Flowers for Matronushka

St. Matrona's relics at Pokrov Monastery, where they now lay. Photo: St. Matrona's relics at Pokrov Monastery, where they now lay. Photo:

In the distant 1980s, before St. Matrona’s relics had been uncovered, people who were suffering, having heard about miracles would come to her grave in Danilov Cemetery, modest, but always well-kempt, just like today, and would pray and ask Matronushka to resolve a seemingly unresolvable problem, and, to their joy and amazement, they would see that these problems were soon resolved and disappeared in a miraculous manner.

St. Matrona's grave at Danilovsky Cemetery St. Matrona's grave at Danilovsky Cemetery
It happened with me at the end of the 1980s, when our country was quickly toppling into the abyss, when store shelves were empty, mountains of trash were piled up on the streets, well-fed politicians competed in rhetoric, psychics and sorcerers were treating everyone on television, and the bulk of the population still worked honestly, but wasn’t receiving a salary, was reduced to poverty, and despaired. Difficulties overtook my family. They stopped paying me at work, but my wife, my son, a student, and my year-old daughter were waiting for me at home. I didn’t know how to trade something or resell something, and my soul just couldn’t accept such a thing. I was seriously grieved by this turn in my life, and I frantically searched for a way out of this situation. My good friend advised me to go to Matronushka’s grave, to tell her everything and to ask for her help. She explained how to find Danilovsky Cemetery and her grave. I listened to her advice skeptically enough: Before that time, I had never had to ask for help from the deceased, but, so as not to offend my friend, I promised to go there sometime. A little while later, when the situation had really escalated, I remembered my friend’s advice, and got on the tram at Paveletsky Train Station and rode to the specified location. To my surprise, I rode for a long time and arrived in Cheremushki, not seeing the Danilovsky Cemetery anywhere.[1]

Upset by my failure, I called my friend and received a reprimand for my distrust and a sound answer to my question: “Why didn’t I make it?” “Matushka didn’t allow it.” In the morning I prayed and left again, this time on the subway. It was cold on the street and, having gone a good halfway, I suddenly realized I hadn’t bought any flowers. I didn’t want to go back to the subway, and I somehow inwardly felt that it wasn’t necessary. The picture was clearly painted in my mind: There’s a flower shop to the left of the cemetery entrance, there’s buckets inside with flowers, and in one white bucket burgundy roses, one of them taller than the others. I arrived at Danilovsky Cemetery—a small store to the left, and inside—that picture my mind had drawn. Having bought a burgundy rose towering over the bouquet, I found Matronushka’s grave. There were no visitors, just one elderly nun standing off to the side who gave me a quick but very careful once over. As my friend had instructed, I knelt down and laid the rose, prostrated towards her grave and began to quietly to tell her about my problems and to ask for help in resolving them. Having told her everything, I got up from my knees. I crossed myself and thanked Matronushka and got ready to leave, still mentally wound up in my affairs and concerns. The nun quietly touched my sleeve and held out a bag with some sand: “Take this with you, son. Matushka will help, and remember her lessons,” and just as quietly as she had approached me, she went back to the grave

Almost twenty-five years have passed since this first visit to Matronushka. It all happened and came to pass as the nun had said; I was quickly offered job—well-paying and in my specialty. All these years, with my family, with friends, with relatives, and now with grandchildren, we go to holy Blessed Matrona of Moscow’s resting place, we share our joys, we ask for her help, and we are certain and firmly know that Matushka hears, sees, and instructs us, and prays for our health and well-being, and sometimes she reminds us of this lesson from a quarter of a century ago.

St. Matrona's grave at Danilovsky Cemetery. St. Matrona's grave at Danilovsky Cemetery.

Last summer, my daughter and granddaughter and I were going once again to Matronushka, and my daughter said with a smile, “Papa, look, we’re coming up on the store, but there’s no burgundy roses… Will you take a different color?” to which I responded without hesitation that this simply cannot be. We stopped into the store, and there were no burgundy roses—only white. When I asked about burgundy, the saleswoman told me they were only bringing white all week. My daughter and granddaughter looked at me perplexed, with sympathy, and I asked the girl, “Are there any unpacked flowers in the refrigerator?” “Yes,” she said. “Bring them here, please…” She went to the refrigerator, brought a package with flowers, unwrapped the paper, and gasped. All of the roses in the pack were white, except for one—burgundy. My daughter simply exclaimed: “Papa, look!” to which I noted, “It’s not me—Matronushka gave you a lesson. Don’t doubt, don’t try to investigate, but simply believe!” And my five-year-old granddaughter wisely added, “Matushka loves us and is waiting for us, and we love her. Let’s visit her again sooner.”

Happy and inspired, we stood in line to our intercessor and prayerful protectress, beloved and dear for every Russian Orthodox person; holy, kind, strict, and close—so close that they turn to her in a familiar way: “Matushka Matronushka, hear us and help us.”

She hears and helps, and prays, and rejoices, and grieves together with us! Go, ask—and it shall be given according to your faith!

Pray to God for us, holy and blessed Eldress Matrona!

Leonid Garkotin
Translated by Jesse Dominick


[1] He had gone about six miles too far.—Trans.

Michael5/5/2018 4:57 am
Being Greek Catholic does not prevent me from invoking St. Matrona and experiencing the effects of her intercession.
Narine3/23/2018 9:25 pm
I am armenian. I love all the armenian saints, their prayers, miracles, i love the orthodoxy and saints
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