The feast of the martyric death of Sts. Elisabeth and Barbara was solemnly celebrated on July 5/18 at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in the convent of the same name in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This year, being the 100th anniversary of the translation of the Holy Relics from Peking to Jerusalem, the celebration took on a special spirtual feeling. Of all the different feasts of the “translation of holy relics”, none has traveled as many kilometers as the bodies af Sts. Elisabeth and Barbara. They were opened for veneration in 1982 after the glorification of the New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia and now lie in the convent church
At the singing the Magalaryon at the culmination of the All-Night Vigil, the abbess of the monastery Mother Elisabeth (Smelic) and sisters were annointed with holy oil blessed earlier in the service.
The next day the clergy of the convent along with a multitude of worshippers greeted the Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky) who then proceeded to lead the Divine Liturgy. Archimandrite Innokenty (Sereda), Hieromonk Feodor (Kirike), Priest Roman (Gultiaev) and Protodeacon Vyacheslav Batalsky co-served with the Head of the Mission. Along with the abbess, the abbess of the Holy Ascension Convent, Mother Barbara (Novikova) prayed with a fare amount of sisters from the Mount of Olives Convent. The faithful received Holy Communion from three Chalices.
Fr. Roman’s sermon was based on the three charictaristics pointed out in the troparion to St. Elisabeth. “Meekness and humility and love.” St. Elisabeth grew up Luthern and with great inner conflict finally, of her own free will, accepted the Orthodox teachings of the Church and herself became an Orthodox christian. Her faith and love were so great and true, that she gave her life for Christ and her adopted people.
After the end of Liturgy, everybody surrounded the reliquary of the holy Grand Duchess where a full moleben was served.
Afterwards, the Head of the Mission congratulated the abbess of the Convent, Mother Elisabeth, with the day ofher patron saint, St. Elisabeth, wishing her wisdon and spiritual strenth in continuing her high calling. Also Nun Barbara, a sister of the convent was celebrating her Name Day.
Afterwards, Mother Catherine, the abbess of the Gorny Convent of the Moscow Patriarchate, visited and along with several sisters of her monastery venerated the relics of Sts. Elisabeth and Barbara. Afterwards, they greeted he Abbess with her feast day
Later in the day, the sisters of the convent gathered at the abbess’ residence where they celebrated the Name Day of their abbess together in oneness of spirit.