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christmas voyageJustine Anna has won the e-book and Maria Melniciuc has won the paperback! Justine, the e-book will be e-mailed to you, and Maria if you could send me your mailing address we’ll have the book out to you as soon as possible. Congratulations!

For all the non-winners I’m sure it will come as a great consolation to hear the book is still 20% off the regular price, so head on over to the website and snatch a copy up for Christmas!

Our dear friend Peter has graciously shared these beautiful videos of Elder Zacharias speaking at St. John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto in February, 2014. The theme is The Enlargement of the Heart. Enjoy.

Part 1

Part 2

christmas voyageIn anticipation of the Feast of the Nativity we at Lumination Press are offering two giveaways: a paperback and an e-book copy of Voyage to the Rock by Fr Matthew Penney.

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing young adult novel share the following link to the book’s website http://voyagetotherock.webs.com/ on any social media site and comment to let us know you’ve done so, or reblog this post on your personal weblog.

The winners will be selected and announced next Friday, November 28, so, check back to see if you’ve won!

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About Voyage to the Rock:

“To be like St. Herman of Alaska!” These words – only a family joke once, were now turning Martin’s world upside down. Catapulted from his ideal teenage existence in Boston to Newfoundland, Canada – a place affectionately called “The Rock” by its inhabitants, he doesn’t want anything to do with his father’s missionary dreams. Accompanied by his parents and his all-too-perky younger sister, a dismal summer of hard work and early mornings is all that awaits Martin. Or so he thinks…

But all that changes the day he finds a bronze cross at the site of the historic Viking settlement, L’Anse aux Meadows. A whole new world opens to Martin then, one of trans-Atlantic voyages, unanswered clues, suspicious antique-dealers, narrow escapes, mysterious deaths, and at the center of it all is an  ancient cross and a manuscript poem.

A burning question begins his search: Is the cross Viking, or could it be from the fabled voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator?

Now with the help of his sister, Brigid, and a local Newfoundland boy, Ashley, the three of them race to unlock the mystery of an ancient Christian treasure. But with the Old Wolf, Sullivan O’Connell hunting them, it isn’t just about treasure anymore… It’s about survival.

Check out the book’s website voyagetotherock.webs.com to separate the Fact from the Fiction!

Regular Prices:

Print:

$12.95 + sh&h (USD)

$13.85 + sh&h (CAD)

E-book:

$7.99 (USD)

nativity-iconAlso, we’re happy to announce Lumination Press’

CHRISTMAS SALE:

20% Discount on Print and E-book copies of VOYAGE TO THE ROCK

Order yours in time for the Nativity of our Lord!

So even if you don’t win a copy in this giveaway you can still get a copy – or two or three! – for yourself or your loved ones at 20% off! Whether your teen reads it stretched out on the couch or you read it aloud as a family in front of the fire, it makes a wonderful Christmas gift for the whole family!

I believe the overall importance of spiritual mothers should be spoken of more often. Hear what Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin has to say about the importance of a spiritual relationship with an abbess or elder nun in a convent:

(Source)

If a monastery lacks a spiritually-experience guide, if there is no opportunity to reveal one’s thoughts to a spiritual father on a daily basis, what is to be done? In particular, this is the situation in some women’s convents.

In my opinion, a spiritual father should be secondary in a convent—the abbess must be the one with whom a nun should share her thoughts. Or an abbess can appoint a senior nun to counsel the younger sisters. In any case, I think, it is better when a nun can talk to someone of the same sex, not to a man. A priest, a spiritual father is provided to take confession, which is somewhat different than revealing one’s innermost thoughts. Of course, an abbess can summon any spiritually-experienced person for the nuns to talk to. But such a person should display a great deal of tact and approach with caution so as not to interfere in the internal matters of the monastic community. In the Holy Land, two large convents are under my care. Of course, I do provide some counsel to the sisters, I hold discussions with them, but I always stress that at the end of the day, the abbess must rule. Unfortunately, in many monasteries they underestimate the importance of an abbess or elder nun.

(Source)

There once lived a woman of prayer and fasting. Externally she appeared pious, but [internally] she had great pride and thought herself a saint. She also had remembrance of wrongs; if she argued with someone not only would she not want forgive the other woman, she never even wanted to see her again.

At some point she became sick and she called for a spiritual father to come. But she did not confess thoroughly – this is something some nominal Christians have the habit of doing, they hide their big sins and only reveal the small ones.

In the end when the priest came with Holy Communion for her to commune, she turned her face toward the wall and wasn’t able to even look at the divine communion.

At the same time, with divine concession, she confessed in a loud voice: “Just as I from pride did not forgive those who trespassed against me, and abhorred [and turned away from] them, so now the Lord turns His face from me and refuses to enter my unworthy soul. I will not see Him in the Heavenly Kingdom, but I will burn in the eternal fire.”

And with this her soul departed.

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May God enlighten us all to forgive and love one another just as the Lord forgives and has compassion on us!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis Fall Fr. John and I had the great blessing of going on a little spiritual retreat to the wonderful monastery of the Mother of God the Consoler (Panagia Parigoritissa) in Brownsburg-Chatham, Quebec. While we were there my brother, Fr. Matthew, and his wife Presvytera Catherine, came over from Ontario so we could spend some quality family time in the peaceful and prayerful environment of the monastery. I wanted to share some photos of our pilgrimage with you, along with the history of the monastery and ask you to please consider donating to the monastery’s building fund.

The History of the Monastery (taken from the monastery’s website with minor edits):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Panagia Parigoritissa (the Most Holy Theotokos the Consoler) Greek Orthodox Monastery – the first Greek Orthodox monastery in Quebec – was founded in 1993, under the auspicious care of his Eminence, Metropolitan Sotirios, head of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto  (Canada).

Under the direction of their spiritual father, Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, two monastic women, Abbess Thekla and Sister Ephraimia, migrated from the ancient and historical Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner of Serres in central Macedonia to Canada. Once in Quebec they found themselves in particularly trying conditions. They were obliged to forego the age-old organized monastic life which flourishes in the mild Mediterranean climate of Greece, and destined to engage in an effort to establish a new type of settlement.

skete2An old farm once belonging to an English-speaking family was bought with the purpose of being converted into a monastery.  It was an extensive landscape comprising of 235 acres of dense forest set on a hill in the breath-taking Laurentians, 16 km northwest of Lachute in Brownsburg-Chatham.  Grass and bramble had grown over the property and the house was in ruins and in need of repair.  A surfeit of love, sacrifice and arduous labour on the part of the increasing number of sisters and kind volunteers was required in order to transform the area into a garden of our Most Holy Mother the Consoler, to whom the monastery is dedicated.

For a more complete history see here.

P:5-267 MonastèrePérimés5-267-A105-Périmé 19 déc.dwg A105.1 (1)

A beautiful sketch of the proposed expansion.

The Monastery’s Construction Project (also taken from the website, with minor edits):

Fr. Matthew showcasing a fantastic book (Abba Dorotheos' Practical Teachings on the Christian Life) in the monastery's lovely boutique.

Fr. Matthew showcasing a fantastic book (Abba Dorotheos’ Practical Teachings on the Christian Life) in the monastery’s lovely boutique.

In the Spring of 2009, the building project of a pavilion for the sisters’ needs began.  The building will house the 22 sisters who are now sharing 16 rooms in two different buildings, far apart from each other.  There will be an infirmary, workspaces, a kitchen and a dining room, an office, a library and two chapels to solely serve the needs of the nuns.  By accommodating the sisters, facilities will be available once again to receive pilgrims. For, aside from monastics’ objectives of spiritual ascent, prayer and constant contact with God, their goal and ongoing endeavor is to provide a place of reprieve for the weary souls of pilgrims.  Thus, beyond serving the day to day needs of the sisters, the expansion of the monastery will also provide much needed guest houses and reception space for pilgrims and people in need.

The monastery's beautiful courtyard.

The monastery’s beautiful courtyard.

And so, financial aid is needed for the continuance and completion of the project.  One can offer money, expertise, material, equipment or anything that could be of help in the project.  According to the Church Fathers by offering alms to monasteries we relieve the monastics slightly from their material burden, allowing them more time for prayer and spiritual work.  In this way, the monastics pray for their benefactors and everyone benefits from their prayers.

You can offer a donation by credit card or by sending a check or money order to the address below. Donations can be made in whole amounts or monthly payments over a certain period of time.  If you wish to help in other ways please contact the sisters of the monastery.

“Blessed are the merciful for they shall find mercy.” (Mt 5:7) Give and you will receive God’s blessings.  You will be counted worthy of His grace and you will be eternally commemorated in the monastery’s Divine Liturgy: “For the builders of this holy monastery let us pray to the Lord…  Lord have mercy”, (from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom).

under construction

The current state of the building’s construction.

Monastere Vierge Marie la Consolatrice
827 ch. de la Carriere
Brownsburg-Chatham, QC
J8G 1K7

Tel: 450-533-4313/ 450-533-1170
Fax: 450-533-1169/ 450-533-6234

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To the far right you can see the building under construction. Next to that is the icon of the Mother of God which is located just above the entrance to the monastery’s chapel.

If you wish to see photos of the building project go here.

Please share information about the monastery’s building project with as many people as you can!

May the Mother of God be with us all!

Here Fr. John is laughing about how one of the ponies just started eating Pres. Catherine's shirt.

Fr. John is laughing about how one of the monastery’s ponies just about chewed off the bottom of Pres. Catherine’s skirt.

My mum was the one who directed me to this video, telling me it’s amazing. She’s right. It is amazing. Enjoy!

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