Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery, Williston FL

Hurricane Irma forced me to make an early return from the beautiful monastery of Panagia Vlahernon, but not before I was able to make some photographs of the grounds and the divine services. I hope to make a return trip, God willing, as well as visit the women’s monastery of the Annunciation just a few miles away.

From the Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Monasteries, by Alexei Krindatch:

Both were founded at roughly the same time (1998 and 1999), and both were established through the efforts of Elder Ephraim, a person who has exerted a very strong influence on contemporary Orthodox monasticism in America. The founding nuns of the Annunciation of the Theotokos Monastery came to America from the ancient monastery of St. John the Forerunner in Serres, Greece, while the first brothers at the Panagia Vlahernon Monastery were partially from St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery in Florence, Arizona, and partially from the Monastery of Philotheou on Mount Athos (Greece).

I am very grateful to Fr Polykarp and the brotherhood of Panagia Vlahernon, who were very kind and hospitable in welcoming me, and am hopeful the degraded Irma has not caused them any significant troubles.

For info on these monasteries, and how to schedule a pilgrimage, visit these websites:

 

Sign at the main entrance…

 

A grand arch is almost completed at the entrance…

 

In true Athonite style, the grand entrance arch features on the reverse side an emblem with cross, fish and the Greek word for fish, an ancient anagram derived from “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”

 

The new chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael (completed only a few years ago) is in the traditional Greek/Byzantine style.

 

The entrance to Archangel Michael Chapel.

 

Beautiful mosaics (this one featuring silhouettes of porpoises) adorn the tile promenade surrounding the chapel.

 

View of Archangel Michael Chapel with shrine in the foreground (looking back towards the monastery entrance).

 

 

Attention to detail is evident everywhere, as in the cross adorning the shrine dedicated to Archangel Michael.

 

A large pond with fountain and gazebo makes for a beautiful view of the chapel.

 

 

Looking from the opposite side of the pond towards the monks’ main quarters.

 

A curious goat keeps the lawn trimmed.

 

 

Front view of the monks’ main house, with Archangel Michael Chapel in the background.

 

The main katholicon (chapel), surrounded by green lawns and beautiful palm and oak trees.

 

 

A monk enters the main church early on a warm, humid morning.

 

Fr Polykarp censing the icons.

 

Reading the Epistle…

 

Reading of the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy.

 

The monastic choir chants the Cherubic Hymn.

 

The Great Entrance: ‘Let us lay aside all earthly cares…’

 

 

The Panagia Vlahernon Icon in the main church.

 

Monastery Cemetery.

 

A small shrine greets visitors along the main drive.

 

Opportunities for the faithful to live near the monastery.
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