Shortly after the earthquake hit, Usha contacted me via Skype. Fortunately she is safe at the monastery in Greece until late May. She is doing well and learning a great deal about Orthodoxy and monasticism.
The major damage from the earthquake took place in my old neighborhood in Patan. Ancient temples were destroyed. That part of the city was covered in a huge dust cloud. It will cause a great deal of suffering for the many people with respiratory ailments.
I was able to contact my former tutor, Umesh. He and his family are safe. Next I contacted my former landlady, Aruna. She and her family are also safe. They have been sleeping out in the street for the past 2 nights because it is still not safe to enter the buildings. The first day, there were aftershocks every few minutes, including one that was about 6.3, a major earthquake itself. Unfortunately, I have not been able to make contact with others, like Amanda, Mariam and her family (who lives in Bhaktapur which was also seriously damaged), and Fr. Capp.
The problem now is the lack of food and water and sanitation. Because of the narrow streets and the many fallen buildings and telephone poles, etc., deliveries cannot be made. It will be a long time of recovery and a very difficult time for a nation that already struggles on a daily basis. May God have mercy on them through your prayers. – Fr.S.
I have just received an email from Usha and she has received her visa for Greece. Glory to God. She will fly to Thessaloniki on 4 April and will spend time in a nearby monastery until her return to Nepal 21st of May. Please remember her in your prayers. May The Lord illumine her heart and mind about the truth of Orthodoxy. – Fr. S.
My home for Great Lent and Pascha. St. Sergius Holy Trinity Lavra
This blog has been resurrected as a place for me to post updates and photos during my time here in Russia. I have just arrived at the Holy Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius and will be staying here throughout Great Lent and Pascha. Afterwards I hope to visit Diveyevo monastery and venerate the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov. May God grant the blessing.
Meanwhile here at the Lavra of St. Sergius I am blessed to begin getting to know some of the monastic fathers. There are some 200 monks now in the monastery. With the hundreds of visitors, workers, students, and teachers, it is like living in a small village, but with the most beautiful cathedrals and choirs.
The view from the window in the hallway outside my room
Winter is still with us. There is snow on the ground and there was a light snow in the early morning. Now it is grey, cold, and wet as the snow begins to melt. Whatever the weather, the Lavra is beautiful and full of the grace of God through the prayers of the people and the relics and intercessions of the saints within these walls. It is such a blessing to be able to venerate St. Sergius’ relics on a daily basis. Another gift of grace is found in the relic of the right hand of St. Stephen, the Proto-martyr and Deacon. I feel this very personally as the first church that I planted many years ago (in Cupertino, CA) is dedicated to St. Stephen. May we all have his blessing. — Fr. Seraphim