Ellwood City, Pennsylvania

Our History

The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration is a monastery for women under the jurisdiction of The Orthodox Church in America. It was founded in 1967 by mother Alexandra (the former Princess Ileana of Romania) whose dream it was to provide a place where American Orthodox women from all ethnic backgrounds could come to live the monastic life and benefit from a liturgical cycle in English. Since that time, her vision has been fulfilled. The nuns, the majority of whom a, converts to orthodoxy, as well as the monastery's many visitors, span a variety of backgrounds. we welcome a great number of non-orthodox visitors as well.

Mother Alexandra was succeeded by Mother Benedicta who arrived from Varatec Monastery in Romania in 1978. Under Mother Benedicta's leadership a complete cycle of liturgical prayer was established and the strong monastic tradition she had lived in her homeland took root as well. Mother Christophora, the current abbess, was elected in 1987, and since then the monastery has continued to develop, both spiritually and physically.


Our Facilities

Our monastery is situated on 100 acres of meadow and lovely wooded land, and its several buildings are graced with flower gardens. The main building includes: vA beautiful chapel where visitors are welcome to join the nuns for morning and evening services or come for quiet personal prayer vA large dining room  vA hospitality room where visitors can relax and enjoy fellowship vA comfortable library housing an extensive collection of books, videos and magazines which guests are welcome to use during their stay vA gift shop with books, icons, and religious articles vThe private living quarters for the nuns.

In addition to the main building there are guesthouses, a playhouse for visiting children, a pavilion for outdoor worship, a gazebo, and a cemetery for clergy and monastics.


Guesthouse and Visitor Information

St. Macrina's House has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a small dining/living area. St. Bridget's House has a living room, dining room, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a spacious kitchen. Both guesthouses are air conditioned, comfortably furnished, and have their own small library.

Arranging a stay: It is necessary to call or write in advance to arrange a stay. In keeping with Orthodox monastic tradition, we provide our guesthouse accommodations free of charge. Most guests choose to leave a donation according to their means.

Meals: Guests make their own breakfast from food provided in the guesthouse kitchen. They join the sisters in the refectory for a buffet lunch. Supper food is provided and eaten in the guesthouse. In addition, each house is supplied with snack foods.

Day Visitors: We invite clay visitors to stop by, although a phone call in advance is appreciated.


Yearly Events & Information

The monastic community also:

vPublishes a monastic journal, "Life Transfigured," which is mailed free of charge, three times a year, to those desiring to receive it.

vResponds to requests to conduct retreats and speak at parishes.

vHosts the monastery patronal feast day which is celebrated each year on August 5th & 6th.

vHosts a program each September to commemorate the repose of Mother Alexandra, the foundress of the monastery.

vHosts a variety of guest lectures, youth retreats and college conferences throughout the year.

A little about monastic life...

Since the beginning of Christianity the tradition of men and women consecrating their lives to God and living in community has existed. The ancient term for this community is monastery, taken from the Greek word monos meaning "alone," as the monastic leaves the everyday world to seek a deeper relationship with Christ.

For the nun, life is centered around prayer—both formal and shared in Church, as well as personal in her room. She embraces the opportunity to pray for the needs of all people, whether she knows them or not. The monastery receives requests for prayer from many directions—letters, phone calls and from visitors.

The second important aspect of life in a monastery is the offering of hospitality. Orthodox monasteries are not "cloistered." We welcome visitors and look forward to the opportunity to have them learn about our life and experience the beauty and peace of the monastery. For many, the visit is an opportunity to "take their soul on vacation"—a special interlude in their otherwise busy lives.

Of course, the nuns must engage in many types of work—caring for the monastery, its property and guests, as well as the spiritual warfare of the soul—striving towards perfection in God.


Our Chapel Schedule

Sundays and Feast Days:

vVigil is served on Saturday evenings and on the eve of feast days at 6:00 p.m.

vHoly Liturgy is served on Sundays and feast days at 9:30 a.m.

Weekday Schedule:

vMatins and Hours at 6:30 a.m.

vVespers and Compline at 5:00 p.m.

vHoly Liturgy is served three days a week. Please phone for a specific Liturgy schedule.

A visit to the monastery can provide a peaceful rest for your soul, an opportunity to get away from the busy-ness of the world and a time to experience God's presence and guidance. We hope that you will plan to visit us.


Directions to the Monastery

From Hwy 79 North or South:
 vExit at #96, Portersville.
 vTurn left onto 488 W.
 vAt stop sign turn right.
 vThen make the first left. (This keeps you on 488 W.)
 vFollow this road 8 miles until you cross a concrete bridge.
 vOur driveway is a 1/4 mile further on the right.

From 76, PA Turnpike:
Take exit #13.
 vGo north on Rt. 18 one mile to a traffic light.
 vTurn right onto Rt. 351.
 vFollow this road through the town of Koppel, across a long bridge, and into Ellwood City.
 vGo to the last traffic light, (corner of Lawrence Avenue & 5th Street), turn left.
 vGo 2 lights. Turn right at McDonald's.
 vFollow 488 E about 3 miles, across two bridges.
 vThe monastery is on the left 1/4 mile after 2nd bridge. (If you cross 3 bridges, you pass us.)


To Contact Us

The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration
321 Monastery Lane
Ellwood City, PA 16117

Phone/Fax: 724-758-4002
Guest Requests: