Novices enter Russian Catholic monastery in Rome

Novices enter Russian Catholic monastery in Rome

Monday, April 22, 2013

By Martin Barillas

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, accompanied by Msgr. MaurizioMalvestiti, under secretary of the same dicastery, visited the Russian Monastery of the Dormition in Rome over the April 20. The visit marked the entry of several novices to the historic monastery.


Cardinal Sandri lauded the richness of the Eastern monastic tradition that the monastery represents in Rome and in communion with the newly elected Francis, Pope of Rome. The women living an ascetic life at the monastery offer themselves and prayer to the universal church and for the intentions of the Pope. The cardinal regnonizedthat their prayers keep alive the various churches of the Oriental rites, many of which face acute suffering and persecution. He trust that they will represent an inestimable assistance on the path toward the reconciliation and unity of all Christians.
The community has long supported itself by writing icons and sewing liturgical vestments for bishops and priests.
The Monastery of the Dormition of Mary (Uspenskij in Slavic) was officially established on December 15, 1957. This was in response to the committment of CardinalEugenio Tisserant and members of the Jesuit order. At that time Cardinal Tisserant was secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. The persecution of Christians, especially those in communion with Rome, was severe throughout the area behind the so-called Iron Curtain. The monastery was blessed by Pope Pius XII with the intention that nuns’ prayers would contribute to the spiritual rebirth of the Eastern European lands, especially Russia. In 1956, Cardinal Tisserant had agreed to the establishment of the Russian monastery for women in Rome in order to “beg the clemency of God Almighty toward the Russian peoples”.
The monastery’s liturgy, as Cardinal Tisserant desired, is in the Byzantine Ritual and in communion with the Bishop of Rome, who is named seven times in the daily office of prayers. For more than 50 years this prayer has continued without interruption. The monastery has been considered an island of Russia, through which Russian students, prelates, monks, and nuns have passed, feeling themselves at home. Among the distinguished visitors to the monastery was a young Orthodox priest who later later became the current Orthodox patriarch of Moscow, Kirill I.
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