Jordanville, NY, is in the middle of nowhere. Really. I think it is nothing more than a four-corner settlement with a library. But it does have two interesting landmarks that dot the rolling hillsides: a castle and a monastery. We went to see the monastery in the early spring of 2006.
This area of the Mohawk Valley is home to a large number of Russian immigrants, most of whom emigrated to America during times of religious persecution under Joseph Stalin (hiss, hiss). My stepfather was Russian Jewish, so I have a natural interest in Russian history. (My step-dad also said Russian monks made the best wines, and I think he was in part of some kind of Russian wine of the month club, lol).
The monastery was founded in 1928.
We had hoped to be able to enter the church and look inside. But a sign at the gate forbade women wearing pants to enter. Nuts. We drove around the front and snapped a few pictures. I got a shot of a beautiful mosaic over the doors. The halos above the apostles’ heads are made of gold mosaic tile. Click the photo to see a larger one with more detail.
More colorful mosaics were to be found beyond this exquisite gate. I was not bold enough to enter through the gate, but I took this picture.
I also took a quick snapshot of the glorious golden onion dome, so typical of the orthodox style.
It was a nice visit, even though we did not get to go in the buildings. The kids and I are currently studying ancient world cultures and Church History. We have just finished reading about the fall of the Roman Empire and the invasion of the Northern tribes, and started learning about the formation of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. It is good to see their artwork and religious style first-hand, rather than relying only on pictures in books.
We drove further down the road and came to the monastery’s cemetery. I took a few pictures. The cemetery chapel reminded me of Taj Mahal.
On our way back to the main thoroughfare (i.e., Jordanville Rd.) we spotted a swath of signs denouncing the Iraq War. All along his property, a farmer had large signs such as the one below, protesting the war as a “blood for oil” contest.
Not all appreciated the farmer’s signs, and defaced the property with spray paint. 🙁
Who knew tiny Jordanville was a hotbed of seething political passions? Then again, this is America. 😉