written by Father Moses
23 NOVEMBER, 2020 Here at the monastery, we lost our electricity for a goodly amount of time in the afternoon. Since it was a bit cold and I am still not well, I decided to stay in bed where it is warm and safe from inclement weather. I made a large, hot cup of Inka which I then took to my bedside table, got my book, turned on a reading lamp and was set for several hours. When the electric power came back, I got up and dressed then made my usual “mini-pilgrimage” to the church where I cleaned the wick in the lampada which burns before the “Joy of Canada” icon. Next I added more oil, lit the wick and said a short prayer. It was rather cold in the church so staying for a long period of time was not a good idea. When I left the church, I went to the kitchen to look for a cup for drinking coffee and there are a lot of them in the kitchen cabinet. Since I don’t have one, it seemed like a good idea to borrow one from the kitchen. I also needed a large bowl, again from one of the cabinets in the kitchen and am borrowing for use for things such as rinsing vegetables and fruits, and for holding foods that would spoil if left in plastic bags. Andy was in the kitchen so we had a brief chat and then I excused myself to return to my little kellia. The remainder of the day went smoothely and quietly.
22 NOVEMBER, 2020 Today was a mix of quiet and active. The quiet part is the fact that the services for today were totally closed; the only persons attending were the serving priest, the Reader and one or two chanters. As is usual for me these days, I read morning prayers at my little icon corner and then rewarded myself with a glass of Inka and two cloves of garlic. Then I was able to work on some new icons which are on old pieces of wood. It is interesting because I am using the paints that Vladika Varlaam gave me and they don’t work in quite the same way as the acrylic paints that I usually use. So far, one icon is completed and the second one is nearly complete. Later in the afternoon, a group of men brought up a new bed. I thought it would be just a box and mattress but it was a frame and wooden bed with box spring and mattress. It is such a nice piece of furniture with even a matching headboard. The old bed I had used since we first moved into the monastery, was only the box spring and mattress, with no headboard and no frame and it was more than a little worn and ready to be retired. I am sure that I will sleep much better on a firm mattress.
21 NOVEMBER, 2020 Today has been a very slow day for me. Last night I did some serious cleaning but it was too much and today my back is quite sore and I don’t have much energy (no, I am not looking for sympathy). As a result of this, the two biggest things I have done today are, make lunch, which was rolled oats and apple slices and a big slice of Jicama, then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, all washed down with a tall glass of a mixed drink of Inka/Ovaltine. The second event of the day is that in the late evening, I made a “mini pilgrimage” to the big church to put oil in the lamp which is before the “Joy of Canada” icon, and then lit the lamp and said a short prayer. By the time I returned to my little kellia, I was too tired to do anything else except sit down. Lija sent a nice note with greetings for the feast of Archangel Michael so I wanted to note this in the diary. Vladika Lazar and Andy spent some time watching the Eagles play. They have finished fishing for salmon in the small Creek at the South boundary of the monastery and are now putting on a show to try to attract females. There are over a dozen eagles nesting on the mountain behind us.
20 NOVEMBER, 2020 Another wet and cold day here at the monastery. Even so, it is quiet and peaceful and still like living in the middle of a park. Looking down the valley toward Chilliwack, I see that the mountains in the area are covered with more snow so it is likely that their weather is much colder than ours. While looking out the window and down at the water, I noticed that even though our weather has turned cold, there is a line of water lilies and these still have green leaves floating on the water. I have never seen this kind of thing before and am surprised that they were not killed by the changing weather. Father Vasili called from Florida and it was a joy to speak with him. He is doing well and in excellent health and still running the St Herman Home. He hopes that by the time Pascha arrives, it will be possible to visit the monastery again and spend some time being with all of us.
19 NOVEMBER, 2020. Another unpredictable day at the monastery, as far as the weather is concerned. In the morning it was sunny and later it became again overcast and more rain. I did go next door to the big church to check if there was oil for the lampada which is before the “Joy of Canada” icon. It was not burning and there were no bottles of oil for replenishing the lamp. In order to be prepared for this, I brought an empty milk carton which I planned to fill and leave in the church, just for the purpose of replenishing the icon lamp. I had to go into the kitchen and open the canola oil container which was on the floor. Then it was necessary to fill one of our coffee pots with oil because only this way could I pour the oil into the milk carton. This is a slow process and difficult at this time because I’m rather shaky so it was hard to hold the coffee pot steadily to fill the carton without spilling it. In spite of the difficulty, I managed to fill the coffee pot three times, then the milk carton which I took up to the main church and put it in the cabinet in the church so that next time the lamp needs refilling, the oil will be there. This took all the excess energy I had so following this, I went back to my little living space to make a glass of Inka and catch my breath.While enjoying the Inka, the phone rang and it was a call from an old monastery visitor who now lives in the Kootenays with her husband. She wanted to let me know that several monastery acquaintances had died recently and she also wanted to pass along to me the email address of a priest I had known but lost touch with when my computer crashed several years ago. She and her husband live in isolation on a large piece of land with their “dream home”, so are quite content to be in a place that is not only safe but beautiful.
18 NOVEMBER, 2020 Rain, rain and more rain seems to be the story of today at the monastery. Since it was not possible to venture outside, it seemed like today would be another good day to do a bit of cleaning. As well, I made oatmeal but instead of using milk, used coconut milk and chopped bananas and sprinkled a few pumpkin and sunflower seeds into the mix to make it more healthy and interesting. This was all washed down with a tall glass of Inka.
17 NOVEMBER, 2020 Another day here at the monastery with mixed weather. Part of the time it was sunny and part of the time it was overcast with clouds and rain. At certain periods there was a good amount of wind so I went out onto the balcony to check and was surprised to find that it was not cold but rather quite comfortable. There were so many trains coming and going so I tried to take a few photos of them. Several times the trains were the kind of cargo trains that carry shipping containers, at other times they were made up mostly of tankers carrying liquid cargo, all quite interesting. I did venture next door for 5 minutes in order to check because I understood that we now had a new container of canola oil, for the lampada of the Theotokos. I grabbed my mask and walking stick, put a scarf around my neck and made my way next door and into the kitchen. Sure enough, there was the new container of canola oil, which had not yet been opened. I also checked in the church to see if our oil bottles were still there but these were gone. As a result, tomorrow I shall go into the kitchen with two new bottles and will fill them with canola oil, then will refill the lampada and light it so that once more we will have the acknowledgement of the love and protection which our Mother offers not only to Canada but to all those who are worthy of it.
16 NOVEMBER, 2020. Today was overcast and quite wet here at the monastery. I did manage to work on an icon since all it requires physically is to sit in a chair and hold a brush. My hands have become quite red and rough due to constantly washing them and using hand sanitizer. I have a tube of green tea lotion so put some of this on my hands and it has helped take the soreness away, though my hands are still rough and red, as though they had been sunburned. I did some vacuuming and have decided to do a little cleaning each day, so that it is not too exhausting but also so that it is not neglected.
15 NOVEMBER, 2020. Sunday and the day began with sunshine and milder weather. Once again, I was not feeling well enough to stand for any length of time so read prayers in my little icon corner while the Liturgy was being served by Archbishop Lazar and Father Shio. It remained sunny until afternoon when it once again became overcast and cooler. In the morning I took a few pictures of the beautiful rock formation just outside my window. Then in the afternoon, I took a photo of a leafless tree which is full of eagles who were continually circling the area, probably looking for fish. They would fly very high and make elegant circles, then suddenly swoop down and then up, in a “V” formation. I counted nine eagles, plus some other good size bird which I did not recognize. A number of people sent food to me so I’ll have enough to last most of the week. One of the items that came was a sheaf of garlic, which I was thrilled to receive. It has long been a habit of mine to eat garlic every day. I had stopped doing it for a while but it is a habit hat I am happy to have restored.
14 NOVEMBER, 2020. There was a good deal of activity today at the monastery. For the first time, I went outdoors and to the big church to see if anything had changed. It seems that Sorin and one of his Romanian friends, were working on installing cameras both inside the church and outside the church. If I understand the information correctly, the interior cameras are to make the Zoom broadcasts easier; with the camera in the church, all that needs to be done is flip a switch and everything is ready. With this all in place, it will be possible to broadcast church services for people who are at home or any where that they have computer access. That means that if you are camping and have your laptop computer, you can access services if they are on Zoom. Today the snow on the mountain facing the monastery is completely melted. This day doesn’t feel very warm so the melted snow was a surprise. Further down the valley, toward Agassiz and Chilliwack, the mountains seem to have more snow and are quite beautiful. I haven’t checked the weather reports for this week but it would not be a surprise if it got colder or if we had snow.
13 NOVEMBER, 2020. Today it is quite cold at the monastery. Thankfully, I have the little wood burning stove prepared just for the occasion. It has the starter material as well as several “logs” which are made to clean away the build up of tar and resins in the chimney. There is a stack of nicely dried wood to make a warm and healthy fire for when it becomes cold weather. For a short while, the sun came out and it was quite beautiful, almost golden, but then it faded away and the silver and grey clouds once again took over. There is a gentle breeze blowing outside my window I see the leaves on some of the trees, trembling in the cold. Other branches which have no leaves are simply unmoving.
12 NOVEMBER, 2020. Another grey and overcast day. There is still snow on the mountain directly facing the monastery. Looking toward Chilliwack, the mountains are more rugged and have been capped by snow so remind one of the Alps. Andy was kind enough to return the library books which I had checked out before going into the hospital in Abbotsford, which means they were long overdue. It actually makes me uncomfortable to have library books overdue or to owe a fine, so I try to return them on time and make sure to keep all fines at bay. We have an excellent library system and I don’t like to see it being abused by anyone, including myself. This afternoon I had an interesting meal which was a large salad, as you know, I love salads of all kinds. Along with the salad, I had frozen a cup of cream of broccoli soup which was delicious, as well as healthy. Dessert was a large, tasty orange bell pepper. Great way to end a meal.
11 NOVEMBER, 2020. With today being a public holiday, things here at the monastery were fairly quiet. Although I am still in isolation, it is possible to see people coming and going through the front entrance. Received a note from my nephew who has been elected Mayor of his little town in Kansas. Tomorrow they are having their first meeting of all the local town Mayors, through the uses of Zoom. This evening, I had a glass of sauerkraut juice which was quite nice. The only drawback is that since it has a lot of salt, then I was quite thirsty after the sauerkraut juice. This is the German style sauerkraut which I don’t like as much as the Russian style sauerkraut but both kinds have many health benefits.
09 NOVEMBER, 2020 This day has been rather gloomy and a bit chilly. I started to do a bit of cleaning though I have to be careful not to over do it. Since one of the things I am supposed to do is “walk around”, I thought that mixing walking with cleaning would be a good idea. I cleaned all the doorknobs and washed around the light switches. Then I had to think about the places I touch physically, such as the sink, the refrigerator, the cell phone, and so on. These I cleaned with handy wipes and some I sprayed with green spray cleaner. This was about all I could do for one day but it felt good to be able to do even this little bit. I did managed to tie up the trash and put another into the trash bin, thanks to the trash bags that Andy brought over. This means I deserve a break sooooo, made a large glass of Inka and am going to eat some garlic with it. Hmm, now I am thinking about how to make garlic toast?!
08 NOVEMBER, 2020. Today is another sunny and rather pleasant day. It is becoming windy so it isn’t sure that this means further and stronger winds or if this is just the weather for today? No matter, I am enjoying looking out the window, watching the branches do their “autumn dance” to the tune of the winds blowing up the valley. It seems a bit strange to me that some of the trees are still covered with leaves while others have branches completely bare. Also, I haven’t noticed any birds so am wondering if they have left for warmer areas or if they are just not any where near where I can see them. I was thinking of this because when in the isolation ward in Abbotsford, there were a number of birds in the trees of the little park which was just outside the window in my room. Here at the monastery the whole area is much larger than the hospital park but I haven’t seen one bird today. I think that I’ll sign off and have another of those pastries with the raspberry and chocolate filling, and a large, hot glass of Inka with milk.
06 NOVEMBER, 2020. Although I am still on voluntary isolation, again the phone has been ringing and people have been requesting information about services and so on, which I let them know should be spoken to with Fr Markel. Today was quite sunny and warm soooo, my trusty camera and I got a few shots of the outside world, though only through the windows. I tried to get a photo of the trains passing by since with the trees having less leaves, more can be seen of the fields and across the fields. Even though I am still weak from the hospital experience, I am getting a bit stronger each day. One thing is that I have been drinking more fruit juice as well as my beloved Inka. In fact, this morning was begun with a bowl of instant oatmeal, two cloves of garlic and a large glass of Inka. Today I was thinking of all the people who work in the hospital and especially all those who were working with me, just wondering how they are doing and thinking how great it is that they can offer such excellent and caring service to those who are ill. I especially was thinking about one covid nurse who worked with me in icu, who is interested in and studying the writings of Saint Gregory Palamas. She and I had some excellent talks while she was my acting night nurse. So much for ramblings from the diary and the excellent photographs showing the beautiful day.
05 NOVEMBER, 2020. Although I am housebound due to self-isolation, that doesn’t mean doing nothing. For one thing, there were many phone calls today, from a number of places, and oddly, several of them were requests to speak with Vladika Varlaam. Several others were requests for information on services and if or when these would be held. I was also pleased to receive a call from the Fraser Valley Health unit; they were doing a check up and said they would call once a week. They are also going to check their computer system to find the results of my last covid test since I’ve not yet heard the results.
01 NOVEMBER, 2020.
Today was a rather quiet Sunday since I am on voluntary isolation. A number of people sent hand soap and other cleaning fluids which I sorely needed. A basket of fresh vegetables came in the afternoon and I plan to attempt making a salad or just eating the vegetables raw.It does feel a bit strange to be back at the monastery. Even though I was not away that long, the daily hospital routine and therapies seem to have drilled their way into my head and now I am having to readjust all over again.The new medications are taking some getting used to so hope this adjustment doesn’t last long.I will try to write a daily diary though don’t know how interesting it will be. Any way, that is all for now.
31 October, 2020
As you may have heard, I was hospitalized in Abbotsford on 10 October where it was necessary to undergo some rather daunting therapies. I was immediately admitted into the Intensive Care Unit where respiratory therapy and physiotherapy as well as a number of drug therapies were begun. I have to say that the most difficult was the respiratory therapy which was most uncomfortable and unpleasant for the first 4 days. After this, my body seemed to ease into the process and it became easier. The staff I have to say were wonderful. They tried to make me feel as “at home” as possible and did all they could to make me comfortable, in an uncomfortable situation.Upon completion of the therapy, I was then moved to the covid ward which has both positive and negative patients. This is an isolation ward so I was put into a room with two doors which sealed the room from outside influence. Thankfully, my room had an outside window so that I could view the parking lot and little park which had a number of birds in residence. Since I was a positive patient, I could only be served by covid doctors or nurses or nursing assistants. This emphasized the isolation aspect of the experience but I slowly adjusted to it. Again, the staff were wonderful and tried to make me as comfortable as possible within the limits of what was allowed.Yesterday, Andy came to Abbotsford to collect me and stop on the way to pick up a few other medications (I was not allowed to go into the store because I am on self-isolation). Now I am back at the monastery and attempting to rest and recover because I am still physically a bit weak. I did want to thank everyone for their prayers and let them know that even though I had to do it in an abbreviated version, on Saturdays, I did recite the Pannikhida, which I do every Saturday and on Sunday I recited the Moleben to the best of my ability since I was having to deal with the therapy and trying to get better. Any way, we all remembered one another and this is great to know.That is all for now so I shall sign off.
Daily Diary for 5 October, 2020
Another peaceful day has come to a close. It began as usual, with the reading of the memorial prayers, then the reading of a Moleben. Next, I checked my emails and received a note from my nephew to inform me that another family member had died (most of my family live in Missouri and California). Next, it was necessary to call the pharmacy to check whether or not my new prescription was ready to collect. Andy and I drove into town and the pharmacy had everything already to go so all that I had to do was show my i.d., then collect the bag with the prescription. I appreciate the simplicity and ease of the process.
Daily Diary for 4 October, 2020
Once again, a busy Sunday, And one that was a little more difficult. Because of illness, Father Markel, the altar servers and most of the readers were unable to attend. Vladika Lazar was left to serve alone, which was very difficult for him.. Since we had a number of key servers unable to attend , it was necessary to make a few adjustments to the service. Following the reading of the Hours, the Liturgy began and went smoothly, with a good number of people in attendance. Fortunately, Sasha was here and also Andrei and a bit late in the service they arrived and began to help Archbishop Lazar during the Liturgy.I had to give holy Communion because Vladika Lazar is physically unable to do that. Irenee (Brad) Jersak and Fr Moses were the chanters for the Liturgy and the memorial which followed, which the Archbishop was able to serve..After the completion of a full Pannikhida, there was a reception in the big hall, where there was a lot of room for people to eat, relax and simply be together, while observing restrictions on social gatherings.