Nun Ioanna, the foundress of St. Elizabeth Skete reposed in the Lord on January 19th, 2011, at the age of 92.
After Mother Ioanna retired from a career as a professor of German and Russian at St Michaels College in Burlington Vermont, she received an invitation from Vladika Laurus to teach at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. Since Mother Ioanna dearly loved the monastery, and visited her father-in-law Fr. Michael Pomazansky regularly for many decades, she accepted Vladika’s invitation and settled in Jordanville in 1984. As well as teaching, she wrote many articles for the monastery publications.
She was made a novice on the 18th December 1987, on the eve of St Nicholas, and this was the beginning of the St Elizabeth Skete. Mother Ioanna was tonsured on the 9th of December 1993, on the eve of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God by Vladika Laurus. She was given the name Ioanna in honor of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Her obediences continued to be teaching and writing articles.
After a prolonged illness, Mother Ioanna passed away peacefully on the feast of Theophany, on January 19th. Memory Eternal!
On Saturday, February 26, 2011, His Beatitude, Christopher, Archbishop of Prague and Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, visited Holy Trinity Monastery along with His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia...
My soul, my soul, arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded. Awake, then, and be watchful, that Christ our God may spare you, Who is everywhere present and fills all things.
Dear Rev. Fathers, Brother and Sisters,
Christ is Risen!
In doing so we hope to make best use of all that modern technologies and distribution channels offer, so that this heritage can be found and appropriated by the greatest number of people.
With all of these things in mind we have launched a new web site:
and published four new and very different books:
A Psalter for Prayer: An Adaptation of the Classic Miles Coverdale Translation Augmented by Prayers and Instructional Material Drawn From Church Slavonic and Other Orthodox Sources - Compiled, arranged, and edited by David M. James
Light Invisible: Satisfying the Thirst for Happiness - By M.V. Lodyzhenskii, Translated by Mother Magdelena of Novo Divievo
Testament of Memory: A Siberian Life - By Mikhail Chevalkov Translated by John Warden
A Practical Handbook for Divine Services - By Gregory Woolfenden
Full details may be found at http://www.holytrinitypublications.com/New_Releases
We value the continuing prayers and support of all in furthering this integral work of the Monastery.
Following a prayer and the singing of the national anthems, Archimandrite Luke, Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary, officially opened the ceremonies. He congratulated the graduands, reminding them of the words of the Apostle Paul: Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2).
His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, then addressed the graduands, encouraging them to apply worthily the knowledge they received in Seminary in their future pastoral work. His Eminence concluded by citing the words of the Apostle Peter: As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:10).
Archpriest George Dragas, a renowned theologian and patrologist who is on the faculty of both Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Holy Trinity Seminary, delivered the commencement address. Fr. George began by remarking that, speaking from the perspective of a visitor – and as one who has travelled throughout the Orthodox world – he is convinced that Jordanville is a place of holiness, an inner sanctum of Holy Orthodoxy. The theme of Fr. George’s address was the royal priesthood, defining the priest as one who makes spiritual offerings, sacrificing things of the body for the things of the soul. The priesthood, Fr. George stated, is the spiritual sacrifice of body, soul, and skills for the glory of God and the service of His people.
The degree of Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) was then awarded to the following: Maksim Abroskin, Dmitrii Bolbot, Nicholas Lochmatow, Miodrag Radovanovich, Ephraim Willmarth, Alejandro Sandoval, and Jovan Marjanac. The Certificate in Theological Studies was awarded to Deacon Nathan Mouselli and Deacon Ilia Grozdanov.
Awards for academic excellence were granted to: John Martin (first year), Roman Kuhnen (second year), Sergei Grushchin (third year), and Sergei Tuygin (fourth year). Awards for diligence were granted to: Jason Laiblin (first year), Igor Grytsyna and Rassaphore-monk Dionysy (Nikoloski) (third year), and Dimitri Anopochkin (fourth year). Scholarships generously provided by Michael Andreev of the Jordanville Monument Company were awarded to John Martin (first year) and Sergei Tuygin (fourth year).
Words of gratitude of behalf of the graduating class were then offered by Maksim Abroskin (in Russian) and Ephraim Willmarth (in English).
Following a closing prayer, the Rector closed the commencement exercises.
On June 3rd, 2011, a photo exhibition opened in the Solzhenitsyn Library of the Russian Diaspora, devoted to the history of Holy Trinity Monastery and Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, N.Y.Click here for more information.
Monday, the Feast of the Holy Spirit, took on special significance due to the participation in the festivities of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York. His Eminence was co-served at the Divine Liturgy by Bishop George, monastery rector Archimandrite Luke, and a multitude of priests and deacons of the Eastern American Diocese.
During the Small Entrance, Metropolitan Hilarion awarded Archpriest Michael Taratuchin (rector of St. John of Kronstadt Memorial Church in Utica, NY) the right to wear the palitsa. After the Great Entrance, the First Hierarch ordained Hierodeacon Anatoly (Zilin; cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery) a hieromonk, and after the Eucharistic Canon, ordained Subdeacon John Malcom to the diaconate. The newly ordained Deacon John will fulfill his service in the Church of the Entrance into the Temple of the Holy Virgin in Syracuse, NY.
After the Liturgy, a procession with moleben was held around the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Archimandrite Luke then invited the clergy and monastics to a reception in honor of the feast.
After the service, His Eminence headed a commemorative litiya at the entrance to the crypt of Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory. In addition to Vladyka Laurus, the late abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Sergei (Romberg), who died on this day in 1992, was commemorated. Fr Sergei was a long-time ekonom (steward) of the monastery and a teacher at Holy Trinity Seminary.
The divine services were led by the monastery abbot, Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), co-served by visiting clergy: Archpriest Wsewolod Drobot (rector of the Nativity of the Mother of God Church in Albany, NY), Eastern American Diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Archpriest Michael Taratuchin (rector of St. John of Kronstadt Memorial Church in Utica, NY), Priest Evgeny Shchukin and Deacon Philosoph Ullman (clerics of the Montreal & Canadian Diocese), and monastery clergy.
On Saturday, on the eve of the feast, the clergy and worshipers who had gathered at Holy Trinity Cathedral set off for the monastery cemetery to the Dormition Church to greet the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God. Upon returning to the main cathedral, Fr. Luke led the faithful in singing the akathist to the great God-pleaser St. Job before the icons of the Pochaev Mother of God, the Kursk Root Mother of God, and St. Job. All of t he faithful received copies of the Kursk Icon in honor of the 75th anniversary of the blessed repose of Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky), first Primate of the Church Abroad. The festal All-Night Vigil was then served.
On Sunday morning, the early Liturgy was celebrated in Holy Trinity Cathedral’s lower Church of St. Job of Pochaev. The festal Divine Liturgy in the upper church was celebrated by Fr. Luke, co-served by the above-mentioned clergy. During the Great Entrance, Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky; formerly of Washington & Florida) was commemorated, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of his blessed repose.
With the blessing of Fr. Luke, during the communion of the clergy, Fr. Serge Lukianov delivered the following sermon:
We’ve gathered today in this holy monastery to honor the holy God-pleaser St. Job of Pochaev and venerate the copy of the wonderworking Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God. Today we also prayerfully commemorate the 35th anniversary of the blessed repose of Archbishop Nikon, one of the most outstanding hierarchs of the Church Abroad.
The feast of St. Job has been celebrated for centuries in Holy Russia. In one of his remarkable sermons, Archbishop Nikon spoke about the history of this national feast day:
"Once, not long before the Great War, tens of thousands of worshipers would gather at the Pochaev Lavra for [the great feast of St. Job of Pochaev]. Then-Archbishop Anthony of Volyn, future founder of the Russian Church Abroad, would summon the faithful to the Pochaev Lavra on these days. And these feasts were dear to the hearts of the people. Having persevered the harsh summer, having gathered their harvests in the fields, farms, and gardens, the Orthodox residents of these western lands, oppressed by their heterodox neighbors, came fervently to the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God and to St. Job of Pochaev in his grandiose Dormition Church."
And we, brothers and sisters, living abroad, far from our homeland, have continued this good tradition, for decades gathering here, at Holy Trinity Monastery, filling this marvelous Holy Trinity Cathedral to capacity. But why are we here? Why should we gather here every year? We came to this holy monastery to drink from the spring of eternal salvation.
As administrator and ruling bishop, Archbishop Nikon elevated the Diocese to great spiritual heights, because he supported his clergy with fatherly love and summoned the people to the Holy Church. If people would live in the Church and by Her laws, then life on earth would no longer be difficult, because all of Church life is built on prayer and obedience. If we will attend services often and repent of our sins, then everything else will be added to us. Our common life in the Church is a reflection of our internal spiritual life. If within us are love and co-suffering, then we will strive to help and support one another. If in our souls we will harbor envy and pride, then we will foster only vengeance and jealousy, to the rejoicing of the evil one, who ceaselessly seeks to tear apart the one Church – the raiment of Christ.
Archbishop Nikon said that, "The Holy Church is the true Teacher of life – She teaches Her children how rightly to live and how rightly to die. In this grace-filled School of life the Teacher is Christ Himself, Who invisibly abides in His Church and, through His Apostles and Saints and through the very life of the Church, teaches the world His teaching: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen’".
Let us continue the legacy bequeathed to us by those countless elders, who for decades labored in this holy monastery. Indeed, many of us remember such beacons of Orthodoxy, such shining examples of piety, as Metropolitan Laurus, Archbishop Vitaliy, Archbishop Averky, Archimandrites Panteleimon, Vladimir, Anthony and Sergius, and we often feel like orphaned children because these beacons are no more. But this is not really the case. They are here, they are with us! They lay at rest in the monastery cemetery, in the crypts, and even the holy walls of this church are filled with their rich spirit of love for Christ and the Holy Church. Ceaseless prayer in this holy monastery is the legacy bequeathed to us by our elders. If we will pay frequent visits to this monastery and draw from this grace-filled spring, then life on this earth will no longer be difficult and, God willing, we will be able to live together eternally with all the saints and our holy fathers.
May the Lord God help us, by the prayers of St. Job of Pochaev, to become worthy heirs of these holy elders and Archbishop Nikon, spreading the Gospel of Christ throughout the land. And if we accept this cross and dedicate our lives to serving Christ and His Holy Church, then we will become worthy to bear the name of Christian and will be saved and, in the words of St. Seraphim of Sarov, thousands around us will be saved. Amen.
Upon completion of the Liturgy, a moleben with procession around the cathedral was served. After the service, Fr. Luke greeted his co-brothers and all of the faithful on the occasion of the feast and thanked everyone for their prayerful participation in the feast of St. John of Pochaev. On behalf of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, Fr. Serge greeted Fr. Luke and the monastery brethren. He also called upon all of the pilgrims to support the monastery: "In these difficult times, we must provide major financial aid to our monasteries, so that our monks may continue to unceasingly pray for our salvation and for the whole world."
After lunch, everyone gathered at the monastery cemetery for a panihida for Matushka Elizabeth Olhovsky (wife of monastery cleric and guardian of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God Deacon Nicholas Olhovsky), who reposed on September 8, 2010. Fr. Luke led the panihida, co-served by several of the clergy.
It was the culmination of over four years of work by the monastery, local preservation groups, including the Preservation League of New York State and Otsego 2000, the New York State Historic Preservation Office and the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission
To qualify for the National Register, a historic place must meet one of four primary criteria, in this case, the monastery’s unique architecture, design and construction, as well as the role it played in 20th century world history.
“Properties owned by religious institutions or used for religious institutions or used for religious purposes are not ordinarily considered eligible for National Registry status, however there are exceptions,” said Protodeacon Victor Lochmatow in a news release. The monastery qualified, he said, because the Byzantine-style architecture of the buildings has its own importance.
In the 20th century, the monastery was a gathering place for people who had lost their homes and country during the Soviet communist era. The monastery became a 'little bit of Russia' for immigrants forced to leave their homeland, where they were able to preserve their culture and religion. The monastery's role as a distribuor of spiritual literature which found its way behind the iron curtain, contributed to the recognition of its historic significance.
Receiving the status is significant because the church is now eligible for federal grant money and investment tax credits on rehabilitation work.
Tania Werbizky, regional director of the Preservation League of New York State, called Holy Trinity Monastery “one of the state’s most important landmarks.” In 2008, the Preservation League of New York State placed the monastery on its “Seven to Save” list of endangered properties. “We took this action not only because the property faced threats from unsympathetic, industrial-scale development proposed nearby, but also because we were certain of its extraordinary significance,” Werbizky said.
The proposal of a wind farm nearby threatened the serenity of the monastery Murianka said, adding that the noise, shadows and industrial feeling of the wind farm would be particularly harmful to the 10,000 visitors who come to the monastery each year. “They come to the monastery for spiritual refreshment in the context of the country,” Murianka said. Fred Miller, former executive director of the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission, and Assemblyman Marc Butler also spoke at the ceremony. “In closing, let me suggest that we stay vigilant and aware of the treasure that is Holy Trinity Monastery,” Miller said. “Today’s celebration should be a beginning, not an ending.”
People from local, state and national government were present, as were historians, friends and neighbors. It was a joyous occasion, followed by refreshments and a guided tour of the cathedral.
Holy Trinity Monastery continues to be a gathering place for people from all continents. People still come to share in the culture and the spiritual treasure of Orthodoxy. It is a place were people bring their families to enjoy the peaceful landscape and quiet countryside, and for a brief time to share in the monastic life of the brotherhood.
Dear Friends of Holy Trinity Monastery
Work has begun in repairing the roof of the main cathedral of the Monastery. Thank you for your support to help us begin this work which is vital in preserving the frescoes in the Church and being damaged by leaks and moisture.