Our Founders



 Those belonging to the Novi Kloštar Hermitage live according to the holy typikon (rule) of Saint Benedict of Nursia (+547 AD). Click here for more about our Holy Father in Christ.



We look to Saint Romuald (+1027), the neptic elder of the West, as our founder in keeping with the Benedictine typikon. St Romuald was himself a Benedictine who set out on reforming many coenobitic communities throughout southern and central Europe which had fallen into corruption.  He is best known for his Eastern & Desert styled asceticism and the love of silence and solitude.  At each of the monasteries he had restored to the proper observance of St Benedict’s rule, St Romuald left there united with the monastic brotherhood a hermitage or small village of cells (skete) of hermits; striving even more intensely for the Kingdom of God. Each of his monks and hermits hoped to witness the salvific Love of God in some manner that would be honored with the royal crown of martyrdom.  Community, Solitude, Martyric Witness, these are what the Romualdians call “The Threefold Good”.  For more on St Romuald and a brief background on Romualdian-Benedictines click here.



The Novi Kloštar Orthodox Hermitage of St. John the Divine and its Western Orthodox Oratory of Our Saviour the ‘Agios Hesychia’, located in Syracuse, New York is a stavropegial monastic house within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)  received on 14 December 2014 n.s. directly under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the ROCOR.  We are a member institution of the ROCOR Western Rite Community, whose parochial Dean is the Reverend Archpriest Fr Mark Rowe.

 Our Brotherhood’s motto:

“With One Mind, One Heart,
One Life-in-Christ,
we pray, weep and repent for all Mankind!”

We live in the 21st century in very different political and economic situation than the flourishing monasteries of the Middle Ages. Benefactors are not as plentiful as they once were.   Although wealth has not disappeared, rarely are there any patrons except for the spiritual ones in heaven.  We still may hope to restore St Romuald’s vision of the confluent relationship of coenobitic community and eremitic hermitage within physical proximity. This would require several souls to heed the call to this life of prayer to make it sustainable upon our own property free to live, work and worship as Orthodox monastics.  In the meantime we move forward “In the Spirit of St Romuald” doing and achieving what we can, as he taught, based on our contemporary realities.

From its beginnings, the Hermitage has been dedicated to the example and memory of both Our Holy Lady Marija, the Mother of God at Ephesus after the Ascension of Her Son our Lord and St John the Beloved Disciple who also dwelt in Ephesus and cared for our Lord’s Mother. We look to the Mother of God during her time in Ephesus as a period of deep prayer and contemplation (theoria) as well as her public ministry to the Ephesians. We look to St John (who in the Ephesian Rite calls him “the Divine”) for his example and instructions of Divine Love, Mystical Communion with God and Contemplative ministry both in Ephesus and on Patmos.  Especially honored at our Hermitage are all the saints of Ephesus, Patmos, the Americas and the British Isles.  All saints –prior to and around 1054– among the Benedictines and Romualdians are likewise commemorated. We have an attraction to those “cross overs” Slavs in the West & Westerns in the East. More contemporaneously but relevant to our Johannine Theology of Love is St Silouan the Athonite and his disciple Elder Sophrony of Essex and his nephew Hieromonk Nikolai (Sakharov), and Elder Zacharias (Zacharou) among many others of Father Sophrony’s disciples.


May God’s Will be done in all things!