Written by Monica Mikhail ~The holy mother Matrona, originally named Mary after the holy Theotokos, was one of seven daughters born to Anna and Leon. They lived holy Christian lives in the northwestern coast of the island of Chios.
As the time approached when her parents desired her to enter in marriage, Matrona longed to not be wed but remain a pure bride for Christ, her Bridegroom. However, she realized that keeping the purity of her virginity would be difficult to maintain living in this world because there would be many obstacles that would prevent her from focusing on Christ. All Matrona desired was divine love so she secretly took off to a mountain near the village of Katavasis. It was there that she fulfilled her only wish which was to be in communion with God in solitude.
When Matrona’s parents found out that she was dwelling in the mountain, they begged for her to come home. In obedience, she listened to the requests of her parents and returned home in all humbleness.
The lone issue that was still causing a rift between her and her parents was marriage, but they eventually gave her their blessing so that she may pursue the monastic life. Matrona gave the dowry that she received from her parents to the widows, orphans, needy, as well as her sisters before she returned to Katavasis.
Matrona lived this life of struggle for three years where she contemplated the beauty and delight of the Lord and His creation. After three years, the Lord instilled within her the desire to make her way down the mountains and join a convent, submitting to an eldress. She came upon a convent at Chora where a mother and her two daughters lived. Matrona begged that she may be accepted into their community; they welcomed her. It was not before long that her plenteous virtues were brought to light, encouraging many others to enter into the monastic life.
The convent was too small to continue providing a home for those who wanted to join their community so, with the permission of the abbess, she sought out to provide the means of enlarging the convent, building a public bath, a few cells, and a church. With the money Matrona retrieved by selling land that she had in Volissos, construction began. As they were building the foundation, the workers came upon treasure. When Matrona saw all the gold, she tearfully said, “Lord Jesus Christ, if this gold is sent by Thy grace, manifest this unto us; if it from the deceitful devil, may it vanish!” At once, the gold turned into coal and the laborers worked fervently because of this miracle.
On the 20th of October, the church was completed with the aid of Martyr Artemios who is commemorated on that day. On that same day, the abbess of that convent entered into eternal life. Matrona became the abbess with the insistence of the sisterhood even though she refused.
Many miracles were performed through Saint Matrona such as the death of an unjust man who came to destroy the convent, but at the same time, the resurrection of this man for she pitied him. When this occurred, the Lord revealed to Matrona that she would enter into the heavenly life in seven days. After gathering all the nuns and asking for each others’ forgiveness, she surrendered her soul on the 20th of October, 1462. Even after her death, Saint Matrona continued to perform many miracles such as healing the sick, and causing the lame to walk.
May the Lord grant us to desire to attain virtues upon virtues so we that may be a walking Gospel, revealing the goodness of the Lord to the world as Saint Matrona did, causing many to seek life in Christ.
The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers. Holy Apostles Convent, 1991.
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