It’s Saint Tatyana Day in Russia and Ukraine!

More than seven million students across Russia are celebrating Tatyana Day. On 25 January 1755, Russian Empress Elizabeth signed a decree establishing Moscow State University. It coincided with Tatyana’s day in the saint’s calendar, and she was adopted as the patron saint of scholars.

Empress Elizabeth of Russia granted a  petition to establish the university now known as Moscow State University.   For many years January 25 (or January 12 on the Julian calendar) was observed as a Russian religious holiday and known as Tatyana Day. The day commemorated the heroic actions of a Christian martyr in 2nd century Rome named Tatyana.

Students in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine celebrate the day.

It wasn’t long before Moscow University was built, thus giving the day a link to students and education. Ever since, the day has been centered around young learners and the teachers who work so hard at providing an education for them.

Many now know January 25 as ‘Student Day’. However in 1791 The Church of Tatyana the Martyr was opened on the Campus grounds. Thus the original religious link to Student Day has never been lost and so most continue to call January 25 ‘Tatyana’s Day’.

The religious signifance of this holiday has not been lost. Today in Moscow a crowd grew to overflow as students flocked to a service led by Patriarch Kyrll at Saint Tatyana’s church at Moscow State University.

The holiday has expanded far beyond the limits of the Moscow State University and is celebrated in many places of the former Soviet Union. For example in Krasnoyarsk the city governor holds an annual ball today. The residents of Nizhi Novgorod will choose the best Tatyana among the students of the city.