Convent of Nativity (HOCNA)
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I visited the Convent of Nativity in Boston area again in July 2004. Here is how the monastery lookes from outside. It was once a house of some rich family. But now about 30 nuns live here, not counting pilgrims. This is a really blessed place. My window was on the second floor (the most left window, near the branches).
The church of Nativity inside the building. I liked the service very much there. They do not have the strange habit that is popular in some parishes now of simply watching the Liturgy without receiving Communion. According to the Apostolic canon, people should commune at every liturgy where they are present, because this is the reason for the service. You cannot thank the Lord that He "hast vouchsafed us to partake of Thy holy, Divine, Immortal, and Life-Creating Mysteries" if you yourself didn't partake of those Mysteries.
What you see in the picture above is actually a replica of the star that marks the place where Christ was born in Bethlehem, and stands to the left of the Iconostas, near the entrance of the monastery chapel.
There are about 30 nuns in the monastery. The nuns there have a good sense of humor and are very intelligent, kind and pious.
The main income of the convent comes from the candles that they make. The smell of the fresh beeswax combines with a spiritual, prayerful fragrance that begins in the candle factory and ends with the lighting of the finished candles.
Here is the Abbess of the monastery, Mother Seraphima, and me. Matushka Seraphima is very kind and it seems like all the sisters really love her. She is an American, but it touched me that she has an affection to the saints of Russia. The monastery is now translating the diaries of St.Joseph of Petrograd; these books were never published in Russia after the revolution.
The spiritual father of the Monastery, Archimandrite Panteleimon and Monk Seraphim. Father Panteleimon served that day in the monastery. He is one of the smartest monks I have ever met.
This is the last picture that I saw leaving the monastery early in the morning. One nun and the Matushka of Father George Kochergin are seeing me off. The nun brought me a prayer rope as a blessing from the Abbess. As for Matushka Kochergin, she simply went out to wave "good bye" to me. I was so glad to meet her. Talking to her was very informative and even gave me perspective on current events in our Church. She and Fr George bear the spirit of that Russia that was destroyed more than 80 years ago.
This is the church of the monastery again. Knowing that a beacon of the light of Orthodoxy stands a half a world away, from the snows of Russia, brings me a consolation that cannot be described in mere words.
P.S. The address of Holy Nativity
Convent is 70 Codman Rd., Brookline, MA, 02445.
The phone number is 617-566-0156
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