Icon of St. Xenia the Fool-for-Christ - 21st c. - English - (1XE14)

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Commemorated on January 24

Little is known of her early life. Neither the dates of her birth nor of her death are known. Her birth is believed to have been about 1731 and her death about 1803.

The wife of Colonel Andrei Feodorovich Petrov, who served as a court chorister, Xenia fell into great grief upon the death of her husband when she was 26 years old. Appearing to have lost her mind from her grief, Xenia distributed her possessions to the poor, and keeping and dressing only in the clothes of her husband she wandered the streets of St Petersburg among the paupers. She called herself by her husband’s name: Andrei Feodorovich. Her life was centered on God, seeking protection and comfort only in Him. During the nights, she refused refuge and went into the fields where she prayed through the nights.

When relatives of Xenia tried to help her with necessities she replied , “I do not need anything.” The people of St. Petersburg came to love her as she placed the Kingdom of Heaven before earthly possessions. The people considered her presence in their homes as good signs. Her acceptance of services and bread from merchants, however small, brought them great sales as their customers, who loved the saintly Xenia, frequented those who helped her.

Xenia possessed the gift of clairvoyance. She foretold the deaths of the Empress Elizabeth, in 1761, and of the imprisoned John IV Antonovich, the great-great-grandson of Tsar Alexis, in 1764. After her death her grave became a place of pilgrimage. Portions of the dirt from her grave brought healing for many of the pilgrims.