Moscow, July 28, 2015
On July 27, 2015, Bishop Nathaniel of Amantia, who came to Moscow as a member of the delegation of the Albanian Orthodox Church for the celebrations dedicated to the 1000th anniversary of repose of the Holy Prince Vladimir, visited the Moscow Stavropegic Convent in honor of the Conception of the Virgin Mary by St. Anne. The hierarch with those who accompanied him were received by Abbess Juliana (Kaleda) with sisters. The mother-abbess took him round the cathedral and arranged tours of the underground temples and the museum of the history of the convent, along with the Church in honor of the Descend of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Dormition “cave” Church.
When revival of the monastic life there was only beginning, for many years Mother Juliana with sisters every day walked round the convent in cross procession, imploring the Queen of Heavens to help them restore the cathedral. They added the water, that had miraculously appeared from the rock during the apparition of the Mother of God to St. Athanasius the Athonite, into their holy water for cross processions. By grace of God this water never ran out – the priests whom the abbess knew regularly shared holy water from their pilgrimage trips to Mt. Athos with her. Through the intercession of the Heavenly Queen, the restoration of the cathedral became possible in 2002 (following the demolition of the Soviet-era building constructed on the site of the ruined cathedral church), and the consecration of the reconstructed cathedral in 2010 marked the beginning of the new period of the convent’s life.
It was the Great Lavra of St. Athanasius where Bishop Nathaniel became a monk: he entered it at the age of 17 and lived there for another 17 years, from the age of 21 already being in the angelic habit. With gratitude to God, the hierarch has recalled the years he spent in the Lavra, stressing that being a monk, first of all, is of great importance for him.
In the Church of the Holy Spirit Bishop Nathaniel venerated a portion of relics of the Holy Apostle Bartholomew (also called Nathaniel), his patron-saint.
After the tour round the convent a talk on monastic life and the present situation of monasteries worldwide was arranged at the mother-superior’s house.
At the end of his visit the bishop left a note in the book of honorable guests of the Conception Stavropegic Convent.
“I praise the most good and all-merciful Lord for the abundant grace He granted me: for, He vouchsafed me, a humble pilgrim, to visit the holy Convent of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, to venerate the precious relics of saints, resting here, and the wonderworking icon of the All-Holy Theotokos. I ask God the Almighty, through the intercession of His Most Pure Mother and all saints, to give bodily and spiritual health to Mother Juliana and all the sisters of this holy convent and to fulfill all their petitions for salvation!
With love in Christ and best wishes, Bishop Nathaniel of Amantia.”