March 5, 2011
The oldest parishioner of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow is 98 years old.
The woman is always carrying two bags with one brick in each. She ties the bags to a shawl and carries them on her neck, one on her left, and another on her right side, said the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, in an interview to the Krestovsky Most Orthodox newspaper.
"Why do you need the bricks?" I keep asking her. She said, "I need them for balance, otherwise I can't keep myself straight." She comes to the service from Belyayevo which is the most far-away end of Moscow, Father Tikhon adds.
The monastery has many young parishioners and almost half of them is under 45.
"I recall when elderly women first appeared in the monastery and how important their visits were for us. We did everything to make them feel comfortable and at ease, they made us all happy," Father Tikhon said.