On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

 

Entrance

St. Anthony's Church

Main Courtyard

MJ and I looking like refugees in front of St. Nicholas Chapel

Spanish Fountain

MJ and John

connecting pathway

St Nicholas Chapel

St. George's Chapel

young olive trees and citrus orchard

Traditional Orthodox Cross

 

St. Demetrio's Chapel entrance

Another lovely fountain

St. Seraphim's Chapel

 

 

 

Apache playing cards at Florence Historical Museum

Furniture made from saguaro cactus

 

 


Mary Jane , John, and I spent the day in Florence -one of the oldest towns in Arizona. Many historic buildings still exist giving the town a real frontier atmosphere. I suppose that is why many movies have been filmed here.

Our first stop was St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery. Eighteen years ago 6 monks came from Greece to start this monastery in the desert. They constructed a church and living quarters for themselves and guests. Since then the monastery has expanded to at least five chapels, citrus orchards, olive groves, and vegetable gardens. Everything is connected by lovely pathways with Spanish fountains and crosses - the most interesting one was the Fountain of the Cross . Their explanation of the three bar cross (also known as the Russian cross or the Orthodox cross): the top small bar is the sign that was placed on the cross with the inscription "Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews"; the second bar is for the hands. The bottom bar is the footrest and the reason it is slanted is this: the thief crucified on the right of Christ was saved and went to Heaven; the other thief went down to Hell. The right end points up to Heaven and and the left down to Hell.

Despite the fact that the garb we had to don for this visit made us feel like refugees, we are glad that we came to see what these monks are creating in the middle of the desert. Can't say I understand why but I guess they could say - why not?

We lunched at the Mount Athos Greek, Italian and American restaurant before heading to the Prison Store - an outlet for the handiwork of the inmates of the Florence jail.

A block or two away was the Pinal County Historical Museum. It turned out to be a very interesting stop. The Indian playing cards and the saguaro cactus furniture were particularly unique. There was an enlightening display about the AOUW - Ancient Order of United Workmen. This organization, founded in 1868, was the first fraternal benefit organization in the U.S. The AOUW assessed members to ensure a guaranteed death benefit to the family as opposed to members passing the hat to help the family. The payments that the family would get from AOUW often payed off debts such as the mortgage on the family farm. It is believed that is how the phrase "bought the farm" originated.

Won a couple of games at MahJong tonight - a great way to a very interesting day.



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