Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God (Rives Junction, Michigan)

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Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery is a monastic community for women in the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America. It is located in Rives Junction, Michigan.

The community was founded in 1987 under the omophorion of His Grace Bishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate (now archbishop), when Mother Benedicta, along with two other nuns, left the Monastery of the Transfiguration to begin a new monastery. The community consists of women living the monastic tradition of a Christ-centered prayer life for the monastic members. To support the monastery, the sisterhood has sewing as its main source of income; additionally, making prayer ropes, decorating eggs, painting and mounting icons, publishing a journal and books, hosting retreats and speaking at functions are all a part of the monastery's income. Other activities include hospitality to visitors, taking care of the monastery's cemetary and maintaining a large vegetable garden, as well as everything required to sustain the life of the community.

Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery
Jurisdiction ROEA, OCA
Type Female Monastery
Founded 1987
Superior Abbess Gabriella
Approx. size 9 nuns, 1 priestmonk
Location Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
Liturgical language(s) Romanian, English
Music used Romanian Chant
Calendar Revised Julian
Feastdays celebrated {{{feasts}}}
Official website Official website

Daily Life

Weekdays: 5:00am - Matins, First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, Typica.

5:00pm - Ninth Hour, Vespers, Small Compline.
  • nb. Wednesday: 7:00am - Divine Liturgy
  • Saturday: 5:00am - Matins, First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, Typica.
6:00pm - Vespers with Litiya, Matins, First Hour. (also happens on eves of great feasts)
  • Sunday: 9:00am - Akathist Hymn, Third Hour, Sixth Hour.
10:00am - Divine Liturgy
5:00pm - Ninth Hour, Vespers, Small Compline.


  • Mother Alexandra, abbess at Holy Transfiguration 1967-1978.
  • Mother Benedicta, abbess at Holy Transfiguration 1978-1987; superior at Dormition of the Mother of God 1987-1989; abbess at Dormition of the Mother of God 1989-1992.
  • Mother Gabriella, abbess 1992-present.


The monastery began to publish a bi-lingual journal as a teaching tool, both educational and informational, and a link between the monastery and the faithful, with the goal that each issue would be related to topics of general interest. This monastic journal, entitled "The Burning Bush", is distributed to over 2700 people, over the United States, Canada and Europe.

In addition to this, and in keeping with Romanian traditions, the monastery founded HDM Press Publishing Co. Four books have been published so far, with more scheduled to follow.


  • 1978 - Mothers Benedicta and Gabriella leave Varatec Monastery (Romania) to go to the Monastery of the Transfiguration. Mother Benedicta becomes abbess.
  • 1979 - Mother Apolinaria leaves Varatec Monastery for the Monastery of the Transfiguration.
  • 1987 - Mothers Benedicta, Gabriella and Apolinaria leave the Monastery of the Transfiguration for Terre Haute, Indiana to start the Monastery of the Dormition. Attempted to resurrect a defunct Romanian Orthodox church, failed.
  • 1988 - Sisterhood moves to Rives Junction, Michigan (present location). Original property had a farm house, pole barn and garage.
Jul 20 - Pole barn became the church. First liturgy served.
  • 1989 Spring - Fr Roman (Braga) joins monastery as spiritual father; Mother Benedicta becomes Abbess. Guesthouse built in this period.
  • 1993 - Open air pavilion constructed. Serves as chapel for large gatherings in summer (including feastday of monastery, which attracts ~600 people).
  • 1992 - By this time, one Romanian nun, three Romanian novices and three American women join the monastery.
Mother Benedicta retires as abbess.
Aug 15 - Mother Gabriella installed as new Abbess. Mother Benedicta takes vows of Great Schema.
  • 1994 - HDM Press Publishing Co founded.
  • 1995 - Due to growth, expansion of monastery buildings begins.
  • 1999 Spring - Completion of the expansion of St Nicholas house
  • 2001 Nov - New guest house completed.
  • 2005 Spring - Nun's quarters completed; includes living quarters for nuns, library, office space, work rooms, and will provide space for gift shop, receiving room and formal entrance to the monastery.
Further building plans include new church in Byzantine style.
Aug 7 - Repose of Great Schema Nun Benedicta after long illness.

External Links