The high altitudes, cool nights, abundant sun, and rich volcanic soils Santa Cruz Naranjo, Guatemala provide a full-bodied flavor with bright citrus acidity. The three surrounding volcanoes, Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango, replenish the soil with nourishing minerals, and are a large factor of the unique microclimate of Santa Cruz.
Orthodoxy was brought to Guatemala in 1998, when Metropolitan Demetrius of America founded a small parish in Guatemala City dedicated to Blessed Xenia of St. Petersburg. A beautiful church was built, but the mission struggled to grow without a permanent priest. In 2013, Metropolitan Demitrius started sending Father Maximus, a Spanish-speaking hieromonk of Holy Ascension Monastery in New York to serve as a part- time priest. Over the years, God made it clear that He wanted a more permanent Orthodox presence in the country. Father Maximus asked the Metropolitan for a blessing to look for a property to found a monastery, inasmuch as a local church cannot exist without monasticism.
The Hermitage of SaInt Ignatius
They began to look for a suitable property but for over a year were not able to find anything. Realizing that they had made an elementary mistake by not beginning the project with sufficient prayer, they served the Canon to Blessed Xenia of Saint Petersburg. The very next morning, through her intercessions, they found a beautiful property on top of a mountain in Santa Cruz Naranjo. Metropolitan Demetrius blessed the purchase, casting lots, and drawing the name of Saint Ignatius the Godbearer of Antioch. Thus the monastery officially was called “La Ermita de San Ignacio” - the Hermitage of Saint Ignatius.
Soon Father Maximus moved to Guatemala to live at the Hermitage, beginning a journey towards a full-time monastery with obediences, a regular cycle of services, repentance, prayer, and coffee.
Through the prayers of Saint Ignatius, O Lord Jesus Christ, preserve and strengthen Thy holy monastery!
The purchase of the hermitage property included several acres of derelict coffee plantation land. The monks took on the task of taming and revitalizing the land, employing local workers and perishoners, and providing them with a steady fair trade income, regular meals, and exposure to monastic discipline and compassion. This sustainably and ethically sourced coffee is grown using traditional farming techniques and hand -harvesting.
Each evening a local worker picks up the baskets of freshly harvest beans from that day. The beans are weighed and carted to the bottom of the mountain, along with all the other local coffee, to a drying flat, owned by the locals. There, the beans are cleaned, sorted, dried, and hulled. Next, they are bagged, and shipped to the United States, to be roasted, packaged, and sold internationally.
In 2019, Father Maximus was elevated to the episcopate specifically with responsibility for the missions of Latin America. He was also called upon as a titular bishop to do missionary work in Africa. Through the grace of God, the Hermitage of Saint Ignatius and San Ignacio Coffee have connected Orthodox Christians throughout the world.
100% of the profits from the sale of San Ignacio Coffee support missionary activities of the Orthodox Diocese of Latin America and Africa - including Guatemala, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Haiti and Nigeria.
San Ignacio Coffee is not only a delicious cup of coffee, but also an opportunity to make a positive impact through supporting the missionary activities of the Orthodox Church.