Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God. On Tuesday, September 13, our monastery was granted a great blessing from the Mother of God, who vouchsafed us to receive her miracle-working and myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icon. The holy Icon arrived at 3:00 pm, carried by her guardian, Deacon Nektarios. She was greeted by a multitude of faithful, some of whom traveled several hours to be present. After receiving the Icon, the priests read the Akathist Hymn to the Icon while the pilgrims took turns venerating her. After the Akathist, the entire congregation knelt before the Icon and the priests read several prayers for health, touching the heads of the sick with the Icon. At 5:30 pm, the Icon had to depart for another church, and all the priests and the faithful watched as she drove away. Although we were sad for her departure, we were thankful for the undeserved blessing of standing in her presence. Her grace was present all during the visit and remained with us even afterwards, and we ask her to strengthen us along the path to salvation!
Fall Feast Day. The commemoration of our monastery’s patron, Saint Dimitrie the New, was once again a wellspring of joy and grace on the occasion of its fall feast day, which was hosted on Saturday, October 29. The entire day was replete with gifts for the soul. The joy of the feast began the evening before with the celebration of Great Vespers with Litya. This was followed in the morning by Matins and the blessing of the new pavilion, where the morning services were held. The Divine Liturgy was served by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae, together with a group of 15 priests and 2 deacons.
In his homily, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae commented on the life of Saint Dimitrie the New and what we can learn from it:
“As you know, we are dealing with a saint who lived simply, his life closely resembling that of Saint Parascheva, who lived 200 years earlier, in the 11th century. God chose these two humble persons to be an example for us, who live in a very complicated world. Our world is dominated by technology, by speed, by the Internet – these things give us no rest due to this complication of everything; these things take away from us the capacity to attend to our souls, to seek out God. Our modern society is modeled to hold us captives to a world of the imagination, void of reality, far from reality, so that we might no longer meditate upon the spiritual reality of our own soul. If we would listen to and fulfill the words of our Lord, ‘For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life?’ (Mark 8.36-37), then we would desire to turn things around.
“We who are in the Church remind ourselves of these words of our Lord only from time to time. We often would rather forget them because we are captivated by the complexity of the world, by this timeless temptation to acquire wealth, to earn titles and ranks, and we forget the examples of simplicity set forth for us by Saints Dimitrie and Parascheva. Their simple lives have remained for us, hundreds of years later, as wellsprings of healings. They listened to our Lord’s words and valued their souls instead of this world. They invite us to imitate them, to listen to the words of our Lord, to attend to our souls.”
The day was warm, bright, with gentle fall colors, bearing the sign of beauty recollected in simplicity, and thus resembling Saint Dimitrie the New. The grace of Saint Dimitrie made everyone present return to their homes comforted and full of peace. Glory to God for all things, especially for the gifts of His saints!
Pavilion. By God’s mercy, the construction of the wooden structure (Douglas fir) for the new pavilion began in the first week of September. After many weeks of hard work and after surpassing many unforeseen challenges, the project was completed just in time for our monastery’s fall feast day. We hope and pray that this pavilion will continue to allow us to host feast days, retreats, and other community events for the benefit of our Christian brothers and sisters.
We thank everyone who supported us with their donations, prayers, and labor. Each person’s gift and labor were truly indispensable and invaluable. We would like to express our special thanks to Mr. Ștefan Cosmin Rizea, who was the general contractor of the project, and Mr. Sergiu Moraru, who completed the entire project with great devotion and skill together with his team of workers. Both men were given the distinction of the American Metropolitan Cross, offered by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae after the Divine Liturgy on our feast day, As a sign of appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifice and love shown toward St. Dumitru Monastery in Middletown, NY.
Icons. With the blessing of His Eminence Nicolae, printed icons are mounted to wood in our monastery.
Pure beeswax candles. Pure beeswax candles are also made in our monastery to adorn the prayer of every Christian. A pure wax candle burning during private or church prayer is a sacrifice pleasing to God.