EKATERINBURG: July 24, 2006
Gift from Gethsemane

It was a genuine holiday for all of us, especially for the little girls in our care, to receive the long-awaited gift from the Holy Land. The nuns of Gethsemane Convent, where the relics of Holy New Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna and Nun Varvara are kept, sent as a gift to the orphanage a great holy item—a cross with a portion of the earth from those places which were illuminated by the life of the Savior; and also copies of their drawings and many other souvenirs: icons, bookmarks, calendars and photographs.

All of our orphan girls and colleagues venerated the cross-reliquary with great reverence. This reliquary contains holy things dear to all believing hearts—portions of the holy earth and stones. Reading their names, one immerses oneself into Holy Scripture—Bethlehem, the Jordan River, Mount Zion and Temptation Mount, Magdala and Tabor, Gethsemane and Golgotha. The girls then gleefully enjoyed the artwork of the Gethsemane nuns—light, airy, luminous—and hung them over their beds. In one there is a silvery garden with old olive trees, in another, the Abbess' own rendering of a Jerusalem sunset. In this way, St Elizaveta tied our little orphanage with her beloved Holy Land.