You have reached this page, so maybe you have donated to the Catalogue of St. Elizabeth Convent, or you are interested in church items and may want to know more about us. So let us tell you who we are and why we exist.
Who we are
We are sisters of Charity, priests, seminarians, choir singers and choir conductors, and also laypeople, artists, journalists, programmers and many others. Each has a separate history of finding God and has come to do obediences for the monastic catalogue in their distinct way.
How did our catalogue begin?
The first workshops at St. Elizabeth’s Convent – pottery, sewing, and icon painting – opened at its foundation. Initially, the main part of their production was for the needs of the Convent. Sometimes, a layman would approach the Convent’s spiritual father with a creative project idea, got his blessing and established a workshop. For example, the crushed rock workshop, one of its kind in Belarus, opened in this way.
Later, when more people came to work at the workshops and the number of products grew, the Convent began to participate in Orthodox exhibitions abroad. Monastics and sisters of charity visited different cities in Russia, America and Europe, witnessing Christ and raising funds, as people were donating to acquire the products and support the construction of the Convent.
In 2020, many countries closed their borders, making travel almost impossible. Multiple workshops found themselves in financial difficulty. Our regular customers could no longer access the products directly. To avoid closure and keep jobs, it was decided to set up an online product catalogue of St Elisabeth Convent.
What products are we making?
The product catalogue of St. Elisabeth Monastery may surprise you with the size of its offering. Whether you are a clergyman looking for liturgical items for your parish, or a parishioner looking for religious items for home prayer, you will find everything you may want in our catalogue. All church supplies that we offer – from candles and souvenirs to priestly vestments – is the fruit of the labours and prayers of the faithful who work in our workshops under the direction of the monastics or clergy of the Convent.
From the beginning, the workshops have existed to provide for the needs of the Convent. Churches were being built, but money was short, even as the iconostases were going without icons. Therefore, an icon painting workshop was established. The priests needed vestments, and our nuns made them their first habits. Eventually, a sewing workshop was established. Today, priests from all over the world are wearing the vestments from this workshop to services in their churches, and seminarians don them for their ordination. Soon, candle-making, carpentry, icon restoration, ceramics, and non-ferrous metals workshops opened their doors, among many others.
The monastic workshops do not just make church items. With God’s help, we have been retrieving and preserving ancient church arts and crafts, keeping them alive and preventing them from becoming forgotten and extinct. They are gold embroidery, blacksmithery, and Byzantine mosaics, among others.
For over 20 years, St. Elizabeth Convent has been gathering gifted people under its roof. Why are they choosing to work here? Some have found a sense of purpose and uncovered their talent by working here, some value the spiritual benefits of their work over material ones, and some simply feel not accepted by the world and have nowhere else to go. But all share one thing in common – the desire to serve God with their talents and their daily labours, make the world a better place and bring beauty to it.
What makes our catalogue distinct? Here, you rarely shop for a product off the shelf, unless it is a book, a prayer bead, or a CD with church hymns. If you order a handmade item – an icon, a reliquary or ceramics, you will only see a sample in a photo. That is because all these items are made by hand, not on a machine, and no two will be the same. Furthermore, our craftsmen will meet your individual preferences for colour, size and any other features if you have any when you order.
Our catalogue is not working for a profit
A non-profit is the designation of a project that does not have profit as its primary objective. Here, you will not encounter any intrusive advertising or a sophisticated sales strategy. Our leading strategy is prayer. Our primary goal is to serve God and be His witnesses before the world.
Items in exchange for a donation
When acquiring any product from our online shop, the typical user may not give a thought to where their money is going. But we want our customers to know because we aim to support the Convent’s projects and charitable works. When you shop at our catalogue, you are giving alms by sacrificing towards good causes:
- Helping us pay the workers’ salaries and keep the workshops running;
- Supporting the monastery’s social projects, notably, the farmsteads where men and women in difficult circumstances are residing;
- Spiritual direction for disabled child, adult and elderly patients in long-term care;
- Supported employment workshops for people with mental and physical disabilities;
- Building churches and conducting educational and spiritual enlightenment work.
To know more about the Convent’s projects, click: https://catalog.obitel-minsk.com/blog/2022/11/incorporate-almsgiving-into-your-gift-shopping-order-from-our-online-catalogue