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Novo-Tikhvin Monastery

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The Novo-Tikhvin Monastery is a community of female monastics located in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The monastery was founded late in the eighteenth century, growing out of an alms-house at the cemetery church in Ekaterinburg. It is the home of the icon of the Tikhvin Mother of God. Closed in 1920 after the takeover of the government of Russia by the Bolsheviks, monastic life at the monastery was restored in 1994.

HistoryEdit

Novo-Tikhvin Monastery was founded at the end of the eighteenth century under the abbess Mother Taisia. The initial structure was an outgrowth of the almshouse located at the Ekaterinburg cemetery church that was dedicated to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. The small community of monastic women was transformed into a cenobitic women's monastery by an imperial order in 1809. Through the zealous work of the nuns, coupled with the aid of the people of Ekaterinburg, the monastery was built and grew to be the largest monastery in the Urals, drawing to itself hundreds of pilgrims. On feast days, hundreds of pilgrims came to venerate the main relic of the monastery, the icon of the Tikhvin Theotokos.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the monastery was populated by about one thousand sisters. The monastery had grown significantly, containing within its grounds six churches, residences for the sisters, and workshops. By 1917, 18 workshops were used actively by the sisters, who worked at gold- and silk-embroidery, spinning and sewing, and iconography and photography. The monastery also supported a hospital, orphanage, diocesan school with a library, and a bakery.

Through the nineteenth century, the monastery was visited by members of the Russian royal family, including Emperor Alexander I in 1824 and, as heir to the throne, the future Alexander II in 1837. Additionally, St. John of Kronstadt served a Divine Liturgy at the monastery. The patronal feast day of June 15 was famous for the Tikhvin fairs, but, following the Bolshevik revolution in November 1917, life at the monastery was devastatingly changed, and, by 1920, the monastery was closed.

With the political changes of the early 1990s, life at Novo Tikhvin Monastery once again came to life. In 1994, the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia issued direction for restoration of the monastery. The icon of the Mother of God that had been at the monastery was returned and the faithful again came to venerate it.

Under the spiritual guidance of the abbot Abraham, the restored monastery is the home of about 120 sisters, including 11 nuns, forty two coenobites, and the remainder novices. The traditions of yesteryear are being revived and physical facilities are being restored.

FacilitiesEdit

The monastery grew to consist of six churches, numerous cells, a hospital, and an almshouse. The dominant building on the monastery grounds is the cathedral dedicated to the Grand Prince St. Alexander Nevsky. The original building can be traced back to 1814. Construction lasted until 1836. The design was altered under the architect M. P. Malakhov during the period of 1836 to 1854. The cathedral was built in the classic style. It contains three altars and can hold six thousand people. After the monastery was closed, the cathedral continued to function until 1930, when it also was closed. With the reopening of the monastery in 1994, the cathedral once again functioned as part of the monastery. The cathedral was severely damaged during the Soviet years, with major repairs still to be done.

The cloisters next to the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky have been restored and are in use by the sisters, who also occupy the St. Ignatius Hermitage. The Cathedral of St. Michael that was destroyed in the 1930s is being rebuilt.

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