June 29, 2013
The monastery is so beautiful and peaceful. It’s nice hearing the natural things of the world like running water and birds chirping. The nuns are very friendly and speak very good English. Although meat is not cooked here, the meals have been amazing.
It is really cool to experience the nuns’ daily life. The nuns are such kind-hearted and patient people. They inspire me to be more positive and helpful as well. It is nice to watch how caring and genuine they are. Human compassion like this is rare nowadays, so I’m blessed and very thankful for this experience.
Today’s liturgy service was new for me. It was very calming to hear the singing even though I could not understand what was being said. The church has an element of mystery to it with some of the guests being in a room outside the priest. I took a short nap today and now waiting for lunch to be served. I’m excited to see what it will be! Yesterday’s dinner was great. The vegetables come straight from the garden here. The eggplant, zucchini, and cucumbers are my favorite.
Now I am at a baptism. Baptisms are often held at this monastery. The baby’s entire family is here. It’s odd because I feel like I am a part of the family too. The baptism was a very different experience from what I am used to in my church. Children here are immersed into the baptismal pool and not sprinkled lightly with water. It was a very beautiful ceremony and really showed me the importance of family in the Orthodox community.
June 30, 2013
I am outside the church listening to the nuns sing for liturgy service. The sun is bright, and the sky is clear and blue. I hear water running from the bath on the church. I’ve finally understood why I love this place; it reminds of the towns I’ve seen in Biblical movies. Despite the modernization that has taken place, the monastery still has historical value. It’s just simply amazing.
The monastery collects the skulls and bones of deceased members after they have been buried for 7 years as it is an Orthodox tradition. This was very interesting to see on the tour of the monastery because there are hundreds of skulls of children and adults that date back to several centuries. I can only imagine the range of emotions the nuns feel when they dig up the bones of a loved one.