The Hermitage of the Holy Cross is a Russian Orthodox Monastery in Wayne County, West Virginia. It is one of the largest English-speaking Russian Orthodox monasteries in North America. The relative seclusion of the monastery in the hills of Wayne has left many local residents unaware of its existence. It is inhabited by several monks and clergymen belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. They support themselves by subsistence farming and selling artisanal products such as soaps and candles.
The Hermitage of the
Holy Cross Monastery was founded by Hieromonk Kallistos in 1986. The original
location of the monastery was in House Springs, Missouri. The number of monks
quickly grew, but they were unable to expand due to surrounding city growth. In
2000, the monastery received a donation of land from a couple in West Virginia
and relocated to its present-day location in Wayne County. The monastery sits
on 180 acres of property south of Beech Fork State Park and is surrounded
by forests and hills. This allows minimum distraction to the monks as they
dedicate their life to their religion.
Monastery falls under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia in the Diocese of Eastern America & New York. This
Monastery is English speaking but does occasionally perform services in Russian.
Over two dozen monks, novices, candidates, and layworkers live on the property.
The monastery’s patron saint is St. Panteleimon, a fourth-century Christian
and prayer make up the main components of the Holy Cross Monastery. The monks have
a very strict schedule. In addition to prayer, they are tasked with a
multitude of chores. Members must perform duties to help support the overall
function of their monastery. This includes cooking, maintenance, and cleaning. The
monks also grow their own vegetables, raise chickens and goats for eggs and
milk, and operate an apiary for honey. They earn revenue to support the
monastery by producing and selling incense, candles, honey, icons, and cosmetic
products such as soaps, lotions, and lip balm. Their products are available online
and have been sold all over the world. The Hermitage welcomes visitors but they
are encouraged to contact the facility to make arrangements in advance.
Overnight accommodations are also available for people who wish to experience monastic
life for themselves.