Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna's
Relics Handed Over to Moscow Convent

Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna

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Fragments of the relics of the Holy Martyrs Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Fyodorovna and Nun Varvara were transferred to the Moscow St. Martha and Mary Convent in a ceremony on Monday.

Archbishop Mark of Berlin, All Germany and Britain, who represents the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, brought a chest with fragments of the relics to the convent and it was placed on the icon stand in the center of the church.

Then Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived to the ringing of the bells, accompanied by church notables, guests and parishioners. The Russian Patriarch entered the Cathedral of the Intercession and began a service in front of the relics.

A prayer will be said after the liturgy and then the relics of Grand Duchess Yelizaveta will be placed in a shrine bearing her image. Access to the relics will be opened to all believers from Monday.

After Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Fyodorovna's tragic death her remains were secretly taken out of Russia. Since 1921 the relics of the Holy Martyrs Yelizaveta and Varvara have been kept in the Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem.

An agreement to hand over fragments of the relics to the St. Martha and Mary Convent was reached in 2007 between the late Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia after the Act of Canonical Communion was signed between the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church.

St. Martha and Mary Convent was founded in 1909 by Grand Duchess Yelizaveta Fyodorovna, the wife of Moscow Governor General, Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich Romanov. In the Soviet era the convent's Cathedral of the Intercession accommodated studios of the Grabar Center for the restoration of icons.

A program was launched in 2006 to revive the convent under the supervision of Patriarch Alexy II, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Russian Railways President and head of the Council of Trustees of the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation Vladimir Yakunin.

Interfax
7 September, 2009