Pan Orthodox Conference

"Theology of the Icon"

June 27th – June 30th 2024
Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church
Butte, Montana


Embark on a spiritual journey amid the picturesque landscapes of Montana at the annual MontaNIKA Conference, hosted by the vibrant Orthodox community of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Butte, MT. Guided by the esteemed His Grace, Bishop Maxim, MontaNIKA has evolved into a cherished tradition, inviting you to join in the excitement this year.

Why MontaNIKA?

More than just a conference, MontaNIKA is a celebration of Orthodox faith, community, and the unique allure of Montana as a haven for spiritual growth. Born out of the growing demand for a sacred space to share, explore, and foster Orthodox values, this event has become an annual pilgrimage for those seeking a deeper understanding of Orthodoxy and an opportunity for growth in this beautiful state.

The Theology of the Icon

With the official blessing and guidance of His Grace, Bishop Maxim, we are proud to announce this year’s Orthodox MontaNIKA conference. The theme of the MontaNIKA conference for 2024 has been carefully chosen to be “The Theology of the Icon.” After much thought and prayer, this theme was chosen because we the faithful understand that the theology of the icon is both essential and foundational to our Orthodox Faith. The icon is much more than religious art. The theology of the icon expresses the image and likeness of God, and it demonstrates the correct teaching regarding the Incarnation, Christology, anthropology, soteriology, marriage, the family, ascesis, etc. in a way that invites the participant/devotee to experientially learn true theology in the incarnational Trinitarian manner that leads not only to a renewal of the mind but a change in the very being of the person so as to become conformed to the likeness of God. Therefore, we invite you to join us this year as we learn from some of the very best priests (including bishops), scholars, Orthodox artists, and iconographers as they speak on the various topics related to this year’s theme. Discover the true meaning of the theology of the icon. Discover the truth faith. Discover the meaning of Orthodoxy!

The Beauty of Montana

Montana’s natural beauty, expansive landscapes, and peaceful surroundings set the stage for an immersive Orthodox experience. The conference not only delves into theological discussions but also allows attendees to connect with the wonders of Montana, offering a unique blend of spiritual enlightenment and appreciation for the state’s scenic charm.

Embrace Montana’s Potential

Montana provides an ideal setting for those interested in contributing to the growth of Orthodoxy, not just locally but nationally. The freedom to nurture and expand Orthodoxy in Montana serves as a template for the rest of the country, making MontaNIKA a unique opportunity to explore the potential of Orthodox life in the state.

What to expect:

  • Theme: The Theology of the Icon
  • Speakers: An incredible lineup, including live iconography demonstrations.
  • Culinary Experience: Enjoy meals prepared by our professional cook, featuring local Montana meats.
  • Music Hospitality Night: A live bluegrass band will give you a taste of Montana music.
  • Monastery Visit: Explore our local monastery with organized tours.


Metropolitan Jonah

Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen was elected Metropolitan (Primate) of the Orthodox Church in America in 2008. He was President of both St Vladimir’s and St Tikhon’s Theological Seminaries. In 2012, Metropolitan Jonah stepped down from that position. He was then transferred to the Russian Church Abroad in 2015. Metropolitan Jonah is currently the abbot of St. Demetrius Orthodox Monastery and rector of St. Herman Orthodox Church in Stafford, VA. His educational background includes a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a M.Div. from St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, as well as a M.Th., in Dogmatics from St. Vladimir’s, and an Honorary D.D., Nashotah House Theological Seminary.

Archpriest Fr. Andrew Moore

Father Andrew Moore is the Archpriest of St. Mark the Evangelist Mission (OCA) in Great Falls, MT and serves as the Senior Priest of all Montana. Once a former Lutheran pastor, Father has served as an Orthodox priest for over twenty-five years. Father Andrew continues to draw on his rich pastoral experience and has been vital in growing Orthodoxy in Montana, which can be seen in his own thriving parish.

Father Matthew Garrett

Father Matthew Garrett is the assistant priest at Saint Seraphim's Orthodox Church (ROCOR) in Boise, ID. Father Matthew has 33 years of experience as an iconographer and wrote his thesis on the theology of the icon as it is expressed in Dogmatic and Patristic Theology and contrasted that to the more modern understanding of the theology of the icon being focused on visual symbolism. Since his graduation from St. Vincent College in Latrobe PA, Father Matthew has set up a studio and continued to grow as an artist and to develop his own style. He prefers complex compositions, and the challenge of bringing harmony to the many details. His work ranges from larger than life size murals to postage stamp-size icons. For more than twenty years he has widely exhibited his work and given lectures on iconography, and his work can be found in many churches and private homes in the US and abroad. In addition, Father Matthew has been teaching iconography workshops since 2010.

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Fr. Turbo Qualls

Fr. Turbo Qualls is the rector of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church in Kansas City Missouri. Fr Turbo is an iconographer, and spiritual director for the St. Elizabeth sisterhood, which is an urban monastic community and the Mount Tabor school of Liberal Arts, which provides classical education that is rooted in Orthodox tradition. Fr Turbo holds graduate and postgraduate degrees in Addiction Studies and Pastoral counseling with an emphasis in crisis response and trauma.

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Fr. Dcn. Ananias

Fr. Deacon Ananias Sorem, PhD is CEO, Founder, and President of Patristic Faith, as well as the Founder and Organizer of Orthodox MontaNika. Father is an Orthodox apologist and teaches Philosophy at Carroll College. He serves with Fr. Russell Rodoicich at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Butte, MT. Fr. Deacon has a BA in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College, together with an MA (Honors) and PhD in Philosophy (Epistemology; Philosophy of Science; Philosophy of Mind) from University College Dublin. His current academic work focuses on philosophical theology, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. Father is the author of several articles and peer-reviewed papers. He is also known for his YouTube channel, the Norwegian Nous (now Patristic Faith), where he provides content on theology, apologetics, logic, and philosophy.

Dr. Nathan (Basil) Jacobs, PhD

Nathan A. Jacobs, Ph.D. is Scholar in Residence of Philosophy and Religion at Vanderbilt Divinity School. He holds degrees in Philosophy, Historical Theology, Systematic Theology, Church History, and Fine Art. He has four books and over thirty refereed articles to his credit: Leibniz, Classical Theism, and the Problem of Evil (Routledge, forthcoming), Kant and the Question of Theology (Cambridge), The Persistence of the Sacred in Modern Thought (Dame Press), and In Defense of Kant's "Religion" (Indiana University). Jacobs' areas of specialization include modern philosophy, Eastern patristic metaphysics, and the intersection between the two. You can read Jacobs’ replies to questions about Philosophy and religion at his Substack,  After years as a professor, Jacobs’ love for art and ideas converged in filmmaking. His first feature film was Killing Poe (2016), followed by the documentary, Becoming Truly Human (2017). Jacobs currently has a first-look deal with Amazon subsidiary, The Wonder Project. He is a writer and co-Executive Producer for the $100M Amazon Original Series House of David, set to air in late 2024.

Shayne Swenson

Shayne Swenson is an Orthodox iconographer and art professional living in the Pacific Northwest. His iconography and fine art can be found in many churches and monasteries all over the world as well as in many home icon corners and private art collections. In addition to serving the Church as an iconographer, Shayne also teaches in person icon painting workshops as well as online instruction, and iconography related YouTube content.

Schedule of Events

6/26 Wednesday

6/27 Thursday
Opening Banquet Dinner

6/28 Friday
Day 1 of Speakers 

6/29 Saturday
Day 2 of Speakers 

Price and Registration

  • Early-Bird Registration (before April 21st): $150
  • Regular Registration (after April 21st): $170
  • Children under 12 are free; Orthodox priest and their families are free (voluntary donation), but they need to register early, since there is limited capacity.
  • Please note that speaker lineup is subject to change at any time due to unforeseen circumstances, scheduling conflicts, or other reasons beyond our control.

Early Bird Conference Ticket

SALE ENDS 4.21.2024
$170 $ 150
  • Access to all speaker sessions
  • Access to all events
  • 7 total meals
  • MontaNika bag
  • Recordings of speaker sessions
  • Discount code for Best Western

Regular Conference Ticket

Limited Quantity
$ 170
  • Access to all speaker sessions
  • Access to all events
  • 7 total meals
  • MontaNika bag
  • Recordings of speaker sessions
  • Discount code for Best Western


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Subscribe & Connect

Subscribe to the Patristic Faith newsletter for updates on the conference and other exciting events. Join us in Montana and become part of a transformative experience that goes beyond the conference room, weaving together Orthodox fellowship, spirituality, and the unparalleled beauty of the Montana landscape.

MontaNika retreat Logo

Orthodox MontaNika Men's Retreat
“Your Brother is Your Life”​

August 11th – 13th 2023
Butte, Montana

The Orthodox MontaNika Men's Retreat is a conference that focuses on men's issues and various topics related to manhood from an Orthodox perspective. The retreat includes practical workshops, fraternal fellowship, pastoral guidance, and talks from Metropolitan Jonah, Abbot Tryphon, Fr. Hans Jacobse, and Fr. Deacon Ananias. The retreat follows a similar itinerary to the annual conference held in June and is aimed at providing guidance and support to men in facing the challenges of modern life. Topics may include fatherhood, brotherhood, and sonship, among others.

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