Now, this was a visit hard to forget!
As I’m preparing to leave to the States this January, His Eminence came for a private visit to Scotland. Thanks to Mother Cassiana (a wonderful nun living in a monastery in the Rocky Mountains) I managed to arrange a short, one-day pilgrimage for his Eminence. We went to Iona, then to Mull, to visit the monastery. It was a difficult day, because of the long drive and the adverse weather; we had ferry delays and cancellations, and were under the constant danger of being stuck on one island or another. And yet, thanks to Sts Columba, Ninian & Cuthbert (we really prayed that day!), we managed to get everywhere and to return his Eminence safely to Edinburgh.
His Eminence is such a joy to be around! He’s much older than I am (over twice the age!), but seems more energetic and optimistic than I’ve ever been. He is also extremely generous and gave me a list of advice regarding my fund-rainsing trip to the States, including the names of some fathers to contact once I get there.
At times, I’m amazed how ‘mathematical’ (to quote Fr Sophrony Sakharov) God is in His planning: a month before I leave to the States, one of the most respected OCA (Orthodox Church in America) Archbishops takes a trip to Scotland, and we end up spending a wonderful day together!
Many, many thanks are due to Fr Marcel and to Gabriel, for all the help they’ve given me with the arrangements of this one-day pilgrimage. Here are some photographs from our monastery:
And a few more photographs from Iona: