An Update on St Iakovos/New Studion Monastery

We thought we would pass on this letter to let you know how the monastery in Piedmont, OK is doing!  Please pray for them.  

These monks have become part of our family and we have become part of theirs.  When they were here in Tulsa, they were frequent visitors in our home.  By God’s grace, they were able to give us, and others in our Church community, the sustenance we needed to face the abrupt changes we’ve experienced over the past year.  I love each of them as a son and as their “mom” I am incredibly proud of them.  These young men are so deserving of this opportunity.  If you can help them out, I’m sure they would be most appreciative.   

Mrs. M


Dear Friends of St. Iakovos,

Happy New Year!

Whew!  Keeping up with a 48,000 square foot property and having only a few hands to attend to the numerous services and feeding guests is very challenging! There has been a whirlwind of activity at St. Iakovos since I last wrote and I wanted to give you an update. While the official workdays had to be canceled due to weather – stay tuned for new workday announcements – many people have shown up at random times and have been a huge help with so many things.  Remember, you are welcome to come help anytime- just drop Fr. Athanasios a text or give him a call (616) 734-3038 before you come! 

In addition to works of service and material needs starting to be taken care of, spiritual needs are being fulfilled as well.  Sacred Services of the Holy Twelve Days of Christmas are ongoing with Vespers, Matins and daily Divine Liturgy and there have already been two people baptized in a beautiful service on Christmas Eve (January 6th).  

Nativity services attracted people from all over, including Tulsa, Stillwater, Chicago, Lawton, Enid, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee.  Visitors came sharing gifts of food and other items.  A fellow hieromonk drove from Colorado with dozens of fresh pastries and liturgical support. A commercial dishwasher will be added to the needs list, as people were up until 3:30am washing dishes after the Christmas Liturgy meal!

Even after so many visits to St. Nina’s Monastery in Maryland, we had not fully realized and appreciated how much work went on behind the scenes providing continuous soul-refreshing hospitality, in addition to the day-to-day liturgical services, producing coffee and offering other gifts through their website store. As more monastics come to the Monastery and more hands are available to help, the monastics will be able to focus more on self-sustaining work through their mosaic studio, greenhouse and more!

We wanted to pass along heartfelt thanks from the Monastery for the most generous donations received so far!  The first list of needs seemed a bit overwhelming to be sent out, but like manna from heaven, prayers are being answered daily!  

ITEMS RECEIVED (Updated 1/11/2021)  

  • PRAYERS!! None of these things would have been possible without your prayers!
  • A nice used van was donated.  The monastics have been sharing one generously donated Toyota Forerunner that is not large enough to accommodate everyone, and is frequently in use, so a second, larger and newer car was such a wonderful surprise!
  • Two XL twin beds, frames and bedding arrived just in time for the long-legged monastics!
  • A certain baklava baker has been spreading cheer at random times, filling the halls with an amazing cinnamon and honey aroma that makes your mouth water.  He has donated a food processor and the time-saving heavy duty commercial processor requested is on it’s way! He has shown the monks how to make baklava to sell at a later date.
  • A large sectional sofa and many other household items were donated by an El Reno woman who is redecorating her home
  • Nice heavy-duty vinyl tablecloths were donated for the trapeza (Monastery dining hall).
  • A Local rancher donated 400 lbs. of ground beef!
  • Pilgrims brought an abundance of frozen and fresh fish
  • A beautiful granite island countertop showed up to replace an aging Formica one
  • A monastic’s family came for Christmas and bought a butler’s cart, label maker, aprons and more kitchen items
  • Many have contributed serving bowls, utensils, sheets, towels, kitchen items, coffee makers, and an array of food items.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS (Updated 1/11/2021)

Biggest Priority – MORE BEDS! Pilgrims are coming from everywhere and empty guest rooms must be furnished! (Eventually they will need 30 total).


Sturdy paper plates AmazonSmile: Member’s Mark 10 1/16 in Ultra Plates, 204 Count: Health & Personal Care , bowls AmazonSmile: Dixie Ultra Paper Bowls, 20 Oz, Dinner or Lunch Size Printed Disposable Bowls, 156 Count (6 Packs of 26 Bowls): Health & Personal Care and disposable 12 oz plastic water glasses AmazonSmile: TashiLiving Clear Plastic Coffee Disposable Transparent hot and Cold drink Cups for Water, Tea, Juice, Soda, Milk, 12 Ounce, BPA-Free: Kitchen & Dining , 12 oz insulated coffee cups AmazonSmile: Dixie PerfecTouch 12 Oz. Insulated Paper Hot Coffee Cup by GP PRO (Georgia-Pacific), Coffee Haze, 5342DX,(25 Cups Per Sleeve, 20 Sleeves Per Case): Industrial & Scientific , toilet paper-septic safe , laundry soap and Woolite for black clothing, pantry staples, bread, canned foods, freezer meals, coffee, dried nuts and fruits, olive oil.


  • Large area rugs 9 x 12 (red Persian rugs)
  • Laundry baskets
  • Commercial dough mixer to make Prosforo
  • Industrial janitorial floor cleaner that sweeps and mops at the same time
  • Commercial dishwasher
  • A health professional to set up the infirmary with basics – pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, thermometers, first aid kits and eventually a defibrillator
  • Contacts at restaurants, grocery stores or farmer’s markets for excess or soon-to-be expiring food or produce. 

Monetary contributions can also be made through St. Nina’s Monastery and note that it is for St. Iakovos. Donate – The Sacred Monastery of Saint Nina ( for a one-time or even better, a recurring monthly contribution.  Otherwise, you can send an egift card of your choosing (Amazon, Target, Walmart, Costco) directly to Fr. Athanasios.   If you have anything shipped, or are ready to visit, the address is 20000 N. County Line Road, Piedmont, OK  73078. They await your visit!!  

You may also reach out to me anytime if you have any questions at all!!

Yours in Christ,

Amy and Roger Spring

Friends of the Monastery Coordinators  (405) 822-3932

About GShep


  1. Thanks be to God for this monastery. I am happy that ya’ll have had the opportunity to grow close to the monks and the monastery. I’m going to forward their list of needs to some people to see if we can help. I’m really hoping to make a trip up to the monastery the next time I’m in Texas.

    Also, just found out that the abbess of St. Nina’s in Maryland is the aunt of the guys from the band Hanson (pretty sure everyone knows Mmmbop).
    As someone who was a young kid in the 90’s this was really cool to find out. Apparently one (more?) of the Hanson brothers is Orthodox as well. Very cool

    • Gail Sheppard says

      So this is kind of a funny story, Petros.

      After I moved to Tulsa, George and I were at a pizza place and he saw some friends of his he wanted me to meet. I went over to their booth and sat down next to them. George introduced them and I kept looking at them thinking I knew them. I asked them if they knew my daughter, Jessica, and if they had been friends of hers in CA because the more I looked at them the more I was sure they had hung out at our house. They were laughing at me at this point and George said again, “Gail, this is Zac, Isaac and Taylor H-A-N-S-O-N.” At the moment I realized who they were, their father took a picture of me. The picture is priceless! My now 28 year old daughter played their music morning, noon, and night when she was a “tweener” back in the day. No wonder I thought I knew them! As you probably know, they live in Tulsa. They go to our Church and are frequent visitors in our home. We adore them. Jessica thinks Tulsa is a whole lot “cooler” now that she gets to see them when she comes.

      The abbess of St. Nina’s is also a dear, dear friend of ours. She has been very involved with the monastery. The last time she was with us we talked about her telling you all of you her story about how she survived that terrible disaster at the Hyatt in Kansas City when the catwalks collapse and she was under the rubble. A truly amazing story.

      • Gail that’s awesome lol. That’s very, very cool. My sisters, and pretty much every girl in my elementary school used to blast them all the time. Thanks be to God they were able to find Orthodoxy.

  2. I’m just curious. Has anyone ever had a conversation with the monks regarding their opinion of the “OCU” schismatics?

  3. George Michalopulos says

    Here is a link from Greek TV about two of the monks and their mosaic craftwork: