St. Columba of Iona Orthodox Monastery

For the past few months I have been working with others, on the establishment of an Orthodox Monastery here in Central Massachusetts. Monasticism is a very important aspect of the Orthodox church and is something that has been lacking here in this part of the world. Monasticism and parish life go hand in hand and we need both to achieve a balance in the church.

Fr. Ken from Emmanuel Orthodox Church and I began the process of setting up this monastic work. All of the legal stuff that needs to be done as well as working on the rule of life, or in Orthodox terms is called the typicon of the Monastery. The other question is where to found this work. Almost on cue, God dropped a piece of land in our laps.

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts for many year ran a camp called Camp Bement in Charlton, Massachusetts. Two years ago the camp closed and the diocese decided to put the camp up for sale. We started working on this right away making contact with the officials at the diocese and gathering support and information. Yesterday we attended a meeting with the real estate folks and, we made an offer on the property. Never having done this before I now know the anxiety that people feel when they purchase a house.

The property is 355 acres located in Charlton, Massachusetts and consists of several building and a lot of land. About half of the buildings are designed for year round use and the others are more rustic camp type buildings. All I can say is this is a great piece of property and will make a great monastery.

The idea is to run a monastery with retreat and conference facilities. This is something else that is lacking in our area. We do not envision running a camp as the expense in bringing those facilities up to date would be costly so for now there are no plans for us to run a camp, however we are open to others coming forward to partner with us on that ministry.

A little word on St. Columba. As you know I hail from Scottish roots and St. Columba was a great monastic founder and is also known as the Enlightener of Scotland. The hope of this monastery is to bring America to Orthodoxy and not simply plant monastics from the old country here. St. Columba did not do that and he evangelized the Pics and brought Scotland to Christianity.

Watch these pages and the website of the monastery for more information as time marches on. As you can imagine we are looking for partners both in prayer and in finances and if you or if you know of anyone interested in exploring the monastic life, please let me know.

St. Columba of Iona, Pray for Us!


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