The Orthodox Church teaches that married men and women are equal partners in marriage. This means that neither spouse should have dictatorial authority over the other. It also means that a husband must love his wife as Christ loved the church. Marriage carries many responsibilities and is a partnership of equals.
St. Juliana of Lazarevo
Juliana was a very pious woman who served the poor and sick. She sewed clothes for the poor and tended to the sick. Her pious life attracted the attention of Yuri Osorin, the owner of a village near Murom. She was so devoted to her pious life that she found time for prayer. She never let her domestic cares interfere with her spiritual life. Her love for God led her to spend much of her money on the poor and orphans. She even spent the last of her food on a beggar, which is a testament to her compassion.
Juliana was married at sixteen, and her first husband was a rich merchant named George Ossorgin. Their marriage took place in the village of Lazarevo, and the Ossorgins lived on Ossorgin’s estate. After their marriage, the priest Patapius gave a homily to the couple. He spoke of instilling virtue in their children, and she followed his advice throughout her life.
Her mother died when she was only six years old, and she was taken in by her grandmother. Her grandmother raised her in a pious environment, teaching her homecrafts and praying to God. Later, she married a nobleman, and they lived a life that reflected a Christan lifestyle. They had thirteen children, but six of them died of a grevious illness while they were young.
There is also a Russian Orthodox Church named for St. Juliana of Lazarevo in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The parish is under the supervision of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Metropolitan Vitaly of New York and Eastern America is the head of the Synod of Bishops. The parish’s bishop is Most Reverend Gabriel of Manhatten.
Juliana was a pious Russian woman who married and had children. She lived an ascetical lifestyle, but did not become a monastic. Her body was subsequently found to be incorrupt, and her devotion was recognized. She is considered a patron saint of the kitchen and home.
St. Thomas More
Thomas More was a Catholic priest who was married to Anne Boleyn. He was loyal to the king, but felt that Henry VIII had lost his way as a Catholic. In 1532, Thomas More offered his resignation and Henry VIII accepted. However, More’s loyalties were questioned when he refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boylen. Henry VIII viewed Thomas More’s refusal to attend as an insult and an undermining of authority.
As a young man, Thomas More was confused about his vocation. He considered joining a Franciscan order and the Carthusian Order. But his pious soul grew, and he eventually decided to remain in the secular world. At the age of 25, Thomas More married his second wife, Jane Colt, in 1504. Although Jane Colt died during childbirth, she remained faithful and supportive to her husband and children.
More was a gifted statesman and orator, but he was also a committed husband and father. As a Catholic, he was conscious of his worldly interests while still remaining faithful to Christ. This is the most admirable aspect of his life. His love for his family and for God are exemplary.
As a Catholic, St. Thomas More is considered the patron saint of married Christians. He opposed King Henry VIII’s attempt to dismantle the Church of England. As a result, he was eventually put to death. Today, he is celebrated on June 22.
Thomas More was born in London in 1478 and studied law at Oxford. He became a member of Parliament at an early age. He married Jane Colt, who died at a young age. Afterward, he married a widow. He wrote a novel called “Utopia” in 1516. During his lifetime, he was a favorite of Henry VIII. He served as Lord Chancellor for three years.
However, despite his Catholic faith, More opposed Henry VIII’s Protestant Reformation. He refused to sign the letter that formally declared Henry as the supreme head of the English Church. When he was forced to take the oath, he claimed to have sharp chest pains. Henry VIII, however, granted his resignation.