Свято-Елисаветинский монастырь
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Workshops
The Church is an enormous workshop;
in it the Lord restores the beauty
for which Man was created.
Archpriest Andrei Lemeshonok

The Church brings people together; the Lord receives every one who opens his heart to Him. To God all are equal – an educated man or one deprived of intelligence, a prosperous man or one lacking all things – all are children of the Heavenly Father.

Laboring in the Church, an individual slowly changes. The Lord Himself mystically restores in him His Image, his original beauty. Even before the creation of the sisterhood workshops, the priest blessed several sisters to study icon painting. The prayer to the Mother of God “Quick to Hearken” was read over them.

The first icons were written under the direction of Father Igor Latushko, an experienced icon painter.

Soon workshops were to be built on the grounds of the church under construction: a sewing workshop, furniture shop, icon painting studio, ceramics shop and a stone workshop where icons and paintings are made of stones.

There are people working in the workshops who, like those working on the construction project, had lost all hope in realizing their potential due to various illnesses. They had lost all hope of being useful to anybody. But the Lord gave a talent to everyone and these people have skilled hands and the desire to work. Monastic obedience and closeness to the Mysteries of the Church help them to overcome their diseases.

Church obedience is a special kind of labor: Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice in Him with trembling (Psalm 2:11). Serving God is a responsibility by which grace is given which strengthens and inspires an individual to creative work.

With a blessing people receive the possibility of making very beautiful things. Working in the midst of beauty changes people themselves. Divine grace is limitless: the works created at the monastery could hardly be created outside of its walls, because without the protection of grace a person remains alone in his infirmities. Only by humbling oneself and realizing that we are nothing without God can someone hope to do something.

…We work, pray and hope every day to experience God’s mercy. Every day we experience a continuous miracle. Others begin to feel this and come to our church in order to give their souls a rest.
Great Duchess Elizabeth

The path to eternity is not a festal walk but a continuous giving of oneself to labor for the sake of Love, an overcoming of oneself, a painful struggle with sin which does not want to die.

In a monastery, people labor as a team. The Church principle of “sobornost” (“collegiality”) enables one to be rid of pride, conceit, self-love. People make efforts, learn from one another how to love, listen, respect and bear one another’s infirmities, to be compassionate and pray for one another. The fruit of this labor are wonderful items produced in the workshops.

Centuries-old canons and traditions of Orthodoxy are preserved in the monastery. Canons are a wealth of the church’s wisdom gained over many centuries – everything has a meaning and purpose. This is especially expressed in the art of the icon.

“Not a single line in the icon exists without a purpose. Each one is applied in accordance with the church canon. Not only the line but the spiritual condition of the iconographer goes into the icon. In this way, one praying, gazing at the icon, unnoticeably is affected by the harmony of lines and is drawn to the icon; feelings and thoughts are set at ease and one may strive unhindered to the Lord, discarding all that might prevent a meeting with the One with Whom it is “a blessing to cleave unto”.
Mother Martha

Items executed according to ancient prototypes, made with humility and prayer, bear a spirit of peace and joy, and cultivate appreciation in people.

As the construction progressed, the need arose for artistic works. New workshops were created – metal embossing workshop, wood-carving workshop, non-ferrous metals workshop, blacksmith shop, furniture shop, gold-embroidery shop, candle workshop, and a stone-carving workshop is now being created.

The workshops provide for all the monastery’s work needs.

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