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Author Topic: Visiting a Monastery  (Read 2647 times) Average Rating: 0
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SouthSerb99
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« on: May 16, 2007, 11:22:54 AM »

I was hoping to visit an Orthodox Monastery at some point this summer, but to be honest, I don't know of any (although I found several online).  I was hoping to do a "day trip" (if appropriate) but I had several questions about going to a monastery.

1.   I live in the New York metropolitan area (North Jersey to be exact) and I want to know if anyone could recommend a good monastery to visit within a 2-3 hour drive?  What I mean by "good" is a place that will really give me a good idea of what an Orthodox monastery should be. 

2.  How to act, what to wear, who to go with, while I'm there?  If it is a male monastery, can my wife come?  Should I call in advance to let them know I am coming?  Can I bring my camera, video camera?

3.  Once there, can I speak to the monks about their daily lives? How do I approach and/or speak to a monk?  Is it the same as how I would approach my parish priest? Are there any prohibitions against having my wife speak with the monk, shake/kiss hands etc...

Admittedly, I am completely ignorant on the subject and would appreciate any guidance.  Thanks in advance.
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2007, 01:29:44 PM »

In NY State, there are two monasteries somewhat close to you that I know of:

1) The Ephraimite monastery of St Nektarios in Roscoe, NY (I think).  I don't know much about this one but I know that the Ephraimite monasteries are usually rather traditional.

2) The GOC monastery in Bearsville, under my bishop (2 hours from NYC).  It is somewhat small and is relatively new (1999) but the monks are friendly and that might be a good introduction to Orthodox monasticism.

Wear modest clothes (the wife should wear a skirt at all times) and the abbot or guestmaster will let you know who you can talk to and when. Women don't kiss monks except maybe on Pascha but handshaking is usually allowed, unless the monastery is particularly strict, in which case the monk will usually bow and smile at your wife.

At our monastery, cameras are allowed.  PM me if you want more info on ours. As for the Ephraimite one, maybe someone else can talk more about that.

Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 07:19:39 PM »

GO TO ST. NEKTARIOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (see option # 1 from above)

I hope I got my point accross.  It is one of the most spiritual and awesome places I have ever been.  You might not get the same experience but I can't talk enough about this place.  I've been several times.  Make sure you go, even if its not now! 

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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2007, 07:31:33 PM »

Isn't there one at Jordanville (ROCOR - Holy Trinity) or is it just a seminary?







(could try New Skete....but I guess they're like, really weird)
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 09:55:24 PM »

I have heard only good things about St. Nektarios: it's a beautiful area, friendly brotherhood, prayerful services, good chanting, excellent abbot, etc. However, you should know a few things beforehand:

1) The services are entirely in Greek. There's not a word of any other language.

2) You should most certainly call ahead, even if you only plan to visit for the day. (That goes for ALL monasteries. It's only courteous. Also, that way they can let you know if there is some special reason why you might want to adjust your plans...or they can adjust theirs to make sure someone is available to greet you.)

3) Women are allowed to visit, pray and seek confession at all monasteries in North America. They can even stay in special, separate guest quarters in many monasteries. Call ahead and inquire about availability.

Personally, I recommend staying wherever you decide to go for at least one night. Otherwise, it's unlikely you'll be able to attend a full day's worth of services. You'll be distracted from the car ride, rushed and won't really even glimpse "monasticism." You'll just be a (spiritually well intentioned) tourist. Of course, 24 or 34-plus hours won't really give you a full taste of monasticism, but at least you'll witness an entire day from your own perspective.

More information about visiting monasteries (attire, etiquette, etc.) is available on St. Anthony's Web site: http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/VisitorInfo.htm

Scroll down. Much of what they have there (especially on the links on the left) is broadly applicable to many monasteries, especially St. Nektarios.
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2007, 10:34:53 PM »

I would strongly recommend Sacred and Stavropegial Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovolantou in Astoria, NY. I highly enjoyed the visit.
http://www.stirene.org/

While I personally never been to New Skete (http://www.newskete.com/) , I have heard good things. I don't have any information about St. Nektarios at all.

Isn't there one at Jordanville (ROCOR - Holy Trinity) or is it just a seminary?

Yes, there is a monastery there:
http://www.jordanville.org/
http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/synod/engrocor/images/aerialview.jpg
Only the services there at Holy Trinity are all in Old Slavonic.

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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2007, 07:29:46 AM »

Brother Serb

There is St. Tikhon's in the Pocopno Mountains of Pennsylvaia. Google it, I do not have a link.

Dan
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2007, 02:19:33 PM »

Brother Serb

There is St. Tikhon's in the Pocopno Mountains of Pennsylvaia. Google it, I do not have a link.

Dan

Here is the link: http://sttikhonsmonastery.org/

they have their yearly pilgrimage from May 25 to May 28 - what I heard it is beautiful ...
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2007, 02:21:21 PM »

(could try New Skete....but I guess they're like, really weird)

Especially if you are looking for a more traditional monastery that is not the place to go. Personally I wouldn't consider to go there.
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2007, 02:29:56 PM »

Especially if you are looking for a more traditional monastery that is not the place to go. Personally I wouldn't consider to go there.

I went there once and stayed overnight. I found them to be all very friendly and hospitable, but somewhat judgmental of those who did not agree with them. Since I could be accused of the same, it proved to be an interesting discussion Wink
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