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May 26, 2011

The Mobile Church of Optina Monastery

The Optina fathers utilize a mobile church for their needs which they have dedicated to the Life-Giving Spring.

Because Optina Monastery has fields that are far away where they grow their vegetables and cultivate their honey, and because they require frequent departures from the Monastery, a mobile church was built so the fathers do not neglect their liturgical duties.

Among the crops are potatoes, cabbage, beets, pumpkin, carrots, onions, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes and even beans. In addition, the fields belonging to the monastery every year have a good harvest of wheat, barley, oats, and specially planted honey culture.

The mobile church was built in 2006 and was based on a platform of a mobile military caravan, to which was welded an iron frame, then sheathed with boards. A small wooden temple of light brown color with a small golden onion dome on the roof is on the field during agricultural work and is now a spiritual center for the working monks and for pilgrims. The church is small - 9.56 meters in length and 3.57 in width. Despite the small size of the church, it fits up to 30 worshipers. The altar can accommodate up to 4-5 clergy, including deacons.

The church received the name Life-Giving Spring primarily because the feast day, which is Bright Friday, usually coincides when field work begins. It also celebrates on October 15th, the end of the agricultural season, for the “Prosperess of Loaves” Mother of God. Thus the entire agricultural season begins and ends with feasts to the Mother of God.


See more photos here.