Matrona (the Blind) of Moscow
She was born in 1881 to a poor
family in the village of Sebino-Epifaniskaya (now Kimovski).
Though she was born blind her eyes were without pupils she showed a gift of
spiritual insight from an early age, and by her prayers healed many who came to
At about the age of
fourteen she made a pilgrimage to several Russian holy sites. When she came to Kronstadt to receive the blessing of St John (20 Dec.), the holy priest, who
had never met her, cried out "Matrona, come
here!" and proclaimed "She will be my heir, the eighth pillar of Russia."
At the age of seventeen she
was stricken with paralysis and was never able to walk again. For the rest of
her life she lived in a room filled with icons, where she would sit
cross-legged on her bed and receive visitors. She never bemoaned her blindness
or paralysis; once she said "A day came when God opened my eyes, and I saw
the light of the sun, the stars and all that exists in the world: the rivers,
the forests, the sea and the whole creation."
In 1925 she settled in Moscow. After the death of her mother in
1945, she moved frequently, living secretly in the homes of the faithful.
Despite this, throngs of believers found their way to her for counsel and
healing. The Communist authorities, knowing her holy influence, sought many
times to arrest her; but she always knew in advance when they were coming, and
would be moved to a different secret location. She fasted much, slept rarely,
and it is said that her forehead was dented by the countless signs of the Cross
that she made.
Of the persecution of the
Church by the Communists, she simply said that this was due to the sins and
lack of faith of the Christians, and added, "Difficult times are our lot,
but we Christians must choose the Cross. Christ has placed us on His sleigh,
and He will take us where He will."
Having foreseen the day of
her death, she said, "Come close, all of you, and tell me of your troubles
as though I were alive! I'll see you; I'll hear you, and I'll come to your
aid." She reposed in peace on April 19, 1952 (May 2 on the new calendar). Many
miracles occurred at her tomb. In 1998 her relics were moved to the women's
Monastery of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God, where thousands of
Orthodox Christians come to venerate her and, as she asked, to bring her their
problems and concerns as though she were alive on earth.
She was glorified by the Church of Russia in 1999, for local veneration in
the Diocese of Moscow.
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