The monasteries we visited

Thank you! To everyone who attended our summer series of virtual visits to monasteries; to our wonderful speakers who shared their experiences so freely; to those who generously donated; and to those who have watched the recordings of the sessions they could not attend (available here). With a top-up donation from the Fellowship, each monastery we featured will receive £425 towards their life and work.

And thank you to everyone who completed our feedback questionnaire. There was a clear wish to have some more sessions that people could join. We are currently working on the precise programme, but here is advance notice that we will be holding a winter series of virtual visits to saints and holy places. Look out for more details and registration on the website!

As we face changing restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, please remember we have some resources collected together for you. If have something you would like us to add to the list, let us know in the comments!

Lebanon and the monastic revival

In our final virtual visit, this week we will be considering the monastic revival in Lebanon in two locations, Kaftoun and Hamatoura. Our guide will be Amal Morcos who wrote her Master’s Thesis on the revival of monasticism in the Church of Antioch.

Thursday 3 September, 19:00 BST (7pm UK time).*

Register for Zoom details (if you have not done so already) on our dedicated web page, which also has links to the recordings of previous sessions.

Come and See!

* Time zones: For those joining from the US: 2pm EDT; 1pm CDT; 12pm MDT; 11am PDT. Check out the time zone converter if you need it.

Monasticism in the New World!

In this week’s virtual visit, we will be guided around Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, USA. And even though it will be geographically placed in the New World, there are links back to Europe. Well-known in the US, the monastery deserves to be better known in the UK! Mother Seraphima, choir director at the monastery, will be our guide.

Come and join us on Thursday 27 August, 19:00 BST (7pm UK time)!*

Register for Zoom details (if you have not done so already) on our dedicated web page, which also has links to the recordings of previous sessions.

* Time zones: For those joining from the US: 2pm EDT; 1pm CDT; 12pm MDT; 11am PDT. Check out the time zone converter if you need it.

Autumn colours at Transfiguration Monastery

What are you up to on Thursday?

This is a reminder that we are in the middle of our six virtual visits to monasteries around the world, taking place on Zoom each Thursday evening at 19:00 (7pm UK time).

To get the login details if you have not done so already, please register on our dedicated page. You will also find links to recordings of the sessions there (some have been edited).

We still have some great places to visit:

  • 13 August: Putna Monastery, Romania
  • 20 August: Optina Monastery, Russia
  • 27 August: Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, USA
  • 3 September: Kaftoun and Hamatoura Monasteries, Lebanon

Come and see!

Photo by Geboiu Dumitru Mihai, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA

Visit monasteries virtually with us!

Last week the Fellowship’s summer series of virtual visits to monasteries began with a session on Holy Dormition St Nicholas-St Basil Monastery in Nikolskoe, Donetsk Region in Ukraine.

This week on Thursday 6 August, join professional storyteller Anna Conomos for a visit to Annunciation Monastery, Ormylia, Greece. Discover for yourself why this place is so special by attending: register for Zoom details on our dedicated page.

If you cannot join us on the day, we hope to post a recording shortly after the session. Come and see!

Online series on monasteries

Since we have not been able to hold our usual summer conference, the Fellowship committee have planned a six week series of presentations about different monasteries around the world. We are so excited to share the history, spiritual life and the work of these wonderful, holy places!

These will be held on Thursday evenings at 19:00 BST (London time), 30 July-3 September on Zoom, and if you can’t make the date for any reason, we hope to eventually make recordings available on the website.

If you would like to attend these sessions, please register on our dedicated page. Come and see!

And don’t forget that we also have a page with other resources, including spiritual talks and live streamed services.

Fellowship news: resources for you

Fellowship activities have been affected like everyone else in this time of uncertainty. We have compiled a list of resources for your use: live streamed services, talks and sermons, other information and even events. Please take a look and we hope this will be helpful. It is not an exhaustive list so you can make suggestions for additions by emailing us.

We have limited stock remaining of our 2020 Calendar and Lectionary, now reduced to £4 per copy including postage. While you are at home, this might be a useful resource to keep up with daily readings, if you do not have other means. You can ask for a copy via the contact form on our calendar page.

We are also thinking about future Fellowship events. There will be no summer conference this year, and how we hold events over the next months and years may need to be different. For example, our popular annual Youth Festival was due to be the usual residential event at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex, the place where St Cedd built a monastery. The youth committee was able to change the format to an online conference, with more people able to participate than ever: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Australia, USA, Georgia, Romania, Russia and more. It may be that the Festival and other events continue to incorporate an online element, even when we can meet in person again.

God bless you and keep you in these testing times.

God permits tribulations and adversities to befall people – even the saintly – so that they may persist in humility. But if we harden our hearts against adversities and tribulations, he also hardens these tribulations against us. On the other hand, if we accept them in humility and with a contrite heart, God will mingle tribulation with mercy.

St Isaac the Syrian
Fresco of St John the Baptist, Optina Monastery, Russia

Can you help the Fellowship?

Could you give your time to help us?For over 40 years the Fellowship has been organising conferences and publishing calendars, directories and its journal. More recently we have added the youth festival to our events. We send information to members and manage our funds in accordance with charity law. We respond to current issues in the Church and try to keep our website and social media up to date! All of these things require time, some require some skill – and we would love to have more of both on the team!

This Lent, please consider whether you could give some time to the Fellowship to help build up our strength. The more people we have, the less you might have to do! There are many opportunities. You could join the committee and help the direction of the Fellowship, or you could just take in a specific task. All help welcome!

Please contact us if you are interested in helping, either through the comments below or email OFSJBDirectory@gmail.com.

God bless you and give you strength this Lent!

Time for truth!

news15ba23bd5a07dfb6bfc4120213f5781b2020 Study Weekend Application

There is still time to apply to attend the Fellowship Study Weekend, 21-23 February 2020 at the Orthodox Parish of St Dunstan in Poole.

Truth in the Face of Heresy: Spiritual Life in the Witness of St Irenaeus of Lyons

St Irenaeus wrote a work which stands up for Truth in the face of falsehoods which surreounded him, called Against Heresies. What can we learn from his work and his life? How can we defend truth in the modern age?

Come and learn about one of the great Fathers of the Church, St Irenaeus of Lyons, the spiritual son of St Polycarp of Smyrna, and therefore a spiritual grandson of  St John the Theologian, the beloved disciple. Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe will lead the weekend, is an expert on St Irenaeus and is an excellent speaker.

This will be a thought-provoking, spiritual and educational prelude to the Great Fast. Use the application form linked in this post to apply! Just £50 to attend the talks and meals; you will need to arrange your own accommodation, but there are lots of affordable places in Poole and Bournemouth. If you will struggle with the attendance fee, please contact the organiser, Father Alexander Haig (contact details in the application form).

We hope to see you there!

Study weekend on St Irenaeus of Lyons

We are delighted that Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe will lead the Fellowship’s next study weekend, organised and hosted by the Orthodox Parish of St Dunstan in Poole. Bishop Irenei has spoken at Fellowship events when he was previously in the UK, and we are very grateful that he has agreed to come and speak again.

Truth in the Face of Heresy: Spiritual Life in the Witness of St Irenaeus of Lyons

21-23 February 2020, with services at St Dunstan’s as well as the talks.

If you would like to come along and find out more about this wonderful saint of the Western Church, please complete the attached application form.  £50 per participant, but please contact us if you will need some financial help to attend.  Accommodation should be booked by participants separately, but Poole has many hotels and guesthouses to choose from.

Come and see!

2020 Study Weekend Application