Glory be to God! A Monastery in the Middle of Oklahoma!

Bishop SABA at the Sacred Monastery of St. Nina

A year or so ago, George received a call from an iconographer he had met several years ago.   He told us about one of his sons, a monk-priest, who had received blessing from Bishop Saba Intskirveli of the Georgian Orthodox Church to start a monastery here in Oklahoma. 

We later met his son, Father Athanasius, as well as the monks who accompanied him, and began frequenting their small monastic community here in Tulsa, not far from where we live. 

Their little skete, which was dedicated to St James, the Brother of our Lord, became a shelter in the storm for many during the lock-down brought on by the recent pandemic.  George and I spent a lot of time with the monks, both in our home and in theirs.    

Their small community in Tulsa was to be a temporary one; we all knew that.  A larger, more permanent place would be needed.  But where? 

God, however, is good.  A somewhat defunct Carmelite convent which was dedicated to St Joseph the Betrothed and located in Piedmont, Oklahoma, soon came to Fr Athanasius’ attention.   The initial asking price was rather steep.  Nevertheless, thanks to the devotions, prayers and personal letters from many (and the persistent negotiating skills of a certain Mr J, in particular), they were able to persuade the nuns to allow them to purchase their monastery in Piedmont for a much more affordable price!  (Like many others, I wrote something about what the brotherhood of St James meant to me personally, which you can see here:   St. James Monastery.)

And so now, St Joseph will be rededicated in honor of his son, St. Iakovos (James), the Brother of our Lord!  

We are very proud of these kind and gifted men.   We know St. Iakovos Monastery will become a refuge for many, many pilgrims and though we miss them terribly, God placed them in the middle of the state, in the middle of the country, so they can be accessible to all.  Glory be to God!   

The pictures and video are from the monastery’s FB page.  

As always, many thanks to our friends in Russia over at who wrote a story about them on their website (which you can access here, pictures, videos and all:


Monastery of St. Iakovos (James) -New Studion Monastery

20000 N. County Line Rd

Piedmont, Oklahoma 73012

Abbot Father Athanasius  (616) 734-3038

Mrs. M




Piedmont, Oklahoma, November 30, 2020

The Georgian Orthodox Church has opened a new monastery in America.

In a video posted on the Facebook page of His Grace Bishop Saba (Intskirveli), the Georgian Orthodox hierarch serving in America, a monk gives a tour of the new Monastery of St. Jacob-New Studion Monastery at 20000 N. County Line Rd Piedmont, Oklahoma 73012.  [See below]


The buildings and territory, about a 20-30 minute drive north of Oklahoma City, formerly belonged to a Catholic Carmelite Monastery, and thus are already well-equipped to house an Orthodox monastery, though there is still work to be done. In particular, the church will need an iconostasis and icons and other familiar features of an Orthodox church.






The plot on which the monastery buildings sit is about 40 acres, while there is another adjacent 80-acre property also belonging to the monastery.


The building housing the church, library, 27 cells, infirmary, kitchens, trapeza, reception area, and several spacious rooms that could be used for various art studios is 48,000 sq. ft. in size, built in 1985 by the Carmelite sisters.








There is also a courtyard and a large pond on the territory.







Watch the full video tour:  Georgian Orthodox monastery opens in Oklahoma (+VIDEO) _ OrthoChristian.Com

[If this doesn’t load, visit their FB page: [ ]


  1. Are they receiving pilgrims now?

  2. I was blessed enough to have lunch with Bishop Saba and Mother Aemiliane of the monastery of St. Nina here in Maryland last year.  I knew they were working on this out in Oklahoma and was waiting to see when it would come to fruition.  Glory to God!

  3. Perhaps they can set up a Facebook page or other site to make themselves known and provide ways people can help support them. 

    • Gail Sheppard says

      They have one! Father Athanasius is very approachable. I would just call him.

      When I see him this week, I’ll ask him how he wants to proceed. I know they have some garden work to do, but that would be in the spring. They may need someone to just walk around with them and take notes on all the things they need. George bought them a huge box of toilet paper that we’re going to take to them. I used to cook for them, but that kitchen is intimidating! I’ll have to learn how to use it.

      • I saw the Facebook page for Bishop Saba. I wasn’t sure if they would make one specifically for the monastery. 
        Let me know what you find out. Thanks!

  4. Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

    Truly blessed news!

  5. What jurisdiction is it? OCA? ROCOR? No, Georgia Patriarchate. I didn’t even know we had churches under the Church of Georgia. They don’t even have a website.
    This is more foreign Mother Church meddling in America. I’m always suspicious of any monastery where their Bishop lives on a different continent (for example, “The Mull Monastery” in Scotland).

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I understand your suspicion, but it’s unwarranted in this case.

      They may have a website. I haven’t looked.

      They are under Bishop Saba Intskirveli, who was the first Georgian cleric ordained on the North American continent back in 2010, I believe. They have another women’s monastery in Maryland.

      We need them because as a country, we’re not all that good setting up traditional monasteries (the Ephraim monasteries being the obvious exception).

      No one is meddling in anything. They’ve been here over a decade. They speak and conduct their services in English. They come from all over the world and most of them speak several languages. They do mosaics, iconography and translations of the Holy Fathers. I have had them in my home many, many times. They are down to earth and unpretentious.

      And they are committed to embracing our American culture. They’re about as “American” as you can get. I know a few of the women from the monastery in Maryland and they were born here! The abbot’s parents are American. He may have even been born here, although the family has spent a lot of time in Greece.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Respectfully, Austin, it would be good to investigate for yourself. While I realize that parishes are struggling, that doesn’t mean that monasteries are necessarily rivals.

    • anonimus per Scorilo says

      The bishop of the Mull Monastery lives on the same continent as the Mull Monastery.

    • I so appreciate the videos Fr Seraphim from Mull Monastery has posted, especially recently.

  6. There have been a few monasteries that have started over the past couple of years. This one, one in Tennessee, one in Louisiana. These plus the Ephraim monasteries will no doubt provide a spiritual life raft for the faithful should our parish churches shut down again. 

  7. Wonderful news!! 
    This news is so timely, too — Yesterday, I happened to re-listen to Kevin Allen’s 2013 podcast in which he interviewed Abbess Aemiliane of the (other Georgian Orthodox Monastery in America) women’s monastery in Union Bridge, Maryland — about her no-less-than-harrowing trauma in the 1981 Hyatt walkway bridge collapse in Kansas City and then the miraculous intervention that saved her and her eventual entry into the monastic life.
    Jesus Christ is glorious in His saints, and He is glorified in His monastics!  May God continue to grant that monasteries be established on American soil, so that our rudderless society may gain some sanity and may learn to live in reality, always directed towards Christ’s eyes. 

    • David Burrows says

      My wife and I were blessed to speak with Abbess Aemiliane. We listened to Kevin Allen’s interview with her as well. What a powerful story. Oklahoma’s have access to a monastery for what I understand is the first time in the state’s history.  We prayed vespers with them. Their chanting is incredibly beautiful. What a joy!

  8. David Burrows says

    We visited! It was wonderful! They invited us to stay for vespers. The service was simply beautiful. We just wanted to welcome them and thank them for establishing an Orthodox monastery in Oklahoma. We presented them with the Icon Made Without Hands from Holy Cross Monastery ROCOR in WV, also a little incense from the same. We included some heirloom popcorn kernels which garnered some smiles as the Nativity fast has begun. They were so warm and full of peace. Daily liturgy is being held. 8:30am was the time they said it would be good to arrive. We hope to return many times. We live only a little more than an hour away, so we hope to make it often. I think we may have been the first guests to sign the guest book. We floated all the way home. It was majestic. (I posted this on OrthoChristian too.)

  9. Kephalonitis says

    Is this monastery associated in any way with Fr. Dionysios Kalampokas ?