Summer 2001

In This Issue
Volume 6, Number 2
The Official Publication of the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church in America
Diocese of the West 650 Micheltorena Street Los Angeles, CA 90026 From His Grace...................................................................................1 Raphael House in San Francisco: Thirty Years of Serving the Community............................................2 Consecration of St. Seraphim in Santa Rosa...................................4 St. Innocent Hosts Nun from Guatemala.........................................5 Old Meets New in Reno.....................................................................5 Publisher His Grace Bishop TIKHON Bishop of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West 650 Micheltorena Street Los Angeles, CA 90026-3612 Phone: (323)666-4977 Fax: (323)913-0316 Address all stories, editorial comments and circulation to: Editor-in-Chief Priest Eric George Tosi 5400 Annie Oakley Drive Las Vegas, NV 89120 Phone: (702)898-4800 Fax: (702)898-0303 Email: St. Panteleimon: A Healing Story.....................................................6 News Around the Diocese..................................................................7 Book Review: Elder Cleopa...............................................................8 Clergy Wives Gather for Retreat........................................................9 Southwest Deanery Holds Summer Camp......................................10 Diocesan Teen Weekend Planned....................................................12 From the Fathers: Fr. Alexander Men on Christianity.................................................13

The Orthodox Vision is published three times a year by the Diocese of the West. It is free to all parish members and outreach within the Diocese. Subscriptions outside the Diocese is available for $10 per year in the United States and $15 per year in Canada. The articles contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Diocese or the editors. The advertisements contained herein are not necessarily endorsed by the Diocese or Editorial Staff.

Editor’s Note: There were some letters to the editor on grammatical errors in the last issue, specifically in the reprint of the diary of Fr. Alexander Kukulevsky. It is common editorial practice to reprint diaries and quotes exactly as given, errors and all. This allows the exact context of the passage to be read and maintains the historical integrity of the text.

For the latest information on the Diocese of the West Information on all parishes, institutions and departments Archived issues of The Orthodox Vision Complete letters of instruction from His Grace And much, much more

The Orthodox Vision

From His Grace Bishop TIKHON
Renovation, Renewal, Reform, Restoration
The holy Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together until now.” (Rom. VII:22). This verse always comes to my mind at the consecration of a new Orthodox Church. Recently we consecrated a new temple named after St. Seraphim of Sarov in Santa Rosa, California, a little over an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, where Father Lawrence Margitich is the Rector and his father, Father Michael Margitich the Rector Emeritus. Once again, that verse about the suffering of creation until the coming of Christ was in my thoughts. The consecration of a Church is called, in the language of the services themselves, a renewal, a renovation, or even a restoration. It means that just as there is salvation or damnation for us mortals, just as there are the Redeemed and the damned among us, an old Adam and a New Adam, an old Man and a new Man, the same prospects and hopes may be part of the course of life for every part of creation, not only men, but trees, streams, animals, flowers, even minerals! The pieces of wood that have been consecrated into a Holy Altar table during the consecration of a Church are different from the wood of a tree in the forest, different from the wood used in a cocktail bar. The minerals that are mixed into the tempera in order to provide coloring for our Holy Icons are different from the minerals that lie unmined or used for the decoration of the vain or even “put to good use,” for the wood, the minerals in the pigment of the icons, the flower of the cotton plants that went into the making of the white cloth that was wrapped around the Altar Table…in short, every item that went into what some people call (often with a misleading sense of disparagement) “a man-made Church”, is different, is made anew, from what it was: it is renewed, renovated, restored. Everything in the service of consecration, or, rather, renewal, points out and underlines this transformation. Many of the accoutrements of a man’s Baptism are employed in the consecration, or, rather, renewal of created material into a Church, and rightly so: a pure white garment, like a Baptismal Stikharion, is wrapped around as an undercloth, the Altar Table and the table itself has been blessed with Holy Water, washed, bathed in wine and water, censed. But to me, like most human beings, affected most powerfully by language that is one of the main qualities that differentiates us from the rest of the animal world, the very prayers of the service make plain in the most vivid way this renewal. These prayers make it very plain why those well-meaning, perhaps sentimental, persons that excuse themselves from prayer and worship with the Body of the Church in a consecrated temple in order to “pray in God’s creation” by the seaside or on a mountaintop or in the woods, are on the wrong track, so to speak. Much of the service takes place within the closed Altar: in fact, in earlier times, the part of the service where the people were first allowed to participate was only at the time of the procession bearing the relics from an already consecrated, or, rather, renewed Church to the new One. But even in that first part of the service, the Holy Doors are opened, and the Bishop comes out and kneels on a rug and cushion before them, and prays in a very loud voice in the hearing of all, so that all may participate in that prayer, that the Church being consecrated and the Altar in It would be filled with “everlasting Light, made into the habitation of God’s own Glory, and that God’s eyes would be “open on it day and night”, that it would be “preserved unto to the end of time”, and that the holy Altar table would be glorified “above the Mercy Seat of the Law,” and, finally, that the sacred actions performed on that Altar would ascend to God’s “holy, super-celestial and no¸tic Altar, whereupon the Grace of God’s own “over-shadowing” (Heb. Shekinah) would be brought down upon us. Sometimes the phrase “awe-inspiring” is over used. It seems to me that when an entire Community, an entire Orthodox Church, the Faithful and their Bishop, are gathered together and making supplication to the Holy Trinity in full consciousness, fervor, hope, love and Faith, the content of such prayers is truly ‘awe-inspiring.’ Let’s all give thanks that another part of Creation has left off its groaning and travailing “together with us until now,” and has been blessed by God’s Grace to participate in His work, His Renewal of His Own Creation. Let’s give thanks that another place on this planet has become HOLY. And let’s give thanks that we are members of Christ’s Church Whose characteristic is Holiness! In our time, many of the so-called “faith-communities” that can only aspire to the Church, even those that may confess our Creed in an altered form, have lost all sense of the word “Holy” in the phrase, “in one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church,” so that it means for them perhaps only “religious” or “ethical”, if it is thought at all. We deserve nothing of what God has given us, but He has given us Everything! And not only to us!

+TIKHON Bishop of San Francisco and the West 1

The Orthodox Vision

Raphael House in San Francisco: Thirty Years of Serving the Community
By Priest David Lowell
There are two Raphael Houses in the Diocese of the West — the Raphael House of Portland that serves victims of domestic violence, and the Raphael House of San Francisco which serves homeless families. San Francisco’s First Shelter for Families This year, the Raphael House of San Francisco is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. Our shelter has 17 bedrooms for homeless families. Our AfterCare program serves 788 former residents who are now successfully housed, but are still very much struggling to make ends meet. I live here with my wife Elaine, and our two children, Victoria (11) and Gregory (13). Another dozen Orthodox staff live here as well, and it makes a huge difference. We have a little Chapel. When we are “off duty”, we still go to the kitchen for coffee and join in at meals and celebrations. It all adds up to something very important — a continuous, stable presence in the household that keeps Raphael House safe, orderly and peaceful. We invite homeless families to live with us for a time, generally about six months. They eat dinner with us in our dining rooms; they join in the daily chores; and we have a very organized program of activities that keeps everyone active — and most especially the children! Elaine, I and some of our older staff were mentored by Ella Rigney who re-organized Raphael House in 1977 and expanded its services. Mrs. Rigney brought a lifetime of organizational experience to Raphael House. She created the American Cancer Society’s education and fundraising campaigns, starting in 1927 and continuing into the 1950’s. In the late 1960’s, she served in Vista (the domestic Peace Corps) which led to her meeting Raphael House in 1971. It was her sensibility which built Raphael House into the kind of shelter she would be willing to live in herself, and live here she did - for more that 15 years. Ella Rigney was nearly 100 years old when she died here peacefully in 1992. The programs which we have been expanding since her repose (Follow-up services, Day Care training, and our future planning for a larger Raphael House Village) are all ideas which she championed. Deacon Mark Story, who is now the Executive Director of the Portland Raphael House, was the Director here in the late 1980’s. He and his wife, Anne, share the same experience as Elaine and I and many others who were lastingly touched by Ella Rigney’s integrity, commitment, and vision. Although the Portland and San Francisco Raphael Houses are organizationally independent of one another, they share a common origin: they were both started by the volunteer labors of the members of Christ the Savior Brotherhood, prior to our entry into the Orthodox Church. In 1991, Christ the Savior Brotherhood asked Raphael House of San Francisco to incorporate separately and recruit a Board of Trustees from the local community. As you might imagine, most of our trustees, donors and families are not Orthodox, and only about half of


The Orthodox Vision
our 40 member paid staff are Orthodox Christians. We place no religious obligations on any of the families who stay with us. They are welcome to attend services in the Chapel, but never required. Our cooks prepare both fasting and non-fasting meals throughout the year so that everyone’s needs are met at every meal. For those of us who live here year in and year out, the Chapel is the peaceful center of our household. We gather for prayer and a midweek liturgy in addition to our responsibilities in our local parish. His Grace Bishop TIKHON visited a number of years ago, and last Fall I was ordained by His Grace. I am attached to Holy Trinity Cathedral — only a few blocks away — and serve there regularly under the pastoral leadership of the Rector, Archpriest Victor Sokolov. The Chapel community at Raphael House is (since November, 2000) a metochian of Holy Trinity Cathedral. Many of our live-in staff are also members of the parish at Holy Trinity, but not all. Staff from other Orthodox jurisdictions usually attend their own local parishes on Sundays. Raphael House, as an agency, in not a substitute for the Church, even though the life of the Church is visible in Raphael House. We have several native Russians who attend the Moscow Patriarchate Church; we also have an erstwhile Serbian and one Antiochian. In past years, we have had Greek Orthodox staff as well. Who Do We Serve? Raphael House of San Francisco serves families. Eighty-six percent of the families we serve are headed by single parent mothers. In most cases, the fathers of these families have abandoned all responsibility for caring for the children. Some were married. Some were not. Nearly a third of the families have case histories with Child Protective Services. Substance abuse is a background factor in about a third of the families — either in the case of the now absent father or with the mother as well. Domestic violence is a factor in about 25% of the families who stay with us. And, of course, all of them are poor. By the time they come to Raphael House they have usually exhausted whatever hospitality may have been available through members of their own families. Raphael House is a clean and sober program. Parents with substance abuse issues must be in an outpatient treatment program. Fortunately, we have plenty of such treatment programs in San Francisco. No mother is deprived of this help if she is willing to accept it. And if a mother goes back to drugs? The family is asked to leave. You can imagine how hard this is all the way around. Hard, yes, but worth it. Some of our most rewarding successes have been with mothers who finally stayed in their treatment program as a condition for being received back into Raphael House. During the past two years we had 66 unduplicated families stay at Raphael House. Of these 66 families, 46 families moved into a stable living environment which means their own house or apartment (33 families), a shared rental (7 families) or a long term transitional program (6 families). Over the years, we have seen a statistical correlation between active participation in our adult education programs and a family’s ability to find and hold onto housing after leaving Raphael House. Ninety-five percent of the families who participate in our AfterCare program have remained stably housed. What about those families who don’t have stable outcomes? What happens to them? Sometimes we don’t know, but usually they reappear in other shelters. Returning to alcohol or drug use is a fairly common occurrence among a minority of our families. Mental health issues are also a factor. Although Raphael House was created to keep families together in times of crisis, interventions are sometimes necessary (and mandated by law) which result in children going into foster care. Two examples: a mother abandons her children at Raphael House and disappears into a transient hotel world of crack cocaine. The children must go into foster care, and the decision (by law) must be timely. Another case: a mother is in serious depression, neglecting her new born infant. After talking with her and seeing no change, we take her to a psychiatric emergency room where she is admitted immediately. Later on she tells us she might have thrown the baby away and thanks us for taking her to the hospital. So, what is it like to live and work at Raphael House? Stressful? Intense? Overwhelming? Sometimes. But most of the time our work is actually a lot of fun. We look forward to each new day. Approximately 2/3 of the population we serve are children and this is what keeps the shelter upbeat. Instead of having television, we provide art activities, outings, supervised play and special events for the children, as well as tutoring and educational support. These children have their whole lives ahead of them, and this helps us to be creative in the present moment and in planning for the future. Cont. on p. 10


The Orthodox Vision
the services, and between Saturday’s Consecration and Liturgy. There was the deep, protracted resonance of Protodeacon Vsevolod Borzakovsky of Washington, DC. Fr. David Brum, Secretary to Metropolitan THEODOSIUS and Ecclesiarch for the OCA, made sure the services progressed in an organized manner. OCA Chancellor, Fr. Robert Kondratick, provided invaluable help behind the scenes, as he and a local parishioner, Reader John Vandeventer, made sure the various ecclesiastical accoutrements were prepared and available as required. Reader Vandeventer was one of two parishioners with particular reason to celebrate as the altar was given its final assembly amid considerable loud banging (a truely joyful noise unto the Lord). The wine used in finishing the altar was a bottle of his homemade

St. Seraphim in Santa Rosa is Consecrated By Paul Burch
“Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.” With these traditional words on Friday evening, July 27, Fr. Lawrence Margitich, Rector at St. Seraphim Church in Santa Rosa, California, introduced the reading of the Ninth Hour and Vespers, touching off a weekend that those present will never forget. It was the Consecration Weekend at St. Seraphim Orthodox Church, the new temple on the grounds of Protection of the Holy Virgin Parish. Many of those present had never before participated in such an event. Before things got back to normal with Vespers on Saturday evening, and Divine Liturgy on Sunday, they had experienced something almost beyond description. Following Fr. Lawrence’s sonorous call to worship, the weekend produced highlights almost too numerous to mention. By the end of the actual Consecration Service and Divine Liturgy on Saturday, many things were etched into the minds of those attending. There were glorious antiphonal responses from choirs on both sides of the church. Singers from other Orthodox communities augmented the St. Seraphim choir directed by Macrina Lewis. Most notably, a choir from Ben Lomond, led by Alice Hughes. There were, of course, the dulcet benedictions of His Grace, Bishop TIKHON, both during wine. It was, in fact, the first bottle of the first vintage from a small vineyard on the church property that Reader Vandeventer planted three years ago and now tends. The altar itself was built, and prepared for final assembly, by Serge Anderson, also a parishioner and a former chairman of the parish council. All told, 16 priests, two deacons, and three sub-deacons served at the altar with Bishop TIKHON. At least another dozen priests from several jurisdictions were in attendance. After communion, there was a catered luncheon sponsored by the St. Seraphim Sisterhood. This celebration lasted until Saturday evening, when it was time for Vespers. Eventually Vespers ended in a cacophony of borrowed bells, a set brought in for the occasion from St. Nicholas Church in San Anselmo, and rung throughout the weekend. Finally, everyone headed for home with a profound sense that something rare, remarkable, and profoundly sacred, had taken place that day. Holy St. Seraphim, pray to God for us!


The Orthodox Vision

St. Innocent Mission Welcomes Nun from Guatemala
On May 20, 2001 (the Sunday of the Blind Man), St. Innocent of Alaska Orthodox Mission in Fremont, California, was privileged to welcome Mother Maria (and friends) from the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orthodox Orphanage in Guatemala. The Hogar Rafael Ayau is an orphanage in Guatemala City that houses an average of 150 children at any time. Some children are in the process of being adopted, others have been abandoned on the streets and are waiting to see if they will be reclaimed by their families. The youngest child ever to be placed in the Hogar was one day old. The oldest children are elementary age girls up to 12 years. The Hogar is run by 5 Orthodox nuns, including Mother Maria and her superior Mother Ines, who live at the Monasterio Ortodoxo Lavra Mambre in Guatemala. The orphanage was founded by Rafael Ayau, the great-great-grandfather of Mother Ines in 1857, and was the first home for abandoned children in the area. Because Guatemala is a very poor country, the orphanage continuously receives babies and children brought to its doors—as soon as one child is adopted, another takes the place. Mother Maria and Mother Ines are doing their best to find real family homes for adoptable children, and to provide a loving Orthodox Christian home at the orphanage for the other poor children. Mother Maria told us a moving story about one little girl who is in the process of being adopted by a Greek Orthodox family. This little girl already speaks Maya and Spanish, she has been learning English at the orphanage, and now she is learning Greek as well. When she talks to the family who is in the process of adopting her, she runs out of Greek things to say after a little while, but she doesn’t want to hang up the phone so she sings “Khristos Anesti”—Christ is Risen!, as long as she is able. The parishioners of St. Innocent of Alaska Orthodox Mission in Fremont, California were grateful for the opportunity they had to listen to Mother Maria and to learn about the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orthodox Orphanage in Guatemala. For more information about the orphanage and about the Orthodox Church in Guatemala, look at or contact Hogar Rafael Ayau Orphanage, Section 2619 GUA, P.O. Box 02-5339, Miami, FL 33102-5339; telephone 502-232-8916

Old Meets New
By Priest Hilarion Frakes
On Sunday July 9/22 we were blessed to have visit our mission of St. John of Kronstadt in Reno, Nevada, Fr. John Dunlop, his wife Matushka Beth and son John from Kodiak, Alaska, and with them Fr. John’s mother Olga from the San Francisco Bay area. Fr. John is the priest-in-charge at Holy Resurrection Church on Kodiak. Fr.John and his family were vacationing at nearby Lake Tahoe, and at Bishop NIKOLAI’s suggestion, Fr. John gave me a call indicating that he and his family would like to visit us. I asked him if he would like to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy on the upcoming Sunday of their visit and he thought it would be a wonderful thing. It was indeed glorious serving together in our humble little “home chapel.” Our mission has begun to grow so it is truly wonderful to have these opportunities to bring the many dimensions of Orthodoxy to the faithful in the Reno area. We followed the Liturgy with a simple agape meal and had a chance to visit a bit when Fr. John’s mother noted that here was the oldest Orthodox mission in America (Kodiak, founded in 1794) serving and celebrating with one of the newest (Reno, founded in 2000). Both missions were founded on the spirit and foundation of taking the Gospel to the “ends of the earth.” God pours His grace upon blessed gatherings such as these, and it is with such that we Orthodox Christians increase and are woven more surely together in love and unity of true brotherhood, friendship, and family in our Lord’s vineyard. Glory to God for all Things!


The Orthodox Vision

St. Panteleimon: A Healing Story For Today
By Jonathan D. Lewis
Recently I have had to deal with doctors and physicians of all kinds. Twins born two and a half months early, by the grace of God and the hard work of many who cared for them, are beautiful. The firstborn twin, Theophan, had an interventricular hemorrhage at birth. This caused the flow of ventricular fluid to malfunction, resulting in hydrocephelas. Not too many years ago this condition would have resulted in enormous enlargement of his head, severe pain, and early death. Now they can put a tube into the ventricles of the brain and shunt the excess fluid to another part of his body. I am in awe of the neorosurgeon’s bravery and skill in dealing with this great mystery. This great mystery. Walking down his usual route from school to home one day, came a young medical student. He was the brightest and most talented of his generation. Beautiful to look upon. Graceful in conversation. As for bedside manner, they would have called him an angel. He was studying under the greatest physician in the Roman world, who told him that if he studied well there would be no illness he could not cure. The emperor himself had already singled out this young man to be his personal doctor, even before he had finished his education. This road was in the city of Nicomedia, during the time of the persecutions of Maximianos, and it passed by the house of an elderly priest, Fr. Ermolaos. The priest had been watching this young man for some time, and this day he invited him in to ask him about his faith. The young man’s father was a pagan, but his mother had taught him about Christ before her death, when he was still young. Although he liked Christianity best, he knew little about it and had been forced by his father to worship the idols and to devote himself entirely to the dream of curing all illness through his medical education. Fr. Ermolaos told him, “The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true God. If you believe in Him, you will be able, through His grace, to cure all kinds of illnesses without medicine or herbs. Jesus cleansed lepers, gave sight to the blind, freed persons from evil spirits, and raised the dead as well. You, too, can do all that and much more if you believe in Him with all your heart.” The young man learned what he could of Christianity from Fr. Ermolaos that day, and went his way. One day, again on the road home from school, he came upon a boy who had been fatally wounded by the bite of a snake. He thought that if Christ were to hear his prayer, raise this boy from the dead, and kill the snake, then he would need no more proof about Christ; he would become a Christian. He knelt next to the boy and prayed with tears. The boy got up and the snake fell over dead. Our young friend gave thanks to God and ran to the old priest to be baptized. Because the twins, and especially young Theophan, were doing so well, I forgot about gratitude. When a surgeon operates, the pain is temporary and the cutting with the knife is in order to heal. When God has some surgery to perform on my sinfulness, it is never comfortable. It is especially difficult when the cutting takes place through my children’s pain. In November, Theophan had a seizure that left him temporarily paralyzed on one side of his body. The doctors could not figure out why. Some doctors wanted to put him on seizure medicine. His neurosurgeon felt that it was due to shunt failure and operated, clearing the tubing in his ventricles. Two weeks later he had another seizure. Three weeks more and he had another, even more severe. Then came EEGs, shuntogrammes, nuclear medicine, and two more neurosurgical shunt revisions - all in a painfully slow and seemingly un- “scientific” process. Theophan rode the CAT scan machine as routinely, and excitedly, as many three year olds ride the pony outside the grocery store. Portland, where Addison’s hospital is, has many wonderful, God-fearing priests. Two of them in particular are very dear to our family; they come whenever we are at the hospital to chat with the children and pray for our little patient. He loves them. The nurses all talk of the “men in black” that accompany his crib to the surgical waiting room. Before this last surgery, we asked one of these priests if he could think of an icon that might be appropriate to give to our neurosurgeon. He suggested a saint we had not yet met: St. Panteleimon, holy unmercenary physician of the late third century. We bought a book and two icons. And we are very excited to have a new saint in our home. Our young medical student and new convert, Panteleimon, stayed with the aged priest for a week to learn the mysteries of the faith. He then returned to his father and quietly saw to the conversion of his father’s soul, by the grace of God. It became well known that this young man was a skilled physician and even those whom all the other doctors had failed to cure, Panteleimon would cure in the name of Christ. He sold all of his possessions and would care for, and heal, all who asked, for no money. Many were converted to the faith. The other physicians in the city became jealous of Panteleimon’s


The Orthodox Vision
success and popularity with the people. They plotted to betray him to the emperor. They were successful. Panteleimon bore witness to Christ, enduring many tortures. He was saved from scourgings, boiling tar, the wild beasts, and even the sword. Many were converted to Christ by his acts of bravery and the power of God. He was finally put to death tied to an olive tree, with milk running from his wound. The tree bloomed and bore fruit instantly. The icon we gave to Theophan’s neurosurgeon shows young Panteleimon holding a scalpel in one hand and a box of herbs in the other. The scalpel has a cross on one end of it. This neurosurgeon was very pleased and has spoken of it since. Theophan took the other icon to church so that it could be blessed. He was very anxious during Liturgy, and as soon as the service was over he asked for his icon back and thanked Fr. Stephen for “splashing” it. St. Panteleimon now has a special place in our bright corner and a very special place in our hearts. To the glory of God and by the prayers of St. Panteleimon and the hard work of many doctors, Theophan is doing very well. He prays and chants prayers and Psalms to God, swinging his little censer, many times during the day. He struggles with his temper by making the sign of the cross. And whenever anyone is not feeling well, he will call for a special icon to be brought down from the wall so that he might bless them with the venerable image of his most holy St. Panteleimon. In a world of doubt and lack of faith, I stand as the chief among sinners. Every day I turn my heart from God and put my faith in the answers and pleasures of this world. Most holy Panteleimon, pray to God for me that I might share the faith you bore witness to, in the eternal healing power of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jonathan Lewis is an extension student at St. Tikhon’s Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania and a member of St. Anne’s Mission in Albany, Oregon.

News Around the Diocese
June 1 - Priest Eric G. Tosi is assigned and appointed rector of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Las Vegas, NV Priest Joseph O’Brien is assigned and appointed rector of St. Nicholas of South Canaan Church in Billings, MT & priest-incharge of Helena Mission Priest Peter Tobias is assigned and appointed rector of St. Anthony the Great Mission in Bozeman, MT July 4 - Fort Ross pilgramage and celebration July 27 - St. Seraphim Church in Santa Rosa, CA consecrated August 3 - Archpriest Basil Rhodes appointed Dean of the Pacific Central Deanery September 15 - 25th Anniversary & Feast Day forElevation of Cross in Sacramento, CA September 22 - 25th Anniversary & Blessing of the new Iconostasis at St. John of Damascus Church in Poway, CA October 10-12 - Diocesan Assembly in San Francisco, CA October 13-14 - Retreat with Bishop KALLISTOS at St. Paul’s in Las Vegas, NV October 27-28 - Diocesan Teen Weekend at St. Paul’s in Las Vegas, NV November 9-10 - 50th Anniversary Celebration at Sts Peter & Paul Church in Phoenix, AZ

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The Orthodox Vision

Elder Cleopa of Girastria: In the Tradition of Saint Paisius Velichkovsky
Reviewed By Priest Daniel Jones
I remember, nearly twenty years back, a friend called and told me of a new book that had been published about a recent Saint of our times. At the time I was very busy, the times were hectic, and I thought with skepticism, “Oh great, another life of a Saint to read, that is just what I need!” A few years later I looked back and realized genuinely, yes, that was just what I needed. That life of “another saint to read,” was in a small way a salivific intrusion into my busy world. Just what was needed. - I can think of no better way to introduce this book: Elder Cleopa of Girastria. Another Saint to read. Just what is needed! An intrusion into the busy world we mostly live in. Better described: an-introduction, a little journey into that other heavenly world we all so much desire. The book contains an informative Preface by the translator, Mother Cassiana, who makes the historical and spiritual connection between Saint Paisius Velichkovsky and our present day Father Cleopa. There is an eloquent foreword by Father Roman Braga that paints the historical and modern day picture of Romania in which we meet Father Cleopa as spiritual father. The main body of the book is a translation of the life of Elder Cleopa from the Romanian edition by Father loanichie Balan with much additional information included from Father Cleopa’s teachings and from the personal experience of the translator who met Father Cleopa and received Father Ioanichie’s blessing for the work of translation into English. The text covers the span of life of Elder Cleopa from 1912 to 1998. There are beautiful sketches of his early chi1dhood wherein one

sees the Orthodox worldview that shaped him into the holy elder he became. His early years certainly portray startling asceticism, not monastic, simply the asceticism of everyday life in Romania. The picture of those years conveyed, even in their austerity, is joyfully expressed and uplifting. There follows his introduction into the monastic life and his subsequent “education” that he received while living in the mountainous woods and meadows while tending the sheep. One might be reminded of Saint Anthony the Great or other holy fathers who while never having a formal education were taught directly by the Holy Spirit. Father Cleopa was remarkably well-read and experienced in the Orthodox tradition and in secular disciplines. He was astonishingly knowledgeable about earthly and heavenly mysteries. The life continues with his surprising recognition and election as Abbot of a great historic monastery, years of solitude, and his growth and service as a renowned spiritual father. Following are the subsequent years wherein he is instrumental in rebuilding and strengthening the spiritual life of Romania through the last difficult years of communism and finally its fall and the influx of the modern world into Romania. And then his repose in the Lord. I especially liked the way the book conveyed the spiritual teaching of Father Cleopa, his counsels, not as something separate from his life but intertwined in his daily activities and duties. The content and the easy flowing translation contribute to a sense to what in America might be called meeting “just folks” But while meeting “just folks, we in fact meet a holy elder, great spiritual father, a simple shepherd, yet a master of Orthodox spiritual teaching. It is compelling in its simplicity. It is an encounter with a person who lives Christ, follows Christ in the hardship and reality of day to day life. One meets a Christ-like figure. Not that direct comparisons can be made but in that respect the book Father Arseny comes to mind, and there are other books too that somehow convey not only profound Orthodox Christian teaching, but “life more abundant.” It cheers you up to read it. Do not think that because Father Cleopa was a monastic father the book is best left for monks and nuns to read. To paraphrase the introduction to the book, the life and teachings of Father Cleopa amply spills over to people in the world who are just living. His life and words of wisdom address some of the most contemporary questions, even problems, that face Christians individually and the Church at large. But in an unimposing manner. It is easy to understand, clear to read and encouraging. It has been said that the Saints are the keys to our theology, they are Orthodox theology in action, theology in life, incarnate. In that sense this book is alive. Another life of a saint to read? Yes, and it is just what is needed. The door to heaven has been left ajar if anyone is interested.

2001 Diocesan Assembly
To be held October 10-12 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in San Francisco. This year’s guest speaker will be Bishop KALLISTOS (Ware)

Detailed information has been sent to each parish or can be found at the Diocesan Website

For more information on the Assembly call the Diocesan Office at (323)666-4977

The book may be ordered directly from the Publisher: The Holy-Protection Monastery for $19.95 plus $2.50 for postage and handling, P.O. Box 416, Lake George, Colorado, 80827.

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Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery Releases Catalog t t t t t t To recieve the catalog call Icons (719)748-3999 Hand-made Rugs or write Worship Items Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery Prayer Ropes 2343 County Road 403 Cds P.O. Box 416 Books and more Books Lake George, CO 80827 See Our New Items!

Clergy Wives Gather for Retreat at Life-Giving Spring Center
During the days of May 17th through 20th, sixteen Matushki from throughout the Diocese of the West gathered at The Life Giving Spring Retreat Center in Boulder City, Nevada for their annual retreat. This year’s topic was “Myrrh Bearing Women: An Orthodox Perspective on Death and Dying”. The speakers were Mother Gabriella, Abbess of the Holy Dormition Monastery and Ruxy Sheldon, from Rives Junction, Michigan. The retreat began on Thursday, which was scheduled as a free day to arrive, sightsee, and spend time catching up on each other’s news. On Friday, Ruxy Sheldon shared her personal experience of dealing with her husband, Donald’s cancer diagnosis and his death. She explained the importance of making Orthodox choices about life sustaining treatment in accordance with the teachings of the Church; the importance of having a Living Will, a Durable Power of Attor-

ney and Advanced Directives; the need to be aware of patient’s rights; and what to expect from doctors, hospital staff and others in the medical field during stressful and confusing medical situations. Mother Gabriella presented the spiritual aspect of death and dying. She stressed that life on earth is merely our preparation for eternity. In the Orthodox Church, death and dying is presented in its iconography, hymnography and the writings of the Holy Fathers. Saturday included a brief wrap-up session followed by a wonderful gourmet lunch, courtesy of Chef Eric (Subdeacon Euphrosynos) Patterson. Saturday concluded with Vigil and Confession at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Las Vegas. Retreat participants joined St. Paul’s for Sunday Divine Liturgy and departed following brunch and good-byes. Retreat coordinators were Matushki Julia Erickson, Ann O’Brien and Makrina Patterson. The Matushka Retreat for 2002 has been scheduled for May 16, 17, 18 & 19 at The Life Giving Spring Retreat Center. Coordinators for the upcoming retreat are Matushki Susanne Senyo, Debra Spainhoward, Deborah Tomasi and Judy Waisanen.

Bishop KALLISTOS (Ware) will be leading a two day retreat at St. Paul’s Orthodox Church in Las Vegas on October 13 to 14.

“Confession and Communion”
Cost is $25 Call (702)898-4800 for more details


The Orthodox Vision Raphael House
cont. from p. 5 Over the years we’ve kept in contact with families and watched the children grow to adulthood. Three of our current staff stayed at Raphael House when they were children. Last Spring, we held a high school graduation party for a girl who stayed here when she was three years old. She and her mother have been volunteers ever since. She has always been a wonderful artist and will be going to college this Fall at the Rhode Island School of Design. Another family we see regularly stayed here five years ago. We asked the mother, Rozelle, to leave because she dropped out of her drug treatment program, but Peter Wright, our Program Director, told her firmly that if she called him every day until she was able to get back into her program we might take her back. She did, and Rozelle went on to become a successful peer counselor here and in another program where she is now working. Last year we had a single parent father taking care of his three year PACIFIC SOUTHWEST DEANERY SUMMER CAMP 2001 Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral and the Pacific Southwest Deanery of the Diocese of the West sponsored the annual Summer Camp at Camp Edwards in the San Bernardino National Forest from July 22 to July 27, 2000. This year, there were over seventy campers and staff in attendance. Owned and operated by the Redlands YMCA, the camp is located about a quarter mile from Jenks Lake, which has facilities for canoeing, swimming, and fishing. The YMCA staff provided our group with its expert help in archery, hiking, nature walks, wall climbing, rappelling, trail-biking and swimming, as well as wonderful meals. Our own staff served as counselors and cabin leaders, who coordinated special evening activities including a carnival and a Mexican Fiesta dance. Being a church camp, there were divine services and religious instruction within the regular program. Morning prayers, vespers and evening prayers were served each day. The Divine Liturgy was served on Tuesday in celebration of the Feast of Ss. Boris and Gleb. Archpriest Michael Senyo served as Camp Director. Priest Paul Waisanen served as our instructor in the Religious Education sessions, once more doing an outstanding job. Additional assistance was provided by Seminarian Nicholas Finley, an intern from the OCA Department of Youth. Hundreds of hours of administrative support were provided by Matushka Susanne Senyo, secretary, at Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral. Many campers are provided with financial aid from their home parishes. Major financial support for our camp is provided by Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral; the Cathedral Sisterhood and “O” Club; and the Russian Children’s Welfare Society. Next year’s camp will, once again, be held at Camp Edwards. 2002 camp dates will be announced in the Fall. I once stayed at the house probably about 22 years ago. I was about 4 or 5 years old then and lived there with my father and sister for a short period of time. It was a time of crisis for us because my father was unemployed and recently divorced from our mother. Supporting two young children was very difficult, if not, impossible for him. I really can’t recall too much now at 27 years old; however, I did remember the name of the house, the good food I ate - my first meal was a tuna sandwich, and especially celebrating my 5th birthday there. Even though it was a very simple little celebration, I remember receiving a birthday cake, a couple of toys, and having some of the other children who lived at the house celebrate this occasion. In addition, I remember going to the beach, the park and playing baseball. It was a lot of fun especially for such a young child who didn’t have very much to start with. But the small things in life like those are very important to children especially during critical stages of development. Inevitably, our stay was short lived and we finally moved on. After many years since this childhood experience, I still remember the wonderful staff that accommodated us. Unfortunately, my dad passed away 2 years ago from pancreatic cancer so we couldn’t make a family visit like we someday had planned to. My sister and I ended up graduating from high school in California. She is now part of the management staff in a hotel in Hawaii and is moving to New York shortly. I myself will be graduating for the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine in the fall. Unfortunately, I can’t make a donation at this time but promised myself to help out in any way after my educational endeavors. Once again, thank you for your hospitality through our family’s difficult time. Many former residents from fifteen and twenty years back have come by for a visit. One mother wanted to show her grown daughold son, and doing it well, as far as I could tell. Marcus was working full time. We had his boy in Day Care; they were always on time for dinner; the little boy seemed happy and clean. Marcus was working hard, but you could see fear in his eyes. How was he going to do all this? He was really looking forward to re-uniting with his wife when she got out of jail. We accepted her when she was released, but she left after only a few days, throwing Marcus and his little boy into tears and turmoil. But, Marcus kept going. I was a little worried because he was pushing himself so hard. I wondered if he would snap, but the predictability of Raphael House gave him patterns to settle into, and after several months he made the successful move into an apartment, juggling all his responsibilities and holding onto his job. Now that we have a web site, former residents who live in other cities occasionally find us and send us a note. A young man contacted us recently: I accidentally crossed your web-site this evening and just want to share my experience about your facility.


The Orthodox Vision
ter where they stayed when the girl was three years old. The daughter had no memory of being homeless. A more recent resident told me that if it hadn’t been for Raphael House she “would have been homeless”. For her, Raphael House was home, not homelessness. My own children have lived at Raphael House all their lives. They enter into art activities, go on field trips, and generally enjoy living in a huge house with lots of other children. Elaine and I are often asked if living at Raphael House has made our children more sensitive, aware, and altruistic. Our answer: not that we’ve noticed. But they’re good kids, and gradually they are making the transition from playing to helping. In fact it was our preference to have our children unselfconsciously join in the activities and daily life of Raphael House. For them, this isn’t “charity”— it is normal life. Their participation has helped Elaine and me and other staff to broaden our Children’s Program in ways that we felt were healthy all the way around - more cultural activities, more outings into nature, and more educational support. It’s tough enough being a two-parent family. How do these single parents do it?! We were able to draw volunteers and staff from the nearby private school our children attend, strengthening our Children’s Program considerably. The experience of living here all these years has been good for our family and good for Raphael House. Residential Internships for Orthodox Women Raphael House in San Francisco offers residential internships for Orthodox Christian women who are interested in learning more about serving families in crisis. The live-in staff have one floor of the shelter, so we do have some privacy. Space is limited, however, which is why we can only accept women interns or, occasionally, a married couple. Over the past decade we have had more than thirtyfive live-in volunteers who came for internships as short as six weeks or as long as nine months. Some students arrange in advance to have their internship approved for credit as part of graduate or undergraduate course work. Non-academic internships are sometimes of interest to women who are changing their academic or career path. More simply still, learning to serve families in crisis at Raphael House is the way some of us feel called by God to serve others. It may in fact have nothing whatsoever to do with academia or a lucrative career path. We frequently host international visitors who are interested in nonprofit administration — generally from Russia, 2 or 3 at a time, in cooperation with the Fund for International Non-Profit Development. These mature visitors are struggling to build a new volunteer service sector in Russia under incredibly difficult conditions. Elena Novikova, in addition to her full time work with the families, is our primary hostess and translator for our Russian guests. In the years to come, we hope to have more interns who come to us directly through relationships within the Church. We would like to see a network for Orthodox Christian internships that begins to compare favorably with the already existing channels for secular and academic internships. Ralitza Doynova oversees our Live-In Training Program. Anyone applying for our residential training will be speaking with Ralitza. We will also have Randa Aoun returning from St. Vladimir’s Seminary where she recently received her Master’s Degree in Theology. Randa began working at Raphael House nine years ago and has a passion for training and outreach. While working for Raphael House, she has organized the sorting of thousands of pounds of good clothing for container shipments to Russia (through the Diocesan Outreach to Refugees), and also remains active in her Antiochian Church. Hundreds of Volunteers and No Government Funds Raphael House of San Francisco does not accept government money. Our support comes from individual donors, foundations, corporations and revenues from our Thrift Store and special events. Fundraising turns out to be more enjoyable than any of us imagined before we started doing it. We get to meet a lot of people who are looking for ways to help, and our many volunteers from the corporate community have been a welcome result. We have 300 regular volunteers at all levels within the agency. When we add all of the corporate groups who come in for one time special projects, we have as many as 1200 volunteers in a typical year. Many of these groups cook and serve dinner on Monday and Thursday nights. Some of these are Church groups, but most are corporate volunteers from San Francisco’s nearby financial district, such as the Charles Schwab Company, Price Waterhouse Coopers and the local hotel industry. There is a lot of talent and creativity all around us, and it is most efficiently harnessed when a vision for helping people is in place, and volunteer opportunities are well organized. We are fortunate to have Priest Thomas Alessandroni on our staff. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides some of the case management for our families and who has helped oversee the residential program for the past five years. Matushka Angela Alessandroni also works here as our personnel manager and corporate secretary. You can learn more about our programs by visiting which is in turn linked to Holy Trinity Cathedral’s website. I’m hoping that everyone who is reading this article will come by for a visit the next time you are in San Francisco. Some of you will be here this October for our Diocesan Assembly and we will be arranging tours. As for the rest of you, you’ll likely visit San Francisco sooner or later. When you do, give us a call. We’d love to show you Raphael House and the work we do with families.

For more information on Raphael House in San Francisco see their website at www.

If you are interested in the internship program or volunteering to help, contact the staff at Raphael House.


The Orthodox Vision

“Facing the World”
Diocesan Teen Weekend 2001 For youth in grades 9-12
The 2001 Diocesan Teen Weekend will again be held in Las Vegas at St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church This year’s presentation and discussion will be led by Fr. Eric Tosi The Retreat begins on Friday evening, October 26 through Sunday afternoon, October 28 This year we will go on hike through the beautiful Red Rock Canyon
Items to Bring: Sleeping Bag Pillow, towel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, sneakers, hiking shoes, sweatshirt/sweaters/ jackets, Church clothes and shoes, Bible and prayer book
Please return the bottom portion of this form together with your Medical Information/Permission Form and Registration Fee

Diocesan Teen Weekend 2001
October 26 -28, 2001
St Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church 5400 Annie Oakley Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89120 Telephone: (702) 898-4800 Registration Fee: $20.00 per person Please make checks payable to: And send to: St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church 5400 Annie Oakley Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89120 Attn: Diocesan Teen Weekend 2001 Age: _____________ Telephone: _____________ State: _____________ Present Grade: ______ Zip: _________

Name: _________________________________ Address: _________________________________ City: _________________________________ Additional Names: _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ Home Parish: ____________________________
For Office Use Only: Amount Paid: ___________ Medical Information/ Cash/Check: #___________ Permission Form: ___

Age: _____________ Present Grade: _____ Age: _____________ Present Grade: _____ Age: _____________ Present Grade: _____ City/State: ___________________________________


The Orthodox Vision

Excerpts from “Christianity by Fr Alexander Men (September 8, 1990) on the eve of his assassination

From the Fathers

“In Christianity the world is sanctified, while evil, sin and death are conquered. But the victory is God’s. It began on Resurrection morning, and will continue as long as the world remains.” Fr. Alexander Men Saturday evening September 8, 1990, Fr Alexander Men delivered a talk on Christianity as part of a series of talks on world faiths. His audience were citizens of the Soviet Union who had grown up under an atheistic society and whose knowledge of Christ was rudimentary. Some who knew Fr Alexander felt he talked differently this night, almost as if giving his last testament. Fr Alexander would be murdered early the following morning, leaving his home en route to serve the Divine Liturgy. What does it mean, however, to have faith in Jesus Christ? Does it mean to believe that such a man lived on earth? That would not be faith, but knowledge. The fact that he lived was recorded by his contemporaries, and the gospel writers left reliable evidence. Today’s historian will agree that such a man was a real historical figure. Attempts to assert that Christ was a mere myth have long been refuted, except, of course, in our country, where the notion has been upheld as in a wonder preserve. So what does it mean to believe in Him? Does it mean to believe that he came from the world beyond? This is also true, but only theory all the same. Here we must recall that faith which was declared in the Old Testament: faith as trust in being. When Abraham said yes to God, he probably uttered nothing, but in silence submitted to His call, giving birth to faith. In ancient Hebrew the word for faith is emuna, from the word aman, or faithfulness. “Faith” is therefore closely related to “faithfulness:” While God was true to His promise, man was to be faithful to God, weak and sinful as he was. But if the God to whom man was then faithful was a secret and awesome, sometimes remote Creator God, Christ revealed through himself a new dimension of God. He hardly ever used the word “God,” but instead addressed Him as his “Father.” And in his earthly life he used the tender and affectionate (but untranslatable) word that children in the East use when addressing their father. Christ reveals God as our heavenly Father, and in so doing he creates brothers and sisters, for brothers and sisters are possible only where there is a common father. So our common spiritual Father is God. And the mystery of the Gospel is this: an openness of the heart to the news of Jesus Christ. This is because each of us knows very well how weak and confused we are, and how every manner of sin and disorder has built its nest inside us. Of course there is a strength which Christ gives freely. In Russian it is called blagodat’: a blessing which is given, not earned. We must make the effort, as well as struggle with sin and strive for self-perfection, as long as we remember that we can only do the preparatory work. Herein lies the fundamental difference between Christianity and Yoga, which maintains that man can reach God and become part of Him of his own accord, so to speak. Christianity teaches, on the contrary, that while man can perfect himself, it is impossible to reach God as long as He himself does not come to man. So grace surpasses the Law. The Law is the first stage of religion, which begins with childhood, where do’s and don’ts are necessary until grace comes through an internal encounter with God. That encounter is like love, rejoicing, victory, and the music of the spheres. Grace is new life. St. Paul tells us of the dispute which arose between those who wished to keep the ancient Old Testament rites and those who did not. The only thing that was ultimately important was a new creation, and faith, which acts in love. And in fact the only thing that was ultimately important was a new creation, and faith, which acts in love. This is authentic Christianity. All else (everything associated with culture) is historical wrapping, frame, and environment. I am speaking of the very essence of Christian faith: the limitless value of human individuality, the victory over death and decay, and a new covenant which grows like a little acorn into a tree, or which does to history that which leaven does to dough. And today God’s kingdom mysteriously manifests itself among us as we do good, show love, contemplate beauty, or feel the fullness of life. Jesus taught that the Kingdom is not only in the distant future or in futuristic contemplation: it exists here and now. The Kingdom of Heaven will come, but has already come. The world will be judged, but is already being judged. “Now is the judgment of this world,” said Christ when he proclaimed the gospel for the first time. Elsewhere he said, “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light...” The judgment began during Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, and spread to Jerusalem, Golgotha, the Roman Empire, Europe in the middle ages, Russia, and into this century and beyond. The judgment will continue throughout human history because history is Christian as the world keeps step with the Son of Man. Finally, the essence of Christianity is found in God-manhood, or the joining of the organic and temporal human spirit with that of the Eternal and Divine. It is found in the sanctification of the flesh, for the world and nature, which is the birthplace of the Son of Man as both man and God-man, was not cast away or degraded, but elevated to a new level and sanctified ever since the Son of Man took upon himself our joys and sufferings, our creation, our love and labor. In Christianity the world is sanctified, while evil, sin and death are conquered. But the victory is God’s. It began on Resurrection morning, and will continue as long as the world remains. With that I shall end, and next time address the way in which this mystery of Godmanhood was worked out in specific Christian churches. Thank you.
Translation © 1994 Steve Griffin. The entirety of this lecture is on the Fr. Alexander Men Web Site (http://, which contains other material by and aboput Fr. Alexander. This was reprinted with their permission.


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