San Diego, CA - Following Orthros on the third day of the Sts. Sebastian and Mardarije Institute the fourth session, entitled "The Stages of the Spiritual Life", began with an introductory word from the moderator Monk Siluan. Fr. Maximos spent the majority of the morning session reading from selected texts of St. Maximos' writings, more specifically, selections from his Questions to Thalassios. This was followed by questions and answers resulting in a lively discussion. More discussion continued after a short break which began with a word of clarification by Fr. Maximos on the passions in light of the teachings and writings of St. Maximos the Confessor.
After lunch and an hour break the afternoon talks began with Session V: Contemplation of Nature moderated by His Grace Bishop Maxim. Session VI: Contemplation of Scripture followed. During both sessions Fr. Maximos read and discussed in detail selections from St. Maximos' Ambiguum 10 which deals with contemplation. Fr. Maximos' comments on the text provoked questions and discussion that lasted until the late afternoon.
Dinner was served after Vespers. As dinner was coming to a close, the host priest Fr. Bratso Krsic called everyone's attention to two guests from the St. Nicholas parish in Indianapolis, Indiana who sang two selections, one a folk song and the other dedicated to St. Mardarije. In the main hall afterwards Fr. Maximos was given a final opportunity to take questions.
Closing the third day of the Institute was a special treat for all the visiting clergy and laity as the Morava vocal ensemble peformed a few numbers.