JERUSALEM: December 17, 2019 Patronal feast day at Ascension of the Lord Convent on the Mt of Olives
You emulated Abraham in faith, you possessed the spirit of Job in temptations, and compassionately distributed your wealth to the poor. You were a living fountain of almsgiving, and by your manner of life you gladden those who cry: Rejoice, O Philaret, servant of Christ God!
During the time of Fr Parfeny as abbot of the monastic community on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (before it became a convent), when the Church of the Ascension of the Lord barely accommodated all worshipers, it was decided to build a new, two-level cathedral. The upper church would be dedicated to the Day of Judgment, and the lower one in honor of St Philaret the Merciful, whose feast day is December 1/14. The cathedral’s foundation was laid down in 1907.
The lower church was built without outside aid and was not finished by the outbreak of World War I. The upper temple was left in its planning stages.
According to his contemporaries, Fr Parfeny was a remarkably kind and merciful man, never refusing aid to anyone. It was his idea that the refectory church should be a place of mercy, to receive all those in hunger or in need.
The Church of St Philaret the Merciful is mostly used as a refectory church today, and once a month, every first Wednesday according to the Julian calendar, evening services and Divine Liturgy are celebrated. The convent’s sisters hope that better times will come, when an upper church will be constructed atop St Philaret Church dedicated to the Dread Judgment. Many prophecies predict that at the End of Days it will be right here on the Mt of Olives that the Lord will judge the peoples of the world.
(From a publication by the Convent of the Ascension of the Lord on the Mt of Olives, 2016.)