On Sunday, an 11-mile journey over the mountains reawakened a custom at St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Mayfield PA. About 30 participants, both local and visiting, gathered after the Liturgy to walk from the cathedral to St Tikhon of Zadonsk Orthodox Monastery in South Canaan Township in Wayne County, where the 108th annual pilgrimage is under way. After the liturgy, Protodeacon Joseph Matusiak, 37, said, “St Tikhon Monastery was founded in 1908 by a priest from this parish”. The pilgrimage used to be a tradition, but it had fallen into abeyance since the 1980s, after a division between the two communities. Matusiak went on to say, “A bridge has been built. This pilgrimage is part of that, walking in the footsteps of our forefathers”. He added that he hoped that the “grassroots” casual gathering of walkers would become a yearly tradition, joking that it’ll take that long to recover from the long, hilly, walk.
Fr John Kowalczyk, public relations director of the monastery, said that the people from Mayfield weren’t the only pilgrims headed to St Tikhon Monastery, saying, “There are people who are going to be travelling from different parts of the United States to arrive at St Tikhon’s. For the day, they are finding some solace and some peace to break from the regular mundane routine of a life filled with all sorts of anxiety. It’s an opportunity to pause and reflect on one’s spiritual life”. Events at the monastery shall continue on Monday with Divine Liturgy at 07.30 EDT at the Monastery Church. Hierarchical Divine Liturgy is set for 10.00 EDT at the open pavilion church. At 13.30 EDT, the Akathist to St Alexis will be sung at the church, and at 14.00 EDT, a service of Thanksgiving to the Most Holy Theotokos and anointing of the sick, infirm, and of all pilgrims is planned at the Monastery bell tower. Vespers at 16.00 EDT will conclude the pilgrimage.
27 May 2012