Emmitsburg's New Orthodox Monastery

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:



Wow! That’s excellent news!!! I live near Emmitsburg and am looking forward to this monastery opening!

The Philippines still does not have an Orthodox monastery for those who want to be priests or deacons. It has a monastery for nuns, and that’s about it for Orthodoxy here in the Philippines as far as Orthodox vocations are concerned.

4HisChurch if you know of anyone who might like to join me in a “Byzantine Chant sing-along” please tell me. I am trying to start this going somewhere around Mt St. Mary’s or a local parish in Frederick County. There is also the possibility it could include a certain type of Western chant which is very similar to Byzantine chant best described as “Old Roman” (from before Gregorian).

There’s a retired priest named Fr Dr David Shaum who will probably be interested in assisting with technical details (correct interpretation). He taught gregorian chant at Mt St. Mary’s for decades.

Yes the monastery’s are very important for the future bishops in the Church. The Eastern Churches are very much monastic Churches. The Russian version of the Vatican is Zagorsk Monastery. The Irish church was itself a totally monastic church exactly like the Orthodox for it’s first 400 years of existence. Much of the west seems to have been that way as far as I can tell it is simply the ancient universal christian tradition to have bishops who are monks.

Wow, Chris, what a great idea! This coming Sunday (9/16) St. Mary’s Parish in Fairfield,PA is having a Byzantine Mass. Apparently, a visiting priest from Pittsburgh is saying it.

Anyway, I would love to learn to chant.

Here you go…good luck.

If you want listen to chant here is a good site.

(Disclaimer: this is an Orthodox website with some theological content):wink:


I have Ancient Faith Radio on my favorites list. Its a wonderful resource.

This Holy Cross Seminary/College’s Chant program is spectular!

This is the best use I have ever seen the Internet used for in my entire life!!!

my mind is boggled.

When I have a program set up I will contact you again 4HisChurch.
I regret that I missed the byzantine liturgy at St. Mary’s (isn’t the name?) in Fairfield this weekend, I’ve noticed theres an iconograper who lives near there too but is about 80 years old and in too poor a health for me to speak to. Her name is Dr. Thelma Steiger.

I have a relative who works at the Mount and I’ll be stopping by to visit on Wed. I might have to stick around an extra day.

Hey Chris, I was wondering if there’s any new news on this monastery? From what I have heard, the actual building is finished but there are no monks or nuns in it. Is this correct? Could a person go and visit the building at all? Do you know if it’s supposed to be a women’s or men’s monastery? Did they run into any problems since it was supposed to be up and running a year ago? I’d really like to visit it since it is not to far of a drive but I can’t seem to find any updated news on it.

Just a minute. Am I correct - this is not an Eastern Catholic Monastery – it is a Greek Orthodox Monastery - they are not in accord with Our Holy Father so why would a Catholic be excited about this Monastery?


Why not? :confused:

Yep, it’s supposed to be in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. I just can’t seem to find any updated news on it though.


Because this is not an Eastern Catholic Monastery.

There are a number of Greek Orthodox Churches in Maryland; what is different about this one other than that it is in Emmitsburg. It is still not Catholic and they are not in accord with the Holy Father in Rome.


Do Orthodox allow visitors to stay as Catholic monastaries?
Do you have to be Orthodox?
Do you have links to others?

Those of us who are Catholics must keep in mind that the Greek Orthodox Church is a Sister Church. The excommunication was lifted by Pope Paul VI. They in turn lifted their excommunication of the Catholic Church.

There have been commitments between Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI to work together with the Orthodox. They same overture has been made by the Greek Orthodox Church.

They are not our enemies. They are our brothers and sisters. They do have apostolic succession with valid sacraments.

What separates us is the issue of communion with the Bishop of Rome. This is a reality for which we must pray and work.

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary University is one of the most prestigious theological schools in the country. It does employ several prominent Orthodox theoloogians in different departments of theology. Several promient Catholic theologians have been given license to teach at Orthodox seminaries. The Orthodox theologians who teach at Mt. St. Mary’s and at Catholic University of America have received clearance from the Holy See to teach theology at Catholic seminaries and schools of theology.

Besides the seminary, Emmitsburg is also the home to the Daughers of Charity in America. It is the place where they began and where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is burried.

Having the three communities in one location may turn out to be a blessing toward unity in the future, provided that everyone remembers the importance of charity and the importance of listening in order to understand.

The current dean at the seminary is a Capuchin Franciscan Friar, Bro. Dan Mingling, OFM Cap. The Capuchins have a long history in the field of ecumenism and theology. The Daughters of Charity have a very long history in the practice of service and charity to all people without distinction.

I’m praying that these forces together with the new Orthodox monastery will serve as a power for the good of the Catholic and Orthodox Church, with the ultimate good being reunification, even it it is one step at a time.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I still do not see what the problem is.

Cannot people be happy for one another?

Anyway, the eastern Catholics I know would be happy about it.

My only concern was that people seemed to be excited about attending services at the new monastery perhaps believing it to be an Eastern Catholic monastery; and, as Catholics, we cannot receive the Holy Eucharist at an Orthodox church.

I know of non-Orthodox who have stayed at Orthodox monasteries, some have even gone to Athos. Prince Charles has. :slight_smile:

Many of monasteries in North America are small and some are quite new. I suppose it would make sense to call first.

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