KINOVIA

Monastery, Moscow patriarchate, eparchy of Kaluga region, Russia

The Monastery’s History

Posted by kinovia on August 6, 2007

abess Feofila

abess Feofila

On April 3, 1993 five nuns from Maloyaroslavetz’s Women’s Monastery came to Baryatino village; the first idea was to organize a small agricultural community. However, it appeared practicable to set up an independent new community and on December 26, 1995 Holy Synod blessed to set up the monastery in Honor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God (Bogorodichno-Rozhdestvenskaya devichya pustyn) in Baryatino of Kaluga’s region and appointed nun Feofila (Lepeshinskaya) as Abbess; later she was granted the title of  Mother Superior (Hegumeness).

The monastery had been set up with a pure practical goal: the village of Baryatino, like a lot of other Russian villages was in a state of decay, and once a beautiful church, built in the 18-th century, needed beneficence. Its architecture represents an example of Empire-style. The main altar was dedicated in 1796 in honor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin; the latest side-altar – in honor of  Saint unmercenaries and wonder-workers Kosmas and Damian, suffered in Rome.

Another reason for setting up the monastery was the existence of a small  community of nuns in the church which began to exist under the care of hieromonk Arkady (Afonin), who was tonsured in the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Laura. He served as a priest here from Feb. 28, 1972 to March 25, 1991. After becoming a bishop he was appointed to the South-Sakhalin Desk. Baryatino’s community united people who had survived prison camps, lost their health and came back home. They were nuns: Anastasia (Kuzmina), who was tonsured  by Optin’s hieromonk Melety (Barmin), Tikhona, Nikodima, blind Iullitta, Maria (Klimkina), Ksenia. They used to come to worship services from the near and far villages looking for an opportunity to live close to the only functional church on the vast territory from Medyn to Kaluga. The community had been growing in number due to the arrival of local believers, but by 1993 the church was practically decayed. The aged nuns of pre-revolutionary monasteries’ went aloft and those who became nuns in Baryatino were too old to sing and read during the worships or take care of the church which was loosing strength alongside with them.

The sisters came here Apr 3, 1993 and found a deserted house built 20 years ago for the community so they had to start from the very beginning. First they renewed the everyday worship cycle which is strictly observed until now: at 6 am there begins a morning service (orthros) with canons. At 5 pm vespers service, and at 9 pm there are evening prayers and reading the commemoration book. The sisters’ life is based on a strict monastery statute: they attend all the worships, have a common meal and perform obedience.

For a long time the lack of financial sources couldn’t allow to begin a reconstruction of the church. It had to put up with rough walls, smoky ceiling of the dome which was painted 20 years ago with white oil paint, colorless walls with blotches of washing too high for the old women to reach them without a ladder. But the bunches of live flowers in front of the most worshiped icons, impeccable sister’s singing and reading made the worships unique.

Most of the sisters are from the cities. They settled down in a village and began to work in agriculture with great enthusiasm: the first spring they sowed potatoes, made vegetable beds, acquired a cow and a nanny-goat, during one summer built a stockyard. By the autumn the monastery possessed a subsidiary farm which provided the sisters with natural food. In 1995 they laid down a fruit garden. After some years they gained courage to have a few beehives. Today the monastery owns 18 hectares of forage lands, two gardens, a big vegetable-garden, an apiary; in  a new stockyard there are three cows, a nanny-goat, hens.

From the first days the sisters began to gather books for the library and instituted a theological seminar based on reports. It appeared that most of the sisters have an intellectual necessity, i.e. the desire to have knowledge of God not only with all their heart and soul but with all their mind (Mth., 22:37). Since September and until the Easter there are weekly studies on one of the theological disciplines: History of  the New and the Old Testament, Dogmatic, Liturgics, History of  Church, History of the Russian Church, Christian anthropology, History of  monkhood, History of  the Russian monkhood, not to mention the Greek language of the  New Testament and Icon Painting.

In October 1996 the construction of a new living building with a kitchen, a refectory and basements began. Six years later the house was extended with new living cells, a library, a winter garden and a sick-room. But the sisters had not enjoyed nice living opportunities for too long: the fire on May 4, 2007 in two hours destroyed everything including eight thousand books and all that the sisters had after 14 years of  their work (for more info see “The FIRE”). In ten months after the fire a new house was built on the bedding of the burnt-out building. In spring of 2008 the nuns moved to the new cells and a year later there was finished the decoration of the attic floor, where a newly gathered library is temporarily placed.

The monastery is often visited by people who find themselves in lamented circumstances: poor, old, lonely people are asking for help and nobody goes away without it. They get food, medicines, clothes and consolation.

During the winter and summer holidays the monastery accept teenager girls who want to see the monastery’s life from inside. They live together with the sisters, attend worships, study the church reading, perform possible obedience in the refectory, sewing workshop, kitchen-garden, they read books from the monastery’s library.

At present there are about 30 sisters in the monastery: 12 are nuns, four nuns are enochees, and some novices are performing obedience.

Our Monastery of Nativity of Holy Virgin, the Mother of God is attracting pilgrims first of all due to its miracle-making icon of Mother of God “Lomovskaya” (read about it in a separate article).

The monastery is situated in 4 km from the Medyn-Kaluga road near a small town of Kondrovo. One can get there by the railway from the Kievsky railway station in Mosow to Maloyaroslavetz or Kaluga, then take a bus to Kondrovo; or by bus Moscow–Kondrovo which leaves from Moscow subway stations “South-West” or “Teply Stan”. From Kondrovo to Baryatino one can get by taxi.

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