/ About / History
The Founding

Holy Assumption Monastery was founded in the early 1940's by a small group of nuns who fled from Russia and China in search of freedom to practice their faith. Originally settling in San Francisco, they soon discovered the quiet town of Calistoga 80 miles north of the city and, with the blessing of the local church hierarchy, purchased an old two-story property by the Napa River.

At first, the old building served as both chapel and living quarters, but eventually the nuns built a separate small wooden chapel as their place of worship. They adorned it with their own icons and embroidered cloths and began to hold services, to which all those inside and outside their gates were welcome.

For various reasons, the last nuns left in the early 1980's, and the monastery functioned as a parish church for years.  However, without the presence of the nuns, the monastery buildings fell bit by bit into poor repair.

The Restoration

Through the vision and hard work of Igumen Sergious Gerken (and the support of a small community of dedicated monastery friends), an ambitious restoration project was begun in 1998 to make the monastery once again habitable for a community of nuns. The grounds were transformed into a beautiful garden, while the chapel underwent extensive renovation and improvements. The main building was beautifully rebuilt as a refectory and living quarters for the nuns. The grounds were graced with church bells and a koi pond, pergola, and new walkways. All was nearly ready and the local community was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the nuns. 

New Beginnings

While the finishing touches were still being put on the main building, the long-expected nuns arrived, but from an unexpected quarter. On the morning of October 8, 2009, the community of St. Barbara Monastery in Santa Paula, CA  was informed that they had 30 days to remove the RVs in which nearly two thirds of the community was living while trying to build a wing to house the sisters. By that evening, Abbess Victoria had contacted Bishop Benjamin and received his enthusiastic blessing to relocate ten of the sisters to Calistoga. Two weeks later, on October 22, the sisters, under the leadership of Mother Melania, arrived at their new home to a gracious welcome from Fr. Sergious. Soon thereafter, various members of the local community and the outlying areas started arriving with good wishes, food, and practical help of  various kinds. The sisters were and continue to be overwhelmed by such kindness.

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Holy Assumption Monastery
1519 Washington St, Calistoga, CA 94515

(707) 942-6244