It's a modern monk's life in an American Byzantine monastery

Byzantine monks

A monk’s life isn’t for everybody, but the beauty and spirituality of one monastery is depicted in the new documentary Gladsome Light, reports the Mining Journal in Crux.

The film shows the life of the Byzantine Catholic monks living at the Holy Transfiguration Skete. The monastery is located near Eagle Harbour in the American State of Michigan.

The monks might be better known to travellers as operators of the Jampot, a seasonal bakery on Highway M-26 known for its jams and jellies made from hand-picked local berries and confections such as Abbey Cake.

However, the monks are so much more, and their mission and philosophy is detailed in the film, which premiered last Saturday. The film-makers, Dustin Katona and Jeffrey Geniess, live in Askeaton, Wisconsin, and make up the Marquette Cinema Coalition, which created the film.

Katona said they had worked on the documentary for two years. The primary motive was originally to create a vocational promotion video for the monastery, but it became more of an artistic piece to show how much the monks cultivate the arts and their way of life and their mission and to share that, Katona said.

The monks start and end their day with prayer and liturgy, he said. “That is their primary vocation, to pray for the world and all creation,” Katona said.

In addition with running the Jampot, the monks host musical events such as piano recitals and concerts featuring classical guitar, many of which are open to the public to help people experience the monastery.

The filmmakers made eight trips in which they spent anywhere from two to four days, although Katona called it “a joy and a blessing” to spend time with the monks.

“They’re contemplative, however they’re always in action,” Katona said. “There’s a synergy between being quiet in the heart as well as acting out in the world as Christ.”

FULL STORY Documentary depicts spirituality of monks

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