Abbey General Rules and Guidelines

The Abbey’s grounds are open to those who wish to visit from 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM each day.

St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey is a Holy Monastery of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a place of repentance and redemption for those men leading a monastic life and for the pious visitors. Yet St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey welcomes all visitors, but through advance arrangements for those who would like to stay overnight. If you wish to enter the holy grounds, the following guidelines must be observed.

  1. We kindly ask all visitors to be modestly dressed since St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey is a sacred place. (No shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless blouses, tight or transparent clothes, etc.)
  2. If a monk is not immediately available at the lobby when you arrive, we kindly ask that you wait until one of the monks returns.
  3. Smoking is strictly forbidden everywhere on the Abbey’s grounds.
  4. Children must be supervised at all times and not roaming freely on the grounds.
  5. No internet WiFi network is available on the Abbey’s grounds.
  6. Overnight Visitors:
    1. Must complete the online visitation form to receive the blessing to stay overnight at the Abbey;
    2. Must obtain a permission letter prior to completing the online visitation form;
    3. Must bring their own bed sheet and pillowcase to use during their stay at the Abbey;
    4. Are expected to attend all scheduled church services for the visitors;
    5. Staying over fourteen (14) days, are required to obtain a written permission from the Bishop prior to arrival;
    6. Female retreatants are allowed to stay for an overnight retreat at the Abbey only when accompanied for the whole duration of their stay by: 1) a Priest, 2) father 3) husband, or 4) brother or son, only if they are 18 years of age or older. This must be indicated in the ‘Comments’ section of the ‘Family Registration’ form.
  7. We kindly ask that you respect the quiet and solitude of the Abbey while on the grounds all the time.
  8. Loud talking and laughing are always inappropriate.
  9. We ask that you do not use the telephones during the services hours.
  10. Please do not visit non-public areas of the grounds.
  11. All visitors must observe the order of the Abbey.
  12. Groups of ten (10) or more are asked to make arrangements at minimum ten (10) days in advance of arrival.
  13. Non-Orthodox visitors are also welcome to attend the services, but must abide to the rules of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
  14. During the Divine Liturgy:
    1. Men should stand on the left side of the church and women on the right side of the church.
    2. All women are required to cover their heads with a veil upon entering the chapel.
    3. All cell phones and/or pagers must be turned off.
    4. We kindly ask to please avoid any unnecessary movement.
  15. Meals are eaten together in the assigned place and times.
  16. The work, rest periods and services are conducted according to the Retreat Center’s schedule.
  17. We ask all Coptic Orthodox Christians, before partaking in the Holy Communion, to:
    1. prepare with confession;
    2. obtain absolution from your Confessor Father; and
    3. abstain from food from midnight or for nine hours if the time from midnight till communion is shorter than nine hours.
  18. Only the Oriental Orthodox Christians, who are in full communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church, are allowed to partake of the Holy Communion.
  19. Married couples, partaking of the Holy Communion, must be married in the Orthodox Church.
  20. Photographs (including videos):
    1. may be taken of the buildings, the grounds and inside the Church;
    2. should not be taken of the monks or guests without their permission; and
    3. are not allowed during the services unless it has the blessing from the abbot or the monk in charge.
Thank you for your understanding.


Overnight Retreat Rules 

Male individuals and families are requested to register online for Overnight Retreat / Daytime Visit at least four (4) days in advance. Groups of ten (10) or more are asked to make arrangements at least ten (10) days in advance; using the link below:

Retreat Registration Form

Father of Confession Permission Letter:

If this is the first time staying for an overnight retreat at the retreat house, a permission letter from the father of confession is required for individual, family, and group retreats in order to take the blessing of staying overnight at the Abbey. Once you submit your registration, a permission letter will be sent automatically to your father of confession via email. Please note that the registration will not be complete except if the individual’s Confessor Father or the Church Priest sponsoring the overnight retreat at the Abbey has approved your retreat. Please refer to the appropriate registration page to view the requirements.

Maximum Retreat Duration:

The maximum stay for any overnight retreat is two weeks. If an extended stay is required, your father of confession must send an email on your behalf to obtain written permission from His Eminence Metropolitan Youssef (

Female Overnight Retreatants:

Any Female retreatant is allowed to stay for an overnight retreat at the Abbey ONLY when accompanied for the WHOLE duration of her stay by:

1) A Priest,

2) Her father,

3) Her husband,

4) Her brother – only if he is 18 years of age or older,

5) Her son – only if he is 18 years of age or older,

6) Her son in law.

  • Furthermore, it is mandatory, by His Eminence Metropolitan Abba Youssef, the Abbot of the monastery, that the sponsoring priest for any group MUST personally know EACH member of the group attending, as he will be accountable for their conduct throughout the retreat at the Monastery.
  • Hence, single female overnight retreatants will be UNABLE to join any visiting group unless the sponsoring priest personally knows her and accepts responsibility for her actions during the WHOLE duration of the retreat at the Monastery.
  • The Retreat House maintains the confidentiality of all information regarding groups, families, and individuals attending retreats. This includes dates, names, phone numbers, emails, and church locations, which will not be disclosed.
  • To approve a single female registration and avoid denial, the priest’s name must be included in the family list application, as he will accompany her during the retreat. Additionally, the priest must send a text message or email to the Abbey on the same day of registration to confirm his attendance. If coming as a family, the female must clearly list all family members, along with their ages and relationships, as they will be accompanying her during the retreat.
  • His Eminence Metropolitan Youssef (the Abbot of the Monastery) always advises single females to have their retreats at St. Demiana Convent in Dawsonville, Georgia. They allow single female visitors to come for a retreat alone.

Non-Orthodox Visitors:

Non-Orthodox visitors are welcome to visit and take the blessing of St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey. Non-Orthodox denominations must believe in the statement of faith of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Such visitors will need to fill out the online suitable registration form—individual, family or church retreat—in order to request overnight stay at the Abbey.

Waiting List:

If the retreat dates you selected in your application are unavailable or your group’s headcount exceeds the retreat house capacity, we will place your application on a waiting list until a cancellation occurs.

Therefore, we ask visitors not to make any travel arrangements or announce the retreat to their group until the online registration is completed and approval from the retreat house is received.

Online Reservation System Policy

  • Please note that the online calendar reservation system for retreat dates limits availability to only 50 weeks in advance.
  • This is implemented to prevent technical issues and misuse by some visitors/retreatants and to ensure fairness in dealing with all visitors.
  • We follow a “first to register, first to reserve” rule. No Exceptions.
  • To secure a spot in the retreat house, we kindly advise visitors to plan ahead and register no later than 50 weeks in advance.

Travel Arrangements:

  • The Abbey will gladly provide rides to visitors ONLY from/to Corpus Christi Airport or Corpus Christi Greyhound Bus Station (602 N Staples St, Corpus Christi) and the Abbey.
  • Large church groups (8 people or more) coming for retreats must arrange their own transportation to and from the Abbey.
  • Rides are available only for small groups of 7 people or fewer.

Room Accommodations:

  • Due to the limited number of visitors rooms available in the retreat house, all retreatants may have to share rooms with each other, which will be a maximum of 4 retreatants per room.
  • Due to the limited number of rooms available in the retreat house, all visiting priests may have to share rooms with other priests, which will be a maximum of 2 priests per room
  • All retreatants are kindly asked to bring with them their own bedsheets and pillowcases (1 queen bed and 2 twin beds for each room in the St. Mary Family Building; and 1 twin-size bed for the room in the St. Moses Males Building.)
  • We kindly remind all visitors that the that the check-in time for the room in the retreat house starts at 3:00 pm on the arrival day, while the check-out time for the room in the retreat house is EXACTLY at 11:00 am on the day of your departure from the Monastery.
  • Please note that NO FOOD is permitted INSIDE the Retreat House under any circumstances, as per the rule set by the father in charge of the retreat house.
  • Retreatants are also responsible for leaving the Retreat Center facilities in the same condition (or better!) in which they were found. This includes the grounds, the rooms, including thoroughly cleaning the bathroom area and removing all trash. All materials that can be recycled, including cans, glass, plastic bottles and newsprint, must be cleaned and disposed of.

Safety Rules

Individuals and church groups, spending an overnight retreat at the Abbey, must make safety their first and highest priority. Retreatants are responsible for their own insurance, and, by signing the reservation agreement, waive all rights of action against St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey. A certificate of insurance is required to be presented to the Abbey once the church group arrives. The Abbey is located right on the Corpus Christi Lake. All retreatants must exercise caution. No exceptions.

Quiet Hours

The Retreat Center observes quiet hours from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. During this time, no one is to be outside of assigned areas without an adult. Please respect the experience of others on the property.


Pets are not allowed on the Abbey’s premises.

Smoking, Drugs and Alcohol

The Abbey and its Retreat Center are smoke-free, drug-free and alcohol-free facilities. Use of cigarettes, drugs and alcohol is strictly forbidden.

In addition, anyone with any addiction (drugs, alcohol, etc.) should consider the Triumphant Rehab center in Florida as the Abbey cannot accommodate anyone with addiction who has not completely been sober for at least six months.


All church groups must have a minimum of two adult chaperones (or servants), one of which is the Retreat Coordinator, who communicates with the monastery for the registration process. Same sex chaperones are required for the attending retreatants; and one (1) adult for every five (5) youth under age 18. Chaperones are required to stay in each building used. Chaperones are expected to maintain discipline of their group to ensure a safe retreat experience for everyone using the Retreat Center.

Retreat Termination will occur and a fine will be incurred; if an individual or a family or a group:

  • damages, defaces or removes any Retreat Center property;
  • fails to comply with the rules and guidelines of the Retreat Center;
  • disturbs other people and/or unoccupied buildings during your stay; and
  • brings cigarettes, alcohol or drugs on property.

Daytime Visits Rules

  • The Abbey is open for daytime visitors (including individuals, male or female, or families) between the hours of 4:00 am to 10:00 pm. Only individuals who are registered and staying overnight at the Abbey may remain after 10:00 pm
  • All daytime visitors & overnight retreatants (including individuals, families, and groups) MUST register online to come for a daytime visit using the link below:

(Choose Daytime Visit then the type of Daytime registration)

Retreat Registration

Female Daytime Visitors:

  • All female daytime visitors are allowed to visit the Abbey for ONE day ONLY PER VISIT and leave at the end of the day by 10:00 pm.
  • Any Female Daytime visitor who wishes to visit the Abbey for 2 consecutive days or more (while staying outside overnight), MUST be accompanied for the whole duration of her stay by:1) A Priest, 2) Her father, 3) Her husband, 4) Her brother – only if he is 18 years of age or older, 5) Her son – only if he is 18 years of age or older, 6) Her son in law.


If you are interested in holding a convention at the Abbey, such as a Youth Convention, Kids Camp, Hymns Camp, Servants’ Retreat, etc., please contact the Abbey.

Phone / Text: 361-236-7589