Monastery life. Daily Diary of f. Moses. 2

7 AUGUST, 2022 This Sunday has proved to be another hot day in a series of hot days. Even so, the daily services were conducted and people attended, though it was noticeable that many of them had improvised fans to lessen the shock of the heat. Following the completion of the Liturgy, Archbishop Lazar served a Pannikhida which was attended by a smaller group of people. After the service was ended, we then had lunch in the hall, though it was obvious that people were feeling the heat and almost everyone left early.

6 AUGUST, 2022 Well, today the hot and humid weather have returned to the monastery. David came early this morning and he and Andy have been again working in the fields, watering, mowing and doing other kinds of work, so are having a very long and exhausting day. Kirill came over a little bit after noon and we spent some time discussing a few things before it was time to begin preparing for the evening Vesper service. Kirill kindly volunteered to go over an hour early in order to fix the lampadas and get the coffee maker ready for me. We had the Vesper service in the hot and uncomfortable church. After the Vesper service, Kirill refilled the Holy Water containers while I set up the service books for tomorrow and put the coffee into the coffee maker, also for tomorrow. I completed the repairs on a number of garments and now am planning to make a couple of repairs to a set of curtains that someone gave a couple weeks ago.

4 AUGUST, 2022 Today it was cloudy and raining, which also meant that it was very cool and wet. Kirill is still here and helping me to sort a few things. There is no internet, which also means the computer is down and no work can be done on the computer. As a result, I am working on some serious sewing projects, which include the lengthening of sleeves and the removal of unnecessary pockets from several of my pieces of clothing. With it being cloudy and overcast, it has been necessary to use an extendable lamp which shines the light directly onto whatever project is being worked upon; in this case, several pieces of clothing. Since we still have electricity, in spite of the rain and clouds, Kirill is busy cleaning, a lot. The rain finally stopped in the evening which has allowed the N.A. people to meet in the parking area, with a fire in the little fire pit. For the first time in three weeks, Vladika Lazar was well enough to attend the meeting. Kirill left just as the meeting began and I am finishing work on the sleeves of the last garment. It feels good to complete a long anticipated project.

1 AUGUST, 2022 Today was still a hot day but noticeably just a bit cooler. Even though today is a public holiday, David was here working with Andy and they both accomplished an enormous amount of work. They mowed the field and cleared away lots and lots of blackberry plants as well as horrendous amounts of weeds. Then they both worked on the areas where a variety of grains are planted and growing and in need of watering, weeding. All of this began in the early morning and continued until very late afternoon/evening. Liudmila was also here, working on the removal of large weeds surrounding the garden at Archbishop Lazar’s little cottage. For everyone involved, it was a hot and sticky and unpleasant task but one that we are very much grateful that they are willing and able to accomplish. Later in the evening, we were also surprised by a visit from Oleg, Igor and Elena who were passing by the monastery on their way home. We had tea and gathered in the kitchen for a chat before they continued on their way home.

31 JULY, 2022 I am not sure what the temperature was today but it was again uncomfortable in the church. Following the Liturgy we had a Pannikhida and Igor brought one of the fans to help cool the area but to be honest, I don’t think it helped at all. Many of the people left even before the Pannikhida began but those left, joined together in the big hall for lunch. The hall was considerably cooler so that people were able to have a quiet lunch together and not suffer too much from the heat. Thankfully, this hot period lasts for only a few short weeks so we do have a respite from the heat, to look forward to. Vladika Lazar was not present for the liturgy because the homecare nurse had instructed him not to leave the house because of the heat, but to remain in front of the fans in his “pusteen.” This was a warning to everyone over 75, and especially those in their 80s.

30 JULY, 2022 An interesting but still very hot and uncomfortable day. We had Vespers with the doors wide open, the windows also open and still it was super hot. I honestly thought that I was going to pass out from the heat but Kirill also thought of providing a large container of water, which was used throughout the service. We managed to make it all the way through but as soon as the service was ended, we left for a cooler area.

23 JULY, 2022 What a busy day today has turned out to be. All day was spent in church, beginning at 11 with a baptism. My godson, Thomas, and his wife, Suneet, have had their first child, a cute little girl. As you all know, I am terrible with names so won’t try to write it but she is named in honour of Saint Adelaide, which is also the name of Thomas’ grandmother. Any way, we had the baptism, which was attended by a good size group of family members who pleased me very much by their respectful attendance and behaviour during the baptismal service. I mention this because often the people who attend baptisms, are more concerned with getting good photos, rather than what the service means or how they are disrupting the service by taking photos at inappropriate times and getting in the way of those performing the baptism. Following the service, a reception was presented in the hall, with a good deal of food and drink (no alcohol) and pleasant time spent in conversation with various members of the family. This was an excellent time to talk with Fr John and Matushka Anna and catch up on news of the parish life in Moose Jaw. After everyone left, we had a short time to rest and then it was time for the Vesper service which was attended by a few people. Following the Vesper service, we had a full Pannikhida, in spite of the discomfort of the church temperature. Then there was a nice meal in the hall, next to the kitchen, with a delicious shredded cabbage salad, fish sticks, someone brought a roasted chicken, and we had a selection of cheese and, surprise of surprises, there were 2 tacos, one of which I ate with joy. This was a true taco, made with soft corn tortilla and filled with several kinds of beans, avocado and lettuce. It had been grilled to perfection so was a welcome treat for the palate! This was the end of the long day and now we are preparing for another long day, tomorrow.

18 JULY, 2022 What an interesting day today has proved to be. Again, it was hot, sticky and a little uncomfortable. Even so, there were a few adventures to be had. Kirill came on Sunday afternoon and stayed over night so that he could be here all day today. As all of you know, I am totally against the celebration or remembrance of birthdays because I choose to remember Saint’s Days, which is the traditional form of celebration. In spite of this, Kirill was here to remember Vl.Varlaam’s birthday and in his honour, we walked to the restaurant in Dewdney, which used to be called Michael’s. We had excellent fish and chips and one of the best cheesecakes I believe I have ever eaten. We had water to drink but both Kirill and I thought that the water tasted a bit salty, though we couldn’t understand why. Instead of having coffee, we stuck with the water and had coffee when we returned to the monastery. It was a bit cool when we went for our walk so the walk wasn’t bad but it was difficult to walk all the way back; thankfully I had my walking stick which was helpful. On our return to the monastery, I took note of the large dandelions because I am using them now whenever making a salad, either raw or cooked.