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

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"How to save the entire family from despair" The everyday life of social service

Throughout one's life, every person encounters a lot of people and can tell a lot of interesting things about these encounters. However, it is probably hard to beat someone whose job it is to help those in need. For several years of work at the Social service in honor of John the Merciful, our colleague has gathered a number of living stories: about the miracles that God does through the hands of the donors; about how a simple grocery bag and a bag of clothing delivers the entire family from despair...


One female worker at the monastery saw a woman who looked upset and who complained to her of having no money to buy firewood for the private residence where she lived in the outskirts of the city. The worker told her: "Come to the monastery, to their social service; perhaps they'd be able to help." Just one of those days, a man brought me two thousand roubles and said: "I want to make a donation for someone in need of firewood." I am thinking to myself: "What firewood? That's weird. Maybe we should send them over to the countryside where they can use firewood?" Perplexed, I put the money away, attaching a note that this has been donated for firewood. And here comes a woman, asking: "Do you think you could help? I need money to buy firewood." Can you imagine? I tell her: "Here, somebody just brought them for you!"

"You know what I brought? Look..."

I see a lot of people coming from all the ends of the city with donation bags... I observe them for only a few seconds, – yet, how apparent their character is!

Here comes a family; they bring donation bags 5 or 6 times a year: they think it necessary to teach their children to share. The bags are carried by two boys, about 6 and 9 years old. The younger one holds on tightly to the bag up to the very last minute; he clearly doesn't want to part with it. His mom says to him: "How about we leave this for the kids who have no toys." The boy agrees and lets go. So moving. The older one parts with his bag lightly, adding: "You know what I brought? Look, I have a toy car here: you can open its door..." We write down the donors' names for a paraklesis, I treat the younger one with a piece of candy, as the brow is still knit, and the piece of candy comforts the child.

Our favorite parishioners bring in small quantities but frequently, every week, on their way to the service. They sometimes ask for their donation to be given to specific people: I make a note of that. I really appreciate the fact that some parishioners help others via me. They could have simply given it to those people personally – but they won't, they don't want to embarrass them. They trust that I won't forget and will do everything as they've asked me to. Of course, my dear ones, I will not mess anything up, I admire what you do too much to be negligent about it! I myself am taught by your humility, love, and tact...

Maximus the Confessor said: "Only that which I gave away belongs to me." This is so true. The kind of disposition with which a person brought a donation is seen not just by the Lord Himself but even by us, the workers of this social service.

People kiss Your help!

Very soon we will start the gift collection for the children from the countryside: every year we collect toys, books, clothing, and stationery, and deliver them to the remote Siberian villages during Christmastide. Spare no time in order to help us collect gifts for the village children! Trust me: the clothing and toys that you donate literally save entire families from despair and despondency; help live through difficult times. I feel truly bad that the people who bring in their donations – clothing, shoes, stationery, produce, and so forth, – are unable to see the boundless sea of gratitude experienced by those who receive this aid! I don't know how to fix that... You should just trust me that when people get their pair of shoes or a backpack with stationery, or a jacket, or a bag with produce, they say: "Glory be to God!" It is God's grace that I am able to see how the help rendered to people changes them, how they sigh in relief and nod their heads, unable to believe their own eyes; how they smile, how they sometimes kiss the item that they wanted to get for a long time and couldn't afford it! Dear donors, I don't know how to show all this to you... I can only assure you that everything you donate reaches its destination.

Irina Svistunova, St. John the Merciful Social Service worker

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