September 22, 2015

Saint Paraskeva (or Pasha) Ivanovna of Sarov - Diveyevo (+ 1915)

St. Paraskeva of Sarov (Feast Day - September 22)

She came from a peasant family of the Tambov province, and was called Irina. Her parents gave her in marriage and she lived for fifteen years with her husband, without bearing any children. Five years later her husband died, and Irina suffered much. While on a pilgrimage in Kiev, she came to abandon the world forever and decided to devote her life to God alone. In accordance with the providence of God, the landowners expelled her, and for five years she lived in her native village on the street, suffering privation. Finally, she was secretly tonsured with the name Paraskeva in Kiev. 

She lived for thirty years in the woods of Sarov in a cave dug with her own hands, suffering various kinds of privations. Already at that time she began to be considered to be a blessed one and clairvoyant, and the people venerated her and asked for her prayers. At that time the Lord allowed her to endure the exploit of St. Seraphim of Sarov: she was cruelly beaten by robbers, almost to death.

For several years Paraskeva saved herself in the woods of Sarov, but six years before her death Pelagia Ivanovna began to live for long periods in Diveyevo, and after her death she moved there completely. There she nursed and fussed over some children's dolls, which she called her children.

Her glace was exceptionally kind. She spent nights in prayer, and strictly watched that the sisters should daily go to the services in church, and get up at night to pray at midnight. The blessed one wove stockings while praying noetically. She also took on the exploit of wandering, often going from one place to another, changing cells and distant obediences. She mowed the grass with a sickle while making prostrations and praying. Blessed Pasha made prophecies by means of the dolls, and, according to the witness of the "Chronicle", there were so many cases of her clairvoyance that it was impossible to collect and write them all down (p. 848). The spiritual world was opened to her, she saw the souls and knew the thoughts of those who came to her and surrounded her. She was often heard speaking with the saints and the Mother of God.

According to Diveyevo tradition, during the triumphant glorification of St. Seraphim in 1903, the Tsar and Tsaritsa visited blessed Pasha in her cell. It was her custom to put a lot of sugar in the tea of her visitors if something bad was going to happen to them. So much sugar was put in the Tsar's tea that it spilled over. She foretold them the birth of an heir, and also the fall of Russia and the Dynasty, the devastation of the Church and a sea of blood. After this his Majesty sought her counsel on all serious questions. Before her death, Blessed Praskeva made full prostrations before the portrait of his Majesty, foretelling his holiness. Saint Praskeva Ivanovna reposed On September 22nd in 1915 at the age of 120. Her relics rest in Diveyevo Monastery.