A Saint and a Mystery

by abbamoses


Feodor Kuzmich (contemporary portrait)

St Feodor (Theodore) Kuzmich of Tomsk (+1864, commemorated Jan. 20)

The staretz was known and loved as a solitary palomnik in the Tomsk region of Siberia. He was officially glorified by the Russian Church in 1984.

The mystery: There is a persistent legend that St Feodor was in fact the Tsar Alexander I, who had faked his own death in 1825 in order to leave the world and practice an ascetical life in secret. The story has never been proven or disproven, but the circumstances of the Tsar’s death (if death it was) were peculiar, and when Soviet authorities opened his tomb in 1925 it was found to be empty.

St Feodor gave evidence of coming from an educated background and seemed familiar with the workings of the Imperial court, but he never spoke of his origins. Some members of the Imperial family, including Tsar Nicholas II, believed that St Feodor was Tsar Alexander.

The intriguing tale is told in Alexis Troubetzkoy’s Imperial Legend: The Mysterious Disappearance of Tsar Alexander I.