Yesterday we visited St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery with our friends Hank & Eva Syberden from Cochran, Alberta. The monastery is located about five miles from the park and it is truly amazing; the monks have turned their little patch (107 acres) of the Sonoran desert into a veritable oasis. We had to comply with a strict dress code in order to tour the complex. The men had to wear long pants, long sleeved shirts, and closed shoes with stockings.
The women were required to wear a long dress that reached the ankles, and a long sleeved top with a closed front. Women were also required to wear a scarf over their head and closed, flat bottomed shoes with socks.
Here is Teddy dressed in the prescribed garb.
Once we had passed the clothing inspection we were turned over to a monk, Brother Nicholas for the first part of the tour. He gave a brief description of the church, answered our questions and even allowed us to photograph him, though it was proscribed that we should not take photos of the monks.
Our first stop was the main church, St. Anthony's. Entering we were gobsmacked at the complex ornateness of the sanctuary shown here.
From there Brother Nicholas turned us loose to wander the grounds on our own with no restrictions to photographs as long as we kept to the prescribed paths and buildings.
The grounds are absolutely stunning, lush with tropical vegetation of all kinds with gazebos, fountains and chapels interspersed throughout.
Such as St Nicholas' Chapel shown here.
Brother Nicholas said that although they were not completely self sustaining for food, they did have grape arbors, orange groves such as this and gardens where they grew fruits & vegetables.
Perched on a hillock overlooking the church and gardens was this beautiful white building which as it turns out is Prophet Elias' Chapel, under construction. It is expected to be completed sometime this summer and will then be open to visitors.
I did some digging on the internet and came up with this exposé part 1 and part 2 on the monastery done a couple of years ago by a Tucson TV station. This might explain why they were reluctant to have photos taken of the monks.
- Larry & Teddy
- Cedar, Leelanau County, Michigan (near Traverse City), United States
- I am a 76 year old (born 7/4/1937) retired Public Radio Engineer from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Happily married to the love of my life, Teddy (nee Teddy Schlueter). Teddy is a retired Medical Records Clerk from Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah, Wisconsin. Two children, Michael and Lon. Lon passed away in 1994. Michael is married to his wonderful wife, Toni and lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. For photos click on link below or visit our photo site http://www.flickr.com/photos/igboo NOTE: Click on photos for full-size images.