DIOCESE OF GENEVA AND WESTERN EUROPE: October 6, 2006
The Feast-day Celebrations of Lesna Convent of the Mother of God
Following a tradition dating back many years, the first Sunday after the Elevation of the Life-creating Cross of the Lord is celebrated as the feast day of the Lesna Convent of the Mother of God, drawing a multitude of pilgrims from various countries.
This year, on September 18/October 1, His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe officiated at Divine Liturgy and the Convent to an enormous gathering of people. Vladyka Michael, for whom this was his first service in the Diocese after his installation as Ruling Bishop, was joined in the service by the spiritual father of the Convent, Protopriest Michael Gudkov; Hieromonk Evfimii; Hieromonk Alexii; Priest Adrain Ecchevaria and Priest Sergei Ledkovsky. Fr Sergei is a clergyman of St Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ, a church directly under the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Dozens of people partook of the Holy Gifts. After Liturgy, a moleben was served with a procession of the cross and the rite of the Panagia. The guests were then offered a splendid trapeza with the traditional cup of tea.
That evening at the convent cemetery, at the grave of Archbishop Seraphim (Dulgov, +2003), Vladyka Michael, together with the other clergymen, served a pannikhida for his predecessors at the Cathedra of Geneva and Western Europe: Archbishop Seraphim and Archbishop Anthony (Bartoshevich, +1993), the anniversary of whose death fell on the following day, September 19/October 2. Bishop Michael then attended the reading of the akathist to the Mother of God, which is traditionally done following Sunday vespers at the Convent.
Lesna Convent is entering its fortieth year in the town of Provement in Normandy. It was in the fall of 1967 that the monastery residents settle on this site, which became the longest-enduring abode of the miracle-working Lesna Icon of the Mother of God and of its faithful safekeepers. May the Lord grant that despite all sorrows, illnesses and worldly temptations, the selfless service of the sisters of Lesna Convent to the Lord and His Most-pure Mother continue!