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“An oasis in the desert.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery
4784 N. St. Josephs Way, Florence, AZ
520-868-3188
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Ranked #2 of 9 Attractions in Florence
Type: Churches/ Cathedrals, Cultural
Attraction details
Arden Hills
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“An oasis in the desert.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

Such beautiful grounds and chapels. Even if you're not Greek Orthodox, the scenery and chapels are amazing. Women, be prepared, however, you must wear closed toed shoes, long sleeves and long skirt (I went shopping at a Mesa Goodwill for mine) and a scarf that completely covers your hair. Men, you only have to wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and closed toed shoes and can have your head uncovered ( a little discriminatory:-). We met with a monk who described the grounds and were allowed to spend as much time as we wished walking through. The chapels were beautiful with lots of hand-carved wooden chairs, etc. At the end, there is a gift shop where you can purchase wonderful bakery goods and other merchandise. This is a must see!.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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33 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
38 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Amazing desert retreat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

My second trip to this remarkable monastery left me, once again, awed by what a handful of Greek Orthodox monks have created out of the hard-packed Sonoran Desert, and all in a span of less than 20 years. Being allowed to spend several hours strolling inside this calm, surprising place is a great treat. Visitors walk along flagstone paths, bordered by lush greenery and shaded from the Arizona sun by palms and other trees, arching overhead. Numerous fountains add both to the feeling of a peaceful oasis and to the relief from the desert aridity, visible just beyond the monastery's orchards of olives and citrus.

Day visiting occurs only between the hours of 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM. It is my understanding that those who belong to the Orthodox Church may stay beyond 2:30 PM if they wish to attend the afternoon liturgy. People of all faiths, or none, are welcomed here, as long as they follow the monastery's rules of conduct and dress. These are clearly set out on the monastery's website (www.stanthonysmonastery.org.), so you can decide in advance whether you are willing to go along with the monastery's requirements.

Only one negative comment: too many Day Visitors (including a surprising number of older people, who surely know better) forget that they are guests inside this working religious community, not tourists at a museum, zoo or amusement park. Not only are there monks at silent work throughout the grounds during visiting hours, there are also those on religious retreat and other visitors on this property who are praying, meditating, or reading along the garden paths as well as inside the various churches, chapels, and residences. Many noisy, chattering visitor groups ignore or disregard people who are clearly engaged in some sort of religious or spiritual practice. Others, intent on taking a particular photo, think nothing of crowding or disturbing someone else's devotions. Still others make snide or critical remarks about the dress code or about the religious practices or furnishings in this unusual monastery. Such bad manners are a jarring intrusion into an otherwise serene experience.

I highly recommend a visit to St. Anthony's, but urge all those who do go to remember that this entire property is like being inside a church while a worship service is in progress.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
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Cochrane, Canada
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Touring the grounds of St. Anthony's Monastery in AZ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

This is like an oasis in the desert. Even if you are not particularly religious, this attraction is worth a visit. Beautiful chapels and beautiful grounds with a serene setting. It costs nothing to tour the grounds, but men and women have to be covered. Women in particular have to be covered from head to toe. Women have to wear long skirts, socks, shoes, long sleeved garment that does up to the neck. The monastery provides clothing if you don't have it.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Stillwater, Minnesota
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
33 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Greek Orthodox meets rural Arizona. See what results.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

Visiting the Monastery, you will be imersed in religious experience of the Greek Orthodox. From the strict dress code to the quiet contemplation in the many chapels, you cannot help to be affected. You will be welcomed with cold water and a monestary baked cookie, along with a warm welcome by one of the monks. When you read about their lifestyle, it is quite amazing that they maintain and run this beautiful oasis in the desert outside Phoenix. At no time will you be pressured to contribute monetarily. Quite the opposite. You are their guest. Ask the monks lots of questions. They are eager to educate. I admire their dedication at the same time recognizing that I could not aspire to this level of dedication. I believe you will be similarly awed. Lunch in Florence at Mt. Apnos Greek restaurant is a great way to come back to modern reality.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queen Creek, Arizona
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
34 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“a piece of ancient Europe in rural AZ”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2012

Although it is a fairly new compound, the grounds consist of 7 churches, all brought over from Greece, and beautiful grounds and fountains. Although it was built in the late 90's it looks like it has been there for centuries. The monks can give escorted tours and supply wardrobe to cover body parts. There is a nice gift shop. The atmosphere is so lovely and serene and you feel you are in another time and place.

Visited October 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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