The following is an online version of Holy Resurrection Monastery's introductory brochure issued just after the Monastery opened, and before it had its own website.  The community has grown and developed, was transferred under the omophorion of His Grace, Bishop John Michael Botean, and after contemplating a move to the Northeastern United States, are now still discerning their future location in the desert vastness of California thanks to  assistance from local fellow monks.  While the following  document is still a valid reflection of the Monastery's original goals, we recommend that you also visit their own new website at http://www.hrmonline.org

We have had the opportunity to pray with and to get to know Igumen Nicholas and several of his monks at some of the Orientale Lumen conferences, and treasure their friendship.  The Society of St. John Chrysostom supports their efforts and prays for them to receive bountiful blessings from Our Lord in support of their much needed work on behalf of His Church and all of us sinners.

 

HOLY RESURRECTION MONASTERY

Newberry Springs, California

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Who are you?

 

We are a small, fledgling community dedicated to the life of traditional Byzantine monasticism. We came together in early 1995, and were officially received under the holy Omofor (Jurisdiction) of Bishop George (Kuzma), Eparch of Van Nuys (Byzantine Catholic Church) in August of that year. (In the year 2005, the monastery was transferred to the Romanian Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of St. George, Canton, OH, in order to pursue more faithfully the goal of authentic Byzantine monasticism under the care of Bishop john Michael Botean.  Please visit the monastery's official site at http://www.hrmonline.org)

 

Mother of God "Searcher for the Lost"
Patroness of Holy Resurrection Monastery

Canonically we are a Public Association of the Christian Faithful. Spiritually and materially we are a monastic community in formation, struggling daily to be true to the ideals of Byzantine monasticism in modern day America.

In October of 1995 we completed negotiations to purchase our present home in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. We are now living in our small Monastery in Newberry Springs, near Barstow, CA, about three hours drive from both Los Angeles (to our west) and Las Vegas (to our east). We are blessed to have a lovely garden, pictured below:

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What is the Byzantine Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church is actually a communion of 22 particular Churches, all in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Our particular Church entered into this communion in 1646 when a large number of Eastern Christians within the ancient diocese of Mukachevo (modern day southern Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary) adopted what we call today the "Union of Uzhorod." The reasons were partly religious and partly political.

In the 19th century several hundred thousand of these "Ruthenian" Christians migrated to the United States and established themselves here. In the century since this large scale migration, our Church has put down deep roots into American culture, and now sees itself as a truly American  Church. For several decades now we have used English as our primary liturgical language.

Of course, in entering into communion with Rome our Church had to sever communion with our mother Church, the Great Church of Constantinople. Today the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are pursuing better, more positive ways of restoring communion between them. Proselytism by either Church of the other's faithful is regarded as contrary to the Gospel of unity, and to the reality that each is truly part of the one Body of Christ as "sister Churches". For our part, we seek to recover full communion by all means possible, so that, as Christ prayed to His Father, "all may be one" (John, 17:22).


What is Byzantine Monasticism?

Describing the earliest monks of Egypt St. Athanasius the Great (d.373) wrote in his Life of St Anthony:

"And truly it was like a land apart, a land of piety and justice. For there was neither wrong-doer or sufferer of wrong... but a multitude of ascetics, all with one set purpose--virtue."

In the Eastern Christian tradition, monasticism was seen very simply as the life of the Gospel lived fully. In the Christian Orient, monasticism has been seen as the normal state of life, proper to all the faithful through baptism. It is normal, not in the sense that most people live it, but in the sense that it involves the accepting on earth of the life of eternity, the life of the angels, the life toward which the whole Church is proceeding in time until the fulfillment of all things in the parousia, the coming again of Christ. Said the anonymous author of the 4th century History of the Monks of Egypt:

"With them there is no solicitude, no anxiety for food and clothing. There is only the expectation of the coming of Christ in the singing of hymns. "

It is impossible, of course, to live the angelic life without grace. So it is in the mystical, sacramental life of the Church that the monk is truly at home. The monk's goal is the sanctification of ordinary life by the saturating outpouring of Divine Life in the Holy Spirit, from the Father through Christ.

In practical terms the monastic life begins and ends in the Church, in the sacramental life of her mysteries, in her daily services and above all in the Divine Liturgy (Mass).

We are blessed to have a monastic chapel in which we glorify the Trinity (and in this photo we see our Igumen, Father Nicholas):

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This mystical life of prayer must also be embodied in the ordinary things of daily life. In this the Byzantine monastic has all of Holy Scripture as his or her guide, and especially the Gospels. Our one "work" is to live the Gospel, to incarnate it on every level of our lives. Our ideal can be summarized in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5: 2-12) and in the command to "rejoice always and pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5: 16-17).

In our Byzantine tradition the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are seen as the means by which the monk may organize his life so as to incarnate the Gospel. In striving to organize his or her life solely for the pursuit of human perfection, the monk or nun can become a living icon of Christ in His divine, incarnate perfection. By giving the Church the charism of monasticism, the Holy Spirit demonstrates for all Christians that the life of the Gospel is real in every sense, real and worth striving for.

We value silence, because those who are truly poor in spirit love their own silence and emptiness in which there is room for the fullness of God's presence. Silence is also indispensable for those who try to pray ceaselessly. The ascetic disciplines of fasting and penance, and the apostolic functions such as hospitality and alms-giving are all ordered to reveal in monastic life the total abandonment to the God of the Beatitudes.

Unlike religious life in the West, Eastern monasticism has never branched out into different traditions based on the particular charisms of the founders of religious orders. Much veneration is, of course, due to the monastic writings of St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Theodore the Studite and other Fathers and Mothers of the Church, and to various monastic Typica ("Rules").

Yet Eastern monks have always been linked by the idea that their first founding document is nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, interpreted through Holy Tradition. When we look for "rules" and "constitutions" we first turn, not to legal documents, but to real people, to the perfect peace and justice of the first Church of Jerusalem (see Acts, 2: 41-47 & 4: 32-35), the perfect, loving obedience of the All Holy Mother of God (Luke 1: 38), and to the lives of our heroic monastic fathers and mothers.


So, what do you do?

We pray. This is primary. Our first and central work is the liturgical prayer of the Church, surrounded by and linked with our personal prayer and asceticism.

MONASTERY SCHEDULE

WEEKDAYS

First symandron sounded 4.45 a.m.

Mesonycticon ("Midnight Office") 5.00 a.m.

Private prayer rule 5.45 a.m.

Matins & First Hour 6.30 a.m.

Breakfast taken individually in trapeza 8.00 a.m.

Community meetings (monks only) on Mondays & Thursdays 8.30 a.m.

Morning work period 8.30 a.m.

Third & Sixth Hours (duty monk) 11.30 a.m.

Lunch with readings 12.00 p.m.

Cell time (rest, reading & prayer) 12.30 p.m.

Afternoon work period 2.30 p.m.

Ninth Hour & Vespers 6.00 p.m.

Evening meal & recreation 7.00 p.m.

Small Compline 8.00 p.m.

Silence from Compline until after Matins the following day.

SATURDAYS & FEASTS

First symandron sounded 4.45 a.m.

Matins & First Hour 5.00 a.m.

Private prayer rule 6.30 a.m.

Divine Liturgy (Small Panachyda on Saturdays) 7.15 a.m.

Breakfast taken individually in trapeza 8.30 a.m.

Morning work period 8.45 a.m.

Third & Sixth Hours (duty monk) 11.30 a.m.

Lunch with readings 12.00 p.m.

Cell time (rest, reading & prayer) 12.30 p.m.

Afternoon work period 2.30 p.m.

Ninth Hour & Great Vespers 6.00 p.m.

Evening meal & recreation 7.00 p.m.

Moleben (or Compline on Feasts) 8.30 p.m.

SUNDAYS & THE GREAT FEASTS

First symandron sounded 6.15 a.m.

Matins & First Hour 6.30 a.m.

Third & Sixth Hours (duty monk) 9.40 a.m.

Divine Liturgy 10.00 a.m.

Potluck lunch/social 11.30 a.m.

Afternoon rest and recreation 12.30 p.m.

Ninth Hour & Vespers 6.00 p.m.

Evening meal & recreation 7.00 p.m.

Small Compline 8.00 p.m.

(Our schedule changes during Great Lent and at other times of the year. If you are planning a visit to coincide with one of our services, please call ahead to make sure of our schedule on that day!)

We also take time each week to pray at least one Moleben for the living and one Panachyda for the dead, remembering those people for whom our prayers have been especially asked.


Next to prayer comes our adherence to the ascetic discipline of fasting. We try to maintain the traditional Byzantine fasts as they fall on the calendar, and to abstain from meat and dairy products on Wednesdays and Fridays through the year.

In asceticism we definitely try to follow a middle way, as befitting our humble position as monastics in formation.  Perfection is our goal, and we always fall far short, and rely on the mercy of our Lord.

After prayer and fasting, we count our next labor as the common life! In striving for a life of charity and self-sacrifice for the brothers we witness Christ's kenosis, His self-emptying-love both in our own lives, and to the whole world.

Hospitality is the logical extension of community life. Our aim is to receive every guest as well as we can, "for in such a way have many entertained angels unawares" (Heb. 13: 2). We try to offer a place of prayer and retreat for those who want it, together with Christian companionship, rest and food within the limits of our life and means.

Finally, we have to look after the physical goods entrusted to our stewardship by the Almighty. We have to maintain our garden and buildings in the harsh desert environment. We have to cook, clean, answer mail, and so on. Below see photos of Brother Moses in our tiny kitchen and Brother Basil in work clothes in the monastery workshop:

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How do you support yourselves ?

To ensure our financial viability we are prepared to experiment with small businesses compatible with our life. Our first venture involves the sale of a specialist breed of horse, called the Caspian, in an arrangement with the Poor Clare nuns of the Monastery of St. Clare in Brenham, Texas.

We also obtain some financial return from guest donations. We hope, in the future, to be able to run a small icon and book store on the Monastery property. (And since this brochure was written, it seems like this has become a reality---see below for photo of Brother Maximos in The Gift Shop!):

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We do not, however, anticipate being able to carry out all our plans for the future development of our property from the proceeds of a business. We will continue to rely, as we have since the beginning, on the providence of our Heavenly Father and the generosity of our fellow Christians. We constantly remember our benefactors in the Divine Liturgy and other services.

How many of you are priests?

We are not a "clerical" institution. Men join us to be monks, and then to carry out whatever obedience the Hegumen (abbot) and community decide. Sometimes this may include ordination as a deacon or priest, depending on the needs of the community and the consent of the Bishop. At the moment our only priest is the Hegumen, Father Nicholas.

Vocations enquiries

These should be directed to the Hegumen, Father Nicholas. Normally a Byzantine monk remains a novice for three years before presenting for tonsure as a full monk. The novitiate, is seen as a very serious moral undertaking to proceed in monastic life, though legally the novice may leave at any time. For this reason we require most prospective vocations to undergo a period as a postulant for between 6 months and a year.

Retreat and accommodation enquiries

Please write or call the Guest Master or the Hegumen. We have a limited amount of space for overnight guests, so it would be wise to provide as much notice as possible. However, there are many good, inexpensive hotels in Barstow, CA (30 minutes drive from us). Also, we do have some space for those who wish to camp or park RVs on our property for short periods.

The nearest airports are Las Vegas, NV and Ontario, CA. Both are approximately 2 to 2 & 1/2 hours drive from us. Amtrak runs to Barstow, as do many bus lines. We are also easy to reach by car.

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Holy Resurrection Monastery

45704 Valley Center Road,

Newberry Springs,
CA 92365

U. S. A.

PH: (760) 257-4008,
FAX: (760) 257-3362

Official Homepage

e-mail: monkmax@mscomm.com

 

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