CHEYENNE, WY – The 1st Annual Pan-Orthodox Front Range Women’s Retreat was held the weekend of the Myrrh Bearing Women, Friday, April 20 – Sunday, April 22, at Holy Apostles Orthodox Christian Church with over 40 participants from ten Orthodox Christian parishes along the Front Range. The blessed Mother Cassiana of the Protection of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Monastery in Lake George, Colorado was the keynote speaker and presented on a variety of topics related to the spiritual journey of women in contemporary society.
His Eminence Metropolitan ISAIAH of Denver was pleased to hear of the idea when presented and offered his Archpastoral blessing for the Holy Apostles parish to proceed with the organizing of the weekend’s retreat. The Philoptochos and ladies of the parish eagerly worked to plan the event since the end of last year.
The retreat began with the ladies arriving Friday evening then commencing icebreakers and sharing a fellowship meal of various delicious soups and other tasty treats. Mrs. Fay Zaharas, one of the retreat organizers introduced Mother Cassiana and the retreat participants had the blessing to hear from Mother for the first time. On Saturday morning Cheyenne received a beautiful spring snowfall and the day began with a morning prayer service presided over by Father Christopher Xanthos, followed by a breakfast prepared by the Women’s Ministry of Holy Apostles and the Philoptochos members. Following the sessions and lunch, the retreat participants had the opportunity to discuss the topics related to Mother Cassiana’s presentations. At the conclusion of the sessions, the group went to visit the state-of-the art Cheyenne Botanical Gardens and enjoyed a scavenger hunt. After a short break, the evening reconvened at the home of George and Fay Zaharas and a catered dinner was served for all present.
Over 40 women attended the Retreat and represented ten different parishes. Those represented were: The Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral (GOC) Denver, CO; St. Herman (OCA) Littleton, CO; St. Catherine (GOC) Greenwood Village, CO; St. Luke (AOCC) Erie, CO; Sts. Peter & Paul (GOC) Boulder, CO; St. Spyridon (GOC) Loveland, CO; St. James (AOCC) Ft. Collins, CO; Sts. Constantine & Helen (GOC), and Holy Apostles (GOC) both from Cheyenne, Wyoming, Annunciation of the Theotokos (GOC) Norfolk, Virginia.
Matins and Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Sunday of the Myrrh Bearing Women and final remarks and good-byes were said, while sharing a post-liturgy brunch. It was a blessing to be together with one another and the Holy Apostles parish thanks all who participated, prayed and supported the 1st Annual Pan Orthodox Front Range Women’s Retreat, all to His glory!
We are looking forward to the 2nd Annual Pan-Orthodox Front Range Women’s Retreat in 2019!
More about Mother Cassiana:
Mother Cassiana is the abbess of the Protection of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Monastery located in Lake George, Colorado. Born in New Jersey to parents of Greek descent, Mother Cassiana was called to a life of monasticism and resided at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. Eventually, Mother Cassiana would travel overseas and it is there that she spent several years at the Varatic Monastery in Romania. Although Romania experienced severe hardship during the communist period, Varatic Monastery still had roughly 350 nuns. Eventually Mother Cassiana had to return to the United States due to the communist regime in charge of Romania at the time. Eventually Mother Cassiana would be able to return to her monastery in Romania after the fall of communism. While living in America, Mother Cassiana translated several works, including The Orthodox Prayer Book as well as Come Follow Me. Additionally, in the year 2000, Mother Cassiana along with the sisters residing at the monastery in Colorado, translated, appended and published a book about the famous Romanian elder, Father Cleopa of Sihastria, whom she knew personally from her time at Varatic Monastery. At present the Protection of the Holy Virgin Orthodox Monastery is constructing a free standing church to replace the small converted garage chapel and they are working on publishing several other texts. The monastery has a large bookstore and produces a small journal three times a year called, The Veil.