Holy Hesychasterion of Saint Seraphim of Sarov IMM
The Opening of the Doors, Monastic Tonsure and Vigil
at the Hesychasterion of Saint Seraphim of Sarov
in Skouriotissa

The Service of The Opening of the Doors (Thyranoixia) was conducted at our Hesychasterion with exceptional splendor, on July 18, 2017, the eve of the celebration of the Uncovering of the Relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov. His Eminence, the Metropolitan of Morphou, Neophytos, accompanied by the Abbot of the Hesychasterion, Archimandrite Ambrose and numerous clergymen of the diocese, in the presence of many faithful from various parts of Cyprus celebrated the Service of The Opening of the Doors of the newly-constructed church of Saint Seraphim of Sarov followed by a festive All-Night Vigil.

The Opening of the Doors is a Service that takes place in front of the closed western door of a church before it is officially commissioned as a place of worship to God. The Service is carried out as follows: first, the hierarch is met with candles, liturgical fans and the Gospel. Then, there is a Lesser Blessing of Water with the readings and hymns from the Service of the Consecration of the Church, and then The Opening of the Doors is conducted. The Service consists of a prayer from the Church Consecration Service, together with the well-known hymn, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates" which is chanted by the hierarch, the other clergy and the chanters. The church doors are opened (which explains the name of the Service), and the hierarch enters, sprinkling the church with Holy Water, followed by the sacred clergy and the faithful.

Upon the end of the Service, the Feastal Vespers was celebrated, after which His Eminence performed the Monastic Tonsure of Marios Skordalos, from Pano Zodia village, into the Rassophore wherein he received the monastic name, Seraphim. The Tonsure was then followed by Orthros, and at midnight, the Divine Liturgy began with the call, "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!"

At the end of the All-Night Vigil, His Eminence addressed the Abbot of the Hesychasterion, Archimandrite Ambrose and the newly-ordained monk, Seraphim. He asked that they retain the hesychastic spirit of the hesychasterion, and place particular emphasis on conducting the nightly Divine Liturgy in prayer and repentance, but also on the ministry of his neighbor, and said:

"This is an historic day for the Hesychasterion of St. Seraphim of Sarov, because God has honored us – after tremendous efforts – but with deep confidence in the providence of God, in silence and in modesty, at last to enter, in an official, ecclesiastical manner, the order of monasteries and to celebrate the Divine Liturgy every Sunday, which was what had been missing during all the years of its construction.

As the local bishop, I ask that you not be tempted by the many cares and construction needs of the Hesychaterion, because one great temptation for modern monasticism is the undertaking of many construction projects and attention to details. Oftentimes, many construction projects can disorient the role of monasticism, which is hesychasm and continuous thanksgiving and praise to the Trinity God, Our Lady Theotokos, John the Baptist, the Apostles, the saints, our neighbor, and for the entire universe.

Pay special attention to prayer and repentance, night vigils and nightly Divine Liturgies, which are already celebrated every evening, to serving our neighbors, daily demonstrating love and a spirit of hospitality towards all pilgrims and to all people.

Be content in your monastic life with simple things, having full confidence in the providence of God, and this simplicity will give you carefreeness, and carefreeness will bring not only peace to the heart, but fervent prayer, as well. This is consonant with the name Seraphim, which means "he who carries flame, the fire-carrier."

Father Ambrose, inspire Father Seraphim to be obedient, because when the elder inspires his novice's obedience, it helps to escape the temptations of discipline, for, obedience, as Saint Porphyrios had said, is a joy, because it reveals the secret of freedom in Christ.

I am glad that Father Seraphim showed his confidence in you during the three years of his novitiate, and that you showed your inspired love for him.

I pray that the monks to follow, those who will come here to the monastery, will have an example of the relationship between an elder and a novice, which you two have built. You will benefit from it by maintaining it with great care, because that is how you will receive a portion of the grace-filled gifts of Saint Seraphim of Sarov."

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Photos: Oleg Samarin, A. Viketos. Video: Oleg Samarin.
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