3 wise men 2
The following are the times and dates for our offices, services and festal meals for Christmas and New Year's:

Christmas Eve (Saturday)
Divine Liturgy: 4PM
Compline: 11:30PM

Christmas (Sunday)
Divine Liturgy: 12AM (Immediately following Compline)
*There will be a meal following our Midnight Service that usually starts around 1:45 - 2AM


New Year's Eve (Saturday)

Divine Liturgy: 4PM
Compline: 11:30PM

New Year's Day (Sunday)
Divine Liturgy: 12AM (Immediately following Compline)
*There will be a meal following our Midnight Service that usually starts around 1:45 - 2AM

As with Christmas, there will be no daytime service on New Year's Day
China pic 1
After the strict schedule they were forced to keep in high school, Theresa (not her real name) says the Chinese students in her English class have much more free time at college.  “And they’re searching,” she says, “They’re open and are trying to find the meaning of life.”  As far as their parents are concerned, the meaning of life is getting a good job, getting married and having the two children the government will allow them to have, but Theresa challenges them to think beyond the desires and pressures from both their parents and the government.  “I can’t—and won’t—evangelize to them in my class but I’ll invite them over to my home for meals in order to build relationships. Usually, the opportunities to discuss bigger issues come from the questions they ask me.  For instance, they might be curious about what I do in my free time or on Sunday’s.”  

China has been on Theresa’s radar screen since she was young.  “It all began with reading the book, “Chinese Cinderella,” she says.  “It shocked and scandalized me to learn about how women are treated there, and since that time, I’ve always been concerned about the plight of Chinese women and orphans.”  A big contributor to the suffering of which she speaks has been the 1-child policy, which has led to the abandonment of an untold number of girls.  “That thought has always inspired me to pray for and have a heart for China.”  

Despite her prayers, though, the Midwesterner says she never had much of a faith until she attended (the now defunct) Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville, Georgia.  “There were a lot of young people there who were very passionate about their faith…attending Mass and praying the Rosary daily.  Plus, after high school theology classes that were more like study hall, my college theology classes were like, “Wow!”  She went on to major in Theology but as an English teacher, she takes a different approach in her conversations with her Chinese students.  “We did a class on money and I had them create a charity in order to get them thinking.  I would say to them, “What about other people?” and then discuss social issues like domestic violence and human trafficking.  Too often, they would answer by saying, “The government should do this or that…and should make up new laws,” but I would say no!  What would YOU do about these things?

Theresa’s friend, Mary (not her real name) also prayed for the suffering in China from a young age.  “I had four areas of concern,” she says, “abandoned babies, women who were forced to have abortions, those who didn’t know Jesus and the persecuted Church.”  Mary, who also hails from the Midwest, has been working in China on and off for 16 years.  “Doors opened for me to work with people in each of those four groups but when I first went there, my intent was to work with orphans.  I said, “Lord, please get me into an orphanage!” and—literally—10 minutes later, the phone rang and someone asked me if I wanted to go to China.”  She picked up Mandarin “on the fly,” as no one in the orphanage spoke English.  “Hearing Chinese all day started to make me feel like I was going insane, so every night when the staff watched TV, I would go into the room with the babies just so I could speak and hear English.

Now back in the States, she runs a small NFP that assists people with getting into China.  
I take people over for orphanages, help others (like Theresa) connect, bring priests in and just help them navigate the system.  It’s a whole other world to get connected and to know what you’re doing over there.”  She’s currently gearing up to establish a center for teaching English and providing catechetical training, so please keep her and those she hopes to serve in your prayers.  

Before the two friends left the Monastery, Mary related a quick story that gave perspective to some of her efforts.  “During this one great time, we had a group of young converts  who worked with us at the orphanage, so we were able to “disciple” them and help them grow in their faith through this service work.  They’re now these remarkable Catholics who—although they’re no longer at that spot—have gone to other places where they serve with a strong foundation.    They were just a tiny group of people but now these Chinese are somewhere else bringing the Gospel to life.  It’s really little but it’s good because it’s person-to-person.  They’re not making huge waves but the effect is beautiful.”  


the-rule-of-the-mother-of-god.pdf "The Rule of the Mother of God-Praying the Rosary in the Eastern Catholic Churches"
By Mike Plishka
221 KB
Mary icon shortened
Sometime during the first few days of last Winter’s early Great Fast, I took a shortcut through the Monastery library and as happens from time to time with various publications the Lord wants me to find, my eyes seemed drawn to an innocuous-looking paper sitting on the Book Return table.  The paper-in-question had the title, “The Rule of the Mother of God: Praying the Rosary in the Eastern Catholic Churches,” by Mike Plishka.  Curious, since I didn’t know the Eastern Churches had or utilized anything referred to as a “Rosary,” I forgot about the task that necessitated my shortcut and instead sat down to read the document.  Once finished, I knew the information contained in Mike’s well-written piece was very significant but nearly 10 months later, I’m even more thankful to Our Holy Mother for the fortuitous bit of Her Providence that placed this critical document in my path.  As a matter of fact, I can say—with great faith—that my daily meditations on this prayer since that day have not only changed my life, but have benefited people all over the world in ways I’ll never know…until the next life.

When the urge to resurrect our long-dormant newsletter, “Gladsome Light,” began to stir within, I felt the information from this article was a must for all our readers, each of whom could also reach out into the World to change the trajectory of lives through this powerful devotion, but why wait?  Besides, the article is best read in its entirety, which is a bit long for a newsletter.  So please take a look at the attached document (via the link above) and see why St. Seraphim of Sarov, “not only saw value in this ‘image filled prayer,’ but prayed it and promoted it among his disciples.”  

Many, many thanks to Mike Plishka for all his work on this wonderful and impactful article!

~Br. Gideon  


St bernards frosh soph
If you ask St. Bernard's Director of Campus Ministry & theology teacher, Deacon Dance Farrell, why he brings his Catholic religion classes 3 hours south to Holy Transfiguration Monastery for their Fall Retreats, his answer might surprise you.  Is it to experience Eastern Byzantine Catholicism, the opportunity to learn about icons from an internationally acclaimed artist like Fr. Damian, a chance to grow in ascetical practices or the need to take a time-out from the invasive technologies of the Youth Culture in the fastness of the Monks' mountain haven?  Sure.  Those things are all important but when it comes down to it, Deacon Farrell and his fellow religion teacher, Deacon Craig Brown, seem to have more of an eye on the future.  "At the end of the day," says Farrell, "I want these students to have a relationship with the Monastery."  And so far, his strategy appears to be working.  The Monks enjoy the youthful energy the students bring to meals, daily offices and the Retreat House, while the students seem to appreciate the richness of Byzantine services, 4-wheel trips up the mountain, the evening bonfire, and of course those unfamiliar periods of silence, fasting meals and getting up at 5AM for Morning Prayer...all three of which are high on every teenager's 'bucket list' of must-do's. 

"It's all about planting seeds," says Farrell, reflecting upon the lack of immediate gratification in the teaching profession.  "The Greeks understood this with their outlook on what defines a healthy community--a place where old men plant trees who shade they may never enjoy.  It might not be today but at some point, all of our efforts with these students will make a difference...and Mt. Tabor will be a part of that."    
Genesis ii
The Monastery is pleased to announce that Fr. David Anderson will be starting a 6-week lecture series
on The Book of Genesis.  Details are as follows:

Date:   *Tuesday, November 15th

Time: 2:30PM to 4:15PM
Location: Refectory, Holy Transfiguration Monastery
17001 Tomki Road, Redwood Valley, CA.

*Classes will be held on Tuesday's for the next 7 weeks with the exception of Dec. 6th & Dec. 29th. 
The public is welcome.  We hope to see you here for what is sure to be a fascinating talk from a dynamic speaker!


We don't celebrate Halloween at the Monastery but we do celebrate Br. Timothy's various forms of artwork.

We don't celebrate Halloween at the Monastery but we do celebrate Br. Timothy's various forms of artwork.


In order to take advantage of the available light during Fall and Winter, we will use the following schedule for Vespers, Dinner and Compline:
Vespers: 4:30PM
Dinner: Immediately following Vespers (usually at 5:30PM)
Compline: Follows dinner (usually at 6:30PM)
Abbot Damian and Fr. Mark Shuey

Abbot Damian and Fr. Mark Shuey

The Monastery enjoyed a recent visit from longtime Mt. Tabor supporter, Fr. Mark Shuey, the current pastor of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Mission in Raleigh, NC.  Fr. Mark (who is also a California native) lived in Ukiah for several years in the 90’s, during which he was active at the monastery while helping to found St. Peter’s Mission in Ukiah.  As a matter of fact, it’s impossible to talk about Fr. Mark’s many accomplishments (and current responsibilities) without using the word, “mission,” because this key area of growth for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the US is not only his passion, but has become his specialty as well.  To date, Fr. Mark has founded two missions in Raleigh, two in Charlotte, two in Tennessee and a “station chapel” in Youngville, NC, and so he doesn’t get to have all the fun, he’s working on a “Missionology” document that will contain the framework to train others to form these crucial ‘ventures,’ which can serve as precursors to parishes.

As is often the case in religious life, Fr. Mark “just kind of fell” into this work and feels the Lord has guided him ever since.  He first moved to North Carolina on business and though he didn’t have a job initially, he had lots of family, so when he found out about the opportunities for growing the Church in the Piedmont (which has been a beneficiary of the large, internal migration out of the once bustling industrial towns in the Northeast) he simply began opening new missions.  At first, this meant organizing the liturgical services, gathering the people and celebrating Christmas and Pascha, but in the early stages, all these budding institutions really have is people.  There are few if any vestments, chalices or even candles, so all necessities are borrowed, but to Fr. Mark, these fleeting material challenges are just details.  The important thing is fulfilling one’s responsibility to serve all the Ukrainian Catholics in the Diaspora, and the work is paying off.  St. Volodymyr & Olha (Garner, NC) own property and are ready to build their first church, St. Thomas the Apostle owns property, and in his words, “over the last 10 years, it’s just domino-ed.”  

Another sign of the growth and the need are the parishioners who make long drives from cities like Hickory (NC) and Columbia (SC) to Charlotte for weddings and baptisms.  Fr. Mark has seen this before and knows that seeds are being planted in these outlying communities, which will one day bear fruit.  He knows that all one needs to do is, A) find several families who are motivated for this type of work, B) find a place to worship and, C) bring the people together.  “And it just goes from there,” he says.  

If all this isn’t enough to keep a priest and father of 7 busy, Fr. Mark is also the Director of the Parma Eparchy’s Diaconate program, which currently has 14 men (8 from Parma, 3 from Chicago and 1 from the Ruthenian Eparchy of Phoenix) in formation for the four-year program.  As part of the Eparchy’s clergy retreat in early October, he met with Bishop Bohdon Danylo to discuss this successful program, get all its files up to date and recommend those candidates who are qualified for minor orders.  Due to the demands on his time, though, Fr. Mark is transitioning to the role of Associate Director so he’ll have more free time for what else?  Mission Development!  The transition will be seamless, though, as the current Associate Director, Fr. Deacon Kevin Bezner, PhD. from St. Basil’s, Charlotte (who is himself a graduate of the program) will step into the Director spot.  

So please keep Fr. Mark, his family, parishioners, missions (and those who do a fair amount of driving to service them) in your prayers.  And speaking of prayers, below is a one that Fr. Mark shared with the monks…which we in turn would like to share with all of you:

"Lord, I offer this day in all righteousness as a living sacrifice of praise, that all day and all the things I do will give you glory.  Amen.”

The Mothers of Holy Theophany Monastery (Romanian) and their chaplain, Right Reverend Archpriest Lawrence Gosselin (Melkite) hosted the 3rd Annual Eastern Catholic Monastic Sobor at the Mothers' beautifully manicured facility on the outskirts of Olympia, Washington.  Participants included the Holy Theophany Mothers, Fr. Lawrence, the fledgling community of Duchovny Dom (Ruthenian) from Warren, Oregon, Hegumen Fr. Theodosii Krychuk from the the Exaltation of the Most Holy, Precious, and Life Giving Cross Monastery in northern Alberta on the Canadian prairie, and the Monks of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Redwood Valley, California.  Unfortunately, Fr. Jonathan and the Brothers of Sacred Heart Monastery (Maronite), also in Washington state, were unable to attend this year due to scheduling conflicts.

     After a casual gathering the evening of August 16th at Fr. Lawrence's Holy Martyrs Skete just down the road from Holy Theophany, we all prayed Orthros of the Greek tradition on Wednesday morning in Holy Theophany's Katholikon and shared a fasting breakfast prepared by Mother Irene, who continued to provide beautiful and nourishing meals throughout the duration of the sobor in the Mothers' trapeza with animated conversations after supper in the adjoining library.

     There were morning and afternoon sessions with the 6th Hour and lunch in between on both Wednesday and Thursday with discussions about several articles that had been recommended by the various communities, articles dealing with diverse monastic concerns and experiences, from the profoundly spiritual to the seemingly mundane everyday details of community life.

     Sister Teresa Jackson, O.S.B., from St. Gertrude Monastery (Latin) in Cottonwood, Idaho was serendipitously on retreat at Holy Theophany and was kind enough to share her insights into the challenges of growing old in monastic life - her large (huge by Byzantine standards) community of sisters includes many very elderly consecrated virgins, all still living in the community, and also described a number of possible resources available to most Americans (and Canadians, too, with slight differences). Plans for next year's gathering were also bandied about. There are rumors of a new Chaldean monastery being established somewhere in southern California, perhaps they will be represented at the sobor next year. We also discussed the possibility of inviting representatives of certain other monastic communities from outside our far-flung geographical area.

     The opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in monastic life, to experience the different liturgical practices and customs of another community from another tradition, to pray together with brothers and sisters normally scattered here and there in small, isolated monastic families across the western edge of the continent, was certainly more than worth the 12-hour drive from Mt. Tabor, energized as we were from the Great feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos.

     According to the schedule as it is at this moment, next year's sobor will (or may) return to Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Redwood Valley, California, which will involve absolutely no travel time for us here at Mt. Tabor, a welcome change.

Article by Another Monk of the Eastern Church
Photos by Fr Theodosii

Слава Ісусу Христу!  (Glory to Jesus Christ!)

NEWS! (Updated Sept. 3, 2016)

Schedule for Divine Liturgy

Mon - Friday - 6:30AM
Saturday - 7AM
Sunday - 10AM

New Icon Workshop/Retreat from Fr. Damian!  November 7th - 12th at the Monastery  (Call 707-485-8959 for more details) Egg tempera technique used, no art experience necessary. More advanced students will be allowed to further their experience with complex techniques.  We only have a few spots left, so please reserve your place immediately.

New Icon Mounting Workshop!  October 4th - 6th (Call 707-485-8959 for more details)  

*Questions or Comments?  Please call or email Br. Gideon @ (707) 485-4162 or brgideon@monksofmttabor.com


What's so funny?  Watch the YouTube clip of Fr. Damian's speech from this past June's 20 Year Anniversary at neighboring Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery and find out.  Many thanks to our Buddhist brothers for inviting us to their big day, as well as the ordination on the following day.

Holy Transfiguration Monastery is a contemplative, Eastern Catholic monastery, part of the worldwide Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church under the leadership of His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk.  Eastern Catholics are Orthodox Catholics who live in full and visible communion with the Holy See of Rome, and we pray for the Pope as our "Holy Ecumenical Hierarch."  One does not need to be ethnically Ukrainian to join our monastery or attend Ukrainian church services.  The Ukrainian Catholic Church comes from the Ukrainian people but it is open for all peoples…so Welcome!