Among the Synaxis of our saints are people of all ages, including children. On 16 June, we commemorate Saint Dimitrius of Uglich, a child saint. He was a member of the Russian royal dynasty of the Rurikovichs and is venerated as a martyr for the Orthodox faith.
Dimitry was the son of the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible and Maria Nagaya. The Church had not sanctified their marriage, and Dimitry could not inherit the throne from his father. Therefore, Ivan's son Fyodor succeeded him on the throne, while the infant Dimitry was exiled to Uglich with his mother. Yet the exile of Dimitrius did not diminish the fears of Fyodor's supporters, as Fyodor had no sons.
During the reign of Fyodor, the de-facto ruler of Russia was his brother-in-law Boris Godunov, an ambitious nobleman. He wished to get rid of the potential challenger to Fyodor's rule. First, he instigated rumours that Dimitry was Ivan's illegitimate child. When that did not work, he ordered Dimitry to be poisoned. Failing that, he sent assassins who stabbed the Tsarevich to death in front of his wet nurse.
Dimitry's killing ended the rule of the Rurikovichs and plunged Russia into its times of trouble. Over more than a decade of civil strife, Russia lost up to a half of its population.
But already during the rule of Boris Godunov, multiple miracles began to happen to those who visited his grave. The slain Tsarevich appeared in a vision to an elder, predicting decades of troubled times and several impostors taking the Russian throne. Immediately after his glorification, he became the patron saint of all children, and several years later, a church was built in Uglich, named the Church of Saint Dimitry on the Blood.
Throughout the centuries that followed, the faithful of the Russian Church have invoked the Holy Tsarevich's name in their prayers for healing from their sicknesses, especially diseases of the eyes. In 2011 the Patriarch of All Russia gave his blessing to celebrate the feast day of Saint Dimitry as the day of all children in the Russian Orthodox Church. It is a day when we pray for their health and well-being, and we welcome everyone who joins us in our prayers.
Hieromonk Silouan of Optina Pustyn.
The example of the martyr saints shows how the grace of the holy spirit can empower us to reach untold levels of bravery and spiritual strength, despite our physical weakness.
On February 6th the Belarussian Orthodox Church will celebrate the feast day of Saint Xenia of Petersburg. This article will tell you about the life of St Xenia and explain the term “Fool-for-Christ''.
He taught that fighting the devil to the end is a duty of every Christian. "Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
At the very end of July, only four days apart, the Belarussian Orthodox Church commemorates two of the very first Russian Saints who happen to be related to each other - Saints Olga and Vladimir.
On the 8th of July, the Orthodox Church celebrates a very special feast — the day of Saint Peter and Fevronia. These two saints from the 13th century are considered the patron saints of family, love, and fidelity.
As the sages of the East used to say, one would be cursed to live in a time of abrupt change. Saint Sergius of Radonezh lived in one of Russia's most troubled periods and left us some valuable insights that have survived his day.
We are preparing to celebrate the memory of a saint who showed us beyond all doubt that sainthood is still a worthy goal to pursue, even in our hectic times. His name is Saint John of Shanghai and San-Francisco.