St. Euphrosyne of Suzdal


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Commemorated on September 25

St. Euphrosyne, Princess of Suzdal, was born in the year 1212. She was given the name Theodoulia in Holy Baptism, and was the eldest daughter of the holy Martyr Michael, Great-Prince of Chernigov. Prince Michael and his wife, Theophania, did not have children, and they often visited the Kiev Caves monastery where they prayed that the Lord grant them children. Princess Euphrosyne was their first daughter, sent from God in answer to their prayers. The Most Holy Theotokos appeared to them three times and said that their prayers had been heard and that the Lord would grant them a daughter.

Theodulia was raised in deep faith and piety. The educated noble Theodore had a large influence on her upbringing. The education and uncommon beauty of the princess attracted many.

The princess was betrothed to Prince Theodore, a brother of St. Alexander Nevsky, but he died on the very day of their wedding. The princess withdrew to the Suzdal women’s monastery named in honor of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God, where she was tonsured with the name Euphrosyne in honor of St. Euphrosyne of Alexandria.

While still a young woman, she fulfilled the monastic rule of life with an amazing zeal, and she remarkably surpassed the other residents of the monastery in her firmness of reason, spiritual insight and extreme abstinence. The Lord Himself visited the ascetic, commanding her to be vigilant and positive in her efforts. To the very end of her life, St. Euphrosyne kept the commandments of the Savior and overcame countless temptations.

The extraordinary ascetic life of St. Euphrosyne became known in Suzdal and beyond its borders. A multitude of people visited the monastery in order to listen to the instructions of Euphrosyne concerning love, prayer, obedience and humility. Often after such talks, many accepted the monastic life and began a more zealous service to God. The abbess of the monastery herself had recourse to the counsels of Euphrosyne. After the death of the abbess, St. Euphrosyne became Superior of the monastery.

The Lord foretold to the holy abbess her father’s martyrdom, and also the Mongol-Tatar invasion of Russia. In the year 1238, vast Tatar-Mongol hordes descended on Russia. Destroying everything in their path, they came to Suzdal. They completely burned the city, and only the monastery of St. Euphrosyne was spared through her prayers.

St. Euphrosyne fell asleep in the Lord on September 25, 1250. At her grave, believers were healed of various maladies. On September 18, 1698, with the blessing of Patriarch Adrian, Metropolitan Hilarion of Suzdal glorified Euphrosyne as a saint.

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