Moscow, March 12, 2018
Four holy God-pleasers have been newly-glorified among the saints by the Russian Orthodox Church. At its session last Wednesday, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church officially added three new names to the Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church and also approved the local veneration of a nun from the Estonian Pukhtitsa Monastery.
Having heard the report of His Grace Bishop Pankraty, the abbot of Valaam Monastery and the Chairman of the Synodal Commission for Canonizations, the Holy Synod decided to canonize Fr. Alexander Adrianov, and Archpriest Nikolai Chernishev and his daughter Barbara among the New Martyrs and Confessors. Fr. Alexander will be commemorated on November 12/25, and Fr. Nikolai and Barbara on December 20/January 2, the days of their respective martyrdoms, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The names of these three holy martyrs will be communicated to the primates of the fraternal Local Orthodox Churches for inclusion among the saints.
The Synod also heard Bp. Pankraty’s report on the petition of Abbess Philareta (Kalacheva) of the Holy Dormition Pukhtitsa Convent in Estonia for the canonization of the holy nun Mother Ekaterina (Malkov-Panina) among the number of the locally-venerated saints. The Synod established that her feast would be celebrated on April 22/May 5, and also gave its blessing to consider the remains of St. Ekaterina as holy relics, should they be uncovered. Icons of the new saint will also be painted.
Fr. Alexander Adrianov was a zealous priest of the Ekaterinburg Diocese whose whole life was consumed by service to his flock and love for others.
In the autumn of 1918, Fr. Alexander was the sole priest remaining in his area, as several others fled following the Bolsheviks’ killing of several clergy. He continued zealously serving and preaching.
Fr. Alexander was arrested in the night of November 8/21 during a Divine service and was shot soon thereafter on November 12/25. According to one eyewitness, Fr. Alexander died with a prayer on his lips. His body was found five days later, lightly covered with snow, with his arms crossed over his chest.
Archpriest Nikolai Chernishev served as a priest of what is today known as Udmurtia, east of Kazan, from 1914 until his death in 1919. He was repeatedly awarded by diocesan authorities for his impeccable service to the Orthodox Church. He founded the local Sobriety Society with the blessing of St. John of Kronstadt.
Fr. Nikolai had four children. Having been widowed at a young age, he lived with his youngest daughter Barbara who intentionally did not marry so as to remain with her father.
In August 1918, many workers of the area rose up against the Soviet authorities, but, despite the danger, Fr. Nikolai remained at his parish, admonishing the perishing, and inspiring his flock. His daughter Barbara meanwhile served the suffering as a sister of mercy.
The revolt was put down by the Red Army. An anti-religious debate was soon held in the local cathedral, with Fr. Nikolai giving a defense of the faith. He was arrested the next day. His daughter clung to him so tightly that she had to be arrested with him as well. Witnesses attest that Fr. Nikolai remained calm, prayerful, and faithful while in prison. He even asked for a stole to be brought to him so he could hear the confessions of his fellow prisoners.
Archpriest Nikolai and his daughter Barbara were shot on January 2, 1919 (new style). Before his execution, Fr. Nikolai was required to move his cross, but he objected, “I am going to die, then you can remove it.” They were both buried in the cemetery at the Transfiguration Cathedral. Their graves have become a place of veneration and there are instances of miraculous help by the prayers of Fr. Nikolai for overcoming alcoholism.
St. Ekaterina (Malkov-Panina) was born on May 15, 1889 in Finland in a family with six children. The future saint was distinguished by kindness and tenderness from an early age, and she loved to visit their local monastery.
The family later moved to Gatchina, and in 1914, Ekatarina entered the courses of the Sisters of Mercy and began to work in free hospitals. She was later part of a detachment that gave assistance to wounded soldiers.
She moved to Estonia in 1919 with her family and on July 5, 1922 was accepted as a nun of Pukhtitsa Monastery. From her first days in the monastery, she began to behave strangely, as a Fool-for-Christ. She was soon transferred to the Gethsemane Skete 18.5 miles away. She returned to the monastery at the beginning of World War II when the skete was closed.
In 1942 she relocated to Tallinn to care for her elderly parents. Her mother reposed in 1942, and her father in 1947, and she returned to the monastery, now openly behaving as a Fool-for-Christ.
The nuns remember that St. Ekaterina often took a special fast upon herself, saying she was preparing either to be tonsured, or to die, and it would turn out that another nun of the convent would soon be tonsured or die. She was widely revered as having the gift of foresight and healing, and many flocked to her for advice and prayers.
She was tonsured as a nun of the monastery in 1966. In her last years, she rarely left her home, but when she was seen around the monastery, the nuns understood that something important was about to happen. She was constantly in pain but did not show her suffering outwardly.
On May 5, 1968, on the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers, Mother Ekaterina peacefully reposed in the Lord. There are numerous known cases of miracles and healings by her prayers, both during and after hear earthly life.