New Skete Monastery

"What a wonder each day's sunrise!  As soft rays of light peek over the trees, it is always as if for the first time.  Dawn beckons with an invitation to begin anew, to see things in a fresh way.  'Yesterday is past', it whispers, 'You only have today and all its possibilities.'...  ~RISE UP With a Listening Heart by The Monks of New Skete.

New Skete is a collective of three Orthodox Christian monasteries in Cambridge, New York.

•    The Monks of New Skete, a men’s monastery founded in 1966,
•    the Nuns of New Skete, a women’s monastery founded in 1969, and
•    the Companions of New Skete, a community of married monastics founded in 1982.

All three communities are under the authority of the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America.

 They are best known for their breeding of German shepherd dogs, the training of all breeds in basic obedience, and the baking of rich, gourmet cheesecakes.

The members of New Skete live with the principle that a genuine and vibrant monasticism is an essential element to a healthy Church life.  Being authentic monastics however, does not mean simply reproducing previous expressions of monastic life.  The monks, nuns and companions work to express the mystery of their vocation in a manner befitting modern culture.

The New Skete schedule reflects an integrated blend of liturgical and personal prayer, study, work, and openness to the world.  The monks, nuns and companions try to make themselves available to all who come to the monastery.  

Many people visit New Skete each year.

All are welcome to visit our churches, admire the liturgical art, reflect in the gardens, walk the hiking trail and browse the gift shops.

Tours are by appointment.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 43.0329229 Longitude: -73.305232 Elevation: 1194 ft
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Ida Williams

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About This Building And Site

When you step into our Holy Wisdom Temple, you encounter a place of deep peace and intimate beauty generated by the painted icons that surround you, the aromatic residue of many years of incense offered during the services, the beautiful play of light coming through the windows above.  If you attend a service, the melodies of both ancient and modern chants enfold you, and the liturgical action of the clergy and the posture and piety of the worshippers all serve to communicate the basic truths of the Christian faith through "right worship" in ways that transcend mere words to act on all the human senses.

Small Temple: Transfiguration of Christ Temple - The smaller of the two churches, or temples, is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ.  This small church was design and built by the monks in 1970 and has a rough-hewn exterior topped by distinctive gold cupolas or "onion domes."  The floor inside is covered with dark green slate from nearby quarries, and the walls and pillars are covered with cedar and ash. 

The church was designed by Br. Marc a founding monk of New Skete, and built entirely by the monks' labor.


The upper interior of the nave is adorned with icons, murals painted by Constantine Yousis.  Other icons in this church include Christ giving holy communion to the apostles at the Last Supper, Christ enthroned, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Nil of Sora, Christ's mother Mary, Sergius of Radonezh and St. Herman of Alaska (the eighteen-century missionary to the Aleuts.)

Large Temple: Holy Wisdom Temple - As New Skete grew, it soon became necessary to build a larger church to accommodate the monastic communities, the local parishioners and the growing number of retreatants and visitors.

The new building was designed and built by the monks and a crew of skilled carpenters.  This church is dedicated to Christ, the Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30)  Its light-filled openness and its U-shaped alter screen are inspired by the early churches of Constantinople. 

As you enter the Holy Wisdom Temple, on the right wall is the Golgotha, a large icon of the crucifixion, where candles burn as a memorial for those that have passed.  In the center of the nave are the lectern for the Holy Scriptures and the celebrant's seat, carved from basswood and zebrawood.

The central focus of the church is the large deisis depicted on the east wall.  Here, Christ, the word and wisdom of God, is shown enthroned on the cherubim (Ps. 80:.)

The entire eastern end of the church is raised three steps above the nave; this is called the alter.  The sacred area of the alter is defined by the three-sided, open altar screen.  This icon screen is carved from natural English brown oak and holds twenty-eight icons of prominent saints and angels.

Don't Miss This When Visiting

"The main purpose of the icon is to break your heart... to call you to compassion."  ~William McNichols, SJ

Icons are a sacred tradition handed down through the centuries from the Christian East.  They are religious art without parallel in any other art form, embodying innermost religious experience.

An icon is regarded as a sacred image that has brought us into the Holy Presence of the one being contemplated. 

When painting the figures, the iconographer avoids the natural shape and appearance of things, always depicting subjects symbolically.  Through perfection of line, feeling and color, the iconographer portrays the beauty not of earth but of the world to come.

The Nuns of New Skete are often commissioned to create original icons and custom calligraphy.

Identify And Describe The Management Organization

New Skete is a monastic community of men and women rooted in the tradition of the Christian East.

 

Through prayer, worship, and the work of our hands, we seek to respond to the mystery of God and the Gospel's power to transform human living.

 

Welcoming all, we seek to bridge the old with the new and to witness to the sacredness of all creation.

 

Suggested Further Reading

RISE UP - by the Monks of New Skete
GOSPEL REFLECTIONS - by Sister Katrina, Nun of New Skete
IN THE SPIRIT OF HAPPINESS - by the Monks of New Skete

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