first_imgPantanassa is a men’s coenobitic monastery perched on the side of Mangrove Mountain in the Central Coast of NSW. The monastery was established with the initiative of Archbishop Stylianos back in 1976, following the example of traditional Athonite monasticism. The monks live and work in a small complex below a 200-metre cliff, performing liturgies at a small adjacent chapel dedicated to Saints Ephraim and Isaac the Syrians. Located only 90 minutes north of Sydney, it combines present-day design practices with ancient materials, creating Australia’s first Greek Orthodox monastery produced in this ancient style. Renovation works started on the new monastic complex site at the top of the mountain on 27 May 2005, assigned to Design Delta Architects (DDA). “It’s a very traditional form that dates back many many hundreds of years, so it’s certainly not a unique roof,” said DDA Principal Demetrios Stavropoulos. “It’s a borrowed concept that has been adapted to include cheaper and more modern materials, such as brick instead of the traditional stone walls.” The domed roof and terracotta barrel tiles compliment the whole church structure comprising concrete rather than stone and mortar, formed in polystyrene moulds. “The whole church is a concrete shell and all the three dimensional shapes such as the domes and cross vaults were formed in either Styrofoam or sheet steel,” Stavropoulos added. “The Styrofoam was coated in fibreglass to resist the impact of the concrete when it was poured on top to avoid any deformation of the surface and the sheet steel was used to form simple shapes such as a half cylinder as it was cheaper and easy enough to manipulate.” On the monastery grounds there is also an iconography studio which is the primary source of income and a candle-making factory along St. Joseph’s joinery workshop, a set of beehives, a timber cabin used for confessional and bookshop, an outdoor chapel and a cave dedicated to St. Anna. There are also numerous dams on the property for water. While the new Pantanassa Monastery is structurally complete it will be a while before the monks can occupy the space.For more information go to and Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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