Monday, February 17, 2014

St. Anthony's Monastery

With our friends Lorne and Gail Booth we did a day trip to St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery near Florence, Arizona.

At the front entry gatehouse we paused for this photo.

They have a strict dress code... and the ladies here went to great effort to comply, changing in the car... only to get called over by a kind monk.  As usual Shirley's skirt was too short, so they gave her one to borrow that she slipped on over.  And Gail got called on her top, which was far too tight and revealing. Really!

Before visiting it would be prudent to visit their website and check out their dress code.

We had a glorious sunny, blue sky day... and the first building we visited was St. Anthony's Church.  It was the largest of the many chapels we toured.

In the courtyard a monk handed out an outlined map with notes on the back for a self guided tour.  This was really great as we were on our own to spend as much time as we wanted to get photos.

And get photos we did!  This handsome lion guarded the main entrance to the church.

There are only two electric lights in the sanctuary.  Candles in the big brass chandelier are lit on major feast days.

There are no pews in the church as they usually stand.  Tall seats around the walls are used when they get tired.  (I think I would have to start out in the pews most days.)

This church was full of iconic art... most of it is copies of famous pieces... original copies!

While we were there a monk came in and made a systematic walk thru, stopping to pray and kiss each and every painting.  It was amazing to watch him. I would guess there is 40 to 50 iconic paintings.

The inlaid wood on this alter was amazing.

Check out the fine detail... all inlaid wood... and so tiny!

Those two ladies coming down the steps are Shirley and Gail, now in proper attire.

It would be interesting to see the fashion statement this would make in our own church!

In the main courtyard.  The brickwork here is amazing.

Check out the angled bricks.  We saw this detail used in several places after seeing it here.

I don't recall ever seeing this detail in brick used anywhere else.

St. Nicholas' Chapel.  As we moved around the loop each succesive chapel was smaller than the previous one... until the last one which was no bigger than my woodshed in Canada.

The rock work and brick details are very interesting.

This chapel was very bright... all with natural light.  It would be interesting to be here when they meet for services at midnight.  That's right... they get up at at 11:00 PM so they can meet here for worship at 12:00 PM.

Shirley and I each took over 200 photos in this monastery. That's my sweetheart!

See the fan wood carving on the bench behind.

Here is my closeup of one of those bench backs.  Nice wood carving... but not conducive to napping.

Leaving St. Anthony's Chapel we walked past a citrus groove of oranges and grapefruit.  They also had a section of olive trees that they harvest and share with other monasteries that do not have room to grow their own.

As I was capturing this floor tile detail, I got this selfie.

We captured several interesting tile and brick details.

It is a joy to see thoughtful design... and effort spent to make things interesting and beautiful.

There are numerous fountains on the property.

But none was larger than this fountain of the stone cross. 

This traditional Orthodox cross, also called the Russian cross, has a lower slanted cross bar for a foot rest. The reason it is slanted is this: the thief crucified on the right of Christ was saved and went up to heaven... the other theif want down to Hell.

Towards the end of our walking tour we saw several more chapels with the Russian influence.

I will conclude this post with a cool graphic symbol incorporated into a perimeter fence and Saguaro's in the background.

It was truly an amazing accomplishment to have transformed this property into this monastery since 1995.  What a delight to see the attention to detail everywhere you look... and to see a people who are totally committed to what they believe, starting their day at midnight to worship together.

To see more of our day check out Shirley's blog.

1 comment:

  1. fascinating details, thx Pa.

    I thought that the INBI on the stone crosses (ie the 3rd to last picture) was a typo -- I'm used to the RC version which is INRI -- but when I looked it up it turns out that this is the Greek version of the same phrase. Cool.