A Traditional Orthodox Women's Monastery
Orthodox Church in AmericaDiocese of the South

Special Monastery Invitation

The 7th Annual Feast Day Celebration for the
Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Monastery

 Nativity Icon

It is our pleasure to invite you to celebrate the eighth annual feast day celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Monastery on Saturday, December 3o, 2017. We will celebrate the Divine Liturgy with visiting clergy and the faithful. The liturgy will be sung by the Children’s Choir of Holy Nativity of Our Lord Mission in Shreveport, LA.


Schedule of Events (all times are approximate):

9:30 AM - Reading of the Hours and Prayers Before Communion
10:00 AM - Divine Liturgy and procession to the cemetery
12:00 PM - Reception / Luncheon at the St. Seraphim Retreat Center

Keynote speaker: Rev. Fr. Theodore Niklasson, MA, MTS – Distinctions of Shame & Guilt and Their Influence upon Addictive Behavior

Seating is limited. Please RSVP no later than December 25th. You may RSVP by calling the monastery at 903-498-4474 or by sending an email to nativitymonastery@gmail.com.  When you RSVP, please let us know how many children will be attending with you as we prepare special gifts for children.


Distinctions of Shame & Guilt and Their Influence upon Addictive Behavior

The terms shame and guilt are often used interchangeably, even within professional and academic circles. Yet, recent research in the fields of psychology and social work suggest these two emotional expressions are not only distinct, but generate widely differing individual response. Shame is defined as a self-conscious emotion focused upon negative perceptions of self, whereas guilt is an emotional assessment of action or choice.

Current research and professional observation directly correlate to pastoral care and the recovery support of individuals suffering from substance abuse and addictive behavior. Gaining abstinence from the substance or behavior is only the first battle with addiction, but a battle which cannot be lost. The greater war is with an individual’s chronically pained internal self-assessment, often gained through significant relationships from childhood and reinforced throughout adolescence and early adulthood.

Understanding this distinction between the perception of self versus the perception of one’s actions is critical to our continued long term care for suffering individuals. A positive correlation to addiction and self-destructive behavior exists in shame-prone individuals, but a negative correlation to such behavior in guilt-prone individuals. The distinction suggests a shift in how we should acknowledge the self-perception of those suffering from addictive behavior, whether alcoholism, substance abuse, eating disorder, gambling, compulsive spending or any other self-destructive expression.


Rev. Theodore NiklassonRev. Theodore Niklasson is a monk and deacon of the Orthodox Church, having entered the monastery of St. Herman of Alaska in 1992. Under the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Ilia II, he has served in the Caucasus region in the diocese of Metropolitan Nikoloz at the juncture of Turkey, Armenia and Georgia from 2001 until 2008. In 2016, Fr. Theodore was released from the Georgian Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church in America. He has established the Holy Archangels Orthodox Christian Retreat Center in the Missouri Ozarks with a dedication to support long term recovery in people suffering from addictive behavior. He holds graduate degrees in Communications and Theology, certificates in Fund Raising Management, Linguistics and Addiction Recovery and is a Senior Fellow of the Sophia Institute of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.