The height and breadth of North America takes away one’s breath, when one considers it all. Even more breathtaking is the breadth of places where Orthodox monasticism is taking root.
Below is my proposed itinerary, to give you an idea of the many monasteries planted across the USA and Canada, from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.
Someone recently asked me if I will be “following the seasons.” Great question, and I certainly am! I plan to include Alberta, Canada and Alaska in the Summer months, the Southwest and Southeast in the Winter, and so forth.
There are already changes being made — including additions and deletions — and some sections will be broken up into several excursions. But the general idea is here.
I hope also to schedule parish presentations along the way, and am already off to a good start in that regard, as you can see from the Thebaid Calendar in the right side bar. If you are interested in having me give a slide show & presentation on the Thebaid Project at your parish, please contact Orthodox Speakers Bureau, who are kindly handling all my booking arrangements.
I hope you enjoy this look at one of the guiding documents of the Thebaid Project, which has been updated several times since I first began preparing it almost a year ago.
Northeast: PA/NY/Nova Scotia/Ontario:
1. Monastery of the Transfiguration (OCA), Ellwood City PA; ~ 310 mi, 5 hrs, from Cincinnati
2. Nativity of the Theotokos (GOA), Saxonburg PA; ~ 40 mi, 50 min, from #1
3. St Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery (OCA), Waymart PA; ~ 300 mi, 5 hrs, from #2
4. New Diveyevo Monastery (ROCOR), Nanuet NY; ~ 110 mi, 2 hrs from #3
5. Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery (OCA), Otego NY; ~ 140 mi, 2.5 hrs, from #4
6. Holy Trinity Monastery (ROCOR), Jordanville NY; ~45 mi, 1 hour from #5
7. New Skete (OCA), Cambridge NY; ~ 95 mi, 2 hrs from #6
8. Hermitage of the Annunciation (OCA), Watford, Nova Scotia, Canada; ~ 660 mi, 13 hrs from #7
9. Hermitage of St Anthony the Great (OCA), Westport, Ontario, Canada; ~ 1020 mi, 16 hours from #8
11. St Kosmas Aitolos Monastery (GOA), Bolton, Ont. CA; ~ 211 mi, 3.5 hrs from #10
TOTAL MILES: ~ 2800 mi. one-way
Possibly lower Ontario monasteries also; see Northeast map above.
1. St Sabbas the Sanctified (ROCOR, Moscow Pat.), Harper Woods MI; ~ 275 mi, 4.5 hrs from Cincinnati
2. Holy Trinity Monastery (GOA), Smith Creek MI; ~ 45 mi, 1 hr from #1
3. Ascension of the Lord (OCA), Clinton MI; ~ 105 mi, 2 hrs from #2
4. Dormition of the Mother of God (OCA), Rives Junction MI; ~ 50 mi, 1 hr from #3
5. Holy Transfiguration (GOA), Harvard IL; ~ 300 mi, 5 hrs from #4
TOTAL MILES: ~ 750 mi. one-way
Possibly lower Ontario monasteries also; see Northeast map above.
1. St Gregory Palamas (GOA), Hayesville OH; ~ 185 mi, 2 hrs 45 min from Cincinnati
2. Skete of the Entrance of the Theotokos (GOA), Hayesville OH; 2 mi from #1
3. St John the Theologian Skete (ROCOR), Hiram OH; ~ 90 mi, 1.5 hrs from #2
TOTAL MILES: ~ 275 mi. one-way
Southeast United States
1. Hermitage of the Holy Cross ROCOR), Wayne WV; ~170 mi, 3 hrs, from Cincinnati
1b.Nativity of the Virgin Mary (ROCOR) (W), Wayne WV
2. Saints Mary & Martha Monastery, Wagener SC; ~460 mi, 7 hrs, south of #1
3.Panaghia Vlahernon Monastery (GOA), Williston FL; ~360 miles, 6 hrs, south of #2
3b.Holy Annunciation Monastery (GOA) (W), Reddick FL
4.St Paul Skete (Antiochian), Grand Junction TN; ~700 mi, 10.5 hrs, nortthwest of #3
5.Glorious Ascension Monastery (ROCOR), Resaca GA;~300 mi, 5 hrs, east of #4
TOTAL MILES: ~2500, round trip.
NORTHWEST – Montana/Washington/British Columbia
1. St Peter’s Monastery (OCA), Harrison, Montana; ~1700 mi, 25 hrs, from Cincinnati
2. All Merciful Savior (ROCOR), Vashon Island, WA; ~700 mi, 10.5 hrs, from #1
3. All Saints of North America, Dewdney (OCA), British Columbia; ~ 150 mi, 4 hrs, north from #2
TOTAL MILES: ~2550 mi. one-way
Tentative plan calls for pilgrimage to extend into Alberta, Canada.
1. Holy Transfiguration Hermitage (OCA), Lone Butte, BC, Canada; ~ 235 mi, 4 hrs, north of Dewdney BC (* Closed to visitors, clergy retreats, by arrangement only.)
2. Convent of the Protection of the Theotokos (ROCOR), Bluffton, AB, Canada; ~ 520 mi, 8.5 hrs from #1
3. Hermitage of the Protection of the Theotokos (OCA), Edmonton, AB, Canada; ~ 90 mi, 1.5 hrs, from #2
4. Hermitage of Prophet Elias (OCA), Smoky Lake, Alberta; ~ 75 mi, 1.5 hrs, north of #3
TOTAL MILES: ~ 920 mi. one way from Dewdney BC;
TOTAL FOR NORTHWEST & ALBERTA, CANADA: 3470 mi. one way
Southwest United States
1. Presentation of the Virgin Mary (OCA), Marshfield MO; ~ 560 mi, 8 hrs, from Cincinnati
2. Nativity of our Lord Monastery (OCA), Kemp TX; ~ 500 mi, 8 hrs, southwest of #1
3. Archangel Michael Monastery (OCA), Canones NM; ~ 800 miles, 12 hrs, northwest of #2
4. St Paisius Monastery (Serbian), Safford AZ; ~450 mi, 6.5 hrs, southwest of #3
5. St Anthony’s Monastery (GOA), Florence AZ; ~150 mi, 2.5 hrs, west of #4
TOTAL MILES: ~2400 mi. one way.
Tentative plan calls for pilgrimage to proceed to California/Colorado monasteries.
1. St Antony Coptic Orthodox Monastery (Coptic), Newberry Springs CA; ~ 430 mi, 7 hrs, from St Anthony’s in Florence AZ
2. Holy Resurrection Monastery (OCA, Romanian), Temecula CA; ~150 mi, 2.5 hrs, from #1
3. St Macarius the Great (OCA), Montclair CA; ~60 mi, 1 hr, from #2
4. St Barbara Monastery (OCA), Santa Paula CA; ~ 100 mi, 2 hrs, west of #3
5. St Silouan Monastery (ROCOR), Sonora CA; ~ 330 mi, 5 hrs, north of #4
6. Holy Cross Monastery (OCA, Bulgarian), Castro Valley CA; ~110 mi, 2 hrs, west of #5
7. Our Lady of Kazan Skete (OCA), Santa Rosa CA; ~ 75 miles, 1.5 hrs, north of #6
8. Holy Assumption Monastery (OCA), Calistoga CA; ~ 20 mi, 40 min, north-east of #7
9. St Herman of Alaska Monastery (Serbian), Platina CA; ~ 200 mi, 3.5 hrs, north of #8
10. St Xenia Skete (Serbian), Wildwood CA (Near St Herman’s)
11. St John of Shanghai & San Francisco (OCA), Manton CA; ~ 75 mi, 1 hr 45 min, east of #10
12. Protection of the Holy Virgin (OCA), Lake George CO; ~ 1230 mi, 18.5 hrs, east of #11
TOTAL MILES: ~2800, from Florence AZ
I am currently planning to fly in and out of Anchorage. Travel in Alaska would be by road, ferry, plane and small boats.
1. Protecting Veil of the Theotokos (OCA), Anchorage AK; Starting point
2a. Holy Resurrection Cathedral (OCA), Kodiak AK; To venerate St Herman’s relics; ~ 410 mi, 17 hrs (by road and ferry, or plane) from #1
2b. St Innocent Academy, Kodiak AK; nearby Holy Resurrection Cathedral.
3a. Ss Sergius and Herman of Valaam Chapel, Spruce Island AK; Local plane (Island Air) to Ouzinkie
3b. Archangel Michael Skete (Serbian), Ouzinkie AK; Take skiff to sketes and Monk’s Lagoon (St Innocent Academy can help arrange).
3c. St Nilus Skete (Serbian), Ouzinkie AK
So, if you’ve read this far, you can see that the Thebaid Project involves nearly constant travel for two full years. This endeavor will be my life and work through the end of 2018. If you are inspired by the vision of the North American Thebaid, please consider making a financial contribution to enable the Project to succeed!
Thank you for your prayers and support!