All of creation rejoices in thee, o full of grace! A church in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos has been consecrated
The restoration of this church began twelve years. A few thousand people have worked on it over these years. And finally the church is consecrated! The consecration and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated by five hierarchs.
Prior to this, the Novo-Tikhvin monastery had no single church consecrated in honor of the Theotokos. The monastery has churches in honor of All merciful Savior, Archangel Michael, hieromartyr Konstantin of Merkushino, and other saints. But now the first church in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos has been consecrated, and the sisters will pray in there with a special feeling.
And now a few stories about how this church was being built.
Story 1. Theotokos -- the joy of monastics
Saint Paisius of the Holy Mountain used to say: "When a monk says the prayer: "Most Holy Theotokos, save us!" – he, as a little child, is nagging on the fringe of her robe." There is no such monk who would not love the Theotokos. The founder of our monastery, abbess Taisia, also loved Her strongly and dearly, and laid the foundation of two churches in Her honor. The first one was that church in honor of the icon "The Joy of All Who Sorrow."
Story 2. "Many years I hear how people revile me, and I endure..."
After the revolution the church was disfigured: the dome has been taken off, battlements built up, and the apse cut off. A club had been quartered inside. And the Theotokos was patiently waiting for people to come to their senses and start praying to Her again.
We know of the following story. A young used to work together with people who were reviling the Theotokos for many hours. Once he started tearfully praying to Her: "I can't hear You being reviled! What should I do?" And all of a sudden he heard Her voice: "For two thousand years I hear how people revile me, and I endure. And you, too, be patient, I will provide for everything."
By the prayers to the Mother of God, that horrible time passed, the church buildings were beginning to be returned to the Church. The "Joy of All Who Sorrow" church building has come back, too; just two walls and the foundation were left of it... The restoration began in 2006.
Story 3. Heaven inside the church
Very often supplicatory prayer services to invoke God's help would be done in the church as it was being reconstructed. Church walls and the dome were erected, and a cross was mounted on the dome. Together with the architects, the sisters were working on the interior of the church for a long time. What should the featured color be? Golden? Blue? Finally, the sky-blue color was decided upon, as it reminds one about the purity and chastity of the Mother of God. The frescoes of the Ferapontov monastery were taken as a template. The sisters would turn to many other monuments of the ancient art as well. Everyone wanted to create the kind of church where everything would remind one of the Mother of God...
"Look at Her luminous countenance. Is it not apparent that the sky has absorbed in these eyes all the purity and beauty of the stars?" (hierarch Iliya Minyatiy). The cupola depicts the Savior. As a template, sisters took a composition from the ancient monastery at Choros. "O Most Pure Lady Theotokos, tell us, how You loved Your Son and God? How did You behold His fair face and pondered that this is the One Whom all the heavenly hosts serve with fear and love?" (St. Silouan the Athonite).
The majority of the frescoes in the church are dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos. The major episodes from Her life are embedded in the pendant constructions: Her nativity, the entrance into the Temple, the Nativity of Christ, and Dormition.
The sisters-iconographers report that the work on the frescoes in the church went amazingly smoothly and quickly – as if the Mother of God Herself were guiding the hand of every sister...
Story 4. "I will eternally pray for anyone who lays even a single brick for God's church..."
One of the Optina elders told this story. A certain man was assisting at a church construction, and once the Mother of God came to him in a dream and said: "For anyone who lays a single brick for the construction of the church of God, for that person I will perpetually pray to My Son and God." And, of course, She is praying also for everyone who labored for the sake of the church "The Joy of All Who Sorrow."
The students of the Moscow architectural institute spent several days at the monastery, helping in the work on the frescoes, and making the inlay for the iconostasis.
One of the main adornments of the church is the marble canopy above the altar. Master craftsmen were working on it for over a year. All of the details – more than a thousand of these – had been carved out in Moscow, then brought to Ekaterinburg and assembled the canopy right in the church. A similar canopy stands at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.
The church has been consecrated, it already hosts Divine services. We hope that everybody who comes here would be comforted by the Mother of God. This is because Her prayer is very powerful before God, as hierarch Iliya Minyatiy says: "Imagine that all the monastics on the earth, all the priests, hierarchs, and patriarchs are raising a common prayer. Imagine that all the saints of paradise, all the Angels and the Archangels are imploring God's mercy for us. And a single word of the Theotokos is capable of doing much more than that."
Consecration of the church