"The Mother of God gathered you, calling Herself your Hegumenia…"
The Queen of Heaven appeared to nun Alexandra in Kiev's St. Florus Ascension Monastery and bade her to travel to the north, visiting along the way all of those Greater Russia's monasteries dedicated to Her. She also pointed out a location where She vowed to found a great monastery - so great that it would be "unequaled to anything else anywhere in the world before, now, and at anytime in history". This is how the story of the St. Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery, the fourth domain of the Theotokos after Iveria, Athos and Kiev, began.
Appearance of the Queen of Heaven to Venerable Alexandra in the village of Diveyevo
Here is the place I commanded you to search for in the northern Russia when I first appeared to you in Kiev. Here is the lot set aside for you by the Divine Providence. Reside here and do God-pleasing work till the end of your days, and I will always be with you and visit you. I will found a monastery unequal to anything before or afterwards in the world: it is my fourth domain in the whole creation. As many as there are stars in heaven or sand in the sea, shall I increase the number of them who serve the Lord Our God and Me, the Ever-Virgin Mother of Light, and who glorify My Son Jesus Christ. May the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God and the abundance of all earthly and heavenly treasures, obtained without
a sweat, never grow scarce at this beloved place of Mine!

Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery

Empowered by her indomitable faith in the absolute promise she had received, Mother Alexandra built her community. Her hard labor, humble and tear-filled repentance, and unceasing prayers laid a solid foundation for the future great monastery. The Theotokos Herself directed Mother Alexandra who, through Her will, sought help from the young Hyerodeacon Seraphim to care for the Diveyevo sisters.

As you flip through the pages of the "Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery," it becomes clear how the Queen of Heaven has always been in charge of Her monastery. She promised to care for Her beloved fourth domain and continues to do so. The monastery and its churches, before and to this day, are built using limited funds. Before the revolution, 1600 monastics resided in Diveyevo. It currently has three times less than that, yet the Diveyevo monastery is among the largest of the modern-day Russian women's monasteries. However, according to the Chronicle, Father Seraphim was known to send to the monastery only those sisters who were specifically selected by the Mother of God Herself.

Icon of the Mother of God "Hegumenia of Diveyevo"
"The Mother of God Herself will run the monastery, Venerable Father Seraphim used to say. "She will teach them everything they need, caring, guiding, and electing the ones She deems appropriate and casting some others away. She will establish the effective policies and abolish the ineffective ones, being in charge of it all, since everything here is solely according to Her own will!"

Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery
Appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos to Venerable Seraphim on the feast of Annunciation in 1831
Appearance of the Most Holy Theotokos to Venerable Seraphim on the feast of Annunciation in 1831
A calling as high as serving the Queen of Heaven as described above does not result in worldly titles or ascetic deeds, but more likely a deep devotion and submission to Her holy will and irreprehensible implementation of Her directives. The lives of the venerable and blessed mothers of Diveyevo, who fell asleep in the Lord before, or who had lived to see the reopening of the monastery, act as proof.

The love, care, and concern of the Mother of God for everything and everyone in the monastery is clearly apparent and evident and will be so forever. In 1988, the year of the millennium of the baptism of Russia, the Queen of Heaven quietly reaffirmed Her pledge appearing in the humble cell of the Diveyevo Schema nun elder Margaret (Laktionova): "This cell and this place will inspire the whole universe." What a boost the construction of the monastery saw immediately afterwards: from the tiny but well-visited dwelling of mother Frosya, where all the statutes and monastic rule have been dutifully preserved; to the church of the Kazan Mother of God by the holy spring which was returned to the monastery in 1989; to the Holy Trinity Cathedral consecrated in 1990; and finally, to the unprecedented grandeur of the 21st century!
Superior Hegumenia of Diveyevo
Superior Hegumenia of Diveyevo
Whoever reads the prayer "Rejoice Oh Virgin Mother of God…" 150 times diligently will find oneself under a special Protection Cover of the Mother of God.
One of the ancient prayerful appeals to the Mother of God for the early Christians was the greeting by Archangel Gabriel: "Rejoice O Virgin Mother of God…" Its daily use by all the sisters is the foundation of the universal monastic appeal to the Most Holy Theotokos. The Holy Kanavka became the place to perform this innermost prayer. During his conversation with the sisters, Father Seraphim once said, "This is the path the Mother of God walked when she accepted Diveyevo as one of Her domains… The Kanavka will forever be your guardian and wall and defense, as the antichrist won't cross it! The Mother of God brought you together, having called Herself your Hegumenia; She will manage, protect, judge and defend; everything is known and possible to Her! It is within Her holy will! Follow it, praying and seeking Her intercession… and She will give you what is necessary, beneficial and useful!" Ever since, especially at times of tribulation, temptation, sickness or misunderstanding, the sisters followed Father's advice and used the Theotokos prayer rule while chanting at church, in their cells followed with prostrations, or while travelling.
The Virgin Mary is the most Compassionate Lady to all the sons and daughters of man, as She is the Daughter of God the Father, Who is Love; Mother of God the Word, our Love; and the chosen Bride of the Ever-Holy Spirit, Who is Love, one with the Father and the Word. How one wouldn't appeal to Her as our Lady and seek all the spiritual fruit from Her!

Righteous St John of Kronstadt
There is something else Father Seraphim prophesied to the sisters: that, in the future, all the icons to the appearances of the Theotokos, including the one from Mount Athos, will be collected at Diveyevo monastery. It may take awhile to name all the images of the Mother of God that came here over the quarter of the century after the monastery had reopened. Among the images of the Theotokos returned to the monastery are some known to belong to Venerable Father Seraphim, such as the icons to Our Lady of Kazan and of Passion (he commanded an inextinguishable oil lamp to burn in front of it forever) and the Deisis icon for the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, icons in Sarov and Diveyevo painting styles. There are icons originating from three Athonite monasteries: Hilandar, Vatopedi, and St. Panteleimon's. Other come from Kiev and Constantinople, as well as other towns and monasteries in Russia. Finally, another important prophesy by Venerable Seraphim has been fulfilled – the construction of the new cathedral to the Theotokos built in one line with the Hoy Trinity cathedral.
My cathedral in Diveyevo will have all the icons dedicated to the appearances of the Theotokos that ever existed in the whole world, including the ones from Mount Athos, - they will all be gathered in that new cathedral, my lord!

Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery
Paraklesis to the Mother of God
The church service books contain the following wording: "As a temple to the Theotokos, we now celebrate." Since the monastery is dedicated to the Mother of God, the churches and cathedrals of Diveyevo hold many vigils and the Polyeleos services. The rite of the "Lifting up of the Panagia" follows a festal or Sunday Liturgy, when a priest raises up the Prosphora bread in memory of the Queen of Heaven Who, via Her icon carried by nuns, heads their procession to the Refectory.
The Queen of Heaven sees and knows everything about each and every sister and every kind of duty anywhere around Her monastery. In the "Chronicles of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery" there is a story about the nighttime visit of the Theotokos to the Refectory and the kitchen. Seraphim used to say that the Mother of God visits the monastery daily. The sisters have always wholeheartedly believed it and always will! They make every effort not to displease the Queen of Heaven, spending their lives to keep Her all-holy name in their minds, hearts and on their lips forever…

The Queen of Heaven is aware of what is going on at Her fourth domain on earth. Whenever the days of sorrow befall the monastery, the sisters appeal to Her: "In our many afflictions, we run to Thee." According to the monastery statute, established by the Queen of Heaven Herself, the Paraklesis or a supplicatory canon is sung before every Sunday Liturgy. Every evening, in gratitude to the day spent in the monastery, the sisters walk the Kanavka holding the icon of the Mother of God.
Paraklesis to the Mother of God
It is a joy to acknowledge the fact that the great Diveyevo monastery has always been loved and protected by its Superior Hegumenia – The Queen of Heaven and Earth. Not long before his death, Father Seraphim told the sisters: "I deliver you to the Mother Queen of Heaven Herself! She is the One who will not abandon you!"
Day of Hegumenia Sergiya (commemorating her elevation to the rank of Hegumenia)
Day of Hegumenia Sergiya (commemorating her elevation to the rank of Hegumenia)
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