Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2)
Our convent bearing the name of St Martyr Grand Princess Elisabeth was founded in the settlement of Novinki on the outskirts of Minsk in 1999. The convent originated in an Orthodox Sisterhood of the same name. Since 1996, the Sisterhood has served many care centers, including the National Psychiatric Hospital and Municipal Hospital as well as boarding homes for children and adults with special needs, a TB clinic and a home care facility for mentally challenged children.
The mission of our convent is to provide spiritual and social help to the sick and the suffering. The Convent runs a homestead located 19 miles from Minsk. It helps drug and alcohol addicts as well as socially vulnerable persons tackle their problems and provides the homeless with shelter and care.
To support and develop the above ministries numerous workshops and studios operate within the frameworks of the Sisterhood. These include an icon-painting studio, sewing and embroidery shops, candle workshop, wood-carving and blacksmith workshops. The Sisterhood activities also include religious education and publishing.
The convent and sisterhood have always worked together in serving God and people.
Sisters and brothers of the convent pray for each other daily. On Sundays, after singing the akathist hymn to the St Elisabeth, the brothers and sisters share their experiences in serving people and discuss spiritual issues. All decisions regarding the activities of the convent and the sisterhood are made with the blessing of the convent’s spiritual father, Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok. Full cycle of divine services is held in the churches of the convent and the Psalter is read continuously.
On Proximity of God
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok
Here the Lord gives us eternal and imperishable love that tramples down death, that triumphs over the world and the sin. This heavenly gift makes us immortal, if only we believe that we are God's kin, that we are immortal, if only we are not afraid of the road that lies beneath the feet of those who are eager to fight with sin inside their hearts and to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That road means constant suffering due to the sin that dwells inside our souls and does not want to die out.
God Teaches Each One of Us On An Individual Basis
Fragments of the meeting of the monastic sisters of St Elisabeth Convent on July 21, 2014
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok: He treats each person delicately: He does not humiliate or abuse each person but instead He guides us humbly and waits until we are ready… It is God’s trust and beauty, it is His boundless love towards humans that can accomplish something. Even the most callous heart will reply to it. This is when the growth begins; this is when one starts to trust God. This is when one begins to see that God takes care of her.
Orthodox Chants in Belgium
The Monastic Choir of St Elisabeth Convent visited Belgium with missionary concerts again in May 2014. These concerts featured church chants and Orthodox songs. One of the members of the Choir recalls, "We could see how attentively, often with tears, people listened to the Orthodox chants, and how important this music is for human souls…" We invite you to watch some fragments of these concerts performed by the Monastic Choir of St Elisabeth Convent conducted by Nun Juliania (Denisova).
Be With God!
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok
It is good for us to be here (Matthew 17:4). It is good to be where God is. Let us always try to be with God so that we would always be good. When we are without God, everything is bad. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, be with God, remain with God! Most importantly, we should have the grace of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Acquiring the Holy Spirit is the ultimate purpose of any Christian. If a person has the Holy Spirit, he will be fine everywhere. If she does not have the Holy Spirit, everything will be wrong, everything will be bad.
We Are Still Wet Behind The Ears
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok: When we were in the very beginning of our path, we paid attention to bricks and buildings, i.e., the worldly things. Now we want to grow spiritually. We want every person to become diligent and obedient. We have many nuns but we lack true obedience — that is the problem. We shine so bright but we lack the depth. We have a long way to go to the spiritual life, when one renounces herself, her desires or privileges, puts her entire life into God's hands, and serves Him through her neighbours.
How We Miss Out On The Most Important Thing, The Liturgy (Part Two)
Fragment of a meeting of the Sisterhood on July 13, 2014
Archpriest Demetrius Basalygo: We must draw a line between the Sacrament of Repentance and a spiritual talk, the spiritual guidance that we all should have in our lives, when we can ask some questions, share our opinions or ask for advice. We come to the confession in order to repent, in order to ask God to forgive our sins. A substitution happens often: we turn a confession into a spiritual talk. It seems to me that we, the clergy, must not be lax in this regard.
See How Amazing This World Is!
The project God's World As A Gift To You on the basis of the ICHTHYS Christian Kindergarten and School might become an exemplary method of teaching environment protection to children in kindergartens and schools. This method of teaching takes into account the holistic image of a human being, including her intellectual qualities and moral development.
How We Miss Out On The Most Important Thing, The Liturgy (Part One)
Fragment of the meeting of the Sisterhood on July 13, 2014
Archpriest Demetrius Basalygo: We tend to think that it is the priest who celebrates the liturgy, while we simply attend the service and therefore can come whenever we please and do whatever we want during the liturgy: pass a note with a prayer request, look at the church goods in the booth, have a chat with someone else, and of course, go and confess during the liturgy. We do not come to church in order to become the Body of Christ…
She Is So Close To Us...
It will not be an overstatement to say that the most remarkable event in our Convent last week was the feast of the patron saints of the Convent, the holy martyrs Grand Princess Elisabeth and Nun Barbara, which we celebrated on July 18. Due to the fact that St Elisabeth Church is currently being renovated, the services were held in the church in honour of the Reigning icon of the Mother of God, making the feast even more solemn. This is symbolic because we are going to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Grand Princess and the 15th anniversary of our Convent this year. Our photojournalist took some photos of this event.
The Breath of Fresh Air in a Hospital Ward
Stories of the Sisterhood
Sister Marina Jaskievič: I recall one young man who had 70 per cent of total skin area burned. It was God's mercy that we managed to prepare him for confession and communion quickly. He started partaking of the Sacraments regularly. He spent eight months in hospital and led a devoted spiritual life, relying solely on God. One day I came and saw Sergei walking towards me! It was like the real Pascha for me! Christ is Almighty. He always gives us everything according to our faith…
Let Us Restore St Sergius Church
It was God’s Providence that the restoration of a church in honour of St Sergius of Radonezh in the vicinity of Nialidavi?y – Kasy? – Vi?nie?ka (12 mi from Minsk, heading to Miadziel), which was completely destroyed by fire in 2011, just before it was handed over to St Elisabeth Convent, began on the 700th anniversary of St Sergius, the patron saint of the church. The project of the new church is finished, and the timber is ready… The church is being built, albeit not as fast as we would like it to. We invite you to take part in the restoration of this church!
The House of God's Grace
By Helena Gulidova
I would like the ill and their relatives to find consolation in this church, to find God and call unto him. When we read the biography of St John of Shanghai, we can see that this man always wanted to live with God. He had to face the same problems that we do, and he was seeking God's will even in the elementary daily routines. It was his constant prayer and his search for God's will that made him a saint.