Welcome

Holy Cross Priory is a monastery of the Order of the Holy Cross, a community founded in 1884 by the Rev. James Otis Sargent Huntington to provide a specifically North American expression of monasticism for Anglicans.

The Priory houses a small community in a Victorian-style home near Toronto’s scenic High Park. Members of the community participate in a daily cycle of prayer, study, and work. We have a number of guest rooms and provide hospitality as well.

Members of the community are available to lead retreats and quiet days at Parishes and other locations. We also offer quiet days, days of prayer, and other programs at the Priory.

The Order has had a ministry in Canada since the 1890′s. Holy Cross Priory was founded in 1973.

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The Rev’d. Ross Bliss, a transitional Deacon in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, was received as the newest Associate of Holy Cross Priory, Toronto, during the Eucharist at our annual Easter Party April 20, 2017. Ross has just completed his M.Div. at Huron College in London, Ontario, and is returning to Vancouver for ordination to the Priesthood and parish ministry. (Above, from left to right: Br. Leonard Abbah, Director of Associates, The Rev’d Ross Bliss, and Br. David Bryan Hoopes, Prior.)

Members of the monastic community at Holy Cross Priory, several Priory Associates, and members of our extended Priory community gather around The Rev’d Ross Bliss following his reception as an Associate.

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From the Priory’s newsletter for Easter 2017:

“In an attempt to make the resurrection of Jesus a “respectable” teaching, we are prone to offer platitudes about hope and love and renewal. Or we can be merely existential in deciding how any teaching about the resurrection may be of any value to one’s daily life. Our answers may be dull, safe, and ordinary. Few want to celebrant the dull, the safe, the ordinary.” — Br. David Bryan Hoopes OHC

Download the full Easter 2017 newsletter here

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Amongst all the media stories of shootings and violence that daily disturb us, one amazing and encouraging story appeared in early July of 2016. It was the account of the successful arrival, after a flight lasting five years, of the probe Juno within the orbit of the planet Jupiter. As the Juno probe approached Jupiter’s orbit a remarkable video was filmed showing Jupiter’s four moons, Callisto, Europa, Ganymede and Io, moving around the planet. Dr. Scott Bolton, NASA principal investigator, said: “In all of history, we’ve really never been able to see the motion of any heavenly body against another … This is harmony at every scale. I think Galileo would really have enjoyed the movie. Watching this amazing video, I felt so moved by this glimpse into the universe. It was a reminder to me that God is in control and the mysteries of creation are way beyond our present knowledge and vision.

In the year 1610 the controversial Italian Galileo Galilei discovered the existence of moons that orbited around the planet Jupiter. He deduced that Jupiter has four moons by observations of varying positions of the points of light using a telescope that he developed. These and other observations caused him serious issues with the Church because they challenged the accepted Aristotelian view that all the heavenly bodies revolved around the earth. Galileo was investigated by the Inquisition, charged with heresy and made to recant his theory that the Earth moves around the Sun. It is widely held that subsequently he uttered the words, “And yet it moves.”

Human beings seem always to think that we know it all. It takes so long for major scientific discoveries to be accepted, and sadly, it has often been the Church that has been slowest to accept change. Our view of God is restricted by our own hubris. God is so much greater than we can realize and we hesitate to dream of what is possible.

That beautiful little video gives me renewed hope in the power of God to enable us to change the world we live in for the better. Human beings have so much talent, so many possibilities, and if we choose we can do so much good. The grace of God is there for us but we do need to become more adventurous, more trusting, and more faithful in receiving it and allowing God to use us to do His work in the world.

As Christians we believe that Jesus, Son of God, took our human form and came to live as one of us, showing what is possible. We were baptized into God’s family and nothing is impossible if we accept the implications of the baptismal covenant. So let us pray for new vision, new hope, and fresh determination to become what God wants us to be and to change the violence and strife in the world into His Kingdom of peace.

Our Gracious and Eternal God,
Praise be to you for the wonders of creation.
Thank you for the men and women
who share with us new glimpses of the universe.

Open our eyes and minds
that we may be willing to search out new knowledge
and understand more and more of You
our loving Father.

Look with mercy upon the world in which we live.
Forgive us for the problems we have make
and enable us to seek ways to cooperate with each other
to heal and renew the world.

May we look afresh, day by day,
to Jesus our Saviour;
being willing to be formed
into His likeness as part of our family.
Thank you for His example and
for the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit
to change us to your glory.
Amen.

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Br. Richard Vaggione OHCBr. Richard Vaggione OHCDear Friends,

After 19 (cumulative) years in Canada, I am being transferred to our Order’s monastery at West Park, New York. I’m getting just a little too tottery to remain in a house with as many stories (and steps!) as the Priory, so the Superior has decided to send me to West Park, where everything is on a level. I will even have a new status: “Monk in Assisted Living”. This means that, among other things, I get a spiffy new monastic cell, and – for the first time in my 36 years of religious life – my own shower! To say that my feelings are mixed is an understatement. I had five wonderful years here in the 80’s as priest-in-charge of St. Matthias Bellwoods Avenue, and then another 14 more recently in a variety of ministries, including teaching at Trinity College. I have put down roots and become a Canadian as well as a U.S. Citizen, but that just means that now there’ll be a Canadian at West Park once again! (I plan to display my Canadian flag proudly.) My thanks to the monastic community here in Toronto, and to all of you for these many years. I will keep you in my prayers; please keep me in yours. I can be reached by e-mail at vaggione@rogers.com or by phone at 845-384-6660, ext. 3022.

Once again, thank you.
RICHARD PAUL VAGGIONE, OHC

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In 71 BC, the Roman General M. Licinius Crassus defeated Spartacus and his slave revolt, and in the aftermath 6000 rebels who survived the battle were crucified along the length of the Appian Way, a cross less than every 200 yards. Crucifixion was a brutal, degrading and cruel, but not unusual, method of execution of slaves and the humblest and poorest – almost never of Roman citizens. It was, more often than not, a random, off-hand, commonplace and meaningless, terrifying lottery of death.

The "Tree of Life" cross, often used to signify the Order. A hundred years later our Lord was crucified. His crucifixion was not unique, or seems unique only to us who, in imagination, tend to blot out the other thousands who died in agonizing crucifixion. The Son of God, the Word made flesh, was numbered with that nameless and powerless multitude. But he knew, and his followers came to understand, that his sacrifice was the gift and revelation of a loving and merciful God, that his death and resurrection was victory over death. By his crucifixion all things begin new. The Cross, the instrument of extreme inhumanity for the weakest, poorest and most defenseless, becomes for us the sign of hope, health and salvation.

In time the Cross became the most important and widely recognized Christian symbol, but there is an ambiguity about its significance. For Constantine the Great it promised military victory. Through the ages it was carried before many crusading armies, and became for countless peoples a reminder of imperial conquest and oppression. Enterprising explorers planted it in the midst of their conquests. For others it was a symbol of power and riches and adorns the pinnacles and facades of glorious and triumphal buildings. For many others today, it can be an element of décor, or a lucky charm, or an item of decorative jewellery.

But that is not for us who are signed with the Cross. Constantine abolished crucifixion in the Roman Empire in 337 AD, and while this instrument of torture disappeared, extreme inhumanity has not. We are surrounded by the evidence and the world everywhere cries out in pain for healing. Jesus recalled the story of Moses in the wilderness and the healing and life-giving power of the pole with the serpent and said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself”, and in Him we find healing and life.

Jesus is the healer, a wounded healer, and all of us who bear the sign of the Cross and follow Jesus have been given power to heal. We all know what it is to be wounded and imperfect, and what it is to be affirmed, accompanied and healed by others, themselves wounded, whose experience we trust – like a gift of new freedom, of new life. The Cross is the symbol of that gift,the new life that our Lord gives us, but also the power and gift of healing and life that we give to, and receive from, each other. The healing of the world begins with us. That is the victory of the Holy Cross. That is what we celebrate in joy.

The Rev’d. Donald W. Anderson is General Secretary, CAROA (Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas), and a friend of Holy Cross Priory.

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