This is a wide-ranging and incisive interview. America's loss is definitely Australia's gain.
(ROCOR) - Before Vladyka George traveled to Mt Athos as a monk, he had no knowledge of how Orthodox Christians of other jurisdictions lived. On the Holy Mountain, he lived among Greek monks and met Russian monastics of St Panteleimon Russian Monastery for the first time, and became familiar with Orthodox pilgrims from throughout the world. There he came to know the lofty monastic ways and spiritual life of the zealous men of prayer. “All this helped me consider many church questions and understand that church life isn’t black and white,” said Vladyka George.Complete article here.
On October 7, 2014, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia appointed Bishop George of Mayfield, until then a Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, as the Vicar of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of ROCOR, of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand and granted the title “Bishop of Canberra.” Vladyka George plans on relocating to the Australian Diocese after Pascha in 2015.
- Your Grace, tell us about your childhood, your family, how you came to the Orthodox faith.
- I was born in Bellville, IL, to a Roman Catholic family; my parents, Francis and Claire, were pious, humble people, and we went to church regularly. My aunt is a Catholic nun, and my older brother became a Catholic priest.
I went to Catholic school, then Southern Illinois University. After graduating I came to realize that things are not all right in the Catholic Church, and I stopped attending Catholic services and began my search for the truth. I read about Buddhism and studied other Eastern religions. In 1974, I moved to California, to San Jose, and met a Greek man, through whom I became acquainted with the Orthodox Church, the lives of saints, and realized that I discovered the true faith. I was baptized in a Greek church in Modesto in 1974 and was given the name Macarius, in honor of St Macarius the Great, and began attending St Nicholas Church in San Jose. It was a big parish with remarkable people, most of the services were in Greek, so I followed along with an English service book. Then I began attending the Greek cathedral in San Francisco, as well as a Russian church. In January 1975, I visited Holy Mount Athos, which seized my heart, and I decided to become a monk. That year I visited Platina, CA, where I met Fr Seraphim (Rose0 and Fr German (Podmoshchensky). They suggested I enroll in seminary.
Father Seraphim and German were not yet priests at the time. Visiting their hermitage left an indelible impression in me—it was an incomparable experience. I made confession every day, opening my heart, and morning and evening I ate with the monks.
On January 7, 1976, I was received as a novice by Archbishop Averky (Taushev), who was then also the Dean of the seminary in Jordanville, NY. There were 12 American converts enrolled at the time. My day would start with studying, and after lunch, obediences. Among my many duties was cleaning, preparing meals, working on a tractor in the fields and digging graves.
I spent the next summer in Platina, CA. By that time, Fr Seraphim and Fr German were already priests. I helped them print books and do other jobs. It was much different from Jordanville: divine services were in English, and I understood every word, which touched my heart.
Fr Seraphim was closer to my heart—he was very humble, but at the same time a brilliant man who gave remarkable sermons. Fr German was much different—he was more dynamic, more talkative...