Materials: lime board, levkas, egg tempera, gold leaf 23K
Saint Matrona the Wonderworker of Moscow (born Matrona Dmitrievna Nikonova, 1881 - May 2, 1952), is a renowned saint of the Russian Orthodox Church who had the gift of spiritual vision and the gift of healing from early childhood.
An account is preserved whereby St. John of Kronstadt, upon discerning the 14-year old Matrona among a crowd of pilgrims that had come to see him, asked everyone to step aside and let the girl come through and approach him. As she walked towards him he exclaimed: “Here is my successor, the eighth pillar of Russia.” To this day no one can explain the significance of that phrase spoken by him. However, the fact that Saint John of Kronstadt, known for his gift of spiritual foresight, singled Matrona out in the crowd and sought to converse with her, testifies to his having recognized the Holy seal on her, and how she would serve Russia and the Russian people during the persecution of the Church.
St. Matrona led an ascetic life on her bed of pain. She fasted constantly, slept little, her head resting on her chest, and her forehead had a small depression by the innumerable signs of the Cross that she made.
Matushka didn’t give sermons, she didn’t play the role of a teacher. She gave concrete advice on how to deal with this or that situation, and always prayed and blessed. In general she was not talkative; her answers were brief.
The life of St. Matrona reminds us that all of us are called to a life of holiness and that this is possible for all of us. She was not a nun, never attended a seminary, in fact was an illiterate, peasant woman yet was so filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit that she was able to see people's needs and sins, predict the future, and perform countless miracles even after her death. The Bible teaches that when a person is cleansed of their sinful passions and is filled with the Holy Spirit the presence of the Spirit produces certain "gifts" or "fruit". These include the ability to read the hearts of people, perform miracles, and predict future events, as well as having the characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. St. Matrona was immersed and "marinated" in the divine services of the Church, spending countless hours in her village church along with several hours daily of her own private prayer.
She was Orthodox in the deep traditional meaning of the word. Her loving compassion for people and her fidelity to the Holy Orthodox Church was the focus of her spiritual life. Her ascetic labor stemmed from the root of centuries of traditional piety, and this is precisely what happens to those who appeal to her for help: they are confirmed in Orthodoxy and a daily life of prayer. Hundreds of thousands of Orthodox people know of Matrona, or ‘Matronushka’ as many Russians lovingly call her. Everyone who asks for her protection and intercession before God with faith and love feels that she helps now, just as she did in her earthly life.
The Blessed Matrona, just like any true Christian zealot, taught people Christianity not so much by words, as by the deeds of her whole life. Physically blind, she taught and continues to teach people true spiritual vision.
Her feast day is commemorated by the Church on May 2. The readings for her feast day are Galatians 3:23-29, and Luke 7:36-50.
“Blessed Matrona, you who have great boldness before God, pray for us sinners!”