Moscow, July 18, 2023
The St. Alexei Man of God Monastery in Moscow celebrated the 10th anniversary of its revival on Sunday.
In honor of the event, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia returned a wonderworking icon to the monastery that was stolen during the October Revolution more than a century ago.
The decision to revive the monastery was made by the Holy Synod on July 16, 2013. The monastery church had already been serving as a parish for several years by that point.
Pat. Kirill celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the monastery’s Church of All Saints, together with Metropolitan Theognost of Kashira, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Monasteries and Monasticism, Archbishop Matthew of Egorievsk, and visiting and monastery clergy, including Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov, the senior priest and confessor of the convent, a well-known author throughout the Orthodox world.
During the small entrance, abbess of the monastery, Mother Ksenia (Chernega), was awarded the right to wear a jeweled cross, in honor of the revival of the monastery and the 10th anniversary of her appointment as abbess.
At the end of the service, Mother Ksenia greeted the Patriarch and presented him with an icon of St. Alexei, the Man of God, and the Patriarch addressed all with a primatial word.
Then the Patriarch blessed the monastery with a precious gift—the wonderworking Healer Icon of the Mother of God, which previously belong to the monastery, was finally returned to it after more than a century. His Holiness said:
I solemnly hand over to Mother Abbess the holy wonderworking icon for permanent residence in this historical monastery, as it was for many years when people could freely venerate it until the terrible persecutions of the 20th century came. Let special prayers be offered before this image for our Church, for our country and our people. May the blessing of God and the Protection of the Most Pure Queen of Heaven remain in this place. Congratulations to all of you on this wonderful historical event!
The Healer Icon of the Mother of God (September 18/October 1) is one of the main sacred treasures of the St. Alexei Monastery. The icon depicts the Mother of God healing a seriously ill cleric.
It is unknown when exactly the icon appeared at the monastery, but it was there by at least the second half of the 18th century and became renowned for the miracles worked through it.
In 1832, the site of the St. Alexei Monastery was chosen for the construction of Christ the Savior Monastery, thus the oldest convent in Moscow was moved to Krasnoe Selo (Red Village), in the north east of Moscow. The wonderworking icon and other monastery treasures were processed through the streets of Moscow to the new location. The faithful continued to come and venerate the icon, tearfully entreating healing, or an answer to other problems.
After the October Revolution of 1917, during the years when the monastery was in ruins, the icon was stolen from the monastery’s Holy Cross Church along with the Georgian Icon of the Mother of God. As time passed, it became known that the icon could be found in the Holy Transfiguration Church on Transfiguration Square in Moscow, where it remained until July 17, 1964, when the church was blown up.
On the eve of the destruction, the icon and other valuables were transferred to the Holy Resurrection Church in Sokolniki (which is very close to the monastery), where it remained until Sunday.