This February 2008 St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery will open as a fully functional monastery in Emmitsburg, MD. I am very happy about this and hope that it will be a good influence on the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary nearby (which already has two icons made by an Orthodox man in St. Bernard’s Chapel and celebrates the liturgy of St. John every November).
I am an acquaintance of the Kontos family which donated this land to the Greek Archdiocese, they have a very strong devotion to St. Nektarios, as so many Greek people do and have many Icons of him in their family homes. It is very interesting for Emmitsburg to have such a growing Orthodox prescence to it. Already there are at least three Eastern Orthodox professors at Mount St Mary’s that I know of, two of whom happen to be well known priests. One of whom is the pastor of this mission in the nearby town of Westminster: stjamesorthodoxchurch.org/ (It is a mission of the Linthicum MD parish of Frederica Mathewes-Green fame)
The monastery is located on the top of one of Emmitsburgs mountains just as many are in Greece, such as the ever famous Mt. Athos. It is a very steep mountain with a treacherous road that will have to be improved drastically in order to receive visitors in cars, unless they want them to walk as pilgrims.
The latest news is that Mr. Alexander Kontos who founded this monastery is now deceased of a brain aneurism which was a surprise to his family. It is amazing how God let him have the monastery half built before he left this earth. May his memory be eternal. His funeral was attended by over 400 people from many different states. He will be fondly remembered. I only regret that I knew him such a short time, I saw in him much kindness and humility. He has about 30 grandchildren.
Here is one news article about the monastery and Mr. Aleko Kontos obiturary, which I encourage you to read: