The newest additions to our new St. Nicholas Church are being prepared by Father Jerome Sanderson from Christ the Saviour Orthodox Mission in Nashville, Indiana. Father Jerome is a master woodworker who is helping design and is carving the six cherry wood panels that go on the iconostasis under the principle icons, the two cherry wood panels that go under the angel doors icons, and the cherry wood panels in the holy doors. This is very beautiful work and fits in perfectly with the iconostasis design already completed. I am including photos of the four panels in progress for the principle icons, and the design for the panels on the angel doors, and the design for the holy doors so you can see what is now in process.
We have the funding (by your generosity since our last email) to complete the iconostasis, with all these carved panels, the holy doors, the angel doors, the turned rope columns and the temporary icons for the iconostasis, so that this will be completed (God willing) by the time our Metropolitan Joseph comes to visit this October 6th. Thank you for making this happen so quickly. I’m sure that Vladiko will be very pleased.
Carved panels for iconostasis Design for door panels
Now we are hoping to get the domes completed this Fall so that they can be installed before the weather turns. Father Pachomy from St. Sabbas Monastery will be working on these domes shortly, and we hope to have delivery this Fall. We decided to paint them blue and have a golden Cross on top to better work with the wood log siding. We are also wishing to begin the choir loft construction this Fall so that can go forward in preparation for the hoped for consecration of the church next May. As I mentioned last time, the choir loft will cost about $8,000. We also have a plan for the finishing of the interior doors and windows trimmed in cherry wood, and are working out a less expensive plan for materials so this too can be completed this year. This will cost about $4,000. Even the mechanism for the door handles is handsome, and after we installed the first one on a permanent door, it turned out so well that we will order the rest soon. We are still in the design stages for the new altar, proskomede table, and storage cabinets for the vestments and sacred vessels.
What is, however, the most exciting is the possibility of Father Anthony and Father Theodore’s master iconographer and teacher, Dmitri, coming to spend some time with us. He could help the design and initial drawings of some of the many icons planned for our lovely church, and hopefully later even help us begin the first icons, with the monks as his apprentices and helpers. This is a wonderful and truly golden opportunity for us, if it can come to pass. Although Dmitri is a generous man and has offered to come to help already, we would like to give him and his family some recompense for their wonderful offer.
As you know, all things from God are blessed and can come to pass when we cooperate and it is the right time. I am praying for these things to come now to pass, for I believe so strongly that it is the right time. If you can help, even a little, know that we would be most grateful for your help to make this beautiful church even more beautiful.
One other update needs to be mentioned. Last Winter and Spring we worked on the renovation of our main Trapeza (or Dining Room and Kitchen). This was completed, except for the bathroom and pantry area, and it is so practical and beautiful. It was a necessary ingredient for the success of this year’s Sacred Arts Festival and Open House, for the food preparation went easier than ever before. All of the monks and our many guests have mentioned what a great improvement this has been in our daily lives here at the Skete. I know many of you contributed to its funding during the time it was being finished. After the Open House just two weeks ago, we just paid off the last construction bills related to that project as far as we have come so far.
Because of the nature of this building, and the fact that we added more than double the insulation in the walls, ceiling, floor and replaced the doors and windows with more energy efficient replacements, the Dining Room / Kitchen should be a much less intensive energy leak this winter, and this was part of the decision to work on this building this year, as energy costs continue to rise. Unfortunately this must be completed (the bathroom and pantry) to stop the heat loss this winter or our efforts will not really work for this year. The un-renovated areas will just leak out the energy through the roof, floor and walls. The final wiring replacements are also included in the costs of this project as the original wiring was aluminum, which is not safe, and all the rest of the wiring in the building has already been replaced. There are only a few outlets and lights left to replace in these two rooms. The projected cost for this completion of the Kitchen and Dining Room is $3,000 to $3,500 for the materials and labor, which is more complicated than it first appears, as we must work around the pressure pumps for our entire water system which are located in this bathroom. Thank you for your prayers and support in this matter.
I know that you live in the same world as we do, with financial concerns before you every day. I hope that you don’t feel that we are just bothering you with our concerns about what can happen here at the Skete, and just asking for financial help. I feel a connection with our many friends and acquaintances that we correspond with, and receive much correspondence in return telling us that our letters and emails are appreciated. What I am asking most of all is for your love and your prayers. These will build our hearts to receive the Living Christ, and is truly more important than any thing on earth. Although I love to beautify the church and what relates to our hospitality here at the Skete, it is not as important to us as all of our spirits, and the deepest need of each human heart. We pray for our benefactors and friends, and for all that we have been asked to pray in our services here each day, and so you are among them. Please let us know if you have concerns or special need for prayers and we would be glad to pray for you all individually.
God bless you and keep you in His Holy Name,
Your Brother in Christ,
Father Simeon, Abbot
And the Monks of St. Isaac of Syria Skete
And the Nuns of the Convent of St. Silouan
And the Faithful of St. Nicholas Church