Holy Cross Monastery was originally founded in 1970, when Archimandrite Theodor (Micka) and Archdeacon Stephen (Scott) made a vow to build a monastary dedicated to the Holy Cross.
They acquired property for the monastery in 1979 with their own funds (a combination of what they had saved and what Archimandrite Theodor had inherited from his mother, who had died in 1965, just a year after his ordination). No donations were soliced for the purchase of the monastery property.
The original property consisted of a rustic farmhouse and barn on about two acres with a small walnut orchard. Working with their own hands and using their own funds to develop the property over the following decades, the monks were able by the grace of God to renovate the original edifice, construct a chapel and additional structures, and transfigure the property into the monastery it is today.
Then, in 2002, they purchased an adjacent parcel and home, effectively doubling the size of the monastery property. They remodeled the home on the new property to create a hall for baptismal and wedding receptions.
The monastery is basically self-supporting through Archdeacon Stephen's earnings from his full-time employment. He is the manager of new business development of the litigation department of a large Silicon Valley law firm, where he has worked for a decade. By God's grace, he is now able to telecommute and work remotely by satellite from the monestary three days a week.
As a result, our monastery is rather unique in that it has never held a fund raising events or solicited donations, nor does it pass collection plates at services or charge fixed prices for candles or sacramentals. Nevertheless the faithful who come to the monastery for spiritual nourishment cheerfully donate and contribute, which helps them tremendously.
The monastery is located on about five acres in a rugged rural setting (a wooden canyon at the confluence of two creeks), but well within the San Francisco Bay Area. They are located only a half an hour from the heart of Silicon Valley and less than an hour from San Francisco. The monastery is visited by thousands of Orthodox Christians and others each year.
The Ministry of the Monastery
The monastery ministers to Orthodox Christians of all backgrounds, but the majority of them were born in Europe and English is their second language. The vast majority of faithful coming to us for spiritual needs are from Bulgaria and Romania; but also have worshippers coming who were born in Greece, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and elsewhere.
The monastery conducts services in various languages according to the needs of those coming to us for spiritual nourishment: Church Slavic (or "Old Bulgarian"), Modern Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, or English.
The monastery is an especially popular place for baptisms and weddings. Over the past decade or so the monastery has performed 175 baptisms (averaging more than 15 a year) and 50 weddings (averaging more than 4 a year). It should be noted, though, that the number of baptisms and weddings has been steadily on the increase over the past decades. Subsequent receptions for these events are usually held at the monastery and those receiving these sacramental blessings donate generously.
The monastery performs relatively few funerals; because most of the people coming to us are younger immigrants, whose parents and grandparents are still in the "old country." The monastery does regularly perform memorial services on their behalf, however. Liturgy each Sunday is usually followed by a potluck "agape" luncheon and those who come to worship with us share food and fellowship with warm and welcoming hearts.