Mogilev, Belarus, October 20, 2021
On Monday, His Eminence Archbishop Sophrony of Mogilev and Mistislav of the Belarusian Church celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Convent in Mogilev in honor of the 30th anniversary of the monastery’s revival after the devastating Soviet period.
The monastery ensemble is one of the oldest in eastern Belarus. The pearl is the unique wooden carved iconostasis made in the 17th-century Belarusian carving technique. Only two other such iconostases have survived in the world, in Novodevichy Monastery in Moscow, and in the Holy Dormition Cathedral in Smolensk, reports the Synodal Department for Monasteries and Monasticism of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Abp. Sophrony was concelebrated by the clergy of the monastery and visiting clergy on the occasion of the anniversary.
Following the Liturgy, His Eminence served a moleben of thanksgiving and a litiya for the repose of the first bishop of the restored Mogilev Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Maxim (+2002), the first abbess of the revived monastery, Mother Eugenia (+2009), and all those who worked for the good of the monastery.
The history of the monastery began with the construction of the Church of St. Nicholas in Mogilev. The first mention of the church dates to 1522. Eventually a major fire left no trace of the wooden church.
In April 1636, St. Peter Mogila received the consent of the Polish king to build a stone St. Nicholas Church in Mogilev, which was consecrated in 1672 with side chapels in honor of St. John the Baptist and the Great Martyr Demetrios of Thessaloniki.
The St. Nicholas Convent operated there from 1637 to 1719, and was then transformed into a men’s monastery, which existed until 1754. The St. Nicholas Cathedral later became a parish.
The history of the monastery is closely connected with the Romanov family. In 1915-1917, the headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief was located in Mogilev, and Tsar Nicholas and his family would often visit St. Nicholas Cathedral.
The monastery suffered a difficult fate during the years of persecution. The liturgical utensils were confiscated, and in 1934, the St. Nicholas Church was closed. In the mid-1950s, the walls and vaults of the church, adorned with beautiful iconography, were barbarously covered over with cement mortar, but the central iconostasis miraculously survived. In 1970, it was dismantled and taken to Minsk for restoration and storage.
The revival of the monastery began in 1989. The St. Onuphrius Church was consecrated in March 1991, and in October 1991, the Synod of the Belarusian Church gave the monastic community the official status of monastery.
In the summer of 2000, when the Russian Church canonized the Synaxis of New Martyrs and Confessors, a portrait of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II was miraculously found. It now adorns a side altar of the St. Nicholas Cathedral named for the Royal Martyrs. A 5-ruble gold coin given by Tsar Nicholas to a young boy when visiting the monastery is also attached to the portrait.