Saint Maria of Olonets: They Saw her Face Shining in Life and after Death

Saint Maria of Olonets: They Saw her Face Shining in Life and after Death


The suffering hermit lay in bed for about three weeks. Each day, after the Liturgy, a hieromonk came with the Precious Gifts so that she could make her communion.

On the fifteenth day, her face was transfigured; it shone with a supernatural light and took on the expression of blessed peace.

All her features reverted to the beauty they’d had when she was young.

Even the black marks round her lips disappeared. Her face took on a pale color, like melted wax. She calmly called for the astonished Akylina and before Matrona and Pelagia, her two nieces, she said: ‘I want to confess. Get batiushka (‘my spiritual father’). […]

The lips of the suffering hermit moved so that she who had spent her whole life in repentance could confess for the last time. The elder was greatly surprised when he saw her supernaturally healed a short while before her demise. He heard her pure and sincere confession. […]

News of the death of the hermit spread throughout the neighboring villages and a great many people came for her funeral. Never before had so many gathered at the hermitage of Saint Nikifor, even for great feasts.

Over the three days her relics lay in the church to be venerated, there was no sign of decay.
Her body was dressed in a white, linen garment and a black scarf was placed on her head.
During the funeral service, something inexplicable and wonderful occurred. Her face, which was uncovered, shone with a heavenly light.

This sign was so marked that everyone had the impression that the light was a ray emanating from her face, just like the sunbeams that radiate from on high.

But it was a cloudy day and the few candles gave little light in the packed little church. This important sign made a deep impression and remained for a long time with both the monks and the ordinary lay people.

With their own eyes, they saw the fulfilment of the Lord’s promise in the Gospel, that the righteous ‘will shine like the sun’ in the kingdom of the heavenly Father.





Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is a 501(c)3 and an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America . It is a recognized leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty-two years. We have worked to create a community for both believers and non believers alike by sharing the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. Click to signup to receive weekly newsletter. 

Join us in our Media Ministry Missions! Help us bring the Orthodox Faith to the fingertips of Orthodox Christians worldwide! Your gift today will helps us produce and provide unlimited access to Orthodox faith-inspiring programming, services and community. Don’t wait. Share the Love of Orthodoxy Today!

OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.  Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.

About author

Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.