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St. Columba of Iona Orthodox Monastery (Southbridge, Massachusetts)

St. Columba of Iona Orthodox Monastery
Jurisdiction Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada
Type Male Monastery
Founded 2010
Superior Hieromonk Peter (Preble)
Approx. size 1 monk
Location Southbridge, Massachusetts
Liturgical language(s) English
Music used Byzantine Chant Gregorian Chant
Calendar Revised Julian
Feastdays celebrated June 9
Official website Official website
St. Columba of Iona

The St. Columba of Iona Orthodox Monastery located in Southbridge, Massachusetts, is under the Omophorion of Nicolae (Condrea) of Chicago of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada. The Monastery is under the leadership of Hieromonk Peter (Preble). The Monastery is Pan-Orthodox and dual Ritual (both Eastern and Western rite) and also has been given a blessing from His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America for the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate.

The stavropegial Monastery is co-located with the St. Michael Orthodox Christian Church and exists to make visible the Kingdom of God to the world; is dedicated to a life of prayer, worship, work and service of others; committed to support local Orthodox Parishes in their evangelistic and missionary outreach to the broader community; is set apart as a place of prayer, contemplation, spiritual direction, formation and renewal; a holy place firmly rooted in the sacramental life of the Church.

As a Pan-Orthodox monastery we seek to draw from all of the Orthodox Jurisdictions in North America and as a dual ritual monastery we seek to find a proper blend of the traditions of both Eastern and Western Orthodoxy.

In the spirit of the early Celtic Saint St. Ninian (c. 360 - c. 432) the monastery seeks to become a center of Christian life, prayer, and education by offering time away for prayer as well as the Orthodox Center for Church Growth and Evangelism that will be part of the monastic foundation.


In 2009, two Orthodox Priests, V. Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble from St. Michael Orthodox Christian Church in Southbridge, Massachusetts and The Rev. Fr. Kenneth M. DeVoie from Emmanuel Orthodox Catholic Church (a parish of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate) in Warren, Massachusetts met to share a common vision to establish a Pan-Orthodox Monastic community in the heart of Central Massachusetts (New England). The vision took flight. Fr. Peter petitioned and received permission from Archbishop Nicolae to proceed; he was soon tonsured as a monk at St. Dumitru Retreat and Monastic Center (Middletown, New York) by Archbishop Nicolae . Simultaneously, Fr. Ken petitioned Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese, who also granted him permission to proceed.

The monastery, along with the Orthodox Center for Church Growth & Evangelism is still in the early stages of formation. All those interested in partnering to establish the monastery and center, should contact the Monastery directly.

Patron Saint

The monastery is under the patronage of Our venerable and God-bearing Father Columba of Iona, Enlightener of Scotland (December 7, 521 - June 9, 597) (also known as Columcille, meaning "Dove of the Church") was an Irish missionary who helped re-introduce Christianity to Scotland and the north of England.

Life of St. Columba

He was born to Fedhlimidh and Eithne of the Ui Neill clan in Gartan, near Lough Gartan, Donegal. On his father's side he was great-great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish king of the fourth century. He became a monk and soon rose in the church hierarchy to the rank of priest. Tradition asserts that, sometime around 560, he became involved in a copyright wrangle with St. Finnian of Moville over a psalter. The dispute eventually led to the pitched Battle of Cul Dremhe in 561, during which many men were killed. (Columba's copy of the psalter has been traditionally associated with the Cathach of St. Columba.) As penance for these deaths, Columba was ordered to make the same number of new converts as had been killed. He was also ordered to leave Ireland and move such that he could not see his native country.

St. Columba's Bay, where the saint first landed on Iona

He travelled to Scotland, where it is reputed he first landed at the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula, near Southend. However, being still in sight of his native land he moved further north up the west coast of Scotland. In 563 he founded a monastery on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland which became the centre of his evangelising mission to Scotland. There are many stories of miracles which he performed during his mission to convert the Picts.

Columba is also the source of the first known reference to the Loch Ness Monster. According to the story, in 565 he came across a group of Picts who were burying a man killed by the monster, and brought the man back to life. In another version, he is said to have saved the man while the man was being attacked, driving away the monster with the sign of the cross.

St. Columba's feast day is June 9, and with St. Patrick of Ireland (March 17) and St. Brigid of Kildaire (February 1) is one of the three patron saints of Ireland. The three are buried together in Downpatrick in County Down, deep within the famous Hill of Down.

Columba is not to be confused with his disciple, St. Columbanus.

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