Dormition Skete (Buena Vista, Colorado)
Dormition Skete is a monastic community located near Buena Vista, Colorado. The skete was founded in 1979 under the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, then later affiliated with a Greek Old Calendarist jurisidiction, and is now the headquarters of the Genuine Orthodox Church of America, an independent group which recognizes the Orthodoxy of none but itself.
Dormition Skete is located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, now on 27 acres of property inside San Isabel National Forest. The skete is heated by solar energy, is designed specifically for icon painting, and can house six monks. There are three churches: the Kyriakon, named in honor of the Holy Dormition of the Theotokos; and two chapels, one in honor of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross, and the other dedicated to Saint George the Great-Martyr. The Kyriakon is designed according to the traditional Athonite architecture established by Saint Athanasios of Mount Athos and is a little larger than the Katholikon of the Monastery of Stavronikita on the Holy Mountain. Most of the construction was done by the monks of the skete.
Dormition Skete was founded in 1979 by then-Monk Gregory, with the blessing of Archbishop Seraphim of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Bishop Gregory came from the East Coast to Colorado in 1978 with his eyes set upon the mountains as a place to start skete life in America. He had on his person only $20. After one month, 10 acres were donated to him in the mountains of Colorado to start a small monastery, dedicated to prayer, solitude, the painting of Orthodox icons, and incense-making as the main occupations for the monks to sustain themselves. The monastery is self-supporting and does not solicit donations for its existence.
In 2003 the fathers constructed a new building that provides much more space for living quarters, offices, a reception room, etc. Most of the monastics now live and work in this building. All of the icon painting continues to be done in the original skete building, as it was designed to be well-suited to the art of iconography.
Dormition Skete is the base location for the Genuine Orthodox Church of America (GOCA), under the leadership of now Archbishop Gregory. GOCA maintains a presence in the US as well as Bulgaria, Italy, Brazil, and has a large following in Congo.