On the Sunday of the Holy Fathers in the beginning of June, a spontaneous little monastic gathering took place at our monastery Novi Stjenik. Along with our own spiritual father Bishop Akakije, we had the honor of hosting Archbishop Sophrony of Northern Russian and St. Petersburg and Abbess Amvrosia with her sisters, nuns of Portatissa Convent (Bulgaria).
The gathering commenced as was most appropriate, with a Holy Hierarchical Liturgy served by both bishops. A hierarchical liturgy is quite a rarity for our wilderness monastery and for us a great blessing. After the Liturgy, we enjoyed an agape meal together as usual.
We spent time together walking around the monastery grounds and in long spiritual talks. Bishop Sophrony is a man of great spiritual and life experience. He told us much about his monastery, monks and nuns, and their monastic life.
Three days passed in the blink of an eye. The third was the shortest, for soon we had to part. We were both sad and joyful; sad because we physically must separate, but joyful because we had forged new spiritual bonds and drew strength from each other. We said our goodbyes in the hopes of soon meeting again and of we monastics gathering together more often and drinking from the rich spring of God's grace in the midst of our monastic battle.