The Monastic Tonsure of Genovefa


Spiritual Transformation – The Monastic Life as a Shining Light

by Fr. Panayiotis

During my recent trip to Greece I had the opportunity to attend the tonsure of a young woman (by the name Genovefa) to the monastic life. She was one of the children who were growing up with my children in Agia Napa in Cyprus during my service there. She has now grown to adulthood and made the serious decision to devote herself to constant prayer, to dedicate herself to God as a nun, a “bride of Christ”. After two years of a testing period as a novice she was finally allowed to enter the ranks of “the angelic schema” of the monastics. This entails obedience to God and her abbess, a life of temperance and humility, fasting and prayer, chastity and poverty.

The tonsure of a nun is held during the Divine Liturgy after the Small Entrance. Dressed in a white tunic, she was led by the abbess into the small church of the ancient monastery. She went up to her parents and grandmother (standing on the left) and received their blessing. She kissed her siblings and then received the blessing of her spiritual fathers; this was a very touching moment for me for she had had her first confessions with me as she was growing up and had specifically invited me to be present for this. She was now following in the footsteps of the saints: “Will she be able to sanctify herself through this life”, I thought. Two other young women from Agia Napa who are already at the monastery as nuns stood on each side chanting “Kyrie Eleyson” as Genovefa bent down in front of the bishop who read the prayers over her. The bishop cut her hair in a crosswise manner and then put over her the black monastic habit pronouncing her new name “Macrina”. This was the feast day of St. Macrina, sister of St. Basil. Genovefa was leaving behind her old self and embracing this new life along with a new name. Her face was glowing with joy. Everyone noted at that moment and later that her face had changed after the tonsure. She was reborn in the Holy Spirit!


Novice Genovefa and Fr. Panayiotis right before the service of the monastic tonsure


Monachi (nun) Macrina holding the Cross and the Candle after the monastic tonsure

The service continued as the nuns chanted in their beautiful voices “those who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, Alleluia!” (Gal. 3:27)  But the most moving moment for me, was when the bishop handed her a cross and a candle to hold telling her to “let your light shine in front of men so that they may see your good works and glorify God who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

Macrina is on the path to sanctification and holiness. May the light of her life shine in front of us so that we may find our path to the Kingdom of God, as well.

For a full range of photos from the tonsure of Genovefa please click on the link below to go to the Photo Gallery of our Church Website:

Photo Gallery: to be posted later

See article on the Patch: http://northeastcobb.patch.com/blog_posts/embarking-on-a-journey-to-sanctification

Click below to watch the Video of the Service of the Tonsure – Amazing Service of Dedication to God!