St. Juliana, Princess of Vyazma


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Commemorated on December 21 (also on June 2)

St. Juliana, Princess of Vyazma and Novy Torg, a daughter of the noble Maximus Danilov, was known for her virtues and her chastity. Her spouse, Prince Simeon of Vyazma, as well as Prince Yuri of Smolensk, were compelled to flee their native lands, which the Lithuanian prince Vitovt had seized. Prince Basil of Moscow then bestowed the Tver city of Torzhok upon the exiled princes.

Prince Yuri became captivated by Juliana’s beauty and tried in every way to persuade her to commit adultery, but Juliana remained faithful to her husband. During a feast, Prince Yuri killed Juliana’s husband, in the hope of taking her by force. St. Juliana resisted, wounding him with a knife. The enraged Prince Yuri ordered that her hands and feet be cut off, and that her body be thrown into the Tvertsa River. The martyrdom of St. Juliana occurred in the winter of 1406.

Troubled by his conscience, Prince Yuri fled to the Tatars, but even there he did not find peace. He settled in the Ryazan wilderness, where he died. In the spring of 1407, peasants saw the body of Juliana floating in the river. A certain peasant heard a voice from above, commanding that the body of St. Juliana be buried in the Torzhok cathedral on the right side by the south doors.

A tomb for her body was afterwards built at the Cathedral of the Savior’s Transfiguration, where many received healing from her. At the glorification of St. Juliana on June 2, 1819, a chapel was built on the right-hand side of the cathedral and dedicated to her. Later, the chapel was replaced with a church that was dedicated to St. Juliana in 1906.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)