An ascetic or ex-empress: what secret Vera the Silent kept for 23 years
An ascetic or ex-empress: what secret Vera the Silent kept for 23 years
The posthumous portrait of Vera the Silent is the only surviving image of her

For 23 years of asceticism Vera the Silent uttered only 4 phrases. Who this woman was, no one knew for certain, but at the same time, many assumed that Empress Elizabeth Alekseevna decided to devote herself to serving God, who in the world was by no means leading a righteous life. There is an opinion that she, together with her husband Alexander I, staged her death, abdicated the throne and spent the rest of her life in prayer.

The history of the relationship between Elizabeth Alekseevna and Alexander I was not easy. The spouses were far from each other, each had extramarital affairs and children. The favorite of the emperor was Maria Naryshkina, four children became the fruit of their love. Elizaveta also had intrigues on the side: she is credited with having affairs with Prince Adam Czartoryski and head-captain Alexei Okhotnikov. If you believe the rumor, from both men she gave birth to a daughter, but both of them died in infancy.

Portrait of Elizaveta Alekseevna in mourning next to her husband's bust. Hood. P. Basin (1831)

The turning point in the relations of the imperial couple was 1825, at which time the crisis reached its climax: Elizabeth was worried about the death of her daughters, Alexander also lost his illegitimate daughter from Naryshkina, in addition, Petersburg experienced a devastating flood, which also required his participation. To cope with the burden of problems, Alexander and Elizabeth went on a journey, where they really enjoyed relaxation and communication. But on the way back, the unexpected happened: on the way home from a fever, Alexander burned down, and six months later, Elizabeth also died.

Death of Alexander I (lithograph of the 19th century)

Both deaths looked suspicious, the bodies of Elizabeth were returned to St. Petersburg in a closed coffin, so there is every reason to believe that the couple decided to change their lives in this way.

Immediately after the death of Elizabeth, the ascetic Vera the Silent appeared. She did not spread about herself, but everyone guessed about her high position. Vera's fate was not easy: at first she was in the Syrkovo Monastery, then she was arrested for vagrancy. After serving a year in prison, she was transferred to an insane asylum. Countess Orlova-Chesmenskaya stood up for Vera the Silent. Under her patronage, the Silencer was assigned to the Syrkovo Monastery.

Cryptographic note of Vera the Silent woman with monograms of the letters E, P and A

Vera the Silencer spent the rest of her life in prayer, refraining from any worldly joys, receiving communion on Thursdays with prosphera, leaving her cell once a year to look at Novgorod. She communicated with others using notes.

Elizaveta Alekseevna and Emperor Alexander I

As for those phrases that Vera the Silent woman nevertheless uttered, they all concerned her herself: “Who I am, I cannot say, but the fact that I am a wander is the will of God”; “Judging by the heavenly, then I am the dust of the earth, and if by the earthly, then I am higher than you”; “Do you think my name is Vera? No, I am not faith, I am Liza”; “I am dust, earth; but my parents were so rich that I carried out a handful of gold for distribution to the poor; I was born on the White Shores”.

Portrait of Elizaveta Alekseevna

Another mystery is connected with the fate of Elizaveta Alekseevna: according to some scientists, it was she who was "hidden love" from Pushkin's Don Juan list.

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