Russian Ecclesiastical
Mission in Jerusalem
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Twenty-Fifth Year Anniversary of Abbess Elisabeth

On the Lenten day of the feast of St. John Climacus, April 1/14, the abbess of the convent of St. Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mother Elisabeth (Smelic) celebrated twenty-five years of serving as abbess of the holy monastery.

In 1999, by resolution of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, under the chairmanship of First Hierarch Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov +2006), nun Elizabeth was appointed the fifth abbess of the monastery. On the day of St. John Climacus of the same year, Archbishop Mark (Arndt) of Berlin and Germany solemnly elevated Mother Elizabeth to the rank of abbess and presented her with the abbess’ staff.

Over these years, Mother Elisabeth continues to faithfully shepherd her sisters and diligently leads them along the thorny monastic path in the difficult circumstances of Russian Palestine in Israel.
On the day of the anniversary, after the Divine Liturgy, the Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), presented Matushka with a Synodal Gramota (Certificate) with the following text:

Gramata of the Synod of Bishops to Abbess Elisabeth (Smelic)

In consideration of the diligent and many years of work in managing the monastery of Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene in the holy and very important place of Russian Gethsemane in the Holy City of Jerusalem and in connection with the silver jubilee of being abbess of this monastery, which is now being celebrated, we express our deep gratitude to you and invoke God’s blessing upon you.

In testimony to this, we have given you this Gramot, duly signed by us and affirmed by the Synodal seal in the God-saved city of New York on the Sunday of the Cross and the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, March 25 / April 7, 2024.

+Metropolitan Nicholas

Chairman of the Synod of Bishops

+Metropolitan Mark

+Archbishop Kirill

+Archbishop Gabriel

+Archbishop Peter

+Bishop Theodosius

+Bishop Irenaeus

Through the prayers of the Holy myrrh-bearer Mary Magdalene and the venerable martyrs Sts. Grand Duchess Elizabeth and nun Barbara, we ask the Lord for spiritual strength and strength for Mother Elisabeth so that she continues her service for the benefit of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission and the Gethsemane convent of St. Mary Magdalene for many years.