Since there was a gentle rain through much of the night, and Davey’s bobcat clearing the parking area, no one had trouble driving in or out of the monastery grounds.  I was pleased with the attendance in church  with a few new faces appearing.  At the end of the Liturgy we read the prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, after which the life of Saint Theodora was read from the priceless volume that was given to the monastery not long ago.  It is Volume Two of the four volumes of the lives of saints printed in the first half of the seventeenth century during the reign of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, the first of the Romanov tsars.  A pious man gave it to us and we treasure it as one of our great possessions. I spoke of the meaning of the Sunday of Orthodoxy when we speak of the restoration of the veneration of holy icons, but I added that we must be engaged in the restoration of Orthodox piety free from the influences of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.  How many thousands of people listened to the lives of saints being read from this volume over the many centuries and today we were united  with these faithful.  With tearful eyes, many told me that it was the first time this particular feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy had any significance for them as they listened to Reader Dmitry reading in Old Church Slavonic.  The presence of some Russian Old Believers underlined the significance of this ancient volume.

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