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Blessed Xenia of Petersburg
Orthodox Icon – English Inscription

Blessed Xenia of Petersburg Orthodox Icon – English Inscription
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Commemorated on January 24 / February 6

Brief life written by Lillian Csernica

"At first St. Xenia was just another Orthodox housewife, making her husband the center of her life since they had no children. The compelling nature of her devotion to Colonel Petrov set her on the path to sainthood.

Colonel Petrov was an alcoholic. One night this terrible affliction took its toll on him, causing him to drop dead in the middle of a party. That left St. Xenia a widow at the age of only 26. The shock of losing him and the even greater grief of knowing he died without benefit of the Holy Mysteries hit St. Xenia so hard her family thought she'd gone mad. She began giving away all her wealth and property, even the house she lived in. It wasn't madness but revelation that spurred her on. Her eyes had been opened to the shallowness of the material world. She wanted nothing more to do with it. Her relatives took her to court, hoping to prove her incompetent and seize control of her wealth. She appeared in court perfectly lucid. The judge ruled in her favor.

Once St. Xenia disposed of everything, she vanished from St. Petersburg for eight years. While it's not known precisely where she went, we're told she lived among nuns, studying prayer and spiritual discipline under the supervision of a holy elder. Eight years later she returned to the worst section of St. Petersburg, called Petersburgskaya Storona. She wore only her husband's old military uniform and answered to no name but his. She had become Colonel Petrov out of a fervent desire to make expiation for his sins.

The people who saw her thought she was nothing more than a crazy old beggar woman, spending her nights out in an open field regardless of the weather. As time passed, her sudden bursts of speech and frantic messages proved to be prophetic. The people began to understand her true nature as one blessed and protected by God. Parents brought their children to receive her blessing. Shopkeepers offered her whatever she'd accept. Cabdrivers competed to carry her around the city. If she did accept help or just blessed the shop or cab, good business would follow all that day.

While still living, St. Xenia worked many miracles through her clairvoyance and prophecy. They often centered on keeping married couples and their children healthy and safe. One day when she was having tea with her best friend Paraskeva, she suddenly leaped up and cried, "Why are you sitting here? Your son is waiting for you!" Paraskeva had no children of her own. Trusting St. Xenia, Paraskeva went where St. Xenia sent her and found a pregnant woman who'd just been hit by a carriage. The baby boy was saved, but the mother died giving birth there in the street. Paraskeva took the baby home and raised him. He went on to become a good and righteous man, everything Paraskeva could have asked for in a son.

St. Xenia's devotion to her husband carried over into maintaining the security and stability of all those marriages around her. She continued to concern herself with such matters even after her repose at the age of 71. One of the most impressive examples of St. Xenia's intercession involved Mrs. Kirov's daughter. On the morning of her daughter's wedding, Mrs. Kirov had a panikhida or memorial service said at the grave of St. Xenia. She begged St. Xenia to bless and protect her daughter. At that same time the groom, a Colonel who seemed to be a very important man, was on an errand at one of the government offices. A soldier there recognized him as a convict who escaped from Siberia. The "Colonel" was arrested and the wedding called off. Thanks to the intercession of St. Xenia, Mrs. Kirov's daughter was spared.

Before her repose, God granted St. Xenia the knowledge of her husband's redemption. By forgetting herself, devoting the next forty-five years of her life to God, and committing all her charitable acts in her husband

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