Nun Alipiya is a spiritual ascetic of our times
During the time when the Goloseevsky monastery was in desolation the Holy Righteous nun Matushka Alipiya (Agafia Tikhonovna Avdeyeva) became the extension of the prayerful ascetic struggle of the Goloseyev Elders.
Nun Alipiya, baptized Agafiya (named in honor of Holy Martyr Agafiya), was born on the 3/16th of March in 1905 in the family of a pious peasant in the village Vyshelei, Gorodichensky Uyezd, Penzensk Oblast, Russia. Matushka revered greatly the Holy Martyr Agafiya throughout her life and wore the chains with an icon of her heavenly patroness on her shoulders. Since her childhood she had to go through incredible sorrows and deprivation. Her parents were executed by a Red Army firing squad; she wandered from her youth, and it was accompanied by hard work, persecution and poverty. Matushka lived under the open sky by what God sent; she often was hired for daily work to have a piece of bread and a roof over her head. Also she had to endure persecution and prison, war years and authorities’ prosecution.
After enduring trials and engaging in ascetic labors, Matushka Alipiya resolved to carry the Cross of monasticism in the Kiev Caves Lavra. By that time she had been a spiritual mature person and carried one of the most difficult of ascetic struggles and monastic feats – that of being a Fool for Christ. Strict fast, unceasing prayer to God, very short sleep, physical labor, uninterrupted silence and self-contemplation – people remember her as the person with such the features. But most of all in their memory she was full of the boundless faith and love for God and deeply responsive towards the ones who were near her. It was known after her death that the nun Alipiya hung a key on her neck for each person she had prayed for, and to the end of her life the quantity of those keys increased so that they turned into the heavy iron chains.
The last nine years of her life Matushka Alipiya spent in Goloseevo. She settled on the abolished monastery’s territory and continued prayers and deeds of our Goloseev Holy Fathers. Her great spiritual gifts had been fully revealed to the people there. The Lord gifted her by insight, foresight, healing and comforting of the afflicted ones. And most of all Matushka was endowed by the gift of love. It is impossible to enumerate all the cases of blissful help of this aged woman during her lifetime as well as after her leaving to God.
Matushka reposed in the Lord on the 30th of October 1988, on the date that she had foretold. The great crowd of her spiritual children was close to her on the day of her funeral: religious and secular ones that treated her like their mother, friend and closest person in their lives. The funeral was served in the Florovsky monastery, and Matushka Alipiya was interred in the Lesnoe Cemetery of Kiev. On the 18th of May, 2006 with the blessing of Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Vladimir the relics of the Holy Righteous Nun Alipiya were uncovered by the Archimandrite Isaac and the brethren of the Holy Protection Goloseevsky monastery and were reburied at the monastery in the crypt under the Life-Giving Spring Church.
When the coffin with the remains of this ascetic person had been brought in the church, the cross appeared in the sky over the temple. On the same day there were the two cases of healing from cancer illnesses. Since then lots of evidences about healing from serious illnesses have been gathered.
Every day hundreds of people come to the Nun Alipiya’s tomb. On the 30th day of each month and particularly on the 30th of October (the anniversary of Matushka’s death) thousands of people fill in the Goloseevsky monastery to commemorate their dearest intercessor. As the proverb says, an empty wellspring will not attract anybody.