Press Update: Fall 2022

A few weeks ago, we heard at the Divine Liturgy the apostle Paul’s bold admission that the strength of God’s grace is made perfect in our weaknesses, ending with his exclamation, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities.” I think there are precious few of us who could muster the same degree of enthusiasm for our own faults and imperfections. The desire to hide those embarrassing mistakes that threaten the facade we create when we say to others, “Yes, I’m fine; everything is good,” not only affects persons, but also communities, churches, and institutions. It’s hard to say, “I made a mistake. I’m not perfect. Please forgive me,” and this reluctance can be found as often in institutions as it can in people. All too frequently, we would rather do anything else than to glory in our collective infirmities.

2022 was going to be a big year for the Press. We had several monumental publications lined up and I was going to fill this update boasting about our accomplishments. It is now December, and I feel the only thing that I can share is a list of excuses. If we were a secular institution, surely I would be looking for a new job, empty handed as I am. But, as an Orthodox Christian monastery, somehow God’s grace is made perfect in our weaknesses. Several years ago, I wrote an article titled, “The Miracle that is St. Tikhon’s.” As I enter my fifth year as managing editor, I can say with unabashed conviction that this holy place runs on miracles, because there is little else. Certainly, it is not because of any special abilities of us who live here. The miraculous fact that this monastery has been able to serve the Divine Liturgy everyday for the last 117 years is by no other virtue than God’s strength.

Now to excuses. Where to begin? Un-press related, there is our Liturgical Wine, of which I will still boast is the best available—that is, when it is available! After innumerable supply-chain related delays involving the glass bottles used for the wine, we finally received our new vintage in June. Shortly thereafter, we discovered that the new wine was much too dry, nothing like our previous vintages. We immediately contacted our vineyard and requested an exchange for a new batch; adding the qualification that we would need to test it before delivery. That was several months ago. The last update that we heard from the vineyard was that the new batch would be available the first week of December. For all those customers who have grown used to using our wine over the years, I can only extend our deepest apology. We are trying, by God’s grace, and hopeful that our new batch will be delivered sometime before 2030.

Volume Three of the Sing to Your Soul series has suffered similar delays. Primary work on the volume, as well as editing on the previous two, was completed over the summer. However, an essential part of the publishing process is proofreading. This not only involves checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes, but also ensuring internal consistency in both language and typography. The proofreader that we have utilized for several of our previous publications is unparalleled in their proficiency and attention to detail. Her work undeniably adds to the value of the publications to which she has contributed. However, this fall has been very busy for her and her husband, which has included an out-of-state move, a new job, and sickness. These circumstances have delayed the completion of the proofread for the Sing to Your Soul series. I just received the edits for volume one, and hope to receive the rest in the next week or two. We are hopeful that the books will be ready to print by Christmas. I am sure Dr. David’s lively translations of St. John Chrysostom will be worth the extra wait. Especially to all those who pre-ordered, we appreciate your patience.

The liturgical publications that I had hoped to have had either in print or close to finished are:  The Psalter, Common Book of Church Hymns: Matins, Orthodox Christian Canons and Prayers, an updated reprint of Panakhida & Funeral, and reprints of Hieratikon, vol. I, A Small Book of Needs and Vespers. The list is long indeed. The reason for the delay is, in short, that the editor, our illustrious Hieromonk Herman, is completing a Masters of Arts in Liturgical Studies at Notre Dame University. In the long term, his education will greatly add to the capabilities of STM Press. However, in the short term, it has meant that he has had very little time to devote to publications. The most work has been undertaken on the Psalter, on which so many of our other publications depend. The editorial work is virtually complete, but it still needs proofread and, finally, approved by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon. Matins is coming along, with a first draft expected by the end of this year. OCCP, and the Funeral book are still in the typesetting stage. We have someone else working on preparing the reprints of Hieratikon, vol. I,  A Small Book of Needs, and Vespers, all three of which I hope to print in January.

In the area of non-liturgical publication, three projects are at the forefront: The North American Thebaid, John the Damascene, Paul Zaichenko. Mr. Sidway and I have had weekly phone meetings on his photographic pilgrimage, The North American Thebaid and are very close to having a semi-finished book to send out for a trial print. The book is roughly two hundred pages and is truly stunning.  John the Damascene is likewise coming along. I continue to receive illustrations from our Ohio-based artist every few weeks and I am incorporating these into the typeset. We are about 60% complete as far as illustrations go and are on track for a summer, 2023 release date. Vladimir Morosan has kindly offered to help me edit my book on the life and work of St. Alexis Toth’s first choir director, Paul Zaichenko. His edits have been highly illuminating, prompting me to dig deeper into my primary sources, and to branch out into parallel studies. This may result in a few smaller publications, or in one full-sized book. The research has been a fascinating adventure.

As the year draws to a close, we have much for which to be thankful. Even though, for your sake, we wish that more of our publications could have been completed and available, we also know that the added effort and even delay required to bring these books to fruition will, in the end, result in a better resource. We are also grateful for another great calendar; this year’s is truly a work of art from the monastery brotherhood! Music at Saint Tikhon’s continues to grow through programs like the Music Institute and The Saint Tikhon Choir. Lots of work has been completed at the monastery, including our beautiful new waterfall installation, gorgeous new windows, and the new gazebo-welcome area. As I walk from my house, through the maple-lined avenue, past the monastery church, past the waterfall, and to my office in the bookstore everyday, I have ready opportunity to give God thanks for the miracles that continue to happen here at St. Tikhon’s Monastery. It is through your prayers, your patience, and often forgiveness for our infirmities that makes all of this possible. Thank you!


Priest Mikel Hill —Managing Editor