September 16, 2015
By the grace of God, a new men’s monastery of the Western American Diocese [of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad] will be formally blessed following a service of the Divine Liturgy on the new monastery’s patronal feast day of St. Silouan the Athonite (11th / 24th September 2015). The festal Divine Liturgy will be concelebrated by the Diocesan Hierarch, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, and His Eminence’s Auxiliary, His Grace Bishop Theodosy of Seattle. Following the Liturgy a moleben will be served, with a procession and blessing of the whole of the 47.5-acre monastery property.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia blessed the foundation of the Monastery of St. Silouan during its regular session in May 2015, and since that time work has been underway in earnest to prepare the property and facilities for its formal establishment by the Diocesan Hierarch. The large property, which is a generous benefaction given for the explicit purpose of founding the monastery, is ideal for monastic life: nestled in the Sonora Foothills at the edge of Yosemite National Park, it includes two wooded peaks separated by a valley with a small stream, its own well and a spring that all remain richly active even in the deepest drought, as well as ample land for building cells and structures, agriculture, and other monastic activities —all of which will form part of a Master Plan for the monastery’s development into the future. The property includes several existing buildings which, without requiring construction of any kind, are already being employed for monastery use: this includes a main monastery house, part of which has been converted into the monastery’s temporary chapel, kitchens and a refectory, cells and modest guest accommodations.
All are invited to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the Feastday of St. Silouan the Athonite and the blessing of the monastery, which will take place on September 24 2015. The founding of a new monastery is an infrequent event in the life of a Diocese, and we look forward to welcoming pilgrims not only from our own Diocese, but also from our fellow Orthodox jurisdictions in the area. By the mercy of God, we pray this new monastery may become a spiritual resource for Orthodox faithful for generations to come.
SCHEDULE OF SERVICES FOR THE BLESSING OF THE MONASTERY:
Wednesday, 23rd September 2015:
4.50 p.m. - All-Night Vigil of the Feast
Following the Vigil, a Pannikhida for the ever-memorable Schema-Archbishop Anthony will be served.
Thursday, 24th September 2015:
8.30 a.m. - Hours
9.00 a.m. - Greeting of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill, and Divine Liturgy. The Moleben and procession across the whole monastery grounds, including the blessing of the property and the planting of the cross on one of its highest peaks, will follow the Liturgy
11.30 a.m. (approx.) - Banquet
Important note on attire: While normal Church dress is requested for the Divine Services, please note that the procession across the monastery property after the Liturgy will involve hiking up some rather steep hills in the summer heat. For those wishing to participate in the procession, it is essential to bring good walking shoes / boots that have solid traction, walking sticks if desired, as well as hats or other head coverings to protect against the sun. Those who are unable to hike the terrain will be offered refreshments at the monastery house while procession takes place; and a common meal will be shared by all at its conclusion.
The monastery is located at 21285 Old Sonora Columbia Road, Sonora, CA 95370-8807, which is approximately a 2 hour 20 minute drive from Sacramento, and a 3 hour drive from the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Accurate driving directions can generally be obtained from Google Maps or Apple Maps.
On-site accommodation is at this time extremely limited, and places have already been reserved for those assisting with the preparations for the festal Divine Services. However, there are a plenitude of affordable hotels in Sonora, ranging in price from ~$40 per night higher — and all within only a few minutes of the monastery grounds.
A separate posting will follow shortly with information on local accommodations, ranging from hotel rooms to RV sites and camping facilities for pilgrims wishing to stay overnight for the festivities.
INFORMATION FOR CLERGY:
If you are an Orthodox cleric of any rank and would like to discuss arrangements for serving at either the Vigil, the Liturgy or both, please contact Archimandrite Irenei on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. We request that all clergy contact us in advance, as space in our chapel is quite limited and we will need to make appropriate arrangements to accommodate clerics.