The Monastic Choir of St. Elisabeth Convent in Minsk was formed from a small amateur choir of 6-10 lay sisters, visiting the patients of the National Psychiatric Hospital and singing during festive Liturgies served there. When the Convent was officially established in 1999, these sisters took the monastic vows, thus naturally transforming the choir into its present state. Over time, new singers joining the growing convent were added to the choir, and today it may have as many as 25 people singing at festive services.
Nun Martha (Guskova) became the founder of the choir and its first cantor. Thanks to her efforts and research, ancient chant has replaced the more recent traditional polyphony (the Obikhod) sounding in the Convent. The choir adheres to the ancient choral tradition throughout the yearly cycle of Divine services. On weekdays they sing Znamenny chant and its variety, the Valaam chant. On Sundays and feast days, the choir also performs Byzantine, Greek, Old Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Georgian chants. The more conventional three-part chants can be heard during the services in hospitals.
Harmonious, sublime, error-free singing at divine services is the main task of the choir, which manages to combine it with outreach activities.
In recent years the choir has produced a number of CDs attracting the interest of Orthodox audiences. Among them are the "All-Night Vigil", "Chants of Great Lent", "Holy Pascha", "Akathist to the Nativity of Christ and Carols", "Chants of the Divine Liturgy”, “Shining Bright”, and “Our Faith”.
The soulful, pure sound of the heartfelt melodies and lyrics represent the love of Orthodox people for God and His saints and constitute the main treasure of the Sisters' CDs.