Losing her parents at a very young age, Anastasia was raised by the hegumeness of a Christian monastery in obedience, piety, and fear of God. By age seventeen, she became a known ascetic. She was also a beautiful woman.
She entered adult life during the reign of Emperor Decius, who launched a severe persecution of Christians. Aware of her fate, Anastasia got the blessing from the Hegumeness who raised her to become a martyr for God. When armed soldiers came to take her to the prefect, she was ready.
The Prefect used different tactics to get Anastasia to renounce Christ. He complimented her on her physical beauty. He promised her a life of richness and glory in a marriage to a handsome and wealthy nobleman. Yet she stood firm. "My life and my happiness are with Jesus Christ," replied the martyr firmly.
Then her torturers stripped her naked, in humiliation. Anastasia was unshaken. “You can have me beaten and mutilated. Wounds will cover my nakedness, and my blood my shame,” said the woman.
She endured inhuman tortures, but that did not stop her from praising and glorifying God. The inhuman treatment of the saint filled the onlookers with disgust for her torturer and with admiration for her courage. The prefect had her beheaded to end her torture. He ordered her breasts cut off and her body thrown to wild animals, but the Lord did not let the relics of His saint be dishonoured. He sent an angel to the Hegumeness, who led her to her remains. The hegumeness took care of them and buried them with dignity.
On the 1st August, we glorify with great spiritual awe and affection the memory of Saint Seraphim of Sarov and pay tribute to his angelic life, which showed to many the path towards salvation.
In 1923, the future martyr was only 26 years old. Seeing the unfolding persecution of the Church, he was ordained priest with the words, "We need to protect the faith". Priest Valerian Novitsky was arrested and executed in 1930.
He sought to reach every heart and mind with the word of God. A paradoxical situation existed in the Russian society of the time.
Sister Anastasia of St Elisabeth Convent tells a story of a miracle performed by St John of Shanghai and San Francisco that she not only witnessed but was also involved with.
St.John helps us no matter where we are in San Francisco, in Detroit or in Minsk. Sister Anstasia tells us a story about a miracle from her life that Saint John of Shanghai did for another person in Detroit, Michigan.
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.
Saint Anthony the Great, the Father of all monks, is a revered and well-known saint among many Christians, including the Orthodox and Catholics. His extraordinary lifestyle and faith still inspire people even today to become monks.