Saints Peter and Theuronia – The Story of Their Love
Prince Peter ruled Murom at the beginning of the 13th century. He was handsome, brave and strong in his faith. He opposed a filthy serpent that was encouraging people to sin by luring them with vices. In the fierce battle evil was defeated, but Prince Peter was wounded. Only a country girl named Theuronia could cure his painful sores. She asked the prince to marry her after his recovery as a payment. Peter eagerly gave his word. Theuronia made an herbal mixture, crossed it as if she were calling the Holy Spirit into it and asked the prince to rub the medicine into his sores, leaving one small wound untouched. Prince Peter did so and he was healthy again. He had hardly gotten better, however, before he drove the promise to marry the girl from his head.
That night, the sores all over his body appeared again. In a dream he saw an angel that pointed to the sin he had committed by neglecting the girl who had cured him. Peter traveled the hard road alone to Theuronia’s place. He begged the girl to forgive him and Theuronia cured him once again. Their wedding took place in Murom on St Peter’s Day.
From then on, Peter and Theuronia lived in peace and harmony. But the boyars didn’t like the girl – she wasn’t a princess by birth and neither was she rich. Once, the boyars even burst out laughing at Theuronia while she was gathering bread crumbs from the table. The prince got upset and asked his wife to unclench her fist. She did so and semiprecious stones turned out to be in her hand. The boyars became angry even more and wanted the Prince to get rid of his wife. Theuronia turned for help to her patroness, Virgin Mary, and declared that she would go away only if they let her take what she wanted. The girl only wanted her husband to go with her. The boyars were even happier to hear that, as each longed for the prince’s throne.
Then there were horrible times in Murom. People were suffering from hunger and illnesses while the boyars were fighting for power. It was too hard for Prince Peter to see the boyars destroying his native town. He was in need of God’s presence in his life in order to strengthen in his faith. Theuronia showed him two dry sticks on the bank of the river and said that the next morning there would be two beautiful trees with green leaves. And that would be a sign from God. In the morning Prince Peter couldn’t believe his eyes. There were two slender young trees instead of two dry sticks. He came up to the trees and shook them. At that very moment the boyars appeared from nowhere. They were on their knees begging for forgiveness. The boyars wanted Prince Peter to come back to the town and rule Murom.
In his declining years, Prince Peter embraced a religious life, as did Theuronia. Peter was named David, and Theuronia – Euphrosinia. They lived not far from one another: one in the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery and the other in the Trinity Convent.
Feeling he had no strength left, David asked to bring Euphrosinia to him. She was embroidering in her cell and said she would come as soon as she finished her work. David died without saying goodbye to his wife. Euphrosinia listened about David’s death calmly without stopping her work. She made one last stitch, stood up, prayed to Virgin Mary, and followed her husband into heaven. Their bodies were moved to their final resting place in a mutual tomb at Trinity Convent in Murom. Their souls and bodies were united forever.
Now Peter and Theuronia, Saints David and Ethrosinia, are the patron saints of family and love.