Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery

Guidelines for Pilgrims and Visitors


Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery  follows the "cenobitic" way of monastic life, which means "common way of life. " Generally speaking, all things are common to all and every­one follows the same daily schedule, under the discretion of the abbot, the head of the monastery. Meals are eaten together, and the work, rest periods, and services are conducted according to the monastery’s typicon.

Please remember that this is a Holy Monastery of Our Lord Jesus Christ; that is, a place of repentance and redemption for those men leading a monastic life, and for pious pilgrims. 

The monastery welcomes all pilgrims and visitors. Please call before visiting the monastery and if you would like to have confession or spiritual counsel, please make an appointment beforehand.

Proper Attire

Visitors must be properly attired to enter the monastery grounds. In general, clothing should be modest and loose-fitting, and include the following:

Men are asked to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. 

Women are asked to wear skirts below the knees, long-sleeved shirts, and are to have their heads covered with a veil or scarf at all times. (Please: No hats, shear scarves, pants, shorts, pant-skirts, mini-skirts, sleeveless blouses, short-sleeved shirts, etc.).  Everyone is asked to wear socks. (Especially when wearing sandals) A limited supply of scarves, skirts, blouses, pants and shirts are available for use while visiting the Monastery.

Orthodox Clergy must wear a cassock (raso) in the Monastery and an outer cassock (exoraso) in the services.

If you are not properly attired, please ask one of the fathers.

Around the grounds

Due to the sanctity of this Holy place we kindly ask that you respect the quiet and solitude of the Monastery while on the grounds.  

Smoking anywhere within the Holy grounds is strictly forbidden. 

We kindly ask that children not roam freely on the Holy grounds, but remain under parental supervision at all times. 

Please do not visit non-public areas of the grounds without a blessing.

Photographs May be taken of the buildings, the grounds and inside the church. Please ask before taking photographs of any of the monks or guests. Photographs (including videos) are not allowed during the services unless you receive a blessing to do so.

All tonsured monks are addressed as "Father" ("Pater" in Greek). It is appropriate to ask the blessing of the abbot or priest-monk(s) and to kiss his right hand. It is not appropriate to do this to the other monastics.

Non-Orthodox Visitors

Visitors are also welcome to attend our services, but according to the rules of the Orthodox Church, only Orthodox Christians may be inside the Church during a service. All others are asked to participate from the side room.  If anyone is interested in attending one of the services please call in advance or speak to one of the fathers upon arrival.

Holy Communion is strictly for those baptized Orthodox Christians who are properly prepared.

Guesthouse

Only men are allowed to stay in the guesthouse and only for 1 day. Please call ahead to make sure there is room and to make arrangements for your stay. 

Women can stay at the nearby convent. Please call ahead for arrangements.

Monastery Order

The order within the Monastery for venerating icons, processions to and from the Trapeza and for receiving Holy Communion is as follows: the Elder or Abbot first, then ordained clergy, then the monks, nuns, men and the women. All guests are asked to please follow the order set up by the Monastery. If you have received Holy Communion, please do not go up to receive the antidoron ("in place of the gift") at the end of the Liturgy since you have received the Body and Blood of our Saviour.

Divine Services

All pilgrims staying at the monastery are expected to attend all scheduled church services.
During the services, men stand on the right side in the church and women on the left. Please note that non-Orthodox must remain in the side room (normally they would be required to remain in the Narthex).  At the monastery, catechumens, those who are learning the faith, are dismissed at the appropriate times during the Services.  

Holy Communion

Holy Communion is truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and just as it sanctifies and becomes for those prepared provision for eternal life, it may very well become “fire burning the unworthy” for those who are not. We therefore ask of all Orthodox Christians to prepare with confession and to have permission from their Spiritual Father before receiving Holy Communion, and also to prepare with the required fast as established by the Holy Fathers of the Church.

When the Holy Cup is brought forth from the Altar for Holy Communion, the veneration of icons should stop as the Lord is present in front of you in His Precious Body and Blood. We ask that you do not venerate the icons in the front of the Church as you proceed up to receive Holy Communion. Also we ask that you not venerate the icons after receiving the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Trapeza

When there is a formal meal in the Trapeza (dining hall), we ask that you maintain quiet during the meal as a reading for our spiritual nourishment takes place. The monastic custom is to wait until the Abbot or Hieromonk rings a bell for the blessing to drink any water at the meal. Guests have a blessing to return to the monastery’s Trapeza – immediately following a formal meal – to eat their unfinished food.

Thank you for your understanding.

 

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