Monastic tonsures at Russian Gethsemane

The Official Website of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia – 26/04/21

On the evening of Thursday, April 2/15, 2021, at the Convent of St Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in Gethsemane, Jerusalem, four sisters were tonsured.

During the singing of “The Embrace of the Father,” which marks the return of the Prodigal Son, the sisters lay prostrate in the form of a cross on the floor, covered by the mantles of senior nuns.

One by one they approached the Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), who asked them: “Why did you come, sister, falling before the holy altar and to this holy ghost?” They humbly but firmly responded: “For the desire to live in fasting, reverend Father!”

Upon assuming the holy vows, the sisters were tonsured to monasticism. They were given new names and donned monastic habits. Nun Alexandra (Pergamentseva) was given the name Andrea in honor of St Andrew of Crete, author of the Penitential Canon; Sister Justina (Kepke) was named Macaria in honor of St Macarius of Glinsk; the main singer Nun Joanna (Spirina) was named Theofania in honor of St Theophan the Chronicler and Confessor, and Sister Glafira (Obraztsova) was named in honor of St Philaret of Glinsk.

Afterwords of instruction, Fr Roman entrusted the newly-tonsured nuns to Abbess Elizabeth (Smelic), who blessed them on their monastic path.

In accordance with tradition, the nuns spent three days of vigil in the church.