Venerable Dorothy of Kashin

Saint Dorothy of Kashin was born in 1549 of a noble family. No information has come down to us about her name before she became a nun, or the place of her birth. From the age of twelve, she lived in a climate of civil unrest, and the area was subject to rebellion, invasion, and plague.

Later, she was married to Theodore Ladygin, and they lived north of Moscow in the region where the city of Kashin is located. They had a son named Michael. Dorothy’s husband was killed at the beginning of the seventeenth century defending the city in a battle against Polish and Lithuanian invaders. She was close to sixty years old at that time.

After suffering this terrible loss, St Dorothy decided to leave the world and enter the women’s monastery of the Meeting of the Lord in Kashin. In this same monastery were the relics of St Anna of Kashin (October 2). The monastery had been sacked along with the city, so conditions there were anything but easy.

St Dorothy built a small cell in the ruins, and there she engaged in ascetical struggles. She found the Korsun icon of the Mother of God (October 9) in the debris and kept it in her cell. This icon later became known for its miracles.

She did not move to another monastery when she grew older, but preferred to remain in the semi-wilderness around Kashin. She tried to help those who were suffering during this time, encouraging and consoling them. Whatever money she had left after her husband’s death was used to restore the monastery, or to benefit the poor.

St Dorothy had once lived in luxury, but now she was reduced to poverty, enduring every affliction and sorrow with great patience. She prayed continually for her husband, her monastery, and the city of Kashin.

Once the danger had passed, the other nuns started coming back to the monastery. St Dorothy’s holy and virtuous life also inspired other women to become nuns. They all wanted her as their abbess, but St Dorothy refused this office, preferring to live as a humble nun. For the rest of her life, however, she was an example to the sisters.

In 1615, St Dorothy received the Great Schema and increased her spiritual efforts. She fell asleep in the Lord when she was about eighty on September 24, 1629 after living in the monastery for more than twenty years.

She was buried on the north side of the monastery church. A white memorial stone was placed over her grave, and the inscription was clearly legible until the twentieth century. Many miracles have taken place at her grave for those who entreat her with faith.