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.

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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013



18th Century Russian Icon housed at Holy Trinity Kellia, St. Simeon Skete


Friday, March 29, 2013

From the Sixth Hour to the Ninth Hour

"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness 
over all the land 
unto the ninth hour". Matthew 27:45

Today prior to noon, at St. Simeon Skete, we will walk and pray the first 11 Stations of the Cross.  

At noon, the time that Jesus is lifted up on the Cross we will remain in silence until 3 PM when we then complete the remaining Stations of the Cross.  

And when the sixth hour was come, 
there was darkness over the whole land 
until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33-34

The Stations are done this way every Friday at the Skete, not only during the Lenten Season but all year.  

We do this devotion a bit different than the standard way said at a church.  For us, it is called "The State of The Cross" rather than the Stations of the Cross. 

The word "state" is used rather than Station because every step, action and word as well as everything felt and done by those who took part in this tragic reality, continues to be present in its Stations. 

The Scriptures: "The son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And He said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Luke 9:22-24

In encountering the Cross, people throughout the ages have always been confronted by the choice either of becoming Christ's followers or his executioners. 

"So from that day on they planned to put Him to death." John 11:53 

 It is a practice of the skete to continually study - a daily ongoing study - the Way of the Cross.    As we begin the weekly "State of the Cross" we invoke the help of the Holy Spirit.  Certain Greeks said to the Apostle Philip, "we would see Jesus" (John 12:21) and it is this prayer that we address to the Holy Spirit: 

 "Holy Spirit, I would see Jesus"

Then it is said:

I see you, Jesus...
you go it alone:
you drink the cup:
you are condemned to death:
you take up your cross:
you fall for the first time:
you meet your mother:
Simon carries your cross:
Veronica wipes your face:
you fall, the second time:
the women weep for you:
you fall, for the third time:
you are stripped:
your are nailed to the cross:
you die:
you are taken down from the cross:
you are placed in the tomb. 
I see you, Jesus
I walk with you Jesus

The Intro to each Station:
In the State of the Cross, I offer myself to the "insert first, second - whichever station you are on" Station of: "describe the action such as Meeting your Mother, etc

Before each Station: 
V. I see the O Lord Jesus, and I am saved
R. Because by the Holy Cross thou has redeemed the world. 

At this time a meditation can be read and then 

After each Station:
Eleven Jesus Prayers
"And He went a little further" Matthew 26:39
Stabat Mater 

At the Closing: (the following are said)
The Offering 
The Poorer Means
"I go in the Name of the Lord, IAM sends me as a chosen vessel to bear His Name and you shall call His Name, Jesus" 

Since we say The Stations every Friday and our practice is the ongoing study of the Way of the Cross,  as we stand before each station what we have studied, what we have internalized, the versions we have read over the years come forth as we say the eleven Jesus Prayers.  

And it was about the sixth hour, 
and there was a darkness 
over all the earth 
until the ninth hour. Luke:23:44

We use different versions of the stations, most recently a wonderful Way of the Cross written by the author,  Susan Prudhomme.  We've worked through it this Lent and now it is part of rumination of the collective stations we've taken into our hearts and recollect as we pray the Jesus Prayers at each Station. 

For further reading on the Stations of the Cross we recommend the following links: 

MY WAY OF THE CROSS (click here)

Sierra Leone Way of the Cross (click here)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy Faces

Deer Hunting Season in Kentucky brings joy not only to the hunters 

but clear across the ocean to the West African Nation of Sierra Leone.  

These little girls had never tasted the tasty snack...

the consistency and the flavor are strange to them

but ole' so good ... and filled with protein (something they rarely get).

Thank you to Denny and Joan 

...and thank you to all the NHA supporters 
who make possible the help 
these children and their parents so desperately need.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Its time for Jerky in Sierra Leone

A few weeks ago Denny Markwell came to the Kellia and brought with him several boxes filled with deer jerky for Sierra Leone.  Denny and JoanE have been sending this jerky to Sierra Leone for several years now, it has become an annual event.

We packed the jerky in several boxes along with medications and supplies - eleven boxes all together.  

Taped up and secured the boxes were shipped off to James in Freetown via USPS Flat Rate Priority (the cheapest way to ship).  

Nine days later, five boxes arrived.  Yet another two days and James receives notice that the remaining six boxes had completed their journey to Freetown safely.   

Little Miss Vicki helps open the boxes shipped from Taylorsville, KY 
As the NHA Board Members were meeting on Saturday of last week, James was able to report that everything was intact.  The solar lights were not broken, everything came in just as it was shipped especially the jerky.  

Miss Vicki poses in front of some of the jerky packages 

James has now begun to distribute the jerky to many people in Kabala, the villages and in Freetown who are eagerly waiting its arrival.  

What a treat the jerky is.... 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NHA Annual Meeting

The Nazareth House Apostolate Annual Meeting was held on Saturday, 16th of March.  The Board Members began arriving on Monday and were all here by Friday afternoon, March 15th.  In the world of Non-Profit Organizations, there are many types of boards.  NHA is blessed to have a group that is creative, efficient, involved, prudent, guiding, self-critical yet encouraging, decisive and ready to implement  -- all the qualifications necessary to sustain and move forward a unique operation such as Nazareth House Apostolate.   To top all that, they also genuinely like each other and enjoy being together.   At the risk of causing Fr. Matthew Weber to clinch his teeth and wince his eyes, I will say that the NHA Board of Directors are an AWESOME bunch.  (Fr. Weber recently posted on Facebook his annoyance of the over use of the word "awesome").   However, if the shoe fits...and in this case the WORD fits to describe our board members thoroughly.


At the start of the week, before the meeting, there were some chores and work to get done.

Medications had to be purchased, labeled and packed and then sent to Sierra Leone.

We are working hard to get the " NHA Undercroft Shop" more accessible both online and on the grounds.

The Store has been available to pilgrims for a while but needed some adjustments to display sale items.

"Thrifty" being our goal, we found cardboard cases to be a cost effective alternative to fixed display cases.

However, construction of these items ...well... was ... shall we say frustrating.   Liz being the patient trooper that she is, helped plug away until all the cases were complete.   You know sometimes, you can become somewhat cranky when one piece doesn't fit where its supposed to and so on.

Liz and I had to especially keep our temperament calm and pleasant because Chase, our elderly border collie, would fret and feel he must make us feel better if we showed frustration!  Liz was better at this than me, I wanted to throw the cardboard several times. 

Keeping with our objective to be as thrifty as possible, we do not heat the Chapel or the Bookstore during the week - only on Sunday and only during Mass.  (You can find us all pretty bundled up at the 4 AM Morning Prayer/Liturgy!)

 Liz and I decided it was warmer to finish putting together the shelves outside in the sunlight than in the cold undercroft.

However, this also means contending with noisy chickens.   

The warm bright sun on the glass in the chapel windows attracted ladybugs.

Not one or two, but hundreds.

Seraphim has been vacuuming them up several times a day for months now

but this weekend it was worse than ever.

Together, he and Matt cleared

the ladybug invasion out of the chapel.

The bugs have returned but not in the numbers they came in this weekend. 

On Wednesday Night at Evening Prayer, just before beginning the Jesus Life Prayer Rosary, Seraphim pointed out a large bird flying over the Kellia towards the lake.  It was a fully matured, white headed Bald Eagle.  It flew majestically towards the lake and began to circle it.  What a beautiful sight to have added into our time of prayer that night. 

We brainstormed the whole time we were together, however,

the official meeting began at 10 AM on Saturday and ended at 9PM Saturday night with the syncing our computers for VC Meetings.

Our Video Chat Meetings are held every other Sunday at 6 PM.

 I am so very thankful for such a consistent and involved Board of Directors.    

At one point during the meeting, we took a "break" for lunch. (I place quotations around "break" because we kept the meeting's discussions going all the while we were in the car).

I wanted the members to have a good taste of Taylorsville, Kentucky, so Claudio drove us to the corner at 155 where, off road, sat a hummer with a BarBQ Smoker attached to it.

It is "Holy Smokes" the finest BBQ you can find.

You'll never see it in a restaurant, you have to find the hummer and the Lone Star Flag

to be sure you have the right one.  Everything else pales.

The lines were long but we waited through

and Claudio treated us to a huge mess of meat and fixins' -

even after the Potluck Celebration,

following the Mass on Sunday, we still had meat left over!

Although I must admit, Matt, who has a few less years on him than the rest of us and a much higher metabolism, was able to knock down a good chunk of it.

James, who was unable to leave the construction of the security wall around the Compound in Sierra Leone, attended the meeting via teleconference.

It was wonderful for all of us to chat with him together and hear his ideas and needs for the work in Sierra Leone.  

There are so many facets to Nazareth House Apostolate.  There is St. Simeon Skete (the monastic life of prayer and solitude) and there is the mission work of the skete - Sierra Leone.   Each requires resources and attention to sustain.  It takes a special group to understand and facilitate what is needed for NHA to provide the service to people in the USA and in the world.  We are humbled and incredibly thankful that God has placed together such an able body to carry on the work as board members.  There is no doubt His hand was in it and by His Grace we hope to do all things necessary to carry on, according to His will and glory, this work that has been set before us.  Please keep us in your prayers.  Thank you.