The Monastery Icon of Saints Mary and Martha of Bethany

Major Feast Day - June 4th
Other Feast Days: Lazarus Saturday
(Saturday before Palm Sunday)
and Myrrhbearers Sunday
(Second Sunday after Pascha)

As part of a college video course assignment,
Chelsea Youell created this short documentary of our monastery.

Front Door of the Doublewide

Even though we were founded in late 1989, we did not find property until February, 1995. Initially, we purchased twenty acres of wooded land in the Sand Hills of South Carolina about two miles outside of Wagener which is south of I-20 and midway between Columbia and Aiken. By January, 1996, we had determined that it would be best to begin with a large, doublewide, trailer home and began to clear land in preparation for its delivery. Over the years, this facility has served us well and allowed us to be a monastic presence in this community. In God's time, a monastery will be built, and this building will become the Guest House.

Ramp Entrance at the Back of Doublewide

Walking from Spinner Lane into the
Perennial Garden

A Rare Site in South Carolina
Six Inches of Snow
Spring in the Perennial Garden
Spirea, Azalea
Japanese Quince &
Mutabilis Rose
Benches in the shade of the
Perennial Garden

One of many quiet
places on the
monastery grounds

Jesus the Christ is the center of our lives and the reason
that we are monastics (i.e., nuns).
Prayer and hospitality are the major works of our lives.
The monastery chapel is currently located in the
formal dining room of the doublewide.
As God wills, our next building project is a full-size chapel.

One of the ways that we provide for ourselves is through planting a vegetable garden.
We are so grateful that God created fruits and vegetables that come to fruition at
different times throughout the growing season. Harvesting and putting up is labor
intensive, but rewarding.

Part of our Vegetable Garden
with Potting Shed in the Background

Our small orchard provides us with a variety of fruits if the weather is good and pests and diseases are kept in check through organic methods.

Indian Runner Ducks keep the insect population in check and provide fertilizer for the plants and eggs for us.
Blueberry Bushes in the foreground and
white blooming Elderberry Bushes in the back

Two Ducks by the Bird Bath
Ducks under the Pear Tree






View of the back of the Barne Shoppes

Our small Monastery Store is available to visitors

Saint Brigide of Kildare Barne Shoppes
houses the Bindery, the Monastery Store,
a small studio, and a screened-in front
porch which doubles as a greenhouse
in the winter and a quiet place for
prayer and reflection.

Front Porch of the Barne Shoppes
The Importance of Monasticism

By Mother Thecla of
Saints Mary & Martha Orthodox Monastery

Throughout the last twenty centuries Orthodox monastics (i.e., nuns and monks) have provided countless examples of how we can live our lives in service to Jesus Christ and His Church. Some of the most noted examples are St. John the Baptist, St. Thekla, St. Melania, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Pelagia, St. Irene Chrysovalantou, Sts. Anthony and Theodosius of the Kievan Caves, St. Sergius of Radonezh, St. Kasiane, St. Seraphim of Sarov, and Sts. Elizabeth and Barbara the New Martyrs. Often the monastics upheld the Orthodox Faith (faith, not rules or cultural traditions) even when it met with opposition and persecution both from within and outside the Orthodox Church.

Monasticism provides the Church with an anchor in prayer. We are to pray for ourselves, for each other, for those who have requested our prayers, for the Church, and for the world. Through prayer we bind ourselves together and lift each other up to God. The monastic life is a direct and intense way of working out our salvation. In love and prayer we offer hospitality and spiritual refreshment to those whom God leads to us, and are, in turn, taught by those whom we are led to by God's guidance. As with all Christians, we start by learning to love Jesus as He loves us and learning to love others as He taught us through His example. By surrendering our will and life to Christ, we find love, joy, peace and many other fruits of the Holy Spirit that help to unite us to Him. The monastic life is to show that life lived virtuously and righteously in Christ has worth, meaning and fullness and is a constant reminder to the world that there is a future life beyond this one, that we all die in the flesh, and that Judgment awaits us when we will meet God face to face. Life is sacred and, true life is found in Jesus Christ alone.

The need for monasticism in America is great. The Orthodox Church, as well as this country, needs the monastic strength of prayer and love. We lack examples that life is sacred and should be lived as a gift from God and that there is stability in life anchored in Jesus Christ. Spirituality has meaning and fullness, but is looked upon as a hollow shell to be mocked and cast aside by a religious-in-name, but irreligious-in-action mentality. Monastics teach faithfulness and stability in a grievously faithless and unstable society. We are constantly confronted with immorality, debauchery, defilement of everything, and great emptiness amidst excessive materialism in this country. The monastic life lived well reminds us that virginity/chastity and being counted among the righteous (like St. Joseph the Betrothed) are of great worth and must be guarded as precious gifts from God. To have a monastery means having a place where we and future generations can learn more about God and His will for our lives.

Copyright@2019 Ss. Mary and Martha Orthodox Monastery, Wagener, SC