October 24, 2022

Venerable Eudokia the Fool for Christ of Ryazan (+ 1890)

St. Eudokia the Fool for Christ (Feast Day - October 24)

Eldress Eudokia (Plyakhanova) was born in 1830 in the city of Tula.

Throughout her earthly life she was unceasingly aflame with the Spirit of God. All her mind and thoughts were in heaven.

At the age of twenty, Eudokia decided to enter the path of monastic life. Her parents blessed her and she went to consult a Christian priest who lived in Tula. He turned his head in the direction of the Holy Protection Monastery in MIkhailova of Ryazan, and said to her: "Darling, you are for there." After this advice, the young girl with a bag on her shoulders went to the Holy Protection Monastery, where she was received by the Eldress Elpidophora (Afanasova).

She served as the cell attendant for one of the strictest nuns of the monastery, and in her free time from bearing obediences, she would help the other elderly sisters, chopping wood, washing clothes, and carrying water from the well.

In the seventh year of her monastic life, Eudokia entered the path of the highest form of asceticism, which is foolishness for the sake of Christ.

Eudokia diligently attended the services, afterwards trying to return to her cell as soon as possible, where she devoted all her time to prayer. As before, she tried with all her might to serve others — she washed the sisters’ clothes, sewed their shoes, and sometimes knit caps out of marsh grass.

In the summer the blessed one would wear warm clothes, and in the winter she went about barefoot. She kept a very strict fast. If she noticed any reverence from the sisters of the monastery, then she became sharp, trying everything to push them away.

She rarely ate. When she wandered around Tula to visit relatives, they gave her boiled potatoes and bread and that's how she lived.

The blessed woman always had a kitten in her arms, and when asked why she did so, she told them it was to keep warm.

She walked quickly and spoke little. Above all, she was going deeper into herself.

Offerings were never accepted by her. She lived in a cold attic in the winter, which was terribly cold, for seventeen years.

One day, while she was resting in the forest (when she was traveling she didn't like to sleep in the villages, but somewhere near a small grove of trees), two wolves approached her, came up to the traveler, and without bothering her, turned and went away. When a girl, to whom Eudokia mentioned it, asked her if she was afraid, she replied: "Not at all."

On another occasion, during the melting of the ice, Eudokia crossed safely to the other side of the river, when it seemed that there was no way to do so.

At one point, she was forced out of the attic and moved to a cellar under a cell, where she lived for five years. And when the nun in the cell required the room, she relocated to the barn.

The grace of God rested upon her and the Lord, even in earthly life, honored her with the gift of clairvoyance and wisdom. She foresaw the destruction of many and exhorted them to repent. When she saw a heart ready to receive counsel, she was filled with the inspiration of God, and sometimes spoke for hours with wisdom about salvation.

She was brave with an infinite love for God, selfless in helping everyone, she endured whatever God sent her without complaint. She was a great ascetic of prayer, had the gift of inner silence, and was full of the Holy Spirit.

With the blessing of the abbess, the eldress finally had to find her own stone cell, but even there she tried to make severe conditions for life: she didn’t heat the stove and she would leave the doors half-open in the most severe frost. She had chickens and pigeons where she lived, using all of this to try to fence herself off from people. Her cell had only icons, a small table, a bench, some shabby clothes, and a few dishes, and there was also a coffin standing inside it.

Eudokia suffered many trials, injustices and insults.

With age, Eudokia’s legs began to seriously hurt from the cold and long standing in prayer and they began to turn gangrene. She endured the severe, mortal illness with the same humility, betraying nothing of her sufferings. And until her final minute, she had compassion on the suffering.

Before her death, blessed Eudokia was constantly receiving communion. Quietly and peacefully she rested in the Lord on October 24, 1890, aged 61. She was buried not far from the altar of the Holy Protection Church.

On the fortieth day after her death, Venerable Eudokia appeared to a nun in a dream and told her that she had found mercy and grace in the Lord. She was beautiful, and her face shone with infinite heavenly joy. When the nun asked for her a blessing, the blessed one said to her: "Because you treated me like a mother after my death, I will not leave you."

She added: "Try to struggle. In the church, always stand with fear of God, remember that this is His house, and at night get up and pray!"