Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
Слава Ісусу Хрісту! Слава на віки!
Dearly Beloved in Christ
On October 24/November 6, we celebrated our first year anniversary of the official incorporation* of the Orthodox Catholic Monastery dedicated to Mary the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady Joy of All Who Sorrow, affectionately known as the Poustinia. In preparing to observe our national holiday of Thanksgiving, we pause to humbly give special thanks to God for the many blessings of the past year and to prayerfully contemplate our community’s spiritual direction and growth in the upcoming year.
As a vital part of American and Canadian national identity, Thanksgiving is the only non-church national holiday specifically dedicated to the glory of God. We consider the celebration of Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada to be one of the most fruitful steps toward blending Western culture with Eastern Orthodox praxis.
Prior to his election in 1917 as Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’, the Holy Hieromartyr and Confessor Saint Tikhon served as Bishop of the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America and became a naturalized United States citizen. St. Tikhon himself composed a Service for Thanksgiving and urged Orthodox Christians living in North America to liturgically adopt the Thanksgiving holiday into local praxis. The litanies of this service entreat a greater appreciation of Christ’s bounty and beneficence “that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful” and that we may serve God all the days of our life. Perhaps the saint’s own words best sum up his life and the message of the Thanksgiving holiday: “May God teach every one of us to strive for truth and for the good of the Holy Church, rather than for our own sake.”
On a personal note, please accept my deepest appreciation for each of you who have read this blog and have supported the monastery in any way. May God bless you and grant each of us a spirit of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!
*The Orthodox Catholic Monastery of Our Lady Joy of All Who Sorrow is a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit contemplative religious institution grounded in the Orthodox-Catholic Byzantine Rite tradition, located in the Village of Oxford, Michigan.