In Bethany (al-Azaria), Palestine, on the day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Monastic Community of the Resurrection of Christ celebrated the feast day of the cave church of St. Nicholas. In the Holy Land, this saint is especially revered as he conducted his spiritual struggle for some time in a cave in today’s Beit Jala, not far from Bethany. 

On the evening before the feastday, the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky) together with Archimandrite Innokenty (Sereda), served the All-Night Vigil. The sisters and children of the boarding school sang and read under the direction of the elder sister, nun Maria (Wall).

In the morning, as it is customary on the day of the temple feast, Fr. Innokenty performed the rite of the small consecration of water. Divine Liturgy was served by Fr. Roman, Fr. Innokenty along with Deacon Vyacheslav Batalsky. The abbess of the monastery, mother Elisabeth (Smelic) arrived with the sisters of the Gethsemane convent of St. Mary Magdalene. During the Liturgy, the sisters, boarding school children and orthodox teachers of the Bethany School took Holy Communion. 

During the moleben to St. Nicholas there was a procession around the square with the chapel of the “Meeting of Our Savior with Martha and Mary” and the worshipers and the territory of the monastery was sprinkled with holy water. 

After the festal meal, the children of the boarding school and the school held a performance. A graduate of the school and now a teacher, Jacqueline Khoury, took particular care in preparing the program of dances and poems.

Photos: Evgenia Ghnaem