Gorny Monastery (Горненский Монастырь)

Gorny Monastery is a Russian Orthodox Monastery in Ein Karem, 7 km to the South West of Jerusalem. The history of this female monastery started in 1871 when the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) baught a small garden of olive trees near Jerusalem.


Location: 7 km to the South West of Jerusalem


Description of Gorny Monastery

Small community was settled and three years later they received their charter and officially Gorny Monastery was found. The fist monastery church was dedicated in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. This is the main church in the monastery compound and also gave the monastery its nick name "Moscovia" Monastery.  In Arabic this word is translated as "Moscow" as a reference to traditional Russian Orthodox churches found in the region. The Cave shrine is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and was consecrated in 1987. Community of Gorny Monastery started construction of the cathedral dedicated to all Saint of Russian Land in 1911, but outbreak of World War I and subsequent Russian Revolution of 1917 stopped all work. Construction resumed almost a century later in 2003 and completed in 2007. Just in time to celebrate 160th anniversary of the Gorny Monastery.



In 1869, the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), decided to buy a plot with two houses and an olive tree plantation 7 km southwest of the Old City of Jerusalem near the village of Ein Karem, which is traditionally considered the birthplace of John the Baptist and The meeting of the Virgin Mary with the righteous Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56). The owner of the plot, the former dragoman of the French consulate in Jerusalem, Hannah Dzhelyad, asked for 4,000 napoleons (80,000 francs or about 25,000 silver rubles) for him. A special committee was set up in Russia to collect this amount.

Immediately after the purchase of the site in 1871, individual nuns and pilgrims settled on it. The first monastery church was consecrated on February 14, 1883 in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. Today it is the main temple of the monastery, it houses the miraculous Kazan icon of the Mother of God. To the right of the entrance to the Kazan Church is a relocated shrine - a stone on which, according to legend, John the Baptist preached. This stone was brought to the monastery from the outskirts of Jerusalem, not far from the so-called "desert" of John the Baptist, near the modern village of Even-Sapir.

The community of nuns received the status of a monastery from the Holy Synod in 1898, and in 1903 an icon-painting and gold-embroidery workshop was opened in the monastery, at the expense of which the monastery fed itself.

In 1910, the construction of the cathedral began, which was supposed to be consecrated in honor of the Holy Trinity. It ceased due to the outbreak of the First World War.

By 1914, there were about 200 nuns in the monastery, who, at the request of the Ottoman authorities, had to leave the monastery and move to Alexandria, from where they returned in 1918 to the damaged monastery. However, through the efforts of the sisters, he was restored.

Due to the impossibility of communication with the Moscow Patriarchate, the monastery, like the entire Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, since 1920 came under the control of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). In 1924, the Gornensky community again received the canonical status of a monastery.

Many of the nuns who came to the monastery during these years were Russian emigrant nuns who fled to Bessarabia, from there to Serbia, and then to the Holy Land. Only a few novices were from Arab women.

In 1945, after a visit to the Holy Land by Patriarch Alexy I, a division arose among the sisters of the monastery on the issue of jurisdiction, most of them were supporters of the transition to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Then the Jerusalem Patriarchate placed at the disposal of these sisters a Greek temple in Ein Karem.

During Operation Nakhshon, when the bombing of Ein Karem began in July 1948, the sisters left the monastery and fled to the Jordanian part of Palestine (the Monastery of Olives).

After the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, the monastery (as well as the buildings of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission) was transferred by the Israeli authorities to the Soviet government (Moscow Patriarchate). The nuns, who did not want to go under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, remained in the Olivet Monastery under the control of ROCOR. The five nuns moved to Chile, where in 1958 the Assumption Monastery was founded by Archbishop Leonty (Philippovich).

Since the mid-1950s, the monastery began to replenish with nuns who came from the USSR. It continued to be one of the active monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) throughout the subsequent history of the USSR, being the only convent of the Moscow Patriarchate outside the Soviet borders.

In 1987, the cave church was consecrated in honor of St. John the Baptist.

In 1997, the construction of the Cathedral in honor of the Holy Trinity was resumed, completed in 2007 for the 160th anniversary of the monastery. On October 28, 2007, the church was consecrated with a small rank in honor of All Saints who shone in the Russian land, and on November 12, 2012, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow performed a great consecration of the church.


Special feast of the monastery
At the request of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), the Holy Synod, by decree of August 5, 1883, blessed the celebration of a feast in the Gornensky Monastery - “The Kissing of Mariino, or the Coming of the Mother of God to the Mountain City of Judas”, usually celebrated on April 12 (March 30 according to the old style). This is due to the fact that the monastery is located a few dozen meters from the place where, according to legend, the meeting of Mary with the righteous Elizabeth took place (the Franciscan Church of the Visitation is currently located on that place).

Since then, on the eve of the Feast of Kissing, the icon of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos has been transported from the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Jerusalem to the Gornensky Monastery, where it remains for three months until the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist on July 7 (June 24, O.S.), since the Mother of God was here Elizabeth has three months. This icon is placed in the abbot's place in a blue robe like a monastic mantle, placing the abbot's rod next to it. During these three months, the Most Holy Theotokos herself is the abbess of the monastery.

There is no such celebration in the general church calendar of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Abbesses of the monastery
1992 - March 11, 2020 - Abbess George (Shchukin). On March 11, 2020, by the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (magazine No. 27), she was appointed honorary abbess of the Gornensky Monastery, died on February 6, 2022.
Since March 11, 2020 - Abbess Ekaterina (Chernysheva), former Dean of the Holy Trinity Seraphim-Diveevo Convent.