Icon of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg – S443


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Egg Tempera


20th c.


Smolensk Cemetery, St. Petersburg


This blessed Fool-for-Christ lived in the 18th c.  At the age of 26 she was widowed when her husband Andrew, an army officer, died unexpectedly at a drinking party without the sacraments and blessings of the Church.  She was so shaken by this that she  disappeared from St. Petersburg for five years, and it is believed that she spent this time with some ascetic nuns.  When she returned, she gave away all of her goods, even her house, though relatives tried to get her declared insane.   When she spoke to the judge privately she was allowed to do as she wished.

She put on her husband’s old army jacket and demanded that others call her by his name, saying that she was dead in his place.  St Xenia lived homeless, walking the streets of the city in unceasing prayer.  She acted foolish to avoid attention to  the many prophetic sayings that she gave to help people, and the many good deeds and miracles that she worked through Christ.  She helped build the church in the Smolensk Cemetery by carrying bricks up the scaffold unseen at night.  She is known for helping others build churches, find housing and jobs, and raise children righteously.