April 24, 2015

Saint Elizabeth the Wonderworker of Constantinople

St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker (Feast Day - April 24)

From her birth, Elizabeth was revealed by God to be an elect vessel. In her youth, she undertook to tread the path of ascetic struggles and to dedicate her life as a bride of Christ. At a young age, she entered the Convent of Saint Kosmas and Damian in Constantinople, becoming one of the assembly of pious nuns.

The athlete of virtue never wore shoes and donned only one coarse outer garment with large sleeves; thus, she suffered the cold and ice of winter. She never bathed her body with water. Nourished on better hopes, she fasted for forty days, but never partook of oil for years. She disciplined her body and soul in this manner with a view to spiritual regeneration. For three years, fastening her mind only upon God, she never beheld the beauty and breadth of the sky. Immeasurably cheered by the promises of the Bridegroom, she scorned everything else as useless.

In addition to other virtues, through her unbounded love for Christ, she was conspicuous for gentleness, and tender-heartedness towards others, especially for those with spiritual and physical ills. Attaining the summit of virtue, Mother Elizabeth was vouchsafed the grace and gift of wonderworking. She cured many people of their various diseases and passions.

At her nightly prayers, made brilliant by the beams of virtue, she was seen to be resplendent with light. Purifying her soul and constantly cleansing its eye, she perceived the vision of God. Once, through her powerful intercession, manifesting the abundance of divine power, she slew a huge and poisonous serpent.

The luminary of piety, Elizabeth, allotted the time of her earthly sojourn by adding toil to toil. As a living monument of virtue, she finished the course of this life, entering peacefully in the Lord's rest in 540.

Upon her repose, the treasury of her relics, filled with God's grace, rendered healing to the sick and suffering who, in faith, came to her grave site. It is reported that even the soil about her tomb has proved to be a remedy for every sickness. Bringing this delightful account to its termination, we beg holy Mother Elizabeth for her salutary prayers before the throne of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

(Portions of her relics can be found at the Monastery of Saint Anna in Lygaria, Crete and the Monastery of Ntaou Penteli in Athens, Greece.)

From The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers, Holy Apostle's Convent, Buena Vista, CO, pp. 136-138.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
In thee the image was preserved with exactness, O Mother; for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow Christ, and by thy deeds thou didst teach us to overlook the flesh, for it passeth away, but to attend to the soul since it is immortal. Wherefore, O venerable Elizabeth, thy spirit rejoiceth with the Angels.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As a fair house of virtues and a temple of virginity, thou makest miracles pour forth abundantly as an unfailing fount of grace; and thou purgest all sickness from the body and soul, O Mother Elizabeth, for them that praise the Maker while crying out: Alleluia.