First Photographs from Dormition Monastery

I’ve been at Dormition Monastery in Rives Jct, Michigan, for a little less than a week now, and am very pleased with several images I’ve made so far. Of course, I’ll post a full gallery after I finish my visit, but I didn’t want to wait that long to share these with you.

The main church at Dormition Monastery transports you to the heavenlies the moment you enter…

So, I hope you enjoy this small selection of my first photographs in 2018 for the Thebaid book! Scroll down for the slide show…

This visit to Dormition Monastery marks a great start to 2018 for the Thebaid Project. With 15-20 monasteries still to be visited on my pilgrimage, we’re on track with our original plan to finish the photography by early Summer, and have the book printed and in distribution by early Autumn 2018. By pre-ordering the book, you are helping to support a unique photographic pilgrimage to dozens of Orthodox Christian monasteries across the USA and Canada, providing a compelling glimpse into the beautiful, prayerful realm of these monks and nuns, who support the world through their ceaseless prayers.

You can view hundreds of photographs from over a dozen monasteries (so far!) on the Thebaid Project Galleries page. Learn more about the Thebaid Project here.

Asking your prayers and support

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


New Photo Gallery: New Skete, Cambridge NY

I am very pleased to announce an extensive gallery of images (over three dozen!) from my recent pilgrimage to New Skete (OCA), in Upstate New York, near the Vermont border.

This new collection provides glimpses of the divine services, the grounds, and the daily life and work of the monks and nuns of New Skete, who just recently celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the community’s founding in 1966.

Also, this collection takes advantage of a new gallery feature, presenting the images in a tiled mosaic. Click on any image to enlarge and enter an attractive lightbox-style slideshow, with arrows to navigate. I am applying this new layout to all existing galleries, and to all future ones.

Proceed to the New Skete Gallery… 

Please consider contributing to the North American Thebaid Photographic Pilgrimage. We are not funded by the Church, but rely on your support to put gas in the tank! Thank you!


New Gallery posted! St Paul Skete, Grand Jct TN

After a couple of months of nearly continuous travel, I am getting caught up on photo editing, and just posted a new gallery of images, these from St Paul Skete (Antiochian, women’s) in Grand Junction, Tennessee, about an hour outside of Memphis.

Please proceed over to the St Paul Gallery to see a selection of images, both of the skete chapels and grounds, and glimpses of the services…



Another New Gallery! Hermitage of the Holy Cross, Wayne WV

When I visited the Hermitage of the Holy Cross last October, I was only able to stay for a couple of days due to a last minute schedule change. For this return visit, I was able to stay for several days, which led to several unique images, as I settled more into the rhythm of life.

Well used prayer and service books in theHermitage Guest House icon corner.

It was good to renew my acquaintances with some of the monks I first met last year, and the obvious signs of continued growth, including the completion of St Herman’s House and the new candle workshop, made this an eventful and fruitful visit.

Proceed to the Gallery page for Hermitage of the Holy Cross…


New Gallery Posted! Holy Archangel Michael & All Angels Skete

I’ve just uploaded the new gallery of almost two-dozen photographs from my recent stay at Holy Archangel Michael & All Angels Skete in northwest Missouri. Included are some excerpts from the skete’s website, and additional links and information.

Proceed to the new Gallery…

I’m finally getting caught up on photo editing after three weeks of continuous travel, and plan to post more galleries in the days ahead, so stay tuned!

As always, thank you for your support and prayers!



St Mary of Egypt Parish Presentation on the Thebaid Project – with photos

The weekend of September 16-17 found me at St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Roswell GA, where I had been invited by Fr John Townsend to give my presentation on the History of Orthodox Monasticism, and the North American Thebaid Project.

The warm hospitality of the entire parish, the beauty of the church and iconography, and the vivid sense of the nearness of the heavenly kingdom and the saints (especially accentuated by the two reliquaries flanking the nave) embraces one upon entering, and made my experience of Saturday’s Vigil and Sunday’s Divine Liturgy quite lofty and edifying.

As I typically do when visiting parishes, I made some photographs during the Liturgy to gift St Mary’s as a “Thank You”, and wanted to share a few highlights with you.

My heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Fr John and the parish, and I look forward to return visits in God’s timing.

If you are interested in scheduling me for a parish presentation, I’d love to make that happen! Please contact me at [zosimas at thebaid dot org], and also check out this page which may answer many of your questions.

Continue reading “St Mary of Egypt Parish Presentation on the Thebaid Project – with photos”


Thebaid Project Update – September 2017

A summary of Thebaid Project activity over the past six weeks, with exciting news about upcoming monastery and parish visits, and some additional surprises.

Dear Fellow Thebaid Pilgrims,

I’m a couple of weeks late on my monthly Thebaid Update Schedule, but I hope you’ll appreciate the reasons for the delay, as the last six weeks have been filled with travel and photography, and have generated growing interest in and momentum for the Project.

For this September 2017 Edition, there are several categories of note:


As mentioned in the August 2017 Update, through the support of a generous sponsor, I have been able to eliminate the overhead of housing and utilities costs, which has really propelled scheduling both of monastery visits and parish presentations. The immediate benefits of this logistical change can be seen in the updates below…


August 25-27 — Monastery of the Glorious Ascension (ROCOR) in Resaca GA, a women’s monastery with a long history, which is an important part of Orthodox mission efforts in northern Georgia. View the Photo Gallery here.

September 5-7 — Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery in Williston FL. This is my first visit to one of the monasteries founded by Elder Ephraim (former abbot of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos). Due to Hurricane Irma, I cut short my stay by one day, and had to cancel my pilgrimage to the women’s Annunciation Monastery just 10 minutes away. Perhaps a return visit may occur in the winter. Photo Gallery here.

UPCOMING: Looking ahead, I just this morning confirmed the dates for my first pilgrimage to Holy Archangel Michael and All Angels Skete in Weatherby MO, on September 24-28. A women’s monastic community is adjacent to the men’s skete, St Xenia Sisterhood. I am hoping to add more monasteries in the region to make a circuit, before returning to Birmingham.

Continue reading “Thebaid Project Update – September 2017”


New Photo Gallery: Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery, Williston FL

Although I had to leave early due to Hurricane Irma, I was able to make some photographs and provide some glimpses of the incredible beautify of this sacred monastery. You can view the entire gallery here.




Proceed to the full gallery…



New Photo Gallery: Monastery of the Glorious Ascension

I am very excited to share with you some images from my recent visit to the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension in Resaca GA.

The rugged beauty of the forested grounds, nestled in the mountains of northwest Georgia, and the luminous chapel and monastery building, stir the heart and evoke a deep yearning for God, for the Living God.

I invite you to explore the many new images from Glorious Ascension in the Gallery, and stay tuned, as I am heading to Panagia Vlahernon in Central Florida tomorrow, and hope to have even more photographs posted here early next week.

Proceed to the Photo Gallery…


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.

Version 2
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”