The above warning was given to me when I first met Orthodoxy in 1986. Today [2009] it is even more perilous, even more difficult to find the Royal Path. For one thing there is a far greater abundance of misinformation. And many materials are missing, and other materials are being rapidly rewritten. For another thing there are fewer than ever guides remaining on the Royal Path, especially who speak English. Hopefully this website will be a place where Newcomers to the Faith can keep at least one foot on solid ground, while they are "exploring."

blog owner: Joanna Higginbotham


jurisdiction: ROCA under Vladyka Agafangel

who did not submit to the RocorMP union in 2007


10 February 2011

St. Maria of Gatchina

Chapter 5 from:  Russia's Catacomb Saints

Matushka Maria
of Gatchina
Commemorated January 26 (†1930)

Intense sorrows, like gold in the furnace,
purify the soul, give it life,      
fortify and temper it.        St. Joseph of Petrograd

Some thirty miles from Petrograd there is the small town of Gatchina, well known to all residents of Petrograd for its gardens, parks and palaces. In this town there lived before the Revolution a nun, Maria, who was known not only by the residents of Gatchina, but by many residents of Petrograd as well. 
   The Revolution of 1917 found Matushka Maria on her sick bed. After suffering encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), she entered the condition of the so-called Parkinson's Disease (named after the physician Parkinson who described this condition): her whole body became as it were chained and immovable, her face anemic and like a mask; she could speak, but she began to talk with half-closed mouth, through her teeth, pronouncing slowly and in a monotone. She was a total invalid and was in constant need of help and careful looking after. Usually this disease proceeds with sharp psychological changes (irritability, a tiresome stubbornness in repeating stereotyped questions, an exaggerated egoism and egocentrism, manifestations of senility, and the like), as a result of which such patients often ended up in psychiatric hospitals. But Mother Maria, being a total physical invalid, not only did not degenerate physically, but revealed completely extraordinary features of her personality and character, not characteristic of such patients: she became extremely meek, humble, submissive, undemanding, concentrated in herself; she became engrossed in constant prayer, bearing her difficult condition without the least murmuring. 
   As if as a reward for this humility and patience, the Lord sent her a gift: consolation of the sorrowing. Completely strange and unknown people, finding themselves in sorrows, grief, depression, and despondency, began to visit and converse with her. And everyone who came to her left consoled, feeling an illumination of their grief, a pacifying of sorrow, a calming of fears, a taking away of depression and despondency. The news of this extraordinary nun gradually spread far beyond the boundaries of the city of Gatchina.
    Matushka Maria lived in a little wooden house at the outskirts of the city, where I visited her in March, 1927. While waiting to be received, I examined the numerous photographs in the reception room and noticed two: Metropolitan Benjamin (of Petrograd, the New Martyr) and Metropolitan Joseph (soon to become leader of the "Josephite" movement). Metropolitan Joseph on his photograph had written a touching dedication to Matushka Maria, quoting a large selection from his work In the Father's Embrace, while Metropolitan Benjamin had written briefly: "To the deeply-respected sufferer Matushka Maria, who, among many grieving ones, has consoled also me, a sinner…"
    I had the great good fortune to be present at the manifestation of miracles of healing of grieving souls. A young man, who had grown despondent after the arrest and exile of his priest-father, left Matushka with a joyful smile, having resolved to accept the rank of deacon. A young woman, who was grieving, became radiantly joyful, similarly resolving to become a nun. An elderly man who was suffering deeply over the death of his son left Matushka upright and encouraged. An elderly woman, who had come with tears, left calm and firm.
    When I went in to her, I told Matushka Maria that a terrible depression often attacked me, sometimes lasting for several weeks, and that I could find no way to get rid of it.
    "Depression is a spiritual cross," she told me; "it is sent to help the penitent who do not know how to repent, that is, who after repentance fall again into their earlier sins… And therefore, only two medicines can treat this sometimes extremely difficult suffering of soul. One must either learn to repent and offer the fruits of repentance; or else bear this spiritual cross, one's depression, with humility, meekness, patience, and great gratitude to the Lord, remembering that the bearing of this cross is accounted by the Lord as the fruit of repentance… And after all, what a great consolation it is to realize that your discouragement is the unacknowledged fruit of repentance, an unconscious self-chastisement for the absence of the fruits that are demanded… From this thought one should come to contrition, and then the depression gradually melts and the true fruits of repentance will be conceived…"
    From these words of Matushka Maria it was as if someone had literally made an operation on my soul and removed a spiritual tumor… And I left a different man.
    About 1930 Matushka Maria was arrested. She was accused of counter-revolutionary propaganda and of participating in a counter-revolutionary organization, according to paragraphs 10 and 11 of Article 58 (of the Soviet criminal code). Her brother was also arrested. The "organization" was composed of only two people. And the "propaganda" against Communism was her gift of consolation in sorrows. Those who were present during the arrest describe a frightful picture of mockery and cruel violence upon the patient sufferer who was paralyzed and incapable of any physical movement. The "politico-religious crime" of Matushka Maria was deepened by her refusal to recognize Metropolitan Sergius after his famous Declaration of 1927, which led to a schism in the Russian Church.
    The poor suffered was dragged by her arms, which were twisted behind her back, along the floor and ground from her bed to the truck by two Chekists… Swinging her much-suffering, paralyzed body, the Chekists threw it into the truck and took her away. Her brother was taken away in another automobile, a so-called "black raven" (a black limousine used especially for transporting the victims of arrests made in the deep of night; described by Solzhenitzen in volume one of The Gulag Archipelago). The compassionate venerators of Matushka Maria began to bring modest parcels to her in prison. These were accepted for a month. And then, once they did not accept the parcels and said briefly, "She died in the hospital." (Such helpless patients were usually killed.) The body was not given over.
    Her brother, a weak, small, refined gentleman, who had looked after her with self-sacrifice and received visitors, after nine months of investigation received five years imprisonment in a Siberian concentration camp.



robb7thurston  4/8/07

Dear in Christ Brothers and Sisters;
     He is Risen!  Indeed Christ has Risen!
     News has arrived from a site in Russia that the relics of St.
Maria of Gatchina, victim of Stalinim and Catacomb Church Martyr,
these relics are in some manner molested.  Here is a link.  Also some
letters in English, but it is very sketchy.
     I am not posted well enough in the Russian language to follw this
properly.  Can someone help: (1) help with translations of the Portal:
Credo material proffered; (2) in  any manner corroborate the
molestation?  ADVISE.
    May  Jesus Christ, Risen, come to you and may he save us all in
this age of chaos.
     RobbRe: RE : Re: [xenia] The relics of St Maria of Gatchina
 ""Posted by: "Art-A-Day" nes...@verat.net   nebojsadjurovic
Sat Apr 7, 2007 11:43 pm (PST)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is risen!
With Christian Love,

The Grave of St. Maria of Gatchina (Russia) Has Been Molested: ADVISE
robb7thurston  3/30/07

A dissident, non-MP site in Russia has presented us news that the
grave of a major Catacomb Church saint, by the name of St. Maria of
Gatchina (Gatchgina is a suburb or St. Petersberg) has been molested.

it appears that there are a couple of versions depending on how deeply
one is invesated in the MP, but appparently the relics of St. Maria
are incontrovertibly gone.  The news comes from dissident Old Calendar Orthodox and was gathered in a forum named "Xenia" which I am active in.

     Press news comes from a site in Russia named "Credo", which,
despite the Latin name, is generally presenting articles in Russian.
I have sent a link to you below, and surrounded it by arrows, and in
the midst, please see the name Portal-Credo.  I got a rough idea of
the events by doing a Babelfish translation, but a lot of murk still
came through.

Read on for the presents from our friends in St. Petersberg.
Kyrie Eleison!

Re: RE : Re: [xenia] The relics of St Maria of Gatchina stolen
Posted by: "mitrenina" mitr...@gmail.com   mitrenina
Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:08 am (PST)

Dear in Christ Alexandre,
If you can read Russian, you can find more information here:  


Just remember that MP is now trying to present this story nicer than
it was. At firstthwey wanted simply to hide all the info and then to
make a surprize of "discovering the relics". But when we found that
the relics were secretly rwmoved, we made a niose in perss, so they
started to publis something too. All "pro and contra" is at the link

But we still will be able to venerate the relics. Now she will be very
close not to St.Xenia, but to our Father Alexander who was killed in
1997, his grave is in Gatchina not far from the place where whey will
place her relics.

Many holy relics were taken bu Catholics or even by atheists, we still
can venerate them, because the Saints are with their Church.

2007/3/30, Alexandre de Bonnefoi <de_bo...@yahoo.fr>:
> Dear Mother Xenia,
> Could you explain where and when it was happened? Who did see this profanation first? Do you know theirs accomplices?
> With all my love in Christ,
> Alexandre
> Cristina Dal Bello <cristina...@yahoo.it> a ?crit :
> I have re-read just yesterday about the life of St. Maria of G., and seen her grave in the photo... This is one of the worst exploitation (in italian: strumentalizzazione) of the signs of God in the earth that the evil forces could do. It was a great desire of mine to go on her grave and pray her, it's all very sad...
> Cristina
> ----- Messaggio originale -----
> Da: nun Xenia <mitr...@gmail.com>
> A: xe...@yahoogroups.com
> Inviato: Venerd? 30 marzo 2007, 8:44:47
> Oggetto: [xenia] The relics of St Maria of Gatchina stolen
> When I went to St. Xenia and St. Maria of Gatchina on Tuesday, I found that the grave of St.Maria was opened and destroyed. The cross was put on the wrong side, all the signs and the picture were removed.
> Then I found out that Moscow Partiarchate had secretly dug her relics out the day before. They are now in the unknown place, and today the ceremony of their "transfer" will take place in one MP church.
> This is very sad, remembering that St.Maria was killed for not recognizing Met Sergius and his churches. And now she will be taken there by force. The same happened with the relics of St.Theodosy of the Caucasus too.