Jerusalem, December 18, 2013
Winter comes unexpectedly not only in Russia. Weather forecasters had predicted snow fall in Jerusalem on December 11, but the reality surpassed all forecasts, reports the website of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission (Moscow Patriarchate) in Jerusalem.
After rain with gale, which poured for a whole day, it was snowing with hurricane force winds non-stop for three following days. Over 50 centimeters of snow fell in Jerusalem. According to the information of meteorological observations, nothing of the kind has happened over last 100 years.
The extreme weather conditions proved to be destructive for the country's economy. Regions used for agricultural lands have suffered. Interurban transport service has been affected. Over 60,000 houses throughout the country have been left without energy supply.
Jerusalem has particularly suffered from the aftermath of the snowfall. Hundreds of trees have been blown down, cars abandoned on motorways, roads snowbound; all this has absolutely paralyzed the transport service. State institutions, kindergartens, schools, and many enterprises are not working, and shops are closed.
The Russian Ecclesiastical mission in Jerusalem has suffered loss too, though minor. Some trees are broken in the central building's courtyard, including apricot trees, lemons and also cypresses, which under the load of sleet have brought down a summerhouse and several sheds.
The Gornensky Convent in Jerusalem has suffered serious damage. The energy supply of the area has not been restored yet, though five days have passed. The fallen trees and branches have ruptured electricity cables both inside and outside the convent, which is why electricity is not reaching the convent substation. The diesel generator cannot handle the load, and as a result, half of the convent's buildings are not only without electricity, but also without water supply, and there is a risk of serious sanitation effects.
A huge number of pilgrims are living in the convent besides the sisters. Because of the destruction of roofs, many monastic buildings, especially on ground floors, have been flooded. Air temperature remains within -2 degrees at night and +4 degrees in the daytime. People feel cold. They have to stoke stoves, but not all houses have them. Firewood and diesel fuel are running out.
The applicable city services are ignoring all the mission's appeals. Representatives of the Knesset (the parliament of Israel) and the Russian Federation's embassy in Israel have been involved, but without result so far. The territory of the convent through the mutual efforts of the sisters and the convent workers, is gradually being put in order.
But a sizeable investment of money is needed to obtain additional diesel generators and to eliminate the consequences of the hurricane and the unprecedented snowfall. The nuns will be praying at the Life-giving Holy Sepulcher for those who render material and prayer assistance to the convent.
Donations to the convent can be made to the bank account shown on the website of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission.