N. American Thebaid Photo Project

$12,357 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 90 people in 19 months
Welcome to the North American Thebaid Pilgrimage, a two-year journey to create numinous, compelling photographs of Orthodox Christian monastic life in the USA and Canada, leading to publication of a large-format coffee table book in 2018.

After a successful launch in 2016, we are now in Phase II, and need your support to complete this unique endeavor, which seeks to present this hidden, holy life to Orthodox Christians, and to the world at large.

Watch this brief, 4 minute video for an overview of the Project...



We are endorsed by the Church, but we are not funded by the Church. Nor do we have corporate sponsors or wealthy benefactors to financially support our work.

Rather, we rely on individual contributors like you to partner with us in our mission
 to help reveal the Orthodox monastic life, to make it vividly and beautifully present and real. 

Together, through this photographic pilgrimage and the resulting book, we can help expand the mission of the Orthodox Church, and contribute to the “churching of America.”


Highlights...


• A two-year pilgrimage to photograph dozens of Orthodox Christian monasteries of the USA & Canada;

• Leading to publication of a large-format coffee table book in Autumn 2018;

• Phase I was a verified success, enabling photography at several regional monasteries in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Upstate New York in Autumn 2016;

• We have already posted hundreds of original images on the Thebaid website! You can view the growing image galleries here ;

• A successful Phase II is needed to fund all remaining travel and photography through mid-2018;

• More than a documentary, the Thebaid Project is a photographic exploration, seeking to reveal glimpses of the hidden, unseen Monastic Way, through visual means.


Goals and Purpose: The Thebaid Project...

• . . . hopes to spur interest in Orthodox monasticism, and to contribute towards more monastic vocations in North America;

• . . . is a pan-Orthodox endeavor, covering monasteries from several Orthodox jurisdictions in the USA and Canada;

• . . . serves to strengthen connections between parishes and regional monasteries, and to aid in the spiritual growth of Orthodox Christians;

• . . . is a registered Non-Profit Association with several volunteer members from Orthodox parishes in both Ohio and Alabama;

• . . . was established with the blessing of His Grace, +Paul, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest (OCA).

Learn more below, and through the project website .

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What does 'Thebaid' mean?

The Egyptian 'Thebaid' was the region of the upper Nile River valley, which during the 4th-5th centuries was chosen by the first monastics for its remoteness from the world. There the early monks and nuns devoted themselves to 'prayer, work, and silence' as they sought to faithfully live out the Gospel. Monastic saints of this period include Antony the Great, Pachomius, Sisoes, Moses the Black, and many others.


A thousand years later, a 'Northern Thebaid' had been established in Russia, which had been baptized in 988 with the conversion of St Vladimir. Early monks of this dynamic spiritual flowering spread the Orthodox Christian faith from European Rus eastward across the Urals through Siberia, and all the way to the Pacific. Monastic saints of the Northern Thebaid include Sergius of Radonezh, Nilus of Sora,  Alexander of Svir, and many others.

Read more about the Egyptian and Russian Thebaids here...

In 1794, monks were sent from Valaam Monastery in Lake Ladoga, Russia, to Alaska, to continue the missionary effort of the Church. That initial mission over time dwindled down to one monk, the humble Elder Herman (now glorified as a saint), but he planted the seeds of Orthodox Monasticism in the New Land.

The first Orthodox Christian monastery in America, St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, was founded in 1905 in eastern Pennsylvania. Holy Trinity in Jordanville NY was established in 1935 (read the amazing story of its founding here ), and others followed throughout the latter half of the 20th century.


Photo: Vigil for the Nativity of the Theotokos, St Tikhon's Monastery, South Canaan PA, September 2016; © Ralph H. Sidway.
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Now, just over 100 years after the founding of St. Tikhon's, there are almost eighty Orthodox monasteries all across the USA and Canada, from Alaska to Florida, and from Southern California to Nova Scotia. While not clustered in a specific geographic region as in Egypt and northern Russia, we can truly speak of a 'spiritual geography' here in America.

We are now witnessingand assisting with — the early stages of a new flowering of Orthodox monasticism:  the North American Thebaid.

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What you are funding —

Your financial support goes directly towards travel, photography, and associated operating expenses. Detailed info on our budget and every aspect of our business plan is available on our website .

By contributing, you are joining over 100 supporters who made Phase I a strong success in 2016, raising 92% ($13,791) of the Phase I fundraising goal of $15,000, and who have helped get Phase II off to a strong start.

Our Phase II Goal of $30,000 will cover all travel and photography expenses for the remainder of the project, 2017-2018. 


Examples of specific needs include:

Travel expenses, such as gas, automotive service & maintenance, tires, AAA membership, etc. for 19,000 miles driving: $14,740;

Alaska pilgrimage: round-trip air fare, car rental, ferry, lodging, misc. travel expenses: $2500;

8TB Hard Drive to backup images: $219;

Upgrade to wide-aperture lenses and advanced camera with high-ISO sensor, for better low-light photography: $3500;

Archival Inkjet Printer for fine art prints: $499;

Software: industry-standard image editing apps and cloud storage: $600;

Fees for 501(c)(3) filing with IRS: $275.

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Press and Official Endorsements:

OrthoChristian/Pravoslavie called the Thebaid Project a "unique new and inspiring project. "

Byzantine TX blog covered the Project launch in July 2016, and wrote to us, "This is actually the very project I had hoped someone would tackle for some time."

Established with the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Paul of the OCA Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest, who wrote, "Very professional, and well thought out . . .  I find myself wholeheartedly endorsing it."

The OCA Midwest Diocese website also published a major announcement on the Thebaid Project launch.

Photographer & Director Ralph Sidway was invited by Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America to introduce the Thebaid Project at the OCA's annual Synaxis of Monastic Superiors in October 2016, and was warmly received, with invitations to visit from the more than a dozen monastics assembled from across the USA and Canada.


Photo: Ralph Sidway addressing the OCA Monastic Superiors, Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City PA; October 2016.
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Comments from Supporters:

 “The reason why we supported you was because we believe that healthy monasticism is the key to a vibrant church. We hope your work will be a spark which continues to bring monasticism to the consciousness of all Orthodox and the wider world. Bless you in your journey and your work.” — Anonymous Supporter, New Jersey

“May God Bless every day of this project. A wonderful work!” — Paula Romano

“They had me at ‘apophatic ’!” — Todd Isaac

"Your project is beautiful and needed to spread the word about the value and beauty of Orthodox Monasticism. So happy to support your effort! Best of luck!" — Steva Austill

“A fascinating project with beautiful picture. Congratulations to the authors!” — Fr. Cyril Hovorun

“We’ll be praying for your project, to His glory! … All love in Christ,” — Fr. Basil Rusen, St. Herman’s Orthodox Church, Hudson OH.



Photo
: Veneration of the Holy Icons, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville NY, November 2016; © Ralph H. Sidway.
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We Appreciate Our Supporters! 

• Earn valuable rewards for contributions starting at the $25 level. At $50 and above, supporters are pre-ordering the finished book. At $275 and above, supporters are pre-ordering the Deluxe Limited Edition in Bonded Leather.

• Save by ordering multiple copiesDiscounts up to 33% off. Give as gifts, or donate a copy to your parish or college library.

Support Levels:

• $25 - 'Fellow Pilgrim' — Supporters at the $25 level and above will receive two photography eBooks: 

Pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain’, featuring over six dozen photographs of Mount Athos by Ralph H. Sidway (see cover photo below), 

PLUS, ‘Pursuing the Light – Forty Years of Photography’, a retrospective of Ralph Sidway’s award-winning landscape photography (see preview here ).

Both eBooks are in a universal format, and are able to be enjoyed on any tablet or smartphone, or Mac or PC computer, using Kindle, iBooks and other apps.



• $50 - 'Benefactor' — Thebaid supporters at the $50 level will receive a copy of the First Edition of the finished book, scheduled to be published in Autumn 2018, as well as the eBooks for the $25 level.

• $100 - 'Patron' — To thank you for backing the Thebaid Project at the $100 level, we will send you a SIGNED, First Edition Book, PLUS a signed/matted Fine Art Print from the Thebaid Project (ship dates for prints begin mid-2017; book target ship date, Autumn 2018). PLUS you will receive the digital perks for the $25 level.

• $200 - 'Patron X3'To thank you for backing the Thebaid Project at the $200 level, we will send you THREE (3) SIGNED, First Edition Books, PLUS THREE (3) signed/matted Fine Art Prints from the Thebaid Project. PLUS you will receive the digital perks for the $25 level. (Save 33% over the single copy price.)

• $275 - 'Founder' — As our special thanks for backing the Thebaid Project at the $275 level, we will send you the Founding Subscribers’ Deluxe Limited Edition* of the North American Thebaid Book (signed & numbered), PLUS a signed/matted Fine Art Print from the Thebaid Project (ship dates for prints begin mid-2017; book target ship date, Autumn 2018). PLUS you will receive the digital perks for the $25 level.

• $500 - 'Founder X2' — As our special thanks for supporting the Thebaid Project at the $500 level, we will send you TWO (2) Copies of the Founding Subscribers’ Limited Edition* (signed & numbered), PLUS TWO (2) signed/matted Fine Art Prints from the Thebaid Project. Plus, you will receive the digital perks for the $25 level. (Save 9% over the single copy price.)

• $700 - 'Founder X3' — As our special thanks for supporting the Thebaid Project at the $700 level, we will send you THREE (3) Copies of the Founding Subscribers’ Limited Edition* (signed & numbered), PLUS THREE (3) signed/matted Fine Art Prints from the Thebaid Project. Plus, you will receive the digital perks for the $25 level. (Save 15% over the single copy price.)


• $1000 - 'Founder X5'  — With great appreciation for supporting the Thebaid Project at the $1000 level, we will send you FIVE (5) Copies of the Founding Subscribers’ Limited Edition* (signed & numbered), PLUS FIVE (5) signed/matted Fine Art Prints from the Thebaid Project. Plus, you will receive the digital perks for the $25 level. (Save 27% over the single copy price.)


* The Deluxe Founding Subscribers' Limited Edition Book will be strictly limited to 300 total copies
, with no subsequent print runs, with ten (10) copies reserved for the Thebaid Project.

At the time of the preparation of this GoFundMe page, we had already taken orders for 42 copies, leaving only 448 total copies available. We have estimated the numbers of Founders X2, X3 and X5 supporters in order to arrive at estimated available quantities for each level. We will update available quantities as fundraising progresses, taking into account direct pre-sales.


Original Prototype Book Cover
, featuring photograph of St Gregory Palamas Monastery, Main Chapel at Sunset, Hayesville Ohio; © Ralph H. Sidway.
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Publication Specifications* for the Finished Book & Fine Art Prints:


• Standard Edition — Hardbound, cloth-cover, with deluxe, scuff-resistant, French-fold dust jacket; heavyweight matte, acid-free/lig-free fine-art paper, 157gsm/120#.

• Founding Subscribers’ Deluxe Limited Edition — Bonded Leather cover, with gold-foil stamped title, in handsome, cloth-bound slipcase, with ribbon marker, heavyweight matte, acid-free/lig-free fine-art paper, 157gsm/120#; SIGNED & NUMBERED, total quantity strictly limited to 300.

• Fine Art Prints from the Thebaid Project — 8×10 archival prints, mounted in an 11×14 museum mat (acid-free/lig-free), signed. Ready for framing.

Early Book Delivery — Supporters who pre-order the book will receive their copies before retail distribution begins.

Full book and fine art print specifications and more detailed info on all rewards can be viewed on the Thebaid website.  

* Exact specifications are subject to change; we guarantee the finished books to be museum quality, with stunning image reproduction, heavyweight acid-free/lig-free paper, and true archival characteristics.

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What's the Timeframe?

Monastery travel and photography is planned to resume in Summer 2017, and will continue though mid-2018. Your support helps us get on the road right away.

Here is the itinerary and publishing schedule for 2017-2018 (subject to change):


August-October 2017

• Distribute signed/matted fine-art prints to qualifying supporters;
• Northeast: Pennsylvania, New York, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario (10 monasteries);
• Michigan, Illinois, Ohio (7 monasteries),
• Montana, Pacific Northwest, Alberta (7 monasteries).


November 2017-January 2018

• Southwest: Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona (6-7 monasteries);
• California-Colorado (13 monasteries).


February-March 2018 

• Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee (5 monasteries).
• Return trips to select monasteries in Eastern regions (6 monasteries).


April-May 2018 

• Visit monasteries we missed or had to reschedule;
• Prepare book design and layout, pre-press editing and proofing.


June 2018
• Alaska (3 monasteries, pilgrimage sites).


June-July 2018 

• Final proofing, send files to printer.


August-September 2018 

• Receive finished books from printer;
• Sign and distribute advance copies to supporters;
• Distribute orders to resellers, bookstores.

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Join the Pilgrimage! 

We are seeking not just donors, but fellow 'Thebaid Pilgrims',
 who will help us complete this two-year journey to create these unique photographs and the resulting book, and who we hope will expand their visits to and support of Orthodox monasticism in North America. And perhaps some will become monastics themselves…

As you can tell, this is something of a creative missionary project, using the beauty and mystery of the monastic life conveyed in fine photography to help expand the mission of the Orthodox Church in North America.

You’ll be able to follow along every step of the way, as we post images from the different monasteries on the Thebaid website , as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Thebaid website also features a blog, with articles on monasticism, Orthodoxy, spiritual life, photography, and related subjects.

Monastic seekers, the Thebaid website is designed with you in mind, with extensive articles and info on becoming an Orthodox monk or nun, and what this holy life is about.

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Other Ways You Can Help —

Pray for the Thebaid Project! 

Consider inviting us to your church! — We offer photographic services free to parishes who host a presentation on the Thebaid Project and help us with a collection or book pre-sales. We call this 'Creative Tent-Making', after the Apostle Paul's example in Acts 18:1-3.


Photo: Ralph Sidway delivering a Thebaid presentation at St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Pittsburgh PA, Fr. Thomas Soroka, rector; September 2016.
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We schedule parish visits regionally in between monastery photography, and would love to meet you and share the Thebaid Project with you in person! 

Learn more and contact us here . . . 


•  Referrals & Shares — Help spread the word by sharing news of the Thebaid Project with your family and friends through our website , Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter .

• Many of you have close ties to other parishes besides your home church. Please consider sharing the Thebaid Project with all your Orthodox contacts. 

•  Even more ways to support the Thebaid ProjectVisit our website for additional info...

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About the Photographer —


My name is Ralph Sidway, and I have been practicing landscape photography since the early 1970s, working in both 35mm and medium format, and expanding into large format in 1990. My gelatin-silver prints have been accepted into and won awards at juried exhibits across Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and from Atlanta to Iowa.

As an avid freelancer, my work has also included equine photography, architecture and the performing arts, and has been featured in various books and periodicals. 



In the mid-2000s, I returned to landscape photography, creating a series of new images using the digital medium. In 2013 I self-published a retrospective coffee-table book, ‘Pursuing the Light – Forty Years of Photography’ (see cover image above), which provides a real-world example of my photography and my sense of design, as well as of my ability to bring a large, complex project to successful completion.

I was received into the Orthodox Church in 1987, and have made numerous monastery pilgrimages since then, including to Greece and Russia. Since 2001 have been a member at Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit (OCA) in Cincinnati OH (Fr Steven C. Kostoff, rector), where I contribute my photography, web, design and tech skills in a variety of capacities. 

I see The North American Thebaid Project as a continuation of my desire to serve the Church, laboring with the talent entrusted to me, and I ask your prayers and support for this worthy endeavor. — Full Bio here...

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Thank you for reading through all this info!
We know it's a lot to cover, but we believe we will have addressed most questions this way. 

Still have questions? — Please use the email link at top right of our GoFundMe page (next to Ralph's name) to contact us, or contact us through the Thebaid website .

We ask for your prayers and hope you will consider making a financial contribution! Remember to check out the Rewards we offer. The digital rewards (eBooks) are sent promptly to all supporters at $25 and above.

We look forward to sharing many beautiful, inspiring images with you in the months ahead...


Prototype Book Cover, 'Two Nuns Walking', Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City PA, October 2016;  © Ralph H. Sidway.
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Visit the website at thebaid.org , sign up for email updates, and learn more about this luminous journey to reveal the light and life of the Monastic Way...
+ Read More
THEBAID UPDATE - July 2018

The Western Pilgrimage continues, and I'm typing this from a coffee shop in Santa Rose CA before heading to a monastery this afternoon!

Thanks to your support, I have visited and photographed over twenty monasteries to date, with several more scheduled through the end of July.

August will see a few remaining monastery visits, God willing, bringing the total to around thirty. Then, by the end of August I'll be hard at work on the book design and layout.

I hope to soon make an official announcement regarding our publisher, as well as the publication date. As of right now, we are very confident the book will be in distribution this Autumn. Supporters will receive their copies and other rewards first.

Remember, your contributions accumulate! So if you had only contributed at the $25 level (digital rewards only), you can pre-order the book by making another $25 contribution. Similarly, if you want multiple signed copies as gifts, or with to upgrade to the Deluxe Limited Edition in Bonded Leather, additional contributions are added to your original amount. Simply let me know in your comments, or send me email to
zosimas at thebaid dot org

Be sure to visit by project blog, the ever expanding photo galleries, and if you haven't already, please sign up on the Thebaid website for email updates:
https://thebaid.org/galleries/

As always, my heartfelt thanks for your support and prayers.

Yours in Christ,
Ralph Zosimas Sidway
The North American Thebaid
thebaid.org

The North American Thebaid is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Association, established with the Blessing of His Grace, the Right Rev. +Paul, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America. All donations are tax deductible.
+ Read More
New Gallery & Thebaid Project Update:

Major news on key aspects of the North American Thebaid project, plus a new gallery of monastery images, makes this a very special update.

Well, it wasn’t exactly intentional, but following my pilgrimage to the Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery in Rives Jct, Michigan in early February, my photo editing workload resulted in me taking a break from posting online. So I’m especially eager to share with you some new images and the latest developments.

Holy Dormition Monastery Photo Gallery – Almost two-dozen images in this gallery, with more to follow soon, as I continue to edit the photos from my visit. Before this trip, I had been growing concerned that I didn’t have any snow scenes yet. Well, in addition to there still being a few inches of snow when I arrived, we soon got hit with two feet more (!), resulting in that otherworldly stillness and luminous beauty which is so unique to winter. Proceed to the new gallery here:
https://thebaid.org/galleries/holy-dormition-monastery-rives-jct-mi/

Book Preparation has begun – I have been working on the North American Thebaid book itself, including the challenging task of selecting the images, and doing the deeper editing required for going to print, as well as the actual book design. There is a sense of anticipation as this new stage makes everything quite “real” and tangible going forward.

Discussions with our expected publisher continue, and we look forward on both our parts to a fruitful collaboration as I prepare to send the initial book design for them to review.

The North American Thebaid has been designated a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization by the IRS, which greatly simplifies filing for our supporters. If you have been waiting for this news before supporting us through a contribution, we are very happy to announce this long-awaited development.

The Western Pilgrimage is due to begin soon after Orthodox Pascha, with travel plans to be announced soon for monasteries in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California, and beyond.

Interest in the Thebaid Project continues to grow, with over 400 followers for the website, and well over 30,000 views. Be sure to share and like us on Facebook also!

As always, our heartfelt thanks to all our supporters who believe in this unique fine art photographic project, and are propelling it along through pre-ordering the finished book. You can learn about the many rewards for supporters here, and contribute via our GoFundMe platform, or through PayPal.

Continued appreciation to our dedicated volunteers who comprise the North American Thebaid Association Board and Advisors, as well as to all our partners. You undergird this effort, and make it all possible.

Please keep us in your prayers, and watch for more photos and updates soon!
+ Read More
Dear Fellow Thebaid Pilgrims,

If you haven't yet seen my mini-gallery of photographs (so far) from Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction MI, I invite you to visit my latest blog post on the Thebaid website:
https://thebaid.org/2018/02/04/first-photographs-from-dormition-monastery/

I'm very grateful to Mother Abbess Gabriella and the Sisterhood for inviting me. This has been a wonderful start to 2018 for the Thebaid Project, and has been deeply inspiring for me, which I hope is reflected in the images.

Watch for more photographs and updates coming soon...

+ Read More
UPDATED FEB. 1, 2018 -

Dear Fellow Thebaid Pilgrims,

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas, New Year and Theophany season!

No, you didn’t miss an update in December, I did! But this one is well worth the wait, covering recent travel, upcoming schedule, and two special announcements.

Announcement #1 — We are officially at the midpoint of the photography, with fifteen monasteries photographed to date, and dozens of images already selected for the book.

Announcement #2 — I have been in communication with a leading Orthodox publisher since just before the new year. No agreement in writing yet so we cannot share any details, but their interest in publishing the Thebaid book is yet a further affirmation of the Thebaid Project.


MONASTERY PHOTOGRAPHY —

NOVEMBER 14-19, 2017 — Monks and Nuns of New Skete (OCA), Cambridge NY. Having just celebrated their 50th Anniversary, New Skete is perhaps best known outside the Orthodox Church for their breeding and training of German Shepherd dogs. You can view my extensive gallery of images at thebaid.org. My heartfelt thanks to Br. Christopher, Sr. Cecilia, and the communities of New Skete for their invitation and hospitality.

NOVEMBER 20, 2017 — Skete of St. John the Theologian (ROCOR), Hiram OH. This was a brief, “get acquainted” visit, to a small but historic monastic community in northern Ohio. I hope to return soon to do some serious photography, but on my blog you can get a good sense of the beauty of the chapel and grounds from the few photos made with my iPhone.


PARISH VISITS & PRESENTATIONS —

NOVEMBER 4-8, 2017 — Computer Work & Photography at Holy Apostles Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Beltsville MD.

This “working visit” is a great example of how parishes can help support the Thebaid Project by hiring me to help with their photography, web, or computer/digital needs.

At Holy Apostles, I set up a dual-hard-drive backup system to enable the parish to better handle their growing photo and video archives, refreshing their computer systems and giving them a tremendous boost in computer performance. Thank you, Fr George & Mat. Deborah Johnson and parish, for your continued support!


NOVEMBER 12, 2017 — Holy Cross Orthodox Church (Antiochian), Baltimore MD.
This was a spontaneous, “get acquainted” visit made at the suggestion of a dear friend in the Beltsville/DC area (thank you Abraham!). I was welcomed by Fr Gregory Mathewes-Green to give a brief talk introducing the Thebaid Project during coffee hour, where I also provided my special info cards. I look forward to a return visit as soon as possible. Thank you Fr Gregory, and Ken & Carol Hines!

DECEMBER 10, 2017 — Parish presentation at St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church (OCA), Norcross GA. A strong turnout of brave parishioners following the epic snowstorm in the Deep South made this a special event. My heartfelt thanks to Hieromonk Cyprian (duRant, rector) and Rdr Thomas, and to the entire parish for such a warm welcome and generous collection for the Thebaid Project. I look forward to returning later this year to do some photography for this parish, whose beautiful chapel reminds one of the wooden churches in the Russian North.

DECEMBER 16-17, 2017 — Photography at Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit, Cincinnati OH. This return trip to my home parish was for a special event, the visit of His Grace, Bishop Paul, and the ordination of Reader Johnothon Sauer to the Holy Diaconate, which I was able to photograph. Special thanks to Ron and Beth Skulas for hosting me for the weekend, and to special contributions for the Thebaid Project from existing and new supporters. I look forward to visiting again very soon, on my way north to Michigan (see below).


UPCOMING SCHEDULE —

JANUARY 29 - FEBRUARY 4, 2018 — Orthodox Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God, Rives Junction MI. I am looking forward very much to finally seeing the new church at Dormition Monastery, and photographing the iconography, and the nuns’ way of life. There may be some winter weather in the forecast during the latter part of the week, and I am hopeful for a photogenic snowfall!

APRIL 28, 2018 — St. Symeon Orthodox Church Festival, Birmingham AL. I have been invited to set up a display of my photographs, and perhaps give my presentation on Orthodox monasticism and the Thebaid Project, at this special church festival, which is an important outreach to the Birmingham community.

JULY 22-26, 2018 — 19th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, St. Louis MO. The North American Thebaid Pilgrimage Project will be an official exhibitor at the OCA’s 19th AAC. Our display booth should be in effect a launch event for the book, which is on schedule to be in distribution in Autumn 2018. We hope to have a mock up of the book on display at the event.

Next destinations include:

Several monasteries in Michigan and Illinois, and possibly lower Ontario.

Southwest USA: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and then on into California.

Northern California, Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alberta.

Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario… and hopefully, Alaska.


FUNDRAISING APPEAL —

We continue our Crowdfunding Campaign on the GoFundMe platform, which will run through the completion of the Thebaid Project and publication of the book in 2018. Since January 2017 we have raised almost $7500 from almost 50 supporters towards the remaining $30,000 required to complete the travel & photography and the publication of the book. That is an increase of approximately $2000 since our last report in November 2017.

We need to raise an immediate $5,000 to fund travel and photography through June 2018.


SUPPORTERS’ FINE ART PRINTS DELAYED (AGAIN)—

Unfortunately, we have not been able to have the fine-art prints made as of yet, and regret to again have to announce postponement of their delivery. The mats, boards and packaging have already been purchased. Rather than guess at another date, we ask your patience and assure you of our commitment to complete them as soon as possible.

These will be well worth the wait, with outstanding quality archival prints, in acid-free/lignin-free museum mats, signed on the mat, and ready for framing. Thank you for your understanding!


CONTINUED WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA GROWTH — 

Over 25,000 website views (after two years) — that is an increase of about 8,000 since November 1, 2017!

Over 400 followers for the website, 270+ Facebook page likes, and growing numbers on Instagram and Twitter.

We continue to earn some very positive reviews and comments on the project which you can read here: https://thebaid.org/the-project/press-and-supporter-comments/


EXPANDED PHOTO GALLERIES —

View hundreds of images from the monastery visits (so far) at:
https://thebaid.org/galleries/

If you haven't already, please head over to https://thebaid.org/ and sign up to follow by email. 

Stay tuned for more updates, and please be assured of our sincere thanks again for your support and prayers! Your contributions have been key to getting us into the midpoint of the Thebaid Project!

Ralph (Zosimas) Sidway
From New Skete, Cambridge NY
St John the Theologian Skete, Hiram OH
Parish Visit, Holy Apostles, Beltsville
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$12,357 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 90 people in 19 months
Created January 16, 2017
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Alexandra Union
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Please call me at+12095591465 when you plan on being near St Silouan Monastery in Sonora CA. My husband, the former Deacon Elias Union and I own San Jose Candle Company and we dip and ship beeswax candles all across the US to Orthodox churches for the past 25 years. I know it doesn’t fit with your book subject but I have been following you for a year online and we would love to show you our prayer candle factory and our new Orthodox Christian Wellness Center and icon shop that we are building in our 8000 square foot warehouse about four miles from St Silouan. We are very close with Fr Ignatius and love him so much! Please contact me Alexandra Union, PhD, before you come! Bless you!

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