Kiev, April 17, 2018
“In the 83rd year of her life, the abbess of the Florovsky Convent of the Ascension Igumena Antonia (Filkina) reposed. The sisters pray for the repose of her soul and entreat everyone to remember her in their prayers,” the message reads.
The funeral will be celebrated tomorrow immediately following the Divine Liturgy in the Ascension Church.
Abbess Antonia was born on September 27, 1934, on the feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Lifegiving Cross, in the village of Boiany in the Bryansk Province in Ukraine. She arrived to work at obediences in the Florovsky Monastery in 1952 and devoted the entire rest of her life to the monastery, according to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Thus, her time at the monastery overlapped with the last two centuries of the life of Blessed Olga, the Fool-for-Christ of the Florovsky Convent. Read more about her miraculous life in the article “Blessed Olga of the Florovsky Convent in Kiev, a ‘Fool-for-Christ.’”
In the difficult and tumultuous years of atheism, Mother Antonia endured many trials along with the other sisters in order to protect the monastery from being closed.
She took her vows in 1972, and for many years fulfilled the obedience of cell attendant to the abbesses Antonia, Flavia, Animaisa, and Agnes, and was appointed as the steward of the monastery.
She was elevated to the position of abbess of the monastery on August 31, 1985, the feast of the Martyrs Florus and Laurus. Extensive work was carried out to restore the monastery, including the churches and the cells, during her abbacy. Several sketes were opened by her efforts. A huge number of women were tonsured into the nuns under her guidance.
Mother Antonia took special care for works of mercy. With her blessing, the Florovsky Monastery liberally donated to hospitals, children’s homes, prisons, and many people in need.
She managed to preserve and pass on to future generations the monastic liturgical traditions of the monastery, which have their roots in ancient times. The monastery was founded in 1566.
One of the ascetics of the monastery, St. Elena (Bakhteeva, †1834) was glorified during her abbacy.
The abbess was granted several Church awards for her great service to the Church. She was awarded the right to wear a second jeweled cross.
The years of her leadership became a time of flowering for the monastery after decades of atheistic turbulence. Her memory will always be stored in the hearts of not only the hundreds of Florovsky nuns, but also of the many who found spiritual consolation and support in Mother Antonia.
May her memory be eternal!
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