Archmandrite Luke with the two newly tonsured Rassaphore Monks, Fathers Lev and Angelos

An Exhortation to Newly-tonsured Monks

On the eve of Decem­ber 20th, 2016 (o.s.), the first day of the Forefeast of Nativ­i­ty and the feasts of St Ignatius the God-bear­er and St John of Kro­n­stadt, the abbot of Hoy Trin­i­ty Monastery Archi­man­drite Luke ton­sured two novices into the rank of ras­s­aphore monks. Fol­low­ing the ton­sure, Fr Luke greet­ed the new monks with this exhortation:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

Dear fathers, 

I con­grat­u­late you on receiv­ing the grace of the ton­sure into the rias­sa and the kamilav­ka. Stand fast, fathers, stand fast! Before you opens a ban­quet, a fes­tive ban­quet — that is, the ban­quet of monas­ti­cism. The Lord invites you to take part in that ban­quet and you must agree to that invi­ta­tion. You must come and take every­thing that the Lord offers you. We have all that is nec­es­sary for sal­va­tion in this monastery, but no one can force you. You need to come from your own free will and take what we offer.

Archimandrite Luke tonsuring Novice Angelos as a Rassaphore
Archi­man­drite Luke ton­sur­ing Novice Ange­los into the Riassa

We some­times say that our life is dif­fi­cult; we have suf­fer­ing, pain, prob­lems. How can this be when the Lord says, My yoke is easy and My bur­den is light (Mt. 11:30)? There is a con­tra­dic­tion here. And why is there a con­tra­dic­tion? I think it is because of  one sim­ple phrase: “We want!” We fre­quent­ly want what we should not want and even when we want what is good we do not want it in the right way.

So there­fore you have a chance to learn to desire those things that are good for you, that are good for your sal­va­tion. And what does the Lord want? He says very clear­ly. He says, “Man, give Me your heart !” (Prov. 23:26) How can we give the Lord our heart? To do this we need to — with all these prob­lems, which most­ly we cre­ate for our­selves —to come to him with the suf­fer­ings and the dif­fi­cul­ties, to hand them over to Him, and from the depths of our souls, cry out, “Help me! Help me! Take this bur­den from me. Your bur­den is lighter.”

We ask the prayers of the broth­er­hood, of the sem­i­nar­i­ans and of all of our wor­ship­pers tonight for the sal­va­tion of the souls of Fathers Lev and Angelos. 

Con­grat­u­la­tions! Save your­self in the Lord!

The above text was tran­scribed from audio and slight­ly edit­ed for read­abil­i­ty and to fit our edi­to­r­i­al style.