Friday we took a family day-trip over to Kendalia, TX to visit Holy Archangels. I had never been before and was really looking forward to it.
Fr. Michael opened to church for us. The interior is beautiful. I only have a few pictures because I wanted to be discreet. (There are photos and video on the website, linked above.)
We saw the refectory (very nice indeed) and then Fr. Michael took us on a tour of the entire 53,000 sqft building that houses the reception area and all of the cloistered quarters for the monks. Needless to say, these are the new buildings. We certainly wouldn’t have gone through had the monks been in residence. Anyway, they’re mostly finished. I think Fr. Michael said that the big thing they were waiting on to move in was hot water.
I don’t have photos of the interior because it would have seemed really intrusive. Instead I’ll try to remember what all we saw.
- Guest reception
- Kitchen for preparing things for guests
- Doctor’s office (One of the monks is a doctor and he was working on the construction of that room when we went in.)
- Exam room
- Kitchen for infirmary
- Laundry (5 washers, 6 dryers – I’m envious!)
- Hand washing
- Tailoring room (making vestments, hangings, cassocks, etc.)
- Monks’ cells
- Second floor kitchen
- Small open common area/reading room
- Side-by-side chapels (Fr. Dositheos saw this on the Holy Mountain and liked it.)
- A large common room/meeting area
This floor does not extend over the entire second floor making it smaller.
- Monks’ cells
- Third floor kitchen
- Abbot’s cell
- Geronda Ephrem’s cell, should he visit. (Includes a little reception area, it’s own kitchen, and a door to the third floor chapel.)
- Third floor chapel
There are stairs but also an elevator. Most of the rooms either have small cantilevered balconies or open onto the long second floor balcony over the courtyard (bounded on the opposite side by the church). The view from the balconies on the far side is just lovely. We were told that all of the land we could see (hundreds of thousands of acres) belonged to the owner of the Steelers. Looking off to the left we could see his private airstrip. Wow. The Monastery itself owns something like 10,000 acres.
Afterward we went down to the current Monastery buildings and were served lunch along with many other pilgrims and a group of Orthodox nuns visiting from Greece. The reception area and bookstore are tiny so it is very obvious why new quarters are being built.
Before we left we walked downhill to the water (stream enlarged into a lake?) and wandered around a bit. This is where I took most of the photos. There was a steady 15+ mph breeze while we were there and it was simply glorious. The Hill Country is a lovely area and it would be so nice to live there. Every river/stream we saw was perfectly clear. I’m so used to muddy water, so it was very nice.