Yelabuga Convent of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God
| Yelabuga Convent of the
Kazan Icon of the Mother of God
|Diocese of Kazan,
Church of Russia
|Abbess Vera (Shevchenko)
|Yelabuga City, Tatarstan
| Diocesan Web site
The Yelabuga Convent of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God is a monastery for women that was founded in the mid-nineteenth century in the city of Yelabuga in the Diocese of Kazan, Tatarstan. Having been virtually destroyed during the Soviet years, restoration of the convent has been ongoing since its return to the Church of Russia in 1995.
The merchant I. I. Stakheyev initiated the establishment of the convent in 1868, at his expense. The overall design of the convent complex was by the architect G. A. Boose, who placed the main temple, the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in the center of the convent grounds, with the whole complex surrounded by a stone wall. This church was completed in 1868. Other buildings were built and arranged around the central church. Three storey residence buildings were built to the east and north of the church. The monastery hospital was incorporated into the northern building, that also included, since 1887, the Church of the Great Martyr Barbara. The residence of the Mother Superior was a small two-storey house built in the eastern part of the compound. Entrance to the monastery was through a turreted and arched gate in the southern part of the wall.
After the Bolsheviks took control of Russia in 1917, the Commissariat for Enlightening established a children’s city within the convent grounds, yet permitted the community of nuns and the church to continue to function, although this was not permissible under the new Soviet laws. This changed when the government of the city decided to close the convent in 1928. The members of the convent community petitioned for return of the church, but were refused.
With the nuns banished from the convent, the Soviets destroyed the wall and disassembled the church and bell tower. The bricks from the buildings were given to a construction group. The children’s city continued to function until 1930 while the remaining buildings of the monastery were used as ordinary living quarters. During World War II the grounds of the monastery were used as a prisoner-of-war camp, a use that continued until 1949.
Restoration of the convent began in 1993 when part of the monastery was returned to the Diocese of Kazan, On February 8, 1995, the ruling hierarch of the Diocese of Kazan and Tatarstan, Archbishop Anastassy, consecrated the restored Church of the Great Martyr Barbara and the monastic community was revived. Restoration work has continued including repair of the residential buildings and reconstruction of the monastery wall and the central Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. From the onset of the reconstruction, the revival of the convent has been under the guidance of the Mother Superior, Abbess Vera (Shevchenko), who leads the community of fifteen nuns.