Tag Archives: Greek Orthodox

St. Anthony’s Monastery, Part 3: The Gardens

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St. Anthony’s Monastery, Part 3: The Gardens

St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery is located in the desert outside Florence, Arizona. The monastery’s water comes from three wells, each a quarter-mile deep, which turn the grounds into an oasis.

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I’ve never seen bougainvillea this color.

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Adding to the beauty of the plants are the many outdoor structures and decorative brickwork.

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And the fountains.

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And the statuary.

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The monks also grow several kinds of citrus, and olives.

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For more pictures of St. Anthony’s Monastery, check out these articles about the doors, the architecture, and the icons.

St. Anthony’s Monastery, Part 2: The Iconography

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St. Anthony’s Monastery, Part 2: The Iconography

One of the highlights of the trip to St. Anthony’s Monastery is the many icons displayed in the church and the chapels. They were brought over from Greece. Some of them look to me like hand-painted originals, others like fine art reproductions, though I don’t know for sure. I don’t remember in which buildings most of these icons were located.

I’ve written about icons before, but I’ve never been where so many are displayed in one place. I’m fascinated by this Greek and Eastern Orthodox art form honoring Jesus, the saints, and the patriarchs. I hesitate to identify most of the images below, because I’d just be guessing. I am not knowledgeable about the symbolism, and I don’t read Greek, so I can’t decipher the writing on the icons.

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In many of the icons, the thumb of the right hand (or both hands) touches the tip of the ring finger. I wonder what the significance of that is.

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The picture below reminds me very much of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

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Look at the eyes in the cup below.

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Is it just me, or are a lot of the faces below the same?

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Lovely mosaic:

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The icon below is also a mosaic. I’m pretty sure this is St. George. He’s defeating the dragon. And it’s located just outside the St. George Chapel.

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The next three pictures are closeups of St. George so you can see the details. Amazing craftsmanship.

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The following two mosaic angels are on the exterior of the St. George Chapel.

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I love the Madonna and Child below. Any parent will recognize the backward arching of the infant.

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I took another picture at an angle, because I wanted to get the Mother’s sweet face without the hanging candle holder right in front of it. Unfortunately, the angle caused a distortion that makes the Baby look all wonky.

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This magnificent painted crucifix is in St. Seraphim’s Chapel.

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This icon is also in St. Seraphim’s Chapel. Could it be Seraphim himself? Isn’t it interesting that there are notes stuck behind the picture? Could they be prayer requests?

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I’ve also posted articles about some doors and the architecture at St. Anthony’s Monastery. I’m planning to post another article on Saturday showing photos of the Monastery gardens.

St. Anthony’s Monastery, Part 1: The Architecture

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The main church, St. Anthony’s

In the summer of 1995, six monks traveled from Mount Athos in Greece to the Arizona desert to build a monastery. They acquired 165 acres outside Florence, Arizona, and began construction. Today, St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery houses 65 monks.

The monastery is truly an oasis in the desert, physically and spiritually. Portions of the facility are open to the public. There is a strict dress code, and visitors are asked not to engage the monks.

In case you’re interested, on Thursday I posted some pictures of doors on the monastery grounds.

After a brief orientation with a monastery book store volunteer, the first stop on the self-guided tour is the main church, St. Anthony’s. A pair of gold-painted lions flank the front door.

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The interior is highly ornamented in the Byzantine style. The altar is located behind the red curtain and is off-limits to visitors.

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The candles in the massive brass chandelier are lit on major feast days.

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Tall wooden seats line the walls of the church. Normally, worshippers stand during the service, but they can lower the seats and sit if necessary.

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The floors are mostly plain tiles, with a few areas of decorative motifs including marble and granite.

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Some additional furnishings in the church. (Click on the smaller images to enlarge and see captions.)

Monastery; angel candlestick

An angel adorns a tall standing candlestick.

There are several chapels on the monastery campus. Below is St. Nicholas’ Chapel.

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Look at the beautiful detailing of the tower.

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The two photographs below are of the interior of St. Nicholas’ Chapel.

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Below is St. George’s Chapel, built in the Romanian style.

 

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Here is another view, showing the main entrance.

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The chapel has a magnificent wooden ceiling

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and a lovely carved and painted wooden crucifix in the Greek Orthodox style.

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Look at the lovely hand-embroidered hardanger curtain in the window.

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St. Demetrios’ Chapel’s architecture is reminiscent of rural Russia.

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The interior is small, but lovely.

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An icon rests on an expertly carved stand.

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I have lots more pictures of the monastery–enough for two more posts next week.