When we pray on our own we are weak, but when we gather together we become stronger;
therefore we pray to God in assembly and with mutual help among ourselves
(St. John Chrysostom, 49:472)
Sisters of St. Elisabeth Convent, Minsk, Belarus
The prayers of the Church come from the love and inspiration of her most merited sons and daughters. In most perfect words they express the profoundness of the Christian prayerful spirit in its manifold forms.
At our convent, every day we serve the Divine Liturgy, as well as other services of the daily cycle. Besides being commemorated at a single Liturgy, names of Orthodox Christians can be included in the so-called sorokoust, a series of commemorations for the health or the repose, originally lasting forty days but also possible for six months and a full year.
A characteristic feature of our convent is the round-the-clock reading of the Psalms, during which we pray both for the living and the departed, commemorating their names at the end of each Stasis. This reading of the "Sleepless Psalter" is interrupted only during Divine services and the most important church feasts.
Although read in church, the "Sleepless Psalter" is not a canonical church service, which makes it possible to commemorate non-Orthodox Christians during it. This prayer can last forty days, six months, one year or even eternally.
In addition, we offer prayer services (molebens) for the living as well as memorial services for the departed (panikhidas). In exceptional cases, non-Orthodox Christians may also be commemorated at these services, called "occasional rites".
Akathists to the Mother of God or saints are often added to the church hymns sung in our convent.
One of them is the akathist to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker that we serve on Sunday, after the early Liturgy (around 9:30 AM). St Nicholas is traditionally considered the patron saint of travellers. However, such a "specialization" of saints is conditional. One can pray to St. Nicholas, as well as to all other saints with any prayer intentions. Our spiritual father, Archpriest Andrei Lemeshonok calls St Nicholas our convent's main sponsor. Indeed, we constantly feel the closeness of this great saint, who is quick to hear our prayers even for the simplest of our worldly needs.
St. Elisabeth Convent in Minsk, Belarus. Mural of St. Nicholas by the Сonvent's worker Dimitry Kuntsevich
On Sunday at 5:30 PM we pray to our Heavenly patroness, the Venerable Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth, and sing an akathist hymn to her. During the Great Lent, this service is replaced by a particular service dedicated to the Passion of Christ, and during the Easter period — an akathist to His Holy Resurrection.
On Wednesday evening, we have two akathists, one to the Saints Peter and Fevronia (6 PM), and the other to St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco (7:15 PM). These services are held in the churches where the icons of the appropriate saints are kept.
The Holy Right-believing Princes Peter and Fevronia are often believed to help in matters associated with starting and preserving a family, while St. John of Shanghai is a twentieth-century saint and a quick helper in serious illnesses and sorrows.
Church in honour of St. John of Shanghai, St. Elisabeth Convent in Minsk. Icon of St. John of Shanghai by Father Sergius Nezhbort, a priest of St Elisabeth Convent
On Thursday at 5 PM, we hold a prayer service with a small blessing of water and an akathist in front of the Inexhaustible Chalice icon of the Mother of God, commonly asked for help in cases of alcohol and drug addictions. The water consecrated during this prayer service is distributed among the supplicants praying for the health of the soul and body.
Church in honour of the The Inexhaustible Chalice icon of the Mother of God, mission of St. Elisabeth Convent in Minsk. Icons of the "Inexhaustible Chalice" and St. John the Baptist by Sister Maria Kulbitskaya
At 5:30 PM on Friday, we pray for the healing of cancer patients during the akathist before the icon of the Mother of God, called the "Most-Holy Queen of All" (Gr. Παντάνασσα — "Pantanassa"). Water is also blessed after the service and distributed to the faithful. This image is a copy of a miraculous icon located on Mount Athos. It has been painted for our Convent at the Vatopedi Monastery where the original icon is kept.
Church in honour of the Reigning icon of the Mother of God, St. Elisabeth Convent in Minsk. To the right of the reliquary with the relics of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is the "Most-Holy Queen of All" (Greek "Pantanassa") icon of the Mother of God
If you have a special prayer intention (e. g., help in studies, reconciliation among people, or help in other worldly affairs) or wish to order a prayer service to other saints: every Thursday, about 8:30 AM we hold a prayer service to various saints where we can also pray for you and your loved ones.
With the blessing of Metropolitan Benjamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, we read the canon to the holy martyr Varus. According to the tradition of the Church, this saint is considered an intercessor for those who died unbaptized. Sisters of our convent read the canon to St. Varus both for the living and the departed unbaptized people and non-Christians, remembering each name for forty days, six months, or a full year.
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