Solomonia Yurievna Saburova was born in 1490 to Yury Konstantinovich Saburov. Descended from the boyar family of the Saburovs, her mother died when she was very young, so she was raised by her aunt Maria, the wife of Prince Vasily Semyonovich Starodubsky.

There is little written about her childhood. But in her early years, she was in a brides show for the Byzantine emperors and chosen out of 500 maidens to be the wife of Vasily Ivanovich, and they were married on September 4, 1505. The young couple was crowned by Metropolitan Simon in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. For the first time in Moscow history, the ruling monarch took as his wife, not a foreign princess or a Russian princess, but a bride from the family of the old Moscow boyars.

After twenty years of marriage, Solomonia never gave birth. Vasily was quite concerned, as he opposed his brothers or their possible heirs becoming contenders for the throne. Therefore, he forbade his brothers to marry until he had a son. Vasily decided for the betterment of the monarchy to divorce Solomonia. To Vasily’s request, Vassian Patrikeev touted, “You give me, unworthy, such a question that I have never met in Scripture, except for Herodias‘ question about the head of John the Baptist.” Vasily’s decision to divorce was supported by the Boyar Duma but not among the church hierarchy; Vassian PatrikeevMetropolitan Barlaam, and the Monk Maxim the Greek, who were all exiled, and for the first time in Russian history the Metropolitan was defrocked.

In November 1525, the marriage was annulled and Solomonia was forced to take the veil under the name of Sophia at the Nativity Monastery of Moscow. She was then moved to the Intercession Monastery in Suzdal, one of the many votive churches commissioned by Vasily and his wife in supplication for the birth of an heir.

Sigismund von Herberstein asserts in his Notes on Muscovite Affairs that she was forcefully taken to the convent, whereas the Russian chronicles tend to underline Solomonia’s submission to the sovereign’s will. There were rumors that Solomonia had given birth to a child named George within the walls of the monastery. After 17 years of monasticism, Sister Sophia died and was buried in the Suzdal Intercession Monastery on December 18, 1542.

In 1650, Patriarch Joseph allowed the Suzdal Archbishop to venerate her as a saint. Her icon, painted in the 17th century, has survived to this day and is revered as miraculous. In the middle of the 18th century. the question of canonization arose. Finally, with the blessing of the Holy Synod, her name was included in the Orthodox Church calendar of 1916.

Since 1984, by decree of Patriarch Pimen, the Monk, Sophia has been venerated in the host of locally revered saints of the Vladimir-Suzdal land; it was included in the Menaion and the Orthodox Church calendar. In the handwritten saints, she is referred to as “Holy Righteous Princess Sophia, nun, who was also a girl in the Intercession Monastery, a miracle worker.” In 2007, the veneration of Saint Sophia was brought to the all-church level, and her name was entered into the Orthodox Church Months.

Biographies:

  1. Abbess Quiz (Perminova). Venerable Sophia of Suzdal. Lucky Destiny: Eternal Retribution. Part 3
  2. Monuments of the Fatherland: Almanac of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments. Issues 43-44
  3. Venerable Sophia // Orthodox calendar
  4. Venerable Sophia of Suzdal, December 16/29, uncovering of the relics on August 1/14, 1995 (inaccessible link) . Retrieved August 14, 2017.

*Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

1821 – Young George Müller is jailed at Wolfenbüttel Castle (in Germany) on charges of theft and remained imprisoned until 22 January the following year. After his conversion, he became a faithful steward of contributions to Christian charities.

1919Wu Hongyu died in Shanghai. He was one of the first three priests ordained in the American Episcopal Church of China. He used a medical ministry to gain access to souls.

1974Evelyn “Granny” Brand, who had been an extraordinary missionary in the hill country; died in India. She wanted to complete the work begun by her husband and herself years earlier, but mission authorities would not let her. So upon her “retirement” she moved to the hills and worked there with great success for twenty-four years more until her death.

1975 – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa is founded. During the session unknown perpetrators hurled tear gas canisters into the assembly through a window, injuring seventeen delegates.

*Information retrieved from Christianhistoryinstitute.org and Rhemalogy.com.

*Photograph in header by Ludvig14 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62516537

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