Enjoy this wonderful account of a 21st century Orthodox Saint, St. Elizabeth who was martyred for her faith at the hands of Communist Socialists. She gave up royalty, wealth, power and Protestantism for Christ and His Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church. Her endearing and enduring legacy reminds us that we must never take our National Liberties for granted, and that we must defend the original intent of the framers of the Bill of Rights. The 4th of July is meant for us to remember and celebrate the sacrifices laid upon the altar of freedom for the securing of our Independence and the ensuing freedoms that the Bill of Rights and the Constitution provide.
First Amendment of the Bill of Rights…
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Let us be forever grateful, and continuously diligent to protect the freedom of every person to worship and practice their faith according to conscience, for the liberty to express our thoughts in public and to peaceably assemble.
St. Elizabeth lived in a time when Socialism in the form of Communism took away not only her rights to worship freely according to her conscience, but also took away her life through a bloody merciless martyrdom.
In Orthodoxy our lives belong to God. Each day is lived in His Hands, and when our time comes, we gladly come home for eternity living in communion with the Trinity, the angels and all the saints in paradise. But let’s never become apathetic or indifferent in regards to the blood bought freedoms purchased for us by the lives of countless numbers of patriotic men and women over the past 234 years.
Thank you Elizabeth for your faith, courage, valor, and your kindness shown even to your enemies.
Saint Elizabeth was the older sister of Tsarina Alexandra, and was married to the Grand Duke Sergius, the governor of Moscow. She converted to Orthodoxy from Protestantism, The Lutheran Church, of her own free will, and organized women from all levels of society to help the soldiers at the front and in the hospitals.
Grand Duke Sergius was killed by an assassin’s bomb on February 4, 1905, just as St Elizabeth was leaving for her workshops. Remarkably, she visited her husband’s killer in prison and urged him to repent.
After this, she began to withdraw from her former social life. She devoted herself to the Convent of Sts Martha and Mary, a community of nuns which focused on worshiping God and also helping the poor. She moved out of the palace into a building she purchased on Ordinka. Women from the nobility, and also from the common people, were attracted to the convent.
St Elizabeth nursed sick and wounded soldiers in the hospitals and on the battle front. On Pascha of 1918, the Communists ordered her to leave Moscow, and join the royal family near Ekaterinburg. She left with a novice, Sister Barbara, and an escort of Latvian guards.
After arriving in Ekaterinburg, St Elizabeth was denied access to the Tsar’s family. She was placed in a convent, where she was warmly received by the sisters.
At the end of May St Elizabeth was moved to nearby Alopaevsk with the Grand Dukes Sergius, John, and Constantine, and the young Count Vladimir Paley. They were all housed in a schoolhouse on the edge of town. St Elizabeth was under guard, but was permitted to go to church and work in the garden.
On the night of July 5, they were all taken to a place twelve miles from Alopaevsk, and executed. The Grand Duke Sergius was shot, but the others were thrown down a mineshaft, then grenades were tossed after them. St Elizabeth lived for several hours, and could be heard singing hymns.
The bodies of St Elizabeth and St Barbara were taken to Jerusalem in 1920, and buried in the church of St Mary Magdalene.
Troparion – Tone 4
Emulating the Lord’s self-abasement on the earth,
You gave up royal mansions to serve the poor and disdained,
Overflowing with compassion for the suffering.
And taking up a martyr’s cross,
In your meekness
You perfected the Saviour’s image within yourself,
Therefore, with Barbara, entreat Him to save us all, O wise Elizabeth.
Kontakion – Tone 3
In the midst of worldliness,
thy mournful heart dwelt in Heaven;
in barbaric godlessness,
Your valiant soul was not troubled;
You longed to meet your Bridegroom as a confessor,
and He found you worthy of your martyric purpose.
O Elizabeth, with Barbara,
Your brave companion,
Pray to your Bridegroom for us.