On Lazarus Saturday, March 26/April 8, the patronal feast was celebrated in the Russian Community of the Resurrection of Christ in Bethany.
The altar was arranged in the open air under a canopy in front of the chapel of the stone with the inscription “I am the resurrection and the life.”
In the evening, the sisters of the monastery of St. Mary Magdalene with Abbess Elisabeth (Smelic) arrived in Bethany (al-Azaria) where they joined the sisters of the community for the feast. The Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), led the All-Night Vigil with Great Compline. After the evening service, the sisters along with the pilgrims went to the tomb of the Righteous St. Lazarus of the Four Days, which is not far from the monastery, to read the gospel story about Lazarus and venerate the tomb.
In the morning after midnight service and the blessing of the water, the Chief of the Mission, Fr. Roman was solemly greeted. Clerics of the REM – Archimandrite Innokenty (Sereda), Hieromonks Misail (Minin), Feodor (Kirike), Gerasim (Kotovsky) and Hierodeacon Amphilochius (Mazur) co-served with the Chief. Also concelebring was a pilgrim from Abkhazia, Hieromonk Seraphim (Nedvizhaev). The service was took place with many pilgrims and worshippers. After the Liturgy, a prayer service was performed to Sts. Righteous Lazarus, Martha and Mary with a procession through the territory of the monastery.
At the end of the service, Fr. Roman congratulated the abbess of the monastery, mother Elisabeth, with the feast and the elder sister of the community and director of the Bethany Orthodox School for Girls, nun Maria (Wall) on her namesday. Also, the Head of the Mission thanked the monastery icon restorer – nun Magdalina (Pergamentseva) and her staff for the work done on the restoration of the chapel “I am the resurrection and life.”