The Novo-Tikhvin Women's Monastery
 
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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

ј peer of elder Paisius Ц on happiness

"Do you know the elder Paisius of the Holy Mountain? He and I are peers! I am even a little older: he was born in the summer, and my birthday is in the beginning of the year, in February." Indeed, nun Ekaterina was born the same year as elder Paisius, in 1924. The story of her life is both simple and striking, just like the story of any soul that acquired God after many years of life without Him.

Nothing is accidental

The incredibly lucid memory of nun Ekaterina had preserved in all details the memories of the far 1920s, her family, and childhood. Her father was a hereditary tailor, her mother Ц a housekeeper. In 1923, her parents moved to Ekaterinburg.

Ц I was born in Ekaterinburg. Yes, in Ekaterinburg, and not in Sverdlovsk, Ц nun Ekaterina shows us a faded birth certificate where one can hardly decipher: "Ekaterinburg."

Yet, the newborn Galina (the name of nun Ekaterina in the world) did not live long in Ekaterinburg Ц she was a couple months old when the government decided to rename the city. Different names were being offered: Krasnouralsk, Krasny Ural (the Red Ural), and even Revengeburg (the hint at the murder of the Royal family in Ekaterinburg). Finally, in November of 1924, Ekaterinburg was officially renamed Sverdlovsk. The city was deprived not only of its historic name but also nearly of all of its churches. The new government tried hard to delete the name of God from the mind of the Soviet people for good.

Ц People didn't used to talk about faith at all, Ц recollects mother Ekaterina. Ц But at one time my mom and I were taking a walk (I actually remember that place!), and all of a sudden she says: "Rejoice, Virgin Theotokos..." And then: "Our Father Who art in Heavens..." And then she stopped, didn't say anything else... So many years passed, and I still remember for some reason. Now, of course, I understand that this wasn't uttered by accident Ц the Lord dropped a sparkle into my heart.

The long way to happiness
In childhood. With older sister
In childhood. With older sister

And afterwards there was the regular life of a Soviet girl. Galina graduated from high school, then she happened to take a course of English language, and finally landed a job as an instructor in a construction technical school. That's where she met her future husband. Igor Dudin was one of her students. She was six years older, but he fell in love with his teacher right away. For a long time he hesitated to propose and even to open his heart. First, he decided he would get a solid education Ц after the vocational school he went to Leningrad to study at the Artillery college. This college was the former Corps of Pages; in 1940s, there still were teachers who taught in Tsarist time.

Igor Dudin came out of this college a real Tsarist officer Ц noble, a man of manners. He dreamed that he would come back to Sverdlovsk and have a church wedding with Galina. Precisely a church wedding. In one of the churches in Leningrad, he saw a couple having a church wedding and feasted his eyes on them... Igor used to go to church as a child, his grandmother taught him that one had to make the sign of the cross and venerate the icons upon entering the church. Having returned to Sverdlovsk, Igor finally proposed to Galina, and she accepted. They had two girls.

Ц Everything went well for me. Of course, we went through all kinds of stuff, but there were lots of good, kind things. The Lord would somehow always guide me, Ц says nun Ekaterina. Ц Back then, of course, I didn't realize that it was the Lord guiding me. I would just go with the flow. I took it easy, enjoyed life...

Galina's family don't remember her having a fight with anyone even once in her life. She had always loved everyone and was at peace with everyone. She had everything: a loving husband, nice children, a job she loved. What else can one need? Yet, it turned out that the fullest happiness was still ahead.

"Really, there God exists!"

Ц I always used to read a lot, I knew all the classics. And not just the classics. Like many people in the Soviet Union, I was fascinated with science fiction, Ц tells and laughs nun Ekaterina.

They say, God seeks the path to the heart of every person. Sometimes through books, sometimes through music. That's how it happened with Galina, too. She would be fascinated with harmony of words in books, with harmony of sounds in her favorite music pieces. She would hear music on the radio and call her daughters: "Listen how beautiful! This is "The Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven."

The Dudins had a good home library. When in 1980s books and journals about faith began to be published, Galina would read them with interest, and it was namely through reading Ц her favorite pastime Ц that God revealed Himself to her at one time.

¬ это врем€ стали выходить книги и журналы о вере. √алина по-прежнему много читала, и именно через чтение Ц ее любимое зан€тие Ц ей однажды и открылс€ Ѕог.

Ц Once I was reading something about faith, I can't even remember what it was, Ц says nun Ekaterina. Ц But I remember like I was struck with something: really, God exists (she cries). And so I am telling my daughters: "Girls, quickly, run, go be baptized!"

Since that time on, the whole family started attending the church of St. Alexander Nevsky which was just given back to the faithful at that time (and soon became the main church of the restored Novo-Tikhvinsky monastery). Completely new life dawned for Galina then.

Ц I was fairly young then, I was just 70.

"How easy it is for me to live with You, Lord!"

Years passed. Both Galina's daughters became nuns. Her husband Igor got quite sick in his old age, and in 2008 he died peacefully at the hands of his spiritual father. So, Galina was left ...no, not by herself. With God.

She would never skip a church service; every Sunday and at all feasts one could see her at St. Alexander Nevsky church of the Novo-Tikhvinsky monastery, on the same spot in Epistle side.

Ц I've been taking a taxi to the church for the past 5 years, all the drivers know me. When they come to pick me up, they ask: what feast is it today? And while we are driving to church, I talk to them, I instruct them about this, Ц says mother Ekaterina.

Finally, the time for taking the vows came. It was when Galina began to think about taking the vows, her daughter called from the monastery and asked if she wanted to become a nun.

Ц At first they suggested the name Olga, but I asked them right away: "Can I be Ekaterina? I was born in Ekateirnburg, and I received a medal in honor of St. Ekaterina."

There is a shooting of this event, where the 94-year-old Galina Leonidovna is presented with a medal by the metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Kirill. Galina Leonidovna had always venerated St. Catherine, and the medal, as it were, became a sign for her that this saint was her heavenly patron. That's why she was asking for this name at her tonsure.

Ц Do you ever feel sad or lonely?

Ц Not at all, I have so much to do: I got to pray, to read the Gospel, and an akathystus. What kind of loneliness? I am not alone, I am with God. And God is joy.

Even prior to taking the vows, she was called her daughter at the monastery and asked her to make a beautiful inscription: "How easy it is for me to live with You, Lord!" These words became the expression of her inner state. Isn't it amazing? A 96-year-old woman, lonely, feeble, and yet full of such great joy which the young people won't find in their hearts.

Nun Ekaterina was walking towards her happiness all her life. For many years she knew nothing about God, and yet she would gratefully accept everything He would give her. She took joy in everything: nature, beauty, her family and friends, work. In hardships, she would not despair and would never blame anyone, but rather give love for all. And that was her soul was getting ready to know God.

Ц The Lord has granted me so much. I had a lot of joy in my life. And now I lived to see such great happiness that I got to know God, and the Lord has even deemed me worthy of monasticism. Because happiness is in God. Happiness is living for Him.

Nun Ekaterina died peacefully on June 18, 2020, after a short sickness, having spent the last days of her life in unceasing prayer and giving glory to God.

"Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you Ц we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you." (St. Augustine of Hippo)

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