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According to legend, Saint Ksenia was a woman who lived in Leningrad when it was known as St. Petersburg in the eighteenth century. She was a woman of means until widowed at a young age, whereupon she gave away everything that she had in order to live on the streets of the city, praying all of the time except for when she was prophesying one thing or another. At some indeterminate point following her death, her grave in Leningrad's Smolensk Cemetery became a sort of shrine, attracting enough pilgrims to justify the construction of a chapel at her grave. Even after the 1917 Communist revolution, her grave continued to attract a huge number of people, many of whom left notes to Blessed Ksenia begging for her divine intervention regarding one sort of problem or another. This continued until 1962, when a Soviet anti-religion writer (whom my sources unfortunately fail to name) wrote a piece against the shrine, recommending that it be closed down. It was converted into a workshop, but the workers claimed to hear funeral dirges, so the place was shut down and boarded up completely, surrounded by a fence to keep away pilgrims. Still people came, though, inscribing their divine pleas on the fence itself. This arrangement continued until 1987, when the state relented and allowed the reopening of the shrine as a shrine. Ksenia was then canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988.

All information in this writeup is taken from John Bushnell's book, Moscow Graffiti.

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