The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustinnyk — 1


The Diary of a Pustinnyk of my heart, “Remember the Little things“, #1

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst.

In these difficult times, the Church is closed but the Church continues as the people of God “the living stones” and by the grace of God, the faithful continue to be connected in that Communion of Saints on earth and in heaven through prayer, calls, emails and texts.

As we use this quiet and stillness not only to deepen our prayer but to reflect more deeply on the calling of our faith as the people of God, it is good to “remember [and record] the little things” as St David of Wales said.

Allow me then to introduce to you, the diary of a Pustinnyk [Hermit] of my heart, “Remember the Little things“, and follow it day by day, as he reflects and prays for all of us.


Remember the Little things #Day 1

Dear  Friends in  Christ,

May God bless you all 


As we are all too aware- we can have no visitors but God has a way of teaching us His ways. A huge bumblebee flew in through my “Office” window upstairs at the back of my house, as if to remind me that Christ’s work must go on. The weather yesterday (Friday) was warm and sunny 21 c.! I quickly closed my curtains and the bee found his way out. Lo and behold a few hours later the same bee (I am sure )found it’s way into my front bedroom window. Again I closed the curtains, I told him ” No visitors allowed!” and he flew out. To see a bumblebee in March in England is in itself is quite remarkable but to see the same visitor twice, once in the morning when the sun is in the east and once in the afternoon when the sun is in the west is even more remarkable. This little visitor reminded me of St Paisios words:

Let us strive dear brothers and sisters for the sweet things and make every effort to climb step by step nearer to God in the holiness of life.


*It is good to” remember the little things” as St David of Wales said. 


3 comments on “The Coronavirus Diary of a Pustinnyk — 1

  1. jfreeder says:

    Applicable to the situation in which we all live at this point in time is the need to be bees.As stated in Psalm 49:14-15, the Lord says through the psalmist, “Offer unto God thanksgiving: and pay your vows unto the Lord; and call upon Me in the day of trouble and you will glorify Me.”

    “God is All-powerful, and can do all that He chooses. He is All-knowing, and therefore fully knows what is best for the salvation of each one of us. He is infinitely good, and comes to us with love — always eager and willing…to give us all the help we need. How is it possible that our Good Shepherd, Who…gave up His life [for us], could fail to turn His eyes to His lost sheep, take it in His arms and, placing it among heavenly angels, make a welcoming feast for its sake?” (*)

    (*) – from the book, UNSEEN WARFARE, edited by St. Nikodemos of Mt Athos

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your bee with us! I found a dozen bumblebees seemingly quite energized and buzzing around the French lavender last week. They let me know that it is indeed spring, and that makes me grateful for the seasons which help me to keep my bearings right now. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • jfreeder says:

      St. Modomnoc O’Neil, Bishop
      (Domnoc, Dominic, Modomnock)
      Died c. 550. Modomnoc, descended of the Irish royal line of O’Neil, had
      to leave Ireland to train for the priesthood, since he was a student
      before the creation of the great Irish monasteries. His name is most
      likely to have been Dom or Donogh but the Celtic saints were so tenderly
      loved that “my”, “little” and “dear” were very often added to the names,
      which completely altered their appearance. Another disciple from Ireland
      much loved by S.David was originally called Aidan, but usually appears
      in accounts of the monastery as Maidoc.

      He crossed the English Channel to be educated under the great Saint
      David at Mynyw (Menevia, now Saint David’s) Monastery in Wales. All
      those who resided in the community were expected to share in the manual
      work as well as the study and worship, and there is a story which tells
      how one day Modomnoc was working with another monk making a road, when
      he had occasion to rebuke him for some matter. The other monk was seized
      with anger and took up a crowbar, but before he could bring it down on
      Modomnoc, S.David, who was witness to the incident, stayed his arm by
      his spiritual powers and it remained paralysed.

      Modomnoc was given charge of the bees and he loved it. And so did
      everyone else–they all loved honey, but few like taking charge of the
      hives. Modomnoc liked the bees almost more than he liked their honey.
      He cared for them tenderly, keeping them in straw skeps in a special
      sheltered corner of the garden, where he planted the kinds of flowers
      best loved by the bees.

      Every time they swarmed, he captured the swarm very gently and lovingly
      and set up yet another hive. He talked to the bees as he worked among
      them and they buzzed around his head in clouds as if they were
      responding. And, of course, they never stung him.

      At the end of summer, they gave him much honey, so much that Modomnoc
      needed help carrying it all inside. The monks never ran out of honey
      for their meals or making mead to drink. The good Modomnoc thanked God
      for this, and he also thanked the bees. He would walk among the skeps in
      the evening and talk to them, and the bees, for their part, would crowd
      out to meet him. All the other monks carefully avoided that corner of
      the monastery garden because they were
      afraid of being stung.

      As well as thanking the bees, Modomnoc did everything he could to care
      for them in cold and storm. Soon his years of study ended, and Modomnoc
      had to return to Ireland to begin his priestly ministry. While he was glad to be returning home, he knew he would be lonely for his bees. On
      the day of his departure, he said good-bye to David, the monks, and his
      fellow students. Then he went down to the garden to bid farewell to his

      They came out in the hundreds of thousands in answer to his voice and
      never was there such a buzzing and excitement among the rows and rows of
      hives. The monks stood at a distance watching the commotion in wonder,
      “You’d think the bees knew,” they said. “You’d think they knew that
      Modomnoc was going away.”

      Modomnoc resolutely turned and went down to the shore and embarked the
      ship. When they were about three miles from the shore, Modomnoc saw
      what looked like a little black cloud in the sky in the direction of the
      Welsh coast. He watched it curiously and as it approached nearer, he
      saw to his amazement that it was a swarm of bees that came nearer and
      nearer until finally it settled on the edge of the boat near him. It
      was a gigantic swarm–all the bees from all the hives, in fact. The
      bees had followed him!

      This time Modomnoc did not praise his friends. “How foolish of you,” he
      scolded them, “you do not belong to me but to David’s monastery! How do
      you suppose the monks can do without honey, or mead? Go back at once,
      you foolish creatures!” But if the bees understood what he said, they
      did not obey him. They settled down on the boat with a sleepy kind of
      murmur, and there they stayed. The sailors did not like it one bit and
      asked Modomnoc what he intended to do.

      He told them to turn the boat back for Wales. It was already too far
      for the bees to fly back, even if they wanted to obey him. He could not
      allow his little friends to suffer for their foolishness. But the wind
      was blowing the boat to Ireland and when they turned back, the sail was
      useless. The sailors had to furl it and row back to the Welsh coast.
      They did it with very bad grace, but they were too much afraid of the
      bees to do anything else.

      David and the monks were very surprised to see Modomnoc coming back and
      looking rather ashamed. He told them what had happened. The moment the
      boat had touched land again, the bees had made straight for their hives
      and settled down contentedly again. “Wait until tomorrow,” advised the
      abbot, “but don’t say farewell to the bees again. They will be over the
      parting by then.”

      Next morning, the boat was again in readiness for Modomnoc and this time
      he left hurriedly without any fuss of farewell. But when they were
      about three miles from the shore, he was dismayed to see again the familiar little black cloud rising up over the Welsh coast. Everyone
      recognised the situation and the sailors turned back to shore

      Once more the shamefaced Modomnoc had to seek out David and tell his
      story. “What am I to do?” he pleaded. “I must go home. The bees won’t
      let me go without them. I can’t deprive you of them. They are so
      useful to the monastery.”

      David said, “Modomnoc, I give you the bees. Take them with a blessing.
      I am sure they would not thrive without you. Take them. We’ll get other
      bees later on for the monastery.”

      The abbot went down to the boat and told the sailors the same story. “If
      the bees follow Modomnoc for the third time, take them to Ireland with
      him and my blessing.” But it took a long time and a great deal of
      talking to get the sailors to agree to this. They did not care who had
      the bees as long as they weren’t in their boat.

      The abbot assured the sailors that the bees would give no trouble as
      long as Modomnoc was onboard. The sailors asked, if that were so, why
      the bees did not obey Modomnoc’s command to return to the monastery.
      After much back and forth, the sailors were finally persuaded into
      starting out again.

      For the third time the boat set sail, Modomnoc praying hard that the
      bees would have the sense to stay in their pleasant garden rather than
      risking their lives at sea. For the third time he saw the little black
      cloud rising up in the distance, approaching nearer and nearer until he
      saw it was the same swarm of bees again. It settled on the boat once
      more. This time it did not turn back. Modomnoc coaxed his faithful
      friends into a sheltered corner of the boat, where they remained quietly
      throughout the journey, much to the sailors’ relief.

      When he landed in Ireland, he set up a church at a place called Bremore,
      near Balbriggan, in County Dublin, and here he established the bees in a
      happy garden just like the one they had in Wales. The place is known to
      this day as “the Church of the Beekeeper.”

      He became a hermit at Tibberaghny in County Kilkenny and some say he was
      later consecrated Bishop of Ossory(Benedictines, Curtayne).

      Troparion of St Modomnock tone 4
      Pomp and splendour held no attraction for thee, O Father Modomnock./ By
      leaving the glitter of the world, thou didst freely embrace thy poverty
      with the Waterman,/ praying for the salvation of all faithful souls.
      Kontakion of St Modomnock tone 7
      Retiring from the company of men,/ thou didst serve God in solitude, O
      Father Modomnock,/ and thy Father, seeing thy virtue in secret,/
      rewarded thee openly./ Therefore we glorify thy name/ and praise and
      bless thy righteous memory.


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