Elder Zacharias often reminds us that it is only by giving thanks that we make all that God gives us truly our own. In this season of thanksgiving, it seems only appropriate to look back over the year and to offer our gratitude for all the good things that we have been given, both at the monastery in general and at the Press specifically. Also, it is appropriate at this time to provide updates for our various forthcoming publications.
The monastery completed several monumental landscaping projects over the course of this past year. A waterfall and pond, a welcome pavilion, and landscaped paths now greet the many visitors coming to the monastery. Behind the monastery, the timbers of the new, expansive Art Center rise. Once the building is completed, it will be home to the monastery's Institute for Sacred Arts, which has already started holding classes. Just recently, landscaping was also completed around the monastery church, transforming the asphalt into abundant beds for flowers and shrubs. This week, the extensive improvements to the monastery's church that have been undertaken over the past few years received its crowning touch when new exterior lighting was installed, turning the church into a Paradise of Light:
We are overwhelmed with the burden of gratitude for all those who made these improvements possible through their generosity, and we give thanks to God, "from whom all blessings flow."
At the Press, progress has been much less visible, but no less substantial. The complete Sing to Your Soul series was released in early 2023; a 2nd edition of the Panikhida & Funeral book appeared in March and a new title, Akathists & Moliebens, was published in July. Every year, an immense amount of effort goes into designing and creating the Liturgical Calendar and Rubrics for the coming year. All of the images and design elements of the calendar and rubrics were produced by the monastery community: Fr Ignatius Gauvain, the Director of Student Life at the seminary, provided the images for the Liturgical Calendar, the Rubrics feature Hierodeacon David's lovely vestments, and a stunning painting by Monk George appears on the cover of the Pocket Planner.
This year, Fr Leonid Schmidt assumed the role of compiling the texts for the Liturgical Rubrics from Sergei Arhipov, who had tirelessly labored on these for many years. We are very thankful for Sergei's work and wish him the best in his retirement. We are also thankful to Fr Leonid for his work on the new layout and typography of the Rubrics and his production of the eBook version. We look forward to collaborating with him over the coming years.
Finally, we are happy to announce the imminent release of three new books: Canons to St John, Canons to Saint Nicholas, and John the Damascene. Fr John Mikitish, our Editor of Liturgical Texts, has produced these first two volumes in what we hope will be an extensive Little Library of Orthodox Christian Hymns. Fr John has also spent considerable time helping to polish up the text for John the Damascene. We are also happy to feature all original artwork for these three new titles. Paul Tish, a good friend of the monastery, completed a series of vivid illustrations for John the Damascene early this Fall and we are excited to share his artwork with you. The monastery's own Hierdeacon Marc offered icons of St John and St Nicholas in his unique and riveting style of sketchwork. I designed the covers using a dog-rose motif, inspired by my recent trip to Wales, where dog roses appear along every hedge. We expect all three titles from the printer by December 15, glad to make these available for Christmas gifts!
More difficult to give thanks for are the delays experienced with several forthcoming publications. Nevertheless, we are mindful of the high level of scholarship and editorial experience being brought to these publications and are confident that, once published, they will set an unparalleled example for liturgical publications in the English-speaking world. With The Holy Psalter, we are embarking on something quite unprecedented: a collaborative relationship with SVS Press, a relationship we hope to continue in many future publications. For the endless labors and incredible attention to detail that the editors, proofreaders, and reviewers from both presses have shown, we give thanks. We know that this publication will be a treasure for the entire Orthodox Church and well worth the wait.
We now expect the analogion edition of the Psalter to be in print by Spring, 2024. A deluxe, personal edition will follow shortly thereafter. Work to complete the Psalter has occupied most of our attention, thus delaying the completion of several other publications. A partial list of our forthcoming publications and their expected release dates is as follows:
Holy Hieromartyr Seraphim of Dmitrov Akathists & Canons
The Hieratikon, volume 1, second edition
John the Damascene, full-color, hardbound edition
Orthodox Christian Canons & Prayers
Service Book for the Faithful: Vespers, Matins, and Divine Liturgy
Common Book of Church Hymns: Divine Liturgy (reprint with corrections)
The Small Book of Needs, third edition
The Holy Psalter, analogion edition
The North American Thebaid
Common Book of Church Hymns: Great Vespers, hardback edition
The Holy Psalter, personal edition
The Great Horologion: Book of Hours
The Great Book of Needs, volume 1
Common Book of Church Hymns: Sunday Matins
The Great Book of Needs, volume 2
Glory to God for All Things!
Priest Mikel Hill—Managing Editor, STM Press
Along the Welsh Coast, St. Dogmael's.