I came across the few things I’d like to say tonight in a bit of a round about way. Today we celebrate the memory of Sts. Euthymius and John, the founders of Iveron Monastery on Mt Athos. When I visited the Holy Mountain in 2005, Iveron was our host monastery – where we spent our nights and attended the cycle of services. We spent many of our days traveling to other monasteries and sketes and working with the Fathers of Iveron.

So I thought to say a few things about Sts. Euthymius and John, and the Holy Monastery of Iveron. The saints are considered co-founders of the Holy Monastery – John being the father of Euthymius. They went to Mt Athos from their home country of Georgia in the middle part of the 10th century, when St Athanasius the Athonite (commemorated as the founder of the monastic life on the Holy Mountain) was still living at the Great Lavra monastery. Euthymius served his father and St Athanasius, and was ordained priest at the behest of St Athanasius to serve the services of the monastery.

Sts John and Euthymius resettled at the already existing Monastery of St Clement, and with the support of Byzantine Emperor Basil II, they were able to expand and beautify the monastery. St Euthymius was sometimes Abbot of the monastery, and sometimes lived as a hermit in the forests of Mt Athos. The monastery eventually became known as the Monastery of Iveron – Iveron coming from the word Iberian, the ancient name for the country of Georgia. Iveron has historically been supported by the princes and rulers of Georgia, and was long filled predominately with monks from Georgia. Today there are a wide mix of Fathers there, from Georgia, Greece, Australia, the States, and other places.

The katholikon (main Church) was built near the end of the 10th century – and it is amazing to stand in that Church on the rough cut marble floors that have been there for 10 centuries, praying the Liturgy in the exact spot where it’s been prayed for over 1000 years. You feel the history and the Tradition of the Church rising up to meet you as you pray in a place like that. Holy men have stood there, Saints have lived and worked and prayed there. And these type of places exist all over the world. We’re standing in a place now that is existentially linked to Iveron, to Moscow, to Thessaloniki, and to every other Orthodox Church in the world. There is only one Altar, the Father’s of the Church teach – when the Liturgy is served, regardless of place, we all serve together on the one Holy Altar in the Kingdom of Heaven. This place is our arena, this (the world, the US, 2012, etc) is where we work out our salvation in fear and trembling before the Lord, this is where WE are called to be Saints.

May our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ give us the endurance of the ancients, like Sts. Euthymius and John, may He kindle in us the desire to seek the one thing needful. The transformation of our lives, and of our world, comes not through laws or universities or medicines or discussions – “every good thing cometh down from the Father of Lights, and unto Him do we send up worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages, Amen.”
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Matthew Jackson