The Novo-Tikhvin Women's Monastery
 
 E-mail the Monastery   1 Zelenaya roshcha st. Ekaterinburg, 620063  Printer-friendly version   

Russian Version
Српска верзија

Main Page
Feasts and Weekdays
Obedience
The Catholicon
From the monastery’s spiritual father
Pilgrimage
Charity Projects
Photo-album
Greeting Cards
Contact Information

Printer-friendly version ]

E-mail the Monastery ]

Site Updates:

30 August 2023
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a story A book about general Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev appeared


24 November 2022
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a talk by schema-archimandrite Abraham Invincible weapon appeared


29 August 2022
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a story The events of the sunny August appeared


13 June 2022
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a story Faithful for good. A monument to prince Dolgorukov, general Tatishchev, sailor Nagorny, and boatswain Sednev appeared



Hand-painted icons by the sisters of the Monastery

The blessing of the Holy Mountain

Archimandrite Ephrem, abbot of the famous Athonite Vatopede monastery, visited us for the second time. The elder tried to give his attention to everybody, to bring joy and consolation with his wise words for all: he had separate talks with the clergy, the laity, and at our monastery – with the monastics of the diocese. Fr. Ephrem found the right and helpful words for everybody – both for the newly tonsured monastics, and for those who have been leading monastic life for a long time, as well as for the laity and the clergy present at the talk.

Archimandrite Ephrem: "Do not seek joy outside yourself, it's inside"

Your eminence, reverend hierarchs, venerable fathers, dear presbyters, brothers and sisters! It is a joy for me to be at your monastery for the second time already. My dear ones, the fact that you and I have come to monasticism is a great blessing. Our elder Joseph of Vatopede of blessed memory would often tell us: "There is no greater blessing for a man than when God calls him to monastic life. And let the monk never, not for a second forget, that he had been called by God Himself" When we reminisce on how we left the world, what circumstances accompanied us then, we see that God's grace was with us at the time; it is grace that completed our abdication from the world; it brought us to the monastery. Here we necessarily have to fulfill three virtues in their fullness: poverty, obedience, and chastity. These virtues lead us into spiritual life, help us get rooted in it and reach the fullness of the age of Christ. Monasticism is the way of perfection, and therefore we are called to acquire the fullness of grace. Some time ago a monk came to me and said: "You know, I have no time to read". I told him: "Child, monastery is not a place for reading. You came to the monastery not in order to read, and even not in order to pray. You came in order to reject yourself and subject yourself to a spiritual guide. If you completely give yourself over to obedience to your abbot and will not attempt to arrange your life in a comfortable way, you will follow Christ's commandment precisely.

He never spoke randomly, but always – unmistakably, and He told us, the monks: "Whoever wants to follow me, may he reject himself, take up his cross, and follow Me."

The one who does not reject himself, is the person who fulfills his desires in the monastery. A monk doesn't have dreams, aspirations, or plans at all. He comes as the one with a death sentence, raises his hands and tells the Father Superior: "Do unto me whatever you want." And thus he fulfills one more word of Christ: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it." And if a monk understands the meaning of these words and lays them as a foundation of his life, he will have the right notion about spiritual ascension, and all of his problems would be solved. He then becomes the organ of God's Providence and fully emulates our Lord Jesus Christ Who, though was sinless, came down and, as it were, stood in one line with us, repenting sinners, as if also needing repentance. Christ did not just give us some isolated commandments from Heavens, which we must observe, but He Himself descended to us and showed this in practice. What did he tell us: "I have come to fulfill not My will but the will of the Father Who sent Me." Our blessed elder Joseph would tell us during discussions: "What do you think, brethren, if Christ would follow His own will, would that have been sinful? And yet, He did not do that, in order to be the One Who from the beginning created and then taught." Human will is a copper wall. Not clay, not stone, not cement, but copper, separating man from God. And blessed is the monk who obeys. Obedience is not a discipline; obedience is when you give over your heart. Monastic life is completely Christo-centric. Therefore an elder does not use obedience of his spiritual children for personal purposes; his task is to convince a monk to subject his will to God's will.

Question: How is it possible to notice the appearance of a sinful thought in due time and to cut off clinging passionate images, while they are at the level of perception only?
Answer: Do not dwell on images too much; one should treat them with disdain. A monk from our monastery once came to me and said: "I need to give a confession." I saw him holding a notebook. I asked him: "What do you have here?" – "This is my confession," – he told me. "All right, – I said, – I will be reading your notebook." Can you imagine – 30 pages of images! I told him: "Do you think you must confess all the images and thoughts that come into your mind? This way you'll soon be in a psychiatric ward! The coming thoughts mean nothing." Even if the mind inclines to them for a second, it means nothing, absolutely nothing! Forget it! You must confess only the thoughts that do not leave for a long time, but thoughts in general are soap bubbles.

Question: Fr. Ephrem, what do you think, should be the focus of particular attention of the monastics in Russia now, so that our monasteries could be strengthened and would flourish?
Answer: One needs to pay attention to obedience. A monk must obey. And not have partialities for anything, it is especially true for women. There one women's monastery, and whenever I come there, it starts immediately: "Geronta, pray for my aunt, for my nephew, for the neighbor of my nephew. Geronta, pray for my brother, for my sister's friend". Do not occupy yourself with the needs of aunts, nephews, and their neighbors. Pay attention to this, because women in particular have difficulty with the virtue of abandoning all worldly attachments; they often retain strong attachment to their relatives. They start fervently praying for them, but under cover of praying for the relatives, they become attached to them with their heart once again. Yet, obedience tells us: one should wholly give himself to Christ.

Question: How can one combine repentance and spiritual joy, contrition of heart and inner peace? Both things are necessary, but apparently they contradict each other.
Answer: The measure of man's contrition and inner weeping that is commanded by Christ corresponds to the measure of the joy he feels. Do not muse about spiritual things with the help of senses and sentimentality. One cries because he has a psychological problem, another person cries because of sentimentality, and the third one cries for spiritual reasons. And this third person, he is the one who is always joyful.

Question: How do you fulfill the apostle's commandment: "Rejoice always" and how do you acquire true spiritual joy?
Answer: When a monk gradually acquires constant communion with God, the fruit of this communion will be joy. True joy is not a psychological but a spiritual state. St. Nectarios, the great contemporary saint, says very well in one of his letters: the one who looks for the sources of joy not into his inner self, is mistaken. The source of joy is in his heart, it is the constant presence of grace. And therefore a person of God both in joyous and sad events always remains peaceful and calm.


[ Main Page | Obedience | The Monastery Metochion | The Catholicon | The Heavenly Abbess | Contact Information | Russian version ]

All of the icons on the site are painted by the sisters of the monastery

Materials of this site are blessed to be published only with the reference to sestry.ru


Творчество,христианство,православие,культура,литература,религия Rambler's Top100 ЧИСТЫЙ ИНТЕРНЕТ — logoSlovo.RU