On Sunday June 28/11 July, the sisterhood of the Holy Ascension convent on the Mount of Olives commemorated the earthquake of 1927 which left a large portion of Jerusalem in shambles. The “Russian Candle” bell tower almost tumbled to the ground, but miraculously set itself upright. That day the Church commemorates the icon of the Theotokos “Of the Three Hands”.
Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany led the service to the Lord’s Resurrection and to the Mother of God. During the small enterence, by decree of the Holy Synod, Mother Catherine (Samara) was raised to the dignity of vice abbess (namestnitsa). As a sign of her new rank, Vladyka Mark bestowed upon her a gold pectoral cross. Mother Catherine has lived and struggled at the Eleon convent for over 63 years. She is an eldress for the younger novices.
After the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Mark, along with the Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Igumen Iona (Galishnikov) and Protodeacon Vyacheslav Batalsky led a procession of the cross around the territory of the convent, chanting the moleben and sprinkling holy water. Abbess Barbara (Novikova) and Mother Catherine carried the icon of the Mother of God. During the procession the sisters took turns carrying the holy icon.