Friedrich Froebel - Elizabeth

Grand Duchess of Russia

Had Elizabeth, the exquisite granddaughter of Queen Victoria, not married the Grand Duke Serge of Russia, she would not have found herself, first, at the heart of the opulent court in St. Petersburg and, after the brutal assassination of her husband, in the embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church and a convent dedicated to Christian charity. Nor would she have battled the mesmeric Rasputin for her sister Alexandra's soul or suffered the bloody consequences of a Revolution that would lead to her martyrdom and, ultimately, sainthood.

The dramatic details of Elizabeth's story make this elegant volume a fascinating, compelling biography.

1864 November 1
birth of Elizabeth of Hesse-Darmstadt named after Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-31), a Catholic saint of her own family. Her childhood was Lutheran,
1881 March 13
Tsar Alexander II of Russia assassinated by revolutionaries
Elizabeth married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the fifth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia.
Elizabeth adopted the Orthodox faith. After the anointing ceremony, the Emperor Alexander III blessed her with a precious Nerukotvorrenuiy Obraz icon, which she was holding when she suffered a martyrís death.
1905 February 18
the Grand Duke Sergei assassinated by revolutionaries
1909 April
Elizabeth and seventeen women were dedicated as Sisters of Love and Mercy. Their work flourished: soon they opened a hospital and a variety of other philanthropic ventures arose
The church of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God was sanctified - designed by A. V. Schusev, interior and icons by M.V. Nesterov.
1918 May 7
Elizabeth was arrested with two sisters from her convent, and transported across country to Perm, then to Ekatarinburg, and finally to Alapaevsk. On 17 July the Tsar and his family were shot dead. During the following night Elizabeth, a sister from SS Mary and Martha named Barbara, and members of the royal family were murdered in a mineshaft.
Elizabeth was recognized as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and then by the Moscow Patriarchate in 1992.
Statue sculpted by John Roberts for the West Front of Westminster Abbey statutes of twentieth century martyrs

The assasination of her husband marked a turning point in Elizabethís life. She gave away her jewellery and sold her most luxurious possessions, and with the proceeds she opened the Martha and Mary convent in Moscow, to foster the prayer and charity of devout women. Here there arose a new vision of a diaconate for women, one that combined intercession and action in the heart of a disordered world. The famous Russian painter Nesterov designed the pearl-gray and white habit worn by the sisters of the convent.

On her way to exile she wrote a letter to the nuns of her monastery:

Bless the Lord and may the Holy Christ's Resurrection console and strengthen you. May St. Sergei, prelate Dmitrii and St. Evphrosinia Polotzkaya preserve us all. I keep recalling the past day, all of your faces so dear to me. O, Lord, how much suffering there was on those faces, how my heart ached! You are dearer to me with every passing minute. How shall I leave you, how can I comfort and strengthen you? Remember, my dearest ones, what I had told you. Be always not only my children, but also good learners. Unite and be like one soul - everything for God's sake. Repeat after John Chrysostom, "Thank God for everything!" . . .

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Elizabeth: Grand Duchess of Russia by Hugo Mager

Holy Martyr of Russia, Grand Princess Elizaveta Fyodorovna written by Liubov Miller in Australia. Translated from Russian by Irina Nabatova-Barrett, online 116K excerpt

The Not Made By Hands Image of Christ

Nerukotvorrenuiy Obraz: The Not Made By Hands Image of Christ icon shows the image of Christ's face miraculously imprinted on a cloth supported by angels. This icon depicts an image of Jesus on a cloth in Edessa, which according to legend was brought back from the Holy Land. It reminds believers of the suffering and ressurection of Christ.