St. Shenouda Monastery, Rochester, NY

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Dear Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We thank God for His abundant mercy and innumerable gifts that He grants His children. As you know, H.H. Pope Shenouda III visited St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Rochester, NY, on August 14 and 15. On that visit, he opened the extension and new addition to the church, laid the cornerstone for the Pope Shenouda III Retreat Center and St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Monastery, and consecrated the altar of the Church of the Archangel Michael and St. Shenouda the Archimandrite, the new baptismal font for adults, and the icons of St. Mark’s Church.

Undoubtedly, we see the hand of God in the events that occurred on those two days. For example, when our neighboring Syracuse church building belonged to the Russians, it was named after St. Michael. However, the Coptic Church there was already registered under the name of St. Mary and St. Mina. So the name of that building was changed as well. Therefore, I set my heart on compensating St. Michael for his church in Syracuse by designating this new church in the basement of the church at Rochester after his name, together with the name of St. Shenouda, the patron saint of the monastery which will be constructed in its vicinity. Amazingly, as I later discovered, it is documented in the manuscript of the life of St. Shenouda that the ancient church in the Monastery of Abba Shenouda, the White Monastery near Suhaj, is consecrated in the name of the Archangel Michael and Abba Shenouda. This is just one of many examples.

Furthermore, the great encouragement of His Holiness and laying of the cornerstone for this retreat center and monastery by his own hand gives us strong faith that God’s hand is in the middle of this, and He will complete it according to His will. Just as His Holiness the Pope bore the names of two great monastic leaders, Antonius and Shenouda, so also he gave to America two monasteries: the first after the name of St. Antony in the desert of California, and the second here in Rochester after the name of St. Shenouda. This second monastery is not an imitation nor an unnecessary repetition of the first monastery because they are two distinct orders. Each one of them has a different monastic rule indicated in the difference in the appellation of each monastery. The first monastery at California follows the hermetic life of St. Antony the most famous father of anchorism whereas the second monastery here in Rochester follows the rule of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite which is developed from the Pachomian coenobitic life. The order of St. Shenouda combines the life of seclusion for prayer and meditation, together with the service for the community in a coenobitic life. Therefore, whenever the monk in the order of Abba Shenouda goes out to serve the community in the neighborhood, he will not be in breach of his monastic rule. Just as St. Shenouda built his monastery in Suhaj near the villages which he serves and was accustomed to open the gates of his monastery for the people on Saturdays and Sundays, so that they may hear his sermons and participate in the Eucharistic prayers, so also his monastery here in Rochester is not in a desert, but in the countryside in the suburbs of the cities and towns which will be served by the monks of the monastery.

By the grace of God, we will proceed with building the Pope Shenouda III Retreat Center within the next year. This will be a spiritual retreat center for anyone, but especially for those who would like to enter into this monastic order. The building of these souls will be the first step to the physical building of this monastery of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to participate in taking the blessing of donating to this project, please make checks payable to: St. Shenouda Monastery. However, the mailing address will be that of our Church here in Rochester, NY:

St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church
P.O. Box 20400
Rochester, NY 14602

May the Lord God accept your gifts and offerings as a delightful aroma ascending before Him on the heavenly altar and repay you for the corruptible with the incorruptible, the earthly with the heavenly, the temporal with the eternal; and fill your houses and storehouses with every good thing.

May the Lord keep you in His love always.

Your servant,
Father Shenouda Maher Ishak
Priest, St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church
Rochester, NY


  • Hi all, wuts up.

    I have a question: will this monastery be for men or for women (nuns)??

    I really hope it will bne for nuns because we already have St. Anthony's in California. I went to visit St. Mark's church 2 years ago and the ppl there were really nice. I also noticed quite a few American converts as well as African Orthodox (Sudanese/Ethiopian).

    God bless,
  • First: As is in the original posting, the order of this monastery is different than St. Antony's in California. This order will combine the life of seclusion/contemplation with that of service of the surrounding community as did that of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite.

    Second: St. Shenouda's Monastery in Upper Egypt during his time had 1,800 nuns living separately from its 2,200 monks. Through the intercessions of the Archangel Michael and St. Shenouda the Archimandrite, we pray that God will provide for both.
  • Wow that good news that theres a monestary near by Canada. Now we don't have to travel all the way to Cali to visit a monestery we'll go next door to New York :)

    We'll continue praying for this project
  •'s really exciting to be part of this church...I am really looking forward to it...hope they actually begin building on it's gonna be a blessing...and the church needs a lot of prayers.

    God Bless,
  • I am sorry, I know this is a really old thread but I would really like to inquire more information about this monastery. Do they have a website with more information? Five, almost six years later from the start of this thread, is the monastery fully built now with both a monastery and convent?

    Thanks for your help.
  • Greetings,

    Yes, the monastery does have a website.  Here is the link:

    They are still working hard on growing the service there but I know they have retreats.  For more information you should probably contact Deacon Antonios who is the original poster on this thread.

    God bless,

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