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Grand Duchess Elisaveta Fedorovna was born on October 20, 1864 in the Protestant family of Grand Duke Hesse of Darmstadt Ludwig IV and Princess Alice, the daughter of Queen Victoria of England.
The children were brought up strictly: they were accustomed to simple clothes and food, to work at home, much time was devoted to lessons. In 1884, Princess Elizabeth married the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the brother of Emperor of Russia Alexander III. The Grand Duke's bride did not need a mandatory transition to Orthodoxy, but seeing the deep faith of her husband, the Grand Duchess, trying to find the truth, prayed fervently, asking the Lord to reveal her will to her. On April 13, 1891, on Lazarev's Saturday, Elizaveta Feodorovna was awarded the rank of admission to the Orthodox Church.
In the same year, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was appointed governor-general of Moscow. The people of Moscow soon appreciated the compassionate heart of his wife. She went to hospitals for the poor, in the almshouse, in shelters for street children and everywhere she tried to alleviate the suffering of people: she distributed food, clothes, money, and improved the living conditions of the unfortunate. When the Russo-Japanese War began, Elisaveta Feodorovna immediately engaged in organizing assistance to the front. At its own expense, the Grand Duchess formed several sanitary trains, built a hospital for the wounded in Moscow, set up special committees to ensure the widows and orphans of the deceased officers.
On February 4, 1905, the husband of Elisaveta Feodorovna, the great prince Sergei Alexandrovich, died from a terrorist-terrorist bomb. At the hour of the ordeal, Elizabeth Feodorovna asked for help and consolation from God. Not hating the murderer, the princess filed a petition to the Emperor for his pardon, wishing to move the villain to a sincere repentance. After the tragic death of her husband, Elizabeth Feodorovna decided to dedicate her life to the Lord through serving people and create a residence in Moscow of work, mercy and prayer. She bought a plot of land with four houses and an extensive garden. In the monastery, which was named Marfo-Mariinsky in honor of the saints of Martha and Mary, two temples were built - the Marfo-Mariinsky and Pokrovsky, a hospital was created, which was later considered the best in Moscow, and a pharmacy in which medicines were given to the poor free of charge, school. Outside the walls of the monastery was a hospital house for women with tuberculosis.
In the Martha and Mary Convent, Elisaveta Feodorovna led an ascetic life: she slept on a wooden bed without a mattress, often no more than three hours, strictly observed fasts, at midnight rose to prayer, and then walked around all the hospital chambers, often before dawn, staying at the bed of a seriously ill patient.
Another glorious deed of the Grand Duchess is the construction of the Russian Orthodox church in Italy, in the city of Bari, where the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra are buried. In 1914 the lower church dedicated to St. Nicholas and the hospice was consecrated.
Since the beginning of the First World War, the Grand Duchess organized assistance to the front. Under her leadership, sanitary trains were again formed, drug depots were built, "marching" churches were sent to the front.
After the abdication of Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna was arrested and taken to the Siberian city of Alapaevsk. Here, July 8, 1918, near the village of Sinyachikhi, she and her faithful companion nun Varvara with several members of the royal family were alive thrown into the mine and pelted with grenades.