All who ask receive, those who seek find, and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet, and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry, and fill us with everlasting joy. ~ St. John of Damascus
After the ancient feasts of Theophany and the upcoming Meeting of the Lord in the Temple(Candlemas), we notice the days growing longer. Although we know spring is just around the corner, sometimes February tosses us a few surprises. One moment we’re relaxed and relieved to see crocusand snow drop flowersblooming in glorious patches of dappled sunshine, and the next moment – heavy gray overcast skies compete with our weariness of winter and the happiness of blossoming silver catkins. While there’s almost always one last and brief farewell blast of snow or a crisp, cold snap, February has the last laugh! Robins return from their wintery travels to herald hope of the coming spring. Hearing their birdsong comforts and captures my heart anew… making me smile with joy! Thank you dear Lord for creating the saucy robins!
The week preceding Great Lent is called Cheesefare(Maslenitsa), and in 2022, Cheesefare begins Monday, February 28th. Meat is now excluded until Pascha (Easter). Dairy and seafood are (thoroughly) enjoyed this week, and it’s traditional to include blini crepes or pancakes to use up remaining dairy – before the more strict plant-basedfare of Great Lent.
Cappadocia is an ancient central region in Asia Minor, and an important centre of early Christianity. Unusual coloured pinnacles of soft volcanic rock, dot the hot and dusty Cappadocian landscape.
St. Basil the Great (330 – 379 AD), Bishop of Caesarea and Cappadocia is known as one of the (Three Hierarchs) Cappadocian Fathers who lived in the region, along with his brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa , and St. Gregory the Theologian.
Under the directive of St. Basil the Great, the early Christians began carving numerous cave churches, and monastic communities. These were hewn by hand, and the projects continued over the next 500 years. Vast networks of underground cities were also created by these tenacious inhabitants.
Many of the cave churches in Goreme retain their colourful iconography to this very day, and are a highlight to any visit to Cappadocia.
They that live in the wilderness, have an unquenchable longing for God, as they are far from the tumult of life… Hymn of the Ascents