A Request to Support St Demetrios Monastery from Metropolitan Jonah

OCP News Service – 14/8/2020

A request letter from Metropolitan Jonah to Support the St Demetrios Monastery.  

Donations can be processed through
Please leave your contact information with the donation

Donation via PayPal on the Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation Website.

Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
St Demetrios Orthodox Monastery
August 11, 2020

Dear Friend,

Over the past several years, I have been urged by several spiritual elders to establish a new monastery. Our First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion, has been very enthusiastic in his support of this new venture.

Vladyka Hilarion blessed me to serve as rector of St Herman’s parish in Stafford, a relationship with a wonderful community that I hope will continue for many years. Life in the parish has enabled me to engage in a kind of ministry I had not done before, that of a parish pastor. It has also provided the context to develop the beginnings of a monastic community which supports my parochial ministry. I also serve the Holy Archangels community that meets weekly at the Skete for Liturgy, which had been founded by Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), of blessed memory. We have continued his legacy of broadcasting, not on the radio but the internet. This community draws people from multiple parishes and jurisdictions. These communities support one another and expand the mission of the church to more and more people.

We live in a time of historic social unrest, cultural upheaval, political divisiveness, and the threat of radical atheist socialists seizing power. This has created a very difficult situation for young men trying to find their way in the world. Christianity is profoundly disrespected, and many churches have significantly capitulated to the world. A monastery is a place that stands up against the corrosive anti-Christian values of secularism. It bears witness to the Kingdom of God and to the Gospel as an integral way of life, that heals and sanctifies. It stands in sharp opposition to the worldliness that depersonalizes and destroys. Instead, it nurtures traditional Christian values, supporting families and encouraging deep commitment to Christ and the Gospel. A monastery is a community that incarnates the Gospel, trying to live according to the commandments and will of Christ. A monastery is first and foremost a community of Christians trying to live according to the Gospel. Those who come around the monastery enter into that spirit, and take up that same cross.

The time has now come to further develop our monastic community. With three monks, we have begun community life in a small rented house in Alexandria, St Demetrios Skete. We need to acquire a new home for the Skete to accommodate more men, so it can mature into a monastery. This summer has brought us several men who are interested in joining our community, and we have no place to put them.

We have found a house that is perfect for our immediate needs: 10636 Catharpin Rd, Spotsylvania. It has seven bedrooms, and space for a temporary chapel; the basement is built out as a reception hall with a second banquet kitchen and space to feed at least fifty people. It is rural, with adequate land around it for privacy, and space for gardens and at least a few chickens. We will need to be able to build additional buildings, a small church, guest cottage and workshop. The only modifications we need to make are an elevator and a gas stove with a hood. The agreed price is $665,000.

Our Metropolitan Hilarion has enthusiastically given his blessing to pursue this place in Spotsylvania, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. The real estate listing is https://bit.ly/3gHxYp2. This is a location where land can be acquired nearby or adjacent to the monastery, both to expand the monastic complex, as well as for friends of the monastery to begin to develop an Orthodox community nearby. Together we can develop an Orthodox school, and community life focused around the liturgical life of the Church, even an Orthodox village. You can call it the “St Sergius Option.”

The Monastery will be of great benefit to the ministry of the regional parishes, an encouragement to the faithful in their spiritual lives. The Monastery will be a place where people can come and experience a much fuller experience of Orthodox worship, come for spiritual direction and confession, and come to change their lives. In particular, the Monastery will offer lectures and seminars on spiritual life, and provide a context for people to immerse themselves in lived spirituality. Most importantly, it will provide a context for young men to receive direction in their lives, work out their repentance, and find the healing of their souls through time spent in the monastic discipline, whether they stay for a week or their whole lives.

We are asking for your help. We have a small amount of seed money to use towards a down payment, but this is not enough. We need another $50,000 for the down payment by the end of August. The monastic brotherhood will pay the mortgage from the proceeds from its labors. Donations can be processed through the Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation, a 501(c)3 religious non-profit corporation. The current estimated mortgage payment will be about $3000 per month, a little more than the current rent on the Alexandria property but six times the space. The property should be tax-exempt.

While benefitting the brethren of St Demetrios Skete, your participation in this endeavor will also benefit the mission of Orthodoxy in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic, as well as the greater Washington metro area. It will establish an outpost of traditional Orthodox Christianity, and foster the missionary outreach of the Church.

We humbly ask you to consider joining us in this task to build something beautiful for Christ that will further His message and lead people to salvation. We cannot do this alone. We need your help to make this a reality. Those who contribute will receive an IRS acknowledgement for their contribution, as well as a gift to express our gratitude: a prayer rope for up to $500; a laminated icon and prayer rope for up to $2500; a hand painted icon for $5,000 or more. All who contribute will be perpetually commemorated in the Monastery as Founders, Builders, and Benefactors. Of course, while our immediate need is $50,000 by the end of August, there are also many other opportunities for you to help.

Asking your prayers for our brotherhood, and the Church communities that strive to serve God, I remain faithfully your servant,
In the love of Christ,

+Metropolitan Jonah
Former Archbishop of Washington
St Demetrios Monastery
916 Beverley Dr, Alexandria, VA 22302
MetJonah@gmail.com (214)991-0876 HolyAOF.org
Donations can be processed through
Please leave your contact information with the donation

Donation via PayPal on the Holy Archangels Orthodox Foundation Website.

OCP News Service