New Skete, founded in 1966, is a contemplative monastic community of men and women dedicated to living the monastic life together within the tradition of the Orthodox Church. The community is a stavropegial monastery under the Orthodox Church in America and is composed of three separate monastic houses: the Monks of New Skete, the Nuns of New Skete, and the Companions of New Skete. Each community lives in its own house within a few miles of the other two, outside the small village of Cambridge in upstate New York. New Skete lives in the conviction that an authentic and vibrant monasticism is an essential ingredient of healthy Church life. By its nature, the monastic vocation is fully apostolic in itself. Through the balance and openness of its own way of life, it serves and challenges both the world and the Church at large to a broader vision and deeper experience of life. Therefore, our primary responsibility is fidelity to the task of being authentic monastics. We believe this cannot be done merely by reproducing monastic life as it has been lived in the past, in other places and cultures. Creativity is an essential ingredient in any viable monasticism, and as monasticism has always incarnated itself within a particular cultural context, so, too, we strive to express the mystery and dynamism of our vocation in a manner appropriate to our own culture and times.
Each of our monastic communities is self-supporting and receives no financial support from the national church. We are sustained financially through charitable donations and our own work. The communities, since their founding, have worked in liturgical arts, producing icons and publishing liturgical books and music. In addition, the Monks are world famous for breeding German Shepherds and for dog training. The 2007 TV series “Divine Canine” prompted many people to visit the monastery and our website. The show featured the Monks’ dog training techniques and portrayed other aspects of our monastic life. The Monks’ publications include a book on monastic spirituality, In the Spirit of Happiness; three dog training books, How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend, the newly revised The Art of Raising a Puppy, and Divine Canine (based on the TV series); and several books of photos and meditations: I and Dog, Rise Up, and Dogs and Devotion. The Nuns bake and market an assortment of gourmet cheesecakes and fruitcakes, they assist in the care of the German Shepherds, and they have made available a cookbook of baked goods entitled Food for the Soul by the late Sister Magdalene, who created most of the Nuns’ cheesecake recipes. The Companions of New Skete, a small group of married couples formed in 1983, reside at Emmaus House on the Monks’ property and also follow a monastic rule of life. Through prayer, hospitality, and work we have tried to bring a better awareness of Orthodox monasticism and the spiritual life to the church and the general public, and to share the fruits of our life in a manner that harmonizes with our contemplative vocation.
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Nuns of New Skete Beginning … In 1969 - the nuns left the Poor Clare cloister in Evansville, Indiana on a journey to begin a new contemplative life fitting in with contemporary American Culture. The Monks of New Skete helped them to root their foundation, providing them land and labor on a farm in Cambridge, New York. Each Sister shared in the work of building and maintaining their new home. Carpentry, plastering, painting and other “handyman” skills had to be quickly learned. Creating a living … Striving for a balance in prayer and work, the Nuns looked for ways to create a living using their own two hands. One of the early occupations was cleaning houses for local residents. It was quite the coup to be able to say the Nuns cleaned your house. Other forms of work included sewing tailored clothing, vestments, iconography, painting, and assisting the Monks in raising and training German Shepherd dogs. With the entrance of Sister Magdalene, whose hobby was baking, the Nuns expanded their work to include cheesecakes. New Skete Kitchens … In 1975 the original cheesecake recipe had been fine-tuned. With the money raised from the sales of the cheesecakes, the Nuns, in 1983, built the streamlined bakery that is in existence today at their monastery.’ The high-ceilinged room was designed by an architect with greenenergy efficiency in mind. Folklore tells that the Nuns were the first to add flavors to their cakes prior to baking. A local restaurant owner who had been serving the Nuns’ Deluxe cheesecake and garnishing it with chocolate and Amaretto asked the Nuns if the ingredients could be added prior to baking. Today there are 13 flavors of cheesecake and a fruitcake. Today … For more than 35 years the Nuns have been making their gourmet cheesecakes and selling them nationwide. Their cheesecakes have been the subject of many magazines and newspaper articles. “It is hard to come up with my best ’cause there are so many. A few faves … Cheesecake: Anything from the Nuns of New Skete,” ~ Rachael Ray 4
The New Skete Churches The smaller temple, designed and built by the monks in 1970, is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ, the patronal feast of the Monks of New Skete, which celebrates the revealing of Christ’s divine glory to the apostles on Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-8). The floor is of green slate from nearby quarries, and the walls and pillars are covered with cedar and ash. Many of the icons in the interior were painted by monastics of New Skete. They include a life-size icon of Christ enthroned, in the apse behind the altar; icons of John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and Nil of Sora at the right of the holy doors; and Mary, the Theotokos; Sergius of Radonezh; and Herman of Alaska at the left. Other icons depict events in the life of Christ and in the Gospels. The larger temple, designed and built by the monks and eight skilled carpenters, was consecrated in 1983 and dedicated to Christ, the Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). Its lightfilled openness and its U-shaped altar screen are inspired by the early churches of Constantinople. Inlaid in the Italian marble floor tiles, at the entrance to the nave, are pieces of mosaic from the first Christian church consecrated to Holy Wisdom, built in Constantinople in 576. The large deisis behind the altar shows Christ, the Word and Wisdom of God, enthroned on the cherubim (Psalm 80:1), flanked by his mother, Mary, the Theotokos, and St. John, the Forerunner and Baptist. Gathered below are early church fathers, whose role was to teach the word of truth embodied in sacred scripture, and St. Philip of Moscow and St. Innocent of Alaska, to show the continuity of teaching down to our own time and place. Along the side walls of the nave are depicted saints and holy men and women of all times.The ceiling has a large icon of the Sign of the Theotokos, and a representation of the symbols of the Four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Churches of New Skete Boxed Christmas Cards
Each box set contains 5 each of 2 designs and 10 envelopes. Two photos of the churches of New Skete, adorned for Christmas. Greetings: “Wishing you many glorious blessings this Christmas Season” “ For unto you is born this day a savior, which is Christ the Lord - May your Christmas be filled with the joy of Christ’s love.” Photos by Monks of New Skete 5” x 7” NSGC1 ship. wt. 1 lb. $14.95
Monks of New Skete Beginning … Spring 1966 - twelve brothers, all former members of a Byzantine Rite community of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars, left the Franciscans and established a separate monastic community. After a six month stay at a Benedictine lodge in northwestern Pennsylvania, the Monks moved to the beautiful hills of upstate NewYork. Here with the help of���������� neighboring farmers they learned fast and were able, with their hard work, to provide food for the table and to gain the respect of the local agricultural community. Creating a living … The Monks fulfilled their vow to create a living with the work of their own hands by raising livestock and smoking meats and cheeses. With the creative culinary talents of Brother Elias they were able to develop recipes and processes for sausages, smoked meats and cheeses as well as cheese spreads that were sold in the most stylish hotels and restaurants in New York City. The location of their farm did not afford the seclusion necessary for a contemplative life, so the Monks moved once again to a small mountain east of the farm. Here they built their monastery where they continue to live, work and worship today. New Skete Shepherds… As the economy shifted so did their skills: they were able to build on their love of their first German Shepherd dog, Kyr. Kyr was a beloved pet to all of the brothers, and the relationship with him led to the adopting of more German Shepherd dogs. Eventually, at the request of friends, the Monks began breeding these intelligent and beautiful animals for companionship with others. New Skete Shepherds, and dogs of all breeds, need and benefit greatly from formal obedience training. New Skete Training, directed by Brother Christopher, offers a course in standard AKC obedience, incorporating the values of the monastic environment. The objective of New Skete Training is to enhance the overall relationship between owner and dog. Today For over 40 years, New Skete has dedicated itself to providing the best possible companion dog for you and your family. Dogs are essentially social creatures who thrive when directed positively. The New Skete approach emphasizes the relationship as the single most important factor in your life with your dog. The Monks continue their work with breeding and training and have published many books related to their lives with the dogs as well as books of spiritual study and meditation. 12
We invite you to a spiritual banquet of texts and music for your personal meditation. Meditation and monastic life go together. At New Skete meditation is incorporated into our private prayer rule and also into our public worship. As a part of our morning Matins service we read a passage from a spiritual book selected by the community and immediately after the reading take a few minutes for meditation on that passage. This summer and fall we have been reading from Desert Banquet: A year of wisdom from the desert mothers and fathers by David G. R. Keller. It is a very effective selection of readings from the ancient texts combined with a brief commentary by David Keller, who has a knack for breaking open to a 21st century consciousness the root meaning of the sayings. If you have ever thought about using the sayings of the desert mothers and fathers for meditation but shied away thinking they might not apply to modern life, here is a book that will open your eyes to a new pathway inward. We highly recommend it. Paperback book is 256 pages. 6 x 9. DBBK ship. wt. 1lb.
Sometimes people find music helpful in their meditation practice. In recent years Gregorian chant has captured the imagination of many people as a musical medium that compliments their meditation. Since Gregorian chant is an integral part of our heritage it is natural to seek out such traditional musical sources for this purpose. I think many people might be surprised to discover that Orthodox Christian chant could also serve such a purpose. A wonderful American choral group based in Portland, Oregon, Cappella Romana, has specialized in Orthodox chant with an emphasis on Byzantine chant. We sell many of their CDs in our Gift Shop. If you are not familiar with this group but are intrigued about the possibility of using such chant for your own meditation we recommend two of their CDs to try. The first: Medieval Byzantine Chantâ€”Mt Sinai: Frontier of Byzantium is a collection of Greek chant from the manuscripts found in St Catherineâ€™s Monastery at the foot of Mt Sinai. The disc includes selections from Vespers for St. Catherine and The Service of the Furnace: A liturgical account of the Three Holy Children. It connects beautifully with the book Desert Banquet. The second CD: Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals gives you an example of the broad musical scope of Cappella Romana and includes both ancient hymns from Constantinople and new choral works inspired by that tradition.
Mt. Sinai: Frontier of Byzantium 17 chants, total time 74:24 MSCD ship. wt. 1 lb. $16.98 Angelic Light: Music from Eastern Cathedrals 16 chants, total time 56:10 ALCD ship. wt. 1 lb. $16.98 21
Thank you from New Skete Communities. The proceeds from your purchase support the Monks and Nuns in maintaining the Monasteries so they may continue in their mission of prayer, worship and the work of their hands. The monasteries receive no monetary support from the national church and rely on their own work and charitable donations to bear their financial obligations and needs. All monetary gifts are tax exempt and are always gratefully received. Your donations help the Monastery in many ways, including repair and maintenance of buildings, Feast Day preparations, special events, and supplementing the Monastery’s income during difficult economic times. Ways to support the mission of New Skete: • Make a donation of any size • Sponsor an event or retreat • Offer printing services • Sponsor a project of greatest need • Pre-paid gift cards: Lowes, Home Depot, Sta- ples, BJ’s, Walmart, grocery and gas cards • Share this collection of gift items from New Skete with family and friends The monastery will acknowledge all donations and special thanks will be given to the donors in the daily prayers of the Monks and Nuns. To make a donation or to learn more about ways to support New Skete Communities please fill out the form below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 518-677-3928 ext. 214.
Name: ________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________ City/State/Zip: _____________________________________ Phone: _________________________________________ Email: ____________________________________________________ Please charge my gift:q Visaq Mastercard qAmerican Express q Discover AMOUNT: _____________ Account Number: ____________________________________ Exp. Date: ____/____ Signature: ______________________ 3 digit verification # on back________ Please make checks out to The New Skete Communities q Please send me information on supporting New Skete Communities and the current needs of the monasteries. 22
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Annual Holiday Catalog 2012 from New Skete with gifts of cheesecakes, dog related items, crosses and other liturgical gifts.