St. Xenia was born around the early 18th century into a wealthy family in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was originally named Xenia Grigorievna Petrova. Little is known about her early years, but her life took a dramatic turn after the death of her husband, a colonel named Andrei Feodorovich Petrov, when she was in her mid-20s. Deeply grieved by his sudden death, Xenia decided to give away all her possessions and dedicate her life to God.
After her husband's death, Xenia became a "fool-for-Christ," adopting his name and wearing his military uniform. This practice was a form of extreme humility and devotion in Eastern Orthodoxy, symbolizing the renunciation of worldly desires and social conventions. She wandered around the poorest areas of St. Petersburg, giving away her possessions and providing comfort to the poor and sick. Her life of prayer and acts of kindness earned her a reputation as a holy woman, and people started seeking her blessings and prayers, believing her to have the gift of prophecy and healing.
In her later years, St. Xenia continued her life of prayer and pilgrimage, never returning to a regular home. She spent nights in a field, praying for the people of St. Petersburg. Despite her strange behavior to society, she became a spiritual figure for many, embodying Christ's teachings of love, charity, and humility. She passed away at the age of 71 and was buried in the Smolensk Cemetery in St. Petersburg.
St. Xenia's legacy is one of compassion and piety. After her death, people reported miraculous intercessions and healings when praying at her grave. Her grave became a pilgrimage site, with many seeking her prayers and intercession. The Orthodox Church canonized her as a saint, and she is venerated as a patroness of St. Petersburg, with her feast day celebrated on January 24th. Her life story continues to inspire many with her dedication to a spiritual path, despite personal loss and societal misunderstandings.