The most important spiritual centers of Russia are Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra, where the relics of Sergiy Radonezhsky are kept and Serafimo-Diveevsky Monastery where the relics of Seraphim Sarovsky are kept. These are most venerated saints in Russia. Optina Pustyn is also very revered monastery.
Moscow also has a place where thousands of orthodox believers would like to get – the Intersession Convent where the relics of the Saint Matrona of Moscow, known as Matrona of Moscow, are kept. Many of those who visited the Intersession Convent said that the Saint Matrona of Moscow helped them. They come here with most different requests from healing of various illnesses to asking for help in private life, or solving family and daily problems.
It is a custom to go to Matrona with flowers, and the number of flowers must be even, as if you were giving them to a living person. She said: «All of you come and tell me, as if I were alive, about your troubles, and I will see, hear and help you». It is said that Matrona loved yellow and white flowers, but this doesn’t matter. The main is that your requests to be open-hearted.
Matrona was born in 1885 in the village of Sebino in Tula Province. Her parents were poor, and so her mother was going to place the fourth child in an orphanage, but she dreamed the unborn child as a white bird who asked not give her to an orphanage. The eyes of the bird were closed. When the girl was born, she was blind. She spent all her time in the temple.
As a small girl, she could predict many events and healed many people. People from all over the province went to her. During one of her pilgrimages to St. Petersburg she was seen by the prior of Andreevsky Cathedral, John of Kroonstad who said: «Dear Matrona, come, come to me. Here is my successor going — the eighth pillar of Russia».
At the age of 16 she had lost the use of her legs, but, in spite of her own sickness, continued to heal the other people. In 1925 she moved to Moscow, where she lived nearly 30 years. Every day Matrona received up to 40 persons, and she listened to and helped all of them. She died on May 2, 1952. This day was made her feast, and it is on this day that the convent is especially crowded.
Just after her death she was revered as a saint, and her grave at Danilovskoye Cemetery was often visited by a great number of people. In 1998 the relics of Matrona were transferred to the Intersession Convent, and in 2004 she was sanctified. Today almost every Russian church has an icon of St. Matrona.
The remains of St. Matrona are kept in the shrine of the Intersession Convent. Also, there is the Great Icon of St. Matrona on the wall of the convent. Pilgrims, coming to the convent, pay homage to both sacred things. There are always long queues for both the shrine and the icon, with the queues for the icon moving far slower. So, if you think that you can`t stand in both queues, bow first to the relics of St. Matrona. You can line up in two queues at the same time. After you bowed to the relics, you can go to the icon.
You`d better come on a weekday, and as early as possible. The first service begins at 7.30 in the morning. If you come in the morning, you will wait in the queue for the shrine for about 3-4 hours, and if you come later, you will have to wait for as much as 5-6 hours. If you come on weekend, you might spend in queues much more time.