10/26/13 10:00am
10/26/2013 10:00 AM

 

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The monastery’s dog, Argos, joins (from left) novice-in-training Maria, Sister Theonymphi, Abbess Foteini and Sister Martha outside the chapel after vespers.

Nestled on a secluded plot of land in Calverton, just far enough away from the rumbling traffic of Route 25, the nuns of All Saints Greek Orthodox Monastery enter their chapel and begin to pray.

Standing in a circle around an intricately carved wooden podium, the four nuns recite liturgy before breaking into harmonious song. They’re observing Vespers, a Christian worship service that traditionally signifies the start of a new day and is usually marked at or near sunset.

After about 15 minutes, the sisters stop singing and Abbess Foteini, a petite young woman from Missouri, glances in the direction of two visitors in attendance.

“That’s it,” she says brightly. “Vespers is short.”


All Saints Greek Orthodox Monastery was founded in 1997 when Sister Ypomoni, née Chrystalla Petropolou, used her life savings to purchase eight acres of land on Middle Road. Born in Cyprus, she had moved to Mattituck in the 1950s. She died in late 2010 and is buried in the monastery’s backyard.

The monastery is under the auspices of the Direct Archdiocesan District of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. No priest resides at the abbey, but the monastery’s chaplain, the Rev. Father Vasilios Govits, comes to Calverton every Sunday to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

RELATED: A unique place of worship

The monastery building wasn’t completed until 2007, and was unoccupied until 2009, when Sister Ypomoni and three young women — Abbess Foteini, Sister Theonymphi and Sister Martha — took up residence there. Sister Theonymphi, whose tonsured name means “Bride of God,” was born “Maria” and raised in a Greek Orthodox family in Detroit.

“I wasn’t a little kid like [she places her hands in mock prayer and closes her eyes, smiling],” she says of her decision to join the monastery. “For me, it was where my heart felt drawn.”

In 2011, Sister Theonymphi’s mother, a former middle school teacher also named Maria, entered the convent herself. Since she has lived at the monastery less than three years, she is considered a “novice,” or nun-in-training, and hasn’t yet received a new name.

“I liked my work and I was actually very comfortable where I was,” Maria says of life before the convent. “But I felt that I would have a fuller life with Christ in the monastery.”

“It didn’t hurt that your daughter was here,” Sister Theonymphi jokes.

“It helped,” Maria says. “It definitely helped.”

Days at the monastery are strictly structured and chores are assigned by Abbess Foteini. The sisters rise each day at 3:30 a.m. and pray for an hour, Sister Theonymphi explains. Quiet hours are from 4:30 to 6 a.m., during which the sisters can rest, read or catch up on personal tasks. At 6 a.m., the sisters gather for a 15-minute service that includes a song, a hymn dedicated to the saint of the day and a closing prayer. This service is repeated three more times throughout the day. Vespers is observed at 4 p.m. and dinner is served around 5. The nuns don’t eat meat and they frequently fast for religious reasons.

When they aren’t in prayer, the sisters earn a living creating handmade soaps, soy candles, all-natural deodorant, lip balm and bath scrubs as part of their “All for Nun” line of artisan goods, produced in-house and sold in the monastery’s gift shop. They have also published two children’s books, both illustrated by Sister Theonymphi, and sell prayer bracelets online at Amazon.com.

In addition, the sisters are also responsible for cleaning and maintaining the abbey.

“It’s physically demanding,” Sister Theonymphi says of the work. “We don’t have a man around. If we have to change the blades on the lawnmower and a [repair] man doesn’t show up, we’re just going to have to get out the tools and take care of it.”

As it turns out, the only “man” who resides on the property is Argos, a friendly two-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog the sisters adopted as a puppy. Named after Odysseus’ canine companion in Homer’s “The Odyssey,” Argos delights in keeping watch over the numerous chickens the sisters keep in a coop on the property.

Argos, with his glossy coat and affable personality, is the sort of dog some people might spend their time posting endless pictures of on photo-sharing websites like Instagram. The sisters don’t have their own cellphones, but that doesn’t mean the monastery is devoid of modern technology.

The nuns use alarm clocks and have an emergency cellphone as well as an iPad that can process credit card transactions for gift shop purchases. All the sisters take turns managing the monastery’s Facebook page, which is updated numerous times per month and includes things like a Lenten brownie recipe and mission work photos.

When it comes down to it, Sister Theonymphi says, monastic life isn’t much different from being married.

“People always wonder,” she says. “They think it’s so different. I’m sure you could compare the difficulties of monastic life to the difficulties of married life. It’s not always so easy to do something like cook [a meal] the way your husband really likes it, but you do it because you love him.

“We have those scenarios,” she says. “You have to cut your will and do the will of someone else. For us, we do that because we love them but we’re trying to love God through the other person.”

ryoung@timesreview.com

10/25/13 3:19pm
10/25/2013 3:19 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Volunteer Paul Dooling, of Farmingdale, power washes the A-6E.

Restoration of the F-14 and A-6E fighter jets on loan from the U.S. Navy and on display at Grumman Memorial Park in Calverton got under way Friday.

Six volunteers — many of them Grumman retirees — from Nassau County’s Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City donated their time Friday morning to perform “spot repairs,” by power-washing and scraping away and chipping paint from the airplanes.

Friday’s maintenance efforts focused on winterizing the planes, Cradle of Aviation Museum executive director Andrew Parton said.

The planes will be painted for the first time since 2007 next spring, he said.

“It feels good to preserve this part of Long Island’s history,” Mr. Parton said. “We’re happy to do it.”

The town teamed up with the museum to make the proper repairs after Calverton civic members and a News-Review article in May highlighted the planes’ deteriorating condition.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday’s clean up was just the start of the restoration, saying there would be a long-term partnership with the museum to ensure the planes remained the best possible condition.

He said the town is working out the details of the maintenance plan and would continue to supply the paint and other materials, such as ladders, a power washer and a bucket truck as needed.

“The fact that they’re doing this for the town is tremendous,” Mr. Walter said. “We are looking forward to a long partnership with the Cradle of Aviation Museum.”

cmurray@timesreview.com 

10/20/13 12:00pm
10/20/2013 12:00 PM

Riverhead Blue Waves football

The Riverhead football team improved its record to 5-1 with a 28-0 victory over Walt Whitman Saturday.

You can read a full recap, including sound bites from interviews and game video by clicking here.

View more photos from the game in the gallery below:

Next Saturday at 2 p.m. is the Waves’ regular season home finale against 5-1 West Islip.

10/19/13 5:59pm
10/19/2013 5:59 PM
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Michael Hubbard, seated, led the Class of 2014's float at the Riverhead homecoming parade Saturday.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Michael Hubbard, seated, helped lead the Class of 2014′s float at the Riverhead homecoming parade Saturday.

East Main Street was infused with the spirit of Dr. Seuss at the Riverhead homecoming parade Saturday afternoon.

Riverhead High School students presided over Dr. Seuss-themed floats during the festivities, which began at 12:30 p.m. on East Avenue and East Main Street.

Leading the Class of 2014’s “The Lorax” float in a wheelchair decorated with blue and white garlands was 17-year-old Michael Hubbard, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2011.

Michael, who suffered third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body when a gel candle exploded in his backyard, was wheeled by a classmate as fellow members of the senior class walked beside him during the parade.

Other Dr. Seuss-themed floats included the Class of 2015’s “The Cat in the Hat,” the Class of 2016’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and the Class of 2017’s “The Foot Book.”

The freshman class proved to be the big winners in the float competition, the results of which were announced during the football game. The Riverhead football team defeated Walt Whitman, 28-0, to cap the homecoming festivities.

Numerous clubs and sports teams were represented in the parade, including the Riverhead High School marching band, Riverhead PAL football and the Riverhead High School cheerleading squad.

After a walk down Main Street, parade participants marched west toward Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field to watch the Blue Waves improve to 5-1 in Division II.

ryoung@timesreview.com

10/19/13 3:20pm
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Riverhead Police officer Benjamin Goodale's casket is carried into the Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue Saturday.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Riverhead Police officer Benjamin Goodale’s casket is carried into the Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue Saturday.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue Saturday morning to pay their respects to 42-year-old Riverhead Town police officer Benjamin Goodale, who died of an apparent heart attack Oct. 15.

Uniformed Riverhead Police officers stood in formation and members of Eastern Long Island Police Pipes and Drums played as Mr. Goodale’s casket was carried into the church. Riverhead Town councilwoman Jodi Giglio was among the mourners present at the 11 a.m. funeral service.

Mr. Goodale, a Calverton resident and 17-year veteran of the police force, leaves behind his wife, Katherine, and their two young children. His death comes just one week following the untimely passing of longtime Riverhead Police Detective Robert Boden, who died Oct. 7 at the age of 54 after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

At the Riverhead homecoming football game a few hours later, Mr. Goodale — a 1990 Riverhead graduate who wore No. 63 on the football team — was honored with a moment of silence.

ryoung@timesreview.com

10/19/13 12:00pm

BARBARALLEN KOCH PHOTO | Andy Warhol’s Souper Dress, courtesy of Woodward Gallery, is paired with a 19th-century dress from the historical society’s permanent collection, at the entry to the exhibit.

The Suffolk County Historical Society opened its new exhibit, ‘Back to the Future: Contemporary Artists Consider the Permanent Collection’ Friday evening.

The show features 11 contemporary painters, sculptors and a photographer, all of whom have created new works for this exhibit. The works utilize themes or materials that echo the older, antique nature of most of the items in the society’s permanent collection. As stated in the society’s newsletter: “the exhibit’s featured work focuses not on copying the past but rather considers history as fluid, something that is constantly in dialogue with the present and future.”

The exhibit was curated by Mary Lou Cohalan with assistance by Martina Camarola.

“Exhibiting the antique pieces from our collection alongside these contemporary works is a thought provoking way to view history,” said executive director Kathy Curran. ”It places our objects in another context that brings history to life.”

Funding for the exhibit is provided by Heart for Art and a special grant from the Suffolk County Office of Cultural Affairs to encourage collaborations among nonprofit agencies on Long Island. The exhibit will run through Nov. 23.

The artists in the exhibit are: Cara Barer, Rob Carter, Juddith Condon, Elizabeth Duffy, Katherine Frey, Susan Hoeltzel, Keith Long, Judy Richardson, Donna Sharrett, Karen Shaw and Andy Warhol.

10/14/13 7:00am
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Appraiser Karen Sampieri examines a gold pocketwatch during Saturday's appraisal event in Riverhead. The watch was valued at between $400 and $1,000.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Appraiser Karen Sampieri examines a gold pocketwatch during Saturday’s appraisal event in Riverhead. The watch was valued at between $400 and $1,000.

G. Greux.

That’s what the hastily scribbled signature at the edge of the faded etching Jose Capitulo was holding spelled. Or, at least, that’s what he thought it spelled.

“Gustave Greux,” he said, as more of a question than a statement of fact. He had done some homework on the yellowed piece of art he and his wife Lorina bought at an estate sale along with a pile of old books. The best result was that Greux, a French engraver from the last 19th century.

A search or two on the Internet had turned up little about the work of art portraying a young woman sitting by a tree, or its potential value.

So on Saturday morning, Mr. and Ms. Capitulo trekked from North Babylon to the Hyatt Place East End in Riverhead to be one of hundreds to have their antique art, jewelry and knickknacks appraised by New York City auctioneers.

More than 500 items ranging from old hockey sticks to silver rings to picture frames were valued as part of the appraisal day, hosted by East End Arts, said the organization’s executive director Pat Snyder.

“It’s been a blast so far,” she said as she surveyed the dozens of people on line waiting for their turn.

The appraisals were done by Heritage Auctions, the same company that was used in some episodes of “Antiques Roadshow,” and each appraiser had a specialty. One was an expert in jewelry, another fine art, yet another a master of coins and rare currency.

Most of those who waited on line for hours to have their heirlooms valued didn’t strike gold at the appraisers table.

More than one set of grandma’s old rings turned out to be just worth its weight in metal, while another golden pocket watch was determined to be average for the time period and worth around $400.

Still, Mr. and Ms. Capitulo were hopeful their estate sale find would net them a healthy profit.

As the pair sat across the folding table in the appraisal room, appraiser Aviva Lehmann snapped open a handheld magnifier and hunched over the etching. She didn’t recognize the name of the artist, and a search through her database revealed no notable matching sales.

Gustave Greux, whoever he was, probably didn’t make the Capitulo’s piece.

The condition of the 19th century etching — frayed and acidified at the edges — only further deducted from the value, Ms. Lehmann declared.

The final determination: the etching was worth no more than $50 to $100. It probably wasn’t even worth investing any money into the restoration, Ms. Lehmann said..

“It’s very well done,” she said apologetically. “It’s beautiful. I would hang it.”

The couple tucked the artwork away with the paper it came from. Sure, they said, the etching wasn’t worth big bucks. But it was still a good deal.

“We got it for 2 dollars, so we’re pretty happy,” Ms. Capitulo said.

psquire@timesreview.com