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5020Some Help Where it's Needed

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  • frmichaelc@aol.com
    Jul 7, 2001
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      While I was making a pilgrimage to Russia, my hostess insisted that I go to
      the small city of Murom on my way from Moscow to Diveevo. I knew nothing of
      Murom or its saints, and many (!) Orthodox were happy to enlighten me about
      them, often from personal experience of their intercession.

      I was particularly instructed to venerate the shrine of Sts. Peter &
      Fevronia. How could I be an Orthodox priest and not know them, many asked.
      And so they taught me. Now I can say that Sts. Peter and Fevronia are two
      of the most remarkable people that I "met" while there.

      Peter came from the noble family that ruled the city-state of Murom. He
      married Fevronia, a native of Ryazan and a woman noted for her wisdom. The
      people of Murom were initially resistant to the marriage, perhaps because
      Fevronia was not a local girl and in addition, came from an area known (at
      least to the Murom- ites) as a center of witchcraft and dvoeverie/syncretism.
      The young couple had to live on an island in the middle of the Oka river
      for a while, but ultimately were accepted by the people. It seems that
      Fevronia's charity, discretion, and deep piety played a big part in the
      city's acceptance of her. He was as reknowned for his fairness as a prince
      as his wife was known for her kindness to the poor. They had a famously
      happy, satisfying, and full marriage.

      After a full civil and family life, and having "seen their children's
      children," the royal couple retired to monasteries by mutual consent. He
      took the name "David", she - "Ephrosynia"; they are commemorated as saints
      under their secular names, however. The monasteries, next to each other,
      exist to this day (both were closed at least briefly under the Soviet
      persecution). The relics of Sts. Peter and Fevronia are now preserved
      together, enshrined in the women's monastery. The men's monastery enshrines
      the relics of three other sainted princes of Murom.

      It is said that when St. Peter lay dying in his monastery, he asked to see
      Fevronia. She learned of this while working at some kind of women's
      handiwork, and replied that he would have to wait until she had finished her
      obedience! At its conclusion, she went to bid her much-loved spouse
      farewell, and he died peacefully.

      The two are much invoked in Russia for happy married life, and especially for
      making a wise decision in choosing a marriage partner.
      Their feast day is June 25/July 8 - the same day as the Martyr Fevronia.

      Here is my clumsy translation of their troparion:

      tone 8

      As a most honored scion of a pious root wast thou, /and didst live well in
      piety, O blessed Peter; /thus with thine helpmeet, the wise Fevronia,
      pleasing God in the world, / you both were vouchsafed the life of monastic
      saints. / with them, pray to the Lord that your fatherland may be preserved
      from harm / for we honor you ceaselessly.

      Through their prayers may God bless the marriages (and the marriage choices)
      of all the readers of this list.

      priest Michael Carney


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