We have all heard of issues being either black or white. Frankly I have been in many discussion during the thirty years of my priesthood which make me feel that most issues are usually gray in color. This travel blog however is about two colors one black and the other green. You will meet the Abott of the Holy Transfiguration Monastary the V. Rev. Archimandrite Spyridon who is always in black wearing the traditional black monastic garb but you will also see the color green at this Monastic community which he leads. Green in the sense of an environmentally self contained community that should be the envy of all.
Opening Comments and welcome by Fr. Spyridon the Abbott.
Introduction to the work areas of the monastary
The Life of a Monk
Fr. Irenaos explains the work of an iconographer
We also had the privilege of visited several churches inside the monastery. The one which is used primarily in the winter is dedicated to St. John due to its size and fact that the larger church uses more energy to heat. While visiting the church the relics of numerous saints were brought out for us to venerate. The list is literally a whose who of saints and Cameron and I were brought to tears when we realized what an honor this was. Before us were the relics of Saints, Paraskevi, Thekla, Demetrios, George and John the Baptist. In addition there were the skulls of three monks who were buried under the altar table of the original monastery from the early 1800's. We know from our ongoing tradition that the saints relics are placed in or under the altar when a church is consecrated therefore indicating the place of these sacred men in our faith. Cameron and I were honored to be in presence of so many sacred relics this summer. I would venture to say more than most people come into communion with in a life time.
The Holy Relics Explained
We then visited a balcony area to find several solar ovens that were built by Fr. Spyridon along with the other monks. Fr. Prodromos who is the chef assisted us with this demonstration. Modern day appliance producers could learn a great deal from this demonstration and I know we could save hundreds of billions of dollars in electricity in the states utilizing such methods. The system was truly inspiring and the realization that the monks were clearly capable of surviving utilizing only the gifts God has given us was astounding.
From here we proceeded to go down several flights of stairs to witness the fishing growing which was taking place in a room filled with large blue tanks. You will hear me speak in the next audio interview with Fr. Palamas who is in charge of this vital area of the monastery. Who ever heard of growing fish but that is exactly what the monks do. Please realize that on the mountain this monastery is built there is no sea water so the monks have developed a system to cleanse and reuse the water over and over again to grow the fish. Fr. Spyridon gave me a good lesson on the elaborate filtration system utilized likening it to the water systems of the sea. A remarkable and very impressive production.
Well I believe it is time to say good by from this sacred place. Our lives have been enriched and our faith strengthened by yet another pilgrimage, another Travel Blog of OCN. Stay tuned for future coverage. May our Lord strengthen Fr. Spyridon and all monastics who rightly hold to word of the truth.
Fr. Spyridon shares some final comments with Father Chris and also reviews the Conference Facility at the monastary