The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the largest churches in Florida. It is home to many nationalities of Orthodox Christians who come together in prayer.
Metropolitan Gregory of Eastern America and New York has a special role in the Orthodox community in Florida. As the diocesan secretary, he helps acquaint local Russian speakers with the fundamentals of the Faith.
St. Matrona’s Cathedral
On December 12th, 2018, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion, officiated at the solemn opening and consecration of St. Matrona’s Cathedral, which is now the largest Orthodox church in Florida and on the entire Southeast coast of the US.
In his address, Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated Fr. Alexander on this achievement, thanking him for the hard work he had put in for the sake of a holy and thriving parish in a foreign land. He also praised the faithful who have labored to make the cathedral a true center of prayer and faith in Florida.
In addition, Metropolitan Hilarion presented ecclesiastical awards to those who have worked for the Miami cathedral and the Orthodox Church on American soil. He especially praised those who have contributed to the reading of the Continuous Psalter, which is considered a spiritual thread connecting America with the Holy Land.
St. Nicholas Monastery
Originally founded as a male monastery, St. Nicholas Monastery has long been a major center for the Russian Orthodox Church in Florida. Today the Monastery is a vibrant community of seven residents, who come together to pray, confess, and commune with the Holy Mysteries of Christ.
In 2014 the monastery was on the brink of extinction, but thanks to the efforts of Archimandrite Alexander (Belya) and his blood brother Ivan Belya, the monastic life has been restored in two years. Daily services are celebrated, church domes have been repaired and the monastery is cleaned up to meet all the requirements of the monastic charter.
On December 27 Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated Divine Liturgy at the monastery. Joining him were Archimandrite Alexander; Protopriest Alexander; Protopriest Luka Novakovic of the Serbian Orthodox Church; Priest Constantine; Priest Joshua Shooping of St Sophia Church in Kissimmee, FL and Priest Mark Rowe.
At the end of the service, His Eminence awarded Mother Andrea the Order of St Raphael in recognition of her efforts during this difficult period of the monastery’s existence. She is a very special woman, who worked hard to keep the monastery alive and well during that difficult time.
St. Nectarios Monastery
Orthodoxy is a global faith, unified in a common heritage and practice. Yet, the Orthodox Church varies in size and structure, with different ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
In America, the Orthodox Church has been recognized as one of the Four Major Faiths in the country and reflects an increasing number of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Its membership is now more than five million in number and includes those who were born in the United States, as well as those who grew up in another religion and later joined the Orthodox Church.
A monastery is a community of monks who have chosen to live a life of prayer and meditation under the guidance of a spiritual father. A monastery may be a traditional idiorrhythmic monastery where all the duties of a monk are performed by him and where he is responsible for his own needs or it can be an independent monastic community where the monks have their own property and live according to their own traditions.
St. Nectarios Parish
In our Western Hemisphere, the Orthodox Church has developed into a valuable presence and distinctive witness. It has gained an ever-growing number of people from diverse backgrounds who have been drawn to her mystical vision of God and His Kingdom, her beauty of worship, her purity of faith, and continuity with the past.
A great part of the work of the parish involves teaching and training its members to have a strong consciousness of their Orthodox identity and ethos, and to have full awareness of their apostolic mission to share their faith with those who are not Orthodox. Such a formation of an Orthodox parish can only be possible in the context of a continuous, never-ending education related to the teachings of the Church and her traditions.
This is what the Apostle Paul referred to as a “never-ending education” in the Gospel. He also pointed to the importance of a spiritual struggle in the life of Christians. Those who are truly interested in Orthodoxy must seek out such an education.