Wednesday, November 13, 2013

St. Sofia the Righteous, a lay woman, ascetic.

Recently canonized by the Orthodox.
On October 4, 2011, our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the Holy Synod of Bishops officially numbered among the saints the Eldress Sophia, Ascetic of Kleisoura, Greece.  St. Sophia was born as Sophia Saoulidi in 1883 in the village of Trebizond in present-day Turkey.  In 1907 she married Jordan Hortokoridou but in 1914 he disappeared (likely against his will) leaving her as the single mother of a new born son.  She faced another tragedy shortly after the loss of her husband when this her only child died.  Sophia became totally dependent upon God and began to spend increasing amounts of time in prayer on a nearby mountain. - Source.
Lay saints.

Though St. Sofia would not be included on the Latin calendar, I find her story edifying.  Traditionally Christian widows devoted themselves to Godly pursuits.  How different from today.  If it wasn't for widows, the Casino Bus Co. would be out of business.
In 1919 Sophia arrived in Greece, and on her arrival the Blessed Theotokos appeared to her and said “Come to my house”.  When Sophia asked where should could find her house, the Blessed Mother replied:  “I am in Kleisoura”.  Obedient to the command of the Mother of God, Sophia settled in the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Kleisoura, about three hours from Thessalonica.  Here she remained for the rest of her long life, never formally taking the vows and tonsure as a nun.  Sophia took up residence in the monastery kitchen sleeping two hours a night and spending the rest of the night on her knees in prayer.  She dressed very poorly and had a blanket and shoes full of holes.  When she was given clothing by visitors to the monastery she would give them away to the poor.  She had no interest in food, eating only enough to survive.  When visitors would give her money, she would hide it and retrieve it only when she found someone in need.  Because of her ascetic lifestyle and shabby appearance many people without a spiritual foundation called her “Crazy Sophia” but others saw in her a lifestyle much like the saints of old. - ibid

One of her sayings makes me ashamed of myself and my blog:

When she observed scandalous behavior of priests and lay people, she never condemned anyone but said:  “Cover things, so that God will cover you”. 

St. Sofia, pray for me a sinner.
O Blessed Mother Sophia, you became wise and the adornment of the Mother of God, you lived an ascetic life in the monastery, from which has spread the praise of your struggles, striking the ranks of demons.  As you now stand as intercessor before Christ, do not neglect those who fervently honor you.
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Bonus saint of the day:

The Blind Saint With Sight:
St. Matrona of Moscow 

 Chosen by the Holy Spirit from your swaddling clothes, O blessed eldress Matrona, you received bodily weakness and blindness from God for spiritual cleansing.  You were enriched with the gift of foresight and wonderworking and have been adorned with an incorruptible crown from the Lord .  Therefore we offer you crowns of praise in gratitude crying out to you:  "Rejoice O righteous mother Matrona, fervent intercessor before God for us! - Source


  1. Covering things comment is pious, but it simply cannot be put into practice in all cases - particularly where it involves corruption of children.


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