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Sister Varvara Yakovleva
Sister Varvara Yakovleva
New Martyr Varvara
Died July 18, 1918, Alapaevsk, Russia
Venerated in Russian Orthodox Church
Feast July 18

Sister Varvara Yakovleva, also known as Sister Barbara Yakovleva (Russian: Варвара Яковлева), or simply Nun Barbara, (died July 18, 1918), was a Russian Orthodox nun in the convent of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna. She was killed by the Bolsheviks along with the grand duchess and Prince Ioann Konstantinovich of Russia, Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia, Prince Igor Konstantinovich of Russia, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich of Russia, Fyodor Remez, Grand Duke Sergei's secretary, and Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley at Alapaevsk.

She was later canonized as a martyr by both the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church within Russia.



Yakovleva, small in stature and deeply pious, served as Grand Duchess Elizabeth's maid before taking the veil.[1] [2] Her nickname was Varya.[1] On April 15, 1910, she took vows as a Russian Orthodox nun. The Grand Duchess and other women also took vows on that date. As sisters of Grand Duchess Elizabeth's convent, the women were well-known throughout Moscow for performing acts of charity. They took food to the homes of the poor, set up a home for women suffering from tuberculosis, established a hospital to care for the sick, and established homes for the physically disabled, pregnant women, and the elderly. They also established an orphanage. Their charitable efforts later spread to other cities in Russia.[1]

Exile and death

Yakovleva voluntarily accompanied Grand Duchess Elizabeth when she was arrested following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and sent into exile.[3] The group was confined at Yekaterinburg and later at Alapaevsk. On the afternoon of July 18, 1918 they were herded into the woods outside Alapaevsk at gunpoint, clubbed on the back of the head, and thrown one by one into a mineshaft in the woods.[2] All but Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, who had been shot in the head, survived the fall. They could be heard singing hymns from the bottom of the shaft. One by one they lost consciousness and died.[4]

Yakovleva was canonized as a martyr by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad as a victim of Soviet oppression along with the other members of the group. She was later also canonized as a martyr by the Russian Orthodox Church inside Russia.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Mager (1998), p. 244
  2. ^ a b Mager (1998), p. 331
  3. ^ Mager (1998), p. 324
  4. ^ Mager (1998), p. 334


  • Mager, Hugo (1998). Elizabeth: Grand Duchess of Russia. Carroll and Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-0678-3


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