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Messages - holynewmartyr

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There is now a DVD out on Grand Duchess Elizabeth called "The Life of the New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth".  It is an hour long and it can be purchased from Light & Life Publishing Co. in Minneapolis (  It costs $24.95 and the Item # is LIF220.

I believe it is the same video that can be downloaded at this link:

This is the video that was made in 1992. It ends with the late Patriarch Alexei lifting up the icon of Saint Elizabeth at her glorification.  It also features Margaret Hesse being interviewed (Eric Lowe, I believe this the video you mentioned seeing in a previous post).

The video is in Russian.

It is best to right-click on the link (save target as..) and download it, rather than try and opening it directly. It will take a while to download.

Earlier this year, a relic of Saint Elizabeth visited several Russian Orthodox parishes in the Eparchy of Perm, Russia.
The following website has video regarding the visit:

Although the "reliquary ark" appears to show that it is the entire left hand and forearm of Saint Elizabeth contained within, it appears to be actually a small fragment of bone contained in the small circular window just past the wrist of the arm.  

As far as I know, only the right hand and forearm were removed at the time the relics were exhumed in Jerusalem for the canonization process.

Serge's grave can be seen in the documentary about Saint Elizabeth, "White Angel of Russia".

At about 43 minutes into the documentary, the cross and monastery is shown as well as the grave.

You can download the entire documentary here:

Then right click to "save target as" on the link that has the following date and numbers next to it:    26-Apr-2008 20:28           170953638

Depending on the speed of your computer, it may take a while to download.

The documentary is in Russian. Hopefully, an English version will be dubbed.

Previously, I had been curious of what happened to Father Mitrofan Srebrianski, Saint Elizabeth's spiritual father/director, after the Martha- Mary Convent was closed. Was he ever canonized as a saint?

It turns out that he was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.

He is known as Saint Sergius Srebrianski. His name was changed to Sergius when he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite.

Here is a link to an article about his life:

His relics will be in San Francisco this Sunday only during the Divine Liturgy.

The Relics of the Holy Confessor Sergius, Last Spritual Father of the Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow, to Visit San Francisco

 [December 15, 2008] On Sunday, December 28 at 9:45 am the relics of the Holy Confessor Sergius (Srebriansky) will be brought to the Holy Virgin Cathedral Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco from Tver, Russia to be venerated by the faithful of the Western American Diocese. St. Sergius was the last spiritual father of the Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow and of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth. After many arrests during the Soviet regime, exile and hard labor he settled in the Tver Region with his wife (both of them took monastic vows) and reposed in the Lord in 1948. St. Sergius' spiritual father recalls that: "Every time I spoke to him [St. Sergius], every time I heard his penetrating words, I saw before myself an image of an ascetic desert dweller... He was completely submerged in the Divine... One could feel this in everything he did, especially when he spoke. He spoke of prayer and spiritual sobriety – these were his favorite topics. When he spoke, he spoke simply, edifyingly and convincingly."

St. Sergius was canonized by the Church in Russia in 2000. His relics will be available for veneration throughout the Pontifical (late) Liturgy at Holy Virgin Cathedral.

Западно-Американскую епархию посетит ковчег с частицей мощей св. преподобноисповедника Сергия (Сребрянского), последнего духовника Марфо-Мариинской обители

 [15 декабря 2008] В воскресенье 28 декабря в 9:45 утра в кафедральном соборе Пресвятой Богородицы Всех скорбящих Радости в Сан-Франциско состоится встреча прибывающих из Твери мощей преподобноисповедника Сергия (Сребрянского), последнего духовника московской Марфо-Мариинской обители и святой новопреподобномученицы Великой княгини Елизаветы Феодоровны. Ковчег с мощами будет находится в соборе в течение поздней архиерейской литургии.

Преподобноисповедник Сергий (в миру Митрофан Сребрянский) родился в 1870 г. В 1908 году Великая княгиня Елизавета трудилась над проектом по созданию Марфо-Мариинской обители. Подал свой проект об устроении обители и о. Митрофан; его проект настолько пришелся по душе Великой княгине, что именно его она положила в основу устроения обители и пригласила о. Митрофана на место духовника и настоятеля храма в обители.

Духовник вспоминал об отце Сергии: «Всякий раз, когда я беседовал с ним, слушал его проникновенное слово, передо мной из глубины веков вставал образ подвижника-пустынножителя... Он весь был объят божественным желанием... Это чувствовалось во всем, особенно — когда он говорил. Говорил он о молитве, о трезвении — излюбленные его темы. Говорил он просто, назидательно и убедительно». Скончался св. Сергий 23 марта 1948 г. в Тверской области. На Архи­ерей­ском Соборе 2000 г. он был причислен к лику святых.

If I remember correctly, one of the biographies on Saint Elizabeth states that Father Seraphim, who was living in Alapaevsk at the time of the murders and would later take the bodies of Saints Elizabeth and Barbara to Jerusalem,  also heard  singing from the mineshaft as well. 

Thanks ! Who got the left arm ?

As far as I know, the left arm is still with the rest of Saint Elizabeth at Saint Mary Magdalen Russian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. 

I would also add the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City, which is the headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR).
There you will find the relic of Saint Elizabeth's right arm (as well a relic of her attendant Saint Barbara) in a gold reliquary.

I was in NYC this past April and had the opportunity to venerate the relic.  It is located on the left side of the cathedral (facing the iconostasis).  It is on a pedastal under an icon of Saint Elizabeth.

Lisa,  I am sure you are correct. The ROC does not want to step on any toes with the ROCOR especially. Just why it remains so skepticle of the  Imperial  recovery is a rmystery to me.  There is even some controversy over a relic of Ella, a finger, that was making the rounds a while back. It seems, it COULD be actually the finger of her companion, Varvara, but no testes are allowed.
 At the same time, GD Maria is  very close to the ROC patriacrh and even stays at the Novodechny [sic] convent when  in MOscow, usuall attending Church charity events.  Even she takes no position ofn any of the relics, keeping in line  with the Patriarch.
 At the end of the day, what does it really matter?  Carting a bunch of bone slivers around the globe for the faithful to slobber over? A bit  pagan to me. Leave her buried and at peace with her god.

Yes, it certainly would be an embarrassing blunder if the finger turned out to belong to Saint Barbara and not to Saint Elizabeth; however, I am inclined to believe that the finger does belong to Saint Elixzabeth for the following reasons:

1) Saint Elizabeth's body was still identifiable at the time of her internment at Saint Mary Magadalene Russian Orthodox Church. Her sister, Victoria, writes of recognizing her sister when she first saw Saint Elizabeth's body.
2) Saint Barbara was a smaller woman in height in comparsion to Saint Elizabeth. I doubt that the bodies were misidentified.
3) When the coffins were exhumed and opened in preparation for the canonization, Saint Elizabeth's body was reported to be partially incorrupt. All reports that I have read mention the removal of her right hand for relics. This relic is kept at the ROCOR cathedral in New York City. I have not read any mention of fingers removed from Saint Barbara's body for relics.

There is controversy regarding how the sample taken from the finger was tested. One report states that the finger is contaminated with DNA from two other sources, making the finger an unreliable source for testing. It may well be Ella's finger nonetheless.

If the finger does belong to Saint Barbara, then I would guess that a finger was removed from her body at the time of the exhumation and at some point accidently switcheded with the finger belonging to Saint Elizabeth. I doubt however that that would have happened. If it did, that certainly is very embarrassing.

I read recently an already old (3 years) article of Sergey Fomine in the runet. The article is about Ioann Konstantinovitch, but at the end, Fomine writes that Ella had made her monastic consecration and had in religion the name of mother Alexia (in reference to her devoted saint Alexis of Moscow). There is no detail in this article: the author had already explained the case in: «Женская Оптина». Материалы к летописи Борисо-Глебского Аносина женского монастыря. Сост. С. и Т. Фомины. М. 1997 (Feminine Optina. Materials for the history of St-Boris-and-Gleb feminine monastery. By S. et T. Fomin. Moscou, 1997.
Does anyone read this book? Does anyone had more details? Was Elisabeth Feodorovna really tonsured, where and when, with this name?
I am extremly curious about this case and thank in advance for every information.

According to the book, "The Martha-Mary Convent and the Rule of Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr", it states:

On April 9, 1910 in the community's house church, Bishop Tryphon, with the approval of the Holy Synod, tonsured into the sisiterhood seventeen sisiters (including the Grand  Duchess). On the following day at the Divine Liturgy, with his Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Moscow present, the Grand Duchess was elevated to the rank of abbess. The next tonsuring of sisters occurred in October of the same year and again in April 1913.

The introduction to the book states that the account of life in the convent was written by Saint Elizabeth herself so the above posted paragraph was most likely written by her, referring to herself in the third person. 

There is no mention of her taking the name of Alexia, although there is mention of her being inspired by the example of Saint Alexis to serve God and neighbor.

Further on in the book, Saint Elizabeth describes the habit of tonsured nuns which coresponds to the habit she wore herself including wearing a cross. There is no mention of taking a new name.

I just found a website where you can take a virtual tour of Saint Mary Magdalene Russian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem , where the holy remains of Saints Elizabeth and Barbara are enshrined.

Exterior view of church:

Interior view 1: 
This is a lovely church.  
You won't be able to see the sarcophigi but they are located on either side of the iconostasis under their respective icons (Saint Elizabeth on the left: Saint Barbara on the right).

Interior view 2:

Maybe I should get a copy of "White Angel of Russia" then....

You can download the entire documentary here:

Then right click to "save target as" on the link that has the following date and numbers next to it:    26-Apr-2008 20:28           170953638

Depending on the speed of your computer, it may take a while to download, but it's worth it.

I am told that an English translation is being done.


Here is what is posted on Wikipedia ( about Sergei's grave and its curent location:

Grand Duke Sergei’s body was buried in a crypt of the Chudov Monastery within the precincts of the Moscow Kremlin. A memorial cross was erected on the spot where he was killed. After the downfall of the Romanovs, the cross was destroyed. The monastery itself was demolished in 1928, and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was built on the site. The burial crypt of the Grand Duke was located in a courtyard of that building - which had been used as a parking lot.

In 1990, building workers in the Kremlin discovered the blocked up entrance of the burial vault. The coffin was examined and found to contain the grand duke’s remains, covered with the military greatcoat of the Kiev regiment, decorations, and an icon. He had left written instructions that he was to be buried in the Preobrajensky uniform, but as his body was so badly mutilated this proved impossible. In 1995, the coffin was officially exhumed, and after a service in the Cathedral of the Archangel in the Kremlin, it was reburied in a vault of the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow on September 17, 1995.

Could be ...It has Peggy Hesse in it...

Then it is not the same documentary since Peggy Hesse is not shown in "White Angel of Russia". 

"White Angel of Moscow" involves a reporter visiting the various sites associated with Saint Elizabeth (e.g., Martha-Mary Convent, Moscow; the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Jerusalem; the mine shaft where she was thrown down; Alapaevsk, the Russian Church in Darmstadt; Sergei's tomb; etc).

I wonder if the documentary you saw is the same one now available on DVD and for sale at Light and Life Publishing:

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