Today is commonly known as a memorial day when people gather to pray for the repose of their loved ones and to visit their graves at the cemetery.  Although we had done this on Sunday, nevertheless some people came to the monastery today for this purpose, bringing flowers and blini, as is customary.  Then we experienced a joyous moment when George and Irina Elbakidze donated an old icon to our monastery.  No one can date it accurately, but we believe that it must be at least two hundred years old.  This icon of Jesus Christ the Great Hierarch came from Ulansk in present day Kazakhstan and undoubtedly is of Russian Old Ritualist origin.  It about two feet by three and it had been broken in half from severe warping.  George, being a professional fine arts restorer, patiently straightened the wood and inserted wooden braces behind, then restored the damaged parts of the image.  It is dark in colour, as icons were often painted thus, thinking that it was the original colour, not realizing how darkened icons became over the centuries.  We understand that it had connections with the descendants of the Pugachev uprising in which many Old Believers were involved.  I am uncertain about where we will hang it, but it will have a place of honour, this being the second very old Old Believer icon donated to us.

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