Orthodox America

Schema-Abbess Sophia  

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The future Abbess-Confessor grew up in a wealthy landowner's family not far from the famous Optina Monastery where, as- a young woman she was inspired with the monastic ideal. She had a good voice and was sent to a musical conservatory, but by God's Providence a severe cold caused her to lose her voice and she was free to offer all her strengths and talents to God These she multiplied a hundred-fold, becoming a shepherdess of several monastic flocks, including that of the large Protection Convent in Kiev. -

As a highly experienced directress, Abbess Sophia helped hundreds of women and men in choosing the right path on which to serve God. At the same time, she was able to help discern the subtle snares of the enemy of our salvation at a crucial time when the danger of "renovationism" threatened to divide the Church. And when the Sergianist temptation arose, she immediately recognized its pernicious significance. In both cases she warned her flock so strongly and persuasively that she was soon banished by the enemies of Christ and His Church. For the rest of her life she endured great difficulties and deprivation in prisons and exile. Everywhere she continued to be a courageous confessor, secretly directing a catacomb group of nuns together with another confessor, Bishop Dama skin, who tonsured her in the Great Schema. Finally, her nuns were deported to the. Far East while Abbess Sophia was transferred from one prison to another. Worn out from her labors and weakened by the inhuman prison conditions, she became very ill and was released to die as a genuine passion- bearer for monastics of the last times.