OUR MONASTERY IS 10 YEARS OLD…
Some people might say, “Only ten?” but others will exclaim, “Already ten!” Perhaps someone will be surprised at the “success” we have made: ten churches were built at our monastery, more than thirty tonsures were performed and more than 2500 pilgrims visited our monastery during these ten years.
At the same time, we become more and more amazed at the mercy of God and protection of the Holy Theotokos. Sometimes it feels like everything is being built and arranged by itself and we, sinful people, have nothing to do with this all!
Certainly, many things are built and delight the eye. However, no external activity is the most important thing for us. Holiness, reunion with the Living God and our inner transfiguration – this is what we are striving after with our mind and heart. This is why the theme of the Jesus prayer, by which our monastery tries to live, is so interesting both to us and to the people who come to us.
And it is not by chance that the monastery is named in honor of the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, the one of the most venerated on the Holy Mount, which preserves an experience of the tacit prayer for many centuries. We believe that the Theotokos blesses us for the feat of prayer. Surely, we do not succeed in performing it to the full extent but, as they say, the Lord kisses mere intentions.
Ten years… Meanwhile, we still keep striving for spiritual heights, we wish to “fly high”, understanding that for doing this we should have wings strengthened by humility. According to the Venerable Abbess Arsenia (Sebryakova), “Only humility brings passionless repose to our heart, peace to our mind and fancilessness to our thoughts,” thus it gives us a pure prayer and makes our “flight” safe and truly spiritual.
In addition, probably the most precious thing that we have acquired during these ten years is the vision of our weakness and realization of the fact that we are only at the beginning of our way… the way of the fanciless doing to which the Venerable Abbess encouraged us. “We should come to hate the dreaminess which carries us far away from God and distracts our souls from the main thing, which is repentance.” Meanwhile repentance is not only the acceptance of one’s sinfulness but, as our spiritual Father says, it is an action. Repentance is a change (first of all) of oneself for the better. It is the transfiguration of an inner person.
We sincerely admit that we only start our movement towards humility, this “downward” movement, in order to know ourselves, our worthlessness, inertness and lack of spiritual purity and to acquire an impregnable reliance on God and trust in our Heavenly Father to live in Him without hesitation.
A life with the Living God means being real, here and now, “Lord, Jesus Christ…” We will keep trying to go to Christ the way we have tried during these last ten years and we will try to bring more joy and less sorrow to God, the Theotokos and our neighbors by our feats.
We heartily thank all our benefactors, friends and pilgrims who helped us by their prayers, work or donations to build the monastery, our spiritual ship.
The Clergy and the Sisters
of the Iveron Monastery