Saint Martha (Milyukova), schemanun of Diveyevo (1829) spiritual daughter of St. Seraphim of Sarov
Commemorated on Αυγούστου 21
St. Martha, Semenovna Melyukova. of Diveyevo
Venerable Martha (in the world Maria Semenovna Miliukova) was born Feb. 10, 1810 to a peasant family of the Nizhny-Novgorod province, Ardatsky district, village of Pogiblo (now Malinovka; “Robin”). The Miliukov household, righteous and of a godly life, was close to Elder Seraphim of Sarov. Besides Maria there were two other older children—a sister Praskovya Semenovna and a brother Ivan Semenovich. With the blessing of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, Praskovya Semenovna entered the Diveyevo community and attained to a high spiritual life. Upon the death of his spouse Ivan entered the Sarov Hermitage.
When Maria turned thirteen, she went together with her sister Prasokovya to see Fr. Seraphim for the first time. This occurred on November 21, 1823, on the feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. The great elder, foreseeing that the girl Maria was a chosen vessel of the grace of God would not allow her to return home, but ordered her to stay in the Diveyevo community.
This extraordinary, wondrous, young, incomparable, angelic child of God from an early age began to lead an ascetic life, surpassing even the sisters of the monastery in the severity of her podvigs, becoming distinguished by her strictness of life. Unceasing prayer was her food, and she answered only necessary questions and with Heavenly meekness. She was almost completely silent and Fr. Seraphim especially gently and exceedingly loved her, revealing to her all his revelations, the future glory of the monastery, and other great spiritual mysteries.
Soon after Mary entered the community of the Kazan church the Most Holy Theotokos commanded St. Seraphim to start another female community next to that one, which is how the construction promised to the monastery’s Mother Alexandra by the Theotokos began. Two weeks after the appearance of the Mother God, on December 9, 1825, Maria and one sister went to see St. Seraphim, and Batiushka declared to them that they had to go with him to a remote desert. Arriving there, Batiushka gave the sisters two lit wax candles from those taken with them at his command together with oil and rusks, and instructed Maria to stand on the right side of the Crucifix hanging on the wall, and Praskovya Stepanovna on the left. Thus they stood more than an hour with the lit candles, with Fr. Seraphim praying the whole time, standing between them. Having prayed, he venerated the Crucifix and told them to pray and venerate. Before beginning the founding of the new community the saint prayed thus mystically with the sisters, elected by the Mother of God for special service to her and the monastery.
Maria struggled ascetically throughout the next four years, helping Venerable Seraphim and the sisters in building the new community. Together with them and other sisters she stored poles and timbers for the mill which the Mother of God blessed them to build on the site of the founding of the new community; she carried rocks for building the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos; she ground flour and fulfilled other obediences, during which she never abandoned her heartfelt prayers, silently raising her burning spirit to the Lord.
She lived in the monastery only six years and at nineteen years of age on August 21, 1829 she peacefully and quietly departed to the Lord. Having foreseen in the spirit her hour of repose, Venerable Seraphim suddenly began to weep and with great sorrow told Fr. Paul in the neighboring cell “Paul! It seems Maria has departed, and I’m so sorry, it’s such a shame that, you see, I’m weeping!” Of her posthumous fate he said: “Such grace she was vouchsafed from the Lord! In the Heavenly Kingdom at the throne of God, near to the Heavenly Queen with the holy virgins she stands! She is Schemanun Martha—I myself tonsured her. Being in Diveyevo I never pass by without falling at her grave, saying: ‘Our lady and mother Martha, remember us at the throne of God in the Heavenly Kingdom!’” After that Batiushka summoned to himself the faithful sister Ksenia Vasilievna Putkova, who he always ordered to record various names for commemorations, and said to her: “Matushka, record her, Maria, nun, because she by her own deeds and by the prayers of the wretched Seraphim there was found worthy of the schema! All of you pray for her as Schemanun Martha!” According to Venerable Seraphim, she is the head over the Diveyevo orphans in the Kingdom of Heaven, in the habitations of the Mother of God.
Maria Semenovna was tall and of beautiful appearance; she had a long white and sweet face, blue eyes, thick dark brown eyebrows and the same hair.
Translated by Jesse Dominick – http://orthochristian.com/96688.html
Holy Trinity Seraphim-Diveyevo Monastery– https://diveevo-monastyr.ru/saints/prepodobnaja-marfa/
St. Seraphim of Sarov said:“When I am dead, come to me at my grave, and the more often the better. Whatever is in your soul, whatever may have happened to you, come to me as when I was alive and kneeling on the ground, cast all your bitterness upon my grave. Tell me everything and I shall listen to you, and all the bitterness will fly away from you. And as you spoke to me when I was alive, do so now. For I am living and I shall be forever.”Apolytikion (First Tone)
In birth, you preserved your virginity; in death, you did not abandon the world, O Theotokos. As mother of life, you departed to the source of life, delivering our souls from death by your intercessions.
Troparion, In Tone VIII:
In thee, O mother, was the image of God revealed; * for having taken up thy Cross, and following Christ, * thou didst teach by thine own example * that the flesh is to be spurned as something fleeting, * but particular care should be bestowed upon the immortal soul, * wherefore together with the Angels thy soul rejoiceth, O Mother Martha.
With the Vespers Aposticha the Stichera, In Tone I:
Spec. Mel.: Of the heavenly orders.
Desiring the fair beauty of the Bridegroom Christ, * and striving to betroth thyself to Him, * thou didst adorn thyself with the labors of asceticism, * and with a multitude of good deeds O Martha, * wherefore thou dost now reign with Him in paradise.
Stichos: In the Congregations bless ye God, * the Lord, from the wellsprings of Israel.
Setting thy course towards the divine haven, * thou hast calmly traversed the seas of worldly distractions, * piloting the ship of thy soul, * keeping it safe from foundering on the shoals of temporal delights, * and filling it with secret treasures.
Pray for us, so that we ourselves may pray more fervently and sincerely, loving God for Who He is and trusting in His goodness. Pray for us and move us to pray for one another, putting the salvation of our neighbor above personal gratification and worldly nonsense. Pray for us, Saint Seraphim, so that we might acquire a peaceful spirit and a pure heart, and join together with the thousands as we dutifully offer you praises:
Rejoice, abundant vineyard of repentance.
Rejoice, bountiful fruit of contrition.
Rejoice, shady tree of loving-kindness.
Rejoice, rich field of compassion.
Rejoice, wide river of forgiveness.
Rejoice, clear lake of meekness.
Rejoice, dead to imaginings, alive to the Word.
Rejoice, submissive to Christ, conqueror of Satan.
Rejoice, empty of worldliness, temple of the Spirit.
Rejoice, poorest of men, saint of Heaven.
Rejoice, alone in prayer, father to thousands.
Rejoice, scorner of vainglory, lover of humility.
Rejoice, Saint Seraphim, spiritual father of all the faithful.
The Wisdom of Solomon [5, 15-23; 6, 1-3].
The righteous live unto the ages; their reward is also with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand, for with His right hand shall He cover them, and with His arm shall He protect them. He shall take to Him His jealousy for complete armor, and make the creature His weapon for the revenge of His enemies. He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate and true judgment instead of an helmet. He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. His severe wrath shall He sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with Him against the unwise. Then shall the right-arming thunderbolts go abroad, and from the clouds, as from a welldrawn bow, shall they fly to the mark. And from the hailstones full of wrath and cast as out of a sIn Tone bow the cities shall fall down, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them. Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away; thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the Thrones of the mighty. Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn ye that be judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear, ye that rule the people and glory in the multitude of nations, for power is given you of the Lord and sovereignty from the Highest.