Nun Ioanna, the foundress of St. Elizabeth Skete reposed in the Lord on January 19th, 2011, at the age of 92.
After Mother Ioanna retired from a career as a professor of German and Russian at St Michaels College in Burlington Vermont, she received an invitation from Vladika Laurus to teach at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary. Since Mother Ioanna dearly loved the monastery, and visited her father-in-law Fr. Michael Pomazansky regularly for many decades, she accepted Vladika’s invitation and settled in Jordanville in 1984. As well as teaching, she wrote many articles for the monastery publications.
She was made a novice on the 18th December 1987, on the eve of St Nicholas, and this was the beginning of the St Elizabeth Skete. Mother Ioanna was tonsured on the 9th of December 1993, on the eve of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God by Vladika Laurus. She was given the name Ioanna in honor of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Her obediences continued to be teaching and writing articles.
After a prolonged illness, Mother Ioanna passed away peacefully on the feast of Theophany, on January 19th. Memory Eternal!
Mother Ioanna (Natalia Sergeevna Markova) was born during the turbulent years of the Russian civil war, in Kiev, on September 24, 1918. The daughter of a Russian pilot and prominent White Army officer, Mother Ioanna and her mother were forced to flee Russia and settled in a refugee camp near Alexandria, Egypt, where Mother Ioanna spent her early childhood.
In the 1920s, the Markov family reunited and settled in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where Mother Ioanna attended Russian schools. She graduated from the University of Belgrade with a degree of medical doctor and spent the war years practicing medicine in German labor camps. There she met her future husband, Dmitry Pomazansky, son of the Reverend Michael Pomazansky. Together they worked in an American field hospital. After the war, in 1948, they emigrated to the U.S. After four years in New York, they settled in Burlingon, Vermont.
After working in U.S. hospitals and laboratories, Mother Ioanna began a new career in the late 1950’s as a professor of German and Russian at St. Michael’s College (VT). She received her M.A. from Middlebury College and became an active researcher and translator. After retiring from St Michaels College, she moved to Jordanville in 1984.