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.

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

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Puddles, Border Collies, Denominations

Republished from 2012:

Yesterday, many areas of the Eastern United States experienced severe and dangerous storms.  

There were those who lost their homes and things ...and those who lost their lives. 

At St. Simeon Skete in Taylorsville, Kentucky a *wall cloud approached from the South.  The Warning Sirens began to sound.  


As the bellowing cloud crossed Taylorsville Lake it gently swirled into the form of a funnel cloud that stayed in the sky and crossed directly over the Holy Trinity Kellia.   

Large hail pelted the roof, sounding like artillery fire as it hit.  Within minutes the threat had passed.
Our border collie is terribly afraid of storms and had been shaking in the basement most of the morning as the storms came through, one bout after another.  

The Warning Sirens ceased and I ran the dog outside to do his business as the sun began to peek out of the clouds and brighten the sky.  

Looking to the East, I noticed a rainbow.  

As my dog ran around finding and gobbling up the remaining unthawed hail left on the ground, 


I noticed the rain puddles and I remembered Seraphim’s thoughts on seeing rain puddles, some years ago.   

I asked him to share those thoughts again.  --

“One day after a large thunderstorm in Louisville, I walked out towards the pond and noticed there were rain puddles all over the ground.  It seemed as if most of the ground was one small lake.  
As I walked around I noticed each puddle reflected a different part of the sky.  One revealed a sky with two clouds, one with only one cloud and yet another contained a glimpse of the sun passing through the clouds - but they were all reflecting the same sky.  

I thought of our different denominations, each saying that this is the sky (this is God), but forgetting that they are reflecting part of the sky, not the whole sky.  

As the ground began to dry up, the more separation there was between the rain puddles.   The distance between the puddles and the dry land was great.  Like the land between the puddles, denominations become territorial, the more there are - the further the distance between us.  Finally, there was just a few tiny pools of water, here and there.  

God will send a “rain” on earth and blend all the “rain puddles” and we’ll be one body of “water”.  But for now God unites us in our hearts.”  - Seraphim+ -recalling thoughts after a rainstorm  


“Throughout his life he (Lev Gillet) continued to display a fixed aversion for all forms of ecclesiastical aggression and polemics.  He did not believe that reunion could be achieved through theological confrontation through controversy and formal discussion.”  -“The Jesus Prayer” by A Monk of The Eastern Church. pg. 8.

“The Monk of the Eastern church concluded that the “Communion of Saints” transcended confessional and institutional barriers and that a genuine and intense spiritual life is the shortest and safest way towards reunion.” - pg 277 of "The Biography of Lev Gillet”, by Behr-Sigel 

“If I can unite  in myself  the thought and the devotion of Eastern and Western Christendom, the Greek and the Latin Fathers, The Russians with the Spanish mystics, I can prepare in myself the reunion of divided Christians.  From that secret and unspoken unity in myself can eventually come a visible and manifest unity of all Christians.  If we want to bring together what is divided, we can not do so by imposing one division upon the other or absorbing one division into the other.  But if we do this, the union is not Christian.  It is political, and doomed to further conflict.   We must contain all divided worlds in ourselves and transcend them in Christ.  - Thomas Merton: Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pg 21.

*A wall cloud (or pedestal cloud) is a large, lowering, and rotating base of a cumulonimbus cloud that potentially forms tornadoes. It is typically beneath the rain-free base (RFB) portion of a deep cumulus cloud (normally cumulonimbus but on rare occasion cumulus congestus), and indicates the area of primary and strongest updraft which condenses into cloud at altitudes lower than that of the ambient cloud base. Most strong tornadoes form from wall clouds.