Astrakhan, Russia, April 13, 2021
On April 5, just two days before the feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Annunciation Monastery in Astrakhan was finally returned to the Russian Orthodox Church after several decades.
“I am pleased to announce that on the eve of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, we managed to transfer the historical heritage object, the Annunciation Monastery to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is symbolic that the event occurred shortly before the patronal feast,” Astrakhan Governor Igor Babushkin wrote on his Facebook page on April 5.
The monastery had housed the local military commissariat since 1949. It has now been relocated to other premises.
“At the meeting with Metropolitan Nikon, the plans for the restoration of the monastery were discussed in detail. There is a lot of work to be done to revive it. I am sure that it will become another pearl of Astrakhan and with God’s help everything will work out!” the Governor wrote.
Babushkin then attended the feast at the monastery two days later.
“Finally, after a long break, a full-fledged service was held here. This is good news for all Astrakhan believers. And after the monastery complex was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, the bell ringing in the center of Astrakhan will be heard more often,” Babushkin said.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Nikon in a tent on the site of one of the destroyed churches of the monastery.
The Annunciation Convent on this site dates to the beginning of the 18th century. Before that, there was an Ascension Monastery for men on the same site, which was abolished under Tsar Peter I in 1706.
With the establishment of Soviet power in Astrakhan, the monastery was abolished. At various times, a military unit, a hospital, and an orphanage were located on its territory. The monastery church buildings and bell tower were destroyed in 1929 and 1930, and in 1949, most of the monastery was transferred to the Astrakhan Provincial Military Commissariat.
The restoration of the monastery’s architectural complex began in 2008. The Chapel of St. Nicholas was restored and opened to the faithful as part of the first stage of work.