On 22 May, the monastics and laity of the Convent of Saint Elisabeth celebrated the feast day of one of our patron saints, Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.
Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker lived in Asia Minor in the late third and early fourth centuries but is revered in nearly every part of the world. He is particularly admired in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine as a helper and deliverer from sorrows and illness for all those who will pray before him. Perhaps every town and city in this part of the world will have a church in honour of this saint.
Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker is a deeply revered saint at our Convent as well. The first church at the Convent was dedicated to this saint. The akathist hymn to Saint Nicholas has been read by the sisters every day since 1997. Our history has been filled with examples of his intercession in response to our prayers and pleas before him.
The blessing to establish the Convent that our sisters received from Starets Nikolay Guryanov; the speedy construction of the churches and the monastic compound by people who were not professional builders; the coming of the architect who oversaw the construction and of the master guilder - both named Nikolay – these are just a few of those wondrous events. Our appeal to Saint Nicholas as the abyss of miracles poured out by God and the giver of grace helped the Convent find the money to continue the construction and helped some of our monastic sisters and clergy go unharmed in life-threatening situations.
In his sermon on the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the Convent’s spiritual father Andrey Lemeshonok said: “He is our great helper and our divine intercessor; he is praying for us before our Lord. With him, we never despair and are always confident that help will come when we need it. We have seen it happen on multiple occasions in our lives. This is also a saint who is well familiar and reachable for everyone, and his image can be found in almost any Christian home. He will also intercede for non-Christians and pray for them to the Lord, as all are created in the image of God.”
On 28 November, we enter the Nativity Fast in which we prepare ourselves for the great feast of the Nativity of our Lord by focusing on abstinence, prayer and almsgiving. The fast lasts until 7 January.