I returned today from our annual Metropolis Clergy Lenten Retreat up at the retreat center on the grounds of our metropolis camp in Contoocook, NH (this partly explains my lack of blogging recently).  It was awesome but exhausting, in a good way.  We began with lunch on Tuesday, with the usual delicious (and fast friendly) food and hellos to old friends.  We then had our first of three sessions with Fr. Maximos, who is visiting from Mt. Athos.  Fr. Maximos spoke on the anaphora prayers of the liturgy of St. Basil (these are the prayers said by the priest from “let us stand well” to communion).  I had my notebook and did my best to write down everything he said – hopefully I will not need wrist surgery because it was intense:).  We broke for vespers and supper, had session two with Fr. Maximos, and then went back to the chapel for compline.  After compline there was some socializing and a hearty sleep for all (I roomed with Fr. Chris – they put the two Worcester boys together).  Several of us woke up early and went for a hike through the snow-covered trails in the 300 or so acres (mostly woods and water) that make up the campground.  The initial goal was to check out the area where our monastery may end up taking shape but we took a detour towards the center of the grounds.  We made it back safely and the rest of the retreat was basically 9th hour, presanctified liturgy (with His Eminence serving), breakfast and the final session with Fr. Maximos.  So it was a retreat but the focus was more on continuing education.  The bonding came during the breaks and the social time, and the church services helped with spiritual recharging.  Tomorrow I will write some about the presentation on the anaphora prayers.