Following on the heels of the glorious festivities for the 100th anniversary of the murder of the holy Royal Martyrs, the Russian Orthodox Church also commemorated the centenary of the martyrdom of St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess and the Nun Barbara and Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich Romanov, the Princes Ioann Konstantinovich, Konstantin Konstantinovich, Igor Konstantinovich, and Vladimir Pavlovich Paley, and Grand Duke Sergei’s secretary Fyodor Remez martyred with them.
A festive Divine Liturgy was held yesterday at the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia’s St. Mary Magdalene Monastery in Gethsemane, where the holy martyrs’ relics repose, headed by His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, reports the site of the Russian Spiritual Mission in Jerusalem.
Clergy from the Spiritual Mission, the monastery itself, and ordained pilgrims from Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, and the Czech Orthodox Churches also celebrated the service. The service was also attended by the nuns of several other Holy Land monasteries and numerous pilgrims.
According to tradition, the service was attended by His Holiness Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, along with His Eminence Archbishop Nektarios, the Jerusalem Patriarchate’s representative to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a moleben was celebrated before the relics of St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess and New Martyr.
The service was followed by a festive meal for all pilgrims.
Growing up in Germany, the future Grand Duchess of Russia was raised a Lutheran, but was received into holy Orthodoxy following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After the assassination of her husband she founded the Sts. Mary and Martha Convent in 1909 and the sisterhood became known for its active ministry to the sick and suffering, especially during the First World War. St. Elizabeth was known as the “White Angel of Russia.”
Like Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and his family she was arrested by revolutionaries in 1918 and was eventually martyred in an old mine in the Ekaterinburg region. She was canonized in 1981 by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and in 1992 by the Moscow Patriarchate as a new martyr.
Following her death, her relics were first taken to the Church of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Beijing by the White Army, and were later taken to St. Mary Magdalene Monastery in Jerusalem, which she and her husband had helped to build.
Photo credit: OrthoCristian