2009 - 2012
On Sunday, 1 March/16 February 2009, notice was received from Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, that the monastery and mission of Christminster and Our Lady of Glastonbury Orthodox Church, in Hamilton, Ontario, would henceforth be directly under the arch-pastoral oversight of the Metropolitan himself, assisted by his Vicar Bishop Jerome, Bishop of Manhattan. Bishop Gabriel, the ruling Bishop of Canada, had Metropolitan Hilarion requested this change in light of his own lack of familiarity with the Orthodox western rite and its usages. Bishop Jerome, the former Father John Shaw, is a long-time friend of Christminster and a scholar deeply learned in western liturgics. We are grateful to each of these hierarchs for their pastoral concern for the well-being of our mission and work.
The Feast of Corpus Christi (6/21/09)
On Sunday, June 21st (8th, O.S.), the Feast of Corpus Christi, Frs. Joseph and Michael traveled to the United States with Reader Polycarp (Sherwood) to attend Matins and Mass at Holy Incarnation Church (AOANA—Western Rite) in Detroit, Michigan. Our group was warmly received by Fr. Fenton and his parishioners and Fr. Michael was honored to be invited to chant the Sequence for the Feast.
After the Mass and outdoor Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, we joined the parishioners for a lovely coffee hour and conversation. It was a pleasure to see their newly renovated sanctuary and learn about this Orthodox outreach to the people of Detroit.
Fr. Benedikt blessed the monastery with the gift of a plaque of St. Benedict (pictured to the left), carved by the man who did the work for his chapel, along with two sets of vestments: A white and blue Marian set from Czestochowa, Poland; and a green set custom made for us by the Sisters of St. Elizabeth’s Convent, Minsk, Russia — the first vestments they ever made for Western Orthodox services!
On the day before his departure, Fr. Benedikt was received as a novice-oblate, thus becoming formally affiliated with Christminster in prayer and fellowship. May the Lord bless his time of discernment and bring him back to us again in health and peace!
Oblate Sister Sophia (7/1/09)
Oblate Sister Sophia, from St. Mark’s Antiochian Orthodox Church (Western Rite) in Denver, Colorado, came and spent a week with the monks in order to participate fully in the daily discipline of monastic life. Sister made her oblation to Abbot James at St. Mark’s on June 31, 2006, but this is the first time she has been able to journey to Christminster.
With the blessings of Abbot James and of her Diocesan Hierarch, Bishop BASIL of Wichita (AOANA), Sister, who is a widow, has been allowed the privilege of wearing her habit “full-time.” This is unusual, but particular circumstances made it appropriate in her case.
While with us, Sister helped out with ironing linens, caring for the garden, and bringing cheerful encouragement to the monks. Discussions with the monks led to a decision that Sister would move to Hamilton, to live near the monastery and, perhaps, help provide guest quarters for women who wish to come on retreat. Please pray for the guidance and blessing of the Lord on this challenging and exciting opportunity!
September Updates (9/30/09)
Abbot James went to Massachusetts to assist his younger brother, who is ill. During his absence, Holy Mass was not being celebrated at the Monastery; the monks visited the other Orthodox Churches in the area on Sundays and joined Fr. Geoffrey of All Saints’ Church (OCA) in his Domestic Chapel for major feasts.
The Day of Recollection, Anglicans, Awake!, originally scheduled for September 26th was postponed until Dom James is able to return to Hamilton. A new date will be announced, hopefully in October.
On Sunday, September 27th, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the monks and regular communicants of Our Lady of Glastonbury Church journeyed to Christ the Savior Cathedral (OCA) in Toronto for the Hierarchical Liturgy and Veneration of the miraculous Icon of the Theotokos of Pochaev (pictured to the left), which is now making a pilgrimage through Canada. It was a great joy to venerate and pray before this ancient and beautiful Icon of the Mother of God and feel such a connection to our Orthodox brethren of the Pochaev Monastery.
In September the Abbot received word from the group of Oblates of St. Benedict that meets at St. Michael’s Orthodox Church, Whittier, CA, that they had voted unanimously to petition for corporate reception as Oblates of Christminster. We were very pleased to receive this request and are in the process of working out details.
October Updates (10/31/09)
The rescheduled Day of Recollection, Anglicans, Awake!, was held on Saturday, October 24, 2009. Offered in response to the request of a small group of Anglicans, the day offered an opportunity to explore the Orthodox faith and ponder next steps in the pilgrimage of faith. Abbot James moderated the discussion, which was punctuated by attendance at the services chanted by the monks and a lunch generously provided by Reader Polycarp Sherwood and his wife.
Mark Chaffee, from St. Catherine of Alexandria Mission (Antiochian) in Ann Arbor, MI, visited the monastery on the weekend of October 24-25. Prior to becoming Orthodox, Mark was a regular visitor to the Episcopal Benedictines in Three Rivers, MI, and he was very interested in becoming acquainted with the Benedictine tradition as it is observed in Holy Orthodoxy.
Above: Participants in the Anglicans, Awake day of recollection enjoy a delicious buffet lunch in the monastery refectory.
From October 17 to 21, John Bryan Thomas Puterbaugh, a member of St. Gregory’s Orthodox Church (Western-Rite Antiochian) in Washington, D.C., visited Christminster for a personal retreat. Bryan is an Oblate of St. Benedict, affiliated with the group of oblates at St. Michael’s Orthodox Church (Western-Rite Antiochian) in Whittier, CA.
Dom James and Reader Polycarp attended a conference between scholars of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox traditions will be held at Nashotah House Theological Seminary on October 8-10, 2009. Entitled “In the Footsteps of Tikhon and Grafton - Anglican and Orthodox Identity, Ministry and Mission in the 21th Century.” The conference featured discussions and addresses by representatives of Nashotah House and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY. The keynote speaker was His Beatitude Jonah, Metropolitan of Washington DC and all America of the Orthodox Church in America.
Work is underway in preparation for the arrival of Oblate Sister Sophia to take up residence at St. Benet House, across Steven Street from the Monastery. We expect sister to be here in mid-November to begin life in closer association with the monastery and to help provide accommodations for additional guests, especially women (since they are not able to stay in the guest room within the cloister).
Welcome to new site! (9/15/10)
Thank you for visiting the new website for Christ the Saviour Western Rite Monastery of ROCOR. Please check back with us often as we are launching an online store where you can purchase Western Rite books such as the Rule of Saint Benedict and the Missal of Saint Ambrose.
Saint Bede's Guild (9/15/10)
Saint Bede's Guild is finally underway. We've prepared the book selection and Western Rite reading material for all the faithful Orthodox Christians living nearby and afar. Sign our newsletter to receive updates about all of our new publications!
Start shopping now!
Metropolitan Hilarion's Visit (9/15/10)
We were happy and blessed ... with a two-day visit [24 - 25 August 2010] from our Metropolitan Hilarion.
Despite an unexpected delay at the border between Buffalo and Ontario, he arrived midafternoon on Tuesday, 24 August. After a visit to our bookstore Saint Bede Guild and a brief rest, he joined us for the Hour of None, dinner, Vespers, and a reception in the monastic refectory. Many local friends and clergy, as well as our regulars, attended.
He was back with us the next morning at 8:30am for the Hour of Tierce, followed by a Sung Votive Mass in honour of Our Lady of Glastonbury. The Mass was videotaped and should appear on our website. The festive brunch following included only fasting foods since for Old Calendar Orthodox it was still the Dormition Fast, and for New Calendar Orthodox it was a regular fasting Wednesday. Fr. James had prepared an enormous pot of meatless chili that, by its rapid and complete disappearance, might be considered a success!
Much of the food was provided through the generosity of Polycarp Sherwood, and lovingly prepared and served by Father Joseph and Sister Sophia. Vladyka himself had brought an enormous apple cake from Jordanville, baked from apples planted by Abbot Panteleimon, who founded that monastery so many years ago.
It was edifying to see so many people come to sit by the bishop's side and, as he put it later, "tell him their story." His presence is always a soothing and welcoming one, and it was truly wonderful to see so many enjoy a closeness with this Father and Shepherd of souls.
By midafternoon, he took his leave, with a blessing and words of encouragement to all who were able to come and enjoy the blessing of Orthodox western-rite services at Christminster.
Contact Us Page is Complete (9/26/10)
The Western-Rite Monastery of Christminster in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada has a new contact page! Please visit it at christminster.org/contact-us.
UPCOMING EVENT AT CHRISTMINSTER (10/16/10)
On the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God, Saturday, 4 December 2010 (21 November Old Style), Sister Sophia, who has been an Oblate Sister of Christminster for five years, will make her solemn profession as a nun and be clothed with the monastic mantle by Dom James, abbot of Christminster.
The ceremony will take place during Mass at 10:00am in the monastery church of Our Lady of Glastonbury. A reception and brunch will follow.
As a solemnly professed nun, Sister will be known as Mother Sophia and her formal title will be Dame Sophia. She will continue to reside in Saint Benet’s House on Steven Street.
Christminster has been blessed by her presence and her prayers, and her dedication, energy and love are an inspiration to all her monastic brothers, who happily wish her Many Years.
Friends of Sister Sophia interested in attending the Mass and brunch are asked to notify us at their earliest convenience, by email (email@example.com) or phone (905-522-3400). Or you may contact Sister directly through the main phone number (above) at extension 112.
On Thursday, 22 October 2010, Abbot James, Dom Joseph, Father Daniel, and Sister Sophia made a day’s pilgrimage to the Romanian Holy Cross Orthodox Monastery in Toronto , where they were warmly welcomed by Archimandrite Nicolas and Father Madarie.
The monks visited the very handsomely furbished chapel and venerated the icons and relics. The relics were in a beautifully decorated wooden casket or chest.
After praying together the noon hour, the monastics enjoyed a light lunch with animated conversation. Among the topics was the difficulties of living the monastic life in an urban setting and the desirability of a more rural and contemplative monastery. Sister Sophia brought a cake she baked for the occasion.
The monastics of Christminster are most grateful for the warmth and friendliness of the hospitality of Father Nicolas and his deacon Father Madarie.
WEEKEND OF CELEBRATIONS (12/8/10)
The weekend of December third to the fifth this year was a busy one at Christminster.
Two special guests arrived earlier in the week: the Right Reverend Dom David Pierce, Abbot of Holyrood Hermitage in Florida ; and Marci Burr, the sister of our Sister Sophia.
On Friday, 4 December, a sung Memorial Mass of Requiem was celebrated by Abbot James. Abbot David gave a sermon on the life and work of Dom Augustine Whitfield, the recently deceased Abbot of Mount Royal (reposed 4 July 2010). Father David captured the complexity and genius of the man in a warm and deeply moving eulogy. Both Holyrood and Christminster descend historically from Mount Royal . Abbot James was Prior of Mount Royal in the early 1990’s.
The history of Mount Royal goes back ultimately to 1910, when a Benedictine monk, Dom Augustine Harding, left his Roman Catholic monastery, seeking greater orthodoxy and settling at that time in the tradition of Old Catholicism. It would be a half century before the remnant of his group, of which Dom Augustine Whitfield was then abbot, came into the fullness of canonical Orthodoxy in 1962, under the Russian Orthodox Church, and then later in 1975 under the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Thus the hundred-year history of Mount Royal was also memorialized this weekend with the Mass for Dom Augustine.
On Saturday, at a pontifical Sung Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God in the temple (21 November, Old Style), our Sister Sophia made her solemn profession as a nun and became Mother Sophia. In a dramatic service, having made her offering of herself to God, she lay on the floor covered with a black funeral pall while prayers were sung over her. Then, at the words “Rise from the dead,” sung by Abbot James she emerged from her old life and was clothed in the monastic mantle and became Mother Sophia – but still our dearly beloved sister in Christ. Her own sister Marci Burr was present for the occasion. A sumptuous brunch, provided by the generosity of Bob and Lillias Sherwood, followed in the monastic refectory. Abbot David was present, along with Archimandrite Nicolas and Father Mardarios from Holy Cross Monastery in Toronto, as well as other guests and friends of the monastery.
The weekend was not over though. On Sunday, the last Sunday of the church’s liturgical year, before Advent begins, we celebrated the solemn feast of Christ the King, with Abbot David again assisting Abbot James at the sung Liturgy. This feast, together with that of the Transfiguration in August, is a dedication feast of Christminster.
On Monday, trips to the Toronto and Buffalo airports took Abbot David and Marci Burr away. Snow was threatened at both airports, so there was suspense in the air as to traveling conditions, both by car to the airport and by the planes themselves. All worked out well, and all travelers were home by evening. Everyone, visitors and monastics, agreed that it was a weekend of extraordinary joy and fulfillment. Abbot James, Father Joseph, Father Daniel and Mother Sophia are grateful to all friends and guests for their presence with us for these special celebrations.
NATIVITY CELEBRATION AND INVITATION (12/23/10)
TO ALL FRIENDS OF CHRISTMINSTER: NATIVITY CELEBRATION AND INVITATION
On behalf of the monastic community of Christminster, Father Abbot James cordially invites all friends and visitors (and their guests) to join in the festive celebration of the First Mass of Christmas at 7:00pm, on the evening of Thursday, 6 January 2011 (24 December 2010 Old Style). The Schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada will again graciously provide traditional chant and carols. A festive collation will follow in the monastic refectory. Please join us for this most special of feasts. A sung Christmas Morrow Mass will be celebrated on Friday morning, Christmas Day, at 10:00am, to which all are invited. We wish all our guests, visitors, benefactors and friends a most joyful Nativity and a blessed New Year filled with the grace and mercy of God.
Dom James, Abbot
Abbot James Traveling (2/9/11)
From Friday, 11 February, to Monday, 28 February, Abbot James will be away in Rhode Island to attend to matters concerning the settlement of the fire insurance arising from the fire last year at the old monastery property. While in Rhode Island, he will visit the western-rite mission of Saint Cuthbert in Pawtucket, under Deacon David Kinghorn, and will celebrate Mass there on one of the Sundays of his visit.
Meanwhile, back home at Christminster, the monastics, under the capable care and authority of Father Joseph, will use the opportunity to attend and visit other Orthodox Churches in the area.
Only Reader's Services (with Communion from the reserved Sacrament) will be available during the Abbot's absence. These will be at the usual times for Mass; but phone in to check and see if the monks may be visiting another church on any particular day, especially a Sunday. The full schedule of the Hours will continue as usual.
Please remember Abbot James in your prayers for safe travel and return.
Recent and upcoming events (3/7/11)
Our abbot, Dom James, returned safely from a brief trip to Rhode Island to settle an insurance claim on the old monastery property there. While he was away, the monastics visited several local churches on Sundays. While in Rhode Island, Dom James visited the Saint Cuthbert Mission in Pawtucket, and celebrated Sunday Mass there, assisted by Deacon David Kinghorn.
We have received notice from Metropolitan Hilarion that Father Joseph and Reader Polycarp Sherwood are to be ordained to the diaconate. Reader Polycarp will be ordained in New York at the Synodal Cathedral on Ash Wednesday, and will be serving at Saint Mary the Virgin Orthodox Church in Barrie, Ontario. Father Joseph will be ordained shortly after Easter at Christminster (the date depending on the Bishop’s calendar) for service at the monastery. Please keep both of these in your prayers for God’s blessing on their new ministry.
With the arrival of Lent, a revised evening schedule will be in effect at Christminster, as follows:
On Friday evenings during Lent, immediately following Vespers, the Way of the Cross is observed. This is a cycle of fourteen meditations on the Passion of our Saviour, with texts from scripture and the liturgical services of the Church. It includes veneration of the monastery’s Relic of the True Cross.
Items for sale through Saint Bede Guild are in the final stages of preparation for regular sales to begin over the internet. Watch our website for further notice. We are the exclusive distributors in Canada and for international sales of icons and books from Lancelot Andrewes Press. Other books and items are also available. We hope soon also to be distributing our own Glastonbury Grey Tea blend – served exclusively at the monastery, and a favorite with guests and visitors. This is a basic black tea subtly blended with lemon myrtle, and provides a tea reminiscent of Earl Grey but with a mellower and sweeter taste.
Antiochian & ROCOR Western Rite Leaders Meet (3/10/11)
On Monday, 14 February, Father Edward Hughes, Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and his duly appointed assistant, Father John W Fenton, met at the Russian Synod chancery with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR); His Grace Bishop Jerome (Shaw), Bishop of Manhattan and vicar of the Eastern-American diocese (ROCOR); and the V. Reverend Anthony (Bondi), Pastoral Vicar for the Western Rite (ROCOR).
This meeting was the first between the hierarchy and leadership of the jurisdictions which oversee all canonical Orthodox parishes in North America which are exclusively Western Rite. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the present situation, and to compare visions in order to foster cooperation in furthering Western Rite Orthodoxy in America.
During the meeting, several items of mutual interest were discussed including issues relating to the Western Rite in the committees of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America; the reception of parishes and clergy from other ecclesial groups; the education of laity in Western Rite parishes; the education of current and future Western Rite clergy; the liturgical norms and usages in the jurisdictions; and the planting of Western Rite missions.
A spirit of fraternal openness permeated the meetings, with the often repeated desire that the Western Rite parishes and clergy of both jurisdictions need to grow closer together. Toward this end, Metropolitan Hilarion encouraged Father Anthony and Father Edward to explore specific ways in which the clergy from both jurisdictions might regularly meet together.
Father Hughes and Father Fenton wish to express their deepest gratitude to Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Jerome for their gracious hospitality and for generously sharing their time. Their interest and desire for Western Rite Orthodoxy was inspiring. They also thank Father Anthony (Bondi) for his many kindnesses, and his earnest desire for increased cooperation.
THOUGHTFUL AND TIMELY SERMON FROM BISHOP JEROME (3/12/11)
On Intrigues in the Church.
“Thou hast loved truth and hated iniquity”.
The first Saturday in Lent is observed as the Saturday of St. Theodore, in honor of the miraculous appearance of St. Theodore to the 8th Patriarch of Constantinople, Eudoxius, in the time of the emperor Julian the Apostate.
Although Julian had been raised in the Christian religion, he grew up in the imperial household in Constantinople and was surrounded by the intrigues, often murderous, that gave the term “byzantine” a special meaning when written with a lower-case “b”. Feeling that the Christians did not practice what they preached, Julian came first to doubt the Christian faith, and then turned against it.
One of the methods he hit upon to undermine Christianity, was to call back the heretical bishops who had previously been exiled, in the hope of dividing and weakening the believing flock. (This same ploy was used in modern times by the Bolsheviks when they encouraged the Living Church, the Josephites, Russian Baptists, and various others who opposed the canonical Orthodox Church).
About this time, Eudoxius also became Patriarch of Constantinople. Eudoxius had become a bishop by deceit, and advanced in the hierarchy by intrigue. He was also of the party of the Arian heretics. This is why the Synaxarion speaks of him as being “false and not Orthodox” (“аще и неправому и неправославному», in the Slavonic version) when St. Theodore appeared to him.
One could ask the question: Why was St. Theodore sent to this heretic, rather than to some righteous and Orthodox, saintly figure?
Certainly it was not that “God is the same for everybody”, or because it does not matter what one believes: if that were the case, there would have been no reason for the people not to partake of the foods in the market, which had been dedicated to the pagan idols.
Was it to call Eudoxius to repentance, and to a confession of the true faith? At any rate, that does not seem, according to the history books, to have been the result.
The only explanation is that, since Eudoxius occupied the position of Patriarch of Constantinople, he was able to give directions to the flock that otherwise might have been much more difficult, or at the time, impossible to make generally known.
This was an example of “economy” -- not through some decision of the hierarchy, but by the will of God, and despite the hierarchy then in place.
So on this day, we are presented with three images by the Church calendar: 1) the destructive effect of intrigues, backbiting, and backstabbing in the Church; 2) the use of “economy”, or seeming laxity, to keep the faithful from falling away from the Church; and 3) in the Gospel, the image of the Pharisees and hypocrites who looked for an excuse to revile Jesus.
In our day, we have no shortage of intrigues, especially at the very centers of Church life. Such intrigues tend to discourage and demoralize – and that is clearly in the interests, not of Church order, but of Satan who seeks to undermine the Orthodox Christian faith however he can, and especially to turn the servants of the Church against one another.
“Economy”, on the other hand, has been made an issue by certain zealots: they depict such cases of “lax and permissive” practice as a “betrayal of Orthodoxy”. But in reality the seeming laxness is not liberalism or indifference: it is a realistic effort to keep too strict an application of rules, or misguided zeal, from driving people away from the Church. And yet, those who preach greater strictness, usually want it to apply to others, rather than to themselves!
Thus an over-reaction to “economy” leads easily enough into modern-day, Pharisaic hypocrisy.
The conclusion we must draw is that, in all this, we are called to make our commitment to the Orthodox faith the basis of our lives: and neither to fall away ourselves, nor to behave in such a way as to discourage others, or drive them away from the Church.
Holy Week Services 2011 (4/11/11)
Blessing of Palms & Procession
Wednesday (20 April) 6:30pm
Vespers and Anointing Service
Maundy Thursday (21 April)
8:00am Tenebrae (Matins & Lauds)
Holy Saturday (23 April)
Easter Sunday (24 April)
10:00am Morrow Mass of Easter
Services at Christminster are celebrated in English, with occasional Latin, according to the traditional Western Rite as approved by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Father John Connelly Visits (4/12/11)
Christminster welcomed Father John Connelly, the dynamic rector of St. Mark's Antiochian Orthodox Church (western-rite) in Denver, Colorado, for a three-day visit. Father John is an oblate of the monastery and had not visited since three or four years ago. He seemed pleased by what had been done to the buildings since his last visit. His visit was a welcome treat for all, especially for Mother Sophia, one of his former parishioners; and for Father Joseph, who after hearing legendary accounts of Fr. John, finally met him in the flesh. Deacon Robert Sherwood spent a day with us during the visit. Father John was with us on the Thursday (7 April) for the feast of the Annunciation and left later that day for home.
HOLY WEEK 2011 AT CHRISTMINSTER (4/25/11)
CHRIST IS RISEN!
The monastics observed the full round of Holy Week services as always: from Palm Sunday, through Holy Unction on Wednesday, Tenebrae (Matins and Lauds) on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and the solemn evening services of each day, with an additional Morrow Mass on Easter Sunday morning. A sumptuous feast was provided by Fr. Deacon Robert Sherwood and his wife Lilias after the Great Vigil and Mass on Saturday night. Several new visitors, as well as old friends, were welcomed for services.
We are also pleased to have with us, as a long-term guest, Father Constantine (Moore), who comes to us from Moldavia. Fr. Constantine is a native of the USA whose travels include Brazil, Scotland and Moldavia. He has been a monk for many years and we are happy to welcome him among us.
On behalf of all the monastics, Abbot James extends to all our friends, oblates and benefactors our wishes for a truly joyous Easter and a blessed Eastertide.
Join us in our Easter chant:
HE IS TRULY RISEN!
BISHOP'S VISIT & ORDINATION (5/24/11)
Friends of Christminster are invited to attend the ordination of Fr. Joseph DelGiorno to the diaconate on Saturday, 28 May 2011, at 10:00am in the monastery chapel. His Grace, Jerome, Bishop of Manhattan, will be presiding and meeting our friends and visitors. A festive meal is to follow in the monastic refectory, honouring the Bishop's visit, as well as the ordination of Fr. Joseph and (at an earlier date in New York) Father Robert Sherwood to the Diaconate. Bishop Jerome will also celebrate the Sunday Mass on the 29th. Please join us for this festive event.
JOYOUS WEEKEND AT CHRISTMINSTER (5/30/11)
The weekend of 28-29 May 2011 was marked by great joy at the monastery as we received on his first visit to Canada and to Christminster our Bishop Jerome. He had come to ordain our monk Dom Joseph (DelGiorno) to the diaconate. In an impressive and well-attended Mass on Saturday, celebrated according to the western rite, Bishop Jerome first tonsured Father Joseph as a cleric, then ordained him, successively, as a Reader, Subdeacon, and finally Deacon. The newly ordained Father Joseph chanted the Gospel at the Mass.
Abbot James assisted the Bishop in the role of Archdeacon, presenting the candidate and assisting at the altar. Recently ordained in New York, Father Deacon Robert Sherwood also assisted at the service.
A professional videotape of the service was made, and after being edited will be available in a ten-minute and a thirty-minute version on YouTube. Father Daniel assisted in taking numerous still photos of the services.
Several local Orthodox and Anglican clergy attended as well as many friends of the monastery. A sumptuous and festive meal was served in the monastic refectory to honour our two new deacons, the feast having been prepared by Lillias Sherwood and her able team of assistants, and served with the help of, and under the watchful eye of, our Mother Sophia. The weather cooperated, and many were able to bring their food out to the patio-garden and enjoy the plants and flowers recently arranged there by Fr. Constantine.
Bishop Jerome remained for the celebration of our Sunday Mass and preached on the liberty of the Christian. At Lauds on Sunday, he formally blessed Dom James as Abbot, and bestowed on him the miter and crosier of the abbot's office. While Dom James had been abbot for years, the formal ceremony of the blessing of an abbot had never been performed until now.
All were genuinely delighted at Bishop Jerome's company and his kindliness. We look forward to his visiting us again.
It was with great shock and sorrow that we learned of the sudden repose of our benefactor, deacon, and friend -- Robert (Polycarp) Sherwood. He suffered a massive heart attack at his home in Barrie earlier this afternoon (Saturday, 4 June). No further details are available at this time. But we ask you to remember him kindly in your prayers and devotions, as well as his beloved wife Lillias and his family.
Further information will be made available as it becomes known to us.
May his soul rest in peace. May the angels lead him into paradise, at his coming may the martyrs receive him, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may he rest in peace.
Dom James M. Deschene
Funeral arrangements for Fr. Robert Sherwood (6/6/11)
To Friends of Robert Sherwood:
The official funeral and internment of our beloved friend, brother and benefactor Robert Sherwood will take place on Thursday, 9 June 2011, at St. Mark's Orthodox Church in Denver, Colorado.
On Saturday, at a time and place in Hamilton to be announced, there will be a non-religious memorial testimonial for him.
On Thursday at 10:00am, at Christminster, in the monastic church of Our Lady of Glastonbury, a Sung Mass of Requiem will be celebrated by Abbot James and the monastic community for the repose of his soul. We invite all his friends and colleagues to join us as we remember and pray for our departed brother and friend.
For further information on the Saturday memorial, please contact us later in the week.
In our Saviour,
A tribute to Robert H. Sherwood (6/9/11)
Celebration of Life
A tribute to
Robert H. Sherwood
Wednesday June 15th 2011
The Salvation Army Mountain Citadel
835 Stone Church Rd. E.
Hamilton, Ontario, L8W 1R8
In lieu of flowers, Bob's wishes are that donations be made to local Children's Aid Societies
Requiem at Christminster
On 9 June 2011, the day of his burial in Colorado, a Sung Requiem was celebrated for Fr. Deacon Robert Sherwood at Christminster in Hamilton for those unable to be present for his interment. Friends and colleagues remembered him with prayer and song.
In his homily Abbot James pointed out how brief Bob's course of being a deacon was -- being ordained only some few weeks ago. But the point was really otherwise. "Most men are ordained deacons early in life and serve a long period in the Church. Bob actually spent his adult life selflessly in the service of the Church and of needy children, and only at the end was this career crowned -- appropriately -- with the diaconate, the office of service in the Church. And his burial at the St. Lawrence property in Colorado -- how appropriate that is too. For St. Lawrence was the famous deacon of Rome who distributed the Church's riches to the poor. And when persecutors came to question him where the real treasures of the Church were, he pointed to the poor and needy: "These are the Church's treasures." Bob Sherwood too serviced the needy and poor with a tireless energy that finally, in his lack of concern for his own health, failed to sustain him. How often we would tell him to rest, to take some time off, to follow the sabbath principle that God himself set forth -- to rest on the seventh day. And now he does rest, but continues too his loving concern for those he cared for in this life and in this suffering world. Indeed, as I pray for his own blessedness, I pray to him too not to abandon us but, in the joy and freedom of that great sabbath rest, to pray for us and ask God's continued mercies on us.
May he rest in peace."
Canonical Western-Rites Conference (11/2/11)
In early October, Abbot James, accompanied by Fr. Daniel, attended the Canonical Western-Rites Conference sponsored by ROCOR and held in Wappingers Falls, New York, from 4 to 7 October. About fifty attended, from both ROCOR and the Antiochian western rites, along with several priests’ wives and children, as well as others interested in joining the canonical western rite.
After an opening address by Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR, the conference settled into its round of meetings and worship services. On the first full day of the conference Bishop Jerome, Vicar for ROCOR’s western rite, celebrated a Pontifical Mass. The music – William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices – was sung by a small but professional choir. On subsequent days, the Liturgy of St. Tikhon and the Gallican Liturgy were celebrated. Bishop Jerome was present for the full time of the conference.
Meetings were either presentations or discussions of mutually agreed-upon topics, and were conducted in a brisk but truly fraternal spirit.
One of the sessions dealt with the issue of monastic oblates. The general consensus was that the present arrangement left much room for greater accountability and responsibility for oblates scattered throughout (mostly) North America. It was decided that in each western-rite mission or parish that opts for oblates, either the priest-in-charge or a resident oblate will be responsible for regular meetings of the local oblates and for maintaining communication with Christminster so that all oblates are regularly accounted for. With the consent of the Very Rev. Father Edward Hughes, Vicar for the Antiochian Vicariate, information on this will be emailed to each western-rite mission or parish in ROCOR and in the Antiochian Vicariate.
The hospitality of the Franciscan friars at Mount Alvernia was warm and comprehensive, from personal greetings to excellent food service, and spacious rooms, each with private bath.
All in all, the conference was deemed a real success , and there is much interest in and enthusiasm for next summer’s conference. Much credit goes to Father Anthony Bondi, monk of Christminster, for organizing the conference and ensuring its smooth operation and good spirit. We are all grateful to him for all the hard work he, with the help of others, poured into making this conference a resounding success. After the conference, in his own chapel, he was formally clothed with the Benedictine habit by Abbot James.
From the conference Dom James rode to Rhode Island with Fr. Deacon David Kinghorn and Matiushka Patricia, where he spent several weeks resolving some financial and legal issues as well as looking in on the refurbishing of our former house in Providence, which is being prepared for rental. In Rhode Island he celebrated Mass each Sunday at the Saint Cuthbert Mission in Pawtucket, assisted by Fr. Deacon David Kinghorn, and with the Kinghorns visited the local OCA parish (Dormition , in Cumberland) for Saturday Vespers. Dom James returned to Christminster on the eve of Fr. Joseph’s sixty-fifth birthday.
Queen's Christmas Message (1/13/12)
So impressed was I by the clear and forthright Christian message in Her Majesty's recent Christmas speech, that I sent notices and a video link to many of our friends to watch. Indeed we were moved to write to Her Majesty a letter from Christminster thanking her for her forthrightness in witnessing to Christ, and for her nearly sixty years of dedication to her role as sovereign.
The closing words of her address are worth hearing again:
God bless the Queen and grant her many years!
MONKS ATTEND ANNUAL CONFERENCE (8/18/12)
On Tuesday, 7 August, the monks of Christminster drove to Wappingers Falls, New York, to attend the annual ROCOR Western-Rite Conference. Held for the second year now in a comfortable and friendly Franciscan facility, Mount Alvernia, the conference provided a means of reaffirming clerical camaraderie as well as a time of common prayer and working on mission issues.
Each day was marked by an opening Sung Mass. The first day was a Pontifical Mass concelebrated by all clergy with Bishop Jerome as main celebrant, and the Metropolitan officiating from the throne. The second day’s Liturgy was celebrated according to Father Aidan Keller’s Sarum Rite. The third day was a Memorial Requiem for deceased clergy – particularly Dom Augustine Whitfield and Deacon Polycarp Sherwood – celebrated by Abbot James according to the traditional Christminster Use. A video of the Requiem will be available shortly on this website. We hope the Requiem will become an annual observance.
The daily offices (hours) were sung and several workshops and presentations were offered, including the customary meeting with “seekers” – those non-Orthodox visitors who are making their way toward Orthodoxy. Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Jerome attended all liturgies and sessions. Everyone felt it a great gift to have these two faithful and loving hierarchs present with us for the full time of the conference, socializing, praying and sharing in the varied discussions. Solid foundations and arrangements for parish assessments were made.
It was unusually warm during the conference and we recalled that we had met last year in October, not August. It was resolved to return to the October date for next year. The conference ended after lunch on Friday, 10 August. We headed to Syracuse to drop off Fr. Joseph for a family visit. Abbot James and Fr. Daniel then entrusted themselves to the car’s GPS guidance system to get us to Hamilton. This was a serious mistake. For reasons unknown, the system decided that the best way to get from Syracuse to Hamilton was not the simple and obvious route west from Syracuse to Buffalo then north to Hamilton. Instead – but we didn’t realize it at first, as we were driving in torrential rain – it decided we would go north and around the full circumference of Lake Ontario, then down through Toronto to Hamilton. When we realized our mistake we had traveled almost two hours north of Syracuse. So it was two hours back to Syracuse, three hours west to Buffalo and over an hour to Hamilton. We arrived at Christminster just after 2:00am Saturday morning – twelve hours after leaving the conference.
Much credit should go to Father Anthony Bondi, monk of Christminster, for his masterful organization of all the conference details. He has a gift for this and the conference was marked by his professionalism, good organization and planning.