This prayer was performed in a convent of Vyatka region in Russia in the winter of 2012. Every day in the evening a group of novices, lay workers, and pilgrims circled the convent in a procession. They bore icons and sang prayers to the Mother of God. The purpose of this prayer was to protect the convent from enemies—visible and invisible. After that, the group asked the angels and the saints to come to their aid and in the end one person read aloud the prayer for the spiritual father, the priest who serves as confessor for the convent. A fragment of this prayer is available here: the faithful ask to strengthen their spiritual father physically and spiritually, to reveal to him the sins of his followers and to save them by his prayers.
Daria Dubovka is a post-graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the European University in Saint Petersburg. She is working on a candidate's dissertation entitled An Orthodox Convent in a Modern Russian Village: the Structure and Strategy of Interaction with Social Neighbors. She has conducted fieldwork on religious modernity in Orthodox convents in Russia and Ukraine.