September 28th/October 11th (NS), the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of St. Hariton the Confessor. The monastery of St. Hariton, built around the caves where the first «Lavra» in Palestine, was founded by St. Hariton.
This monastery belongs to the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. This year the commemoration fell on a Sunday. Unfortunately due to the Coronovirus quarentine, the national park «Ein Pirat», where the monastery of St. Hariton is located, has been closed, depriving pilgrims and worshippers the opportunity to attend Divine Services.
The Head of the Mission, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), along with Archimandrite Vasily (Druzhinets) from the Holy Ascension Monastery on the Mount of Olives, recieved special permission to conduct Divine Liturgy at the monastery. They were greeted by monk Hariton (Burov) inhabitant and restorer of the monastery. Fr. Vasily began Proskomedia in the cave church as Fr. Roman blessed water at the burial site of St. Hariton. Divine Liturgy was served by the two clerics as Fr. Hariton chanted. They were joined by Fr. Hariton’s helper, brother Valentine who acted as altar-server. Although there were no worshippers, the Liturgy was very prayerful and solemn. Afterwards a moleben was served at the grave-site of St. Hariton where the clergy prayed for all those that are unable to attend church services during these days of the pandemic, hoping that next years feast will be attended by pilgrims so that they may receive the blessings of our Lord through the prayers of St. Hariton.