On a Miracle of Blessed Lyubushka of Susanino

This miracle of Blessed Lyubushka of Susanino occurred exactly thirty years ago, during the snowy winter of 1993...

On Blessed Lyubushka

Blessed Lyubushka of Susanino Blessed Lyubushka of Susanino Brief information about the life of Blessed Lyubushka of Susanino is as follows:

She was born on September 4/17, 1912 in Smolensk province1 to a peasant family with many children. Her full name was Lyubov Ivanovna Lazareva. Her mother died very early, and her father died during the period of political repressions, so there were many orphans. Lyubushka lived with a relative for some time, and when she turned eighteen, she came to Leningrad to her older brother. At first, she worked at one job, but then decided to choose the path of wandering for Christ’s sake. Her spiritual father was the Venerable Elder Seraphim of Vyritsa.

Lyubushka made many pilgrimages to holy sites, monasteries and churches. But she always returned to Vyritsa. Finally, in the 1970s, she took up her residence there in the house of a pious woman, Lukiya Mironova. A few years later, they moved together to the village of Susanino in the Leningrad region. There Lyubushka received suffering people in a house at the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. There she became widely known, and Orthodox people began to flock to her with their sorrows and needs. Lyubushka meekly accepted everyone, and various miracles happened through her prayers. She prayed in an unusual way—she would circle her finger around her palm, whispering her requests quietly. And the Lord listened to her humble petitions and fulfilled them.

Blessed Lyubushka's favorite icon was the Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, and in her cell she prayed much in front of a copy of this icon, conversing with the Mother of God. According to people who knew her well, Lyubushka hardly ever slept—she often spent nights in prayer, only allowing herself to take a short nap while sitting on the couch. She spoke little and was taciturn.

Just before her death, Lyubushka moved to the convent in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos in the town of Vyshny Volochok in the Tver region, which was then just being revived. There she fell asleep in the Lord on September 11, 1997. The eldress was buried at the chapel by the sanctuary of the magnificent Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. Her beloved Kazan Icon, in front of which she used to pray in her cell, is at her tomb.

Many of the faithful who turn to Lyubushka in their prayers receive help and comfort from her.

The miracle that happened to my sister Svetlana

Blessed Lyubushka of Susanino in church Blessed Lyubushka of Susanino in church I will share with readers the miracle of the blessed eldress, of which I became an eyewitness. I saw Lyubushka only once in the winter of 1993. And that meeting was imprinted on my memory for the rest of my life, brightening it up with a gentle Heavenly light.

It was preceded by sad events. My younger sister Svetlana then lived in the city of Irkutsk with her husband, who worked in a military unit on night duty.

One day, when he was on duty, his relative called on Svetlana in the evening. Svetlana said that her husband was on night duty. The man was about to leave, but in the hallway he asked her to give him a hammer (allegedly to mend shoes). Suspecting nothing wrong, Svetlana handed him the instrument. Seizing the moment, he began to beat her, defenseless, on the head with the hammer. Svetlana fell. The criminal tried to strangle her, and she started wheezing and lost consciousness. Thinking that he had killed her, he began to search through the apartment in order to rob it. Meanwhile, Svetlana came around and rushed out of the apartment. Covered in blood, she ran down the street in the December Siberian frost in a housecoat in the snow, almost barefoot. The criminal ran out after her. She managed to run into a police department— fortunately in the 1990s they were open around the clock in our cities. Thus she escaped a brutal murder.

But that was just the beginning... Svetlana was seriously wounded and was in a state of shock. She was rushed to a first-aid center, given medical assistance, and her wounds were bandaged. Later, during the examination, it turned out that not only had her skull been damaged, but also her brain. My sister was admitted to the hospital. The doctors predicted only two outcomes: either death or severe mental disability if she should survive.

It happened in December 1993. A relative of ours who flew from Irkutsk to Moscow told me about the tragedy. He also said that my sister needed a special drug for the brain, which was not available in Irkutsk—cerebrolysin.

Surprisingly, the day before that meeting a friend of mine suggested that I go to Susanino to Blessed Lyubushka, saying that she was a true ascetic. We packed up and appointed the day of our departure for St. Petersburg for one of those days. It was as if someone had specially planned that wonderful trip for us in advance for such an occasion.

After a good cry, I decided to go to the blessed eldress to ask for her prayers for my sister. We set off, first travelling by fast train to St. Petersburg, then by local train to Susanino.

It was a bright snowy Sunday afternoon. The trees were covered in a fluffy hoarfrost; it was frosty and majestic. I felt a load off my mind.

The church was packed; the Divine Liturgy was going on. I was thinking about the blessed eldress: “Where is she? How will I recognize her?” Everyone was standing sedately, immersed in prayer, and only an old woman with a childlike face was wandering back and forth through the church, as if not hearing the singing. She was a strange old woman with a white headscarf over her forehead, in a long pink cotton blouse with two large bulging pockets stuffed with all sorts of delicious things—cookies, sweets and tangerines—which cheerfully peeked out of her pockets. Accustomed to perfect order at services in our Moscow church, I was displeased with such unceremonious behavior during the Liturgy…

When the service was over, we were told that we could get to Blessed Lyubushka right there, in the annex to the church, where there was already a queue. After waiting, I entered the cell with trepidation, where I was met by two nimble women who looked after the eldress. They pointed out where I should go, and I saw the same old lady in a pink blouse! She was standing and looking at me calmly...

The gentle gaze of her Heavenly eyes touched me so deeply that I knelt down in front of her and began to tell her with tears what tragedy had befallen my dear younger sister. I begged her to help her. Lyubushka turned away from me silently, went up to the open window and began to look up into the sky through it. It seemed to me that it lasted quite a long time: I was still on my knees, while she was standing by the window. Since she was silent, I thought that the eldress did not want to talk to me because of my sins, and I was about to leave. I looked questioningly at the two women and asked them in a whisper if I should leave. They shushed me and said that Lyubushka was praying for us.

And indeed, at last Lyubushka turned around and said in a low voice that everything would be well with my sister. That's all. Then she asked me where I was from and what my occupation was. I replied that I was studying at an iconography school in Moscow. She gave me instructions and predicted my future as an icon-painter. Everything was brief, concise, in a few words, but as deep and powerful as the Gospel words, which transform your whole life...

This is exactly what happened, as Lyubushka had predicted.

I left her absolutely different—refreshed, inspired, and relieved. My soul was transformed.

When I got to Moscow, I immediately began to look for cerebrolysin. With difficulties I got this drug and went to the airport. No sooner had I entered the terminal building than I saw a tall priest in black vestments standing in front of the entrance with a box, collecting funds for a church under restoration. I went up to him and asked for his blessing and prayers for my flight. He blessed me. At that time, in the early 1990s, it was a real wonder to see a priest at an airport...

There were long queues at the ticket offices for many hours. So, there were no tickets for me. I got frustrated, but suddenly my gaze fell on two windows off to the side—there were no people in front of them, and at the top there was a huge sign reading, “RESERVATIONS” (or something like that). I rushed there and implored them to help me fly to Irkutsk. To my surprise, a young lady there met me halfway and, lo and behold, a ticket was found for me! After I had visited Lyubushka everything went in a miraculous way. Our airplane took off. And although the flight was complicated (a blizzard, terrible turbulence, our airplane was denied landing by the Irkutsk Airport, then it flew in the other direction, landing at some shabby airfield). But nevertheless, I reached Irkutsk.

I walked home with an inner shudder; what would my parents say about my sister? Was she alive? Was she conscious?...

I rang the doorbell. My radiant younger sister opened the door with a big smile! I was speechless, not expecting such an obvious, real, and great miracle... I could just barely say, “Why aren't you in the hospital?...”

Svetlana said that she had been discharged from the hospital the day before. All the doctors were shocked that she had suddenly regained consciousness and rose. They could not find an explanation—they had never seen such a thing in medical practice when an nearly dead patient suddenly came back to life and rose from his sickbed! No brain damage was detected, but for the sake of order she was put under observation for a year.

A year passed, and no deviations from her usual full life were observed. Svetlana was taken off observation. She became completely healthy, and there were no bad consequences at all... And only the cerebrolysin, which she never took, reminded us of that story for many years...

Lyubushka saved the life of my sister, a wonderful person who was not yet baptized. She had been procrastinating and refusing Baptism. But at that time, she finally agreed. I brought her three crosses from Moscow to choose from for Baptism. My sister meekly chose a cross for herself and was baptized! Her soul was born into Eternal life.

And this is the merit of our beloved Eldress Lyubushka!

Nun Ioanna (Rodnina),
the healed woman’s sister
Translation by Dmitry Lapa



1 Near the town of Sukhinichi in what is now the Kaluga region.—Trans.

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