Mortal men, let us leave this world of deceit! Christ calls. Let us go. For life is good Sailing above the troubled sea of care. One thought alone employs the solitary man, How he may reach the port of peace, May find the final rest from pain. Delivered of these things, how blessed is life! And who is he who truly seeks for gain, And, leaving all, asks but to bear the Cross?
Saint Theodore the Studite
The Origins of our Brotherhood
The monastery was legally incorporated on September 11/24, the minor feast of Saint Xenia of Saint Petersburg, who is considered a second patron of the brotherhood. On September 30/October 13, the anniversary of the uncovering of the relics of Saint John Maximovitch, the papers were signed for the purchase of the new property. The brotherhood came together, for the first time, on the feast of Saint Nicholas of Myra, having migrated from Holy Ascension Monastery in Bearsville where the lack of space and infrastructure made it clear that a much larger facility was necessary in order to establish the organized, cenobitic life we desire to lead.
Saint John of San Francisco Orthodox Monastery is under the jurisdiction of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Christians in America (which is under the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians in Greece), and the President of the Eparchial Synod, Metropolitan Demetrius, is functioning as the Abbot. The monastery has four dependencies:
Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Preston Hollow, New York
Saint Ignatius the God-bearer Hermitage, Guatemala
About our Founder
His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrius of America, was born Victor Kiriacou on November 15/28, 1974, in Toronto, Canada, to pious parents Constantine (who was tonsured a monk with the name Naoum prior to his repose) and Chrysoula Kiriacou from Vevi, Florina, Greece. He is the third of three children.
After spending time in the Holy Land and on Mount Athos, he entered the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in 1994 and was tonsured, receiving the name Demetrius (named after his ancestor, the priest Demetrius) in honor of St Demetrius of Thessaloniki. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1999, the priesthood in 2005, and the episcopacy in 2006. In September 2012, he was received into the canonical Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece together with a number of clergy, monastics, and parishes throughout the United States, and elected Bishop of Boston, concelebrating with His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and all Greece, and those hierarchs with him on September 8/21, 2012. On September 20/October 3, 2012, the feast of St. Eustathios, he was elected Abbot of Holy Ascension Monastery in Bearsville, NY, in the presence of His Beatitude, Archbishop Kallinikos, and five other hierarchs of the Synod from Greece and America. On February 6/19, 2014, he was elected Metropolitan of America.
His Eminence resides at Saint John of San Francisco Orthodox Monastery and is its functioning the abbot. He speaks English, Greek, various Slavic languages and some Spanish and French.
A Life of Striving Towards Oneness with God
With links to the Holy Mountain of Athos, the brotherhood of the monastery seeks to preserve the authentic tradition of Athonite monasticism––a life of repentance accompanied by the acquisition of God-pleasing virtue and illumination. Illumination then leads to the ultimate goal of deification or “Theosis”, a “oneness” with God.
Our Patron Saint, Saint John Maximovitch
We did not choose Saint John as our Patron; we left the choice to the will of God. Following an ancient tradition in the Church, we decided to pray and draw lots from among the names of eight Saints especially revered by us. Thus, on the Apodisis of the Transfiguration of our Lord, during the Divine Liturgy, while “It is Truly Meet” was being chanted, the lot fell to Saint John. And the Saint has manifested his presence in our midst by the many benefactions and blessings showered upon the monastery.
Honoring A Saint From Our Own Century and Country
In Orthodox tradition, monasteries are understood to be places of pilgrimage where the faithful receive great benefit, for, as Saint John of the Ladder teaches us, monks are a light to the laypeople. What makes our monastery unique is the fact that our patron saint is a local Saint, a great wonderworker, a contemporary whom many people still remember; and that we have been blessed with numerous relics of saints, including relics and vestments of Saint John which are treasured here.