Holy Nun Martyr Matrona (Vlasova) Holy Confesser Matrona was born in 1889 in the village of Puzo, Nizhny Novgorod governate (now called Suvorovo), to a peasant family. She was orphaned at age six and was given for her upbringing to the St. Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery. It was discovered that the girl has a talent for drawing, and she was given an obedience in the iconography workshop. Ryassaphore Nun Matrona lived in the convent for thirty-two years, in obedience and prayer, until the convent was closed by the communists in 1927.
Matushka settled in the village of Kuzyatovo, Ardatov region, along with three other sisters from Diveyevo. The nuns served in the local church, and earned their living by handicrafts. In April of 1923, the sisters were arrested on the accusation of anti-soviet agitation. On May 21, Sister Matrona was sentenced to three years imprisonment in the Dmitrov camp in the Moscow region, which was considered one of the hardest camps.
After serving her sentence she got a job at the church in the village of Verigin, Gorky oblast. She sang in the choir, served as the guard, and cleaned the church. On November 10, 1937, Matushka was arrested a second time, accused of belonging to a “counter-revolutionary church-fascist organization.” At questioning she refused to give evidence and did not plead guilty.
Ryassaphore Nun Matrona was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in Karlag [the prison camp in Karaganda, Kazakhstan], where she worked in the hospital as a cleaning lady. The camp administration noticed her conscientious work and modest behavior. After she was released, she settled in the village of Vyezd near Arzamas (today one of the Diveyevo sketes is located there). As before, her main occupation was serving in the church.
On October 19, 1949, Matushka was again arrested on the basis of her previous case (1937) and sent into exile in Kazakhstan. She was accused of conducting “enemy work.” her accusers tried to get her to give false witness against the priest of the church in the village of Verigin, but the interrogators’ efforts were in vain. Even in case documents there is a statement that “the interrogation records contain no statements of compromise against other persons by the arrested M. G. Vlasova.”
Holy Confessor Matrona of Diveyevo spent seventeen years altogether in prison camps. Her brother Andrei wrote a letter in 1954 interceding for his sister, that she be released. She lived the final years of her life with her brother’s family in her native village of Puzo.
Sister Matrona was very humble and quiet. She prayed the greater part of the day. The church was closed, and so the Diveyevo sisters read the cycle of services in their homes, despite the many bans and persecutions.
Matushka died peacefully on Novemer 7, 1963. She was buried to the left of the graves of Holy Martyrs Eudocia, Daria, Daria, and Maria of Puzo. On October 6, 2001, by resolution of the Holy Synod, Rysaphore Nun Matrona (Vlasova) was ranked among the saints. The holy confessor’s relics were uncovered on September 5, 2007. They now rest in the Kazan Cathedral in Diveyevo Monastery.