Joining the Holy Mountain

$2,240 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 22 people in 33 months

I am trying to get to the Kursk Monastery in Russia to enter repentance. I'm trying to raise $600 more for a plane ticket, plus expenses like clothing for colder parts of the year (I do not know if or how well buildings will be heated).

The Uncut Version

This campaign began when, after realizing I needed spiritual help, I tried to migrate to the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos in Greece. I had been told I had a blessing to stay, but I did not, and while the visit was excellent (I would ordinarily not go to Mount Athos just for the sake of pilgrimage), it turned out to be fortunate that I could not stay. I am presently on maintenance medications, and they would be simply unavailable at that remote locale. And I very much had a sense that God was blessing me, only in a different way than I had in mind (this is usually an excellent thing to have happen).

Now I have an unexpected possibility to go to a monastery in Russia, and the monastery that a priest picked out for me looks just about perfect: Kursk's "Korennaya" monastery, where a miraculous stream gushed forth after a medieval hunter picked up an icon that was face down on a root in Kursk, the famous wonderworking Kursk Root icon that travels abroad and through which I have prayed. This local icon plays in the story of the great eighteenth and nineteenth century Saint Seraphim of Sarov, for whom a great many Abbots have chosen to be named. The Kursk monastery is considered the third holiest monastery in Russia, but it is small. It is also about as far south as Russia goes, and the weather appears to be much like the weather that I am used to. But the weather is dwarfed by it being considered the third holiest site in Russia.

The monastery campus has springs of healing water that pilgrims come to take, and I have hopes for spiritual healing as I approach and enter monastic repentance. A chiropractor will tell you that if you can hold your spine straight and erect, other things in the body will work more like they are intended to work. How much more is it true that if your spirit is straightened out delving into new layers of repentance, the body will improve as well? I remember being mystified when I was asked, "If you're going to be at a remote monastery, where will your medical support system be?" and I answered, "The monastery is the support system." And medications can be obtained at most Russian monasteries.

People right now are discovering where their ancestry is from, and then visiting places where their blood is from. I'm not really going on frequent trips to other continents, but I have thought about learning ancient and modern Norse, as well as at least Scottish Gaelic. However, right now I'm trying to get as polished in Russian as I can. I do not believe I have much of any Russian blood, but I have something more: the divine blood that transforms those who receive the Holy Mysteries. The motivation has nothing to do with my ancestral heritage; it is to pay the courtesy of speaking the local language where I try to move.

Right now I have everything I need for here, for now. However, airline tickets aren't necessarily cheap when purchased at the last minute. I would ideally like to buy a $600 ticket beforehand, and have money ready for a train trip and bus ride. There are also some expenses now, such as the basic expense of sending an author copy of "St. Clive:" An Eastern Orthodox Author Looks Back at C.S. Lewis, which I invite you to explore. There are also "over the counter" medicines that aren't particularly expensive, but also aren't particularly free.

Thank you for prayers and any donations, and for reading and telling others about "St. Clive:" An Eastern Orthodox Author Looks Back at C.S. Lewis, if that sort of thing is up your alley. I am hoping that that book in particular will bring a modest stream of income and cover basic expenses, possibly including medication expenses once I've reached the monastery.

Many Thanks,
Christos Hayward (Amazon author bookshelf , flagship site)

P.S. Please reshare!
+ Read More
There is a tradition of sorts of delivering a "Last Lecture" video, answering the question of whether, if you had one last lecture to give, what I would be.

I have recorded a Last Lecture video at I'm not sure how good it is, but it may be the last major lecture I deliver in ages, and I thought you might like it, warts and all.
+ Read More

I am in the process of getting ready for another pilgrimage, one where I again hope to stay.

One of the preparations, after I lost my cellphone, was getting a phone that did not seem like a cheaper surrogate (I found biometrics at their best to take me considerably longer than entering a pattern, which kind of defeats the purpose), a cellphone I'd love to be stuck with indefinitely...

...and use sparingly at Kursk Monastery, in a set time or place if my Abbot so blesses me.

I've found the most edifying use of cellphones to be sparing use, and I will be delighted if, like Holy Cross Hermitage, I am simply assigned a walkie-talkie.

I would love, like computer scientist Donald Knuth, to not have an active email address, but a vacation responder offering my postal address, and go on digital retreat so that I may say classic monasticism.

An abbot, if I can stay, will be my Mommy and Daddy for quite some time, and if the Abbot does not give me a blessing to pull back from technology, I will regardless owe obedience to the Abbot and acceptance of how his monastery works. But I am looking forward to the inestimable privilege Orthodoxy has offered to monastic aspirants or candidates: novice's obediences, a second childhood in purifying manual labor (the guestmaster at Holy Cross Hermitage gave an intense smile when he said, "Bishops want to be novices!").

Of course, even if bishops are taken from the pool of monks, no one should become a monk in order to be a bishop. But I hope to receive, not the status of a bishop, but the status bishops wish for.
There are other educational stops after novice's obediences. However, novice's obediences (washing floors, cleaning toilets, etc.) are a means of teaching a practical theology as much as training in at least some martial arts is a means of teaching a philosophy.

As far as pay goes, novices' obediences offer something more than an hourly rate. They are meant to offer repentance, a straightening out and healing of the soul, and a foundation for later crosses to bear. And they first offer something very foundational, being under monastic authority and undergoing such growth as they can help us grasp.

It is now something like two months until I hope to leave. Money, other than the cell phone sale, will come when it comes. And I will remain grateful to everybody who prayed for me and everybody who gave me some money along the way to, God willing, a vow of poverty.

I'm looking forward to it!
+ Read More
". :" .. , - today's chapter is about an elephant in the room: "An Open Letter to Catholics on Orthodoxy and Ecumenism"
+ Read More
A highlighted chapter from ". :" .. , "The Angelic Letters" is a book that Lewis foresaw ("The Screwtape Letters") but felt himself unable to write. Please RS!
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.

$2,240 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 22 people in 33 months
Created October 30, 2016
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
3 months ago
6 months ago
7 months ago
Mark Bradshaw
13 months ago
Kimberly Montesinos
14 months ago

Many Blessings to your Christos, It has been a pleasure getting to know your better.

Harrison Chambers
17 months ago
18 months ago
20 months ago
23 months ago
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.