Igumen Gerasim of St. Elias Skete tonsured into the Lesser Schema

September 20, 2012

On September 20th, 2012, the Eve of the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the Very Rev. Igumen Gerasim (Power) of St. Elias Skete, Smoky Lake County, Alberta, was tonsured into the Lesser Schema (Stavrophore). The ceremony took place at St. Herman's Sobor, Edmonton, Alberta, during the celebration of Vespers for the Feast and was performed by the Rt. Rev Archimandrite Alexander Pihach, Abbot of St. Elias Skete.

The rite included the entrance of the candidate, barefooted and clothed in a white robe (hairshirt), led in by Stavrophore monks, Archimandrite Philip (Speranza) and Monk Tikhon (Green). Fr. Gerasim then made a full prostration before the sanctuary of the church while being prayed over by the clergy and congregation. He then made his solemn profession of monastic vows - Obedience, Stability, Poverty, Chastity and Dedication to the Monastic Life. His hair was then tonsured cruciform, and as a first act of obedience, he gave upon request, the scissors to the Abbot three times. He was clothed in the habit of the Lesser Scheme including, the paraman, the cassock, the leather belt, the chotky, the mantia and the klobuk. Given a wooden hand cross and a candle - symbols of his solemn monastic profession, he was asked by each of the faithful what his name would be, which in his case, with the blessing of Bishop Irenee and Archimandrite Alexander, would be Gerasim, this time after St. Gerasim of the Jordan. (St. Gerasim of the Jordan was a well known and beloved fifth century monk who founded the Lavra which bears his name by the Jordan River, and famous pet lion, Jordanes - most appropriate considering Fr. Gerasim's love of cats.) The ceremony ended with Igumen Gerasim remaining in an all night vigil of silence and prayer till morning in St. Herman's Sobor.

Igumen Gerasim is the second monk (Archimandrite Alexander being the first) of the recently re-established Monastic Skete of St. Elias at Dickie Bush, near Smoky Lake AB. The sight was re-blessed and dedicated August 1st, 2012 on the Feast of the Holy Prophet Elias by Archimandrite Alexander, Abbot, with the assistance of Igumen Gerasim and Fr. Vincent Lehr, attended by several of the laity from the region. An Akafist to St. Elias was held out doors by the ruins of the old monastic buildings as was a Litia for the deceased monks of the original community. The current residence of the Skete is ten kilometers north of Smoky Lake at a farm house and acreage which is leased long-term by Igumen Gerasim, who is also the rector of eight rural parishes in the region. More information on St. Elias Skete will be forthcoming in a future article of its history.