Monastery of Gorgoepikoos (Geelong, Victoria)

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Holy Monastery of Gorgoepikoos
Jurisdiction GOA Aus
Type Female Monastery
Founded 1993
Superior Abbess Kallistheni
Approx. size 4 nuns and 2 novices
Location Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Liturgical language(s) Greek, English
Music used Byzantine Chant
Calendar Revised Julian
Feastdays celebrated Oct 1 (Monastery)
Jan 2 (Chapel)
Official website none advertised

The Holy Monastery of Panagia Gorgoepikoos ("She who is Quick to Hear") is a monastic community for women in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia. The monastery was established in May 1993 by Mother Kallistheni, who remains the abbess.

The monastery is situated approximately one hour, by car, from Melbourne and is in Lovely Banks, which is close to the seaside suburb of Geelong. It can be found at:

Corner of Monastery Court and Bluestone Bridge Road, Lovely Banks, GEELONG, Victoria 3221. (in older Melways: Cnr Cox & Rollins Rds).

Telephone: (03) 5276 1221 P.O. Box 219, Corio, Vic 3214

History of Panagia Gorgoepikoos Icon

See Main Article: Panagia Gorgoepikoos

The monastery takes its name from the icon of of Panagia Gorgoepikoos, which is commemmorated October 1. This is one of the best known miraculous icons of the Holy Mountain, located at Docheiariou Monastery.

In 1664, the monk Neilos, who used to pass regularly in front of the icon holding in his hand a lighted torch which he needed for his duties in the refectory, heard a voice telling him: “Do not come past here with a torch, leaving smoke on my icon”. Neilos did not pay much attention to the voice, but it was soon heard again. Then a punishment was given to the monk, and he became blind. The brethren began to show great reverence in passing before the icon and hung a perpetual lamp before it and burnt incense before the icon every day.

The blind Neilos spent all his time in front of the icon, imploring the Theotokos to forgive him and heal him, and his prayer was granted when, for the third time, a voice was heard from the icon. The Theotokos told Neilos that his supplication had been heard, and that it was to her protection, after God, and her overshadowing guardianship that the monks should thereafter have recourse for all their needs. She would hear them speedily, for her name is “Gorgoepikoos” (she who hears speedily). This miracle and the promise of the Theotokos became quickly known to the whole of Athos and her icon became an object of pilgrimage for all the Holy Mountain.

Monastery of Panagia Gorgoepikoos - Geelong

Mother Kallistheni

Mother Kallistheni, the first abbess of the monastery, was born Kalomira Zantis (nicknamed "Corrine") to Angelo and Nina Zantis, and raised in Goulburn, NSW, Australia with two siblings, Sheridan and Peter.

Her great-grandfather was the village priest and the schoolmaster in Karavas, in Kythera, Greece, for four decades. Known as 'Papa Vangelli', he was married to Presbytera Stamatia and baptised the majority of those Kytherians who then moved to Australia or the USA. Papa Vangelli had eight children, of whom Kalomira was the seventh; she married Sarandos Zantiotis and had four children, of whom Angelo was the fourth; he married Nina Souris, from Armidale, who are the parents of Mother Kallistheni.

St Seraphim Shrine (close up)

Monastery Grounds

Initially the Monastery stood on 17 acres of land but recent land purchases have allowed for growth extending the property size to 20 acres. This growth has allowed the monastery to purchase bees to produce their own honey, a donkey and 2 alpacas.

To create privacy for the monastery, Cox Road, running outside the monastery, has recently been closed off—an initiative instigated by Mother Kallistheni.

The Monastery is surrounded by 17 acres of land. This allows the Sisters to keep beehives, olive trees, fruit trees and a vegetable garden and tend to a few animals.

Situated in the Monastery is an outdoor Chapel dedicated to St Seraphim of Sarov, where his Feast day is celebrated by Divine Liturgy on 2nd January

There is also a building that houses a coffee room and the Monastery Bookshop from where Orthodox literature (in Greek and English), handicrafts and icons made by the Sisters may be purchased.

St Seraphim's Shrine (far view)

Programme for members of the public

Female pilgrims can stay at the guesthouse of St Anna and are invited to participate in the daily programme of the Monastery.

All pilgrims can visit the monastery daily (except Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) and are able to attend the services chanted by the sisters.

  • Monday: Open between 2-5pm on School and Public holidays.
  • Tuesday: Open between 9am and 5pm.
9am Divine Liturgy, 3pm Vespers
  • Wednesday: Closed.
  • Thursday: Open between 9am and 5pm.
3pm Vespers.
  • Friday: Closed.
  • Saturday: Open between 9am and 5pm.
3pm Paraklesis or Vespers.
  • Sunday: Open between 2-5pm.
3pm Paraklesis.

The Divine Liturgy in the English Language is celebrated at the Monastery on Saturday mornings once a month: 8:00am – 9:00am Matins Greek/English 9:00am – 10:00am Divine Liturgy – English

The remaining dates for 2008 are:

10th May 7th June
12th July 9th August
6th September 11th October
15th November 13th December

Refreshments are provided after the Divine Liturgy.

Monastery Building Project

With God’s help and with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos of Australia, the Sisters plan to begin stage one of the Monastery Katholikon. This entails the pilings, slab and hydronic heating. The Katholikon has a main central church and two side chapels. They welcome all help and support that that they may "be able to continue with greater zeal and without distraction their holy mission."


External links

Orthodoxy in Australia: Monasteries
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Male: Pantanassa | St George | St John
Female: Gorgoepikoos | Holy Cross
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Male: Holy Transfiguration | Archangel Michael
Proph. Elias | St John the Baptist | Holy Trinity
Female: Our Lady of Kazan | Presentation
Other Jurisdictions
Male: New Kalenic (Serbian) | St Sava (Serbian)
Female: St Anna (Antiochian) | Nativity Skete (Serbian)