Holy Arizona

When one mentions Orthodox monasteries in Arizona, the Greeks comes to mind. But, for those of you who didn’t know, there is also a Serbian one.  St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery is a women’s coenobitic community which follows the traditional rule of monastic life. The monastery was founded in 1993, and is dedicated to St. Paisius Velichkovsky, who dedicated his life to collecting and translating the texts of the Philokalia as a means of preserving the teachings of the Holy Fathers on the hesychastic way of life. The sisterhood is currently comprised of about twenty sisters. The Holy Liturgy is served daily in the monastery, and the daily cycle of services is conducted primarily in English. To support themselves, the sisters publish spiritual texts, make prayer ropes, and offer to over 1000 guests who visit the monastery each year a fully stocked bookstore. They also labor in cultivating the earth and tending the monastery’s flock of purebred milk goats and other animals in order to be as self-sufficient as possible. Since 1995, the sisterhood has welcomed teenage girls who wish to live and study at the monastery. The monastery home school is dedicated to the Protection of the Theotokos. The sisters tutor the girls in their studies and offer supplementary classes. Some of the students have chosen to remain as nuns in the monastery, while others have married and started their own families.

Situated in the High Sonoran Desert at the base of Mount Graham, the monastery is in the process of building to meet the growing needs of the monastic community and the faithful who visit. This includes plans to build a church, a trapeza (or dining hall) and kitchen, and then continue with a full monastery enclosure. An Orthodox cemetery was established in 2004 for the faithful.

The above is from their My Space page (here). Judging by the picture here, however, it seems as though considerable progress has been made with building plans.


8 thoughts on “Holy Arizona

  1. I long to visit this monastery, I’ve heard great things from friends who have visited it. I really enjoy the CD produced by the nuns, such prayerful chanting. Everything from the pictures looks wonderful, especially the woodwork- wow!


  2. Beautiful photos, Father. Please keep us updated and God willing, we’ll all be there for the Consecration.

  3. Christopher, yes they were part of the CSB and St. Herman’s Brotherhood. When the group entered the Church the Convent came in under the Serbian Archdiocese because Bp. Jovan at that time had monastic formation in Serbia and they wanted a Bishop who could guide them as monastics. He was sent back to Serbia a couple years ago.

  4. The woodwork was handcarved by a Fr. Mirchea from Romania (he has 8 sons) who came to install it. Five men worked for 2 years to carve all the items needed; iconostasis, 106 stadia, chanter stands, Episcopal throne, abbess’ throne, analogians. How beautiful!

  5. Was St. Paisius originally affiliated with the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery? I had always assumed so, but wasn’t really sure. (I’m a big fan of Platina, so no ulterior motives behind the question).

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