Orthodox America

A Mother's Last Request  

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

My children:

       I am addressing myself to one of you three, or to all of you together, and I ask that you fulfill this last request, your final obligation towards me.

       Do not become despondent when you are left without me. God will a I w a y s be with you. You, Olga, never forget Papa, nor the brothers. Never aIlow a dark thought to come between you, and if you see on their part something bad, do not judge before you have given it serious consideration. And don't turn for help to anyone but God. The Lord will teach you how to act.

       It will be harder for Papa than for anyone else, since I have lived for so many years in his heart and before his eyes. That is why my move into my eternal "apartment" will be very difficult for him. His grief will be quiet, like his whole life--as pure as it has been and known to me alone, both in joy and in sorrow. At just such times remind him that he is not alone, that you are with him. But be careful, just as with a sick child. You'll heal his wounds with a story, not by scolding him. Don't let him go off to the club for too long; his health won't endure it and he will join me, but you still need him. Although you aren't aware of it, he is a great father and friend to you; he gave all he had and worked hard to make your lives happy.

       Likewise, take care of Sasha, love him. The Lord preserved him for us in answer to prayer, and because of this his cross will weigh heavily upon him. And don't neglect Vasya either [her brother]. He spent his whole life with me, and I love him more than anyone. If he gets sick, visit him; when he dies give him a proper burial . He loves you; and I ask that you love him.

       While you still have the opportunity, elevate the wonderworking icons by turn on the day of our anniversary, August 24: one year--the icon "Joy of All Who Sorrow", and the next year the Kazan Icon. If life should cast you in different directions and this is no longer possible, then you needn't do so. But in life's bitter moments don't forget to turn for help to the "Joy of All Who Sorrow.' No matter how great your request, She will fulfill it; there is no end to her merciful kindness. Also pray to St. Sergius of Radonezh. It is through his prayers that I have been with you this long--which means that he will not forget you either in his holy prayers to the Lord.

        Don't extinguish the vigil lamps. Light them not only in your own homes but even in other homes--if there is no one there to do it. Go to church more often and uphold all the traditions and rites of the Orthodox Church. Here you will find great power which can open the way to communion with God.

        Give my icon "Joy of All Who Sorrow" to Sashka.

        Come to me, to my grave, on the 9th, the 20th and the 40th days. And should you need to ask me anything, perhaps I shall answer, just as my dearest mother answered all my difficult questions about life. Well, that is all.

May the mercy of the Lord be with you all.

PS: Tell the boy that I loved him.


St. Petersburg. c. 1900