St. Maria of Gatchina, Matushka and New Martyr
Commemorated on January 26
The small town of Gatchina, some 30 miles from Petrograd, was the destination of many people weighed down by sorrows, grief, depression and despondency. They came to visit a nun, Matushka Maria, who was vouchsafed from the Lord a great gift: consolation of the sorrowing. This gift was granted after she had patiently endured much suffering herself. She had been afflicted with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and then Parkinson’s Disease which left her a total invalid. Her entire body was immobile, and she spoke in a monotone with half-closed mouth. She exhibited none of the usual signs of the disease which included irritability, egocentrism, and stubbornness, but instead was extremely meek, undemanding and constantly engrossed in prayer.
Her brother looked after her with self-sacrifice and received her many visitors. It was not only ordinary people who came, but also Church hierarchs, among whom was Metropolitan Joseph. In her reception room hung his photograph with the inscription: “To the deeply respected Matushka Maria, who, among many grieving ones, has consoled also me a sinner.”
About 1930, she and her brother were arrested and accused of “counter-revolutionary propaganda.” St. Maria was dragged by her arms along the floor and the ground and flung into the truck of the Checkists. Like most invalid prisoners, she was soon killed.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
O our blessed Mother Maria,
who didst bear the cross of illness so meekly and humbly,
with such sobriety and prayer that God granted thee the gift of the consolation.
Pray for us sinners who know not how to repent, that God may grant us His great mercy.
By permission of www.orthodoxnet.com