On May 14, 2016 we performed the Blessing of the Apiary and the new honey bees! A couple of days earlier, the Morrison's, our neighbors, called us and said there was a swarm of bees in the pear tree on their property. If we wanted it, we could come and get it!
So, our faithful Father Deacon Theophan, put on his bee suit and bee box, broke the branch with the swarm and thrust it into the box, and you can imagine what happened! They were transferred to the southern pasture of the monastery and after six weeks are now thriving! It is such a blessing to see the link in Orthodoxy between nature and God. The Church has an intermediary role of blessing and care and cultivation with nature.
In Solovki Monastery in the Northern Thebaid of Russia, Saints Zossima and Sabbatius were beekeepers. The former abbot of Hilandar Monastery on Mt. Athos was also a beekeeper Below you find a few photos of our blessing the bees, but also a fully developed community of bee hives producing honey and wax for candles on Hilandar.
They serve so many purposes and are integral part of our ecosystem. They teach us so much about community. St. Paisius Velichkovsky was referred to as a patristic bee because, in translating the Philokalia from Greek to Slavonic, he would take from the flowers of the Holy Fathers, and bring forth such sweet and wonderful food for our souls. Here is a wonderful link to the blessing prayer and some quotes from our tradition on bees: https://frted.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/the-blessing-of-the-bees/
Glory to God for all things! Slava Bogu Za Zve!