Iconography and Hand painted icons

A human soul is wonderful and free as long as it hearkens to the divine harmony


Εισόδια της Θεοτόκου_ Entrance of the Theotokos_Боянская церковь_n2-w3e3-l2-8-3Μονή StudenicaNovice Yekaterina: A beautiful bird flies high in the sky above the mountain peaks. It looks so nice; one can feel freedom and buoyancy in all its movements! Given all that, if the birds did not have the Godsent talent of proper “navigation”, they would die after hitting rocks and getting lost. I am convinced that a human soul is likewise wonderful and free as long as it hearkens to the divine harmony but as soon as it loses its connection to God, it falls prey to its own mistakes and shortcomings.

 First of all, I would like to see God’s image in all people.I was very affectionate towards my relatives and friends since my childhood. Every single day, a person who is close to you becomes a revelation again. As I was growing up, I was thinking, “Before I endeavour to understand my neighbour, I have to get closer to the depths of my own soul.” The heart is said to be deep. Before we learn to love our neighbour properly, we have to learn how to love ourselves properly.

 I see that secular people are much more decent than I am, and they work a lot more. So I consider it nonsense to tell them how to live: it is me who needs to learn from them. However, I have the support of the Holy Church. The fact that the Lord allows me to be here in the Convent, to drink from this fountain of grace and stay close to it must be thanks to God’s Providence. The Lord wants to act through me: ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.

I was thinking about St Seraphim of Sarov and about other great servants of God. Some of their belongings still exist, and people kiss these things as if they are sacred. I am fascinated and inspired by the thought that one’s life with God sanctifies not only his or her flesh, but also even the material objects that they used during their earthly lives.

Father Andrew: Love restores to health. I can testify that when we were on a pilgrimage to Diveevo with some sisters, they showed us the bast shoe that St Seraphim had worn. They told me, “Put it on!” I said, “Come on, are you kidding?” I did not believe that I would be healed. However, I did recover: my leg was swollen but the oedema went away after I wore the Saint’s bast shoe. This is what true love is like: even if you do not believe in it, it still heals you.

Novice Yekaterina: An idea that has just crossed my mind is that the light you have within you enlightens everything around you. I mean, sometimes I feel that life becomes harder and harder for me. Speaking, reading, and sharing what God gives me with others is my refuge.

Father Andrew: Thank you, Sister Yekaterina. Your words were like honey for our souls. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness, so everyone can reach out to God.

LOVE AND PRAYER: WORDS FROM ST ELIZABETH’S ORTHODOX CONVENT IN MINSK, BELARUS – Fragment of a meeting of the monastic sisters on December 2, 2013

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