Hermitage of Prophet Elias

Smoky Lake County (Dickie Bush), Alberta

Hermitage of Prophet Elias

Founded 2009

Diocese: Archdiocese of Canada

Deanery: Alberta Deanery


60308 Highway 855
Smoky Lake County, Alberta

Mailing address:

PO Box 691
Smoky Lake, AB T0A 3C0

Church: 780-656-3828

Parish Contacts

Home: 780-656-3828

Schedule of Services

The parish follows the Old Calendar.  Services are as announced.

Parish Background

The Hermitage of Prophet Elias is a monastic community consisting of Archimandrite Alexander [Pihach], Dean of the OCA Representation Church in Moscow, Stavrophore Monk Tikhon (Greene), (who resides in Edmonton Alberta - about and hour and half away), and Igumen Gerasim [Power], as the current ruling abbot, who keeps the home fires burning onsite at the current residence in Smoky Lake, Alberta, Canada.  The original site of the monastery/hermitage was near the village of Bellis - about 20 minutes from the Hermitage’s current home base in Smoky Lake. The original monks, under the leadership of the first abbot, Archimandrite Germogen, was derived originally from the St. Job of Pochaiv brotherhood, Pochaiv Lavra, Ukraine, by way of Jordanville NY.  The monastery was abandoned with the moving and eventual passing of Archimandrite Germogen of blessed memory in around the early 60’s, the last of the original monks to live at the old site.  He is buried with some of the other monks at the Cemetery of the Patriachal Russian Parish of the Nativity of the Theotokos Cemetery at Nisku, Alberta, near the Edmonton Alberta Airport.  The title of Igumen of St. Elias Hermitage was revived under the Archdiocese of Canada (OCA) with the tonsure and elevation of then Igumen Alexander [Pihach],  who was the second to hold the office and title of abbot.  Igumen Gerasim [Power] was tonsured a riasophore monk of the St. Elias Hermitage, under Abbot Alexander, by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, December 14th, 2011 at Holy Trinity Russo-Greek (OCA) Orthodox Church in Smoky Lake Alberta.  He was elevated to the title of Igumen in June of 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba by His Grace, Bishop Irénée [Rochon], Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canada, and on September 21st, was received into the Lesser Schema by Archimandrite Alexander [Pihach] at St. Herman’s Sobor, Edmonton Alberta, with the blessing of Bishop Irénée.  Following the appointment of Archimandrite Alexander as Dean of St. Catherine’s OCA Representation Church in Moscow, Igumen Gerasim was subsequently appointed Abbot of St. Elias Hermitage by Bishop Irénée, being the third to hold that office.  In February of 2014, Stavrophore Monk Tikhon Green of St. Silouan’s Monastery, Spencerville, Ontario, with the blessing of Bishop Irénée, was transferred and attached to St. Elias Hermitage.

While the Hermitage of Prophet Elias a small group, who. due to the necessities of work are not living under the same roof, they still keep a very good fraternal spirit and are in constant contact with each other by means of travel, phone and Skype, etc. Igumen Gerasim supports himself personally and supports and maintains the current residence, (on a farm acreage six miles north of Smoky Lake, Alberta) by being a missionary priest and rector of eight rural parishes and 10 cemeteries in this vast area of the Canadian heartland of Orthodoxy, founded by mainly Bukovinian Ukrainian settlers over a century ago.  Thus the revived St. Elias Monastery has a significant impact on the spiritual life of this historic region, blessed in the past by the service of the likes of St. Tikhon, the Priestmartyr Jacob Korchinski, Archbishop Arseny of blessed memory, Archimandrite Germogen, and numerous others, both monastic and married, who like the St. Herman and his companions, carried and continue to carry the light of Orthodoxy to the People of God.  Thus our mode of life at St. Elias, though quite distinct from a seemingly more cenobitical or anchoritical model, such as is found at places like the Holy Mountain of Athos, has nevertheless the same spiritual goals of true union with God, an example (as frail as it is)  of striving to live the Angelic Life of the Heavenly Kingdom, and a “voice which cries in the wilderness” calling all to follow the Holy Orthodox Way.