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About The Hermitage

The Hermitage of St Archangel Michael is an eremitic monastic house subject to the Holy Rules of, both, St. Benedict of Norcia and St. Romuald of Ravenna while remaining under the governance of the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles, a Synod of the Genuine Orthodox Church; which was granted autonomy by the Ukrainian and Greek Old Calendar Churches to govern Churches of both the Eastern and the ancient Western Rites for people in the Western world. The Hermitage is a member of the American Congregation of the Primitive Observance of the Order of St. Benedict that includes monasteries for men or women in the United States and Western Europe under the governance of the same Metropolia. The Holy Rule, which was written by St. Benedict about the year 540 A.D. is the oldest Rule that survives for any Order of monks from the western lands of the Orthodox Church.

The purpose of the Hermitage is the observance of the monastic life of complete dedication to God according to the earliest interpretation of the Benedictine Holy Rule, as well as the teachings of the Early Fathers of the Church, the conferences of St. John Cassian, the Greater and Lesser Rules of St. Basil the Great, and in particular the Brief Rule for Hermits attributed to our ancient founder St Romuald of Ravenna. The habit (monastic clothing) of the monks is the Romualdian habit according to the style of the Desert Fathers. However, the Romualdian habit is black and gray in color; taken from the ‘black’ habits of later Benedictines and ‘gray’ from variant colors used by our ancient Romualdian brothers prior to 1072. While dedicated to its spiritual patron, the Archangel Saint Michael, The Hermitage glorifies and seeks the example and witness of Christian Life in those saints who were born in the East and labored for Christ in the West (e.g., St. John Cassian) as well as those born in the West who labored in the East (e.g., St Anthony the Roman in Novgorod).

There are many other “crossover” saints for reasons of survival from persecution, or exile, or having been led by God to move East to West or West to East. Such as the Princess of Wessex, daughter of the Last Orthodox King of England, Harold Goodwinsen and his consort Edyth Swannesha.   Princess Gytha of Wessex had taken refuge in the court of their cousin, King Swein of Denmark. From there King Swein sent Harold’s daughter to marry the Russian Prince of Smolensk, Vladimir Monomakh in Kyev. Gytha died on 07 May 1107 but not before giving birth to “as many as eight sons and three daughters”.  The eldest son was St. Mystslav Theodore, “known to the Norse world as, Harold. This Russian saint Harold had a daughter, Ingibiorge. She had a son who became King Valdemar of Denmark.”[1]  Then there are the great Western European born who lived within the Byzantine era and learned monasticism from the East: St. Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople (†847), St. Joseph the Hymnographer (†886), St. Athanasius of Methone († ca. 880), and St. Symeon of Syracuse (†1035), St. Elias the Younger (†903), St. Elias the Speleot († ca. 960), St. Leo-Luke of Corleone († 10th c.), and the monastic family of Ss. Christopher, Kale, Sava and Macarius († 10th c.), St. Fantinus the Younger († ca. 1000), St. Nilus the Younger of Rossano (†1004), and St. Bartholomew the Younger († ca. 1054), to name a few.  Among their numbers, in the north of Italy during this same Byzantine era was the great Western Hesychast and Benedictine reformer Saint Romuald of Ravenna (c. 951. — 1027). We will have more to say about our ancient founder, St Romuald here on his own dedicated page.

The Hermitage is also dedicated to the prayerful intercession on behalf of
1. all those who are, were, and will be numbered among the Holy Priesthood,
2. All persons who suffer from any kind of emotional distress,
3.To pray for all those in need of salvation.

The Hermitage also serves as the headquarters of & auspices for The Romualdian Center for Orthodox Pastoral GuidanceThe Romualdian Center serves the dual purpose of research in the best, most appropriate synthesis of secular psychotherapy techniques and the Patristic Therapéia of the Orthodox Church Tradition; and Diakonia in providing, upon request, the best possible pastoral guidance to individuals, couples, families, & small groups.  Our aim is to assist people to discover Eirini Christou, Peace of Christ, in their struggle with existential crises, transitional life disturbances, interpersonal and familial conflicts, for example.

   By these monastic activities The Hermitage hopes to serve, therefore, as a center and stronghold  –only after that of our motherhouse, the Abbey of the Holy Name– for the genuine, unchanged Orthodox Catholic Faith which is held by the True Orthodox Church. This Faith  [which differs from the strange corruptions that have been added to the original Catholic Faith in the past nine centuries by the “Roman Catholic Church”] is in fact the very same Faith held by the ancient Church, our founders St. Benedict, St. Romuald and all faithful Orthodox Catholic Christians before the influence of the erroneous and heretical Papal claims that led to further distancing people from the True Faith by the Protestant “Reformation”.

The Hermitage of St Archangel Michael is located in the “Village” of Eastwood, a neighborhood within the City of Syracuse in New York State, USA, approximately seventy miles northwest from the famous Russian Monastery in Jordanville, New York. At the present time, the Hermitage resides in the first floor flat of a two-family rented house (cf., above photo).  This is not at all an ideal situation since it does not offer the quality of silence and seclusion from “the world” any size monastery requires.  Additionally, this location does not offer any expansion opportunity.  For our Hermitage to grow and thrive, surviving its founder and members, it is vital that the Hermitage relocates to property of its own; preferably in the rural northern part of Onondaga County.  There is one major hurdle to any relocation and expansion: The Hermitage has no funds at all to make such a move a reality!

“The Village Within The City”

 Eastwood was originally a village, and as a suburb of Syracuse, was named for its easterly direction from that place. The neighborhood was part of the last round of annexations by the City of Syracuse, in 1928. Today the neighborhood still has a strong sense of community, and its nickname is “the village within the city.”[2]

Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, in the United States. It is the fifth most populous city in the state of New York following New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,252, and its metropolitan area had a population of 662,577. It is the economic and educational hub of Central New York, a region with over one million inhabitants. Syracuse is also well-provided with convention sites, with a downtown convention complex. Syracuse was named after the original Greek city Syracuse (Siracusa in Italian), a city on the eastern coast of the Italian island of Sicily.

The city has functioned as a major crossroads over the last two centuries, first between the Erie Canal and its branch canals, then of the railway network. Today, Syracuse is located at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 90, and its airport is the largest in the region. Syracuse is home to Syracuse University, a major research university, as well as Le Moyne College, a nationally recognized liberal arts college. In 2010, Forbes rated Syracuse fourth in the top 10 places in the U.S. to raise a family.

The Syracuse area was first seen by Europeans when French Jesuit missionaries came to the area in the 1600s.  The original settlement was a conglomeration of several small towns and villages. Due to the rapid development of the salt industry in the 18th and 19th centuries led to the nicknaming of this area as “The Salt City”.

The city stands at the northeast corner of the Finger Lakes region. The city has many neighborhoods which were originally various villages that joined the city over the years. Although the central part of Syracuse is flat, many of its neighborhoods are located on small hills such as University Hill and Tipperary Hill. Land to the north of Syracuse is generally flat while land to the south is hilly.

Eastwood, like the rest of Syracuse, has a humid continental climate and is known for its snowfall. Boasting 115.6 inches (294 centimetres) on average, Syracuse receives the most annual average snow of any metropolitan area in the United States.  Syracuse usually wins the Golden Snowball Award, among Upstate cities. Its record so far is 192.1 inches (488 centimetres). The high snowfall is a result of the fact that the city receives both lake effect from nearby Lake Ontario and nor’easter snow. Snow most often falls in small (about 1–3 inches or 2.5–7.6 centimetres), almost daily doses, over a period of several days. Larger snowfalls do occur occasionally, and even more so in the northern suburbs,

Syracuse has been the site and cast as the fictional location in many films, television shows and in literature. Located in the Central New York Region of the state, a notable film industry thrived through the early 20th century.  With the present revitalization of the City of Syracuse and the County of Onondaga film industrialists are beginning to return to the region.[3]

Syracuse became an active center of the abolitionist movement, due in large part to the influence of Gerrit Smith and a group allied with him. They were mostly associated with the Unitarian Church and their pastor (the Reverend Samuel May) in Syracuse, as well as with Quakers in nearby Skaneateles. Additionally, they were supported by abolitionists in many other religious congregations. Syracuse was known as the “great central depot on the Underground Railroad” prior to the Civil War, due to the work of Jermain Wesley Loguen and others in defying federal law, . On October 1, 1851, William Henry, a freed slave known as “Jerry”, was arrested under the Fugitive Slave Law. The anti-slavery Liberty Party was holding its state convention in the city and when word of the arrest spread, several hundred abolitionists (including Charles Augustus Wheaton) broke into the city jail and freed Jerry. The event came to be widely known as the “Jerry Rescue”. In the aftermath, the Congregationalist minister Samuel Ringgold Ward had to flee to Canada to escape persecution because of his participation.[4]


1 King Harold’s Family’s Fate by Geoff Boxell:   http://geoffboxell.tripod.com/family.htm

2. Wikipedia contributors. (2017, November 18). Eastwood, Syracuse. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:37, August 11, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eastwood,_Syracuse&oldid=811012299

3. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, August 7). Syracuse, New York. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:19, August 11, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Syracuse,_New_York&oldid=853806343

4. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, July 3). History of Syracuse, New York. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:27, August 11, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_Syracuse,_New_York&oldid=848706594