The Holy Kanavka of the Mother of God


The Holy Kanavka of the Mother of God
"Father used to tell me about the Kanavka", said sister Xenia Vasilyevna (nun Kapitolina). "He kept telling everyone that it was dug as to follow the path the Queen of Heaven Herself walked when She accepted the monastery as Her abode. Her Holy feet walked there! The Queen of Heaven's feet, matushka!"

"Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery"

"Father used to tell me about the Kanavka", said sister Xenia Vasilyevna (nun Kapitolina). "He kept telling everyone that it was dug as to follow the path the Queen of Heaven Herself walked when She accepted the monastery as Her abode. Her Holy feet walked there! The Queen of Heaven's feet, matushka!"

"Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery"
Father Seraphim initiated the digging of the Kanavka
The Holy Kanavka begins at the eastern part of the monastery, behind the Transfiguration Cathedral's altar. By the Mother of God's command, Father Seraphim ordered the Community-by-the-Mill to dig a ditch measuring three arshins in depth and width; the excavated soil was to be thrown inward towards the monastery and form a bank three arshins high. The sisters were slow to begin the digging, so the venerable elder appeared there in spirit and began digging the Holy Kanavka himself. It happened on the eve of the feast of the Holy Trinity on June 2, 1828. One of the first maiden nuns from the community reminisced: "On one occasion, a sister on nighttime duty stepped outside and saw that father Seraphim, dressed in his white garments, was digging the Kanavka. Beside herself, startled and rejoiced at the same time, she ran back inside and told everyone about it. All of us, dressed as we were and filled with indescribable joy, ran outside. Seeing the father, we prostrated before him, but, as we got back up, he was gone. All that was left was his shovel and hoe lying next to the soil he had dug up. An arshin of the Kananka had already been dug, marking the beginning of the Holy Kanavka.

Stunned by the miracle, the sisters began digging the Holy Kanavka without further delay. They continued to dig it till father's death. At the end of his life, work continued in the summer or winter, without any breaks. Sparks would fly as axe hit hardened soil, but they kept on digging as father commanded. They finished their hard work before the feast of Christ's Nativity in 1833. However, their Kanavka did not measure the three arshins needed: the sisters dug it to just one arshin or, at some locations, to as little as half an arshin. The Holy Kanavka had a gap of 125 meters between its ends, allowing a wide access to the mill. A cathedral was to be built in that space.
Father Seraphim initiated the digging of the Kanavka

The Holy Kanavka begins at the eastern part of the monastery, behind the Transfiguration Cathedral's altar. By the Mother of God's command, Father Seraphim ordered the Community-by-the-Mill to dig a ditch measuring three arshins in depth and width; the excavated soil was to be thrown inward towards the monastery and form a bank three arshins high. The sisters were slow to begin the digging, so the venerable elder appeared there in spirit and began digging the Holy Kanavka himself. It happened on the eve of the feast of the Holy Trinity on June 2, 1828. One of the first maiden nuns from the community reminisced: "On one occasion, a sister on nighttime duty stepped outside and saw that father Seraphim, dressed in his white garments, was digging the Kanavka. Beside herself, startled and rejoiced at the same time, she ran back inside and told everyone about it. All of us, dressed as we were and filled with indescribable joy, ran outside. Seeing the father, we prostrated before him, but, as we got back up, he was gone. All that was left was his shovel and hoe lying next to the soil he had dug up. An arshin of the Kananka had already been dug, marking the beginning of the Holy Kanavka.

Stunned by the miracle, the sisters began digging the Holy Kanavka without further delay. They continued to dig it till father's death. At the end of his life, work continued in the summer or winter, without any breaks. Sparks would fly as axe hit hardened soil, but they kept on digging as father commanded. They finished their hard work before the feast of Christ's Nativity in 1833. However, their Kanavka did not measure the three arshins needed: the sisters dug it to just one arshin or, at some locations, to as little as half an arshin. The Holy Kanavka had a gap of 125 meters between its ends, allowing a wide access to the mill. A cathedral was to be built in that space.
Father Seraphim commanded the sisters to dig the Kanavka to immortalize the memory of the Mother of God's daily walk around Her domain. He used to say the Queen of Heaven had measured the Holy Kanavka with her belt. Reaching the heavens, this Kanavka would forever serve as a guarding wall and protecting shield against the antichrist.
Father Seraphim commanded the sisters to dig the Kanavka to immortalize the memory of the Mother of God's daily walk around Her domain. He used to say the Queen of Heaven had measured the Holy Kanavka with her belt. Reaching the heavens, this Kanavka would forever serve as a guarding wall and protecting shield against the antichrist.
The Kanavka is one of the major holy sites of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery. It powerfully attests to the Mother of God's selection of this special place as Her fourth earthly domain. Here, every sorrow is soothed and hearts are filled with joy. The Kanavka is so revered that everyone considers it his or her holy duty to walk along it, especially when in affliction, misery or sickness. Some walk it once while others walk it three times reading the prayer "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!" 150 times.
The Kanavka is one of the major holy sites of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery. It powerfully attests to the Mother of God's selection of this special place as Her fourth earthly domain. Here, every sorrow is soothed and hearts are filled with joy. The Kanavka is so revered that everyone considers it his or her holy duty to walk along it, especially when in affliction, misery or sickness. Some walk it once while others walk it three times reading the prayer "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!" 150 times.
Keep faith, my children in Christ, that the Mother of God works wonders for us if only we overcome our own idleness and diligently address Her more than once with the Archangel's greeting… There is no request, even the lowliest and most temporal one, that the Mother of God will not fulfill for the glory of Her Son; if only we pray to Her for 150 times every day saying: "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!"

Hieromartyr Seraphim (Zvezdinsky)
Keep faith, my children in Christ, that the Mother of God works wonders for us if only we overcome our own idleness and diligently address Her more than once with the Archangel's greeting… There is no request, even the lowliest and most temporal one, that the Mother of God will not fulfill for the glory of Her Son; if only we pray to Her for 150 times every day saying: "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!"

Hieromartyr Seraphim (Zvezdinsky)
Initially, the Kanavka's first 150 meters were dug at the right depth and width. However, many other sections were generally dug out only to a depth of 0.7-0.9 meters. The Kanavka's width was about 2 meters; it had gentle slopes, with an earthen rampart about 2 meters high.
Initially, the Kanavka's first 150 meters were dug at the right depth and width. However, many other sections were generally dug out only to a depth of 0.7-0.9 meters. The Kanavka's width was about 2 meters; it had gentle slopes, with an earthen rampart about 2 meters high.
After the monastery's closing in 1927, the Holy Kanavka was filled and its rampart flattened. During the post-war years, it was badly damaged: various utility systems cut through in many places, while along its southern end, a sewage system was laid.
After the monastery's closing in 1927, the Holy Kanavka was filled and its rampart flattened. During the post-war years, it was badly damaged: various utility systems cut through in many places, while along its southern end, a sewage system was laid.
On January 1, 1992, for the first time after a long break, the tradition of a daily walk along the Holy Kanavka was restored. Headed by the Hegumenia and guided by the icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness," the sisters proceed around the whole monastery during this walk.
On January 1, 1992, for the first time after a long break, the tradition of a daily walk along the Holy Kanavka was restored. Headed by the Hegumenia and guided by the icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness," the sisters proceed around the whole monastery during this walk.
By the 100th anniversary celebration of the Venerable Seraphim's glorification, the Kanavka had been almost fully dug and landscaped. In 2006, its last section was returned to the monastery and its restoration was completed by July 31 of that year.
By the 100th anniversary celebration of the Venerable Seraphim's glorification, the Kanavka had been almost fully dug and landscaped. In 2006, its last section was returned to the monastery and its restoration was completed by July 31 of that year.
The "Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery" quotes Paraskevi Ivanovna as saying: "You've got to dig your Kanavka!" Father Seraphim told me thoughtfully. "Three arshin, it has to be dug out that wide and that deep, so the thieves cannot climb over!"

Today's Kanavka has been restored exactly along the axis sketched by Venerable Seraphim and to the size he determined for this holy structure. Kanavka's length along its axis is 775 meters.
The "Chronicle of the Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery" quotes Paraskevi Ivanovna as saying: "You've got to dig your Kanavka!" Father Seraphim told me thoughtfully. "Three arshin, it has to be dug out that wide and that deep, so the thieves cannot climb over!"

Today's Kanavka has been restored exactly along the axis sketched by Venerable Seraphim and to the size he determined for this holy structure. Kanavka's length along its axis is 775 meters.
"Happy feet," the kids' summer sandals, hurry along the Kanavka. The black shoes of a monastic step quietly along this holy walk. Someone flips-flaps barefoot or crawls the Kanavka on their knees. So many feet have walked it since 1829, when the Mother of God commanded elder Seraphim to dig the Kanavka's first arshin. But what matters most is that "the Mother of God's feet stepped here." That is why the heavens close in here.

It is not simply a walk. Everyone walking here silently prays "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!" for 150 times. Our prayers are for the living and the dead, for those who may be, say, in Moscow or Petersburg, maybe watching TV or talking over the telephone, cooking dinner, shopping, or on their way to far-flung destinations…
"Happy feet," the kids' summer sandals, hurry along the Kanavka. The black shoes of a monastic step quietly along this holy walk. Someone flips-flaps barefoot or crawls the Kanavka on their knees. So many feet have walked it since 1829, when the Mother of God commanded elder Seraphim to dig the Kanavka's first arshin. But what matters most is that "the Mother of God's feet stepped here." That is why the heavens close in here.

It is not simply a walk. Everyone walking here silently prays "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!" for 150 times. Our prayers are for the living and the dead, for those who may be, say, in Moscow or Petersburg, maybe watching TV or talking over the telephone, cooking dinner, shopping, or on their way to far-flung destinations…
"How blissfully good it had been to walk along the Kanavka, with the prayer beads in hand, reciting for 150 times the "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!" It is even better in the evening, when daily worries subside and the world of quiet emerges. Skies somehow come close to the earth, the row of praying faithful walks slowly; it feels as if we have left our chaotic age and re-entered ancient Holy Rus, that we have travelled, God knows how, back into the future, from the depths of the centuries."
Protopresbyter Stephan Lyashevsky
"How blissfully good it had been to walk along the Kanavka, with the prayer beads in hand, reciting for 150 times the "Rejoice! O Virgin Mother of God!" It is even better in the evening, when daily worries subside and the world of quiet emerges. Skies somehow come close to the earth, the row of praying faithful walks slowly; it feels as if we have left our chaotic age and re-entered ancient Holy Rus, that we have travelled, God knows how, back into the future, from the depths of the centuries."
Protopresbyter Stephan Lyashevsky
On April 27, 1995, an old tradition has been restored: the celebration of a daily late-morning Liturgy during Bright Week and Sunday procession walks along the Kanavka until the Leavetaking of Pascha. Processions with the cross along the Kanavka are also held on the memorial feast of the Venerable Seraphim on January 2/15; on the feast of the icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness" on July 28/August 10; on the feast of founding the Community-by-the-Mill on December 1/22; and at midnight on January 1/14, the eve of the Circumcision of the Lord and St. Vasily the Great' feasts, which is followed by prayer service for the beginning of the new year.
On April 27, 1995, an old tradition has been restored: the celebration of a daily late-morning Liturgy during Bright Week and Sunday procession walks along the Kanavka until the Leavetaking of Pascha. Processions with the cross along the Kanavka are also held on the memorial feast of the Venerable Seraphim on January 2/15; on the feast of the icon of the Mother of God "Tenderness" on July 28/August 10; on the feast of founding the Community-by-the-Mill on December 1/22; and at midnight on January 1/14, the eve of the Circumcision of the Lord and St. Vasily the Great' feasts, which is followed by prayer service for the beginning of the new year.
Venerable Seraphim used to say that Athos, along with Jerusalem and Kiev, were all here altogether. That is, if one prays at the Kanavka, a blessing is received from those sacred sites as well.
Venerable Seraphim used to say that Athos, along with Jerusalem and Kiev, were all here altogether. That is, if one prays at the Kanavka, a blessing is received from those sacred sites as well.
There is a special area next to the chapel where everyone is able to take some of the Kanavka's soil, done in memory of the Venerable Seraphim's words: "Visitors will flock here, and they will carry away clay for healing, it will be more precious than gold!" To use the soil from the Kanavka, apply it to the location of pain; dilute it in water and take a drink; or protect a dwelling by spilling some of Kanavka's soil around the home. As Father Seraphim said, it is more valuable than gold.
Here is what Father Vasily Sadovsky wrote in his memoirs: "Father Seraphim used to say wondrous things about this Kanavka, that it is laid in the Mother of God's footsteps. This is where the Queen of Heaven walked. This Kanavka reaches to heaven. Our Lady the Most Pure Mother of God took this land as Her own possession. When the antichrist comes in his time, he will pass through anywhere else but he will not be able to spring over the Kanavka."
Here is what Father Vasily Sadovsky wrote in his memoirs: "Father Seraphim used to say wondrous things about this Kanavka, that it is laid in the Mother of God's footsteps. This is where the Queen of Heaven walked. This Kanavka reaches to heaven. Our Lady the Most Pure Mother of God took this land as Her own possession. When the antichrist comes in his time, he will pass through anywhere else but he will not be able to spring over the Kanavka."
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