Guerrero’s magnificent a cappella motet for Aquinas’ beautiful prayer “O Sacrum Convivium” in honor of the Eucharistic miracle. Fr. Avraamy is himself an Englishman who was raised in the Roman Catholic faith.

Just over one year ago, I shared here my warm recollections of my time at the wonderful Orthodox community of St. Andrew in Edinburgh, which is now led by the wonderful Fr. Raphael (Pavouris) and Fr. Avraamy in the wake of the repose of Fr. John Maitland Moir, the community’s much-loved and venerable founder. Fr. John was 88 at the time of his death, which was announced to the world via this beautifully moving obituary. From what everyone says of him, it seems likely that he is a Saint. I only met Father a handful of times, and by then he was nearly completely deaf, but there was an almost palpable holiness about him which I can still recall with as much clarity as though I had only just encountered him. May this truly humble servant of God dwell forevermore with the choirs of angels, and may his memory be eternal!

David Hill directs the above, particular arrangement of the motet, sung by the choir of Westminster Cathedral, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic faith in England.

Here is the English text:

O sacred banquet at which Christ is consumed, the memory of his Passion is recalled, our souls are filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given to us. Alleluia.

And here is the original Latin:

O sacrum convivium in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis eius: mens impletur gratia: et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur. Alleluia.

Archimandrite Fr. Zacharias on “Human Relationships in the Light of Christ”

Video

Published on Dec 4, 2012 (the one year anniversary of my reception into the Orthodox Church), here is a beautiful video of a spiritual talk, “Human Relationships in the Light of Christ”, given by Archimandrite Zacharias on the 8th of November 2012 at the house church of the St Andrew’s Orthodox Christian community in Edinburgh. I was greatly blessed to have been able to worship with this wonderful community during my extraordinary semester studying at the University of Edinburgh.

Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou) is a spiritual father at the Monastery of St John the Baptist in Essex, UK. He is a disciple of Elder Sophrony Sakharov, founder of this monastery and one of the most significant Orthodox elders of our times, himself a disciple and biographer of my patron St Silouan the Athonite. Based upon the authentic spiritual legacy of his own spiritual father, Fr Zacharias has written some of the most important books on Christian spirituality available today.

Pro-Morsi extremists vow to bomb everyone opposed to them, targeting Christians for special retribution

Video

This disturbing footage (published on YouTube on July 4) is taken from a pro-Morsi demonstration in Egypt after the Egyptian military intervened on behalf of the millions of Egyptians who demanded an end to the increasingly authoritarian rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

While addressing the main executor of the military action against Morsi, the armed forces’ commander-in-chief General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, one visibly furious man who supports Morsi vows that the ex-president’s supporters will become ‘martyrs’ and a ‘new Taliban’, suicide bombers that will target secularists, Christians, Shiites (whom the man refers to as non-Muslims), and all other perceived enemy forces.

Later on in the video, an equally furious woman covered in a black burqa and niqab vowed to burn her fellow Christian citizens, to whom she ascribes a collective responsibility for the widespread support the action against Morsi enjoyed from the Coptic Orthodox community, Egypt’s largest religious minority. Evidently this woman who completely hides her face and refuses to reveal her name feels comfortable venting her fury, threatening her Christian fellow citizens, “We will set you on fire!”

If the views put forth by the two raving psychopaths shown in this video bear any resemblance to typical Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted Egyptian President Morsi, which I hope very much is not the case, then this faction is openly threatening mass murder. The two individuals featured in this video are inciting terrorism and treason without shame or fear of any consequence. I hope that the transitional Egyptian police and military authorities will take measured, deliberative actions to contain them.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters are unsurprisingly angry that the military ousted him with the unified support of a majority of their fellow citizens. There is no question that, from a prima facie reading of Egypt’s suspended constitution, the army’s move was illegitimate. Yet the legitimacy of the constitution, which bears heavy Islamist influence, has never been a given, and many Egyptian citizens never accepted it as legally binding.

Rather than behaving like uncivilized brutes, threatening mass suicide bombings or railing against the Christian minority whom they despise, angry Morsi supporters would do well to ask themselves: why was Egypt’s first democratically elected president so incompetent or so hated that he was not permitted to complete one term in office? Why, furthermore, was Morsi overthrown with broad support from across the Egyptian political and religious spectrum?

By threatening to blow up and set fire to their fellow (Christian) citizens, Morsi’s more fanatical supporters validate their opponents’ portrayal of them as a violent, terrorism-supporting group. Wildly claiming that Morsi’s opponents would somehow bear the blame for having incited them to such mass violence, Morsi’s radical supporters sound like abusive spouses and parents (or children with anger management problems) who blame their victims for inciting them. If their words weren’t so deeply troubling, when one thinks of the possible actionable violence which may come from them, they would be laughable, dismissed as the ravings of madmen.

The logic of would-be terrorists and their supporters (a vocal minority among ousted Egyptian President Morsi’s more extreme partisans) seems to be something in this vein: Egyptians elected Morsi at the ballot box during a political revolution, and somehow this means that Morsi, who ruled with arbitrary power, repeatedly clashed with parliament, and was unwilling or unable to stem sectarian violence directed mainly against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, could only be removed through the ballot box.

It seems to me as though the Brotherhood is far more upset to have lost its political power than it is at the thought of an Egyptian president having been deposed before he could serve out his first term.

Manuel Doukas Chrysaphes’ Lamentation for the Fall of Constantinople

Video

Tomorrow, June 11 (which is May 29 on the Julian calendar) we remember the Fall of Constantinople to the forces of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II Fetih (“the Conqueror”) on May 29 in 1453, 560 years ago.

Using the haunting text of Psalm 79, Manuel Doukas Chrysaphes (Greek: Μανουὴλ Δούκας Χρυσάφης, active from 1440–1463) composed this profoundly transcendent lament for the fall of the Great City, the “Eye of the World”. Most historians regard Chrysaphes as the most prominent Byzantine musician of the 15th century. He was a singer, composer and musical theoretician who served as a master choralist at the courts of the last two Byzantine emperors, John VIII and Constantine XI. His surviving treatise, “On the Theory of the Art of Chanting” is an invaluable guide to Byzantine music and the evolution of Byzantine singing in the late Palaiologan period. The Portland, Oregon-based Byzantine choral ensemble Cappella Romana sings this otherworldly lamentation. Here is a review of Cappella Romana’s performance of the lamentation by The Oregonian’s Barry Johnson.

One of the most traumatic events in Christian history with lasting repercussions to this day for Greek-speaking people in particular, Constantinople’s fall to a multi-confessional, multi-ethnic army led by Sunni Muslim Turks was also one of the pivotal turning points in Western and Ottoman history.

While the city had declined in population, power and prestige to become a shadow of its former self, and was in fact little more than a series of loosely connected villages huddled behind the ancient Theodosian walls when Mehmed’s forces breached them, its fall came like the crashing of a giant in the Christian consciousness.

With the death of the Emperor Constantine XI on the walls of the city, the Empire whose citizens had simply called themselves ‘Romans’, whose official name was Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, the Roman Empire, or Ῥωμανία, ‘Romania’, came to an end after 1100 years. When one thinks of the city’s repeated attacks and sieges by the Huns, Persians, Arabs, then-pagan Vikings and Russians, Bulgars, Crusaders, Seljuk Turks, and finally the Ottomans, it is remarkable that, until its first sack by the Crusaders in 1204, Constantinople presided over an empire which achieved an extraordinary integration of three main influences.

Byzantium synthesized an extraordinary ancient cultural and philosophical legacy from classical Greece and the Hellenic kingdoms with that of Roman law, political theory and imperial government structure, preserving thousands of classical and legal texts which would have likely been lost in the West. Crucially, Constantinople’s endurance of many centuries of external pressure, including intermittent hostility with the northern Italian mercantile states after 1204, especially Venice and Genoa, served to prevent major Muslim expansion into Europe..

From an Orthodox perspective, Constantinople’s stature as the patriarchate second in honor as the New Rome after the Old caused it to become the center of what came to be called Byzantine, or Greek, Orthodox Christianity with a vast contribution in liturgical tradition, homiletics, theology, and phronema. The fall of the city profoundly shocked all of Christendom, especially Rome, as the ancient patriarchate which had been second in honor in the Christian oikoumene was now transformed into the capital of the most powerful Muslim empire.

The Ottoman Turks finally gained the prize which they had been encircling for over a century since they conquered most of Anatolia and expanded behind Constantinople into Thrace and the Balkans. Unsurprisingly, historians traditionally date the end of the Middle Ages to the fall of Byzantium, from which they also mark the official opening of the Renaissance and the early modern era as Byzantine refugees poured into Italy.

Guillaume Dufay’s magnificent Lamentation for Constantinople

Video

Tomorrow, June 11 (which is May 29 on the Julian calendar) we remember the Fall of Constantinople to the forces of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II Fetih (“the Conqueror”) on May 29 in 1453.

One of the most traumatic events in Christian history with lasting repercussions to this day for Greek-speaking people in particular, Constantinople’s fall to a multi-confessional, multi-ethnic army led by Sunni Muslim Turks was also one of the pivotal turning points in Western and Ottoman history.

While the city had declined in population, power and prestige to become a shadow of its former self, and was in fact little more than a series of loosely connected villages huddled behind the ancient Theodosian walls when Mehmed’s forces breached them, its fall came like the crashing of a giant in the Christian consciousness.

With the death of the Emperor Constantine XI on the walls of the city, the Empire whose citizens had simply called themselves ‘Romans’, whose official name was Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, the Roman Empire, or Ῥωμανία, ‘Romania’, came to an end after 1100 years. When one thinks of the city’s repeated attacks and sieges by the Huns, Persians, Arabs, then-pagan Vikings and Russians, Bulgars, Crusaders, Seljuk Turks, and finally the Ottomans, it is remarkable that, until its first sack by the Crusaders in 1204, Constantinople presided over an empire which achieved an extraordinary integration of three main influences.

Byzantium synthesized an extraordinary ancient cultural and philosophical legacy from classical Greece and the Hellenic kingdoms with that of Roman law, political theory and imperial government structure, preserving thousands of classical and legal texts which would have likely been lost in the West. Crucially, Constantinople’s endurance of many centuries of external pressure, including intermittent hostility with the northern Italian mercantile states after 1204, especially Venice and Genoa, served to prevent major Muslim expansion into Europe..

From an Orthodox perspective, Constantinople’s stature as the patriarchate second in honor as the New Rome after the Old caused it to become the center of what came to be called Byzantine, or Greek, Orthodox Christianity with a vast contribution in liturgical tradition, homiletics, theology, and phronema. The fall of the city profoundly shocked all of Christendom, especially Rome, as the ancient patriarchate which had been second in honor in the Christian oikoumene was now transformed into the capital of the most powerful Muslim empire. The Ottoman Turks finally gained the prize which they had been encircling for over a century since they conquered most of Anatolia and expanded behind Constantinople into Thrace and the Balkans. Unsurprisingly, historians traditionally date the end of the Middle Ages to the fall of Byzantium, from which they also mark the official opening of the Renaissance and the early modern era as Byzantine refugees poured into Italy.

This video here is a profound and beautiful example of the Roman Church’s horror over the fall of the city which had been the Byzantine capital and heir to the Roman Empire for over a millennium. At Pope Nicholas V’s urging, the brilliant Franco-Flemish choralist Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474), leading composer in the Burgundian School, composed this magnificent early Renaissance motet in 1454. Pope Nicholas invited many Greek refugees from Constantinople to Rome, where he hoped to add their intellectual luster and their accumulated theological, historical, literary and artistic works to the splendor of Old Rome. Unsuccessful in his attempts to convince the squabbling northern Italian city-states to unite in a common cause to retake Constantinople from the Ottomans, Nicholas V died in 1455, acknowledging that his papacy would be forever marred in history as that during which Nova Roma, the Queen City of Christendom, fell.

Guillaume Dufay with Gilles Binchois.

Guillaume Dufay with Gilles Binchois.

Dufay modeled his ethereal dirge, “Lamentatio sanctae matris ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae” (the Lament of the Holy Mother Church of Constantinople) from a part of the Book of Lamentations on the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. Here are the song’s lyrics in Middle French, with translation into English below:

O tres piteulx de tout espoir fontaine,
Pere du filz dont suis mere esplorée,
Plaindre me viens a ta court souveraine,
De ta puissance et de nature humaine,
Qui ont souffert telle durté villaine
Faire à mon filz, qui tant m’a hounourée.

Dont suis de bien et de joye separée,
Sans qui vivant veule entendre mes plaints.
A toy, seul Dieu, du forfait me complains,
Du gref tourment et douloureulx oultrage,
Que voy souffrir au plus bel des humains.
Sans nul confort de tout humain lignage.

Translated into English:
“O most merciful fount of all hope,
Father of the son whose weeping mother I am:
I come to complain before your sovereign court,
about your power and about human nature,
which have allowed such grievous harm
to be done to my son, who has honored me so much.

For that I am bereft of all good and joy,
without anyone alive to hear my laments.
To you, the only God, I submit my complaints,
about the grievous torment and sorrowful outrage,
which I see the most beautiful of men suffer
without any comfort for the whole human race.”

Disclaimer: I highly encourage you to disregard the text which accompanies this video. While some of it is accurate, a good deal of it is absurdly polemical. I chose this video of Dufay’s “Lamentatio” in preference to the other three I found for its inclusions of a series of famous portraits and paintings of the siege and fall of the City. In no ways do I endorse the description which “Petrus Josephus”, the anonymous poster of this otherwise beautiful YouTube video, uses to apply to all Muslims in his text. “Petrus” refers to the Ottomans as “heathen Turks” and refers to all Muslims as “abominable mohammedans”. This is an antiquated and inaccurate term rooted in an initially widespread misunderstanding of Islamic theology (the word “mohammedan” itself implies a worship of Muhammad which Muslims categorically reject). Later in his video, “Petrus” refers to “the virus of Islam” as an “onslaught” which “has never been stopped” in “Europe and her colonies”. Besides the obvious reality that most of Europe is not Muslim, “Petrus”, an ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic whose “About” page contains references to the schismatic Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), would do well to read more about the resurgence of Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe and its growth in Germany, France and Britain.

Please find the other two YouTube videos I found of Dufay’s “Lamentatio” here, performed by the renowned Hilliard Ensemble, a British male quartet specializing in Medieval and Renaissance music, and here.

Metropolitan Jonah presides over Lenten retreat

Video

On the bright, clear morning of Saturday, April 13 (March 31 O.S, the feast of the repose of St Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow), Metropolitan Jonah presided over a moving Liturgy at St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral here in Washington. This beautiful Liturgy honored the memory and legacy of Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), who reposed in the Lord on September 17, 1999 after an extraordinary earthly life and ministry.

It was a great joy to attend this Liturgy, which Vladyka and the Cathedral choir served with deep reverence. The Cathedral was crowded with many people I had not seen before, and all the candle-stands around the main icons were filled to the brim with brightly burning candles, as if it had been a great feast day in the liturgical life of the Church! This was deeply moving, to see so many people coming to honor Bishop Basil’s memory.

The Cathedral is always an incredibly beautiful place, with wonderful acoustics for the choir and clergy singing the Liturgy, but during this Liturgy there was a profound spiritual presence which filled the Cathedral and animated those worshiping. I don’t know if anyone else felt this, but I discerned an overflowing, radiant grace throughout the Liturgy.

Following the Liturgy, we enjoyed a delicious Lenten lunch and wonderful conversation in the parish hall. I noticed that, again, there were many visitors to the Cathedral, including many parishioners from St Nicholas OCA Cathedral where I had my spiritual formation and where Metropolitan Jonah received me into the Church.

Then we headed upstairs to the parish library, the site of most of Vladyka’s Bible studies here, for his engaging two part Lenten talk, titled “Let us take refuge in the Lord”. This is the opening line of one of my favorite prayers by St Isaac the Syrian (alternately known as Isaac of Nineveh). Above you may listen to part 1 of the talk via the YouTube page for St John the Baptist Cathedral.

Flyer for Third Annual Bishop Basil Rodzianko Memorial Retreat

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

Video

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.

How to cross the road in Russia

Video

Late to work or wanting to take a shorter route home? This pious man crosses himself before embarking on a spontaneous street-crossing of dubious safety – the street appears to be a busy thoroughfare.

A lovely Russian woman I know recalled a proverb about pedestrians who cross the street in the wrong places. She wrote that there are generally three types:

1. ZOMBIE- once they start crossing, they just keep going no matter what… it is dangerous but manageable, if the driver has a clear mind..
2.KAMIKAZE – the ones that see your car coming but keep running anyway… these are manageable as well…
3.INDECISIVE – they start crossing, and when they see your car coming they stop right in the middle or start flouncing about, and you have NO idea which way they will go… this is the most dangerous type… it’s good if you have time for a full stop without someone tail-gating you…

She felt like “being philosophical”, and mused about the proverb that she didn’t “know if it’s about where you cross, or it’s about you knowing what you want and knowing what you will do… and it is definitely a different situation when you are a pedestrian and the driver is not fully conscious… then I guess running and praying is the best option!”

What do you think? Is this man a ‘zombie’ or more of a kamikaze?

I think this babushka is definitely a kamikaze! She doesn’t run, but she has such iron determination!

Metropolitan Jonah’s sermon on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Video

His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) delivered this sermon on March 3, 2013, the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Washington, D.C.

Since Metropolitan Jonah spoke at the end of the Slavonic Liturgy, Cathedral rector Fr. Victor Potapov translated his words into Russian.

Holy Cross Monastery

Video

This is a video featuring snapshots of liturgical life and day-to-day living for the monks of Holy Cross Monastery, located in my hometown of East Setauket, New York. The monastic brotherhood, led by the Most Reverend Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar), is under the omophorion (canonical authority) of His Eminence +Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The monks maintain a beautiful blog here, and using these two links, you can access their popular Facebook pages.

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, an autonomous jurisdiction under the Moscow Patriarchate).

The opening to the video is hauntingly beautiful. The first chant which you hear (sung by the brothers of the Valaam island monastery in Russia’s Lake Ladoga) is Stasis 3 of the Bridegroom Lamentation chants for Good Friday. At 1:02 you see the Abbot of the monastery, the Most Reverend Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar), a very kind man and wise counselor and pastor. At 3:52 you see Fr. Hierodeacon Parthenios (Miller), a wonderfully kind, talented choralist and theologian.

Throughout this video, indicative of the incredible diversity and catholicity of Orthodoxy, you will hear Church hymns and prayers in multiple languages: English, Russian, Greek, and Georgian. These languages are often used in every Liturgy, along with Romanian and sometimes Spanish.

As of January 2012, I had attended Liturgy here only twice when I was home briefly for Winter Break before leaving to study on exchange at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh. Since my return to the United States, I have been blessed to visit the kind monks whenever I am back at home in Setauket.

The monastery is a beautiful oasis of calm and peace in my busy Long Island, New York hometown.

The monastery grounds are on the edge of Setauket Elementary School (left of center beyond the hedges).

The monastery chapel, dedicated to St Herman of Alaska, is a century-old historic building which served for years as the town’s primary school.

The monastery’s church, dedicated to St Herman the Wonder-worker and Apostle to Alaska (1756-1837), was beautifully restored in late summer and early fall 2012.

The monastery used to be under the omophorion of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, and is now under the canonical authority of
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad,

The monastery’s bells are used to beautiful effect to call worshipers to the divine services, to signify the rejoicing and going forth out into the world at services’ conclusion, and they are rung at major points during the Liturgy, matins and vespers. Here, Fr. Silouan talks with Archimandrite Maximos.

Icon of the Theotokos with the Christ child inside the monastery church.

The beautiful, miracle-working Kursk-Root icon of the Theotokos has visited the monastery several times.

The monastery supports a small but diverse parish life, including many Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Greeks, Romanians, and American converts.

The monks and members of the parish community enjoy a fellowship meal with His Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). Metropolitan Kallistos, to the far left with the white beard, is an English Orthodox theologian, titular Bishop of Diokleia under the Ecumenical Patriarchate and retired Spalding Lecturer of Eastern Orthodox Studies at the University of Oxford.

Fr. Maximos and Fr. Hierodeacon Parthenios outside the ROCOR Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, D.C. This is a beautiful cathedral built by St. John of Shanghai and San Franciso. As of Fall 2012, I have begun attending this cathedral with increasing frequency.

The Most Reverend Archimandrite Maximos, Abbot of Holy Cross Brotherhood

Father Silouan, a very kind, wise man

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, visits the monastery.

Metropolitan Hilarion standing with Archimandrite Maximos, Fr. Cornelius, Fr Silouan, Fr Hierodeacon Parthenios, and other monks and friends of the monastery.

Metropolitan Hilarion alongside Archimandrite Maximos standing before the solea and the iconostasis.

Metropolitan Hilarion blessing the monks and faithful as he stands before the thronos.

Metropolitan Hilarion censing the monastery’s icons, the monks and the lay worshipers.