Posts Tagged ‘Monday’

Minsk Monastery trip to saint Elizabath’s Nun Convent – Spiritual realms of Belarus

Monday, April 7th, 2014

st_Elizabeth_Romanova-monastery-Church
If you happen to be in Belarus's capital Minsk and you're a Christian you would definitely will be interested to see the spiritual side of Belarus. I was in Minsk with my wife for a month and had the chance to go for a pilgrimage in st. Elisaberth's Orthodox Christian Convent.

In Belarus about 80% of population of population are Orthodox Christians with about 7% Catholics, some 4% protestants and 9% atheists. I'm Orthodox Christian myself so mostly I kept interest in exoeriencing Orthodox religion life there. The religious life in Belarus so deeply impressed me so I decided to even document it here.

I was in a couple of Orthodox Churches during the Great Lent first week attending afternoon (Great) Repentence services canon of St. Andrew of Crete. And was amazed how many people are religious in this God fearful country. All Churches where I was during the Great Canon or Holy Liturgy was so full of people that you cannot even enter the Church if you're late for the service. People attending were also very concentrated on the service and most of the people came to services bringing most of which holding a book with the Great Repentance Canon following the service and concentrated in praying and doing ground prostrations. One thing to note is Belarusian Orthodox Church is a sub-division of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Belarusian doesn't have their own patriarch but are under the patriarchy of Russian and all Moscow patriarch – Kiril I.

Few weeks ago for Sunday of All Orthodoxy (Triumph of All orthodoxy) for Holy Liturgy service me and Svetlana with a close friend of her Tatyiana went to St. Elisabeth's Monastery. 
Monastery is named in honour of St. Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova – which is the last Russian Grand Princess of the Romanov family later executed with her husband and kids by Communists Bolsheviks, canonized by ROC in the 1990s.

Saint_Elizabeth_holy_orthodox_icon_monastery_Minskst_Elizabeth_Romanova-monastery-Church

The monastery as almost all Churches in Belarus is so full of people you cannot move (it seems in Russian Orthodox Church – there is an amazing spiritual awakening at the moment). I wanted to confess and even though I was in the Church building before beginning of the holy liturgy and there were two priests to confess the queue of people to confess was so long that confession lasted until the end of the Holy Liturgy. In order to able to confess I've waited on the "confession queue" for about 2 hours and a half. Even though Holy Liturgy completed confession continued and those who confessed after the Church service end was also offered the Holy Sacraments. Another stunning thing for me was the amount of young and obviously intelligent people who was in the Church – just to compare here in Bulgaria, seeing young people in most Churches and monasteries is a rare thing ..

Saint Elisabeth's Monastery is the only monastery situated in (very near 19 km away) from MINSK on Vigotskogo 6 str. We reached the monastery by taking bus from regular Minsktrans (state's bus company) city bus nr. 26, other bus and trolley riding there are – bus 18 and trolley 33, 38, 55.
Monastery was established in 1990 after dissolvement of USSR and is situatuated on a place where previously there was no church or a monastery. The SisterHood in monastery is enormous by size and consists nowadays of 7 Churches!!!

St_Elizabeth_Monastery_Monastery_Minsk-picture

The main Church of the Monastery has saint relics from all around the known Orthodox Walls, to venerate all the saint relics you will need at least 20 minutes!! The Holy Relics of the monastery are so much that they remind me very much of Monasteries I've seen on Holy Mounth Athos. The spiritual father of the monastery is father Andreya Lemoshonka.

father-Andreya-Lemeshonka-spiritual-father-of-st-Elizabeth-monastery-Minsk


From ruromrs the sisterhood in monastery consists of about 120 sisters (and even maybe more), some of them are Nuns and others are the so called "Sisters of Mercy" (something like the "White Sisters" moveing in the Roman Catholic Church) – woman who deliberately decided to help the monastery often walking the streets shops and metro stations collecting charity for poor, sick and people in need. Sisters of mercy are something exception and seeing a lady dressed in white robes on the street or metro with a prayer book at hand is something rare to see in today's crazy materialistic world. Some of this kind sisters of mercy are novice nuns in the monastery and others are just worldly woman with family whom the monastery employes on a small renumeration.

Minsk-sister-of-mercy-sestri-miloserdie-Belarus

The cloister is a unique place next to the majestic Church buildings, the monastery has a coffeteria where you can have a coffee / snacks or even a dinner after service, there is a Church shops full of icon and all kind of orthodox spiritual literature,a Christian games for kids (Orthodox Lotto, kids collapsible Churches from cardboards) as well as a food store with fasting and non-fasting food and even a shop for Christian clothing "Православная Одежда". 

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Orthodox Clothes Shop near St. Elizabeth's monastery Minsk

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A Honey Store – St. Elizabeth Monastery Belarus

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Orthodox Foodstore near St. Elizabeth Monastery Misnk

In one of the Churches there is a 3 floor tiny shop first floor sell icons, books and faith related things, monastic souvenirs and on the second floor there is a herbal pharmacy  with healing herbs for almost all kind of physical and nervological disorders etc. Part of monastic life is the evening and morning service which occur everyday in the monastery. The spiritual father of a monastery Andreya Lemoshonka who is a married priest is also leading frequent lectures on faith and is often helping people coming to him for a spiritual advice, a problem or question related to faith. The Nuns are fasting each Monday, Wednesday and Friday – fasting also in Mondays even though this fasting day was only observed in ancient Church and in many Orthodox monasteries, Monday fastings (In veneration of Angels) is no longer observed – i.e. sisterhood life is very strict. Near the monastery is situated a Mental Hospital and one of the duties of nuns is to often visit the mentally sick there. The sisterhood helps orphanage homes and is bringing for Holy sacraments often a lot of sick children.

st_elizabeth-monastery-minsk1

Part of monastery service is sheltering the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts offering them encouragement and work in the small monastic farm. The monastery has also workshops where people with disability work in making gloves, icons, decorations, souvenirs embroided by hand. Near the monastery there is a wooden shop where one can order all kind of custom crafted wooden wardrobes, chairs or anything wooden you like for your home.

What I saw there make my heart joyful. It seems Minsk Monastery achieved something which is rarely seen in Orthodox world a symbiosis between Faith, charity and a monetary funding model that works
The monastery very much reminded me to an Orthodox movie Forpost and to the Godly initiate in Bulgaria by father Ioan of Novi Khan who by his efforts, Gods help and the charity of hundreds of bulgarian takes care for about 150 homeless orphans in a monastery.

 

'Forpost' (Outpost) – What the Church Can Accomplish. 

As a closure word I want say Thanks and Glory be to the Holy Trinity The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit! for blessing me to the pilgrimage journet to St. Elizabeth's monastery!

My observations on brotherhood monks life in Pomorie Monastery or how life flows in a monastery

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

My Observations on Brotherhood monks life in Pomorie Monastery - How Life in Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery goes

I'm currently once again on a pilgrimage in Pomorie Monastery St. George (Bulgaria) – EU as you should read in my previous day post. The brotherhood here is very hospital, since our coming (with Kliment), we were treated like being a part of the monks community. We're given food and allowed to eat together with the monks on one table and even we can enter into some of the interesting discussions after food :).
The life in a monastery is actually quite fascinating, though on the outside it seems boring.

As a general rule monks eat a meal twice a day. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the meals are cooked and served usually without oil (except if the Abbot didn't bless differently). The abbot in the Monastery is like a King. The order in the whole monastery resides very much a Kingdom, where the abbot is king some of the monks are his (left and right hand and counselors) etc.

Just like in kingdoms, there are workers who help the kingdom to flourish. With the case with the monastery workers are (mostly believing people) hired (with a wage) to help with the monastery works.

The kitchen "district" has a (chef) cook lady, person/s (usually believing Christians) who help with cooking cutting and vegetables and various meal preparations etc. and serving the brotherhood and workers dinner and lunch. Oh yes I almost forgot, monks didn't eat breakfast. Their usual first meal is like 12 or 12:30 as a straight dinner.

As in Other Orthodox monasteries, here in Pomorie Monastery the monastery is named after the heavenly protector of the place Saint Martyr George.

The brotherhood life here is not as tough as the monasteries located in desert destinations, though just like in other mountain situated Orthodox Christian monasteries the monks has an established everyday Morning and Evening Church Service.

The morning Church service usually starts around 06:00 or 06:30, while on a feast days like Sunday (The Day of Resurrection of Jesus Christ) the service starts a bit later in 07:00 or at very special occasions in 07:30 …

The Evening Services usually start around 04:30 or 05:00 o'clock and continue (depending on Church calendar feast day (saint)) from 30 to 40 minutes up to 2, 3 hours (in biggest feasts or fasting periods).
All the monks should be present on Morning and Evening service, where a bell is rang whether the monks has to gather together for a Church service prayer.

As of time of writting officially Pomorie monastery has 4 monk brothers. One is the Abbot, the abbot's left hand, one other hiero-monk who sometimes is serving the Holy Liturgy church services and another monk who is in his 70s and is mostly doing Church book readings.
Occasionally the brotherhood accepts a novice pupils who want to enter the monastic life, but as long as my observations goes (during the few years I came as a pilgrim here) many of the novices find the monastic life for them and quit after a few months or a year time.

Just a year earlier the brotherhood, here had 6 monks. Unfortunately the oldest monk Father Tikhon who lived inside the monastery more than half of his life (40 years in the monastery W0W!) passed away after a short sickness and hospitalization.
Another one of the monks (Father Joanikius) was transferred by the Sliven's Metropolitan (named also father Joanikius) to serve his monkship (obedience) in our Bulgarian Monastery situation in Holy Mount Athos (Greece) , e.g. to Zographus monastery.

The Abbot of the monastery (Father Yierotej) is a young and energetic person (35 years old) with a good sense of humour and a great God given wisdom grace and joyful temper.

Besides the core monks brothrehood currently the monastery has 5 workers and about 5 to 10 persons (people who are in hardships and have no place to stay) and were accepted to get a healing and a life stabilization while living for a while in the monastery. Some of those people are almost full time living inside the monsatic walls helping with their knowledge and talents to the brotherhood
The overall number of people who inhibit the monastery is about rawly 15 people.
All this people are given free meals 2 times daily and eat together often either in the monastic kitchen or the dining-room (which is also serving as a guest room).

Before and after each meal intake the people gathered together in the dinner-room pray together asking Jesus Christ to bless their food and drink. Usually the Abbot whenever on the table is the one to ask God for a food blessing. After the meal is complete the Abbot or some of the monks says a thanksful prayer thanking Jesus for giving the daily bread and asking God to give us also the heavenly spiritual food.

The most common food eaten here is vegetables and fruits and in non-fasting days they eat some youghurt, cheese or fish. Eating meat however is un-common and most of the food consumed is fasting food (meat is considered inappropriate food for Orth Christian Monks).
The monastery is surrounded by a around a meter monastic walls. In the middle of the monastery is located the Monastic Church Saint Martyr George whichs basic walls dates back to the distant XIX century.

Pomorie Monastery oldest monastic found stone (orthodox depiction of Saint George basrelief).

Facing the church about 40 meters from the Chuch are located the monks dwelling rooms also in monastic language called (cells). The monk's cell is full of icon and holy water, crucific crosses and all kind of faith related books so in a sense the monks room looks like a tiny Church.

Right in the middle of Pomorie Monsatery there is a holy spring – disease healing water which by God's providence healed the first Abbot and beneficient of the monastery (ironically the Turkish Abbot Salim Bey who converted from Islam to Christianity and donated all his land to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in the 18 century when still Bulgaria was enslaved by Turkish).

The monastic yard is filled with green beautiful Peach and Plumb Trees. In the monastery yard they have sew of; potatoes, tomatoes, corn and few other "basic" self-grown. vegetables.

Flowers in front of Holy Sprint Pomorie Monastery St. Martyr George

Along with the plants in one of the corners near the monastic wall there is a henhouse where some chickens and few turkeys are grown for getting fresh (natural) eggs.

In the old days the brotherhood was growing all their food by themselves as it was a tradition in the Monasteries, however with the changing times and the huge decrease of monks, growing all the monastic food on their-own became an impossible task ….

The monastery is mainly living on pilgrim or local believing people donations and the monastic land, as well as to sales of Orthodox icons and tiny faith related objects (crosses, holy bibles, church related books and literature) etc.

As I hear from some of the monks the harsh economic situation and severe world crisis that is plaguing the world also has a negative influence on the financial balance of the holy cloister too.
A monk shared with me the financial expenses of the monastery tend to be "dangerously" growing lately as the amount of people whose the brotherhood is feeding and taking care (healing) daily along with the money for restoration works are raising and the monastery experiences a shortage of money.
Still they're not discouraged but as I was told praying and hoping on God's grace to send them kind heart donators to help the monastery.

On Pomorie Monastery's website there is an e-PayPal donation form through which willing donators can help financially the monastic community

Most of the people who are in the monsatery not for a theraupetic reason (with a severe disease) work all day long. Though the work seems to be never ending here, one feels calm, relaxed and gracious.
Even staying for few hours here, makes you filled-up with God's grace and gives you new energy and hope to continue the harsh daily stress filled life.

Besides the Monastery the town of Pomorie is also very beuatiful and have all the facilities and entertainment a tourist might like to have from a modern beach resort. Yesterday I went and had my first beach time here in Pomorie.
Something interesting I noticed on the beach is the sand color which here in Pomorie is a bit blackish. The sea coast here near the beach is not big but feels cozy and there are bars near the beach shore, so anyone wanting to enjoy some of the world goods too can have a fanastic time here 🙂

Opera!

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Yesterday I and Alex went to an Opera. We watched Opera by Giuseppe Verdi called “La Traviata”.It’s the second time I see this opera, the first time was when I was still a puppil.Pretty awesome opera the actors were really good. And this classic music! Awesome!After the Opera performance I phoned to Ivo a.k.a. (Order)we went to a sort of pub which wasextremely cheap considering the fact it was near the center and the food and drinks were really good.After all this we had a walk around in Varna and hitted the road back to Dobrich.Kimmo My finish colleague is leaving for Finland and was organizing farewell party.Unfortunately because of the Opera I was unable to go to the party. Yesterday was a really niceday considering that nice opera show. The bad news for me yesterday was that I didn’t passedthe written exam in German and I have to go to the re-sit at Tuesday. With the Lord’s helpI hope I would pass it 🙂 Also I’m going to start for the Accounting exam because It’s at Monday.END—–

Vodka! :)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Yesterday I drinked 200 gr. of Vodka yesterday Night, it was pretty refreshing for me but I got drunk a little.I’m smoking again … Things are going bad in my life recently. I have health issues. And I intend to go to doctor today.Yesterday I went to the polyclinic but my personal Dr. was not there (I was angry, I went to doctor once in years and he is not there) so I’ll try again today. I had pains somewhere around the stomach. At least at work things are going smoothly at least God hears my prayers about this. I’m very confused and I have completely no idea what to do with my life. Yesterday I was out with Lily and Kiril on the fountain. The previous day Nomen, I, Yavor, Kiro and Bino went to the “Kobaklyka” (a woody place which is close to Dobrich.) Well that’s most of what’s happening lately with my life. I wrote a little script to make that nautilus is being restarted if it starts burning the cpu. It’s a dumb script (the bad thing is that I’m loosing form scripting, Well I don’t script much lately). Here is the script http://pcfreak.d-bg.net/bshscr/restart_nautilus.sh. The days before the 4 days weekend, I hat to spend a lot of time on one of the servers fighting with Spammers. Hate spammers really! I ended removing bounce messages at all for one of the domains, which fixed the bounce spam method spammers use (btw qmail’s chkuser seems to not work properly for some reason) … Also I started watching Stargate – SG1. First I thought it’s a stupid sci-fi serial. But after the first serie I now think it has it’s good moments :]. Also I had something like a Mortification Day going on during Monday. The whole day I listened to Mortification (The first Christian Death Metal Band). I Liked much the “Hammer of God” album. In the evening Sabin (Bino) came home and we watched some Mortification videos at Youtube. Right now I listen again to “Ever – Idyll” a pretty great song. And yeah I keep listening to ChristianIndustrial.net a lot, a great radio. Try it if you haven’t!END—–

Feeling Bad

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Well I’m not so sick anymore. I’m feeling bad emotionally spiritually. I’m not sure. I have no idea what’s happening in my life. I don’t see the guidance of God. I’m having sexual thoughts and wan’t to sleep with some female, I guess this is not good since I’m a christian. Actually I really don’t have idea what to do with my life. FUCK I’m so LOST! I was out with Lily for a pizza and a coffee smoked 4 cigarettes then went to a new Market here in the town. Well the market was very brighty and clean, on two stages the one was a food/bevarage market. The other with tech stuff. Some time before we went to the market. My mood got fucked up and I stopped talking. Well shit why the Hell I’m here. I have a re-exam in Monday. It was supposed to study at something today. But my state didn’t allows me too. I just want to lay somewhere and die. I’m so lost I feel spiritually broken again. How much, how much will this thing continue. When will God bless me with that which my soul desires? Will I be alive for this moment? I’m wondering more and more. I’ve read some of my bible after I went home some prophecies about the End Times, the book was Ezdra. After that listened a little of NiN feeled even more bad than before right now I’m listening again to http://www.christianindustrial.net. Lord where are you leading me too? Why don’t see a vision for my life? Does my life have really a meaning and what it is. I’ve googled for some time for a phrase like “Christianity not working for me” and found a page which claimed. There is no life after death as classical Christianity claims and that heaven and hell are internal states experienced, here on earth, I think maybe there is some truth in this to some extent. Guess time will show (Or maybe Death).

The last two weeks

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Heya. Few weeks I can’t take the courage to write on the blog. But today I’m spiritually (Praise be to God!). So I was able to write that. The day passed away in a very traditional way. I went to the collage in 10:15 instead of 08:15 again I was not able to stand up from the bed. We had some International Law lectures up to 11:30, after that we drank coffee with Nomen. Smoked few cigarettes. Later on I had a Deutsch 12:30 to 15:45. We made a test the time between 14:15 – 15:45 ( I was not ready for that test ofcourse :] ). No matter price be to God I succeded to write stuff in the test. After that I spoke fo 1.5 h with the College Sys Admin we discussed mine idea to migrate some Windows 98 boxes to just dumb terminals connecting to a central Terminal Server. In monday maybe we’ll start doing the terminal server. Other things I saw Nomen and Habib in 17:10 in the college. Mitko give a promise to Malin to check something on his computer, so we had to go Malin’s home. So we went there nothing special their we put Habib in front of the Malin’s home door and he rang we with mitko hide and watched. Dori (The woman of Malin), went out looking shocked at Habib, she was possible wondering who is that strange (nigga like guy). Habib said: “Malin, Vkyshti” :]. Dori said: “Malin ne vkyshti” then we showed ourself and laughed;] We tried to fix the malin’s problem with the Audio Drivers but was not able the problem seemed to be a hardware one. After that we went to Mino’s coffee we saw Miro and Gosho with Zuio Kiro and Maya. We drinked some beer and went our homes. End of story. The last days were hard for me. I really have no idea where my life is going into nomatter I hope God will think about me a good way the best way. I had a big spiritual pain over the last days, and I said to God a lot of times I hope he will take me away, from this hellish earth. But I guess his plan is another for me. Will live and will see. Now God Even now you see me. Please help me fix the mess I am into and forgive me for all my awful deeds. Will go now. Blessings in the name of Jesus Christ.