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.
Clothed in the Garments of Light...
Nun Helena (Strashnova)
The First Week of the Great Lent... It is hard and at the same time full of joy. It is hard for the flesh but good for the soul. Our souls are brides during the Great Lent. The Lord clothes them in the garments of fast and prayer. Thanks to ascetic efforts, our feelings are renewed, our hearts are purified, our minds become capable of perceiving divine truths. The First Week of Lent in St Elisabeth Convent is always the time of special unity in joint prayer for the brothers and the sisters...
“You've Got To Feel Your Weakness...”
Fragment of a monastic meeting held on December 30, 2013
Nun Chionia: We brought up the following topic during one of our previous meetings: as soon as a person decides to struggle with a certain sin, she is immediately overwhelmed by temptations. I’m having a serious issue with it. No matter how many times I tried to struggle with my passions, of which I have plenty – I can simply pick and choose any of them – I have always faced this problem. As soon as I tell myself that I start the fight, I meet a temptation...
Excellence in Simplicity
By Yulia Rudenko
Durable, heat resistant, waterproof, ecologically safe ceramics. Made from clay, it preserves its unique natural qualities. The skill of making pottery has been highly valued in all times. The craft of pottery making is one of the most ancient ones worldwide. As a rule, it was a family business... This is how our big family - the brothers and sisters of the Convent - creates ceramic masterpieces...
“Someone Begins, Someone Follows Through, Someone Carries Out...”
Interview with Demetrius Kuntsevich, the head of the mosaic workshop of St Elisabeth Convent
Brother Demetrius: It would be great if the finished work would be like a feast. If you feel that in the process of work you have acquired certain personal qualities, discovered something new, if you managed to come across with your idea to other people, if this idea becomes a revelation to anyone – this is the greatest value of our work.
Following God’s Call
Sister Nadezhda felt so good here that she would often think on her way home, “I wish I did not leave this place anymore.” She was visited by these thoughts more and more often. In an attempt to find out where they came from and what she was to do next, she wrote a letter to Elder Mitrophan who lived in Zhirovichi Monastery and whom many people would ask for advice and prayers. Sister Nadezhda wrote to him about her life and owned up to the thought of becoming a monastic.
Will You Please Try And Make Mosaic?
Interview with the head of the mosaic workshop of St Elisabeth Convent Demetrius Kuntsevich (Part One)
Brother Demetrios: The art of mosaic never vanished entirely but for some time it was just a lifeless handicraft, as if no one ever been interested in it. As soon as it became something vibrant and genuine, there appeared the demand and the interest in it. People want this work to last for generations.
The Patron Saint’s Day in The Yonder Land
Anatoly Varenik: Being an old soldier as I am, I would like to say that it was not us who won; it was the commander who led us. I am grateful to you, Father Andrew, for what you do. I attended the services and saw how many people came here from the city in order to spend time with us during this feast. I made a video of the feast to show to the young generation of staff who will come how they should learn to love and to treat people...
February 6 – the patron saint's day in the church in honour of St Xenia of St Petersburg
Sister Eudocia: When you, who live in the world, cross the threshold of the boarding home, you realise that it is like the heaven and it follows different laws. The law of our life is this: you have to lose if you want to find something, and the more you give, the less you have. Here, the opposite is true. The more you give, the more you get.
Preparations for “The Voice of the Reigning” Paschal Festival of Orthodox Music Are Underway
The organising committee of “The Voice of the Reigning” International Festival of Orthodox Music has already received the applications of nine choirs that wish to take part in the next “The Voice of the Reigning” Festival of the Orthodox music, which is to be held in our Convent on May 10. These days, the choirs undergo auditions. The deadline for applications is March 25. The final make-up of the entry list will be determined by April 10. Submissions for the Holy Protection Festival (that is, the autumn festival) are open till September 5.
The Zone of Faith
Nun Barbara: We do not have bans or prohibitions, there simply are rules that we stick to. The most difficult part of it for me was when the sisters did not accept one another: a new sister would turn up and they would reject her and start plotting something against her. I had to take the newcomers under my protection: not just paying more attention to them but literally being close to them. Most importantly, the sisters have begun to notice these changes in one another...
The Path of Temptations
Stories of the Sisterhood
Unfortunately, sometimes we fail to get our priorities right, and forget about our neighbours as we are trying to help the entire world. We forget about the people who are near and willing to receive some warmth and care from us. Sister Tatiana found herself between a rock and a hard place: on the one hand, she had the sisters who would always ask her to step into the breach as someone would be ill, someone would have something important to do or some family problems.
Congratulations on the Feast of the Nativity of Christ from Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok, the Spiritual Father of St Elisabeth Convent
The Lord came into this world in order to sacrifice Himself to the people. Every Christian who finds God, encounters Him in his life, and follows Him should learn the most important thing: living with Christ and in Christ, remembering that one cannot live without God. A human becomes a monkey without his Creator and Saviour; he exchanges his right of the firstborn to pigs' food, trying in vain to satisfy his immortal soul with it.