Of her conversion, she wrote:
"Above all one's conscience must be pure and true... many will -- I know -- scream about (it), yet I feel it brings me nearer to God... You tell me that the outer brilliance of the church charmed me... in that you are mistaken -- nothing in the outer signs attracted me -- no -- the service, the service, the outer signs are only to remind us of the inner things."
Her husband was assassinated in 1905. Elizabeth visited the assassin in jail, assuring him of her forgiveness, and she worked to have his death sentence commuted.
Ridding herself of most of her possessions, she became a nun and founded the Convent of Sts. Mary and Martha. She gave her life in selfless service to the poor. But when the Bolsheviks took over, they were determined to destroy the royal family. Elizabeth was taken to the Ural mountain region where she was martyred on July 5, 1918 (O.S.).
Here is the testimony of one of the murderers:
"At last we arrived at the mine. The shaft was not very deep and, as it turned out, had a ledge on one side that was not covered by water.
First we led grand duchess Elizabeth (Ella) up to the mine. After throwing her down the shaft, we heard her struggling in the water for some time. We pushed the nun lay-sister Varvara
St. Barbara The New Martyr
None of them, it seems, drowned, or choked in the water and after a short time we were able to hear all their voices again.
Then I threw in a grenade. It exploded and everything was quiet. But not for long.
We decided to wait a little to check whether they had perished. After a short while we heard talking and a barely audible groan. I threw another grenade.
And what do you think - from beneath the ground we heard singing! I was seized with horror. They were singing the prayer: 'Lord, save your people!'
We had no more grenades, yet it was impossible to leave the deed unfinished. We decided to fill the shaft with dry brushwood and set it alight. Their hymns still rose up through the thick smoke for some time yet."
When the White army reclaimed the area temporarily, her remains were recovered and eventually were placed in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem, where they remain to this day.
Troparion, Tone 4:
- Causing meekness, humility and love to dwell in thy soul,
- Thou didst earnestly serve the suffering,
- O holy passion-bearer Princess Elizabeth;
- Wherefore, with faith thou didst endure sufferings and death for Christ, with the martyr Barbara.
- With her pray for all who honor you with love.
Kontakion, Tone 4:
- Taking up the Cross of Christ,
- Thou didst pass from royal glory to the glory of heaven,
- Praying for thine enemies, O holy martyr Princess Elizabeth;
- And with the martyr Barbara thou didst find everlasting joy.
- Therefore, pray ye in behalf of our souls.