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Monastery of the Assumption of Our Lady of Mount Royal (Jacksonville, Florida)


Old Catholicism

After three years of working toward restoring an authentic Benedictine Rule in the West, the monk Dom Augustine Harding founded the original monastery on March 7, 1910 near Chicago, Illinois under the auspices of the Old Catholic Church. The community grew, and by the 1930s, began its scholarly restoration of early liturgics pre-dating the Great Schism. In 1938, the community moved to Woodstock, New York, where it was re-dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Royal and had its canonical enclosure set up in 1940. Eight years later, the monastery's buildings were destroyed by fire on New Years Day, which forced the brethren to abandon the grounds and disperse.

In 1958, Dom Augustine Whitfield was elected as the second abbot under the promise to continue the monastery's original mission of a restored Western monastic observance to its original pre-schismatic form.

Western Rite Orthodoxy

In 1962, the community was received into the patriarchal Russian Orthodox Church by its American exarch, Bishop Dositheus (Ivanchenko) of New York. For several years, the monks of Mount Royal staffed a Western Rite chapel in the Russian Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Manhattan. Bishop Dositheus' successor, Archbishop John (Wendland), blessed and confirmed the Western Rite observance and mission of Mount Royal and the leadership of its abbot, Dom Augustine Whitfield.

In 1975, under Abbot Augustine, the monastery was received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia by Archbishop Nikon (Rklitzsky), who again authorized and blessed its mission and observances.

In 1993, the former Prior of Mount Royal, Dom James (Deschene) founded Christminster in Rhode Island, which subsequently relocated to Hamilton, Ontario.

On Sunday, July 4, 2010, Abbot Augustine reposed[1] and was succeeded as abbot by Dom David (Pierce), whom he had nominated to Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of Eastern America and New York before his repose.

On Sunday, March 23, 2014 Dom David (Pierce) reposed in the Lord[2].


  • Dom Augustine Harding: 1910-1958 (Old Catholic hierarchy)
  • Dom Augustine Whitfield: 1958-2010 (1958-1962 Old Catholic)
  • Dom David Pierce: 2010-2014


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