Pre-revolutionary abbess’ pectoral cross returned to Russian monastery

Chelyabinsk, Chelyabinsk Province, Russia, February 29, 2024

Photo: Photo:     

The Hodigitria Convent in Chelyabinsk, Russia, recently received back a precious item from its history.

The pectoral cross of the pre-revolutionary Abbess Anastasia (Schapova) was returned to the monastery by the chairman of the national Warriors of the Spirit awards Akhapkin Konstantin Viktorovich, who had purchased it at an antique shop in Moscow in 2005, the monastery reports.

The cross bears the inscription: “To the venerable Mother Abbess Anastasia from the grateful nuns and sisters of the Hodigitria Monastery. 1916.”

Photo: Photo: The monastery writes:

This pectoral abbess’ cross testifies to the mutual spiritual love of the abbess and the nuns and to the truly monastic arrangement of our convent before the revolution. In building a monastic family, Abbess Anastasia, through daily efforts and care, looked after the needs of the monastery and sisters, carrying them in her heart. And the sisters, in response to such sacrificial love of the Mother Superior, showed sincere gratitude not only through obedience but also by presenting a gilded and decorated cross.

It was with this cross that she would pass through all the sorrowful trials that fell to her lot, associated with imprisonment, expulsion of the inhabitants from her native monastery and the subsequent complete destruction of the monastery.

For us, receiving the abbess’ cross from a century ago is a sign of God’s blessing, spiritual continuity and the invisible connection between the pre-revolutionary monastery and the revived monastery.

The nuns of the monastery, led by Abbess Anastasia, were arrested in 1921 and sent to a gulag in Chelyabsink for six months. After their release, Mother Anastasia lived in an apartment in Chelyabinsk. Exact information about her future fate is unknown, though according to some of the sisters, she reposed in the early 1930s.

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