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Elisabeth Feodorovna

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Subject Religion » Christianity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631232032.2001.x


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(1864–1918) Daughter of Grand Duke Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt and Princess Alice of England, in 1884 Elisabeth married the Grand Duke Sergei Romanov. Her sister, Alexandra, married Tsar Nicholas II of Russia ( see passion bearers ). Elisabeth embraced eastern orthodoxy from conviction. When her husband was assassinated in 1905, she visited and forgave his imprisoned assassin, then disposed of her wealth and worked to organize a sisterhood dedicated to the Myrophoroi (myrrh-bearers) Martha and Mary. A convent was founded in Moscow centred on a new hospital, orphanage, facilities for consumptive women and other social services. Elisabeth's attempt to revive the order of deaconesses did not succeed, but the Martha and Mary sisterhood helped to keep social work high on the agenda of the Orthodox church, continuing John of Kronstadt's work after his death in 1908. The foundress and her community enjoyed the public support of Gavrilii Zirianov (d. 1915), a noted elder of Pskov. Under Soviet rule the building became an art restoration centre before being returned to the church. The nuns continued their outreach work among the poor and needy, particularly of the notorious Khitrovo area. In 1918 under the Bolsheviks Elisabeth was deported to Alapaevsk in Siberia where, with her helper, the nun Barbara, and other Romanovs, she was thrown down a disused mineshaft and left to die. Their relics ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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