Monday, 18 July 2011

Elizabeth of Russia

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia. Monument in Marfo-Mariinsky Convent which she founded.

She is not a saint of whom I had heard until I read my copy of "Exciting Holiness".  A half English princess, her husband was assassinated by a Revolutionary.  She became an Orthodox nun, having campaigned for the remission of the killers' death sentence.  Her unusual combination of charity to the poor, holiness and the ability to forgive the most terrible personal injuries struck me as worth noting.  that and the fact that she died at the hands of a tyrannous and atheist regime.  A statue of Elizabeth (pictured above) was erected in the garden of her convent after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Its inscription reads: "To the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna: With Repentance."  Yes.  Making amends is as important as forgiving.  The two go hand in hand.  The orthodox hymn for her feast says it well:
Causing meekness, humility and love to dwell in thy soul,
Thou didst earnestly serve the suffering,
O holy passion-bearer Princess Elizabeth;
Wherefore, with faith thou didst endure sufferings and death for Christ, with the martyr Barbara.
With her pray for all who honor you with love.

Taking up the Cross of Christ,
Thou didst pass from royal glory to the glory of heaven,
Praying for thine enemies, O holy martyr Princess Elizabeth;
And with the martyr Barbara thou didst find everlasting joy.
Therefore, pray ye in behalf of our souls. 
Elizabeth of Russia, ora pro nobis.

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