aint Elizabeth Skete is a monastic community for women, located adjacent to Holy Trinity Monastery
in Jordanville, NY. One of its founders, Nun Ioanna (Pomazansky, †2011), came to Jordanville in 1984 at the invitation of the late Metropolitan Laurus to teach Russian language and history at the Holy Trinity Seminary. A year later she was joined by a young German woman, Elizabeth Czwikla (the current Mother Superior), who began working in the monastery cemetery and sewing for the brotherhood.
Both women felt called to the monastic life. On the winter feast of Saint Nicholas, 1987, they were made novices by then Archbishop Laurus, who had been contemplating the founding of a monastic community for women. Both were given to the spiritual direction and care of Hieromonk Luke. In this way a new monastic community was planted and took root here on American soil.
Soon, a second house was given to the sisters, enabling them to turn the second story of the original house into a chapel where they could have daily prayers services.
The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated there in 1993, on the feast of Saint Elizabeth, July 5/18. In April 2010, the community was officially granted the status of a skete by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
Today the community occupies all four houses on its small parcel of land. Daily services are held in the remodeled chapel. Services are chanted in mostly Church Slavonic using some English, reflecting the bi-lingual nature of the community and its multi-national composition.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of farmlands, hills and forests, far removed from the clamor of mass culture, the skete has become a spiritual refuge not only for its members but also for many women who come for retreats of varying lengths of time. It is a true haven for those who wish to still their souls and focus on “the one thing needful.”