I first read about this monastery about 2 years ago. Six Greek Orthodox monks came from Mt. Athos in Greece in 1995 and started building this place about 9 miles South of Florence, AZ. It is amazing what has been accomplished in 20 years.
My friend Helle visited it recently and it reminded me that I wanted to go. If you go to their web site, they tell you that women must wear long skirts, blouses that are modest and long sleeved, a scarf that will cover your head and tie under your chin, close toed shoes and socks. I looked to me like everyone was from eastern Europe.
Entry patio, view towards first chapel. It's a self guided tour, and you go through the various chapels that they have built and the beautiful grounds. You aren't allowed into the areas where the monks live or to take photos of them.
The chapels had these wooden chairs built in around the walls. When I sat in one, the arms where level with my face. I think they would cause you to do less visiting and more contemplation on the service.
There are beautiful icons everywhere. And the brickwork, stonework, carving and needlework are all amazing.
In the first chapel there were lots of rugs for kneeling in front of the icons. After praying they would touch them and kiss them.
They maintain an Olive grove and citrus orchard. They sell products from their agriculture and baked goods from the kitchen. I didn't try anything because I was dieting, but it looked great!
Florence is 9 miles away. A mixture of new and very old. This is the new library, city hall and water park complex.