DIOCESE OF BERLIN AND GERMANY: August 14, 2006
From the Life of the New Convent of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany
On July 18, the Convent of St Elizabeth the Martyr celebrated its first feast day. The solemn all-night vigil was conducted by Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff with Deacon Alexander Rolov. Arriving from Darmstadt in time for the polyeleos was His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart. The next day, the spiritual father of the Convent was greeted before Liturgy—His Eminence Archbishop Mark. The spirit of the Resurrected Christ, fittingly for the memory of Holy Grand Duchess Elizabeth, reigned at her Convent. The church was adorned in red vestments and red Paschal candles burned throughout the church; it was all reminiscent of a little Pascha. After Divine Liturgy, there was a procession of the cross around the Convent. Afterwards, the nuns invited all the pilgrims to a festive trapeza, during which Vladyka Mark congratulated the nuns on their first feast day. His Eminence noted that from now on in the German Diocese, women, too, will have a monastic retreat where they can draw strength and spiritual edification, sadly lacking until now. Women pilgrims can now visit the new convent and combine monastic labors with prayer, attending the daily services.
This summer, for the first time, a summer camp for girls opened at St Elizabeth Convent in Buchendorf. Girls aged 8-13 participated.
The camp opened with a moleben. Hieromonk Evfimii (Logvinov) from St Job of Pochaev Monastery in Munich served on the feast day of St Seraphim of Sarov. The arrival at the Convent of the Ruling Bishop of the Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Mark, brought us great joy; Vladyka served all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy on the feast day of Holy Prophet Elias, along with Fr Dimitry Kalachev of Billefeld. The children were given the opportunity to participate in the daily services, confess and partake of the Holy Mysteries, and also made new friends. The first half of the day was devoted to studies in Church Slavonic, icon-painting, liturgical singing, and also 30 minutes of reading of the Gospel and discussion under the open sky. After lunch, the girls would swim in the lake, and made a pilgrimage to St Job of Pochaev Monastery. Unfortunately, because of foul weather, the scheduled horseback riding session was canceled. The remaining time was devoted to drawing and arts and crafts. After evening trapeza, the participants were shown videos on monasteries and other holy sites. The daily monastic way of life enhanced the orderly mood of the camp. On Friday, August 4, after an akathist before the myrrh-streaming "Donskoy" icon of the Most-Holy Mother of God, everyone departed for their homes. It was a joy to hear the children express the desire to meet once more next summer in Buchendorf. Plans are for the Camp of SS Martha and Maria to be held every summer at the Convent. In response to the wishes of the parents, the dates of next year's camp will be provided well ahead of time.