The Monastery and the Missions of the Church

St Gregory of Sinai Monastery is currently involved, at the instance and with the blessing of our Bishop, His Eminence Auxentios of Etna and Portland, with staffing 3 diocesan Missions - SS Peter and Paul, in Tucson, Arizona; St Michael the Archangel, in Bakersfield, California, and a new mission in the San Francisco Bay Area, St George, in Piedmont, California.

Although our Monastery is small to begin with, we all see our participation in supplying a Priest to serve the Liturgy in these 3 areas as a service fully consonant with the monastic heritage, and we're grateful for the opportunity to help out at a time of acute clergy shortage - a problem hopefully about to be addressed when our new Theological School, St Photios in Etna, opens its doors to its first class of students.

Hieromonk Parthenios (Hansen) has been given charge of SS Peter and Paul in Tucson; Bishop Sergios and Hieromonk Patrick take turns serving at St Michael the Archangel in Bakersfield; and Bishop Sergios is serving at St George in Piedmont.  

This new community in the Bay Area had its first liturgy on Sunday August 28 (August 15 on the Church calendar), the Feast of the Dormition.  Fifteen people gathered in Piedmont for the service, much blessed by having a well-trained choir on hand.  Piedmont is adjacent to Oakland, and we hope that it can serve the needs of the largest urban area in Northern California worthily.

+Bishop Sergios of Portland (emeritus)

Ordination of Schema-Monk Patrick to the Priesthood

The Igoumenos of St Gregory of Sinai Monastery, Bishop Sergios of Portland (emeritus), and his Brothers, are glad to announce the ordination to the Diaconate of the Monastery’s Co-Founder, Schema-Monk Patrick (Doolan), on Saturday, November 7, and to the Priesthood on Sunday, November 8, the Feast of the Great-Martyr Demetrios of Thessaloniki, by His Grace, Bishop Auxentios of Etna & Portland.   

The ordination to the Diaconate took place at St. Gregory Palamas Men’s Monastery in Etna, California, and to the Priesthood at St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess of Russia Women’s Monastery in the same town.  A reception was given by St Elizabeth Monastery’s Abbess, Mother Elizabeth, and her Sisters, for the newly-ordained Hieromonk Patrick, attended by His Eminence, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna (Emeritus), His Grace, Bishop Auxentios of Etna & Portland, and His Grace, Bishop Sergios of Portland (Emeritus), Hieromonk Parthenios of St Gregory of Sinai Monastery, and laity who attend services at St Gregory of Sinai Monastery - John and Elizabeth Shenone and their children, and by Subdeacon James Kalbasky, from Camus, Washington, an old friend of St. Gregory’s.  

Additionally, Hieromonk Parthenios of St. Gregory’s Monastery was given the rank of Confessor by Bishop Auxentios.  Father Parthenios has charge of SS Peter & Paul Mission in Tucson, Arizona, in addition to his duties at St. Gregory of Sinai Monastery.  

Hierodeacon Moses, Oikonomos at St. Gregory of Sinai Monastery, served through the weekend of Father Patrick’s ordinations.  Hieromonk Patrick and Hierodeacon Moses compose St. Gregory of Sinai’s ikon workshop, together with Monk Theologos, who has charge of the workshop’s mosaic program.  

Hieromonk Patrick and Bishop Sergios established St Gregory of Sinai Monastery in Trinity County, California, with the blessing of the late Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), in 1983 when they were members of the OCA.  The Monastery later moved to Contra Costa County and finally, to its present location in Lake County, California.  

A reception will be held for Father Patrick at St. Gregory of Sinai Monastery on Sunday November 15, which will be attended by Father Patrick’s California friends who were unable to travel to Etna, as well as by Father Patrick’s mother and one of his brothers, Bill, coming in from Massachusetts.  The Monastery would like to thank everyone who joined it in prayer during the ordination weekend.  

Photos and a short article about the ordination can be found on the diocesan website at

+Bishop Sergios of Portland (Emeritus), Abbot of St Gregory of Sinai Monastery

Repose of Mary Beth Lytle

On Friday June 5 2015 Mary Beth Lytle was killed in a tragic automobile accident near Palm Springs, California.  She was traveling back to her home in Tucson with her husband, Josh Lytle, and her granddaughter, Fiana Acosta, after a short family vacation.  Mary Beth was killed instantly; her husband sustained serious injuries including fractured vertebrae; and Fiana, who was thrown from the vehicle, sustained injuries similar to her Grandfather’s.

Mary Beth’s funeral took place on June 26th at SS Peter & Paul Orthodox Mission, which her father, the late Archpriest John Bockman, and his wife, Presvytera Valerie, had founded decades ago.  

Metropolitan Moses of Toronto, who played a large role in the acquisition of the present property on which the Mission Chapel is located, presided at the funeral.  Bishop Sergios of Portland emeritus attended and sang with the choir, composed of Hierodeacon Moses and Schema Monk Patrick, both of St Gregory of Sinai Monastery in Lake County, California.  Mary Beth, in addition to helping to found SS Peter & Paul Mission, served as the Mission’s contact person, choir, general administrator and organizer of its ongoing life and work.

Recently, after years of Readers' Services for a relatively small number of members, the congregation was greatly augmented following the union between the Archdiocese of Etna and the Diocese of Portland, the new members being almost all Romanians.

His Grace, Bishop Auxentius, has provided constant pastoral guidance and consolation to the grieving community, and will preside at the Mission’s upcoming Altar Feast.

In addition to her husband and mother and granddaughter, Mary Beth leaves a daughter, Janet Acosta, and a number of siblings, nephews and nieces.  

She not only oversaw the difficult task of providing an ongoing Mission income, needed to retire its mortgage and cover ongoing expenses, she also founded St Tabitha’s Guild, a vestment-making enterprise, all of whose profits were donated to the Mission.  Mary Beth had also achieved great distinction as a restorer of antique dolls and led an annual Doll Tour to Europe the profits of which also supported SS Peter & Paul.  She had organized two highly-praised Ikon Tours to the Balkans with the help of Saint Gregory of Sinai Monastery in California and again, profits went to support the Tucson community. 

She was also the managing editor of the Portland diocesan Bulletin, The Good Word, which could not have been published without her remarkable gifts.  The matter of its continuation has been laid before the Bishop of Etna & Portland, Bishop Auxentius, and if it is blessed to continue its work, a new managing editor will be named.  That said, there will be an inevitable gap in the publishing schedule of that Bulletin. 

Mary Beth served as the Accountant and Financial Advisor to the Portland Diocese and had mastered the regulatory provisions provided by the Internal Revenue Service to non-profit corporations.  She was instrumental in ensuring that the Portland Diocese remained aligned with the IRS’ regulations, at times under difficult circumstances.  

She will be greatly missed within her own family, and by the different communities in which she played a central role.  Prayers are asked for her soul’s repose, for her grieving family and friends, and for the Tucson Mission which she loved and served so well.  

Eternal be her memory!

+Bishop Sergios of Portland emeritus