Once the basic structures of the monastery had been built, the landscaping progressed, citrus and olive trees were planted, a vineyard was planted, and other chapels were constructed. In keeping with the Orthodox tradition, St. Anthony's Monastery has one main chapel for the daily services and other smaller chapels dedicated to various saints for the glory of God and to honor these saints. Most of the chapels serve as shrines for the holy relics of these saints. They also serve as places for memorial and supplicatory services and for the faithful to pray privately during the day.
There are a total of nine chapels on the monastery grounds. In addition to the main church, which is dedicated to both Saint Anthony the Great and Saint Nektarios, there are chapels dedicated to Saint Nicholas, Saint George, Saint Demetrios, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, Saint Panteleimon, Saint Menas, the Nativity of Saint John the Forerunner, and the Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah). A ninth chapel, dedicated to Saint Menas, will be soon completed. The saints to whom these chapels are dedicated are among the most beloved by the Orthodox Christian faithful worldwide. With its many chapels and its elaborate system of gardens and pathways, the monastery is truly an oasis in the desert.
Since its humble beginnings, St. Anthony’s has become the largest Orthodox monastery in the Western Hemisphere. The harsh summer conditions of the Sonora Desert deter neither prospective monks nor the many pilgrims who come from all over the world to receive spiritual guidance and participate in the life of the monastery.
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