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St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery (Florence, Arizona)

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery is a Greek Orthodox monastery standing in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. It was established in the summer of 1995 in the name of Saint Anthony the Great. The closest town is Florence, Arizona. It is home for approximately 42 monks.[1] It is open to both Orthodox and non-Orthodox visitors. Pilgrims can arrange to stay at the monastery in guest facilities, and other visitors are invited in daily from 10:30 A.M. to 4 P.M.[2] Guests are asked to wear “modest and loose-fitting” clothing along with shoes or sandals.[3]

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery
St Anthony Monastery (Florence, Arizona).jpg
St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery (Florence, Arizona) is located in Arizona
St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery (Florence, Arizona)
Location within Arizona
Monastery information
Established1995
Dedicated toSaint Anthony the Great
DioceseGreek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
People
Founder(s)Elder Ephraim
Site
LocationFlorence, Arizona
Country United States
Coordinates32°55′N 111°15′W / 32.92°N 111.25°W / 32.92; -111.25
Public accessYes

HistoryEdit

 
St. Anthony the Great, whom the monastery is dedicated to.

In the summer of 1995, Elder Ephraim (a former abbot of Philotheou Monastery on Mount Athos with a history of restoring and repopulating previous monasteries) sent six monks of Athonite heritage to the Sonoran Desert of Arizona with aims to establish a new monastery in the name of Saint Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism.[4] The fathers began by building the main church, monastic living quarters, the dining hall, and some guest facilities. They also began a vegetable garden, a small vineyard, citrus orchards, and an olive grove amidst the desert landscape. These areas are now interconnected by an elaborate system of gardens, pathways, and gazebos with Spanish fountains.[5]

While the entire monastery is dedicated to Saint Anthony the Great, within its grounds are chapels dedicated to Seraphim of Sarov, Demetrius of Thessaloniki, John the Baptist, George the Martyr, Nicholas the Wonderworker, and Panteleimon the Healer. The main church is dedicated to Saint Anthony and Nectarios of Aegina.[6]

In the summer of 2008, the building of a new chapel in the name of the Prophet Elias was completed on the hill east of the monastery. The chapel's first liturgy was celebrated on the feast day of the chapel's eponymous prophet. The chapel can be seen from up to five miles away.[7]

MonasticismEdit

"Living in a city does not prevent us from carrying out God's commandments if we are zealous, and silence and solitude are of no benefit if we are slothful and neglectful."

Symeon the New Theologian[8]

LifestyleEdit

The monks of St. Anthony’s Monastery practice Hesychasm (a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer)[9] and adhere to the cenobitic monasticism. This includes a daily schedule of prayer and work under obedience to their abbot, whom assumes the role of their spiritual father. Their routine begins at midnight with time for personal prayer and spiritual reading, followed by the cycle of morning prayers and the Divine Liturgy. Next is a light breakfast and a period of rest before they begin their work day, attend to their prayers, and complete various tasks until evening. Of these tasks include, but are not limited to: gardening, groundskeeping, construction, vine dressing, woodworking, publishing, icon painting, food preparation, and tending to the hospitality of any guests of the monastery. Their day finishes with evening vespers and dinner.[10]

DemographicsEdit

Most of the resident brotherhood of monks are Greek and Greek-American by heritage. Many of the community members (approximately 50 to 80 on an average Sunday) are also Greek-American. There are no female initiates, though women-only centers do exist in other parts of the United States.[11]

GalleryEdit

GroundsEdit

ArtEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery (Florence, Arizona)". October 15, 2019.
  2. ^ "Saint Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery". October 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "St Anthony's Monastery; Visitor Guide". October 15, 2019.
  4. ^ "St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery (Florence, Arizona)". October 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "St Anthony's Monastery". October 15, 2019.
  6. ^ "St Anthony's Monastery". October 15, 2019.
  7. ^ "St Anthony's Monastery". October 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "St Anthony's Monastery; Monasticism". October 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Saint Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery". October 15, 2019.
  10. ^ "St Anthony's Monastery; Monasticism". October 15, 2019.
  11. ^ "Saint Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery". October 15, 2019.

External linksEdit