Hermitage of the Holy Cross, Wayne WV

Version 2My first visit to the Hermitage of the Holy Cross was in late October 2016. The images I made during that brief stay reflect my “get acquainted” purpose, as I was given a tour of the grounds, entered into the rhythm of life at the monastery, and looked for general views to photograph. I plan to return during different seasons to more fully explore life at this thriving monastery.

From the Holy Cross website:

Holy Cross Monastery is an English-speaking monastery under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the Diocese of Eastern America & New York. The abbot and confessor of the monastery is Archimandrite Seraphim.

Holy Cross is a growing monastery consisting of more than two dozen monks, novices, candidates and layworkers, many of whom are converts to the Orthodox Faith. The monastery community is comprised of both seasoned monks, who have lived very full monastic lives for decades, and many younger monks who have brought to the monastery a youthful vigor and energy. The average age of the monks at the Hermitage is 39.

Holy Cross Monastery is located on 180 acres of land in the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. The surrounding hills and forests provide the monastery with seclusion from the distractions and temptations of the world, as well as a daily reminder of the beauty of God’s creation. These two aspects of our physical setting help to lead us to prayer.

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Photographs from my first pilgrimage to the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, October 2016:

The main house and dormitories, with the new St Herman’s Building and driveway in the foreground.


Looking towards the main dormitories from the trapeza. Notice the handsome wood steps and walkways. Attention to detail is evident everywhere.


Skete dwellings, bell tower and chapel…


Entrance to the Incense Workshop. There are also workshops for wood working, and the soaps and fragrance products, by which the monks make products to sell to support the monastery.


View from outside the chapel towards the workshops, gift shop, library, and pavilion.


Trellis and flowers outside the chapel…


Gardens line the walkways to the chapel and trapeza…


The Monastery cemetery, including the remains of several lay benefactors and friends of Holy Cross.



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Approaching the chapel before dawn…




Bookcase in the trapeza…


Icon corner in the trapeza…


Produce from the monastery garden…


The monastery library, Fr. Hilarion, the guest master, at the center by the main table.


The monks’ apiary. The bees produce a great deal of honey, and are a symbol of monastic life…





A monk works on the new pad for memorial to the monastery’s founder, Hieromonk Kallistos.






The main room of the beautiful guest house, with icon corner, one large dorm room with several beds, two smaller rooms (each with two beds), and full kitchen.