By Scott Cairns

Whereas jogging at the seashore along with his Labrador, poet and literature professor Scott Cairns ran headlong into his midlife predicament. a reasonably universal event between males nearing the age of 50, midlife crises tend to be manifested within the type of activities automobiles and younger ladies; now not so for this Baptist became jap Orthodox. Cairns had a recognition that because the development of his non secular existence was once relocating at a snail's velocity, time used to be working out, and his drawback emerged within the kind of a determined have to hunt down prayer. instructed with wit and delightful prose, sluggish Pilgrim is the tale of Scott's non secular trip to the paranormal island of Mt. Athos. With twenty monasteries and 13 sketes scattered throughout its sloping terrain, the Holy Mountain used to be the precise position for Scott to search out a prayer father and to find the stillness of the genuine prayer lifestyles. His narrative takes the reader from a seashore in Virginia to the main holy Orthodox monasteries on this planet to a monastery in Arizona and again back as Scott struggles to discover his prayer course. His tale contains debts of the relationships he forges with numerous diverse priests and monks alongside the best way, in addition to life–long friendships he makes with different pilgrims.

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Extra resources for Short Trip to the Edge: Where Earth Meets Heaven--A Pilgrimage

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Until recently, pilgrims to Athos were relatively few and the only motor vehicle available to them was a single, decrepit bus that would haul them from Dáfni to Karyés. From there everyone had to hoof it, walking the (mostly) cobbled footpaths— monopátia—from one community to the next. Hardly a week goes by nowadays when I don’t come upon yet another essay, article, or letter bemoaning the “improvements,” an ease of travel that has brought with it, allegedly, a dearth of actual pilgrims. 26 short trip to the edge Most pilgrims, this day, were hurrying directly from the large buses to find seats within the fleet of microbuses and vans that would fetch them to their various monasteries.

One unusually tall man with a buzz cut wore what looked like an oddly orange kaffiyeh around his neck; he spent the boat trip lounging across a bench, playing a Jew’s harp, oblivious to the lot. The pilgrims were giddy; the day laborers, nearly sullen. Me? I was about as awake as I have ever been, feeling the cool 24 short trip to the edge morning air against my face, leaning ahead into what was coming, soaking up every possible detail along the way. Preparing to disembark at Dáfni, Nick and I hauled our gear to the iron stairway leading to the main deck, and I was nearly sent tumbling down the steps by two young men pushing ahead.

The photo was, quite frankly, striking; it was a simple depiction of a monk, but a monk whose eyes seemed lit up, as if he were facing the sun, or had swallowed it. “Yéronda Ephrém,” Father Iosíf said, with sudden affection in his voice, causing his voice, for the briefest moment, to break. He explained that the yéronda—the elder—was the former abbot of Philothéou, and that he had gone to America to establish monastic communities there. The monk asked if I had ever been to Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona, where the beloved yéronda now lived and served.

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