Chapter 26: Father Gregory‘s Visits to the Boston Monastery

Fr. Gregory was met at the airport by his brother and was invited to stay at his home, but Fr. Gregory thought it improper, since he really did not have the room and since Fr. Gregory was a monk, he should stay at the monastery. “After all,” he thought, “what would the monks of Boston say if I went to stay at your house and not be with them?” He thought this was the most prudent thing to do since the monastery offers hospitality to any member of the Russian Church Abroad who needs to stay for one night. So Fr. Gregory had Richard leave him at the monastery with his belongings while his brother went back to his business on the other side of Boston.

He had arrived at the monastery about one hour before vespers, around 2:00 pm, and thought that he would attend vespers, have supper, stay the night and be picked up the next morning by his brother and be taken to Jordanville. He entered the monastery and met a few of the younger monks, and since it was nap time, not many of the older fathers were on the first floor, he decided to visit Bishop Constantine, who was on a different schedule and was awake at that time. Bishop Constantine greeted him very, very warmly and was pleasantly surprised, and he sat him down in his cell and gave him tea and wanted to hear all that had happened to him since he left the monastery. As Fr. Gregory was relating to the bishop all that had transpired with him, someone knocked on the door and opened it as the bishop asked who is it? It was Fr. Ephraim, who was breathing very heavily and was noticeably agitated. He was looking for Fr. Gregory, and now that he found him, told the bishop that he wanted Fr. Gregory to leave the monastery. Apparently the abbot and Fr. Isaac were not in the monastery at that time.

Bishop Constantine objected, saying, “I am speaking with him. I want him to stay.”

Father Ephraim replied, “He is not allowed to be here.”

The bishop in turn replied, “This is my room. I am speaking with Fr. Gregory.”

Father Ephraim snapped back, “He is not allowed to be in the monastery!”

The bishop asked, “Why?”

All the time, Fr. Ephraim was becoming exasperated because the bishop was not listening to him. He became noticeably angered, and this made the bishop irritated as well, and it was going back and forth. The bishop was not giving in in the least, for he told Fr. Ephraim, “I do not want Fr. Gregory to leave my room, and I want you to leave my room.”

Father Ephraim was determined not to give in as well. At this point there appeared to be no resolution, other than Bishop Constantine getting ill. He was always a peaceful and calm person, but now had become noticeably agitated by this blatant disobedience and disrespect shown to him from a monk. At this moment, Fr. Gregory decided to break his silence and tell Bishop Constantine to please let him depart with Fr. Ephraim so there would be no fighting. Bishop Constantine looked at Fr. Gregory and acquiesced, but he was at the point of tears. Father Gregory asked the bishop to please calm down and be peaceful, because he truly feared for his health.

As Fr. Gregory and Fr. Ephraim were going downstairs, Fr. Ephraim told Fr. Gregory that, “Because you did that, you are not allowed even to stay in the monastery building. Go outside!”

Father Gregory said, “No one told me I wasn‘t allowed back to visit. At least can I call my brother from the office to pick me up and wait in the entrance,” because he thought it would take about two hours before someone could come back.

At this request, Fr. Ephraim, in his angry state, said, “You could call your brother and leave a message, but you‘re not allowed to stay in the monastery. Take your belongings and go off our property to the street and wait for your brother there!”, which was about 700 feet from the monastery building.

Father Gregory did as he was told and stood there, not having the proper clothes, since he was dressed for San Francisco weather and not November Boston weather. He waited out there through vespers and their meal time, and he actually had the thought that they would send out one of the monks with a little bit of bread to give him while he was shivering on the street. Needless to say, no crumbs from the trapeza table came out to Fr. Gregory. To keep warm, Fr. Gregory started making prostrations towards their church. As the hours passed, he even wondered if Richard had received his message.

Towards evening, as it was starting to get dark, Fr. Gregory‘s brother arrived. The first question he asked was, “How long have you been out here?” When he told him, Richard was exceedingly troubled. Father Gregory told him to always forgive the injustices that occur in one‘s life. He made excuses for the monastery, saying that they probably are trying to protect the other monks, because when anybody leaves his monastery, that person is torn apart immediately after his departure as a disobedient, proud and willful person, one who will soon perish. To see Fr. Gregory come back in a happy mood was not something they wanted. Father Gregory then returned to Jordanville.


Archbishop Gregory
Dormition Skete
P.O. Box 3177
Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
USA
Contact: Archbishop Gregory Valid CSS!Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional
Copyright 2011 - Archbishop Gregory
Last Updated: July 12, 2011