Orthodox America


  St. Dorothy of Kashin


Commemorated Sep. 24 and February 6

 Troparion, Tone 8

In thee, O mother, was truly preserved what is according to the image of God; for, having taken up they cross, thou didst follow after Christ, and thou didst teach in act to despise the flesh for it passeth away, but to be diligent over the soul as a thing immortal. Wherefore thy spirit, O St. Dorothy, doth rejoice together with the Angels.

St. Dorothy was born in 1549. Her whole life since she was twelve years old, passed in the terrible time of war. Some say she was from a royal family, but not much is known about her before she became a nun. She once was married and had a son. She lived with her family near the city of Kashin which is north of Moscow in Russia. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, Rashin was destroyed by war, and St. Dorothy's husband was killed defending the city.

Having lost her earthly happiness and no longer young, St. Dorothy decided to give up the world darkened by evil where happiness does not last. She wanted to seek through prayers and struggles heavenly and eternal blessedness. She chose for herself peaceful place in the Convent of the Meeting of the Lord in Kashin.

The whole area where the peaceful village once was became a wild place of dark forests, gloomy lakes and ponds, with many birds and wild animals. This was also the country where many desert-saints once lived. These angel-like men were very dear to St. Dorothy's heart, which is why she chose the Kashin woods for her new life.

 The convent was also destroyed by the war. There was much hard work and struggles ahead for St. Dorothy. She made herself a small cell in the middle of the ruined convent. Here she gave herself up to prayer, fasting, obedience and other holy struggles known only to God. In the ruins she found a large icon of the Mother of God which she kept in her cell. Later many miracles were performed through this icon by the Mother of God. Holy Dorothy also worked hard to help the ~ people living in the city and the surrounding areas. By her kindness she helped everyone who suffered, in those hard times. Everything she owned she used to rebuild the convent, or to help the poor. She kept nothing for herself except prayer s, struggles and tears.

 

She once lived well, but now she did not even know if she would have anything to eat. In her one-windowed cell, hidden from people, she cried and prayed day and night before the Lord God for her own salvation, the suffering city, and the holy convent. She only wanted one thing: the hardest struggles to cleanse her soul from sins and prepare her for a life of eternal blessedness in heaven.

The Lord heard the prayers of St~ Dorothy. Soon after the danger was passed, the sisters returned to the convent rejoicing. Because of St. Dorothy's holy life and her deeds of mercy, many other women who were seeking salvation for their souls came. When enough sisters had gathered together, an abbess was needed for them. But St. Dorothy, hating all glory, refused the position and remained for the rest of her life as an example of great love and trust in God.

After twenty years of struggle in the Convent of the Meeting of the Lord, the holy Dorothy came to the end of her earthly life. She was eighty years old. On Sept. 24, 1629, St. Dorothy peacefully died in the Lord. She passed to the life made ready for all who love God, from an earthly to a heavenly home, where she has greater boldness to pray to God for us.

There were many miracles of healing and helps worked at her grave for those who came in faith. She also appeared many times after her death to the sisters in the convent and worked many miracles there.

Today we do not know what has happened to the convent in communist Russia. But those who love God's saints will not forget St. Dorothy of Kashin. And in heaven she continues to pray to God for ail the suffering Russian land and for all who venerate her with faith and love. 

(Condensed by Ellen Anderson from The Northern Thebaid, St. Herman of Alaska Press)

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