The hospital of the Marfo-Mariinsky community of mercy – a convent established by Saint Elizabeth Romanov – received a new patient, a woman with a life-threatening condition. Her husband was a factory worker, a man with a coarse heart, a hardened atheist and a hater of the royal family. Strongly influenced by revolutionary agitation at his factory, he despised the existing political and social order in Russia and viewed every member of the Romanov family as a self-seeking egoist. He believed the false rumours about Elisabeth Romanov that portrayed her as an arrogant, proud and selfish woman who cared only about herself. His wife stayed in the hospital for many days. Her doctors believed she had cancer and left her little time to live.
Her husband came to see his wife every day. Contrary to his expectations, she received good care. One of her carers – a sister of mercy – impressed the man with her warmth, kindness and genuine concern. She came to her bed often, stroked her hand, comforted her, gave her medicines and offered her treats to cheer her up. She also came to the other patients and asked them if they wanted to take communion. She offered the Communion to his wife, and she agreed.
One night his wife went into agony. The sister sat by her bed all night to relieve her suffering as much as she could.
The woman died in the morning. Together with the other sisters, she washed her body and dressed it up. A priest came and conducted a funeral service for his newly departed wife.
The love and care accorded to his wife softened the man’s callous heart. He cried with gratitude and grief. He wanted to know the name of the sister of mercy who cared for his wife. He realized that she looked after her as if she were her mother.
The moment he knew it was Grand Duchess Elizabeth Romanov, abbess of the Convent, he cried like a child in repentance. He thanked her and apologised for being hostile to her unfairly and bad-mouthing her among his friends.
Archpriest Artemis (Vladimirov), the Spiritual Father of Moscow's St. Elizabeth Gymnasium and a writer, discusses the relevance of the martyrdom of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Romanov and the Russian royal family to the present.
Saint Elisabeth whole life was an ascent to sainthood. As we celebrate her birthday on 1 November, we review ten highlights in her advancement to heavenly glory.
We celebrate two Patron Saint days this month, the Holy Royal Martyrs on July 17 and the Convent’s Heavenly intercessor - Saint Elisabeth the New Martyr on July 18.
We draw our inspiration from the life and works of our patron saint, Grand Duchess Elizabeth. After the assassination of her husband, she went on to found a convent dedicated to ministering to the poor. She was martyred by the Bolsheviks.
On the 18th of July we celebrate our Convent's Patron Saint Feast and commemorate the Holy Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth. "It is a great feast for all those, who are inspired by the life of this great ascetic." Fr Andrey Lemeshonok
Not every generation is destined to meet along its path such a blessed gift from heaven as was the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna for her time, for she was a rare combination of exalted Christian spirit, moral nobility, enlightened mind.
Historian Dmitry Grishin the author of a literary biography of Elizabeth Romanov published in Russian as a part of the book series "Outstanding People". We asked him to talk about Elizabeth Romanov as a wife and almsgiver, and how these two…