RPT - Russian English-Speaking Convent In US Receives $150,000 For Repairs After Storm - Dean

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 04th May, 2021) Major Russian English-speaking Holy Cross monastery in the US state of West Virginia received more than $150,000 in donations to cover repairs after damages from last winter's severe storms, the convent's Dean Hieromonk Gabriel (Hooten) told Sputnik.

"Thanks be to God, we received over $150,000 thanks to the generosity of so many people across the country and all around the world," father Gabriel said.

The monastery located in the mountains of West Virginia was severely damaged when a heavy winter storm hit several US regions and caused prolonged power outages.

"We received so much kindness from people and are grateful to everyone and to God for bringing us through this. At this moment, we will be able to take care of all of our needs," father Gabriel said.

Monks yet have to solve a major issue with removing problematic trees broken or damaged by the storm.

"For those who had not been at the monastery before, it is very spread out across many different buildings. We have a lot of buildings kind of in a horseshoe shape all around the ravine, and it is very hilly terrain," the dean said. "With that type of terrain and trees surrounding us on both sides, we have to look very carefully at what trees can be safely cut down and should be cut down."

The brotherhood has to be very careful with tree removal, as several years ago two serious landslides threatened the guest house as well as the main entrance road to the monastery.

"So, after that, we are trying to be very careful to determine what is safe to do as far as removing trees and what will cause more problems down the road," the dean said.

Monks have been working on the repairs that they can do themselves on some of the smaller damages, while waiting for a roofing company to restore the church and candle factory that suffered substantial damage, he added.

Father Gabriel said there are still lots of odds and ends, including broken pipes, but when the roofs are fixed they will be basically back to normal.

After the storm, the monastery was able to return to its basic life a couple of weeks before the Great Lent, which began for Orthodox Christians on March 15.

"Of course, we have observed the first week of the Great Lent pretty strictly, so we took some time off from that, and then once the second week of the Lent began, then we came back to normal Lenten life," father Gabriel said. "Of course, we are still working on the buildings and other damages, but nothing has interfered with our monastic schedule, thank God."

Holy Cross monastery is an English-speaking men's convent in the US under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The brotherhood numbers about 25 monastics.