Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Braids, brooms, benches, buckets, and bells

UPDATE June 11, 2017:  For Western Christians today is Trinity Sunday.  But for Orthodox today is All Saints.  In Israel it is called the Feast of All the Saints of the Holy Land.  Here one of my earlier posts about the beautiful old Russian Orthodox Gorny convent and church in Ein Kerem, near Jerusalem.  See other posts about it here.
Bells, buckets, benches, brooms, and braids -- all for ABC Wednesday -- and all were found at the Gorny Convent (aka "Moskovia").
Russians built the convent in 1871, but the big church was "on hold" for over a century. Just a few years ago it was finally finished, complete with golden domes.
Click on the photo to better see the black bells in the belfry and the braided trees in the three pots.

Anyone know how they DO that braiding?!

Black-clad Russian Orthodox nuns often work with brooms around the brown benches near the older, smaller church.

Hung between the trees is a simandron (or nakos in Arabic).
Why this had to replace church bells during Ottoman times is explained in an earlier post.
And to hear my video of the simandron being hammered on (in an Armenian church), please click here.

Buckets are indispensable when you live in a rural setting.

Gorny (or Gornensky) Convent has a huge area within its walls.
It clings to the side of the mountain near Ein Kerem.

From my village it is just a 45-minute walk, but entering the gate is like stepping into another time and place, much removed.

(For more about Gorny see the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate - Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. They also have a video of the convent in one of our rare snow days.)
UPDATE: Jedediah supplied a webpage about braiding a money tree, also with videos.
Vielen Dank, Jennifer!
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday, the meme about houses of worship.)


Reader Wil said...

It looks a bit like the Greek orthodox churches. They are beautiful, especially the golden domes. You have got a respectable set of B-words,Dina!

Robin said...

Wonderful. You do live in an extraordinary little corner of the world.

Shades of Pink is holding a giveaway for one of my custom Photoverse prints - swing by and check it out!

Hels said...

Why did the convent take so long to be completed? Did the community run out of money?

Leif Hagen said...

The top convent photo is awesome! What a glorious place! I want to get a braided tree for my office....

RuneE said...

Lots of nice "B"s her, but that tree fascinated me. It must have taken years of careful tending.

Jane and Chris said...

Stunning! The photographs make me feel very peaceful.
Jane x

Jedediah said...

The tree braiding is started when the tree is very young and the branches are still soft. It takes a lot of time, just like bonsai trees. Here's a guide on how to do it

Dina said...

Wil, when I moved to this region in 2006, the church's domes were still black and surrounded by scaffolding.
I read once that these characteristic domes symbolize the crown of "Christ the King."

Robin, you know, now that you mention it, I think you're right!

Hels, the convent was built quickly, including the smaller Kazan church. I'm not sure what the problems were with the big church, probably the wars in the world and in Israel and the changes inside Russia (complications with the Red Russians and the White Russians over church property in Israel for many years.)

For your question I searched high and low for some information. It is hard to find for this rather secretive place.
But meanwhile I added this official website to my post:

It says
"The building of a big new convent cathedral was started in 1911. It was interrupted by the First World War. Only at the end of 2003 archimandrite Elisey (Ganaba) proceeded with building and construction works. When the Mission celebrated its 160th anniversary the work was finally ended . . . In October 2007 Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (now His Holiness the Patriarch Kirill) consecrated the cathedral."

I remember reading somewhere (how I wish I could find the source and link again!) that Ariel Sharon was in the area once and asked why the church was stuck and not being finished. I guess they told him it was lack of money. The article said Sharon "had pity on the church" and found the money for its completion.
Then Arik had a stroke and was hospitalized in nearby Hadassah Ein Kerem. The Russian Orthodox postponed the dedication of the cathedral a long time, hoping he would awake from the coma and attend.
But the former prime minister is still in a coma, for years now.

Dina said...

Leif, and what you see is only the upper half of the cathedral. There's more.
Maybe you can braid a tree yourself. You are young enough.

Rune, right. Can't you just imagine a monk or nun tending those trees for years, part of the discipline of patience?

Jane and Chris, shalom. Yes, it is a peaceful place. I hope you can visit someday.

Jedediah, thank you for the braiding information in your link!

Francisca said...

What a fascinating set of B words you gave us today, Dina! The church with its domes is gorgeous. I see a lot of the braided trees in China.

Roger Owen Green said...

Very informative. I'm terrible at braiding, BTW, which I can't even do w my daughter's hair, let alone a tree.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Wanda said...

What extraordinary photos. I love each one, but the woman with the broom, just pulls my heartstrings.

VP said...

An interesting place and an impossible braiding. I obviously like all the benches and hope that you will allow me to use them. It has been a long time since I posted an Israeli bench!

cieldequimper said...

Magical post Dina. Beautiful.

A colleague just came back from a trip to Amman and Jerusalem. Maybe I'll be posting photos of Jerusalem as guest photos in the coming months! I'm jealous of him... ;-)

Dina said...

Francisca, really, many such trees in China? I think these here were the first I had ever seen.

Roger, well, you could practice braiding a Shabbat challah bread. :)

Wanda, yeah, I know. I saw the nun sweeping and felt guilty, like I should help her. They live so simply and work so hard.

VP, sure, my benches would love a free trip to Italy!

Dina said...

Ciel, it's just a magical place.
That will be fun to see Jerusalem photos from your colleague. I hope next time it will be your turn to travel eastward.

Tumblewords: said...

How beautiful. The tree braiding is truly impressive.

Sara said...

Beautiful, lots of b's. I like those braided trees.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful escape. Much enjoyed seeing your photography !

Please have a good Wednesday.

daily athens

Cloudia said...

Another great post, Dina

Thank you for your dear Shalom here in the blog-world.

Please stop by today to share a special moment with me if you have the time. Warmly, c-
Comfort Spiral


Kay L. Davies said...

I love the braided tree. I didn't see any of them in China, however.
Wonderful that the place got done at last. It must have been sad to see it unfinished for so long.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Kay said...

Terrific photos, Dina. I love the braided tree. It looks like a Ficus Benjamina.

Kristin said...

Interesting post of yours that goes with the theme for ABC Wednesday. Wonderful set of words for B too Dina! :-)

Pietro said...

Beautiful sequence! So interesting: it's a splendid convent in the green.

Ann said...

braiding of trees, they do it in Malaysia and Singapore too.

Irina said...

So interesting, Dina! I never heard about it.

Virginia said...

Thank you for these photos. Just a beautiful serene place. I love the last one of the sweet nun as she leaves her job well done.

Martha said...

What a pretty church. I think I should like to visit there one day... It's always fun to dream, isn't it?

Leslie: said...

I was mostly impressed by the braided tree! That must have been done when the tree was very young and the branches very thin. It looks amazing now! :D

ABCW team

Grace and Bradley said...

Thanks for showing this part of the world, which we do not see and understand very much

tapirgal said...

Thanks for the hint. This place is gorgeous and peaceful from any angle.

Tom said...

Anyone know how they DO that braiding? Of course...carefully.

Dina said...

Tom, try this link for braiding instructions:

Bill Nicholls said...

Rather peaceful looking place to visit