Eudoxia Lopukhina

Tsarina Eudoxia Lopukhina, first wife of Peter the Great, mother of Tsarevich Alexis Petrovich, Sister Helen of the Convent of the Intercession in Suzdal
Born: 1669, Moscow
Died: 1731, Moscow

When Peter the Great was sixteen, his mother married him to the nineteen-year-old daughter of Illarion Lopukhin on 27 January 1689. Although her name was actually Praskovia Illarionovna, Peter’s mother thought that Eudoxia sounded better. She did not like the father’s name either and he was forced to change it to Fyodor. Praskovia Illarionovna thus became Eudoxia Fyodorovna. Prince Boris Kurakin describes her as a handsome girl of “only average intelligence.”

Peter and Eudoxia’s marriage was initially happy. Eudoxia gave birth to a son called Alexis in 1690, followed by two more boys, Alexander and Pavel. Peter then tired of his wife and began a relationship with Anna Mons, the daughter of a wine merchant in the German Suburb (foreigners’ settlement).

Following the breakdown of their marriage, Peter decided to rid himself of Eudoxia. He banished her to the Convent of the Intercession in Suzdal on 23 September 1698. The following year, he sent Semyon Yazykov to the convent to inform Eudoxia that she was to take the veil under the name of Sister Helen.

In 1709, Peter’s former wife began a nine-year love affair with Captain Stepan Glebov. This came to light in 1718, when the tsar was investigating the flight abroad of their son, Tsarevich Alexis. Both were harshly punished. Stepan Glebov was impaled, while Eudoxia was tortured and moved to the Convent of the Dormition in Old Ladoga.

When Peter’s second wife ascended the throne as Catherine I in 1725, Eudoxia was imprisoned at Schlüsselburg. She was only released in October 1727, after the death of Catherine and the accession of her grandson, Peter II. The former tsarina spent the rest of her life at the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, where she died in 1731. She was buried there alongside three of Peter’s half-sisters – Sophia, Ekaterina and Eudoxia.

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