Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The monastery of The Holy Protection – the pearl of Alberta

The Monastery of the Holy Protection is the oldest monastery in Canada. It was founded near the village of Bluffton, Alberta. This is a real historical skete (a small monastic community) that operates in Western Canada. It is worth mentioning that there is a cemetery next to the monastery. Further on edmonton-future.

How was the monastery founded and why did it become a convent?

This temple was built of wood around 1932. It happened soon enough, the local villagers and the monks who were sent here to serve took part in the building. 

The rector and founder was Iosif Skorodumov. The church was called the Church of the Holy Protection. Immediately after the building, they began to hold God’s service. Monks settled on the basis of the institution. Here they provided shelter to people who did not have their own homes. Everyone could come here and get food, support and a place to sleep.

Until 1949, this monastery was a male monastery. But since 1950 everything changed and it became a convent for women.

In 1953, after the communist revolution, the institution was taken over by nuns from Shanghai. There is information in historical data that 7 nuns and several novices arrived at the monastery then. This organization depended on the monastery in San Francisco because they received financial assistance from there.


In 1993, there was a need to build a new building for the monastery, and the abbess of the church, Abbess Ambrosia, wrote an appeal to Metropolitan Vitaly Ustinov to come and help with the construction of a new facility.

The Metropolitan accepted the invitation and helped in the building. The monastery was built near a lake in the forest in central Alberta. The area that is occupied by the institution is 32 hectares of land. It is very beautiful here, the spreading trees, clean air and constant singing of birds relaxes people and helps them to rest spiritually.

A beautiful one-story building was created, in which the cells of nuns were placed. Near the temple there is a cemetery. Monks and nuns are buried here.

Change of jurisdiction

Until 2009, certain events in the Orthodox Church in different parts of the world caused some conflict between the sisters of the monastery. One of these events was the restoration of the Moscow Patriarchate after the collapse of the USSR. Another was the negotiations on and signing of the reconciliation agreement in Moscow in May 2007 by Metropolitan Laurus Škurla and Alexy II.

The nuns talked to each other and decided that they would feel comfortable elsewhere and did not want to belong to the Montreal Diocese. Thus, they wrote an appeal for acceptance to the “True Orthodox Christians of Greece”. Their application was accepted.

They refused to cooperate with the Moscow Diocese and spoke in favor of the American Diocese.

The life of nuns

All the nuns who live in the monastery and not only pray to God, but also actively farm. They have chickens, rabbits, geese. Also women in their free time are engaged in embroidery, sewing, and making candles of wax. Due to the fact that the nuns have their own farm, they produce cheese, eggs and share them with citizens as they help the monastic community.

There are daily church services for visitors, and additional services are provided upon request. For example, burial of members of Orthodox parishes, reception of visitors who wish to be alone. Free family and spiritual consultations are also provided to those who need it. They can give advice so that a person can change his life in a positive way.

Every tourist can visit this institution, the novices will conduct excursions around the monastery.

They use only English and Church Slavonic language in worship.

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