Nun Dosifea, Mysterious Recluse

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Nun Dosifea, Mysterious Recluse

Postby Barbara » Sat 18 February 2017 4:45 am

Today is the repose day in 1810 of the Nun Dosifea [ born Princess Augusta Tarakanova ], who is buried in Novospassky Monastery, Moscow.

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This recluse lived a hidden life for 25 years in the "Ivanovsky Convent" dedicated to the Beheading of St John the Baptist. As I had only heard of this particular convent in this one connection, I am including background information first.

More will follow later about Nun Dosifea, who became famous in her day as a spiritually wise Eldress.

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"It was founded in the first half of the 16th century by Ivan the Third (according to other sources by the mother of Ivan the Terrible, Elena Glinskaya, or by Ivan the Terrible himself whose Name Day was celebrated on the 29th of August, on the Day of Beheading of St. John the Baptist) in the eastern part of Bely Gorod (White town) – in Kulishky (more exactly, “kulizhki” – fields cleared in the forest). The hill where the convent was situated was named as Ivanovskaya Gorka. In 1585 the Cathedral of Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Ivanovsky) was built. The first record of the convent was made in 1604. In 1610 the wife of the tsar Basil Shuisky, Maria Petrovna, and the second wife of the son of Ivan the Terrible (Tsarevich Ivan), Pelageya (in monasticism as Parasceva, died in 1620) were exiled and admitted to the veil. It was reconstructed after the fires (1737, 1748) at the expense of the tsar’s treasury. It was renovated on the money of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna under whose decree the widow’s and orphan’s home for “outstanding and honoured people” was created that was a prototype of the Widows’ Home.

The convent became famous for ascetics.

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Respected inter vivos as a spiritual aged nun, Martha the Conventual (died in 1638) was glorified as the locally venerated Holy Woman who was famous for her help to women in childbirth and prisoners (her burial was made in the cathedral by St. Philaret).

According to the secret command of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, the Princess Augusta Tarakanova, the daughter of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna born in result of her secret morganatic marriage to the Prince Alexei Razumovsky, in monasticism known as the aged nun Dosithea, had been living in the convent since 1785 for 25 years as a prisoner. She was famous for her astuteness (died in 1820, buried in Novospassky Convent).

In its cellars and cells there were offendresses, persistent schismatics (Raskolnitsy). In 1768 the land-owning lady, Saltykova D.N. (“Saltychikha”) who was notorious for cruelty to serf peasants was imprisoned in the convent (was under arrest in the crypt under the cathedral, died in 1810, buried in the Donskoy Monastery). In 1812 during the invasion of Napoleon’s army the convent was robbed and burnt down (except for the cathedral and the cells). After that the convent was abolished. The reconstructed church became a parish one; the cells were used as apartments for employees of the Synodical printing-house.

It was reborn in 1859. In 1861 - 78 it was rebuilt upon the design of the architect M.D. Bykovsky with the blessing of St. Philaret (Drozdov) on the money of the wife of lieutenant-colonel, E.A. Makarova-Zubyacheva. The end of the construction work was entrusted with the dean of Nicholo-Ugreshsky Monastery (nowadays the locally venerated Holy Man), the Archimandrite Pimen (Presnyakov). It was consecrated on the 19th of October in 1879.

In 1877 in the convent there was a field hospital, the only in Moscow during the Russian-Turkish war.

The Convent was renovated in 1901.

In 1918 it was closed. In 1925 the last divine service took place in the church of St. Elizabeth. In 1931 the last sisters were arrested and exiled who had been living at the church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in the small village of Chernetsovo (near station Mark of Savelovskaya railway). Then in the Cathedral there was the Central State Archive of the Moscow Region, in other buildings there was the High Law School of distance learning under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR (in the dean’s building to the north-west from the cathedral there was the Laboratory of field criminalistics), in the Hospital Building with the Church of St. Elizabeth there was one of the offices of Mosenergo. In the 1970 – 80-ies the restoration work was carried out in the convent....

To the east from the cathedral there are the dean’s cells and the Hospital Building with the family chapel of St. Elizabeth (built in 1879, restored in 1995). This church was given a name after the Patron Saint of Elizabeth Makarova-Zubacheva (died on the 31st of March in 1858, left money for the church reconstruction). In 1992 the chapel of St. John the Baptist was restored (the end of the 19th century).

The western building of the cells was restored in the 1760 - 1830-ies, the eastern and northern buildings — in the 1860-ies, fences with towers — in the 1860-ies. Almost every building of the convent remained but in the 1930-ies — 60-ies some of them were rebuilt.

http://russian-church.ru/english/viewpa ... ow&page=83

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Re: Nun Dosifea, Mysterious Recluse

Postby Barbara » Fri 5 May 2017 3:07 am

More will follow regarding Nun Dosifea, also spelled Dosifeya.

Here is a complete view of the area where her tomb lies in historic Novospassky Monastery so viewers can see the entire setting.
There are a number of other tombs, but unfortunately no captions available yet.

This is the Monastery's own website which features some 3 dimensional views of the Churches, belltower and interior burial places.

http://xn----7sbbf5agftchdbghyfcaiu3qxa ... nyj-3d-tur

Press number 3 in the list of 1 to 4. Rotate once using the white arrow. The same picture as above will become visible of this remarkable ascetic who went from the heights of the world to the heights of spiritual self-abnegation. The difference is that with the 3 D feature, one can see the entire hall with a visitor or two paying their respects to the reposed souls.

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Re: Nun Dosifea, Mysterious Recluse

Postby Barbara » Mon 25 December 2017 1:27 am

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Nun Dosifea, 1746 - 1810, unknown artist. The only color picture of which I am aware, and probably the only close up. One can get a sense of her personality far better than the black and white depiction pictured in the earlier post at her tomb at Novospassky Monastery, Moscow

Below is Part I of a thoughtful essay by the nun Elyria Kharchenko about the life of this intriguing ascetic. Unfortunately, the internet translation is far from perfect, but one can get the sense of the story. I made a few edits.
This part takes the Princess from birth to entry into the St John the Forerunner Convent in Moscow


"Reliable historical information about the origin of the famous Moscow-aged women recluse, runneth quarter of a century in the Ivanovo monastery there. No documents, no direct and precise evidence, remains a legend, but it is quite significant. But the thing that really elevates her personality - this ascetic life.

Indirect evidence suggests it a noble and highest origin and live in direct and precise evidence of the Decree of her life in seclusion, her gifts of comfort, prayer and vision. For us it is important and valuable is what the nun was carrying Dosifeya hard shutter cross, and then helped many, many people.

With deep humility, she accepted the abrupt change of their own destiny and lead a life of prayer and fasting according to the monastic vows. According to the clerk of the monastery and Moscow merchant FN Shepeleva, bayou Dosifeya was of medium height, thin, but kept on his face "features former beauty; its methods and the treatment showed the nobility of its origin and education. " Glikeriya Golovin, who studied in a monastery in one of the nuns told me that of all the nuns Dosifeya allowed himself to only one nun, "but her only Abbess but her confessor, and did not go anywhere, even in a general monastery church." Staritsa visited only the temple gate of the Kazan Icon of the Theotokos. The service made her confessor with prichetnikom. In church she "came out very rarely and then accompanied her to the oversight old women. Then the church doors were locked from the inside, so no one could get to the window ... her curtains drawn, sometimes curiosity and fame attracted people, but full-time minister, takes the place of the guard, drove away the curious, "- said IM Snegirev. On the contents of her to let go of a particular amount from the Treasury; table she could have if she wanted, always good. The absence of the name of hermit monks in the statements of that time proves that the content of its special instructions have been made. Was she Princess Tarakanov?

Quite often in the historical and fiction are confused and mixed two faces: camozvanku, called himself "Princess of Vladimir," the daughter of the Empress Elizabeth , and Princess Augusta Tarakanov, the future nun-recluse. The picture from the Tretyakov Gallery "Princess Tarakanov in the fortress during the flood," everyone knows. However, few people know that the heroine of the paintings of Konstantin Flavitsky died two years before the flood depicted. And it is very few people know that the impostor posing as the daughter of the Empress Elizabeth, never called herself Tarakanova. Picture Flavitsky nothing more than a romantic fiction of the artist, far removed from reality.

On the fate of the princess amazing Tarakanova tells historical tradition. It binds her family ties with the royal family and the story of a secret, but the law morganatic marriage of Empress Elizabeth with Count Alexei Razumovsky (1709-1771). The wedding took place in Moscow's Cathedral of the Resurrection in Barash (str. Pokrovka, 26/1) in June 1744 in the other sources referred to the suburban village of Perov, where the marriage was concluded November 24, 1742. Researcher a kind Countess MA Razumovskaya writes that in Moscow church in Pokrovka was served thanksgiving service after the wedding. Whatever it was, the marriage was made in secret, but in front of witnesses, and Count Razumovsky were presented the documents testifying about his marriage.

After marriage with Count Empress moved to St. Petersburg, Razumovsky settled in an apartment adjacent to the queen's apartments. In the capital, Empress built for him in 1748 a special palace, now known under the name of the Anichkov. Razumovsky came from a simple Cossacks; built in the count's dignity of the court choristers, he retained the simplicity and popular religiosity. In 1756 Empress bestowed his wife the title of Field Marshal, although to military Earl had nothing. Expressing his gratitude to the Empress, Alexey G., however, conscious of his humble origins, did not seek to interfere in politics and fight the court parties. Only two issues of the graph is always firmly and publicly filed your voice without fear of boring his Empress petitions - is a request for the clergy and for his native Ruthenia, which Empress Elizabeth personally visited in the summer and autumn of 1744. For a long time she lived in the house in the Razumovsky Kozeltse city and met there with all the relatives.

"I do not know another family who, having been in such excellent mercy of the court, - wrote in his memoirs, the Empress Catherine II of Razumovsky, - would be so loved by all as the two brothers." After ascending the throne, Catherine II sent to the Chancellor Razumovsky MI Vorontsov with a decree in which he was given the title of Highness as the legitimate wife of the late Empress. Razumovsky took from a secret casket marriage documents, read them the Chancellor and then threw in topivshiysya fireplace, adding: "I was nothing more than a faithful servant of her Majesty the late Empress Elizabeth, showered me above my merit deeds ... Now, you see that I do not have any papers. " According to biographer Razumovsky AA Vasilchikova, Count Alexei G. "shun pride, hate and deceit, without any education, but gifted with the nature of the mind solid, was kind, forgiving, courteous in dealing with the younger, .... and enjoyed general love."

The daughter of Count Razumovsky and empress was born in late 1745 or early 1746. The girl was named Augusta in honor of the holy martyrs, whose memory takes place on 24 November. Augusta, brought up in high society, young years spent abroad and could not imagine their lives to monastic. Why she got the name Tarakanova - suggest that by distorted Daragan names. It is known that sister of Alexei Razumovsky was married to Colonel Little Russian troops EF Daraganom. Their children, Daragan (or, as they are otherwise called, Daraganovy), were brought to St. Petersburg and lived at the court; people unfamiliar name changed in consonance Tarakanov; perhaps Augustus child lived with his aunt Daragan in the Ukraine and in St. Petersburg, and thus, together with her children nicknamed Tarakanova. Whatever it was, but in August in the tradition and history of the name Tarakanova firmly established.

Princess in August raised abroad. Most if the mother, she was sent to her death or after December 25, 1761 the father of Count Razumovsky, - unknown; but of course, that she had lived there until the 1780s. AA Vasilchikov reports that Razumovsky really brought up abroad in Switzerland, his nephews Daraganov. There would, in Europe, in peace and contentment in August and would have finished his life, but the Poles affair ruined her happiness. Abroad we know who the Princess. The Poles have decided around 1773 to deliver the difficulty in the face of the Empress Catherine Elizabeth's daughter, the pretender to the Russian throne. August itself did not want to, but have found a front face - impostor, known in history as the "Princess of Vladimir". Many had trouble eating, a lot of money spent to produce confusion in Russia, make some as much trouble to Catherine; but the invention is not successful. "Princess Vladimir" in Italy, Leghorn raid, Count Alexei Grigorievich Orlov-Chesmensky was arrested, brought to St. Petersburg, imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress and there December 4, 1775, died of tuberculosis. The point of it was kept in the strictest confidence: either in Russia or abroad, no one knew what happened to her. And since two years after its conclusion, it was in 1777, in St. Petersburg was a great flood, and the rumor spread that she drowned in a cell from which forgot or did not want to bring it.

Impostor posing as the daughter of the Empress Elizabeth, died, but the real Princess Tarakanov was alive and free. The idea that there is a daughter of the Empress that her name and birth may serve as a pretext for intrigue Poles or other enemies of Russia, Catherine was worried, and riot Pugachevsky recently deceased impostor, court intrigues and conspiracies have increased this concern. After all, in the XVIII century in Russia it was not the law of succession - it was the age of palace revolutions. Born a German princess, Catherine II ascended the Russian throne as a result of the coup and did not feel at ease.

She was taken to Moscow. The Empress is said to have talked to her for a long time, frankly, spoke about the recent riot Pugachev, about the Troubles fake, the Public shocks that may continue to be, if her name will take advantage of the enemies of the existing order, and finally announced that it is to Russia's peace of mind to retire from light to live in seclusion in a monastery and not to become a tool in the hands ambitious, take the veil. [The princess] listened to the verdict. Oppose the Empress was unthinkable.

By imperial order the princess was tonsured a nun with the name Dosifeya and kept for about 25 years a closely guarded gate. In the XVIII century in Russia ancient custom involuntary vows as a monk of persons guilty of dangerous or suspicious was still in full force. There were monasteries, in which the government brought order to the deep mystery of the noble persons, and sometimes humble origin; it passed under the supervision of their abbots and abbesses, tonsured or simply to close the cell. The reason for detention, and sometimes the names of their most carefully hidden; so sometimes they die there, no one finds out. So the monastery was in Moscow Women's St. John the Baptist, which is the Ivanovo hill near Solyanka street."

https://rusidea.org/25021701








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Re: Nun Dosifea, Mysterious Recluse

Postby Barbara » Tue 26 December 2017 2:01 am

I had always read - in the scarce English sources available - that our Countess Anna Orlova-Chesmenskaya's father had kidnapped the REAL Augusta [ future Nun Dosifeya]. Nun Elyria's research reveals that in fact it was the imposter who was seized in Italy and bundled aboard a ship to St Petersburg. That makes what always sounded like an act of piracy a little more understandable. Still, it has all the hallmarks of a pre-KGB operation !

For more on Countess Anna, the daughter, see :
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=11089

Part II, from the same source as the post above :


"This monastery Empress Elizabeth in 1761 nominated for charity for widows and orphans noble and distinguished people, now it has become a place of detention of her daughter. An innocent sufferer could humbly accept his cross, given to her by God, and his misfortune to pay for the salvation of souls. The monotony of life, loneliness, boredom, the thought of the eternal conclusion, the memory of their famous parents, about his youth, about the recent free life abroad - one has this made the life of her weary, heavy, but her heart was still something, why it is all the time to enter into his constantly afraid of something. At least rustle at every knock on the door, eyewitnesses, she turned pale and trembled all over.

But neither this fear nor fear could not separate her from total dedication to God and to His holy will. Were her some papers which, after long hesitation, to avoid trouble, she had to burn. The only thing that reminded her of former greatness and happiness - a watercolor portrait of her deceased mother Empress Elizabeth, which she kept until the end of his life. The famous ascetic piety Archimandrite Moses, dean of Optina , said that he was in his youth about 1806 times visited the nun's cell and saw there Dosifeya watercolor portrait of Empress Elizabeth.

The leaders concluded the princess in a new way of life was the person who had access to it: abbot of the monastery and the confessor. Abbot of the monastery was at the time Elizabeth (1779-1799), bayou good life, over 40 years old who lived in hopeless Ivanovsky monastery; nuns of Belitsa and in the election of the Abbess unanimously two petitions to the authorities were to no other, and it was she was placed in the Abbess. Experienced, thirsty old woman could not help but sympathize with the recluse, and, of course, was able to tell her and comforting word, and the word of reinforcements. Communicating only with the confessor, Abbess Elizabeth and kelejnitsy nun Dosifeya kept his reclusive life devoted to prayer, reading spiritual books, and needlework; raised money for works it through kelejnitsy distributed to the poor. Sometimes her name to the Abbess prisylaemy were from unknown persons significant amount and the money she used not for themselves, but for the decoration of the monastery or church, or to the benefit to the poor. Ten years spent in the deep solitude, mother Dosifeya acquire the grace of God and the spiritual gifts of prayer, comfort and vision.

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View of Moscow looking out from the Ivanovsky Convent. One wonders whether Nun Dosifeya leave her cell often enough to glimpse this enchanting panorama [ admittedly, this picture is from half a century later than her era, but probably the Muscovite horizon was not completely different ]

Mentor mother was Dosifeya and Metropolitan of Moscow Platon (Levshin; 1737-1812). His relations with Count Razumovsky were pretty close. In 1763, Platon was appointed scribes [tutor to]Tsarevich Paul Petrovich (the future Emperor Paul I) and the court preacher. Since 1775 - the Archbishop of Moscow, in 1787 he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan of Moscow.

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He was in charge and was Ivanovsky convent. As Archbishop, he spiritually edified by Abbess hermit and confessor, after the death of Empress Catherine II often visited the Ivanovo hermit, the holidays came with congratulations.[ Note by Barbara : Too bad this isn't clear, as I was always interested in Metropolitan Platon, celebrating his namesday every December 1. If indeed this brilliant scholar and famous preacher came to visit Nun Dosifeya and thereby pay her homage, that is truly impressive !]

The spiritual head of the mother became Dosifeya elder Novospassky monastery monk Filaret, in schema Theodore (Pulyashkin; 1758-1842). Shortly before his death, she advised the widow landowner Kurmanaleevoy apply it to him: " 'It is necessary for you to have a spiritual guide for the proper spiritual life and salvation; but in our time is very difficult to find ... you know such a great old man ... hold on this old man, he was a great servant of God, the dishes and do his word, open his conscience, and God will save ... Go to him as now, tell me what sinful Dosifeya bows him to the ground and asks his holy prayers, and that here soon and he worships me. (Thus penetrating hermit foretold his death.) To fulfill my request, then visited me in such and such a day, but do not be late. " Staritsa smiled slightly and said, "The path to the monastery from you will not go away, later that day, you will not see me; I beg you to come. ' " "Yes, a great ascetic was Dosifeya mother! Many, many she had suffered in life, and her patience but will serve as a good example "- so spoke of her elder Filaret. oxbow Will was executed exactly; she was buried in the Novospassky Monastery, originally in front of the windows cell elder Filaret."

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Re: Nun Dosifea, Mysterious Recluse

Postby Barbara » Sat 17 February 2018 3:36 am

Well, another year has rolled around and it's Nun Dosifea's repose day tomorrow. This will be her 208th anniversary.
I located a different version of the same paragraph above which gives a glimpse of the reverence she had for Elder Philaret of Novospassky. The details differ slightly, but the tale is intact regarding a widowed landowner, N.I. Kurmanaleyeva :


"fr. Philaret was also closely united by the bonds of mutual respect and prayer with the ascetic of piety Nun Dosithea. His spiritual daughter N. I. Kurmanaleyeva related how after the death of her husband she went to Nun Dosithea in the monastery of the great prophet John the Baptist, but she was not able to see the eldress. She went to Elder Philaret. “With bitter tears I told Fr. Philaret that misfortune was stalking me on all sides, that God did not allow me even to see the recluse nun and ask her holy prayers. The elder replied, “It’s true, she does not receive anyone, but try once more to go to her. With particular persistence, Kurmaneleyeva was vouchsafed a meeting. The ascetic advised her to find a spiritual guide. “In those minutes I remembered and named Fr. Philaret. At the mention of that name the recluse quickly rose and bowed to my feet, saying, ‘You fortunate one, you know that great elder and wanted to see me, a worthless sinner! Hold on to that elder—he is a great pleaser of God. Follow and fulfill his words, reveal your conscience to him, and God will save you… Go to him right now and tell him that sinful Dosithea bows to the ground to him and asks his holy prayers, and that soon he will also bow to me’.”

A few days later Nun Dosithea (February 4, 1810 at the age of sixty-four) was vouchsafed a blessed death. “The reposed one wished to be buried in the Novospassky Monastery opposite the window of his (Fr. Philaret’s) cell. On the day of her burial, when they brought the recluse’s coffin to the holy gates of the monastery, I saw batiushka making a prostration to the ground before the coffin of the reposed.”

http://orthochristian.com/106285.html


Both accounts appear to be taken from the following 1997 book : Priest V. Rudnev, Podvizhnitsa of the Moscow St. John Convent, Nun Dosithea. This edition is a reprint, though : I am wondering whether a pre-revolutionary or contemporary one.
I would love to read the book if translated into English. Novospassky Monastery should undertake that task and make it available to English-speaking pilgrims to her tomb as part of its thorough renovation, scheduled to be completed this year

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Re: Nun Dosifea, Mysterious Recluse

Postby Barbara » Sat 30 June 2018 5:05 am

This being the repose day of Elder Moses [Putilov] of Optina, let's take a closer look at his interactions with Eldress Dosifea.

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It is remarkable that when not yet monastics, Timothy Ivanovich Putilov and his brother Jonah went several times to visit Nun Dosifea to seek guidance for their vocations. Briefly, the great future Abbot of Optina Skete arrived in Moscow in either late 1800 or early 1801 at the age of about 19 with his whole family from Yaroslavl province. Timothy and Jonah worked for a merchant called Karpishev, but spent all their spare time reading spiritual books and touring the holy places of Moscow --- of which there have always been a vast number - making the exaggerated focus on Matrona by the MP all the more ridiculous. We can be certain that had the Matrona cult existed at THAT time, Timothy and Jonah would never have fallen for such a trick .

Instead, the brothers heard about a bona fide Eldress of their era, Dosifea, and went to pay a visit to this recluse at the Ivanovsky Convent. Significantly, they were among the very few who were permitted to speak with her in her actual cell. Nearly all others were restricted to conversation through her window.

The Eldress seems to have taken a liking to the lads, probably foreseeing their stellar futures [ Jonah became Abbot Isaiah of the famous Sarov Monastery - the 2nd Isaiah, for one was Abbot at the time St Seraphim lived there.] She invited them back a few times. She directed them to Novospassky Monastery's two prominent Elders, Alexander and Philaret for counsel.

After they had already departed Moscow to join Sarov, she wrote a warm letter to them in 1805.
Remarkably, this letter remains the only authentic one written by her - at least up to recent times. Perhaps more have been found> But I doubt that.

Despite her own miseries of confinement against her will, Nun Dosifea sounds cheery and upbeat throughout the letter.
We learn that it was not only Ivan Grigorievich Putilov, the father, who violently opposed his sons' entry into a monastery, but also an uncle, the uncle's sisters, and other unspecified relatives were all set against the idea. Dosifea eloquently counsels how to steer through the shoals of all this opposition and encourages the young men. [ To be continued ]


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