Yandex Metrika
The Lives of the Holy Martyr Tatiana of Rome and Her Saint Followers

In the Footsteps of Saint Tatiana: a Journey of Faith and Sacrifice

the icons of Saint Tatianas

On 13 January, Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of the holy martyr Tatiana of Rome, daughter of a Roman Proconsul and Deaconess who suffered for Christ in the third century at the hands of Ulpianus, a known persecutor of Christians. Tatiana was raised in a family where her father, a secret Christian holding high government positions, instilled in her the teachings of the early Christians. As she reached adulthood, Tatiana made a solemn vow to keep herself pure and dedicate her life to the service of the Church. Conforming to the tradition of early Christians, she was ordained as a deaconess in one of the temples of Rome. Tatiana embraced her role with unshakeable commitment. She tirelessly assisted the needy, tended to the sick, and prepared girls and women for the sacrament of Holy Baptism.

When the persecution of Christians began, Deaconess Tatiana was unjustly seized and brought before a Pagan temple to be coerced into sacrificing to an idol. In a miraculous display of divine intervention, at Tatiana's prayer, the statue and the temple collapsed, burying the priests and many pagans under them. She had her eyes plucked out and was subjected to other untold cruelty and torture. Still, she remained resolute in her faith, praying to the Lord Jesus Christ that He may bring enlightenment to their spirits.

The Lord heeded the prayers of His faithful servant. Eight soldiers who participated in the torture of the saint came to believe in Christ, ultimately sharing in her sufferings and being executed for their confession. Her torment continued for two more days. Tatiana's purity was further evidenced by miraculous occurrences: milk flowed from her wounds, and a wondrous fragrance enveloped her presence.

When she was brought to the Colosseum, and an Atlas lion was released into the arena, the beast lay on the ground and licked her feet. Tatiana remained unharmed by the fire and any other forms of torture. Her persecutor, having exhausted his cruelty, sentenced her to be slain by the sword. Alongside her, her father also suffered for his faith. Thus, on the 13th of January in the year 226, Tatiana achieved martyrdom.

Icon of Saint Tatiana the Martyr with a lion

Icon of Saint Tatiana the Martyr with a lion

The legacy of the holy martyr Tatiana has endured through the ages, particularly in Russia where she is held in high esteem. As a deaconess who embodied spiritual enlightenment, she is venerated as the patroness of sciences and education. In recognition of her influence, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna signed a decree on her feast day in 1755 establishing Moscow University. In 1984, its director approached the Archbishop of Moscow Platon (Levshin) with a proposal to establish a church, and the Church of the Holy Martyr Tatiana was consecrated in 1791.

In the year 2005, the feast day of Tatiana was officially established as a holiday for students.

The Church of Saint Tatyana of Rome
The Church of Saint Tatyana of Rome

The Church of Saint Tatyana of Rome at Moscow State University

The life and martyrdom of the holy Tatiana serve as an eternal testament to steadfast faith, courage in the face of adversity, and of unwavering dedication to serving others. The spiritual heights to which she was raised by the grace of the Lord have inspired countless Christians throughout the ages. Even in the darkest hours of the Russian Church, when it faced the most cruel persecutions in the twentieth century, many souls were uplifted by her example. Among them, we honour:

Martyr Tatiana Grimblit, Commemoration Days: 8 February, 23 September
Tatiana Gribkova, Venerable Martyr, Commemoration Days: 8 February, 14 September
Tatiana Kushnir, Martyr, Commemoration Day: 8 February
Tatiana Egorova, Martyr, Commemoration Days: 8 February, 23 December
Tatiana Byakireva, Confessor, Commemoration Days: 8 February, 23 December
Tatiana Romanova, Grand Duchess, Passion-bearer, Commemoration Days: 8 February, 17 July
Nun Tatiana (Besfamilnaya), Venerable Martyr. Commemoration Days: 8 February, 21 October
Tatiana Chekmazova, Venerable Martyr Commemoration Days: 8 February, 11 October
Tatiana Fomicheva, Venerable Martyr, Days of Commemoration: 8 February, 3 December

Passion-Bearer Grand Duchess Tatiana Romanova

Passion-Bearer Grand Duchess Tatiana Romanova

Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, daughter of Emperor Nicholas Alexandrovich and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, was a Passion Bearer. She was the first among those who, following in the footsteps of their patron saint, received the crown of martyrdom. Her contemporaries remembered her as possessing a profound and wholesome character. Noted for her exceptional inclination for order in life and a deeply ingrained sense of duty, she was born with an unyielding willingness to work tirelessly. "Tatiana, as always, helps everyone and everywhere," wrote the Tsarina from her Tobolsk exile. Baroness S.K. Buksgevden recalled her as having an extraordinary blend of sincerity, straightforwardness, and persistence, with a penchant for poetry and abstract ideas. She was closest to her mother and deeply loved by her father and mother. She was fully devoid of ego and always ready to abandon her plans to walk with her father, read to her mother or do anything else she was asked. She was characterized by extraordinary sensitivity. After visiting infirmaries, she meticulously recorded the names, ranks, and regiments of those she had helped as a sister of mercy so that she could pray for them and provide aid to their families. Her entire day was consecrated to prayer. Every day before she started working in the Tsarskoye Selo infirmary, she prayed with her august mother and elder sister Olga before the miracle-working icon “Our Lady of the Sign” seeking divine blessing and guidance.

Beyond her work in the hospital, Tsarevna Tatiana had other concerns. Several weeks into the war, she initiated the creation of a "Committee of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna" to aid refugees affected by war. Despite her youth, she chaired and participated in its activities with wisdom and sensibility and personally expressed gratitude to those who assisted the committee's work. Throughout its operation, this committee aided 3.5 million refugees.

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During the First World War, after passing nursing examinations, Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna worked at the Tsarskoye Selo Hospital alongside her elder sisters. As a surgical sister of mercy, she participated in complex operations and visited the infirmary daily — even on her birthday — demonstrating an unwavering commitment to alleviating suffering.

The Passion-bearer Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna endured the martyrdom of her earthly life on the fateful day of 17 July 1918. She stood firm in her faith and steadfast devotion to her family and her beloved homeland until the end. She was glorified as a saint by the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church in the year 2000.

Martyr Tatiana Grimblit

Martyr Tatiana Grimblit

Martyr Tatyana Grimblit dedicated herself wholeheartedly to the service of others. As a caring nurse and compassionate paramedic, she extended her love and aid to prisoners and exiles. Likewise, she supported the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Alas, she was falsely accused, condemned and sentenced to death by a three-member judicial panel of the police in the Moscow region, for her perceived "anti-Soviet agitation", assistance to prisoners and engaging in religious conversations. She was executed on 23 September 1937, and her remains were interred at the grounds of the Butovo shooting range near Moscow. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church canonised her as a Martyr on 17 July 2002.

Venerable Martyr Tatiana Gribkova

Venerable Martyr Tatiana Gribkova

The Venerable Martyr Tatiana Gribkova (1878 – 1939), commemorated as one of the synaxis of new martyrs and confessors of the Butovo range, was born in the family of a сab driver in Schukino Village, now a suburb of Moscow. She joined the Kazan Golovinsky convent in 1896 and spent nearly three decades within its confines. When the Bolsheviks closed the community, she returned home and settled with her sister.

In 1937 a young Communist who rented a room in her sister’s house denounced Tatiana to the authorities, falsely accusing her of engaging in unreported trade activity by sewing blankets, and also of receiving multiple visitors, including many monastics and being in contact with the Church hierarchs. Perhaps the most absurd allegation against her read: “She has a reserve of gold, as she had been gathering donations to assist Tsar Nicholas”.

The authorities did not act on these accusations immediately. When she was finally arrested, she denied all the allegations and accusations of counter-revolutionary activity. Still, the three-member secret police panel found her guilty of counterrevolutionary activity and sentenced her to death. She died at the Butovo shooting range near Moscow on 14 September 1937 and was buried in a nameless grave.

From the annals of this holy saint, we glean only indirect insights into her character and the pious life she led. Many years were spent by her within the sacred walls of the monastery, where her heart remained deeply attuned to the trials that befell the clergy and the laity amidst the years of persecution. Upon departing the desolate monastery, her fervent desire was to preserve the monastic way of life amidst the secular world. To avoid causing any discomfort to her kin, she diligently continued her work within the confines of her home.

Having endured earthly suffering at the hands of her unkind neighbours, novice Tatiana received the crown of martyrdom from the hands of our Lord and Saviour.

Martyr Tatiana (Tatiana Ignatievna Kushnir)

Tatyana Ignatievna Kushnir was born in 1889, within the bounds of Chernigov province, into a humble peasant family. She faced the ordeal of arrest, enduring a sentence of two years in a labour camp in the distant land of Karaganda. In the year 1942, she once again found herself imprisoned by the authorities in the Akmola section of the Karlag in Kazakhstan, where she was already serving her penance. Her name became entwined with the group case of Evdokia (Andrianova).

On the solemn day of the 20th of April in the year 1942, she was sentenced to face the ultimate sacrifice — execution by firing squad. Swiftly, the sentence was carried out. In the year 2000, during the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, she was rightfully added to the synaxis of the holy new martyrs and confessors of Russia, deserving of universal church veneration.

Martyr Tatiana Egorova was born on 15 January 1879, in the village of Giblitsy, Kasimov uyezd, Ryazan province, into a modest peasant family. On 6 November 1937, she was arrested. Tatyana Prokopyevna earned the characterization from the village council and the indictment of the investigation case as an "active churchwoman." The investigation relentlessly endeavoured to paint Tatyana Prokopievna as an active participant in a counter-revolutionary insurgent organization, but the response of this 58-year-old peasant woman, who had devoted her life to God and the Church and crowned her Christian journey with the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom, resounded with profound conviction: "I reiterate that I was not a member of the organization, nor did I engage in counter-revolutionary agitation or spread provocative rumours about the war and the demise of the Soviet government. Just as Jesus endured, so shall I endure and bear; I am prepared for whatever may come." The three-member extrajudicial panel of the secret police in the Ryazan region, sentenced Tatiana Prokopievna Egorova to execution under Article 58, paragraphs 10-11, on 6 December 1937. Days of Commemoration: 6th of February (passing) — Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Church of Russia; 23 June — Synaxis of the Ryazan Saints; 23 December.

Venerable Martyr Tatyana Fomicheva

Venerable Martyr Tatyana Fomicheva

Novice Tatiana Fomicheva came into this world in 1897, born into a humble peasant family in the village of Nadovrazhnoye, near the town of Istra, near Moscow. At a tender age, in 1916, she heeded the call to monastic life and entered a convent as a novice. Following the upheavals of the revolution, the Boris and Gleb Monastery, where Tatiana dedicated herself as a novice, faced closure, prompting her return to the care of her parents. In the year 1931, the authorities initiated persecution against the monks and nuns of closed monasteries, as even while dwelling in the world, they endeavoured to uphold the monastic statutes. The OGPU, in response, fabricated a case against the nuns of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in the Podolsk district. Undeterred, several sisters chose not to abandon the monastery, which now served as a resort facility. Some found employment there, while others settled in nearby villages, engaging in handicrafts. All would gather for prayers at the Ilyinsky church in the village of Lemeshevo. Notably, the choir at this church comprised nuns and novices from closed convents, including novice Tatiana Fomicheva, who lent her voice in praise of the Lord.

The Fomichev family

The Fomichev family, with Tatiana standing first on the left

During the turbulent days of May 1931, the authorities apprehended seventeen nuns and novices who had sought refuge near the closed Exaltation of the Cross Monastery. Among them was the novice Tatiana, who endured imprisonment from 1931 to 1934 within the confines of a labour camp. After her release, Tatiana relocated to the village of Sheludkovo in the Volokolamsk district. There, she assisted Archpriest Vladimir in the Trinity Church. In 1937, both were arrested, and Tatiana adamantly refused to confirm any charges, safeguarding the honour and safety of others. Father Vladimir faced a tragic fate, succumbing to execution, while novice Tatiana received a ten-year sentence in a labour camp, where her earthly journey reached its end.

In the face of lies, slander, and threats, these unassuming peasant women, dedicated novices, who had devoted their lives to aiding their neighbours in the harshness of deprivation, met their fate with astonishing courage. Firm in their belief that they would soon stand before Christ, they embraced their deaths willingly. May God bestow upon us, in our tranquil times, even a fraction of their unwavering and sincere faith.

The Venerable Martyr Tatiana Chekmazova

The Venerable Martyr Tatiana Chekmazova, born in 1881, consecrated her life to God, entering the Vladychny Svyato-Vvedensky Serpukhov Convent at the tender age of 18. In the wake of godless persecution against the Orthodox Church, on November 27, 1937, the "troika" of the NKVD imposed an eight-year sentence on novice Tatiana. She was dispatched to the Ivdellag NKVD in the Sverdlovsk region, meeting her martyrdom through execution on October 11, 1942. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on April 11, 2006, canonized her among the holy new martyrs.

Confessor Tatiana Byakireva was born in 1890. A laywoman, she faced arrest on November 6, 1937, in the "Case of the Counter-revolutionary Insurgent Organisation of Churchmen" alongside 27 others in the Ryazan region, Belkovsky (Kasimovsky) district. Initially detained in the Kasimov city prison, all accused were subsequently transported to Ryazan for judgment and execution. On December 6, 1937, the three-member trial panel of the secret police in Ryazan declared her an "active participant of a counter-revolutionary insurgent-terrorist organization", accusing her of inciting ‘defeatist’ and ‘terrorist’ sentiments. Consequently, she received a ten-year sentence in correctional labour camps. The details of her subsequent imprisonment and demise remain undisclosed. She departed from this life in 1948 and was canonized among the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in August 2000 by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church. Commemoration Days: December 23, in the Synaxis of the Ryazan Saints and the Synaxis of New Martyrs and Confessors of the Church of Russia.

Venarable Martyr Tatiana (Besfamilnaya)

Venarable Martyr Tatiana (Besfamilnaya)

The Venerable Martyr Tatiana (Besfamilnaya) was born on 21 January 1866 in Moscow into a poor family with many children. At the age of five years, she was given by her mother, who had no opportunity to feed and provide for all her children, to the orphanage of the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Moscow. From childhood accustomed to monastic life, prayer and needlework, Tatiana, after graduating from the monastery parochial school, stayed to live in the monastery. She performed various obediences but was not tonsured. Only in 1920, at an advanced age, did novice Tatiana take monastic tonsure. She decided to take such a step, in which she was supported by the abbess of the monastery and her spiritual guide, Abbess Juvenalia (Lovenetskaya), at a very difficult time. After the monastery was closed, Nun Tatiana lived in a flat not far from the monastery, piously keeping her monastic vows and the spiritual treasures that the monastic life had given her. In those years she earned her living by needlework and sewing. Arrested and imprisoned in the Lubyanka prison, the Venerable Martyr Tatiana, as the investigative materials of those years testify, kept her courage: she betrayed no one and did not admit guilt.

The saint was executed on 21 October 1937 at the Butovo firing range and buried, like many thousands of innocents, in an unknown grave. A brief hagiography of the saint speaks volumes. The saint carried out her spiritual work humbly and imperceptibly. Her life is an example of hidden in God asceticism and courageous standing for the faith of Christ, crowned with martyrdom.

Saint Tatianas, maidens and wives, look upon us from the walls of holy churches, from icons and frescoes. They are participants in that eternal joy which is given to the soul in Christ, who brought Him the most important gifts of mankind — faith, humility and holiness. And they do not just take part in the heavenly celebration, but they call us with them. So that we, having fulfilled the Gospel commandments, together with the saints might enter the great hall of eternity.

We warmly invite you to send the names of your loved ones for commemoration during our prayer service dedicated to St. Tatiana. Follow the link below to submit your prayer requests. We are honoured to pray for each one.

Material prepared by the editorial team of the website

January 12, 2024
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