Great Lent 2019 Newsletter and Donation Appeal

Icon of the Crucifixion - CF1111
Icon of the Crucifixion – CF1111

Let us Reflect on the Coming Lenten Season

Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

     Bless!  The Lord!

Each year we enter this most special Lenten Season of repentance as we reflect on all of those events in the life of Christ as He moved forward towards His Trial, His Torture, His Death, and His Resurrection.  These are not unrelated events but part of an integral whole that sets the pattern and tone for our own repentance, or a Godly deep change with sorrow for our sins, and only then can we receive the brightest joy of profound personal rebirth as Christ is Risen!  He died and rose for us, and we are invited to die and rise with Him–die to our “old man” of selfishness and pride, and rise again with the Light of Christ within us bearing His Image and Likeness more fully in humility and love.  Let us turn earnestly in love to this Man of Sorrows today!

This New Year at the Skete

This has been an eventful beginning of the year at the Skete.  Our work of providing the best and widest selection of beautiful icon reproductions continues.  We are looking at the process now of adding another 1,700 unique icons up on our new website and so make them available in each size they can be made with good image integrity from the original icon images.  We already have the largest collection of icons from any icon reproduction manufacturer that we know of anywhere.  These bright new icons to be added are mostly historic and, of course, quite beautiful.

Icons are a means to change our hearts and minds and are directly involved each time we look at them with love and wonder.  These “windows into Heaven” then open, and we are in a deepening relationship with God and all those He has sanctified.  It is a wonderful work to be daily engaged.

Winter is a perfect time to turn inwardly in prayer as the quiet is better, especially since we have had so many snow storms and profoundly super cold days already this year.  When the snow is deep, as it is right now, then our minds and hearts can be buried deeply too, with the remembrance of Jesus Christ and the Saints through outward Church services and the inward Jesus Prayer.


St. Nicholas Church in the Front Valley in the Winter
St. Nicholas Church in the Front Valley in the Winter

Outside the Common Monastic Building in the Snow
Outside the Common Monastic Building in the Snow


We also are facing more challenges this year from the restrictions in equipment and finances still continuing from the destructive windstorm that came through our valley a year and a half ago, and with just our few monks here to do all of the work and mission outreach that is so needful.  Greatly constrained finances have been our greatest concern.  Even our most basic needs are still hard for us to fulfill for some time–even our food, lights, and warmth.

The road to the back valley is now unplowed in the deep snow and so not accessible for a vehicle to drive because of last year’s flooding damage to the road.  The monks have to walk the third of a mile in the snow to feed wood into our central boiler to heat the back valley’s Common Monastic Building.  One of those monks now has a broken toe.  Thankfully we have a new Amish neighbor that brings his horse drawn wagon to split and move enough wood every three weeks or so to allow us to keep the fires burning.  The silence in the back valley is very deep, and makes time spent there a different kind of prayer.  This is why we came here, to pray in the deep silence of these remote Skete valleys.  It is more than just quiet, but silence indeed!

Fr. Anthony in the Icon Studio
Father Anthony Painting an Icon

Upstairs in Common Monastic Building
Upstairs in Common Monastic Building

Winter View of Monastic Cell in Skete Back Valley
Winter View of Monastic Cell in Skete Back Valley

Mother of God Chapel in Back Valley in Winter
Mother of God Chapel in Back Valley in Winter

Our Present Urgent Needs

We really need your help.  Please pray for us and, if possible, send us some means now to help us continue our life here, and our icon service to the church at large and also to you.  Our sales were extremely slow so far this Winter, which puts a strain on just keeping up with our daily expenses, heat, and food.  Give from the heart. Let your mercy greatly shine towards us, and may His mercy also greatly shine towards you.

Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The monastics of St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and the Convent of St. Silouan,
and the community at St. Nicholas Church

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