‘Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries’ now available in digital format for free

I have been using this outstanding book as a resource in planning my travels for the North American Thebaid Photographic Pilgrimage since the Atlas’s publication at the start of 2016, and downloaded this digital edition onto my iPad immediately after it was announced. The linked table of contents makes navigation a delight, and the ability to search the text likewise makes this an even more powerful tool than the already excellent print edition. Once you download the PDF file, you can easily import it into your Kindle or iBooks library, or most other ebook readers.

I have always felt the timing of the Atlas to be uncanny, as I had begun planning the NA Thebaid Project almost a full year before Krindatch’s Atlas was published. Now this digital edition comes out just as I am resuming travel and photography after a brief hiatus.

Our twin efforts clearly herald a growing vibrancy in and awareness of Orthodox Christian monasticism in the USA and Canada, and my hope is that the Atlas, the North American Thebaid Project (and the finished Thebaid book, due in Autumn 2018), and similar future efforts, will help inspire Orthodox monastic vocations, as well as draw spiritual seekers to the Orthodox Church, inviting them to “come and see” the ancient and timeless Christian Faith, which was “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries Electronic Edition is Now Available

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, June 12, 2017:

The electronic version of the widely popular Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Monasteries has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA and made available free of charge to everyone. The PDF file with the Atlas can be downloaded free of charge here. The hard copy of the Atlas can be purchased directly from the publisher, Holy Cross Orthodox Press.

Drawing on extensive research, as well as fascinating stories and insider information, the Atlas offers readers:

  • A scholarly introduction into traditions of Eastern Christian monasticism and a history of Orthodox monasteries in America
  • A full and comprehensive directory of 80 American Orthodox Christian monasteries
  • An enticing travel guide for those seeking to visit American monasteries and to “sample” monastic life.

In addition, twenty-two featured monasteries share their personal stories and offer a glimpse into the surprising spiritual appeal of monastic life in 21st century America.

Edited by Alexei Krindatch. 150 pages of text are accompanied by four sets of color maps and more than one hundred photographs depicting everyday life in US Orthodox monasteries. The full table of contents is provided below. Continue reading “‘Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries’ now available in digital format for free”

Join us this Sunday at St Herman of Alaska Church in Hudson OH

Announcing a special opportunity for those living in Northeastern Ohio (Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown):

Through a very gracious invitation by Fr. Basil Rusen, I will be giving a presentation on Orthodox Christian Monasticism and the North American Thebaid this coming Sunday, March 12, at St Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church, in Hudson, Ohio.

Join us for the Divine Liturgy at 10:00am, and stay for a lenten potluck lunch and my full digital presentation, covering the history of Orthodox monasticism from its formation in the 4th and 5th centuries, through the development of the ‘Northern Thebaid’ in Russia a thousand years later, and on to today.

With Orthodoxy sending down deep roots into the American continent and nearly eighty monasteries in the USA and Canada, we can properly speak of a spiritual geography called the ‘North American Thebaid’. My presentation features some of the most compelling photographs made so far on my pilgrimages.

See my special article, ‘What is a Thebaid?’

Located at 86 Owen Brown St, just off N. Main St and SR 303, St Herman’s is very easy to get to from any direction, being just south of I-80 (Ohio Turnpike). Visit the St Herman’s parish website for directions and map.

If you’ve been curious about the North American Thebaid, and are in the general area, this is a great opportunity.

Hope to see you there!

 

Four New Galleries of Monastery Photos

Featuring a gallery of new photographs from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville NY, made in November 2016, plus three galleries “from the archives”, dating from 2005 to 2015.

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Pannikhida (memorial service), Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville NY; © Ralph H. Sidway

The end of 2016 and the first weeks of the new year have been busy with the Great Feasts of the Nativity of Christ and His Glorious Theophany at the Baptism in the Jordan River, and like many of you, I have enjoyed making some personal travels during these holy days.

Now it is a great joy to turn again to the North American Thebaid Project, and I’m very  eager to share with you our plans for the coming year and beyond.

But first, it’s time for some new images!

Continue reading “Four New Galleries of Monastery Photos”

New Gallery: Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, in the Catskills, New York State

A new gallery of over forty photographs taken at Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery is up and available for viewing and sharing. 

Proceed to the Holy Myrrhbearers Gallery…

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Making a prayer rope…

I am very pleased with the overall selection of images, and several in particular are early contenders for the North American Thebaid book, scheduled for publication in late 2018.

Please consider supporting the North American Thebaid Project.

We fund this endeavor through subscription pre-sales of the Standard Hardcover Edition, and the Deluxe Limited Edition in Bonded Leather. We also offer eBooks and digital rewards for all supporters contributing at $25 and above. Proceed to the ‘Rewards for Supporters’ page to learn more, and use the PayPal button at top right to contribute.

Be sure to Like and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and share the Thebaid Project with your friends, family and church.

Thank you for your support and prayers!

 

New Gallery: Hermitage of the Holy Cross in Wayne WV

After several weeks of travel, and Thanksgiving week, I am getting caught up on editing and posting more images from recent monastery visits.

img_1058First up, several photographs from Hermitage of the Holy Cross (ROCOR). My thanks to Fr. Abbott Seraphim and guest master Fr. Hilarion, and the several monks I was able to speak with during my brief stay.

This was a “get acquainted” visit, as a tentative commitment set up back in the Summer suddenly materialized and forced me to shorten my stay at Holy Cross, but I do look forward to return visits during the different seasons.

Please head over to the special Holy Cross Gallery to explore the images, and to learn more about this thriving men’s monastery, which continues to grow and expand.

OCA Monastic Synaxis invites presentation on North American Thebaid Project

I was deeply honored to be invited to speak about the North American Thebaid Project at the OCA’s recent Monastic Synaxis.

The superiors, led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, and Archbishop Nathaniel, had numerous excellent questions and insights, all of which further improve the Thebaid Project, and help it support monastic life even more than before.

Based on conversations and personal invitations from several of the superiors, I sensed a real interest in the Project, and I very much look forward to visiting the many monasteries in the OCA.

Holy Transfiguration Monastery site of monastic superiors’ annual Synaxis

Ellwood City, PA [OCA]

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2016 OCA Monastic Synaxis; Photo by Ralph H. Sidway.

With the blessing of their diocesan bishops, superiors of monasteries of the Orthodox Church in America gathered at the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration here October 25-27, 2016 for their third annual Synaxis for the purpose of strengthening monastic life in the OCA while providing a forum for the superiors to meet and share their respective communities’ joys and challenges.

The Synaxis opened with the celebration of the Vigil and Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Great Marty Demetrius.  His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, who oversees the stavropegial monasteries, and His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel, in whose diocese the Monastery of the Transfiguration is located, were present for this year’s meeting.

The OCA counts some 25 men’s and women’s monastic communities in the US, Canada and Mexico, twelve of which were represented by their superiors, including

  • Mother Capitolina, Superior of the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos Community, Anchorage, AK.
  • Mother Cassiana, Superior of the Holy Protection Monastery, Lake George, CO.
  • Sister Cecelia, Prioress of the Nuns of New Skete, Cambridge, NY.
  • Brother Christopher, Prior of the Monks of New Skete, Cambridge, NY.
  • Mother Christophora, Abbess of the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA.
  • Igumen Gabriel, representing Archimandrite Sergius, Abbot of the Monastery of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, South Canaan, PA.
  • Mother Gabriella, Abbess of the Holy Dormition Monastery, Rives Junction, MI.
  • Archimandrite Gerasim, Abbot of Saint Elias Hermitage, Smoky Lake County, AB, Canada.
  • Hieromonk Innocent, Superior of the Monastery of Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Manton, CA.
  • Mother Melania, Superior of Holy Assumption Monastery, Calistoga, CA.
  • Mother Sergia, Abbess of the Presentation of the Theotokos Monastery, Marshfield, MO.
  • Mother Thekla, Abbess of the Mary and Martha Monastery, Wagener, NC.

Continue reading “OCA Monastic Synaxis invites presentation on North American Thebaid Project”

Upcoming Monastery Visits

The North American Thebaid Pilgrimage continues, with visits confirmed at Hermitage of the Holy Cross (ROCOR) in Wayne WV, Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery (OCA) in Otego NY, and Holy Trinity Monastery (ROCOR) in Jordanville NY. A brief return visit to the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City PA is also planned.

I’m busy with continued scheduling for monasteries, and for parish presentations, so watch for more news soon.

You can see the upcoming dates in the right hand panel here at Thebaid.org. I would appreciate your prayers both for safe travel and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

As a special treat, here is the outstanding film on Orthodox Monasticism produced by the Hermitage of the Holy Cross several years ago, From the Little Mountain:

 

To view more videos on Orthodox Monasticism in North America and around the globe, visit the Thebaid Video page…

 

Update on St Peter’s Monastery in Montana

Outstanding article on this compelling new monastic initiative, being founded by dedicated lay benefactors, and shepherded by monastics from Monastery of St John in Manton, California.

See also my special page on the founding of St Peter’s Monastery.

Photos provided by Pravoslavie.

SACRED SPACE IN THE LAST BEST PLACE: ORTHODOX MONASTERY COMES TO MONTANA

Pravoslavie, September 12, 2016

missoulian-1Eastern Orthodox believers are patiently moving forward with plans to build a monastery in Montana.

Though the timetable will depend on issues such as funding, members of St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church in Bozeman already have donated land near the base of Montana’s Tobacco Root Mountains especially for the monastery. The property is near Harrison on Harrison Lake, also known as Willow Creek Reservoir.

“It’s already in a conservation easement which stipulates that nothing can be built on the land other than an Eastern Orthodox monastery,” said David Hicks, a member of St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church in Bozeman. “The property is a 1,000-acre tract on the north shore of the lake.”

West of the Moon

David Hicks and his wife, Betsy, gave the parcel from what they called their West of the Moon ranch for the purpose of building St. Peter’s Monastery, as it is called. The “West of the Moon” name of the ranch comes from an old jazz standard “East of the Sun (and West of the Moon),” written by Princeton undergraduate Brooks Bowman and published in 1934, Hicks explained.

The monastery was formally established in 2014 and the St. Peter’s Monastery Foundation, which is guiding the effort to build it, is recognized by the state of Montana as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 foundation.

“We have been so blessed to live at West of the Moon and in our beautiful state,” Hicks told the Missoulian in an email. “No one ‘owns’ anything anyway. That’s just a fiction to appease the ego. It’s all on temporary loan. We are just the stewards in the parables told by Jesus, someday to give an account to the owner.”

Hicks, who is secretary of the foundation, noted that in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the new monastery may start out as a “skete” – essentially a little monastery associated with a larger one.

A website at stpetersmonastery.com discusses details.

Alone with God in the wilderness

Father Hieromonk Innocent, the superior of St. John Monastery in Manton, California, has led three delegations of monks to Harrison in recent years to get work started on the actual building of the monastery. Innocent said Montana is in line with what monasteries have traditionally been in Orthodox tradition.

“In the history of monasteries, the monks were actually trying to flee from the cities in order to be alone with God in the wilderness,” he said.

Continue reading “Update on St Peter’s Monastery in Montana”

New Photo Gallery: Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration

The second gallery is now posted and available for viewing, featuring a selection of images from the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration (OCA), a womens’ monastery in Ellwood City PA, about an hour north of Pittsburgh. This beautiful haven, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2017, is known for its hospitality. Select images below. Full gallery here…

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First Photo Gallery: St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery

The first gallery of photographs from the North American Thebaid Project is online, featuring some four dozen images taken at St Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan PA.

img_0095Captions to follow, but you can get nearly a virtual tour of the monastery, and a real inside look at monastic life, including the divine services, veneration of icons and relics of saints, the monks living quarters and dining room (trapeza) and more.

Also featured are links to learn more about St Tikhon’s Monastery, including videos and helpful instructions for visitors.

Proceed to the St Tikhon’s Gallery, and watch for posting soon of my photographs from Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City PA, as well as upcoming itinerary…