There is an old photograph in our archive with the silhouettes of two sisters. One of them is dressed in white, and the other is in black. This picture is very symbolic for our convent, originating from the sisterhood, bearing the same name. For all these years, we see the lay and monastic sisters working and praying side by side.
Let us look at photographs and videos from different years to remember how our convent was founded and changed.
Abbess Euphrosyne (Laptik) was one of our first lay sisters to choose the monastic path in life. Here is what she says about this decision: “Every person has a moment in life when God touches his heart... Once I went to the Peter and Paul Church, saw the religious sisters there and felt the desire to be among them. When I joined the lay sisterhood, I did not think about monasticism yet. When we began to build the church and discuss the possibility of founding the Convent, I did not set for myself the goal of entering it. But I understood that the Lord was leading me to this and that such was His will.”
Consecration of St. Nicholas Church
On December 10, 1999, two rassophore sisters were tonsured to the lesser schema, and four novices were tonsured to rassophore.
On the same day, the Convent crypt church was consecrated in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.
Abbess Euphrosyne: “Someone once asked one of our sisters, 'All monasteries have their own shrines—relics or miraculous icons. What do you have in your convent?' She answered, 'The hospital.'"
There are indeed many hospitals and boarding homes surrounding the Convent.
Nun Martha with the Kids from the Boarding Home
On September 14, 2002, prayers with an akathist to St. Nektarios of Aegina began to be served weekly (on Saturdays) in the nearby residential care facility for children with special needs.
The people there need help... Every person is precious in the sight of God.
September 21, 2002 (Nativity of the Holy Theotokos) became a special date for the sisters and brothers working with the children at the National Mental Health Centre. They were granted permission to celebrate all the Twelve Great Feasts on the hospital premises. Besides, regular weekly communion of children began.
Many sisters have changed their white habits to black monastic ones.
August 22, 1999. On this day, Metropolitan Philaret tonsured the lay sisters Larisa Leiko, Liya Shilenkova and Elena Laptik to Rassophore and blessed seven more sisters for novitiate.
Monasticism has a special beauty and meaning. Spiritual father of the Convent, Archpriest Andrei Lemeshonok, says, “Monasticism is an opportunity to renounce everything temporary, first of all, your ego and your own will. It is an opportunity to let God act in your life and start building His kingdom within oneself while still here, on earth. Monasticism is the fullness of service to God and union with God.”
The cross was consecrated and erected on the dome of the Convent church on September 27, 1999 (the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross) as the congregation sang joyfully the troparion "Save, O Lord, Thy people!" By God's providence, when Metropolitan Philaret arrived for the consecration, the sun came out and the cross shone in all its beauty.
“There is a struggle fought for every person in this world. As long as there is hope for the correction of man, as long as there is hope that Love will conquer sin, the world still stands. I think that the monastic prayer keeps this world turning.”
The First Sisters in Front of the Newly Built Church
“Many lay people work within the walls of our convent. They receive real help, and we will continue to develop our workshops, publish books, and visit the sick. A connection with a monastery should sanctify the world.”
On Bright Week, April 10, 2010, the Convent's first Festival of Orthodox chants called the Sovereign Voice was held in the church of the Reigning icon of the Mother of God.
”God blesses all the works at the Convent born from holy obedience. This blessing of God works in different parts of the world: people buy icons painted by our iconographers; they wear vestments sewn by the sisters, drink tea from cups made in our workshops, eat bread baked in the monastery—all this is a service to the people.”
Consecration of the Sewing Workshop
Every great deed is a daring one. Both Father Andrei and the sisters have that boldness. Sometimes, it seems like an impossible act.
To help people who have nowhere else to go, the Convent has built two farmsteads in the Minsk region—one for men and one for women. Essentially, these farmsteads are rehabilitation centres for those who find themselves on the sidelines of life.
On January 3, 2010, Metropolitan Philaret consecrated the church in honor of the Inexhaustible Chalice icon of the Mother of God, located at the men's farmstead in the village of Lysaya Gora. He also performed a Rassophore tonsure of six novice brothers.
The Convent farmsteads help people find God and prepare themselves for eternal life. They also help their inhabitants return to normal life here on earth.
Divine Liturgy at the Women's Farmstead
On October 8, 2013, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the women's farmstead, near the village of Nelidovichi.
Visiting nurses from the Convent's patronage service come to dozens of lonely people living in our large city, often becoming like family to them.
Our Patronage Service was established in September 2014.
The "Ark" is a project that unites under one roof concert and exhibition halls, recreation areas, a family cafe and much more. We would like to share our faith through art, communication, and a helping hand offered to people.
The construction of the "Ark" spiritual and educational center began in August 2012.
Sometimes, the cross that each person carries seems unbearable. We need to help one another carry it.
The Blessed Heaven is the name of a rehabilitation studio for people who were discharged home after a course of treatment at the National Mental Health Center. It was opened on the initiative of the Sisters on April 8, 2019.
We feel the help of God and His saints, and we thank everyone who has contributed to establishing the Convent and participated in its works of mercy.
Icon of the Synaxis of the Venerable Optina Elders
Our icon painters created it in 2000, shortly after the Sisterhood's spiritual father Andrei Lemeshonok brought the relics of the venerable Optina Elders from the Optina Hermitage on May 5, 2000. The icon was consecrated on October 24 of the same year.
In our prayers, we always remember with gratitude the elder Nikolai Guryanov from the island of Zalit, whose blessing gave a start to the construction of our convent.
We have many goals and objectives. They are shaped by life itself and need to be addressed.
Children need to receive not only knowledge but also spiritual support. With this in mind, we have opened a school on the Convent grounds.
The Ichthys School opened its doors for its first students on September 1, 2014
Next to it, there is a large pilgrimage center.
Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok, spiritual father of the Convent, consecrated the new Guest House on June 1, 2016
The construction is going on not only on the Convent grounds, but also within ourselves. We are surrounded by people living in boarding homes. This world has given them nothing, yet they know how to rejoice in small things. By giving our neighbour a little of our love and warmth, we make the wall between the Convent and the hospitals transparent.
The European concert tour of the Joyful Hearts ensemble took place between May 14 and May 21, 2017. This musical group consisted of residents of a boarding home for mentally and physically challenged patients.
We speak to people about God and the saints through creativity.
In 2018, The Yekaterinburg Church on Blood in Honor of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land was decorated with mosaics made by our convent's artisans
This language is understandable even to those who live in distant countries.
In June 2016, the Convent organized our first Orthodox festival in Europe called From Heart to Heart.
Is there a greater joy than when a person meets Christ, repents and takes communion? Regular liturgies on student campuses is how we can help young people to find a reliable support in this life.
On March 21, 2016, a house church was consecrated in the Minsk Student Village. Priest Andrey Malakhovsky, cleric of St. Elisabeth Monastery, became the rector of the new parish
The sisters of the Convent and the Sisterhood address in prayer our heavenly patroness, the Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth, relying on her help and striving to follow her in serving God and neighbor.
The Hand of the Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth
On May 21, 2018, the right hand of the Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth was brought for veneration to our convent from the New York Synodal Cathedral
The consecration of the church in honor of St. John of Shanghai is another important milestone in the life of the Convent. This church is designed primarily to serve the needs of the sick and the suffering who are undergoing a course of treatment at the National Mental Health Center. Each new consecrated church bears witness to the protection of our saints and the boundless mercy of God.
Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl consecrated the church in the name of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco on July 2, 2019
We believe that our Convent's family in a broad sense includes not only the monastic sisters living here, but also the lay sisters, the people who work at the Convent’s workshops, and the many people who help on our construction sites. More so, we include you and our dear friends around the world in our Convent’s family.
You can help us in our many ministries by clicking on the link below. Your donation will help us expand our ministry by training more sisters and volunteers and acquiring the needed supplies. Our sisters and fathers will pray with love and gratitude for each contributor.
This year the women’s farmstead of Saint Elisabeth Convent celebrates its 10 year anniversary. It was established in 2011 in a former military base near Vishnyovka village, some 25 kilometres from Minsk.
Recently, we had a unique opportunity to talk about the holy martyr Vladimir Pasternatsky with his granddaughters, Nina Fedorovna Chmyreva and Tatiana Romanovna Khmelevskaya. The sister told us about their saintly grandfather and his family
This neighbourhood had waited for many years until that moment 22 years ago when we laid the first stone in the foundation of Saint Elisabeth Convent. It has seen many troubles, upheavals, tragedies and hardships.
Repentance is not a statement of fact. It is the desire to change one's condition. We cannot change it ourselves, but the Lord can, as long as we give Him this opportunity.
The third Sunday after Pascha is a very special feast day in the Orthodox Church. On this day, we commemorate those brave women that were with Christ after His death and were the first ones to receive the joyous news about His resurrection.
The holy martyrs, Faith, Hope, Love and their mother Sophia, are revered throughout the world. They lived in Rome in the 2nd century. When Sophia was left a widow, she devoted her life to raising her three daughters, naming them Faith, Hope…
With Her pure love and infinite obedience, the Most Holy Theotokos brought into the world the Lord Incarnate, the Saviour of humanity. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
As Christians, we know that there are many people tonight who need our prayers because, sadly, they cannot pray for themselves. So we will spend this night standing at the Divine Liturgy, praying for the secular and Christian worlds together.…