On Wednesday, March 26, the rite of monastic tonsure was performed at Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV. In the presence of the entire monastic brotherhood, His Grace, monastery abbot Bishop George of Mayfield, tonsured four of the brethren to the Lesser Schema (wherein they received the mantle or mantia). Having read the normal prayers and pre-tonsure inquiries, His Grace gave each of the newly tonsured a new name and entrusted to each of them in turn the paraman, riassa, mantle, cowl, prayer rope, and sandals. So it was that, during the Great Fast, the monastery acquired four new men of prayer, whose names are John, Macarius (formerly Jacob), Philaret (William), and Gabriel (Ephraim) ‒ in honor of the Bodiless Powers of Heaven and intercessors both of antiquity and of our own time ‒ the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco, the Venerable Hiero-schemamonk Macarius of Glinsk, the Holy Hierarch Philaret of Moscow, and the Holy Archangel Gabriel. Having completed the rite, the abbot gave to each of them ‒ as a symbol of their being aflame in prayer and servitude ‒ a lit candle, in fulfillment of the Savior’s command: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Which is in Heaven," and entrusted the neophyte monastics to their spiritual fathers.
Bishop George addressed the newly tonsured with an edifying and spiritually enriching sermon, calling on them to withstand against the temptations they may face on the path of spiritual growth walked by every monk. The monastery rector underscored the importance on the path to salvation of acquiring humility and fulfilling the vows that each had all given to his spiritual father, serving God and the brotherhood, and not only saving himself from the world, but praying for the salvation of the world.
Upon completion of the tonsure, the brethren and pilgrims came up to the newly tonsured one at a time and, in accordance with tradition, asked them their new names. The monks gave the names of their new Heavenly intercessors, and asked the prayers of each person who greeted them.
The newly tonsured brethren of Holy Cross Monastery then made ready to spend the night after their tonsure in prayerful vigil in the church. But before this, everyone ‒ the monks and the faithful who had come to this unexpectedly touching monastic service ‒ was invited to a lenten meal ("agape") prepared by the brethren, thereby marking the solemnity of the moment, and thanking the Lord for the new monks ‒ men dedicated to prayer and the service of God.
Wayne, WV: During the Week of the Cross, Monastic Tonsure performed at Holy Cross Monastery - 03/26/14