Synaxis of All Saints of Diveevo
Commemorated on June 14
Saint Helena of Diveyevo, the disciple of St. Seraphim of Sarov
Commemorated on May 28
Helena Vasilyevna Manturova continued directly in the tradition of Mother Alexandra with the blessing of Fr. Seraphim. The Lord chose her for Himself. Having from childhood “an extremely happy character, love for secular, social life and an attraction for merry-making and entertainments,” she was preparing to marry when she suddenly and for a reason unknown even to herself rejected her bridegroom. Soon the Lord led His chosen one out of the world, having shown her in a vision a monstrous snake that was ready to devour her and from which she was saved by the Mother of God. Then Helena Vasilyevna vowed to enter a monastery. She completely rejected secular life, read much in the works of the Holy Fathers, prayed and worked on herself. For three years St. Seraphim prepared her for entrance into his community, which took place in 1825. He prophetically foresaw her path in life and ordered her in everything to imitate Mother Alexandra. Mother Helena struggled in unceasing prayer, contemplation and complete silence. Once, when Helena was looking after her cell-mate Ustinia, who was sick with consumption, the latter was taken up into heaven and foretold what God had prepared for them both.
Her life ended in a very wonderful manner: in obedience to St. Seraphim, she died instead of her brother Michael Vasilyevich Manturov. Before death she was taken up to the dwellings of paradise, where she contemplated God in the form of ineffable Fire, communed with the All-Holy Theotokos, who showed her the lot of the present, past and future Diveyevo sisters (pp. 420-423). She reposed on May 28, 1832, and during the funeral liturgy she thrice smiled in the coffin as if she were alive. Soon St. Seraphim revealed that Holy Mother Helena “has been counted worthy to sit not far from the Holy Trinity, as a virgin”, and that she was “a maid of honour of the Heavenly Queen”, and that together with St. Martha she had been counted worthy by God of incorrupt relics for the virtue of unquestioning obedience (p. 425).
As Archimandrite Seraphim indicates in his “Chronicle”, miracles and healings have often been worked at the grave of Helena Vasilyevna Manturova. They have been recorded in the community (p. 732).
What is Paradise? St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalivia says,
It is Christ. Paradise begins here and now. It is exactly the same: those who experience Christ here on earth, experience Paradise… Our task is to attempt to find a way to enter into the light of Christ.
Christ is everything. He is our love. He is the object of our desire. This passionate longing for Christ is a love that cannot be taken away. This is where joy flows from.
Christ is the source of life, the source of joy, the source of the true light, everything. whoever loves Christ and other people truly lives life. Life without Christ is death: it is hell, not life. That is what hell is––the absence of love. Life is Christ. Love is the life of Christ. Either you will be in life or death. Its up to you to decide.
This is the way we should see Christ. He is our friend, our brother; He is whatever is good and beautiful. He is everything. Yet, He is still a friend and He shouts it out, “You’re my friends, don’t you understand that? We’re brothers. I’m not…I don’t hold hell in my hands. I am not threatening you. I love you. I want you to enjoy life together with me.”
Love Christ and put nothing before His Love. He is joy, He is life, He is light. Christ is Everything. He is the ultimate desire, He is everything. Everything beautiful is in Christ. Somebody who is Christ’s must love Christ, and when he loves Christ he is delivered from the Devil, from hell and from death.
My whole life was a paradise: prayer, worship, handicraft, and obedience. But my obedience was the outcome of love not coercion. This blessed obedience benefitted me greatly. .. Obedience shows love for Christ. And Christ especially loves the obedient (Wounded by Love, p. 25, 96).