St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

The outreach of Nazareth House Apostolate is in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Matthew 25:31-46. For more information see our website at

Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Seventeen Days of the Name

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Seventeen Days of The Name 

The Seventeen Days of The Name begins with the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (July 22) who was the first to witness the Resurrection.  From here we proceed to the Feast of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus (July 27)*, these six days compose “The Pilgrimage of the Seven Sleepers” where we pray the Seven Redemptive Names of God.  Eleven days further delivers us into the second day of “The Rosary Novena for Peace” (August 6 -14).  These first two days that the seventeen brings us to are feasts that give us the eighth and ninth Names of God, i.e., August 6, The Feast of the Transfiguration giving us the all encompassing Name, “I AM” and August 7th, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, the Incarnate Salvific ninth Name of God. 

Icon of Mary Magdalene and Icon of Seven Sleepers, St. Simeon Skete

Just as the Seven Sleepers waited to be awakened (resurrected) into a new world and life, so the Seven Redemptive Names of God lie in the cave of our hearts (Mt. 6:6) waiting to be resurrected into our lives, our decisions, our responses and directions we take. 
The Seventeen Days of the Name as with the Seven Sleepers is the work of representing eternity in time and perceiving in time eternity. For this work to be realized in our lives we must survive the impact of the world upon our resurrection which is everyday present.  Here the Cave has a distinct role in religion and society via initiation through withdrawal (Mt. 6:6) into an environment of internal isolation with God alone as a rite of seclusion as well as resurrection.  Therefore, due to this seclusion, a “new” kind of awareness and knowledge of God’s intentions for humanity with regards to the resurrection can enter we who are represented by the seven sleepers. 

The Particulars for "Spelunking the Seven Sleepers”
  1. Use the Redemptive Rosary for Compline during the Seventeen Days
  2. Sprinkle your face with Holy Water seven times and share Scriptures on waking up, being awake, etc. 
  3. Visit a cemetery - “thin places”
  4. Make Seven Offerings of yourself.
  5. Visit a Cave and pray the Names of God.
  6. Light seven votive candles and make reparation for the misuse of God’s Holy Name.
  7. An Abrahamic meal of lamb and couscous (Gen. 18:8) can be served on the Feast Day of the Seven Sleepers - 27th of July or as a celebratory end to the 17 days of The Name - August 7th. 

An Ode by al-Hallaj 
“In my inmost heart there is a pearl
I cannot touch (Mt. 13:45-46). 

I tremble when my thievish doubts
draw near.

It is a gift my Love has given me
to keep in trust.

Though blind, by it I see;
Naive, I am made wise.

The Seven Sleepers know this Love.
They are my friends. 

Time stops in the shadow
Of their mountain  (Mt. Celion). 

In its hush my Love returns
To claim His pearl.”

It is not about how we were, but about us as we are, a resurrected people now.  It is about Malcius who, as us, was awakened in the Cave and walked out into Ephesus with the old coins that showed the world in turmoil.  May we be good stewards of these nine most Holy Coins.

For more details about the Seven Sleepers and NHA, please see our previous blog post here: Seven Sleepers Blog Post

* In 2013, St. Simeon Skete embraced the Western date of July 27 as the celebration day of the Seven Sleepers.  This links together the Feast Day of St. Mary Magdalene, July 22, composing the 6 days of the Pilgrimage of the Seven Sleepers.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rosary Reparation Retreat

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Yesterday, July 8th; we met for the Rosary Reparation Retreat at St. Pachomius House; one of the Nazareth House Apostolate, St Simeon Skete Field Houses located in Louisville, Kentucky.   

Seraphim has been prayerfully developing the Reparation Rosary since the 1970’s and on July 8, 2015 it was officially inaugurated as the 3rd and Final Strand of the Prayer Rope of St. Simeon Skete. 

“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, 
and I fill up in my flesh 
what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, 
for the sake of his body, which is the Church.” -Col. 1:24

We were presented with The Face,  The Name & The Heart of Jesus as well as rosaries & booklets

Definition of Reparation: fix, repair and restore.  -Hence, making reparation for the blasphemies, outrages and crimes committed against our Lord God within and through the Church and the world.  There is much work to be done. 
This Heart was adapted from the Heart in the NHA Trademark

The Program of Reparation
“If my people, which are called by my Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” -2Chron. 7:14 

We launched the Reparation Rosary by first praying it and then discussing what it means and how it is to be used. 

Seraphim talked about when he first went to Sierra Leone, it was to make repairs for the violence.  Repairing violence with prayer and love.  From the war stemmed hunger, repair hunger by giving someone some food.  Seraphim carefully reminded us that this rosary is not a revengeful tool to get back at those that have done wrong but that the driving motivation is to repair what has been done wrong in the eyes of God, i.e. If God’s Name is misused, make repairs by praising His Name and using it properly.  

This Reparation Rosary is not about reprisal but hopes to stop the offense before there is a need for reparation.  Our drive and motivation is that there are no offenses.  

Our Patrons of Reparation
  1. Bartimaeus was blind and wanted to see. He called out the Most Holy Name of Jesus and was by Him, who he called, able to see. (Mk. 10:46-52). 
  2. Veronica - The Prayer of Reparation is the Veil of Veronica. Note: Tradition states that Veronica and the woman healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment are the same woman (Mk. 5:24 –34). 

The Prayer of Reparation seeks to make whole what is fragmented by putting love where there is none, by gazing with reverence upon Him who men disdain, i.e. “The one from whom men hide their faces” -Isa. 53:3. Abortion is an outrageous blasphemy against the Holy Face of Jesus because it prevents a child’s face from seeing another human face (Ex.20:13; 1Cor. 8:12; Mk. 9:42; Mt. 25:40). It also is an offense against the Most Sacred Name of Jesus because abortion prevents putting a face to a name. Putting a face to a name has great effect. When the soldiers came to the olive grove in search of Jesus, he met them asking: “Who are you looking for?” and they replied “Jesus of Nazareth” and Jesus responded “Iam he”.  When Jesus said, “Iam he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:3-6). satan and his co-operatives want to keep separated the Most Holy Name of Jesus from His Holy Face. But when Jesus was named satan was disarmed! Note well, the Face of Jesus is intended to change the face of the earth (Lk.1:31: 2:21; Phil.2:9-11). " 

Crucifix housed at St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville,  Kentucky

"To be one who makes repairs is to give our Lord what others deny him. Just recently I was told of a television show that featured various people urinating on the Crucifix of our Lord. Upon hearing this I immediately went to the prayer chapel and placed eleven crucifixes on the altar, lit a candle that I intend to keep burning for 40 days and then offered incense in a deep spirit of reparation. Our Lord said “I thirst” (Jn.19:28). This thirst continues unquenched because it is a thirst for souls, faith, hope, love, thanksgiving, petition and adoration. Our Lord’s thirst will continue until the end of time but so will the call to reparation continue among and in his people." 

“Let the priest, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar” - Joel 2:17; Ezek. 22:30 

"The Face of Jesus, the Name of Jesus and now the Heart of Jesus seen in his Name and of his Face: It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that the organ of the Heart with its crown of thorns and flame of love began to appear. The more ancient images of the Sacred Heart was that of the wound itself in the side of our Lord’s body. 

The open Wound was in itself an invitation to press beyond it, to cross its threshold, to make one’s dwelling in the inner sanctuary of the Sacred Heart but the Heart remained hidden. We must be careful in taking the Heart of Jesus and enthroning it by itself, in doing so we run the risk of taking the Heart without the Wound. One must be wounded to embrace His woundedness to get to His Heart. 

The Prophet Joel says “wound your hearts” - Joel 2:13. As you make reparations before image of the Sacred Heart keep in mind the wound in His side (John 19:34; 20:20; 1John 5:6,8). Hence the putting of “a” Face to “a” Name leads to the Wound which leads to the Heart. "

“My heart says to you, ‘Seek His Face!’  Your face, Lord, I will seek! -Ps. 27:8 

"Finally, reparation is the unceasing effort to bear witness before endless crosses on which our Lord continues to be crucified.  Experiential Reparation makes present in the history of humanity the force of redemption.” -Seraphim 

“Lord I do not desire the death of sinners, but that they be converted and live.  Father forgive them.” (Ezek. 18:32; 33:11; Micah 7:18; I Tim. 2:1-8)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Window Passages

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There is a bedtime procedure that most parents, including myself, use. It is the method of feeding, changing, tending to your infant - making sure it has all that it requires to comfortably sleep through the night. You place the child in its crib, kiss it goodnight and tip-toe out the door. Invariably, the child realizes he is alone. Wanting attention, it begins to cry. But the parent, knowing the child does not want for anything, is aware that the baby only wants attention and is fighting sleep. The parent "ignores" the child. Alone in the dark, the child eventually cries itself to sleep.

Whenever I think of Sierra Leone, the above scenario goes through my mind. Sierra Leone, to me, is that child, left alone in the dark, its cries being ignored. The difference being - it is NOT alright, it doesn't have everything it needs to sleep comfortably through the night. Its belly is NOT pleasantly filled to give it that full, groggy feeling that allows it to drift off to sleep. It is NOT healthy, it doesn't have the basic medical requirements needed for mere existence. It is lying in filth and its own waste.

Nazareth House Apostolate, you, me, individuals and the branches throughout the world are the ones looking in on that child, Sierra Leone. It is crying and its needs are not met. Its parents, in need themselves, are unable to make it comfortable. Without us, without our love, our compassion the night will serve to plunge it further into desperation. Sierra Leone is not looking for attention for the sake of attention. It is crying because it is without, neglected, marginalized, broken and begging for help.

James' photographs are always awesome and depict life in Sierra Leone, on the ground, reality to the utmost degree-untouched, raw - pain showing through.

Today's pictures on this post draw you into the battered, hungry, scarred souls of these children as they peer out of the window in search for what's out there, beyond their world of suffering.

Just like Russian Religious Icons are considered "windows" that allow us to peer into another dimension bringing the Beyond to be in our midst, these photographs, these windows, allow you to look into a life very different from your own. A life looking for you, looking for us.
As we look into their eyes we see their pain reflected in ours. Many times in life what you see isn't what is really happening. In James' pictures, it is exactly what is happening. Total reality, not black or grey - but color!

As these beautiful, sorrowful children peer out the window, searching for hope, a different life...they see a light in the dark, showered in James' sunbeam smile - our smile, all of us of Nazareth House represented in James. They nervously inch their fingers through the window to touch what is beyond them. They reach for something to comfort them. They find an extended hand, steady and sure. They find the hand of Nazareth House Apostolate.

Join Us Today

Nazareth House Apostolate
185 Captains Cove Drive
Taylorsville, KY 40071 

Your donations make a difference.

Note:  This post was originally written in 2009.  Since that time both of these twins have passed away.  Both of worms invading their intestines.  Years ago, NHA was given worm medication directly from the pharmaceutical company, but then the prescription medication went generic and the company lost profits so it was never made available for humanitarian needs again.  For years following we paid $3 per pill (it takes 6 pills to cure an onset of internal parasites) and now even that is no longer available to us - sighting the loss of "profit".  ...hmmm, I'm sure the Big Pharm is really hurting financially...not! 

Click on a picture to enlarge

All photographs are the exclusive property of Nazareth House Apostolate and its photographers. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Where and the Who

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Recently, at one of our Rosary Study Groups at St. Simeon Skete, someone asked Seraphim, "What is the Rosary?"  

Seraphim replied, "There is a Where and Who of the Rosary.  We find this when we divest ourselves of inner resources developed apart from God." 

1. "Where IAM, here shall also my servant be." - Jn. 12:26

2. "Where do you dwell? Come and see" - Jn. 1:38-39

3. "This is me" - Mt. 25:33-40

4. "My Body and Blood" -Mt. 26:26-28

5. "Eat" - Jn.6:53-58 

6.  "They will see me" - Mt. 28: 5,7

7. "Mary was there" -Jn. 2:1, Jn. 19:25

Saturday, May 2, 2015

This is us, this is you.

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We get a lot of questions, what is the skete, what is it about.  I always struggle for words.  My daily prayer is "Lord, let my words be yours, not mine".   God answered the question of the skete for me, perfectly.  I cannot think of a better Scripture or a better Translation than what is said via The Message:  It explains the Skete, it explains the struggle, it explains what we all endure in this troubled world.

2 Corinthians 4:1-18   --The Message (MSG)

Trial and Torture
4 1-2 Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.

3-4 If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.

5-6 Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

7-12 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

13-15 We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!

16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

Friday, April 24, 2015

TBT: Rosary Pilgrimage

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On May 9th we will once again make a pilgrimage to one of the rare Archabbeys of the World, St. Meinrad's Archabbey and Seminary.  This pilgrimage will be one of the highlights of our 19th Annual NHA Rosary Convocation - May 8 thru 10th.   For Throw Back Thursday here's a video collection of our Rosary Pilgrimage in which we stop at various points to say a Mystery of the Remnant (Jesus Life Prayer) Rosary together.

Photos of previous NHA Rosary Pilgrimages in USA and Sierra Leone.