Grand Duchess Elizabeth was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. After marrying Grand Duke Sergei of Russia, she converted to the Orthodox faith, though this was not required by her position. Following the assassination of her husband in 1905, she took monastic vows and withdrew from the world, founding the Convent of Sts. Mary and Martha. There she served as superior, devoting her time to prayer, fasting, and caring for the sick and the poor.
During the Russian Revolution, she was seized by the Bolsheviks and taken to the Urals, where she and several with her were martyred by being thrown alive down an abandoned mineshaft.
When the fall did not kill them, soldiers threw grenades down the shaft to complete their work. St. Elizabeth was heard singing the Cherubic Hymn shortly before she died.
The nun Barbara, her cell attendant, voluntarily followed St. Elizabeth into exile and received martyrdom with her. Their relics were recovered and taken at great risk to China, then to Jerusalem, where they were deposited in the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene. When their reliquaries were opened in 1981, their bodies were found to be partly incorrupt, and gave off a sweet fragrance.