Blessed Alipia (Agapia) was born around 1910 in the Penza region to a pious family of Tikhon and Vassa Avdeev. The blessed Eldress told that her father was strict, but the mother was very kind, hardworking and very neat. She would put into her apron all kinds of treats, give them to Agapia and tell her to take them to the poor in their village. During holidays she would give away even more treats. When it was time to start learning, Agapia was sent to school. Lively, quick and clever as she was she could not resist to help others with answers. The girl was transferred to a higher grade, and even among the children one year older than her, Agapia was exeptionally intellegent and smart. In 1918, Agapia’s parents were shot. Through the whole night the eight-year old girl by herself read the Psalms for her dead parents. For some time Agapia lived with her uncle, and after she finished two years at school, went to a pilgrimage to the holy places ...
During the years of unbelief Matushka spent ten years in prison where despite the harsh conditions of detention, she kept fasting and prayed without ceasing.
From the memoirs of Maria:
- Many hardships experienced Matushka during the persecution of the Orthodox Christians. She was arrested andput in a common cell ... In prison, where she was detained, there were many priests. Every night 5-6 people were taken away without return. Finally, only three people left in the cell: a priest, his son and Matushka. The priest said to his son, "Let us serve a memorial service to ourself, today before dawn they will come for us" ... And to Matushka he said, "Today, you’ll come out of here alive." They served the memorial service, and when the night came, the father and son were taken away forever. When Matushka was left in the cell alone, the door into the cell silently opened, came in Apostle Peter and through the back door led her outto the shore. She walked without food and water for 11 days. Climbing the steep cliffs, she would brake off, fall, rise again and keep to crawl tearing up the skin on her elbows clear to the bones. And the Lord saved her. There were deep scars left on her arms which later she showed to me. Perhaps, at that time Matushka visited a great Elder Theodosius of Jerusalem, who lived then in the little town of Gorny. That is how Matushka told about it, "I’ve been at Theodosius’s, Theodosius I saw, Theodosius I know." It is possible that it was him who gave her a blessing on the great exploit of the Foolishness-for-Christ...
The Eldress always remembered her miraculous deliverance, honoring the Feast Day of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and often praying in front of their icon...During the war Agapia was sent to Germany to the forced labor...
From the memoirs of Martha:
- Matushka told me that when she was working in the German camp, at night she would read the Psalter for those women who left their children or elderly parents home and then she would help them get behind the barbed wire and leave safely. Later, before the end of the war, Matushka also escaped, crossed the front line and went to Kiev on foot.
Once, when she was on the road, a few men caught up with her... She started zealously praying to the Mother of God to protect her. Nearby she saw a stack of hay and ran to it to hide from the bandits ... She reached the stack, nestled up to it with her back and started crying to the Mother of God not to leave her.The bandits were running around the stack swearing and saying, "Where did she go, there is no place to hide out here!" They stood there for a while and then went away. When Matushka looked at herself, she saw that all her clothe and hands were made of light... The Mother of God protected her, hidden her from the bandits and dressed her with heavenly light making her invisible for them.
Matushka was literate, she could read and write well, and knew all Psalter by heart.
She asked me once, "What year you were born?"
- 1916 - I replied.
- I'm 6 years older than you.
By the providence of God, the Fool-for-Christ Agapia was accepted at the Kiev-Caves Lavra, where she lived until its very closure. Archimandrite Khronid tonsured Agapia a nun with a new name – Alipia. After that Alipia spent three years living in the hollow of an old tree.
"When it was very cold, I would go to the monastery hallway to warm up. Some monks would give me bread, and some would drive me away... But I never took offences on anyone,"- recalled later the blessed Eldress.
Voluntarily baring the cross of the Foolishness-for-Christ, humbly accepting humiliations and insults, the ascetic Eldress acquired a deep humility and gentleness for which she was given the great gifts from God: the gifts of clairvoyance and healing.
From the memoirs of Inna Alexandrovna:
- My mother and I returned from the evacuation back to Kiev. It was 1947, and we began to visit Father Damian in Kiev-Caves Lavra for advice and spiritual guidence ... Once my mother pointed out at the slender, graceful and nicely looking woman... My mother said that her name was Lipa (short from Alipia), and that she lived in the ravine behind Lavra fence, spending nights in the incessant prayer under open sky ... Lipa had unusually deep, pure, and loving impression that was coming from her light gray eyes ... Lipa’s spiritual father was the Abbot of the Kiev-Caves Monastery, Archimandrite Khronid. According to her own recollections, at the end of the service, he would approach her, give her dry bread and say, “Got warm now? Now eat, go back and work out your salvation." Showing obedience to her spiritual father, she would humbly go to a large tree and climb into a hollow in which she could only stand half bend. Sometimes the snow covered the tree completely, making it impossible to get out of the hollow to go to the church, and then Father Kronid would come to the tree bringing with some dry bread in his mantle and saying, "How are you doing there?" he would leave his offering, say his usual "work out your salvation" and go back to the Monastery leaving the ascetic Eldress for the care of a long winter night. Scary it was in the deep ravine: hungry stray dogs would come by and howl right under the tree, and the cold was almost paralyzing her body. Only incessant Jesus Prayer comforted, strengthened and warmed her.This lasted until 1954, a year when Archimandrite Kronid, the spiritual father and mentor of Lipa, died...
She loved and showed pity to every person,never took offense even though she was often offended by those who didn’t understand what a heavy cross she took up on her gentle shoulders.In her simple, modest clothing she always looked neat and clean ... For me it still remains a mystery how Lipa was able to look so clean and neat not even having a roof over her head ... For three years living in the hollow of a large tree, she never murmured, never begged for money eating only what people themselves were giving to her ...
Father Damian from the Cave Monastery addressed Lipa with warm and care, talking to her as his equal collaborator, abviously foreseeing in her a future pleaser of God and his own successor. Soon the dark clouds started to gather over the Lavra Monastery and the rumors about its closure began to spread. Lipa’s behavior became strange - she would often raise her hands to the sky screaming out loud in her Mordvin dialect, fall on her knees and weep. She grieved anticipating the imminent closure of the holy Monastery.The storm broke in March of 1961: bright and shining star of the Great Lavra rolled down at once. The Monastery bells fell silent. The wonderful monk’s choir and prayers were no longer heard at the churches, the doors of the cells closed and the hallways became empty. The elders started leaving - some into internity and some under the persecution from the authorities.
After the closure of the Kiev-Caves Lavra blessed Alipia settled in a small house near Golosiyivskaya Monastery. Local residents, knowing about the miracle healings made through the prayers of the righteous Eldress, were coming to her as a never-ending stream.
From the memoirs of Martha:
- Matushka Alipia observed fast very strictly - the first and last weeks of the Great Lent and also every Wednesday and Friday of each week she ate nothing. She staied up praying until morning and on her neck she was wearing a heavy bunch of keys.Interesting is a story associated with the keys. When Matushka worked in the German camp, at night she would come to the grid, cut it and let people leave safely and nobody knew where they went. For every saved life she added a key - small or large, white or yellow. A thin firm string was cutting into her neck leaving a deep blue scar on her skin and this heavy bunch of keys Matushka was wearing on her neck until her last breath.
From all parts of great Russia people were coming to visit this fragile lamp of grace: the archimandrites and abbots, monks and secular, high chiefs and ordinary workers, old and middle aged, young and children, the sick, the sorrowful and the persecuted. During one day there was about 50-60 people coming to Matushka and all were accepted by her with love even though she perfectly knew what each person came with: faith, love, curiosity or evil. In her heart there was a room for everybody. To each person she knew what to say and how to heal. She never gave a blessing to her spiritual children to do a surgery, especially abdominal.
Once Matushka told me, "Come tomorrow morning to prepare firewood for the winter." That night it was especially rainy and cold outside. I started getting ready: put on clean clothes and new leather boots thinking that at Matushka’s I’ll find some older work clothes to change. I came earlier, but Mother was already gone and both her house and barn were locked ... In the woods it was wet and dirty, and I had to carry heavy tree branches and pile them next to the house ... At about 5 at night Matushka came home tired with a basket on her shoulders. She looked at me and said, “You walked into the woods, didn’t you?"
- And how your shoes and clothing are not dirty?
I looked down at my feet and saw that my shoes and clothes were completely clean as if I’ve never gone through the mud and never carried those big wet branches on my shoulders that day...
From the memoirs of Anna K.:
- She was an inexhaustible source of miracles and healings that no life, years or death could destroy. The grace given power was literaly pouring out onall who came to her with their troubles and illnesses. No one departed from her without receiving consolation and peace.
The first time I came to Matushkabecause of a terrible disease that I suffered at that time. I could noteat anything... My whole body was dried up, the skin turned black and on top of it there were two little children on my hands. I was very weak and barely made it to Matushka’s. Iknocked, she opened the door right away and said with a nice smile, "Oh, come,come, now you’ll start eaing"... I remember how attentively she looked right inside me... She put a frying pan in front of me, put the sign of cross over the food and asked me to eat ... and it was the first miracle, that Matushka made with me. I ate everything and did not even feel full. Since then, the darkness on my face began to desapear, I started to eat, and soon became all well ... Matushka invited me to come more often, and glory to God for having a place where I could come. You come to her sick, broken, barely alive, and go back flying like a newborn person. All your grieves and miseries go away. Truly - Wondrous is God in His saints!
Many times through her prayers Matushka prevented disasters looming over me and
my family ... Everyone knows that Matushka healed people with ointment, which she prepared herself. Before its preparation she was fasting and praying. She would spent all night praying on her prayer rope while preparing the ointment. Once, having leaned towards me, she whispeared in my ear, "You need to know, this ointment eats up all the
cancer cells." It has been said in a whisper but very seriously and I thought to myself, "It means that the ointment has already been tested.. it can save you." But it wasn’t the ointment, but the power of Matushka’s prayer that acted through it. Out of humility, she didn’t want people to praise her actions and imposed the full force of healing on the ointment, and, of course, by the grace of God, the ointment became healing. When people were complaining from pain, she would say, "Apply the ointment and it’ll go away. " And so it did...
Those who visited Matushka often said that she predicted the Chernobyl accident 5 years before it happened. I visited her 2 weeks before the accident, and remember how she said looking at the icons, "Look how they shine, what a fire!" But I couldn’t see. Two weeks later – the accident happened. On this day, the Mother was dressed all in black, and repeated several times, "We live due to the pain of others!"
Once I brought to the Mother two icons - the Holy Trinity and St. Nicholas of Japan and she said to me, "I know him.. help dear.. don’t let it happen.. help on ELEVENTH.. no, don’t let it happen." Tears filled the face of the Mother. I had a strong feeling that something bad was about to happen to me on the 11th. She prayed to St. Nicholas for a long time and said, "He is a great saint." And then she mentioned another number which was the 8th.
It was the date of 11 - winter drew to the end, everything started to melt and the roofs were covered with the lumps of heavy ice. My husband was going to work, suddenly, a huge boulder of ice broke down from the roof of a very tall building and fell in front of him at a distance of one step. Just one moment separated him from a terrible death.
Next time, I was going home very late after visiting my sick father in the hospital. When I was right next to the doorway someone from the upper level dropped an empty bottle and it shattered into pieces within couple inches in front of my face! It was a second that saved me - it happened on the 8th.
Valentina, a spiritual daughter of blessed Alipia, became a witness of many miracles shown by the Lord through the prayers of the Eldress:
- Once when I was there, a woman of a very nice appearance came to Matushka to visit ... It was a windy day, strong gusts bent the trees, the woods hummed and moaned, swaying and bowing under the strong wind gusts. The woman asked, "Matushka, where are my parents?" Matushka stood in silence looking somewhere upwards. Gusts of wind quieted down, the trees straightened up and the woods seemed to suddenly come into silence. Matushka continued to stand with her eyes looking to the sky and I thought, "How powerful must be her prayer, if she was able to entreat the Creator to rebuke the wind in order to comfort and encourage one Christian soul." The woman got to understand that her parents were in the place of silence and tranquility.
Matushka understood the language of birds, chickens and cats. Once a few of us were sitting in the garden where there were lots of birds gathered on the trees and the roof of the house. They were twittering and whistling. Matushka talked to them on the unknown to me Mordvin dialect. The behavior of the birds obviously showed that they understood the words of Matushka. A cat Okhrim was sitting by her feet. Matushka said to the birds in Russian, "See the cat sitting here? I am not responsible if you get into his paws, fly away!" and the birds rose and flew away ...
For 47 years Matushka did not eat meat ...
Once Matushka cooked borsch (beat soup). People came and I sat at the edge of the table. Matushka said to me, "Serve the borsch." I filled up 11 bowls. Four more people came and Matushka said to me again, "Serve the borsch”. I thought to myself, “Do we have enough?” I looked in the pot, and the pot was still half full. I thought that I probably did not notice how Matushka added borsch to the pot. I filled up four more bowls and thought that now we had no borsch left. And again three more people came and Matushka again says to me, "Serve borsch." This time I watched Matushka and knew that she did not get up from her seat and didn’t add borsch to the pot. I opened the lid and saw it was exactly half full as if I’ve took none out of it - same half! And then I realized that by the grace of God, the food at Matushka’s kitchen multiplied.
I asked once, "What to do to be saved?" She replied, "Lord, have mercy."
From the memories of Sister F.
- I met Matushka in 1981 when I came to enter the Florovsky monastery.
For 21 weeks, all fall and winter Matushka was seriously ill. She accepted no food, only a little water. After Paskha she ate a little milk porridge. Before the illness Matushka fed people with what others brought to her. And after she became sick until her very death she was cooking food for the people herself. Every day she cooked borsch and porridge with no talking, only prayer ...
According to the eyewitnesses, at the dry summer of 1986 the righteous Elderess for eleven days was fasting and praying, and then told her spiritual children, that she "begged it to rain." After that conversation on the same day a heavy rain started.
Because of her kindness, she was loved by many, but there were some illwishers who were irritated by the blessed Eldress and her multiple visitors. A man who lived next door more than once threatened to destroy her house. Finally he persuaded the tractor driver to come and push the timber supporting the wall of the old house. With her hands uplifted to the heaven, the Eldress prayed asking St. Nicholas for his intercession and help. That's what a spiritual daughter of blessed Alypia told about this event:
- The tractor driver caught into the beam line under the roof and has already started to pull it to break the roof. Matushka began to pray, all the people present began shouting at the tractor driver, exhorting him not to harm the house. All of sudden the heavy rain came down so hard that it became dark (before there was not even a little cloud on the sky!). The driver was sitting in the cab waiting for the rain to stop. But the rain kept going and he had to go back home. Later people came together to repaire the house so that Matushka will be able to live in it. Once Matushka said, "As long as I live, the Saints of the Caves wouldn’t let anybody to destroy the house, but after I die it will be torn down" – and so it happened.
All who knew Matushka were amaized by the power of prayer and her ability to heal and foresee things... I suffered severe headaches. Matushka gave me a fruit drink and said, "After the Ascension your headache will stop." And so it happened. After the Ascension, I no longer suffered from headaches ... My father had a kidney disease, he was in the hospital and the doctors wanted him to have a surgery, but he refused and left the hospital. When my father and I came to Matushka, she saw him and said, "Good for you that you have left, they would kill you." She gave him a fruit drink and the pain he was suffering from was completely gone ...
Archpriest Vitaly Medved says:
- At the 1000 anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, Matushka came to me at the church and said out loud, "Christ is Risen! Now they will no longer give you trouble. "
That time I couldn’t register to live in Kiev and went to see her. She looked at me and said, "Do not be afraid, go, they’ll register you.” And indeed, soon I was registered.
Matushka helped a lot in court cases: through her prayers the prison sentences were reduced and the wrongly convicted were released. Matuhka was very helpful in a variety of the most confusing and ill-formed cash accounts. By her prayer everyting was settled and positively solved.She healed people with the food she cooked herself and an ointment she made with the strawberries. Before the explosion at Chernobyl she had predicted, "They will poisone people with gas!"
From the memoirs of the archpriest Anatoly Gorodinsky:
- First time we met Matushka Alipia in 1974 at the Church of the Ascension. It was impossible not to notice her. On the way to the church she always stopped by the store and bought lots of bread and rolls. All this she would put on the memorial table. She also taught us, "Always have a piece of bread with you." She lived in a small house which had one little room and a small hallway, where she kept her chickens and cats ... People were coming to Matushka to ask for a prayer, advice and blessings. My wife and I also needed all of these. She frequently blessed us and gave lots of sweets. We didn’t need so many candies but she insisted saying, "This is for the kids". We didn’t have children for 10 years but we believed Matushka’s words and now we have a large family. God sent us the joy through Matushka’s and our prayers.
Before the Chernobyl catastrophe, Matushka was a very anxious and sent us home saying, "Close the doors and windows tightly, there will be lots of gas outside." After the disaster many people wanted to leave Kiev. Matushka didn’t bless anyone to leave, and who did not listen to her, later felt sorry because in other places it was even worse. On our consern about the food she answered, "Wash, read “Our Father” and “The Virgin”, put sigh of cross over it, eat and you’ll be fine."
From the memoirs of Mary:
Two months before her death, she woudn’t let people stay overnight ...
On Saturday (October 29) she sent for me. When I came she said, "Go to our Church, buy the candles and leave them for the morning. Take Panihida, run to Lavra and do not come back to me.” On Sunday, October 30, I came to her after the Liturgy. Matushka was very weak. Before her death, the Eldress asked everyone for forgiveness and asked to come to her grave site with all our problems.
From the memoirs of a spiritual daughter of the Eldress:
- Shortly before her death, Matushka had a lot of people gathered in her house. Suddenly, she told everyone to kneel and be silent. Quietly the doors opened, Matushka turned to it and said, "Have you come to visit me?" We were all kneeling in a reverent silence while Matushka kept a quiet conversation with her invisible visitors. Who they were and what the news they brought to her – it all remained a mystery. She did not reveal it to us, but after that visit she often talked about her death, "I will die when the first frost and snow comes. I will be buried in the woods. " October 29, I was at Matushka’s and cried hard. "Do not stand here and cry. Go and give almes to the churches." The letters with a request to pray for our Matushka were sent to all the monasteries. The spiritual children even went to the Elder N., to the remote place of Russia. "... apple is ripe, it can no longer remain on the tree and must fall "- replied the Elder who knew Matushka only in spirit.
It was October 30th when the first heavy frost and a big fluffy snow came.
When Matushka’s things were given away, I received a little cushion. And now when I have a headache, I lay down on the cushion and the pain would stop. The kingdom of heaven and eternal memory to you, our dear Matushka Alipia for all the labor you undertook in your earthly life for us sinners.
From the memoirs of Ekaterina Ermolenko:
- During the memorial service the body of Matushka emanated a strong odor, her hands were warm, and when people kissed them, a pleasant fragrance remained on the lips for a long time.
Now there is a lot of evidence of the healings through the prayers of Matushka collected.
From the testimony of Lyudmila:
"I was baking a biscuit to take it with me to the Matushka’s grave site and burned my hand. A big blister that formed on the hand was very painfull. At the grave we prayed and had a little snack. After I came back home the hand was perfectly fine: no blister, not even a trace of burn, no pain! I did not notice when the healing occurred, I only saw the result.
A year later, on my index finger I recceived a thick lump with the size of a bean which wouldn’t let the finger bend. Already having an experience of healing from the burn, at the cross on Matushka’s grave, I wispered, "Matushka, my finger hurts!" and touched the cross with the lump.We prayed ... Half an hour later I saw that the lump on my finger disappered. There was only a little pink scar left - for the memory!
Blessed Eldress Alipia, pray to God for us!
Blessed Alypia was buried in Forest Cemetery (Kiev).
On post-mortem miracles of Blessed Alypia read here: