Some might find it uninteresting albeit unnecessary visiting a monastery, but the ones on this list are sure to surprise you. With antiquated features and unique architecture, monasteries can teach us a thing or two about community living and age-old design. Springing from the Latin word monastērĭum monasteries have existed since the middle ages and existed in both Christian and Buddhist religions. A nice tidbit is that monasteries come in different shapes, sizes, and formats. They are unique, attractive, and some are gorgeous enough for a visit. This list of must-visit monasteries in South Carolina, USA, shows how diverse in nature simple monasteries can be as they offer a glimpse of both ancient and modern.
1. Mepkin Abbey
The first thing visitors will remember upon leaving Mepkin Abbey is the breathtaking beauty that surrounds it. An opulent garden filled with aged trees and blooming flowers and the backdrop of a pristine lake are memorable tokens of a visit to this monastery. Dating back to 1681, it was at first a plantation and home to several historic families until it was eventually transformed into a monastery. The interior of the monastery lends itself to high-end commercial elements with a mix of its historic flavor. The monastery is now home to Trappist monks who dedicate their lives to prayer, silence, solitude, and privacy. They also believe in offering hospitality to visitors. Currently, there are guided tours that include a look at both the gardens and monastery where visitors can expect to see wood carvings, miniature nativity scenes and the monks themselves in their daily services.
Address: 1098 Mepkin Abbey Rd, Moncks Corner, SC 29461-4796
Website: Mepkin Abbey
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11:30am, 2pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
Price: 5 USD
2. Paracletos Greek Orthodox Monastery
Paracletos Greek Orthodox Monastery wants their message of compassion, love, and desire to come across in their motto and mission to the world. Devout faith and prayer are also quintessentially their way of living and they hope to portray this to guests and visitors to the monastery. Built in a simple style, the monastery has a typical Greek orthodox look, quaint yet elegant. A small ground surrounds it which looks ideal for a quiet stroll and gives a chance to reconnect with nature. Operating as both a convent and monastery, there is a special store for orders of portraits, holy water bottles, epiphany icons, and many other religious wares. The women who operate the convent start their prayers at 4am and continue throughout the day. They also spend a part of their day in the workshop to create the religious icons sold at the store. Feast days are a big event at this convent where 100 people visit to listen to the liturgy.
Paracletos Greek Orthodox Monastery
Address: 790 Gin House Rd, Abbeville, SC 29620, United States
Website: Paracletos Greek Orthodox Monastery
Opening hours: 7:30am - 10am (daily)
3. Saints Mary & Martha Orthodox Monastery
Saints Mary & Martha Orthodox Monastery located in Wagener, South Carolina, was founded in1989 by a bishop. However the property was secured in 1995 and since then, they have been expanding their presence within the community. The monastery finds the importance of prayer as supreme and that binds the members together. They strongly stress the fact that there is a need for the monastic strength of prayer and love, hence the development of the monastery. A beautifully blossoming garden surrounds the monastery that accentuates the overall beauty of the building itself. The grounds include a perennial garden, vegetable garden, and an orchard with berry bushes. Frolicking among the trees of the garden you will find ducks and monastery pets which include a dog and cats. Visitors will find Kildare Barne Shoppes, a monastery store and a small studio on the property for viewing relics.
Saints Mary & Martha Monastery
Address: 51 Spinner Ln, Wagener, SC 29164, United States
Website: Saints Mary & Martha Monastery
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 12am - 7pm (closed on Mon - Fri)
4. The Monastery of St. Clare
Founded in 1955 by 12 sisters of the Poor Clares sect, there was established in South Carolina a contemplative community of Poor Clares sisters. The sisters were welcomed harmoniously as it was believed their prayers would be of great benefit. Even after 60 years, the monastery has continued to be a powerful and prayerful presence within the community. The sisters have dedicated their lives to contemplative prayer and to improve the goodwill of the surrounding areas. The small chapel that is home to the sisters is simple, quaint and reflects the life of evangelical poverty that they have vowed to take on. As a part of their life’s work, they seek to work, study and receive guests within their ranks in the bond of charity and love. Visitors are welcome during all the scheduled worship hours.
The Monastery of St. Clare
Address: 37 McCauley Rd, Travelers Rest, SC 29690, United States
Website: The Monastery of St. Clare
Opening hours: Mon, Tue, Thu: 5pm; Sun: 4:30 pm (closed on Wed, Fri & Sat)
5. Vien Quang Buddhist Monastery
Snugly hidden in Piedmont South Carolina, Vien Quang Buddist Monastery is a treasure just waiting to be discovered. Hidden among trees and greenery, the Vietnamese monastery is a branch of the Vietnamese World Buddhist Order temples. Founded in 2012, Vien Quang Monastery sits on 22 acres (8.9 hectares) of land amid serene streams, wooden bridges, and statues of amazing statues scattered across the property. There are also cottages for reading, walking trails and areas for peaceful reflection. The monastery aims to promote the teachings of Buddha and foster cultural and educational proponents of his teachings.
Vien Quang Buddhist Monastery
Address: 1032 Galway Ln, Clover, SC 29710, United States
Website: Vien Quang Buddhist Monastery
Opening hours: Sat: 9am - 5pm Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed from Mon - Fri)
Take a tour of these four amazing monasteries
You will love the experience of history, culture, and tradition that these monasteries have to offer. Whether you like the brilliant architecture, or just meeting the nuns and monks yourself, you will learn and experience something you never have before. The fact that they help to assist their communities is another bonus and they should be supported in any way possible.
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