One of the sacred places of Russian Orthodox Church, the Chapel of Xenia the Blessed at Smolensk Cemetery, is in Vasilyevsky Island of St. Petersburg. One can get to it from Vasilyevsky Island Metro Station.
After her death at the start of the 19th century Xenia the Blessed (holy fool) of Petersburg became one of the most venerable saints of Russian people. That’s why almost every day at Smolensk Cemetery one can see a big queue of people who have come to give her a bow.
There are no exact dates of Xenia`s birth and death. It is believed that she was born in the period of 1719-1730. As a young girl she married a colonel Andrei Petrov, but become a widow in the age of 26. Xenia was severely shocked by the event and, having become a holy fool, she devoted her life to the God. For over 40 years she was a homeless stranger, praying for people and helping them.
Even during her lifetime she was called the «fast helper», as often what she was asked very soon came true. Particularly, there are a lot of stories about how Xenia helped to arrange the family life. And now most of young people who come to her ask to find a wife or a husband.
Xenia the Blessed died in the beginning of XIX century. She was buried at Smolensk Cemetery not far from the Church of the Blessed Virgin of Smolensk, which, according to the legend, she helped to build.
For a long time there was but a small tomb of Xenia at Smolensk Cemetery with the following epitaph: «Let whoever know me pray for my soul and for the sake of one`s soul salvation». In 1902 the chapel was erected on the site of her tomb.
Xenia of Petersburg was sanctified in 1988, and at once she was made the patroness of Pe-tersburg, together with Alexander Nevsky buried at Alexander-Nevsky Lavra and John of Kronstadt, buried at the Monastery of St. John.
All those who come to the Chapel of Xenia the Blessed leave notes with their requests either at the wall of the chapel, or in the special box. When they ask something, they kiss the external wall of the chapel and then lit a candle at the chapel. To avoid standing in the long queue for candles, you`d better bring them with you.