Twenty years have passed since the uncovering of the relics of Saint Matrona of Moscow, one of the most popular contemporary Russian Saints whose feast day was recently added to the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
To mark this important event for Moscow’s Intercession (Pokrovsky) Monastery where the holy relics of St Matrona are kept, His Beatitude Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, celebrated last Thursday, March 9, 2018, the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which was attended by hundreds of believers.
In 2013, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church established the day of the uncovering of St Matrona’s holy relics as ecclesiastical feast day.
‘A simple, disabled woman acquired immense spiritual power’
‘Every time you read the life of Saint Matrona, when you hear oral reports, when you come face to face with our people’s wonderful faith in her beneficial help, you ask yourself involuntarily how was it possible for a simple, disabled woman, limited in her communication with the world, to acquire such immense spiritual power that, even during her life, crowds and crowds of people went to her for counsel, help and prayer,’ Patriarch Kirill said in his sermon at the Pokrovsky Monastery on March 8.
Russian Patriarch Kirill said that in order to understand why God gave grace to Saint Matrona to such extent we must think of Christ the Saviour’s work for the redemption of sins by experiencing heavy sufferings, through shame and the terrible death on the Cross.
The Patriarch of Moscow reflected on the meaning of suffering and noted that ‘we usually consider suffering a nightmare, something that should be avoided or forgotten immediately.’
Although in the difficult circumstances of life we are tempted to complain ‘the believer who passes through suffering without losing his or her faith in God becomes really different.’
If there were no afflictions in our life, ‘there might not have been the salvation of the soul, because sorrows awaken the mind, strengthen the will and the faith.’
‘Matronushka was born in sorrow. She had no human joy. She did not see the faces of people, she did not see the blue of the sky, she did not see the surrounding world,’ Patriarch Kirill noted stressing that we cannot imagine the world in which Righteous Matrona lived.
‘Had it not been these sufferings, there would be no Matronushka’
To shine like a star, it was necessary to go through a special suffering and a special life experience that opened her vision to another world, different form the one around her that she did not perceive.
‘Matrona truly knew, she truly saw that world with her blind eyes, and we can imagine what the power of her prayer was since she had not faith, but rather knowledge – the knowledge of God’s presence in man’s life.’
Patriarch Kirill said that by reflecting on the life of Saint Matrona ‘we must learn to perceive suffering properly.’
‘Suffering must not destroy us, nor diminish our powers, but rather strengthen our faith and sharpen our religious senses.’
‘Let us transform sorrow into spiritual power and inner joy’
‘Whenever God leads us through hardships, let us remember the Righteous Matrona of Moscow, and may God vouchsafe us that her example help us transform the sorrow into spiritual power and inner joy – the joy of bonding with the highest, the world above,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill said at the end of his sermon on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the uncovering of the relics of Saint Matrona of Moscow.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was the first Romanian Patriarch to ever celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Intercession Monastery in Moscow. Attending last December’s celebrations dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Daniel visited the monastery where St Matrona’s relics are sheltered.
As a result of this memorable moment and as a sign of fellowship with the Russian Orthodox people, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church decided to add Saint Matrona of Moscow to the local church calendar, beginning with 2019, establishing May 2 as feast day.
Saint Matrona was born in 1881 in a family of simple people in the village of Sebino, Tula gubernia.
Although she came to the world without the gift of sight and lost the use of her feet at the age of seventeen, because of her ascetic life and the unceasing prayer, God bestowed upon her the gift of prophecy and of working miracles.
Saint John of Kronstadt called her Russia’s eighth pillar, thus prophesying that she would remain one of the few intercessors for the country that would soon fall under atheist persecution.
Saint Matrona was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1999.
You may also like: Russian Orthodox Church adds nine Romanian Saints to its calendar
Photography courtesy of Igor Palkin/Patriarchia.ru