Monday, February 17, 2014

Keep This In Mind . . .

When you travel in Arizona there are many sites of interest that you have no idea exist as you zip down the freeways. Just a few miles east of I-10 as you head south from Phoenix to Tucson, across from Casa Grande, you will find the small town of Florence. Turning south onto Hwy 79, you will see a sign for  St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery in about 8 miles. If you enjoy interesting architecture, great roof lines, and especially iconic art this is a stop for you...


One thing you should know about St. Anthony's is the dress code... That is Me standing against the post, and no laughing allowed. We had read earlier that we (the women) were to be covered from head to foot. So I went prepared with extra clothing including black tights, totally enclosed shoes and a jacket to put over my 3/4 sleeve dress. I put in a choice of scarves and considered myself well prepared to give a modest appearance. Even though my skirt was well below my knees it was not long enough so they gave me a longer skirt which came closer to my ankles.

The men are fine as long as they wear long pants, enclosed shoes and long sleeve shirts. We women, I guess, have something to learn about modesty!


At the entrance we found the gate house where we were properly outfitted and given self guided tour brochures.


The strong colours of the first church are eye-catching and brilliant against the blue sky of the desert.


Inside St. Anthony's Church the wood carving is extraordinary as is the artwork. Lots of detail, vivid colour...


and don't ask me where I learned to appreciate iconic art but I admire the craft and the devotion of the artists to their work.


This monastery here in the Sonoran desert began it's life in 1995 so it is not old but the concept of this lifestyle and theology of the monks comes from Greece originally.


I neglected to ask about the origins of these pieces of art but they were numerous in each of the five chapels on the property.


Lovely embroidery on the vestments...


My cowboy and friend Lorne wandering about...


Notice the careful design and workmanship in ceiling of gazebo.

The next 6 photos are of St. Nicholas' Chapel...









You can tell I was most interested in the exterior architecture.


There were a number of buildings on the property that house both male and female monks plus pilgrims that we were not allowed to enter.


Another chapel, with fountains and a somewhat different roof line...

We were delighted with the numbers of mosaics on the grounds, inside the chapels on the floors and outside on the walkways. These monks have been busy since 1995, putting the property in order.


I was interested to see the tile work in the walks...


happened to catch a 'selfie' of the two of us admiring...








Beauty all around us...


This style of decoration reminded me some of our friend from France, Napoleon... the laurel wreath is enjoyed by many European countries.


My Russian/German heritage came out with my garb of the day!


Gail and I stopped for a rest in one of the chapels and I asked Sherwin to snap us on my iPhone...


He requested a sombre look! Do we look sour enough?


The last chapel on site was St. Seraphim's and is a rustic Russian peasant chapel, very small but pleasant.


From a distance we could see another Greek building, not sure what it was. It does not show up on the map.


 And so the day ended. There are surprises on the desert. Not everything has to do with cacti and sand and tumble weed. A great day was had by all.

When you come to visit take a look at this desert treasure.

In the meantime, be well and do stay in touch.










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