In the summer of 2020, we began the first phase of the construction by building a large addition onto the existing house for the sisters to live in. This addition is nearly complete. Buildings such as for additional cells and workspaces, a store, and a barn are planned and some are already in the first phase.
Yet, the most exciting and important step ahead is building a Church dedicated to St. Joseph the Hesychast, the newly glorified saint, who is the intercessor of all monastics of our century.
This will be the first Church in North America dedicated to St. Joseph the Hesychast. It’s no mere coincidence that we ask the venerable Athonite elder to be the patron saint of our Church: Brother Joseph and St. Joseph not only shared a spiritual connection to Mount Athos, but they both were consumed with a burning love for the Panagia, the Most Pure Mother of God.
With the struggles we currently face in the world, we feel it is important to keep alive the memory of one of the most extraordinary signs of our times, the miracle of the Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Montreal icon. This is a unique revelation of the Most Holy Theotokos, who had called forth to Holy service, Brother José, a remarkable man and a person of enormous heart and unshakable faith. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, and our hope and prayers are that Brother Joseph will intercede before the Mother of God in every step of the way.
The Iveron icon embodies the Apostolic mission of the Most Holy Theotokos, as it is continuously revealed throughout the history of the Church, from the days of the Apostles and reaching out to the last times yet to come. More than one millennium ago, in a pillar of fire, the Theotokos appeared in this Holy image on the shores of the Holy Mount Athos and has kept this land ever since by continuously blessing and covering it with Her Abbess Omophorion, gaining the name Gatekeeper.
For many centuries, the heartfelt unceasing noetic prayer of the Holy Fathers of the monasteries and sketes of Mount Athos have been rising toward heaven for the salvation of the whole world. The Holy Iveron Montreal icon received by Brother Joseph in 1982 was written in one of such sketes, the Holy Nativity Hesychasterion of Katounakia.
The Holy Theotokos responded to the struggle, dedication and love of Brother Joseph by abundantly pouring out the much-healing myrrh through Her Holy icon. On the heart of Brother Joseph -- literally, on his chest -- this miracle-working icon traveled around the world for 15 years, blessing and healing people not only of their spiritual and physical illnesses but also bringing transforming repentance and the Light of Christ into a world darkened by apostasy.
Even though the original Iveron Montreal icon was taken away from us the Most Holy Theotokos continues Her mission among us in our times through Her myrrh streaming wonderworking Hawaiian Iveron icon.
After 35 years of our devotion to St. Elizabeth the New Martyr, we are not forsaking her, but are including her in the dedication of the monastery as one of our founding saints. St. Elizabeth was Brother José's most beloved saint, one whom he held a special reverence for. Like Brother José, she also had a great devotion for the Panagia, and, in particular, towards Her Holy Iveron image. She often prayed in the Iveron Chapel at the Kremlin Resurrection Gate. The nun-martyr acquired a great courage that did not leave her even in the last minutes of her life. On the third day of Pascha, 1918, when all of Mount Athos was celebrating the appearance of the Iveron Icon on its shores, St. Elizabeth was arrested and sent to shed her martyric blood, at her own Golgotha, in the town of Alapayevsk.
St. Elizabeth, exemplifying all the beauty and courage of the New Martyrs of Russia, St. Joseph the Hesychast embodying the living tradition of unceasing noetic prayer, and Brother José Muñoz-Cortez, the not yet officially canonized martyr in our recent times – these wonderful saints, we believe, have been numbered among the “ten righteous people,” by whose prayers this world is being kept from its final destruction.
The connection between these three saints from different countries speaking different languages, is not obvious at first glance. They are not only monastics of our times but their connection is made clear in the fiery light of radiance of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, venerated and beloved by each of them with all the strength of their holy hearts.
We pray that our humble undertaking will serve the tradition of continuous noetic prayer, devotion to Christ and His Most Holy Mother, the Theotokos, and love for our brethren that we all so desperately need in these difficult times.
Through the prayers and intercessions of Thy saints, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us! Гдⷭ҇и і҆и҃се хрⷭ҇тѐ, поми́лꙋй на́съ!