2023 A Message From the Abbess
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Winter Storm Impacts to the Monastery - January 9, 2023

Friends are inquiring with concern about the impact of flooding on the monastery.  Although the Napa River crested our lower retaining wall once during the storms, it quickly receded and has posed no threat to our pond equipment or buildings.


We have, however, suffered water damage in St. Barbara House from leaks in the roof. We will have to address the question of reroofing that entire structure after the rains have passed.

Thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, February 2, 2023 - The Great Feast of the The Meeting of Our Lord

Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, full of grace!
From thee shown forth the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God.Enlightening those who were in darkness!Rejoice, O righteous Elder,Thou didst receive in thine arms the Redeemer of our souls,Who granteth us the Resurrection!        Apolytikion (Troparion) of the Meeting of the Lord

Much of the hymnody of this Feast stresses the Theotokos as the living Temple who brings to the temple made of stone its Lord and Master.  So, it has always puzzled me that the Apolytikion of the Feast doesn't mention this at all.  What the Apolytikion does seem to be doing is to reflect on the words of St. Simeon (the Elder), when he held Christ is his arms at the temple:

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.

The Glory of the Lord, which appeared as a cloud and as light, was present in the tabernacle and in the first temple, but not in the temple of Christ's time on earth. The Jews of that time were acutely and painfully aware of that. So, when St. Simeon spoke of Christ as a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel, what he was announcing was the astonishing truth that this little Child was God Himself, returned to the temple. Yet, He had come not to dwell in THAT temple, but chose to dwell in the Virgin's womb so that He could then dwell in US.

And so, as we celebrate this feast, may our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ grant us to show forth the brilliant Light of His Resurrection!


Credit: Icon of The Meeting of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple, courtesy of OCA.org

Monday, February 27, 2023 - Beginning of Great Lent

During Great Lent, we increase our fasting, almsgiving and prayer. These aren't arbitrary practices. Rather, they are disciplines that help us renounce our selfishness and embrace the love of God and neighbor. So, as we start the Fast, let's look in our hearts to see what needs cleansing. And then, may we gratefully employ the disciplines that Christ has given us so that we may share in His Life - the Life that He died to give us.

Saturday, March 25, 2023 - The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Due to the date of Pascha this year, we finished the Week of the Veneration of the Cross at the same time that we were beginning Vespers for the Annunciation.  At first glance, this seems to be the juxtaposition of a sad and somber commemoration with a joyous feast.  Yet, joy and sorrow figure prominently in both.  The Week of the Veneration of the Cross does, of course, remind us of the great cost of the Crucifixion to Christ, but the texts are mostly about the power of the Cross to set us free because of the One Who 'for the joy set before Him' endured it.  And the Annunciation, while certainly joyful, is also the time when the Archangel Gabriel told the Theotokos that a sword would pierce her heart. Yet, she willingly accepted that sword - which was to watch the Crucifixion of her Son Who willingly accepted His Cross.

And so, as we celebrate the Annunciation and continue our journey towards Pascha, may we too accept the joy and the sorrow of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who died and rose that we might die and rise with Him!


Credit:  Icon of The Annunciation, courtesy of OCA.org

FEBRUARY 6 THROUGH APRIL 21, 2023 (open to the public 4/22)

For safety reasons, the MONASTERY GROUNDS ARE TEMPORARILY CLOSED due to construction of the new St. Nicholas House Building.

If you wish to attend services or visit the monastery during this time period, please CONTACT US in advance.



Descent into Hades
Descent into Hades
Descent into Hades

Sunday, April 16, 2023 - Pascha

Last weekend (being western Easter weekend), a little girl came by wearing her Easter dress.  It's been quite awhile since I've heard people mention buying Easter clothes for their children, and it made me think of my own childhood.  I have never enjoyed shopping for clothes (and I'm sure shopping with me was plenty difficult for my family, too!).  So, sadly, my memories of Easter clothes are mostly about the drudgery of trying them on and the sense of relief when my mom and I finally found something that we could agree upon.  But all these years later, I have much more appreciation for the custom of buying beautiful new clothes to celebrate Christ's Resurrection.Before Adam and Eve fell, they were robed in the glory of God. But when they turned from Him, they lost that raiment.  Then Christ, the Second Adam, died naked on the Cross to clothe us in His glory and share His Life with us.  So, buying new clothes for Easter/Pascha reminds us that Christ has clothed us anew.  And it also reminds us that we regularly dirty this beautiful clothing and need - through repentance, confession, and living a faithful Christian life - to do our own part in the renewing of that clothing.  And the more we do our own small part, the more astonishing is the realization of all Christ has done for us through His Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection. 

Christ is risen!  Truly He is risen!

Credit:  Icon of Christ's Descent into Hades, courtesy of OCA.org

Thursday, May 25, 2023 - The Ascension of Our Lord

When Thou hadst fulfilled the dispensation for our sake,
and united earth to heaven,
Thou didst ascend in glory, O Christ our God,
not being parted from those who love Thee,
but remaining with them and crying://
“I am with you, and there is no one against you!”
~ Kontakion of Ascension

The hymns of the Church are so rich that there is always something new, no matter how often you've sung and reflected on them. This year, what struck me was that Christ united earth to heaven before His glorious Ascension, which was NOT a departure from us. He did not ascend until He had completed the work which brings us up with Him to the throne of His Father. We are at the same time both here on this earth and seated with Christ on the Heavenly Throne. So, no one can be against us - at least, not in a way that can harm those who cling steadfastly to Christ. May we cling in hope and joy to the One Who took on our flesh to unite us forever with Himself, His Father and His Holy Spirit!

Credit:  Icon of the Ascension of Our Lord, courtesy of OCA.org

Sunday, June 4, 2023 - The Feast of  Pentecost

When the Most High came down and confused the tongues,
He divided the nations;
but when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity.//
Therefore, with one voice we glorify the All-holy Spirit.
~ Kontakion of Pentecost

The hymns of Pentecost are full of the theme of Pentecost as the reversal of the Tower of Babel.  Now we have unity - NOT because the tongues are no longer divided (which, of course, they still are), but because our division is healed by the All-holy Spirit.  And that is part of why it is so joyous in the Paschal season to sing Christ Is Risen! in as many languages as we can.  In my badly pronounced Slavonic, Greek, Arabic, etc., I am rejoicing with (and therefore united to) those who do speak those languages.  But for us to do this more consistently and fully, we have our own work to do throughout the year - to glorify the All-holy Spirit not just in song, but in our entire being.  And we can only do that with His help.  Come, Holy Spirit!

Credit:  Icon of the Ascension of Our Lord, courtesy of OCA.org

Please join us for our Altar Feast and Open House!
Please join us for our Altar Feast and Open House!
Please join us for our Altar Feast and Open House!

Brannan Center Construction Updates

The Brannan Center construction is proceeding well and on-schedule as they continue to renovate the building to create a community and performing  arts center for Calistoga and the Upper Valley.

Beginning mid-July 2023 until further notice, there will be periodic road closures on Washington Street, between Third and Fourth Streets (in front of the monastery) during working hours.  After working hours, removeable  metal traffic plates will permit resumption of traffic overnight.

ATTENTION:  Please note that DETOUR signs have been placed during necessary Washington Street closures. Follow the DETOUR signs down LAKE street (not Fourth Street).

To stay informed or get involved, please visit the Brannan Center website.

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Holy Assumption Monastery
1519 Washington St, Calistoga, CA 94515

(707) 942-6244