On the night of Thursday, April 18, the eve of the 40th day of the Great Fast, the abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, Bishop Luke of Syracuse, tonsured three monks to the Lesser Schema. Father Angelos (Stanway) is now Monk Theodore; Father Lev (Levakov) is now Monk Paisios, and Father Cassian (Ward) kept his name. Following the tonsures, His Grace greeted the new monks with this short exhortation:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!
Our dear newly-tonsured fathers, dear brothers and sisters:
Over one hundred fifty years ago, our father among the saints Ignatius (Brianchaninov) and other fathers said that monasticism is over. Such was the state of affairs in Russia, so weak were the monks in their strivings, that they could not envision a continuation of the monastic life. However, this evening, by a miracle of God, we here have celebrated the mystery of a monastic tonsure a hundred and fifty years removed from these sorrowful expectations of our fathers.
This is truly a miracle, for how many people among the human race today, men and women, desire to dedicate themselves with their whole heart to the service of our Lord and Savior and to His Holy Church? But this miracle places on us today a great responsibility to make use of the mercy of God and the grace of this event, of this mystery. You have chosen the monastic life. How does this differ from a worldly lifestyle? In many ways, and in one way especially; that is, you have been freed from many worldly cares. Because you are free from these cares, you must be more diligent and focused on your ascetic struggle and attentive to yourselves, to your thoughts, to your prayer life, to your salvation in general, to the call of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the keeping of all His commandments. All Orthodox Christians are called to fulfill the Gospel commandments, but especially we monastics, who find ourselves in the most conducive surroundings to this aim.
Always turn to our Lord and Savior, to His Most Holy Mother, and to your own Heavenly patrons – Venerable John Cassian, Venerable Paisios the newly-glorified of the Holy Mountain, and Venerable Theodore the Studite, praying to them to strengthen you through the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God and of all the saints. Pray for yourselves and also pray for all of us here today celebrating this great miracle. The most important thing for you must be the attendance of services, the revelation of thoughts, Confession, and Communion of Christ’s Holy Mysteries! This is your safeguard; it will protect you from our common enemies: the devil, the world, and our own sinfulness.
"Always Turn to our Lord & Savior!" – An Exhortation to Newly-Tonsured Monks - 04/19/19