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.
The Nativity Fast
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok
The Orthodox Christians have the Nativity Fast from November 28 to January 6. Fasting is voluntary but people are terrified and think, “How can I read all prayers and abstain from food when my health is so poor?” The person does not trust God. We should be aware of the fact that we need God because without Him we will fall prey to the devil. The holy life, the divine life appears to be an intolerable burden. The Lord tells us, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)...
Another One of God's Miracles
A chapel in honour of the “Merciful” icon of the Mother of God was opened on November 25, 2013 thanks to the Sisterhood in honour of the Holy Martyr Grand Princess Elisabeth. A Divine Liturgy followed by a moleben and a procession was celebrated in this chapel on its first patron's day. The Rev Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok, the spiritual father of St Elisabeth Convent, celebrated the Liturgy in concelebration with the Rev Andrew Malakhovsky and the Rev Rodion Alkhovik.
Beauty Shall Prevail
Meeting of Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok with the House of Love of Labour Staff (Part 4)
Father Andrew: What do I read now? I read sins: it is like a follow up of confession. Now I perceive life as a book into which I should write everything I see and hear. You can be reading all the time even if you do not read anything at all, if you are attentive and able to hear what other people say or hide. Confession is when people share things that they were previously unable to admit even to themselves...
St Nectarius: The Heavenly Patron of the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs
Saint Nectarius of Aegina: How terribly mistaken are those who look for happiness elsewhere – in foreign countries and journeys, in wealth and glory, in property and entertainment, in abundance and vanity, which lead to bitterness in the end! Construction of the tower of happiness anywhere except our hearts is like building a house in a location prone to earthquakes. Such a building is going to fall down very soon...
Liturgy of the Angels
By Nun Helena (Strashnova)
The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the newly built Orthodox School of St Elisabeth Convent on Sunday, November 17, 2013, by the spiritual father of the Sunday School the Rev Rodion Alkhovik. Since that day, church services are to be held regularly, although not in the church (it is not ready yet) but in the lobby. Only the pupils of the Orthodox School will be allowed to attend them. This service may be seen as the first class in the new school.
The Gravity of Earth
Meeting of Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok with the House of Love of Labour Staff (Part Three)
Father Andrew: The House of Love of Labour... What is it? In general, we should decide whether it is a part of the Convent or not. It all depends on each one of you: this place will be what you want it to be. Each one of those who come to work here shares his own vision and world outlook. As long as you love and appreciate one another, as long as you serve one another, by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another, the Lord says.
A Soul Without God is Dead
Meeting of Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok with the House of Love of Labour Staff (Part Two)
Father Andrew:: Our lives belong to God. we are His creation and we have come to this world not just to do something good or bad, but to serve God, to give back to Him the life that He gave us. If this is not true, what is the meaning of our lives? We can work and produce something, and maybe we will be successful in doing it. However, our eyes will be dead, and our souls will be dead and lifeless, too; a life without a meaning, without a purpose, without value is merely existence...
“I know that few people will come to God and touch him; it is for their sake that I speak”
Meeting of Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok with the House of Love of Labour Staff (Part One)
Archpriest Andrew: Time flies, days follow one another... Soon this time will be over, which is why it is crucial that we all have an opportunity to understand, to hear, to accept – i.e., to help and support – one another during this meeting. It is for those who need it that the Lord gives me an opportunity to talk with you.
“At First We Are Motivated With Fear, And Then With Hope” (Part Two)
Interview with Abbess Anastasia of Devič Convent
Everyone has his moments of weakness. Most importantly, we should have a sincere desire to serve God and not to do anything out of egoism. I have spent so many years in the convent but sometimes I still want to have something unimportant and unnecessary. This is transient, this is not something we should aim at, this is meaningless. For instance, now you want a nice phone but then the charm fades away and you realise how absurd it is.
Faces of Stone
By Julia Rudenko
The artists who work in the stone workshop have learned many secrets and techniques thanks to years-long experience but the main secret of their work is the ability to feel the stone. All theoretical talk about the craft and its technologies may turn to be meaningless until an individual tries for himself what "painting with stone" means. Not all icon painters are capable of working in the stone workshop because there is something more to it than just artistic skill.
Lepota Icon Painting Studio and School
It is hard to imagine a big monastery without an icon painting school or an icon painting studio. St Elisabeth Convent is no exception to this rule. Icon painting has flourished at the Convent since the very first day of its foundation in 1999. The icon painters meticulously follow ancient painting techniques, having works of Byzantine and Russian icon painters of the 12th-15th centuries as their inspiration. Both monastics and lay people work in this studio. There is a website of the icon painting studio on the Internet. You can get more information about the icon painting studio of St Elisabeth Convent from this video.
Isn't It Strange to Live For One's Own Sake?
Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok
...Do not be depressed but go, crawl, to God's church instead, in order to touch holiness and to breathe in the air of the church. This air is so clean; there is nothing like this air neither in the mountains, nor in the woods, nor by the seas. Everything in the church is filled with God's grace. Listen to every word, and if this word makes way to your hearts, they will be filled with grace. Struggle for your mind, for your heart, for being attentive to your emotions and thoughts, for it is so easy to lose, to ruin, and to spoil everything!