When a calendar year moves towards its end, it is a good idea to review it. By the grace of God and thanks to the people who care, we were able to accomplish several important projects this year. Some of them took a long time; problems sometimes seemed daunting, and the financial burden seemed overwhelming, but the Lord kindly helped to bring them to completion.
The most significant event was, of course, the consecration of the Church in honor of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco at the National Applied Research Center for Mental Health (links to related publications). The church had been built for seven years literally by the entire world. The unique wooden church was designed specifically for people who stay in hospital. It is now the tallest wooden church in Minsk, and it is also very beautiful! The church is open to the patients of the hospital. There are regular divine services at the church; and educational meetings with people are held in the basement of the building.
No less important was the construction and opening of another building of the House of Love of Labor, which hosts the workshops of the Convent previously housed in small rooms in the basement of the Church in honor of the Reigning icon of the Mother of God and the monastic compound. Such houses appeared in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century in order to provide poor people with paid work and to ensure their integration into society. The modern building with well-lit and well-equipped rooms will help those who work in the workshops to invent and create new unique products filled with the warmth of human hands. (link)
This year a phytoshop was launched at the Women’s Rehabilitation Center in the village of Nialidavičy. The workshop was consecrated on June 30, 2019 by the spiritual father of the Convent, Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok. This workshop employs the women who got into a difficult life situation and requested help from the Convent. The work in the workshop and the rehabilitation center offered them a chance for a new life. Prior to the opening a lot of work had been done: the building had been constructed, the women had been trained to work with the herbs; we had developed unique formulas and methods of tea making.
Thanks to your donations, a whole new area of the social ministry of our Convent was launched: the Graceful Heaven Rehabilitation Studio was opened in the spring for people discharged home after a course of treatment in the National Applied Research Center for Mental Health. The visitors to the studio are offered an educational program aimed at expanding their perspectives, acquisition of professional skills, training in various types of fine and applied arts: sculpture, felting, making straw products, the Batleika puppet theater, workshops on making alabaster gifts, and a book club.
Today, the construction of the Ark Spiritual and Educational Center continues. It is expected to become a center of creative life for all: it will host exhibitions and concerts, creative workshops for adults and children, as well as seminars and shows. It will bring together everyone under one roof: the monastic sisters, the sisterhood, the residents of our rehabilitation centers and boarding homes, parishioners, pilgrims and guests of the monastery. Moreover, it will offer a place for communication of like-minded people, personal and artistic search for God, and an opportunity to remind the world of the divine using the language of theater.
Besides, the Church in honor of St. Sergius of Radonezh is being restored in the place of the one that was destroyed by fire at the Women’s Rehabilitation Center.
Dear friends, we express our heartfelt gratitude to you for your assistance to the Convent. All these things have become possible because of you! Hopefully, we will keep making you happy with our events and news, projects and achievements that are going to benefit many people!