Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
On October 5, 2012, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany visited St Nicholas Monastery in Belaya Gora [“White Mountain”], near the city of Perm. “The Pearl of the Urals,” as the local population calls the holy monastery, welcomed the high guest with good weather, and he was able to take in the magnificent view of one of the most beautiful areas of the Kama River.
In Elevation of the Holy Cross Cathedral, Vladyka Mark performed a moleben before an icon of Holy Martyr Varlaam and the monks martyred with him. Joining Vladyka Mark were Hieromonk Iosif (Romanov), Dean of the First Ecclesiastical District; Hieromonk Dorofei (Gilmiyarov), Acting Prior of the Monastery; the clergymen of the city of Perm and monks of the Belogorsk Monastery.
After the service, Archbishop Mark became acquainted with the founding and rebirth of the monastery.
The monastery, which had been destroyed by the Bolsheviks, was returned to the faithful in 1990 through the intercession of Archbishop Afanasy of Perm and Solikamsk. On May 26, 1991, the first divine service was celebrated in the upper Elevation of the Holy Cross Cathedral. In 1996, Belaya Gora was visited by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. A year later, the St Varlaam Readings were reestablished and the first procession of the cross in 80 years was held.
When Metropolitan Mefody was appointed to the Perm Diocese, the restoration of the monastery quickened pace. Today, twelve monastics labor there, along with about thirty novices. Their lives pass in constant labors and prayers, as a century ago.
Inspecting the grounds of the monastery and taking in the splendor of the Ural Mountains, Vladyka Mark noted that this visit to the “Mt Athos” of the Urals [reference being made to the famous monastery in Greece] was the brightest of impressions during his visit to the Perm lands.