About Novo-Diveevo Convent
Where is the Novo-Diveevo Convent?
Stavropighial Russian Orthodox Convent of the Dormition “Novo-Diveevo” is located about 20 miles north of midtown Manhattan. It sits on 47.2 acres in Nanuet, NY, just minutes off Route 287 (New York Thruway), in Rockland County.
When was the Convent founded?
The Convent was founded by (then) Mitred Protopriest Adrian Rimarenko in 1949, as a spiritual legacy of the Diveevo Monastery near Sarov, Russia. At that time, our refugees just started to arrive from Europe without means, knowledge of the English language, or work. Unfortunately, these refugees could not provide the help needed to build a convent. However, with God’s help, Father Adrian was able to overcome these obstacles and create the convent which has no equal in North America. Father Adrian was later elevated to be Archbishop Andrei. He reposed in 1978 and is buried in the Novo Diveevo cemetery. The deed started by Archbishop Andrei is continued by his spiritual son, the Mitred Archpriest Alexander and Matushka Maria Fedorowski.
At its peak in the 1960s, the convent housed 45 nuns. Today, nine sisters work under the leadership of Abbess Makaria, the seventh Abbess since the founding of the Monastery. The nuns devote much time to prayer. Besides participating in daily divine services and Liturgy, the nuns carry out communal morning and evening prayer rites. Each day, between the divine services, they read the Psalter and pray for the living and deceased. The nuns keep order in the church and the vestry, bake prosphora and make candles. They also maintain the bookstore; help the elderly in the adult home; tend the vegetable garden, orchard and small apiary; bake rye bread (two kinds – bran and with dried fruit and nuts); collect herbs and prepare various herb teas; and carry out numerous other obediences for the glory of the Lord.
What is there?
The Convent includes:
- St. Seraphim of Sarov Cathedral.
- The Convent building, which houses the nun cells and the church offices. The building also includes a Chapel in honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos.
- An adult care facility, which houses about 25 elderly Orthodox residents, provides them with meals in the tradition of Russian cuisine, social activities, and basic medical needs.
- Bookstore with books, icons, church wares, bread, herbal teas and honey.
- Other buildings such as the Retreat house for pilgrims and other guests, small dining hall and cottages for church personnel.
- Cemetery, where approximately 8000 of the faithful are buried.
The Novo-Diveevo Cemetery is the largest Russian Orthodox cemetery outside of Russia and it provides a glimpse into Russian history. There are many prominent people buried among the nearly 8000 graves in the cemetery: Princess Vera Constantinova and Prince Georgy Constantinovich, niece and nephew of the last Russian Tsar; Father Seraphim Slobodskoy, author of The Law of God; Alexandra Tolstoy, daughter of author Leo Tolstoy; the wife and family of Baron Wrangel, and many others. Military fighters against the Godless communists are not forgotten, as the cemetery includes memorials to White Army soldiers, General Vlasov, and his troops. We strive to maintain the unique style of a traditional Russian Orthodox cemetery.
We are also exploring the possibility of building a burial chapel in honor of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, which will add an additional 1,000 burial places.
Every Sunday, the small dining hall hosts trapeza. The hall is also available for funeral repasts, Orthodox lectures, etc.
What projects are included in the capital campaign?
Convent — This building needs significant upgrades to its electrical, heating and ventilation, insulation, plumbing, building layout, kitchen, and offices. This building also includes a small chapel in honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos that houses the historic icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov, which is also in need of repair and restoration.
Icon-Portrait of St. Seraphim of Sarov — The icon-portrait of Venerable Seraphim was painted almost 200 years ago while he was still alive. It depicts St. Seraphim in full height in his later years. The portrait is approximately four feet wide and almost six feet in height.
After the Bolshevic annihilation of the Diveevo Convent (which was founded by St. Seraphim) in 1927, the icon was moved to Kiev for safe keeping; it remained there until 1943. When the Germans retreated from Kiev, the portrait was taken by a German soldier from the Church in Kiev to Lodz, Poland, and shortly thereafter was sent to Father Adrian, who was the rector of the Berlin Cathedral at that time. Later, during Allied bombings of Berlin, the Cathedral was damaged by fire, but the icon of Holy Seraphim was unharmed. The icon was brought to America by Father Adrian, and when the Novo-Diveevo Convent was founded, the icon-portrait was installed in the convent Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos.
Tracing the path of this Holy Icon from Russia to America, through the Godless years in the USSR, through World War II and bombing of the Berlin Cathedral, and during the refugee years, it becomes clear that the Novo-Diveevo Convent is under special protection of the Holy Mother of God and St. Seraphim of Sarov.
Today, the icon is desperately in need of restoration and preservation.
Cathedral — New flooring is needed to replace outdated and worn carpet and cracked tile. (A separate effort is underway to repair and refresh the iconography.)
Adult Care Facility — One wing is unoccupied and will be converted into apartments. The apartments will be rented to members of our Orthodox community, providing housing, and a new revenue stream for the Convent. Other upgrades are needed in the ambulatory wing of the adult care facility.
Various upgrades — Many of the proposed projects are for upgrades throughout the property. Most significantly, this includes repaving the roads around the Cathedral, the Convent, Adult Care Facility, Retreat House, and throughout the cemetery. Many of the remaining buildings need upgrades to the electrical and other systems.
How to Donate to the Novo-Diveevo Convent Capital Campaign
We appreciate your investment in continuing the mission of the Novo-Diveevo Convent. You can indicate your maximum pledge and pay it quarterly. Donor names will be included in a commemoration book and prayed for at services in the cathedral. Donors may designate their donation to a specific project, or to any project at the convent’s discretion. All donations are tax deductible.
Campaign goal = $2,500,000
To donate online via PayPal, Debit or Credit Card:
Click on Donate and specify “ROC Capital Campaign” in the “Special Instructions to Seller”.