Saint Xenia of Petersburg is revered by a huge number of people. Being of sound mind, Xenia took the role of the holy fool (city madman), for the sake of love for her late husband. Since then, the love of blessed Xenia, even after her death, has extended to all those in need.
The act of a woman, at first glance, really seems inadequate. However, without touching on religious views, we will try to understand what led Xenia to the decision to take the path of foolishness and how she deserved human love.
The content of the article:
- Ksenia Petersburgskaya: life before the tragedy
- Tipping Point: Husband’s Sudden Death
- City crazy – or saint?
- Xenia and the Church: The Long Road to Holiness
- The power of love can work miracles
Ksenia Petersburgskaya: life before the tragedy
There is not much information about Xenia’s life before she became a city madman. It is known that she was born in St. Petersburg in 1719-1730, and her father’s name was Gregory.
Some conclusions can be drawn from the subsequent facts of her life. At the age of 23, Xenia was married off to Colonel Andrey Fedorovich Petrov, who, moreover, sang in the church choir at the court of Empress Elizabeth. The young man was very respectable, the court singers under the merry empress made dizzying careers.
One has only to remember Count Razumovsky, who from the Dnieper swineherds quickly got into the high society and became the favorite of the mother of the Russian state.
Considering that at the time of marriage, the class framework was strictly observed, one can assume about the noble origin of Xenia herself. Most likely, the girl was not only religious, but also quite well educated.
The couple settled on the 11th line (present-day Lakhtinskaya Street), on which land plots were distributed for the servicemen of the Kaporsky regiment.
Ksenia lived well with Andrey Fedorovich. Love and harmony in a young family sometimes aroused the envy of neighbors.
Quiet happiness does not arouse much interest among the inhabitants, and therefore the national memory has not preserved anything more about that life of Xenia.
Video: Life of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg
Tipping Point: Husband’s Sudden Death
Sensations attract people’s attention, whether it is a tragedy or a triumph.
Xenia’s life changed overnight: after 3 years of marriage, her beloved husband suddenly died, not having time to accept the last repentance and absolution.
It is believed that Andrei Fedorovich was killed by typhus. However, it was rumored that the young man was ruined by wine, like many artists at the royal court.
At the time of her husband’s death, Xenia was 26 years old, the couple did not have time to acquire children.
The sudden death of her husband shocked the young woman, relatives and neighbors feared for her sanity. And there were serious reasons for these fears.
At the funeral, Ksenia wore her husband’s military uniform in red and green. The woman said that she was “Andrei Fedorovich”, and Ksenia died. Everyone experiences the death of a loved one in their own way, but Xenia’s “quirks” did not stop. The woman decided to give her house to her friend Praskovya Antonova, who rented a room in their house, with the only condition: the new owner had to let those in need stay overnight.
Relatives, fearing such an unreasonable squandering of the acquired property, invited a commission from the former bosses of the late Petrov to confirm Xenia’s madness and send her to a hospital. However, after a lengthy conversation, the higher ranks found the woman to be quite adequate.
How can we explain this behavior of a young widow?
Probably, the husband for Xenia was the most expensive wealth in her life. His death brought complete devastation to the soul of the unfortunate and an understanding of the worthlessness of all material wealth, to which a person usually aspires.
Fearing that the deceased husband’s sins would not be forgiven, the God-fearing Xenia decided to take up his cross – and with her life begged for forgiveness.
Video: Hermitage restorers have discovered in the funds a lifetime portrait of Ksenia the Blessed
City crazy – or saint?
With the death of her husband, a new stage began in the life of Xenia, 45 years long. Dressed in men’s clothing and responding only to “Andrey Petrovich”, Ksenia wandered the streets. The poor woman was offended by homeless children, she was persecuted even from her own parish, the Church of the Apostle Matthew (Church of the Intercession), so as not to spoil the view when foreigners arrived. People took the inarticulate muttering of the blessed one for delirium.
But, despite the mistreatment, Xenia never showed anger or resentment, humbly accepting her chosen fate.
Someone felt sorry for the holy fool, offering her clothes and shoes. Xenia’s frostbitten legs were swollen, but she refused to change her rags. Some gave her money. Blessed Xenia accepted only coppers with the image of St. George the Victorious – and even then not from everyone.
Sometimes, refusing, she said: “I will not take your money, you offend people.”
But even that little change given to her, the wretched one immediately handed out to other sufferers.
Gradually, people got used to the city madman, and began to notice that Xenia brings grace. Those from whom she took change suddenly had joy. Sellers from the nourishing market began to treat her, and cabbies gave her a lift, so that work that day would bring good income.
Ksenia has become a kind of good luck charm.
However, another sign arose: if the blessed one asked for something, that person would soon have grief. The holy fool predicted the death of the empress, shouting the day before: “Bake pancakes. Soon all of Russia will bake pancakes. ” Elizabeth died soon after.
By the way, the tradition of baking pancakes was associated with Maslenitsa and funerals.
A similar prophecy applies to the person of John VI. After long sobs of the blessed one and lamentations of “blood, rivers of blood” Petersburg learned about the murder of Ivan Antonovich.
And in Russia, emperors, as a rule, were killed stupidly, cruelly and bloody.
Poor Xenia not only warned people about upcoming joys or sorrows. The woman helped in any everyday disaster, but only to kind and decent people. So, she sent Praskovya Antonova to the cemetery, where the woman shot down by the carriage gave birth to a baby and died, and the childless Praskovya found a son. Another time, Ksenia, giving a copper to a lady, helped her to avoid the complete destruction of the house in a fire.
Only once did she get angry with the children who bullied her. However, this moment only reminds us that the grief-stricken woman is the same person and is also subject to sin.
The list of Xenia’s miracles is huge.
Whether this is a coincidence, or a divine providence – it’s not up to us to decide. The main thing is that blessed Xenia, loitering in the area of the Smolensk cemetery (the burial place of her husband), has become a local celebrity. They brought children to her for blessing, asked for advice in everyday affairs and marriage.
The police became interested in the city beggar and followed where the homeless woman was hiding at night. The law enforcement officers found out that the madwoman was leaving the city and praying all night in the field, despite the bad weather.
Another incredible case from the life of Blessed Xenia. The construction of the Trinity Cathedral has just begun at the Smolensk cemetery. The workers had to with difficulty lift stones through the forests. Every morning they found that someone had lifted stones up for them during the night.
After sitting on the night guard, they saw how the local beggar Xenia was dragging a heavy shoulder stretcher – and carefully stacking bricks in piles. At that time, the woman was over 60 years old.
Video: Holy Blessed Xenia of Petersburg. Miracles and help to those who turn to her
Xenia and the Church: The Long Road to Holiness
Ksenia Petersburgskaya died at the age of 71 at her husband’s grave. Half of the city accompanied her from the Intercession Church to the Smolenskoye cemetery. For dozens of years, the earth from her grave, and even the gravestones, were pulled away by pilgrims who believed in their miraculous power. In 1830, a chapel was built over her grave, into which many believers still flock.
A marble tombstone over the grave was built with the money of pilgrims.
Popular love saved the last refuge of the blessed one from ruin by the Bolsheviks. However, during the war, an armory was set up at the holy place, and in the 60s. the chapel was given over to a sculpture workshop.
Only in 1978 did the church recognize the holiness of Blessed Xenia. Dozens of churches in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Kazakhstan and Bulgaria are named after her. You can hear thousands of stories of how Xenia’s prayer healed, gave the joy of motherhood, saved in difficult situations.
There is not a single thing that belongs to Xenia, and there are no lifetime portraits of the saint (perhaps there is one portrait of Xenia found quite recently in the Hermitage archives – but this statement has no proof yet).
In the named house-museum, paintings by Alexander Prostev are exhibited – however, this is only a subjective judgment of the artist about the appearance of the saint.
On the icons, Xenia of Petersburg is always depicted in green and red clothes, the blessed one remained faithful to the colors of the military uniform all her life.
There are also documentaries about Ksenia of Petersburg – however, most of them consider Ksenia from a religious point of view.
The image of the St. Petersburg blessed was the reason for the creation of the performance at the Alexandrinsky Theater. This is a unique case of transferring the life of a saint to the theater stage. At the same time, the emphasis is not on the miracles performed by Xenia, but on love theme: from a collision with a cruel world, Ksenia managed to endure and increase love to all-embracing latitudes.
Video: Excursion to the places of St. blessed. Xenia of Petersburg
The power of love can work miracles
Let’s note an important point that reveals the true strength of the character of Xenia of Petersburg. Understandably “insanity” against the backdrop of tragic events. Pity sickness madness. But a deliberate decision to devote oneself to foolishness, knowingly knowing about the upcoming trials, is already a real feat of a strong person, lasting all his life. An example of this is Blessed Xenia.
In our time, we often talk about love, not fully understanding what it is. With her life, Ksenia has provided us with a lesson in all-consuming love. Often we understand by true love the willingness to give his life for a loved one.
However, “there is no higher sacrifice if someone gives his life for his neighbor.”
Even after a heavy loss, Ksenia found the strength to give love even to her offenders and scoffers, carrying good deeds on behalf of her husband.
The main message of this story: life is love, regardless of circumstances and adversity.
The history of Princess Olga is also intertwined with the history of Russia – what do we know and do not know about Olga, Princess of Kiev?
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