Confession of a Former Nun
Confession of a Former Nun

When I was 12-13 years old, my mother fell into Orthodoxy and began to educate me in a religious spirit. By the age of 16-17, in my head, except for the church, there was nothing at all. I was not interested in peers, music, or parties, I had one path - to the temple and from the temple.

I went around all the churches in Moscow, read books that were x-rayed: in the 80s, religious literature was not on sale, each book was worth its weight in gold.

In 1990, I graduated from a polygraphic college with my sister Marina. In the fall, it was necessary to go to work. And then one famous priest, to whom my sister and I went, said: "Go to such and such a monastery, pray, work hard, there are beautiful flowers and such a good mother." Let's go for a week - and I liked it so much! As if she was at home. The abbess is young, intelligent, beautiful, cheerful, kind. The sisters are all like family. Mother begs us: "Stay, girls, in the monastery, we will sew you black dresses." And all the sisters around: "Stay, stay." Marinka immediately refused: "No, this is not for me." And I was like, "Yes, I want to stay, I will come."

At home, no one somehow especially did not try to dissuade me. Mom said: "Well, the will of God, if you want it." She was sure that I would hang out there a little and return home. I was domestic, obedient, if they slammed my fist on the table: “Are you out of your mind? Do you have to go to work, did you get an education, what monastery? " - maybe none of this would have happened.

Now I understand why they called us so insistently. The monastery had just opened then: in 1989 it started working, in 1990 I came. There were only 30 people there, all young. Four or five people lived in the cells, rats ran around the buildings, the toilet was outside. There was a lot of hard work to rebuild. More youth was needed. Father, in general, acted in the interests of the monastery, supplying there the Moscow sisters with education. I don't think he genuinely cared about how my life would turn out.


In 1991, such a lady appeared in the monastery, let's call her Olga. She had a dark history. She was in business, which - I can't say for sure, but the Moscow sisters said that her money was obtained dishonestly. Somehow sideways she got into the church environment, and our confessor blessed her in the monastery - to hide, or something. It was obvious that this person was not at all churchly, worldly, she did not even know how to tie a scarf.

With her arrival, everything began to change. Olga was the same age as her mother, both were in their early 30s. The rest of the sisters were 18–20 years old. Mother had no friends, she kept everyone at a distance. She called herself "we", never said "I". But, apparently, she still needed a friend. Our mother was very emotional, sincere, she had no practical vein, in material things, the same construction site, she understood poorly, the workers deceived her all the time. Olga immediately took everything into her own hands, began to put things in order.

Matushka loved communication, priests and monks from Ryazan visited her - there was always a full courtyard of guests, mainly from the church environment. So, Olga quarreled with everyone. She instilled in her mother: “Why do you need all this rabble? Who are you friends with? We need to be friends with the right people who can help in some way. " Mother always went out with us to obedience (obedience is the work that the abbot gives to the monk; all Orthodox monks take the vow of obedience along with vows of non-covetousness and celibacy. - Ed.), She ate with everyone in the common refectory - as it should be, like the holy fathers commanded. Olga stopped all this. Mother had her own kitchen, she stopped working with us.

The sisters told Matushka that our monastic community was losing (then it was still possible to speak out). Late one evening she calls a meeting, points her at Olga and says: “Whoever is against her is against me. Who does not accept it - leave. This is my closest sister, and you are all envious. Raise your hands who are against her."

No one raised his hand: everyone loved Mother. This was a watershed moment.

Olga was really very capable in terms of making money and managing. She drove out all unreliable workers, started various workshops, a publishing business. Wealthy sponsors have appeared. Endless guests came, in front of them it was necessary to sing, perform, show performances. Life was sharpened to prove to everyone around: this is how good we are, this is how we thrive! Workshops: ceramic, embroidery, icon painting! We publish books! We breed dogs! The medical center has been opened! The children were brought up!


Olga began to attract talented sisters and encourage them, to form an elite. I brought computers, cameras, televisions to the poor monastery. Cars and foreign cars appeared. The sisters understood: whoever behaves well will work on the computer, and not dig the earth. Soon they were divided into the top, the middle class and the lower, bad, “incapable of spiritual development” who worked hard jobs.

A businessman gave my mother a four-story country house 20 minutes' drive from the monastery - with a swimming pool, sauna and his own farm. She mainly lived there, and came to the monastery on business and on holidays.

The Church, like the Ministry of Internal Affairs, is organized according to the pyramid principle. Each temple and monastery pays tribute to the diocesan authorities from donations and money earned from candles, memorial notes. Our - usual - monastery had a small income, not like that of Matronushka (in the Intercession Monastery, where the relics of St. Matrona of Moscow are kept. - Ed.) Or in the Lavra, and then there is also the Metropolitan with extortions.

Olga secretly from the diocese organized underground activities: she bought a huge Japanese embroidery machine, hid it in the basement, brought in a man who taught several sisters to work on it. The machine spent the night churning out church vestments, which were then handed over to dealers. There are many temples, many priests, so the income from the vestments was good. The kennel also brought in good money: rich people came, bought puppies for a thousand dollars. Workshops made ceramics, gold and silver jewelry for sale. The monastery also published books on behalf of non-existent publishing houses. I remember that at night they brought huge paper rollers to KAMAZ and unloaded books at night.

On holidays, when the Metropolitan came, the sources of income were hidden, the dogs were taken to the courtyard. "Vladyka, we have all the income - notes and candles, everything that we eat, we grow ourselves, the temple is shabby, there is nothing to repair." It was considered a virtue to hide money from the diocese: the metropolitan is enemy number one, who wants to rob us, take away the last crumbs of bread. We were told: all the same for you, you eat, we buy you stockings, socks, shampoos.

Naturally, the sisters did not have their own money, and the documents - passports, diplomas - were kept in a safe. Laymen donated clothes and shoes to us. Then the monastery made friends with a shoe factory - they made terrible shoes, from which rheumatism immediately began. They bought it cheap and distributed it to the sisters. Those who had parents with money, they wore normal shoes - I'm not saying beautiful ones, but simply made of genuine leather. And my mother was in poverty herself, brought me 500 rubles for six months. I myself did not ask her for anything, maximum hygiene products or a chocolate bar.


Mother loved to say: “There are monasteries where shusi-pusi. If you want - bring it down there. We have here, as in the army, as in the war. We are not girls, we are warriors. We are in the service of God. " We were taught that in other churches, in other monasteries, everything is different. Such a sectarian sense of exclusivity developed. I come home, my mother says: “Father told me …” - “Your father knows nothing! I tell you - you have to do as mother teaches us! " That is why we did not leave: because we were sure that only in this place could we be saved.

They also intimidated us: “If you leave, the demon will punish you, you will bark, grunt. You will be raped, you will be run over by a car, your legs will be broken, your family will be hurt. One left - so she didn't even have time to get home, took off her skirt at the station, started running after all the men and unbuttoning their pants."

Nevertheless, at first, the sisters constantly came and went, they did not even have time to count them. And in recent years, those who have been in the monastery for more than 15 years have begun to leave. The first such blow was the departure of one of the older sisters. They had other nuns under their control and were considered reliable. Shortly before leaving, she became withdrawn, irritable, began to disappear somewhere: she would go to Moscow on business, and she was gone for two or three days. Began to break down, move away from the sisters. They began to find brandy and a snack at her place. One day we are called to a meeting. Mother says that such and such left, left a note: “I came to the conclusion that I am not a nun. I want to live in peace. Forgive me, do not remember it dashingly. " Since then, every year at least one sister has passed away from among those who lived in the monastery from the very beginning. Rumors from the world are heard: such and such left - and everything is fine with her, she did not get sick, she did not break her legs, no one raped, she got married, gave birth.


They left quietly, at night: there is no other way to leave. If you shuffle to the gate in broad daylight with your bags, everyone will shout: “Where are you going? Keep her! " - and they will lead to mother. Why disgrace yourself? Then they came for documents.

They made me an older sister in a construction site, sent me to study as a driver. I got my license and started driving into town in a van. And when a person begins to constantly be outside the gates, he changes. I began to buy alcohol, but the money ran out quickly, but I already became a habit - I began to drag it out of the monastery bins along with my girlfriends. There was good vodka, brandy, wine.

We came to such a life because we looked at the bosses, at mother, her friend and their inner circle. They had endless guests: cops with flashing lights, shaven-headed men, performers, clowns. From the gatherings they poured drunk, from the mother smelled of vodka. Then the whole crowd went to her country house - there, from morning till night, the TV was burning, music was playing.

Mother began to follow the figure, wear jewelry: bracelets, brooches. In general, she began to behave like a woman. You look at them and think: "Since you are saving yourself like this, it means that I can too." How was it before? “Mother, I sinned: I ate the candy“Strawberry with Cream”during the fast.” - “Who’s going to put cream in there, think for yourself.” - “Well, of course, well, thanks.” And then it all started to give a shit …

We are accustomed to the monastery as we get used to the zone. Former prisoners say: “The zone is my home. I’m better there, I know everything there, I’ve got everything there”. Here I am: in the world I have no education, no life experience, no work book. Where will I go? On your mother's neck? There were sisters who left with a specific purpose - to get married, have a child. I was never tempted to give birth to children or get married.

Mother closed her eyes to many things. Someone reported that I was drinking. Mother called: "Where do you get this drink?" - “Well, in the warehouse, you have all the doors open. I don’t have money, I don’t take yours, if my mother gives me money, I can only buy “Three Sevens” with it. And you have there in the warehouse “Russian Standard”, Armenian cognac”. And she says: “If you want to drink, come to us - we will pour you a drink, no problem. Just don’t steal from the warehouse, the housekeeper from the Metropolitan comes to us, he has everything on record”. They didn’t read any morals anymore. It was 16-year-olds' brains that were soaring, and all they had to do was work, well, and observe some kind of framework.

The first time I was kicked out after a frank conversation with Olga. She always wanted to make me her spiritual child, follower, admirer. She managed to tie some to herself very much, to fall in love with herself. Always so insinuating, she speaks in a whisper. We rode in the car to my mother's country house: I was sent there to do construction work. We drove in silence, and suddenly she said: “You know, I have nothing to do with this church, I have nothing to do with even these words: blessing, obedience, I was brought up differently. I think you are the same as me. Here the girls come to me, and you come to me. " They hit me like a butt on the head. “I, - I answer, - in fact, was brought up in the faith, and the church is not alien to me”.

In a word, she opened her cards in front of me, like a scout from “Option“Omega”", and I pushed her away. After that, naturally, she began in every possible way to get rid of me. After some time, mother calls me up and says: "You are for us not dear. You are not improving. We call you to us, and you are always friends with the garbage. You will still do what you want. You will not get anything worthwhile, but a monkey can work. Go home."

In Moscow, I found a job in my specialty with great difficulty: my sister's husband arranged for me to be a proofreader for the publishing house of the Moscow Patriarchate. The stress was terrible. I could not adapt, I missed the monastery. I even went to our confessor. "Father, so and so, they kicked me out." “Well, you don’t have to go there anymore. Who do you live with, mom? Does mom go to church? Well, okay. Do you have a university degree? Not? Here you go. " And all this is said by the priest, who always intimidated us, warned us against leaving. I calmed down: I sort of received a blessing from the elder.


And then my mother calls me - a month after the last conversation - and asks in a melting voice: “Natasha, we checked you. We miss you so much, come back, we are waiting for you. " “Mother,” I say, “I’m done. Father blessed me. " - "We'll talk to the priest!" Why she called me - I don't understand. This is something feminine, sewed in the ass. But I couldn't resist. Mom was horrified: “Are you crazy, where are you going? They made some kind of zombie out of you! " And Marinka too: “Natasha, don’t try to come back!”

I come - everyone is looking like wolves, no one misses me there. They probably thought that I felt too good in Moscow, so they returned it. They haven’t been completely mocked yet.

The second time I was kicked out for a romantic relationship with a sister. There was no sex, but it all went to that. We completely trusted each other, discussed our filthy life. Of course, others began to notice that we were sitting in the same cell until midnight.

In fact, I would have been kicked out anyway, it was just an excuse. Others did not. Some played with children from the monastery orphanage. Batiushka was still surprised: “Why did you have boys? Have girls! " They were kept until the army itself, healthy boars. So, one teacher brought up and brought up - and was re-educated. She was scolded, of course, but she was not kicked out! She then left herself, she and that guy are still together.

Five more were kicked out with me. We arranged a meeting, said that we were strangers to them, we were not correcting ourselves, we spoil everything, we seduce everyone. And we drove off. After that, I had no idea of returning either there or to another monastery. This life was cut off like a knife.

The first time after the monastery, I continued to go to church every Sunday, and then gradually gave up. Unless on big holidays I go to pray and light a candle. But I consider myself a believer, Orthodox, and I recognize the church. I am friends with several ex-sisters. Almost everyone got married, had children, or just met someone.

When I returned home, I was so happy that now I didn't have to work at a construction site! We worked at the monastery for 13 hours, until the very night. Sometimes night work was added to this. In Moscow, I worked as a courier, and then again took up repairs - I needed money. What I taught in the monastery is what I earn. I knocked out their work book, they wrote me 15 years of experience. But this is a penny, it does not roll into retirement at all. Sometimes I think: if it weren't for the monastery, I would have gotten married, given birth. And what is this life?

Sometimes I think: if it weren't for the monastery, I would have gotten married, given birth. And what is this life?

One of the former monks says: "The monasteries must be closed." But I disagree. There are people who want to be monks, pray, help others - what's wrong with that? I am against big monasteries: there is only debauchery, money, show. Sketes in remote places, away from Moscow, where life is simpler, where they don't know how to make money, is another matter.

In fact, everything depends on the abbot, because he has unlimited power. Now you can still find an abbot with experience of monastic life, but in the 90s there was nowhere to take them: monasteries had just begun to open. Mother graduated from Moscow State University, got lost in church circles - and she was appointed abbess. How could a monastery be entrusted to her if she herself had not gone through either humility or obedience? What spiritual power is needed in order not to become corrupted?

I was a bad nun. She grumbled, did not humble herself, considered herself right. She could say: "Mother, I think so." - "This is your thoughts." “These are not thoughts,” I say, “for me, these are thoughts! Thoughts! I think so!" “The devil thinks for you, the devil! You obey us, God is talking to us, we will tell you how to think. " - "Thanks, I'll figure it out myself somehow." People like me are not needed there.


On January 12, 2017, Maria Kikot's book "Confessions of a Former Novice" was published.

From the description: The full version of the story of a former novice who lived for several years in one of the famous Russian women's monasteries. This book was written not for publication, and not even so much for readers, but primarily for myself, with therapeutic goals. The author tells how she tried to follow the path of monasticism, having ended up in an exemplary monastery. She never expected that the holy abode would look like a totalitarian hell and take so many years of existence. "The Confessions of a Former Novice" is the life of a modern nunnery as it is, described from the inside, without embellishment. You can read the book here

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