Joanna Visits Etna


From Joanna's Notepad:

Last week I made a mini-pilgrimage to Etna, California, St. Gregory Palamas Monastery and St. Elizabeth's Convent. Tuesday evening I was confessed by Abbot Fr. Akakios at the monastery. Wednesday the Presanctified Liturgy started at 6:15am in the convent Chapel of St. Elizabeth, where I received the Holy Gifts after almost a year.

The monastery and the convent apparently have had quite a stream of ROCOR Refugees come to them for spiritual comfort, direction and nourishment. They are becoming quite familiar with the stories, concerns and plight of ROCOR Refugees. They have a deep *holy love for our Metropolitan Agafangel, and they cherish our relationship as Sister Churches. ROCOR Refugees are visiting them from all over the country. This is a worthy pilgrimage destination, I encourage anyone who is interested to go.

During my visit the nuns told me about a Russian man, *K, who some years ago came to their monastery to give a talk. He was a former KGB agent. While in the KGB he was given an assignment to go to Bulgaria and do certain experiments using evil spirits to control people's behavior. K did not believe in evil spirits, but in doing the experiments he found they were real. He reasoned that if there were evil spirits, there also had to be good ones. He defected and found the True Faith. His family disappeared, presumed killed by the KGB. Later they killed his son from his 2nd family. K is also dead now.

One thing I think is interesting is that when K saw that the evil spirits are real, he reasoned that good spirits must also exist. Had he first seen good spirits, would it follow that evil spirits must also exist? See the difference between good and evil. Evil can only exist because Good existed first. Good does not need evil to exist - Good does just fine all alone. Good existed just fine before Satan fell like lightening and before hell was created for the fallen angels.
* I say "holy" love because I want to differentiate between the love that is based in Truth and its pale substitute - that sentimental "brotherly" love blah blah.
* K is not anonymous, I just didn't get his name. It was something like 'Kombach.'

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