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Church founds monastery

The Rev. Peter Preble stands outside St. Michael’s Orthodox Christian Church where the St. Columba of Iona Orthodox Monastery is now located. Dean Coots. (click for larger version)
June 24, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE – A new monastery was founded Sunday when the parish community of St. Michael's Orthodox Christian Church voted to establish the St. Columba of Iona Orthodox Monastery on the grounds of the church.

The Rev. Peter Preble, parish pastor, said that, as of Sunday, the monastery does exist. No construction was necessary or will be necessary because the monastery's monks and new chapel services will reside in the rectory.

For more than a year, Preble worked to find suitable property on which to found the monastery. Finally, only several months ago, one of the church parishioners, Thomas Andrea, suggested that instead of looking elsewhere for the property, St. Michael's property ought to be used. The idea was passed through a number of councils and committees and the vote on Sunday made it official.

"We have been looking at all sorts of property including the former Camp Bement in Charlton, but God had other plans," said Preble. "It is funny how you can be looking for something and the answer to the question is right under your nose the entire time,"

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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