Русский | "Orthodox Churches in Northern Manchuria" Harbin, 1931, pg. 21-22
English Translation by Igor Radev

The Convent in Harbin

The Vladimir Mother of God Convent in Harbin was established by Abbess Rufina in 1922.

With the blessing of the late Metropolitan Methodius of Harbin and following the suggestion of then councilor of commerce, Ilya Fedorovich Chistyakov, a house was rented on Dachna Street in Majiagou to be used by the Convent, where at that time used to live only two nuns.

In 1923, Abbess Rufina came to Harbin.

By the decision of the Harbin Diocesan Authorities, the Convent acquired the right to be called the First Female Monastery in Harbin. Abbess Rufina rented lodging on Church Street in Majiagou, where at first a house church was also opened. In this church Services were held on daily basis conducted by an invited priest or the spiritual father of the convent. The Convent bore the name of Tikhvin Female Monastery. During the first period of its existence, the Convent experienced many difficulties. There was a general lack of almost everything, so the sisters literally worked day and night with virtually no rest. The only sources of income for supporting the Monastery were the handiwork, making prosphoras and doing laundry.

But it was pleasing to God not to allow this new beginning to get stifled or the small spiritual ark to be overwhelmed under the waves of the worldly sea.

The young Female Convent developed further and in 1925 the Most High Creator sent His blessing and joy to the Monastery. On August 26, 1925, at two o'clock in the afternoon, in the hands of Abbess Rufina the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God remarkably shone and got renewed. This icon has been brought to the Monastery a year ago by an unknown old lady during the Feast Day of the Icon and it was renewed exactly after a year of its coming, i.e. on August 26.

At that time, there were some changes in the Chinese Eastern Railway. The new administration closed the house church adjoined to the D. L. Horvat High School in Majiagou. The rector of the church suggested transferring the school church to the Convent and merging the two churches. As a result, it was decided to move the Female Monastery into larger premises. Facilities at №7, Azhihei Street were taken, where on October 22, 1925, two altars were consecrated dedicated to the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God and Saint Demetrius the Great Martyr of Thessaloniki.

Abbess Rufina,
Mother Superior

In August 1927, thanks to the generous donations of L. P. Kashin, I. T. Versotsky and the Chinese Authorities, the Convent moved to a better and larger place on Post Street. With the passing of time, the Monastery bought that house, so nowadays the buildings and the surrounding land belongs to the Convent.

The lodgings of the Monastery and the two churches — the auxiliary one and the main one — were consecrated on August 25, 1927, by the late Metropolitan Methodius.

In present times, the Convent is gladly visited by many faithful and is able to save many unfortunate souls from fall, by helping them both spiritually and materially. The Female Monastery represented by its Mother Superior, Abbess Rufina, provides material help to many Russian people.

In addition, the Convent conducts many religiously educative activities.

The strict monastic life at the Monastery is obvious to everybody. The Statute of this Monastery is quite austere, that it to say — ascetic. During the day, the sisters go to prayer 12 times, and no prayer session lasts less then half an hour.

Nowadays, in the Female Monastery, beside the Mother Superior, Abbess Rufina, live around 50 tonsured, rassophore and ordinary nuns.

The Monastery clergy is consisted of four priests and one deacon. The senior priest is Archpriest — Academician Fr. Victor Guryev.

Under the auspices of the Convent is also the railway church at Erchengjiangzi Station. At the instruction of Abbess Rufina, on Sundays and Feast days, the clerics adjoined to the Monastery go to Erchengjiangzi Station in order to celebrate the Divine Services. The church elder at Erchengjiangzi Station is N. I. Kritovsky.