ST ANGELINA OF SERBIA

Saint Angelina was the daughter of the pious Orthodox prince of Albania, Aranit. Angelina grew up in the spirit of the Gospel teaching and her life was devoted to prayer and charity.

In 1441, the Turkish sultan Murad the Second, seeking to crush Serbian independence completely, captured the Serbian prince, Stefan Brankovich, cruelly blinded him, and sent him forth as a homeless exile. With great grief, he left his homeland and went to Albania.

Prince Aranit, like a true Christian father, took the young, blind prince into his own home and cared for him with love. Saint Angelina grew to love the suffering prince very deeply. Their hearts were alike and both loved the Gospel and the Church of Christ with their whole souls. In 1460, they were married and the Lord blessed them with two sons, George and John, and a daughter which they named Maria, in honour of the Most Holy Theotokos. The holy couple did not live in peace for long. Albania was over run by the Turks again and the family had to flee to the west. here, the blessed prince Stefan died. After the repose of her husband, Saint Angelina and her children fell into complete poverty. Finally, with the help of the King of Hungary, Saint Angelina and her family moved to the Serbian town of Kupinovo.

When Saint Angelina moved to Kupinovo, she brought with her the relics of her husband. Saint Stefan's relics were uncorrupted and many healings were received at his coffin. Due to the holy example of his parents, the eldest son, George, became a monk with the name Maxim. He later became archbishop and founded two beautiful monasteries. Saint Angelina herself formed a woman's monastery and with help from the Russian Tsar Vasili she built a beautiful convent named in honour of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple. Saint Angelina's younger son married, but soon after his wedding, he reposed in the Lord. The saint devoted her whole life and all the money she could raise, to feeding the poor, widows and orphans and those in exile. She became known as "the mother of the poor".

Her eldest son, Archbishop Maxim, also died at an early age, and Saint Angelina, having drunk from the cup of grief, took on herself the great angelic image of monasticism and became a great struggler. By her asceticism and love for neighbour, the blessed princess purified her soul and became filled with the Holy Spirit. She peacefully departed to the Lord on 30 July, 1510. Her holy relics were placed in the Annunciation Monastery on Mount Frushka.

Saint Angelina is one of the most beloved of Serbian saints. On her feast day, huge crowds of pilgrims gather at the monastery. A vigil service lasts until after midnight and the people sleep in the monastery's yard. Early in the morning, the Liturgy begins and afterward, there is a Cross procession around the church. A portion of the relics of Saint Angelina are in the Lesna woman's Monastery in France and in Boston, in the Holy Table of the Holy Theophany Church.