St. Sophia of Suzdal


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Commemorated on December 16

St. Sophia (born with the name “Solomonia”), a Great Princess of Russia, was the daughter of the noble Yuri Saburov. In 1505, she was chosen as bride by the heir to the throne, the future Great Prince Basil. Their marriage was unhappy, because Solomonia remained childless, so he divorced her. In order to have an heir, Great Prince Basil decided to wed a second time, and on November 25, 1525, he ordered Solomonia to become a nun at the Nativity Monastery in Moscow. Forcibly tonsured with the name Sophia, Solomonia was sent under guard to the Monastery of the Intercession in Suzdal, where by ascetic deeds she banished from her heart worldly thoughts, and totally dedicated herself to God.

Prince Kurbsky calls the blessed princess “a Monastic Martyr.” In the manuscript, “Lives of the Saints,” she is called “the holy Righteous Princess Sophia the Nun, the wonderworker, who dwelt at the Protection monastery.” Under Tsar Theodore, she came to be revered as a saint. Empress Irene sent a package to her with the note, “to the Great Princess Solomonia, also called Sophia, a velvet veil with depiction of the Savior and other saints.” Patriarch Joseph wrote to Archbishop Serapion of Suzdal about serving Panikhidas and Moliebens for Sophia.

St. Sophia departed to God in the year 1542. The Suzdal sacristan Ananias speaks of several miraculous healings at her grave.

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