Theotokos is the great Intercessor for all Christians. She wishes salvation to everyone, She wants to lead everybody into the eternal Kingdom of Her Son and God. She hears the prayers of each person and responds with motherly love to all supplications. According to the words of the holy Fathers, She embraces the entire world with Her love, and in the Holy Spirit She is able to see all the nations on earth, and, like Her Son, She pities and has mercy on all. She especially favors those who emulate Her virginity and purity and who have completely dedicated themselves to God, as She did. This is no coincidence that many of the monastic convents are named in Her honor, in honor of Her feasts or holy icons. Ekaterinburg, too, has a monastery named in honor of the Mother of God.
Founded at the end of the XVIII century, the Novo-Tikhvinsky convent of Ekaterinburg was the biggest monastery in Ural before the revolution. It had six churches and several workshops in operation: the monastery was like a town within a city. In the 1920s the convent was closed, and for several decades its walls hosted military and Soviet offices. Its revival began since 1994. Now the churches here are being restored, church arts blossom, and, most importantly, monastic life filled with labor and prayer is being revived.
At the monastery, sisters carry out various obediences: they study the history of the convent and the Ekaterinburg metropolia; compile hagiographies of neo-martyrs and men of faith; translate works of the holy Fathers from Ancient Greek and Church-Slavonic; make embroidered hierarchal and priestly vestments, as well as icons, clothes for the clergy, baptismal and wedding sets. The monastery choir revives the ancient chanting traditions. Singing during worship services in the churches of the convent are done in Znamenny and Byzantine chants. Traditions of canonical iconography are being revived in the icon-painting workshop of the monastery. Sisters paint both individual icons and iconostases for churches, as well as the birth size (mernaya), family, and folding icons, wholly following the practices of the ancient masters.
The Boat Sailing to the Kingdom of Heaven
In one of the churches in Holy Land there is this fresco. Sailing up to heavens is a huge boat in which the apostles,
saints, martyrs, holy, righteous people and many Christians are gathered together. Some people outside the boat throw arrows and
spears, trying to sink the ship. Yet, it is sailing on, because the Lord Himself is at the steering control. The boat is the Church.
Those who are sailing in it together with Christ and the saints are we ourselves. Now, just like at all times, the Church is being
attacked by arrows Ц people talk and write about it with condemnation. How should we receive it? Can those arrows harm us,
sailing in the boat of the Church? Our monastery has published a leaflet with holy Fathers' profound answers to these questions.
The Living Soul of Ural Peasant Huts
The staff and students of Sunday school at the monastery church of St. Alexander Nevsky made a trip
to the old village of Aramashevo. "We met Vera Vasilyevna Reutova; one used to say about such women: "There are women in
Russian villages..." She restored a whole complex of old huts with the art of Ural murals. And how she is able to communicate
with children, they were listening to her nonstop! And what wonderful pies with tea made with an extract of five herbs!
And an evening get-together in Russian folk costumes Ц we rested in both body and soul! The children in the meantime
immersed themselves into the world of our ancestors."
The Mother of God Comforts All
Prayers addressed to the Mother of God are never left unattended. As a true Mother, She always renders help, comfort,
and strength to Her children, to all of us. On July 9th, the day of the Tikhvin icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, thousands of people came
on Her feast day with love, joy, and trust to the Mother of God; and surely, no one has left unconsoled. Let us remember what this feast
has was for us.
Loyal to the Emperor, Loyal to Christ
Just recently, at the Archbishopal Sobor, the passion-bearer Evgeniy Botkin, the last physician-in-ordinary of Emperor Nicholas II,
was canonized a saint. The Ekaterinburg committee for canonization of saints presided by the father-confessor of our monastery,
schema-archimandrite Avraam, submitted the materials for Evgeniy Botkin's canonization. Lately our monastery held a public presentation about
the life and the podvig of the holy passion-bearer Evgeniy.