Dear friends of St. Peter’s,

The month is only half gone, yet it’s been an eventful one for the monastery in the making.

We received our letter from Montana Land Reliance which allows us to make St. Peter’s Monastery Foundation the beneficiary of our Life Estate and Gift Agreement. This clears the way for us to begin construction of the monastery within the area designated by West of the Moon’s conservation easement.

A new barn was completed to provide storage and a spacious staging area for the construction of the monastery, and eventually an airy, well-lit work area for the monks.

Mark Headley, one of Montana’s foremost architects, completed his drawings for the new monastery, and these were posted around the mezzanine of the new barn. Mark, who visited Mount Athos this past year to study the architecture there, is also contributing a virtual, 3-D tour of the monastery that will become available on our web site this fall.

July 4-12 Hieromonk Innocent, the abbot of the monastery of St. John in Manton, CA, led a group of four visiting monks (Father Andrew and Postulant Chrysotomos from St. John’s; Father Cassian and Brother Donald from St. Herman’s) in the first stages of construction. This team was joined by numerous volunteers, some of whom spent days, others hours, assisting in the work. The attached photos tell their story.

This work culminated on July 12, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (OC), with the first celebration of Divine Liturgy on the site of the new monastery. Local clergy representing OCA, Serbian and Greek parishes throughout the State joined Archbishop Benjamin and Hieromonk Innocent for this celebration and the potluck following attended by 70-odd worshippers some of whom traveled great distances to be here. It was one of those breathless Montana mornings with a brilliant sun warming our faces in the cool air and choirs of swallows circling overhead singing their canticles. A perfect beginning. Glory to God.

Our Foundation board also met at this time and elected Oleg Zadvornyy to the board and decided to make the work week after Independence Day an annual event led by Hieromonk Innocent. There was also a lot of discussion about how we might involve the youth of our parishes in the building of St. Peter’s, for this, we all believe, is the work of the people, a form of Liturgy in which we can all engage to the glory of God and the extension of His Kingdom on earth.

Pray for us.

In Christ our hope to the end,