You may ask, "What about the nun that lives at the Village right now?" I had heard she would be moving to this new facility, but the below is a bit nebulous on that point. As for "Why not a men's monastery," the answers I have received so far have been rather political and unsubstantiated so I will refrain from posting them. This is wonderful news for the Antiochian Archdiocese and American Orthodoxy as the Church flies to heaven on two wings: the parish and the monastery. Monasticism is essential for the health of the Church even if the experience of monasticism in America has been at times contentious and difficult.
(antiochian.org) - The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America has completed the purchase of property and buildings in York County, Pennsylvania for the establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla, a female monastic community. The property is located in Glenville, Pennsylvania and consists of 51 acres of land which includes a four-bedroom “move-in-ready” house, a two-story barn, and a three-car garage with an attached workshop. The property also has a pond, and includes 30 acres of farmland and seven acres of woodland.
The original plan for the Convent called for it to be built on a parcel of land which is on the main property of Antiochian Village. However, it became clear that the cost of doing this would be too high, especially given that it would have required that all the infrastructure (road, water, electricity, and sewage) be made available at the site. There was also the risk that environmental concerns (such as the discovery of endangered plant life or animals) could have seriously impacted the building plans. The purchase was funded by a combination of the money that had been raised by the Antiochian Women through their multi-year fundraising effort, an endowment fund that had been set aside many years ago for this purpose, and generous donations from individual members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees.
The property is approximately a 40-minute drive from our parish of St. John Chrysostom in York, Pennsylvania, and is a one-hour drive from both Harrisburg airport and BWI airport. This central location allows the property to be reached by a 3½-hour drive from the NY/NJ Metropolitan area, as well as a 3½-hour drive from Antiochian Village.
We have undertaken a search for the abbess of the community, as well as women who are candidates to join the community as female monastics. The candidates are both existing nuns as well as women who feel a calling to the monastic life.
This is a most exciting development, and we ask for prayers that the Lord will greatly bless these efforts, and the women who will eventually form this monastic community.
Photo gallery available here.