Some old men came to see Abba Poemen, and said to him: Tell us, when we see brothers dozing during the sacred office, should we pinch them so they will stay awake? The old man said to them: Actually, if I saw a brother sleeping, I would put his head on my knees and let him rest.

~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers

I once visited Romania, and I had the opportunity to stay one night at a Transylvanian monastery. Of course, being me, I gladly accepted their hospitality. The grounds were beautiful—a former Soviet military outpost, actually, by a lake where a town used to be (also made by the Soviets). Dinner was light but satisfying. After dinner, at six o’clock, we attended vespers. At seven o’clock was vigil; it ended at midnight. Continue reading

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