Founding places for holiness

These last days I’m visiting two wonderful countries – Georgia and Armenia – hoping that Christ would allow me to pray in some of their holy places. This will be a brief post. I just want to note how much it helps me to see these ancient monasteries, which have survived long centuries of wars, invasions and heresies. The Ottomans, the Persians, the Communist regime, a seemingly endless row of religious controversies and wars, destruction of their holy places and slaughter of their holy people: NOTHING stops God from fulfilling His saving work in the world.

St Nino came to Georgia in the 4th century and her relics are still there, in her monastery. St David Carejeli’s monastery in the terribly arid Iori mountain plateau is still standing, one thousand and five hundred years after the saint founded the community. And here I am, moaning and crying for the help of these holy founders, asking them to send me the people who would help me build a humble wooden monastic house for our nuns.

But this is not MY worry. This is God’s work, and He is reminding me these days that my bones will one day fall to the ground and they will be dust. I shall whiten the stones of a mountain somewhere, or melt into the sea – this is entirely irrelevant; His work will survive me.

This monastery is His work, as is everything in this world. I simply have to trust and wait.┬áIt is such an extraordinary feeling of freedom, of being lifted up above all my worries and my fears and my doubts. I am Christ’s creation, and I am endlessly grateful to Him for having loved me enough to bring me into being.

Everything else will follow at the right time – the right people, the right founders, they will all come. The construction of this monastery, its fall and its lifting up again, they will all take their course. None of these matters. I look at these walls, wounded by time and hatred, and I am filled with certainty and love: when God creates, His creation stands.

6 Thoughts.

  1. Dear Fr. Serafim,

    The work you are doing is holy work, and you have touched the lives of so many with your mission. I am certain that the people who are meant to build the Orthodox Monastery of All Celtic Saints are out there, with a mission in their hearts and a buzzing in their hands to put nail into board and build a house for your nuns. We just have to get everyone together, and God is doing that.

    In the meantime, please accept my simple, unworthy, and tearful prayers for you, for the nuns, for the island of Mull and for all of Scotland which shall feel the blessing of this monastery in its own bones. I wish I knew how to wield a hammer effectively….

    What a blessing for you to be able to see God’s promise in these monasteries! What an honor to be able to pray in these holy places! God is already blessing you and your work.

    Someday, I will come to Mull.

    I pray daily for your safety, for your mission, and for your fulfillment.

    Your servant in Christ,
    Tanya

    • This is so humbling, dear Tanya; I deserve none of the prayers so many people are lifting up for me. Once we have a place to accommodate you, you are always welcome to come and join us in prayer. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words.

  2. Father,

    As many times you have given a timely reminder that it is not us or our work which is important but God’s work, and that only when the Lord builds the house is our labor going to be effective.

    Phoebe

    • it is so easy to forget, dear Phoebe. For me, it is a real temptation, especially when things are moving too slow and I’m allowing myself to question and doubt God’s plans. Like any temptation, one falls many times before one learns to finally stand strong. Keep me in your prayers. You are in mine.

  3. Hristos A-nviat Fr. Serafim!
    Please forgive me for I could not resist the temptation to ask/encourage you to write a little more about and post more pictures of these mirific places. I have never heard of them and probably will never visit them, but through you they seem to speak to me too. Thank you very much. Marian

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