Exhibition Themes > Theology & Religion > 139. Elizaveta Skobtsova
139. Elizaveta Kuzmina-Karavaeva Skobtsova (1891-1945). Untitled. Watercolor, (21 x 27 cm.) Paris, [1930s] RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Mother Maria Papers
Elizaveta Iurievna Kuzmina-Karavaeva Skobtsova, later known as Mother Maria, was a Russian Orthodox religious thinker, poet and artist. Her multi-faceted legacy includes articles, poems, art, and drama. In the 1910s she was part of the literary milieu of St. Petersburg and was a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. She fled Russia soon after the Bolsheviks' takeover and lived in Paris, where she became a nun. In 1935, she participated in organizing the so-called Orthodox Action, which was designed to help Russian immigrants in France. She and her fellow-workers from Orthodox Action opened a house for homeless and sick immigrants in Paris. During the Nazi occupation of the city, the house was transformed into a refuge for Jews and displaced persons. Mother Maria and her son were arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and died in the Ravensbruck camp in Germany. Mother Maria's selfless devotion to people and her death as a martyr will never be forgotten. In 2004, the Holy Synod confirmed the glorification of Mother Maria.
Gift of Sofia Pilenko, 1955