JERUSALEM: January 27, 2020
Nun Maria (Wall) is given an ecclesiastical award in Jerusalem
On January 11/24, 2020, the feast day of St Theodosius the Great, founder of cenobitic monasticism, Russian monasticism, His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany, Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Convent of St Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostle, in Gethsemane, Jerusalem.
During the minor entrance, Metropolitan Mark, with the blessing of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, awarded the gold pectoral cross to the elder nun of Bethany Community of the Resurrection of Christ, Nun Maria (Wall). His Eminence placed the cross, which once belonged to the convent's late abbess, Nun Magdalene (+2009) around the neck of Nun Maria.
In his sermon, Vladyka Mark stressed that the cross that we wear around our necks is a visible sign of the bearing of the cross which the Lord bestows on each one of us. Especially those upon whom great responsibility within the Church is placed. After the service, a trapeza feast was offered, at which Nun Maria sat at the right hand of Abbess Elizabeth (Smelic).
Nun Maria, who was born Margarita, was born to a Mennonite family in Kazakhstan. When she was 10 years old, her family moved to Germany. There she began to attend an Orthodox church and wished to be baptized. Margarita was christened at the age of 16 at the Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-worker in Stuttgart. With time, Margarita sensed a calling to monasticism. Traveling to the Holy Land, she became a novice at the Convent of St Mary Magdalene. She was soon tonsured a nun and given the name Martha (in honor of the sister of Lazarus of the Four Days).
In 2004, Sister Martha was appointed to teach at Orthodox Bethany School, and the following year she was given blessing to move to the Community of the Resurrection of Christ and become the school's director. Over her 15 years of service, Sister Martha had as many as 420 students at a time. The school is partly a boarding school for Orthodox girls, who are taught by the nuns of the community. With the blessing of Abbess Elizabeth of Gethsemane Convent, Sister Martha became the senior nun of the community. During Great Lent, 2019, Nun Martha was tonsured with the name Maria, in honor of St Martha of Bethany.