When one lives in a monastery, one expects to be materially poor. When a person devotes his whole life to the Lord, he takes vows of chastity, obedience and poverty. The brethren at Holy Cross do everything they can to support themselves: they grow a portion of their own food, they make incense, candles and soap for sale, and they raise chickens and goats. But even a community of people dedicated to live simply need something to survive on.
“Most monasteries can’t live off the work of their own hands, they have to rely on the help of donations of their friends, benefactors, anyone who can help them in any way,” said monastery treasurer, Hieromonk Nektarios.
In the 25 years of its existence, Holy Cross monastery (Wayne, WV) has had its share of financial problems. For a long time, the monastery didn’t have access to water. The old cells are slowly falling apart, and there is no money to build new ones. All the same, the waiting list to enter the monastery keeps growing and growing.“We generally pay the last dollar and go to the negative. We say, hopefully enough money will come in before this bill comes to its destination. That’s almost every week,” said Fr Nektarios.
The rock bottom moment came in 2011, when debts came piling up, and the monastery had only $300 in its checking account. According to monastery dean, Hieromonk Alexander: "The financial situation became frightening... we had exhausted virtually all of our resources. We felt like we were suffocating under the weight of all the expenses and demands"
The brethren appealed to the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR, who conducted a matching appeal, raising over $181,000 for the monastery.
"The assistance provided by the FFA and its matching appeal program finally allowed us to breathe! When aid began to arrive, we paid all the bills we had on hand, paid off the credit cards and made sure the pantry was full of food," said Fr. Alexander. "We’re very grateful to all the people who donated to the Holy Cross Monastery through the FFA for rescuing us and supporting us. It turns out this is how God saved us – through the FFA!"
Had the situation not improved, it’s possible that the monastery would have ceased to exist. This would mean that the brethren, including 24 y.o. novice, Br. Ephrem, would have had to leave.
“It’s a culmination of years of longing and dreaming of being here,” said his mother, Laurie Hooten. “To everyone who has contributed to the Fund for Assistance: I want to thank you that you have been God’s vehicle to enable him to experience the life he has dreamed of for years.”
Please click here to make a donation for Holy Cross Monastery. Remember, every cent donated via the FFA goes to the intended cause. God bless you!