Agnia, Confessor-Abbess Of Vasilsursk

Abbess Agnia (in the world Anna Philippovna Mytikova) was born in the 60s of the nineteenth century in the village of Malye Chetai, Nizhni-Novgorod province, in a Chuvash family. Her father was widowed and remained with six children. The eldest son Gregory married, the daughter Maria married, and the second son, Basil, began to help his father bring up the children. Later all three - Anna, Simeon and Catherine - became monastics, after which Basil also became a monk - as it is thought, on Athos.

When Basil brought Anna to the monastery near Kanash she was twenty-three years old. She spent twenty years in this monastery and was tonsured with the name Agnia.

Later she became the builder and abbess of a new monastery. In the monastery the abbess worked in all the obediences. However, when she was cutting down a tree for the construction of the church, a huge bough hit her and broke her rib. She lay on a plank for a year or two.

In 1918 the Bolsheviks destroyed the monastery and expelled the abbess, robbing her of everything. The peasants of the surrounding villages received her and gave her all the necessities of life. After the thieves had left, the inhabitants returned to the monastery and called the abbess. Christian life again began to be set in order. But the nuns did not have long to rejoice in the gifts of grace-filled labour and prayer. The atheists destroyed the monastery to the foundations, and the abbess settled in a wood not far from Vasilsursk. She lived in poverty, praying a great deal, especially at night. All those seeking spiritual consolation went to her. She belonged to the Catacomb Church.

In the winter of 1953 she fell ill, lay in bed for nine weeks, and died on the third day after the Meeting of the Lord - February 5/18. Abbess Agnia was buried in the cemetery in Vasilsursk. Her grave is greatly venerated, especially by the Mari.

(Sources; Hieromonk Damascene (Orlovsky), Mucheniki, Ispovedniki i Podvizhniki Balgochestiya Rossijskoj Pravoslavnoj Tserkvi XX Stoletiya, Tver: Bulat, 1992, vol. I, p. 15; Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', N 1 (1574), January 1/14, 1997, p. 9; Za Khrista Postradavshiye, Moscow: St. Tikhon's Theological Institute, 1994, p. 40)

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