Cities in Russia were named in honor of St. Catherine, not the Tsarina, that the lives of their people would pass under her prayerful protection, that they would have a guideline, an ideal, an example, according to which simple, and rich, and poor, and noble, and common people could acquire the greatest strength of spirit, capable of making of an ordinary man a genius of spirit, a hero, and holy person.
This year many hundreds of pilgrims came to the monastery for the feast of Saint Catherine. Bishop Theophylaktos represented the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Bishop Meletios and Bishop Nicholas represented the Patriarch of Alexandria. They were joined by clergy and pilgrims from Greece, Georgia, and Russia.
Pilgrms approach one by one to kiss the Saint’s precious relics, each with the secret prayer closest to his heart, and then bow to receive the ring blessed by her grace, to be worn forever in mystical union with the Heavenly Bridegroom – and all those illumined by the Holy Light of Sinai to exchange the worship of this world’s false gods for union with the Most High – inspired by the radiant example of our Princess among the Saints, the Holy Great-Martyr and All-Wise Bride of Christ, Catherine of Alexandria.
And to her also occurred what we read today in the Gospel passage appointed for her commemoration day; about what will happen when the end of time approaches: There will be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, people will rise up against people, nations against nations; hatred will possess thousands of people…
Introducing herself, the saint confessed her faith in the One True God and with wisdom exposed the errors of the pagans. The beauty of the maiden captivated the emperor. In order to convince her and to show the superiority of pagan wisdom, the emperor ordered fifty of the most learned philosophers and rhetoricians of the Empire to dispute with her, but the saint got the better of the wise men, so that they came to believe in Christ themselves.
After praying fervently that night, St. Katherine fell asleep and dreamt that she was standing before the Virgin and Child. The Child’s face was turned away from her. When His mother asked Him to look at the beautiful girl, He said He wouldn’t until she changed her pagan ways and returned to the holy monk for guidance. Eagerly St. Katherine did so. The monk taught her about the One True God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and the Saviour of Mankind. St. Katherine soon believed in Jesus Christ with all her heart and was baptized.