Convent of Saint Elizabeth
The small, beautiful Convent of St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess of Russia is tucked away in a forested area of rural Scott Valley, a few miles from the town of Etna, located in the far north of California. Established in 1984, this traditional Greek Orthodox convent is a dependency of the Holy monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina in Phyle, Greece and is under the spiritual direction of the founder and abbess, Mother Elizabeth, and His Eminence, the Most Reverend Bishop Auxentios of Etna and Portland, who resides at the nearby St. Gregory Palamas Monastery.
As a traditional Orthodox convent, we maintain a full cycle of daily church services and have two chapels: the main one dedicated to our patroness, St. Elizabeth, and a smaller one dedicated to St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. We support ourselves through a variety of handiwork, offering a range of high quality items made by the sisters.
The convent’s Sewing Room makes vestments, cassocks, altar covers, and other church-related sewn items. While we focus on offering simple, affordable options, we can also provide special-order materials and embroidered embellishments. We also individually sew heirloom-quality icons using free-motion embroidery rather than computerized designs. These can serve as adornments for vestments, as individual framed icons, or as Epitaphioi (Plaschanitsi).
Our Icon Studio produces beautiful, traditional, Byzantine-style hand-painted icons as well as special-order portraits and paintings of churches. The Print Shop reproduces our icons as high-quality prints, which are available in sizes and styles ranging from small icon cards to medium wood-mounted or framed icons to large canvas prints for church walls.
Other hand-crafted items include hand-tied prayer ropes and pure beeswax candles. The prayer ropes can be either simple or fancy, ranging from ring and wrist prayer ropes to ornate beaded Bishop’s prayer ropes. The candles include all sizes for Church use (sold through Mt. Sinai Orthodox Church Products) as well as decorative candles for gifts.
In addition to their work on the crafts mentioned above, the sisters have other obediences such as caring for a variety of animals, cultivating a vegetable garden, cooking, cleaning, providing hospitality to guests, and maintaining the convent grounds. To further support the convent, we have recently undertaken the operation of the church supply business “Eastern Christian Supply” which offers a wide array of products, including books and crosses, censers and chalices, and much more.
Several of our nuns are also instructors at the local St. Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary, teaching courses in Iconography, Parish and Mission Work, Vestment Sewing, English Composition, and New Testament. Additionally, we help to maintain both the seminary building itself as well as separate housing buildings for married and female students.
We have recently acquired property for a project we hope to undertake in the near future: the building of a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE). This facility is to be dedicated to the patrons of St. Elizabeth’s original convent in Russia, Sts. Martha and Mary, who are exemplars of two mutually dependent aspects of Christian life: active virtue and prayer. This RCFE is intended to address a lack of such facilities in our local community. However, this plan is greatly dependent on the generosity of donors. Please see: http://stsmmr.org
“Do not let pass any opportunity to pray for anyone, either at his request or at the request of his relatives, friends, of those who esteem him, or of his acquaintances. The Lord looks favorably upon the prayer of our love, and upon our boldness before Him. Besides this, prayer for others is very beneficial to the one himself who prays for others; it purifies the heart, strengthens faith and hope in God, and enkindles our love for God and our neighbor. When praying, say thus: Lord, it is possible for Thee to do this or that to this servant of Thine; do this for him, for Thy name is the Merciful Love of Men and the Almighty.”
†St. John of Krondstadt, My Life in Christ
”Every man or woman who unites himself or herself to Christ enlightens the universe and extends the boundaries of God’s love.”
“We work, pray and hope every day to experience God’s mercy. Every day we experience a continuous miracle. Others begin to feel this and come to our church in order to give their souls a rest.”
”Holiness is not simply righteousness, for which the righteous are accounted worthy to enjoy blessedness in the kingdom of God, but is rather such a height of righteousness that men are so filled with the grace of God that it flows from them and out upon those who are in fellowship with them.”