We were on our way with Mike and Darlene Weber to the St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery. In 1996 Monks came to the Arizona desert from Mount Athos in Greece to begin construction of this magnificent and holy place. Much of the design and art work came directly from Greece. As we prepared to visit, clothes were a big consideration. It was a bit like going into a foreign country. Women wear veils or shawls and long skirts. Men need to cover their arms and legs -- so long pants and long-sleeved shirts in the desert heat. We had a moderate day, though, so heat wasn't a problem. Darlene, Mike and I caught up on the Weber news as we made the hour long trip south from Mesa past the little town of Florence where the monastery is located. At a gathering place at the entrance to the large grounds, we were checked for appropriate clothing. I passed muster even though my sleeves came midway between my wrists and elbows. Something in me is ok with this monastic dress code, but something else questions the theology of human nature that requires it. I dropped all that for the time being and simply relaxed into the holy beauty of the place itself.
|The main church of St. Anthony--icons everywhere--and gold|
|Our Lady of Arizona|
|A pilgrim in Prayer|
|St. George's Chapel---or maybe it was St. Nicholas (sorry, bad memory for details)|
|desert in bloom|
|and these on a branch of of what seemed a desert cedar|
|Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom)|