If you are a member of a Russian Orthodox Christian community, you may have heard of some of the female saints that are revered by the community. They include Saint Hilda, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Xenia of Petersburg. Each of these saints has unique roles in the life of the Church, and each of them is important to understand. Learn more about these women of the faith.
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Hilda was born into a royal household in Britain. Her mother had a vision that her daughter would bring the light to all of England. She followed in the footsteps of her sister Hereswith.
St Hilda entered monastic life at the age of 33. The Monastery of Whitby was established in 657. She served as the abbess for three decades. It became a beacon of Christian life in the British Isles.
St Hilda was a great promoter of women’s education. She also encouraged daily prayer. In her time as an Abbess, she had two monastic houses in North Yorkshire. Those who lived in the nunnery were required to study scriptures and copy manuscripts.
St. Catherine of Alexandria
Saint Catherine of Alexandria was a female Saint. Her head is venerated in a church near Thessalonika. After she was tortured to death, she fled to the mountains and devoted herself to prayer. This is the last bishop of Alexandria who suffered martyrdom under pagan Emperors.
She was married to a young youth, Domitian. They had a daughter, Matrona, and later left the city to live in a monastery. As she was a woman, she disguised herself as an eunuch. St Bassian recognized her as such and assisted her in establishing a monastery.
At the age of 35, she became a bishop. She worked tirelessly to promote the Church. During her career, she translated several books from the Old Testament. However, her efforts were opposed by the Tsar.
The empress Pulcheria is a Russian Orthodox female saint. She was the daughter of Emperor Arcadius and the wife of Marcian, who co-ruled with her. In 440-443, she became ruler of the Empire after her brother, Theodosious II, died childless. She was an extremely religious person and advocated for Mary.
During her reign, Pulcheria built several churches dedicated to the Theotokos. One of these was the Monastery of the Hodegetria. This monastery was founded for monks who were known to guide the way to God.
As the ruler of the Empire, Pulcheria also acted as regent for her younger brother. Her goal was to build spiritual dwelling places for the Theotokos. Several houses were erected, including the famous Chalkoprateia.
St. Xenia of Petersburg
Saint Xenia of Petersburg is one of the most famous Russian Orthodox female saints. This saint possessed the gift of clairvoyance and intercession. She prayed for people in their desperate times. People who pray to Saint Xenia are healed, given strength and protection.
After her husband’s death, Xenia gave away all of her possessions to the poor. Eventually, she found her true purpose in life. Instead of chasing after the world, she became a fool for Christ.
The woman who would become known as Blessed Xenia was a young widow. Her husband, Andrew Theodorovich Petrov, died when she was just 26 years old. Xenia tried to comfort herself by praying in the field.
Saint Basil the Great was born in the year 330 at Caesarea, a city of Cappadocia. He died in 379 at the age of 49. The Russian Orthodox Church has venerated him as a saint.
St Basil was raised by his mother, Emilia. After his father’s death, his mother joined the ascetic life. She lived at the family estate on the River Iris.
The family was rich. His father was a lawyer and rhetorician. He was baptized by Bishop Dianios. Later he became a deacon and then a holy priest.
St Basil studied under the finest teachers in Caesarea. He later founded two monasteries in the region. These monasteries were named Pontus and Nyssa.
St. John of Kronstadt
Saint John of Kronstadt is a Russian Orthodox priest. He was born in 1829 in a remote part of Russia. His parents were pious. During his childhood, he received a vision of the St. Andrew Cathedral in Kronstadt. In 1926, Bishop Gabriel of Chelyabinsk ordained him as a hieromonk.
After his ordination, he lived in the town of Tobolsk, where he worked in the Holy Trinity monastery. Eventually, he was transferred to the St. Andrew Cathedral in Kronstadt.
Despite his poverty, Father John began his ministry among the homeless. He also started to teach prayer and fasting. Soon, beggars flocked to his house. For the next twenty years, he taught the Law of God in the city schools.