Saweni, Viti Levu, FIJI
Despite the many difficulties and concerns we have in the Orthodox Mission abroad, wherever on earth we may outreach, there are also special blessings and delights.
Such a great blessing we were lately given by the grace of the Mother of God: we got a beautiful Monastery dedicated to Her name and celebrating August 23rd, the Apodosis of her Dormition. It is built in a panoramic place, where the green of the plains and the blue of the vast oceanic sea interchange relieving the mind, while the petting of the cool neat breeze refreshes our face and soul.
The Divine Liturgy is held every Sunday and feast; our humble and innocent Orthodox Christians send praises to the Holy Trinity in their sweet voices and when receiving the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Redeemer Jesus Christ, their faces are enlightened with the joy and cheerfulness of the Holy Communion.
There follows the table of love that brings them together, people of all ages with their priests at the head tasting the frugal but palatable dishes they are given daily by the benevolent God, just like the birds of the sky.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
Everyone rejoices in the Monastery as their own center of spiritual life and, now that they are looking at the cells where the monks will be living, they cheer up and help in the construction either by paying or not.
They also jump for joy, because the foundation stone for the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity has been set at a distance of c. 200 meters from the Monastery of Theotokos. Moreover, a road has been opened, on which the essentials for the erection of the church and the orphanage will be carried.
It is truly a blessed creation and a divine blessing when there is a monastery in a missionary diocese. It is the greenhouse of virtue and the foundation of the orthodox spirituality. Every holy Father of the Church and every missionary came out of a monastery knowing the secrets of holiness. This is what the missionaries of today are called to teach to the new christians. The truth is aptly articulated by St. Gregory the Theologian:
We must first be cleaned and then clean others, illuminated first and then illuminate others, first reach God and then bring others to Him.
For all these we thank our holy God, especially for this blessed creation of the Holy Monastery of the Dormition.
It will be an ever alight vigil candle in the midst of the Ocean; an eternal symbol of divine worship and prayer on the Pacific islands, which have now started to get accustomed to the rhythm of Orthodoxy. The stars in the sky and on earth the candles of the churches, the monasteries and every Christian house. Glory to His name, sacred and holy.
Amphilochios of New Zealand