June 5 - The Venerable Euphrosyne, Abbess of Polotsk

She secretly left her father's house and went to a monastery. At that time she was only twelve years old . . .

The Venerable Euphrosyne, Abbess of Polotsk

The ways of the Lord are inscrutable. Some saints knew their calling even from childhood, and strove with all their strength to follow the path that God had set before them. The Venerable Euphrosyne, Abbess of Polotsk, whose memory the Orthodox peoples honor today, was one such saint.

In the world, she was called Predslava, the great-granddaughter of the Grand Prince Vladimir. She was intelligent, and wise beyond her years. Learning that her parents wanted to betroth her to one of the princes, she secretly left her father's house and went to a monastery. At that time she was only twelve years old, but none of her father's threats could turn her away from the path that she had chosen.

The abbess Romana, Predslava's aunt, blessed her to receive the monastic tonsure, seeing great understanding and 
a prayerful attitude in her. The strict monastic life did not seem oppressive to Euphrosyne. She wanted to do more and more ascetical labors.

She retired into seclusion, where she spent all the time in prayer, vigils, and the copying of spiritual books, saturating her already sharp mind with the wisdom of the holy fathers.

When the young nun had become spiritually strong, an angel appeared to her, showing her the place where she should found a monastery, for the Lord wished to lead many to the path of salvation through her in that place.

Euphrosyne founded Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery in a place called Seltso, where she taught girls her favorite occupation: copying books, as well as singing, sewing and other useful crafts. She became a spiritual mother for many, giving them her spiritual experience and the light of knowledge enlightened by prayer.

By virtue of her word and wisdom, the Venerable Euphrosyne made peace; not only in the souls of nuns, but also in all the Russian lands, because in the harsh times of the fragmentation of Russia, she made peace between many princes, nobles, and ordinary people with a gracious word of instruction.

Towards the end of her life the Venerable Euphrosyne's dream of visiting the holy places came to life. And it was there, in Jerusalem, in the Holy Land, where she peacefully departed to the Lord.

The fifth of June is the feast day of the Venerable Euphrosyne, Abbess of Polotsk.

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