St. Juliana of Lazarevo
Commemorated on January 2
Righteous Juliana of Lazarevo is an astonishing example of a self-denying Christian woman. She was the daughter of a nobleman. From her early years she lived devoutly, kept the fasts, and set aside the majority of her time for prayer. Early on, having become orphaned, she was given over into the care of relatives, who laughed at her. Juliana bore everything with patience and without complaint. Her love for people was expressed by nursing the sick and sewing clothing for the poor.
The pious and virtuous life of the maiden attracted the attention of Yurii Osoryin, who soon married her. Her husband’s parents loved their gentle daughter-in-law and left the running of the household in her hands. Domestic concerns did not disrupt the spiritual efforts of Juliana. She always found time for prayer, and she was always prepared to feed the orphaned and clothe the poor. During a harsh famine, she herself remained without food, having given away her last morsel to a beggar. When an epidemic began, Juliana devoted herself completely to the nursing of the sick.
Righteous Juliana had six sons and a daughter. After the death of two of her sons, she decided to withdraw to a monastery, but her husband persuaded her to remain in the world and to continue to raise their children. On the testimony of Juliana’s son, Kallistrat Osoryin, who wrote of her life, she became all the more demanding towards herself. She intensified her fasting and prayer, slept no more than two hours at night, and only then would lay her head upon a board.
Upon the death of her husband, Juliana distributed to the poor her portion of the inheritance. Living in extreme poverty, she was nonetheless vivacious, cordial, and in everything she thanked the Lord. The saint was vouchsafed a visitation by St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and guidance by the Mother of God. When Righteous Juliana fell asleep in the Lord, she was buried beside her husband at the Church of St. Lazarus. Her daughter, Theodosiam, was also buried there. In 1614, the relics of Righteous Juliana were uncovered, exuding a fragrant myrrh, from which many received healing.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
By your righteous deeds you revealed to the world,
An image of the perfect servant of the Lord.
By your fasting, vigil and prayers,
You were inspired in your evangelical life,
Feeding the hungry and caring for the poor,
Nursing the sick and strengthening the weak.
Now you stand at the right hand of the Master, Christ,
O holy Juliana, interceding for our souls.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)