Τρίτη, 13 Οκτωβρίου 2009

SAINTS OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH
February

Compilled by Antonios Markou

This text is under constraction

February 1
St. Tryphon Bishop of Rostov (+ 1468)
He was head of Moscow's Novospassky (New Savior) Monastery and was confessor to Great Prince Basil the Dark. On May 23, 1462 he was consecrated as Bishop of Rostov, by Metropolitan Theodosius of Moscow. In 1466, he retired to the Savior Monastery in Yaroslavl, where he died on December 30, 1468 (certain local documents indicate the year 1466). His commemoration was transferred to February 1, it seems, so that he would be honored with his namesake St. Tryphon the Martyr.

February 3
St. Roman Prince of Uglich (+ 1280)
He was son of Prince Vladimir and Princess Photine of Uglich, and nephew of St. Basil of Rostov (comm. March 4). He was born on October 1, 1235. Upon the death of his father (in 1248) and his older brother Andrew (in 1261), St. Roman, at the age of twenty-six, took upon himself the governance of Uglich and became a father to his subjects.
He established a poor-house and took in the destitute, who came to him from everywhere. In the principality he built fifteen more Churches. St. Roman was present every day at the divine services, and he often conversed with pious monks. After the death of his wife in 1280, he devoted himself entirely to ascetic exploits of fasting, prayer and works of righteousness. He built the city Romanov (now Tutaev) on the high bank of the Volga.
The Holy Prince died peacefully on February 3, 1280 and was buried in the Church of the Transfiguration in Uglich. In 1486, the Relics of St. Roman were found to be incorrupt and were transferred into the new Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration. In the year 1595 with the blessing of Patriarch Job in consequence of the fame concerning miracles the Relics were witnessed to by the Metropolitan (later Patriarch) St. Germogenes (comm. February 17), and St. Roman was numbered among the Saints. In 1609, the Holy Relics were burned along with the Church during an invasion by the Poles.

February 3
St. Simeon, Bishop of Tver (+ 1289)
He was descended from the Polotsk Princes. He was the seventh Bishop of Polotsk and the first Bishop of the Tver Diocese. The Saint's cathedra was first at Polotsk, but hostile attacks and conflicts with the Lithuanian Princes, and the murder of the Polotsk Prince (his relative) in 1263, compelled him to move to Tver (Prince Yaroslav Yaroslavich had become Great Prince of Russia, and he chose Tver as his ruling city).
St. Simeon was well-disposed and kind to the down-trodden and destitute, attentive to the monastic and priestly orders, and a zealous defender of truth. The Nikonov Chronicle relates that this Holy Bishop was "knowledgeable about medicine, and well versed in the books of Holy Scripture; he was a teacher, a virtuous man, concerned for the needy, widows and orphans, a defender of the down-trodden and deliverer of the oppressed."
History preserves for us a conversation of St. Simeon with Prince Constantine of Polotsk who, wishing to make a jest about his Court, asked the Saint at supper: "Where shall the courts be in that world?" Simeon answered, "Those courts shall also be where the prince is."
The Prince did not care for this, and he said, "A court might judge unjustly, and take bribes, or torture people, and is it I who do the harm?" The Bishop explained to him, "If a Prince is good and God-fearing, and is concerned for the people, and loves truth and he appoints good, God-fearing, intelligent and truth-loving men to his council, that prince shall be in Paradise and his court with him. If, however, a Prince is without the fear of God, and is not concerned for Christians and does not think of orphans and widows, and if he appoints wicked counselors who lack integrity in order to bring him money, that Prince shall be in Hell and his Court with him."
St. Simeon reposed in peace on February 3, 1289.

February 3
St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Japan (+ 1912)
In the world Ioann Dmitrievich Kasatkin, he was born on August 1, 1836, in Berezovsky pogost (village), Volsk district, in the province of Smolensk, where his father Dmitry Ivanovich served as a Deacon. When the child was five, his mother Xenia Alexeyevna died. The Deacon's big family was very poor. Despite that the boy was sent to the Belsk Theological School and later to the Smolensk Theological Seminary.
In 1857, Ioann Dmitrievich, one of the best students, was sent to study in the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, where he demonstrated remarkable talents. When Ioann was about to finish his studies, his future mission, to preach the Orthodox faith in Japan, was revealed by Divine Providence. The Russian Consul in Japan sent a request to the Holy Synod (later forwarded to the Academy), asking for a Pastor "who would be useful both as a spiritual director and a scholar and whose private life would give a good idea of our clergy not only to Japanese, but also to foreigners." He filed a petition to Bishop Nectarius, the Rector, asking to profess him and to appoint him to the Russian Consulate in Japan.
On June 24, 1860, Bishop Nectarius ordained a monk Ioann Kasatkin with the name of Nicholas in the Academic Church of the Twelve Apostles. On June 29, the day of Apostles Peter and Paul, monk Nicholas was ordained Hierodeacon, and on June 30, when the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles was celebrated, he became Hieromonk.
Remarkable were the Bishop's words of blessing of the young monk's new mission: "You are supposed to live your ascetic life outside the monastery. You will have to leave your homeland and to serve God in a country that is distant and unfaithful. Along with the cross of an ascetic you must take your staff of a pilgrim, along with monastic exploits you must embark on an apostolic mission!"
In June 1860, Hieromonk Nicholas set off for his duty station in the town of Hakodate, taking along the Icon of Smolensk Mother of God. On his way to Japan, he met the renowned Hierarch of the Russian Church, St. Innocent (Veniaminov), Archbishop of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands (later Metropolitan of Moscow), called the Apostle of America and Siberia. In Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, he learned from the elder missionary's experience all that was necessary to continue his apostolic deeds "even to the end of the Earth."
At first, to preach the Gospel in Japan seemed next to impossible. According to Fr. Nicholas' words, "the Japanese of that time regarded foreigners as beasts, and considered Christianity to be a vicious Church, to which only notorious evildoers and magicians could belong." It took him eight years to familiarize himself with the country, its people and language, and the customs and traditions of those whom he had to preach to. Hieromonk Nicholas attended popular gatherings to listen to visitant storytellers and Buddhist preachers. By 1868, Fr. Nicholas had already mastered spoken Japanese. His knowledge of the history of Japan was deeper than that of many Japanese. In the meantime, he also learnt English, which tended to become an international language. By that time the congregation of Fr. Nicholas numbered about twenty men and women. In late 1869, Hieromonk Nicholas came to St. Petersburg to report on the results of his work to the Synod.
A decision was made "to set up a special Russian Ecclesiastical Mission to preach God's Word among pagans." Fr. Nicholas was promoted to the rank of Archimandrite and appointed head of the Mission. Upon his return to Japan, the prospective Hierarch turned over his Hakodate's congregation to Hieromonk Anatole, his new associate, and relocated the missionary centre to Tokyo.
In 1871, the persecution of Christians began in Japan, which affected many people, including Paul Sawabe, the first Orthodox Japanese, who would become famous missionary Priest afterwards.
It was not until 1873 that the persecution lessened a little and a free propa-gation of Christianity became possible. In the same year Archimandrite Nicholas started to build a Church and a school for fifty people in Tokyo, followed by a Theological School, which was transformed into a Seminary in 1878.
In 1874, His Eminence Paul, Bishop of Kamchatka, arrived in Tokyo to ordain local candidates recommended by Archimandrite Nicholas. By that time, there were four schools in Tokyo: a catechist school, a Seminary, a girls' school and a clerical school; and two schools in Hakodate, one for boys and one for girls. In late 1877, the Mission began to publish a magazine, The Church Herald, on a regular basis. By 1878, there were 4.115 Christians in Japan. In public worship and education of local communities, the vernacular was used. The publication of books on spirituality and ethics was initiated as well.
In 1880, the Holy Synod decided to increase the staff of the Mission and to elevate the head of it, Archimandrite Nicholas, to the rank of Bishop. On March 30, 1880, Archimandrite Nicholas was consecrated Bishop of Tokyo, in the Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Laura. The Hierarch wrote later: "During the sacrament of consecration, feelings seem to overwhelm the man against his will, his eyes get wet, his soul embarrassed. His inner being is transformed as soon as hierarchs place their right hands upon him. He stands up a totally different person than he was before kneeling down in front of the altar."
Since then, Hierarch Nicholas continued his apostolic labour with even greater zeal. He finished the construction of the Cathedral of Christ's Resurrection in Tokyo, proceeded with the translation of liturgical books, and composed The Orthodox Theological Dictionary in Japanese. He paid much attention to numerous Orthodox communities.
The Russian-Japanese war of 1905, however, turned out to be the time of ordeals for St. Nicholas and his flock. He withstood them with honour, to the great surprise of the Japanese. He found a way to help Russian POWs in their difficult situation. In recognition of this unprecedented effort, he was promoted to the rank of Archbishop.
In 1911, after fifty years' missionary work of St. Nicholas, the Japanese Orthodox Church numbered 266 communities, including 33.017 Orthodox laymen, one Archbishop, one Bishop, 35 Priests, 6 Deacons, 14 teachers of singing, and 116 catechists.
Throughout his life, St. Nicholas set an example of a true spiritual director wholly devoted to his ministry. He was a man of inexhaustible energy, firm commitment and outstanding efficiency. He said once: "I consider it inappropriate for a missionary to retire unless he is totally unable to serve. I have never tried on a 'robe de chambre,' not even in my dreams. I would better die on the field where God's Providence destined me to plough and sow." These words fully reflect his human nature. His private life was that of an ascetic. He never tried to perform any special feat, but rather surrendered his entire soul to God. His life was marked with hardships and wilfulness, self-appraisals and tiredness, and the feebleness of an old man. However, the Saint's life was a clear manifestation of success in overcoming these hardships through the fulfilment of Christ's commandments, shown to the whole world.
On February 3, 1912, Archbishop Nicholas, the Enlightener of Japan, peacefully reposed in the Lord at the age of 75. On April 10, 1970, the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Patriarch Alexis I of Moscow and all Russia decided to canonize Archbishop Nicholas naming him Equal-to-the-Apostles. In Japan, St. Nicholas is venerated until now as a man of great sanctity and a special intercessor with the Lord.
The first Service to St. Nicholas of Japan was composed by Metropolitan Nicodemus of Leningrad and Novgorod (d. September 5, 1978), the second by Bishop Parthenius of Leukas (Sofia, 1972).

February 4
St. George Prince of Vladimir (+ 1238)
He was a son of Great Prince Vsevolod, nicknamed "Big Nest." He was born in the year 1189, and he assumed the great Princely Throne of Vladimir in 1212. He was distinguished for his military valor and his piety. In the year 1237 the Tatar Horde of Chan Batu descended upon the Russian land. St. George was compelled to leave the capital city in charge of his sons, and went north to meet up with the other Princes. On March 4, 1238 the Battle at the River Sita was fought, in which the Tatars destroyed the small but valiant company of the Great Prince. The Saint himself fell in this fight, and Bishop Cyril buried his body at the Rostov Cathedral. Two years later, it was transferred to Vladimir's Dormition Cathedral with great solemnity.
The Church glorification of the Saint occurred in 1645.

St. Cyril of New Lake (+ 1532)
He was born into a pious family. The Lord marked him as one of the chosen even before he was born. Cyril's mother was praying in Church during the Divine Liturgy, and the infant in her womb cried out, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth!"
From the time of his childhood the Saint was fond of solitude and prayer, and he dreamt of monastic life. At fifteen years of age he secretly left his parental home, intending to enter the Pskov Caves Monastery. He did not know the way to the monastery, and took nothing from home for the journey. He went his way, putting all his trust in the Lord and His All-Pure Mother. Twenty versts from the city the youth met a magnificent monastic Elder, who led him to the monastery. As he left, he blessed him with the words, "May God bless you, my child, and grant you the Angelic Schema, and may you be a chosen vessel of the Divine Spirit." Having said this, the Elder became invisible. The boy realized that this had been a messenger from God, and he gave thanks to the Lord.
The Abbot St. Cornelius (comm. 20 February) saw with his clairvoyant eye the grace manifest in the young man. He provided him with much guidance and tonsured him into the monastic schema with the name Cyril. The fifteen-year-old monk astonished the brethren with his efforts. He emaciated the flesh through fasting and prayer, and zealously fulfilled obediences. Day and night he was ready to study the Word of God. Even then he thought to end his days in solitude in the wilderness.
The boy's parents mourned him as one dead, but once an Elder of the monastery of St. Cornelius came to them and told them about their son and his life at the monastery. The joyful news confirmed in Cyril's mother her love for God. She spoke with her husband about leaving to the monastery her portion of the inheritance, then left the world and became a nun with the name Helen. She reposed in peace a short time later.
The Saint's father came to the monastery, and St. Cornelius told Cyril to meet with him. The Saint was troubled, but not daring to disobey the Abbot, he fell down at his father's feet, imploring forgiveness for secretly leaving home. The father forgave his son, and he himself remained at the monastery. St. Cornelius tonsured him into monasticism with the name Barsanuphios, and gave him to his son for instruction.
Three years later, he peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. His son continued to toil more fervently for the Lord, disdaining his own will, and in was obedient not only to the Abbot, but also to the brethren. He thirsted to go about all the Russian land, venerating its holy shrines and to find for himself a wilderness place for a life of silence.
With the blessing of St. Cornelius, St. Cyril left the monastery in which he had grown strong spiritually, and he went to the coastal regions, roaming through the forests and the wild places, eating tree roots and berries. The Saint spent about twenty years in this difficult exploit of wanderer, and he went to the outskirts of Moscow, Novgorod and Pskov, but he never entered any house nor did he accept alms. He wandered about during the day, and spent his nights at prayer on Church porches, and he attended the Church services.
Once while at prayer, St. Cyril saw a heavenly light indicating the direction where he should found a monastery. He set off on his way at once, and having reached the Tikhvin Monastery, he spent three days and three nights there in ceaseless prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos. The Mother of God appeared to him in a dream. Showing Her approval of him, She said, "My servant Cyril, pleaser of the Most Holy Trinity, go to the Eastern region of White Lake, and the Lord My Son will show you the place of rest for your old age."
The Saint proceeded to White Lake, weeping copious tears at the miraculous vision. On the lake he saw a small island, from which a pillar of fire rose up to the sky. There, beneath a centuries old spruce tree, St. Cyril built a hut, and then set up two cells: one for himself, the other for future brethren. The hermit also constructed two small Churches, one in honor of the Resurrection of Christ and the other in honor of the Mother of God Hodigitria. He underwent many temptations from invisible enemies, and from idlers roving about, but he overcame everything by brave endurance and constant prayer. News of his holy life spread everywhere, and brethren gathered around him.
There were many instances of healing through his prayers, and the Lord also granted His Saint the gift of foresight. Sensing his impending end, St. Cyril summoned the brethren. With tears of humility the saint instructed his spiritual children one last time, until his voice gave out. For a long time then he was silent, but suddenly he cried out with loud sobbing, "I go to the Lord into life eternal, but I entrust you to God the Word and His Grace, bestowing an inheritance and sanctification upon all. May it help you. But I beseech you, do not become lax in fasting and prayers, guard yourself from the snares of the Enemy, and the Lord in His ineffable mercy will not condemn your humility."
Having said this, the saint gave a final kiss to the brethren, received the Holy Mysteries, signed himself with the Sign of the Cross, and with the words "Glory to God for everything!" he gave up his pure soul to the Lord on February 4, 1532.

Sts. Abraham and Coprius of Pechenga (15th c.)
In 1492 they founded the Savior wilderness Monastery at the River Pechenga, in Gryazovetsk district, 21 versts from Vologda. It required great work to bring in the necessities to the wilderness spot, in order to build the monastery and set everything in proper order. The blessed toilers did not spare themselves, zealously living in asceticism until their death.

February 5
St. Theodosius Archbishop of Chernigov (+ 1696)
He was born in the 17th c. at the beginning of the decade of the thirties in Podolsk governance. He was descended from a noble family, the Polonitsky-Uglitskys. His parents were the Priest Niketas and Maria. The Saint was taught Christian piety in his parents' home, and this piety remained with him throughout his life.
From childhood he was distinguished by a fervent love for God and zeal for the Church. The innate abilities of the youth came to light in the Kiev Brotherhood School at Kiev's Theophany Monastery. The School was flourishing at the end of the 1640s, when its rectors were Archimandrite Innocent (Gizel), and Igumen Lazar (Baranovich), who later became Archbishop of Chernigov. Among its instructors were: Hieromonk Epiphanius (Slavinetsky), Hieromonk Arsenius (Satanovsky), Bishop Theodosius (Baevsky) of Belarus, Igumen Theodosius (Saphonovich) and Meletios Dzik. These were the enlightened men of those days. The comrades of St. Theodosius at the school would become future outstanding pastors: Symeon Polotsky, Ioannikius Golyatovsky, Anthony Radivillovsky, Varlaam Yasninsky. The Kiev Brotherhood Theophany School was the chief center in the struggle of Orthodoxy against the assaults of Catholic clergy, particularly the Jesuits.
St. Theodosius grew to spiritual maturity near the Relics of Sts. Anthony and Theodosius and other God-pleasers of the Kiev Caves, and he tried to imitate their holy life as much as he could. He devoted all his free time to prayer, meditation on God, and the reading of Holy Scripture.
It might be surmised that the Saint did not finish the full course of studies, since the School ceased its activity for several years following the devastation of Podolia by the Poles. All his life the Saint had a deep regard for the Kiev Brotherhood Monastery where he was educated. In the Synodikon of the Kiev-Vydubitsk Monastery is the following comment about St. Theodosius: "He was a man of fine intellect, and generous to the Kiev Brotherhood Monastery."
Upon receiving his education, the future Hierarch received monastic tonsure at the Kiev Caves Lavra with the name Theodosius, in honor of St. Theodosius of the Caves. Metropolitan Dionysius (Balaban) of Kiev made him archdeacon of Kiev's Holy Wisdom Cathedral, and then appointed him steward of the Episcopal household. Soon he left Kiev and went to the distant Krupitsky Monastery near Baturino (in the Chernigov Diocese), which was famed for its strict monastic life. There he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood, but remained there only a short time.
In 1662, St. Theodosius was appointed Abbot of the Korsun Monastery in Kiev Diocese, and in the year 1664 he was made head of the ancient Kiev-Vydubitsky Monastery. This monastery had fallen into the hands of the Uniates and Poles at the beginning of the 17th c. and was in complete ruin. Thanks to the energy and initiative of St. Theodosius, the Vydubitsky Mikhailovsk monastery was quickly restored.
He was particularly concerned with the order of Church services. He formed an excellent choir, which was famed not only in Little Russia, but also in Moscow. St. Theodosius sent his singers to Moscow in 1685 to instruct their choirs in Kievan chant.
As a strict ascetic himself, St. Theodosius was concerned with the spiritual growth of his monks. He founded a small Skete on the island of Mikhailovschina, not far from the monastery, for brethren wishing to live in solitude. He appointed the Hieromonk Job (Opalinsky), one of the most zealous monks of his monastery, to organize and administer the Skete.
St. Theodosius had to live through some quite difficult days, enduring many sorrows. He and other Igumens were accused by Bishop Methodius of Mstislav and Orshansk of betraying Russia in a supposed correspondence with the enemies of Russia.
On September 20, 1668 St. Theodosius explained the matter. On November 17, 1668 the lie was exposed, and St. Theodosius together with the other Igumens were vindicated. Archbishop Lazar (Baranovich) esteemed the high spiritual qualities of St. Theodosius and befriended him. He called him "a sheep of the flock of Christ, teaching by humility," and he prophetically expressed the wish that the name of St. Theodosius might be inscribed in Heaven.
When Archbishop Lazar became Locum Tenens of Kiev's Metropolitan See in 1689, he appointed St. Theodosius as his Vicar in Kiev, while he remained at Chernigov. In his capacity as vicar of the Locum Tenens of the Kiev Metropolitan See, St. Theodosius had an active role in many churchly events. In 1685 he participated with the right of a decisive vote in the election of Bishop Gideon (Chetverinsky) as Metropolitan of Kiev, and he was sent to Moscow with news of this event with Igumen Jerome (Dubin) of Pereyaslavl . In Moscow, both representatives were received with honor and esteem. Indeed, the result of this delegation was the reuniting of the Kiev Metropolitan See with the Russian Orthodox Church.
In 1688 St. Theodosius was appointed Archimandrite of Chernigov's Eletsy Monastery, replacing the deceased Archimandrite Ioannikius (Golyatovsky). In appointing St. Theodosius, Archbishop Lazar told him to spare no effort in placing the Eletsy monastery in good order. This monastery had not yet been set aright after the expulsion of the Jesuits and Dominicans, and it was in great disorder.
Through the efforts of St. Theodosius, in his two or three years as Abbot, the monastery's revenues and properties increased, the Church of the Dormition was repaired, and the Elets Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was enshrined there.
In his new position, the Saint also assisted Archbishop Lazar in many important matters. He participated in drafting a conciliar reply to Patriarch Joachim of Moscow in response to his questions about the attitude of the Kiev Metropolitan See to the Council of Florence, and its judgement on the question of the transformation of the Holy Gifts as accepted by this Florentine Council. When the Patriarch proved to be unsatisfied by these answers, the Baturino Abbot St. Demitrios (the future Metropolitan of Rostov) was sent to him at the beginning of 1689. St. Theodosius journeyed with him as the representative of Archbishop Lazar. He was entrusted with the delivery of a letter to the Patriarch, and to clear up the misunderstandings.
Because of his poor health, Archbishop Lazar wished to see St. Theodosius consecrated to the episcopate, seeing in the Saint a worthy successor to himself. On September 11, 1692 the election of St. Theodosius as Archbishop of Chernigov was confirmed, and he was consecrated in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin two days later.
Little information regarding St. Theodosius's administration of the Chernigov Diocese has been preserved. The Saint worked incessantly to raise the level of true Christian piety in his flock. He also focused on maintaining old monasteries, and founding new communities.
At the very beginning of his episcopate, the Pecheniksk women's Monastery was established with his blessing, and he himself consecrated the monastery Church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
In 1694, a Skete was founded near Liubech. The same year, at the Domnitsky men's Monastery, the Saint consecrated a Church in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. In the summer of 1695, he consecrated a majestic Church in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos, on the summit of Boldino Hill, near the ancient monastery of St. Elias. Under St. Theodosius there was a special enthusiasm for and strengthening of monasticism in the Chernigov Diocese.
The Saint also devoted much attention to the clergy, and he tried to choose worthy candidates for the Priesthood. He also encouraged the pastoral education of the Chernigov clergy. He invited learned monks from Kiev, among whom was St. John (Maximovitch), the future Metropolitan of Tobolsk, and also a helper and successor of St. Theodosius in organizing the Chernigov clergy school.
Strict uprightness in regard to clergy and flock, deep compassion, concern and Christian love of peace were distinguishing features in the activity of St. Theodosius. Not only did the Orthodox turn to him for help and advice, but even persons of other confessions.
St. Theodosius did not remain with his Chernigov flock very long. Sensing the approach of death, he summoned the administrator of the Bryansk Svensk Monastery, St. John (Maximovitch), and appointed him Archimandrite of the Chernigov Elets Monastery.
St. Theodosius reposed on February 5, 1696, and was buried in Chernigov's Sts. Boris and Gleb Cathedral Church, in a special crypt near the right cleros. His successor St. John (Maximovitch), who was healed of a grievous illness by St. Theodosius, later placed a stone plaque over his grave with a poetic inscription in gratitude for the Saint's help. The special grace which St. Theodosius attained is shown by his ascetic life and his assistance to all who turn to him in prayer.
The glorification of St. Theodosius occurred on September 9, 1896.

February 9
St. Gennadius of Vazhe Lake (+ 1516)
He was the son of rich parents but, giving away everything, he became a disciple of St. Alexander of Svir and lived with him in asceticism as a hermit by the river Svira. Afterwards, with blessing of St. Alexander, he went to Vazhe Lake, twelve versts from the Svir Monastery. And here, having built a cell, he spent his solitary ascetic life with two of his disciples.
Before his death, St. Gennadius told his disciple, "Here at this place shall be a church and a monastery."
The Holy Ascetic reposed in peace on January 8, 1516.

St. Nikephorus of Vazhe Lake (16th c.)
He came to St. Alexander of Svir in the year 1510 and was warmly received by him. In 1518 he made a visit, with the blessing of his mentor, to St. Cyril of New Lake . When he approached New Lake, he was fatigued by his long journey and lay down in the darkness and fell asleep.
St. Cyril through hastened by boat to row across the lake and awoke him. St. Nikephorus spent eight days in spiritual conversation with the Saint. Nikephorus then journeyed to Kiev to venerate the Relics of the Saints of the Caves.
Upon his return, and with the blessing of St. Alexander, he settled at Vazhe Lake, where St. Gennadius pursued asceticism. St. Nikephorus built the Church of the Transfiguration and a Monastery, where he lived until his own death.
In the second half of the 19th c., in the Zadne-Nikiforov wilderness, a Church was built and dedicated to Sts. Nikephorus and Gennadius of Vazhe Lake. The Relics of the Saints were put to rest in a hidden place in the Monastery they founded.

February 10
St. Anna, Grand Princes of Novgorod (+ 1050)
She was the eldest daughter of the wise Swedish King Olaf Sketktung, who was called the "all-Christian King" for everything he had done to spread Christianity in his country.
His wife, Queen Astrid, was also known for her intellect and kind heart. The Royal Family was baptised in the year 1000. In her native country St. Anna had the name of Indigherd. Although at that time it was quite common to bring children up in the families of relatives, she stayed with her parents and got a very good education: she studied literature, history and especially the Scripture. She led an active life, was involved in the social life of her country, travelled a lot and received guests. This young lady was full of grace, wit and courage and had a great influence on everyone she met.
In 1016, having followed her father's will, she married Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Prince of Kiev (1019 - 1054), who, King Olaf thought, "was worthy of her friendship". The new Russian Grand Duchess with the name of Irina became a wise councillor and good aid to her husband. Since then the interests of her new country became her own. Once, when the hired Norwegian guards rebelled and asked the Grand Duchess to be the mediator between them and the Grand Prince, she agreed, but warned them directly that she would defend her husband's interests.
Grand Duchess Irina had a great influence on the good relations between Russia and Scandinavian countries. She sheltered Edwin and Edward, the outcast sons of the British King Edmond, as well as the Norwegian Prince Magnus, who went home only after she became sure the Norwegians would give him back his father's throne and would respect his rights.
When Yaroslav's brother Prince Mstislav of Tmutarakan rebelled, Grand Duchess Irina proposed that he fight her and thus find out who was right. But Mstislav said he was not used to fighting against women and gave in.
St. Grand Duchess Irina gave birth to seven sons and three daughters. Four of her sons are most wellknown: the eldest – St. Prince Vladimir of Novgorod canonized by the Russian Church (+ 1052, comm. on October 4); Izyaslav of Kiev and Svyatoslav of Chernigov (who governed Kiev one after the other) and Vsevolod of Pereyaslavl - the father of Vladimir Monomakh and progenitor of all the Princes of Moscow.
Her daughters were: Queen Anna of France, Queen Maria of Hungary and Queen Elisabeth of Norway. The whole Grand Prince Family was highly pious and devout. This is stated in the famous "Word on Law and Grace" of Metropolitan Hillarion of Kiev (+ ca.1053; comm. on October 21), who, addressing the deceased St. Grand Prince Vladimir (+ 1015, July 15) said: "Look at your daughter-in-law Irina, at your grandchildren, how they live, how God keeps them, how they keep the faith you gave them, how they praise the Name of Christ!"
In Kiev St. Irina founded the first convent in the name of Great Martyr Irina and not only did she care for it, she also governed it. Prince Yaroslav's Court lived both in Kiev and Novgorod. In 1045 his eldest son Vladimir founded a stone Cathe-dral in the name of St. Sophia of God's Wisdom in Novgorod. There in 1050 St. Grand Duchess Irina died, having been tonsured with the name of Anna. This was the first time that a member of the Poyal Family took monastic vows. St. Anna's son, Prince Vladimir, who died on 4th October 1052, was buried together with his mother.
St. Anna's feast days -- February 10th and October 4th (together with her son) -- were established after a sign to the Archbishop Euphemius of Novgorod (+ 1458; March 11) in 1439. These are also days we commemorate the Saints of Novgorod buried in the side-Chapel of St. Sophia. They are: St. Joachim of Korsun, the first Bishop of Novgorod (988-1030); St. Luke the Jew, Bishop (1030/1035? - 1060; + October 15, 1060); St. Germanus, Bishop (1078-1096); St. Arcadius, Bishop (1157-1162, 18th September); St. Gregory, Archbishop (1187-1193; + May 24, 1193); St. Martyrius, Archbishop (1193-1199; + August 24, 1199); St. Anthony, Archbishop (1212-1220, 1226-1228; + October 8, 1231); St. Basil Kalika, Archbishop (1331-1352; + July 3, 1352); St. Symeon, Archbishop (1416-1421; + June 15, 1421); St. Gennadius, Archbishop (1484-1504; 4th December); St. Pimen, Archbishop (1553-1571); St. Aphon, Metropolitan (1635-1648; + April 6, 1653). These Saints' Relics were buried or transferred into the Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (except for Sts. Germanus, Gennadius and Pimen - that's why their names are not mentioned among the others in the Synaxis of the Novgorod Saints in some sources).

St. Prokhorus of the Kiev Caves (+ 1107)
He was a native of Smolensk, and entered the Kiev Caves Monastery under the Abbot John (1089-1103). He was a great ascetic of strict temperance. In place of bread he ate pigweed (or orach), and so he was called "pigweed-eater." Every summer, he gathered pigweed and made enough bread from it to last him for a whole year. He also ate prosphora from Church now and then, and his only drink was water. Seeing the patience of St. Prokhorus, God transformed the usual bitterness of the pigweed into sweetness.
During the Saint's lifetime, a famine threatened Russia. Prokhorus began to gather the pigweed even more zealously and to prepare his "bread". Certain people followed his example, but they were not able to eat this weed because of its bitterness. Prokhorus distributed his pigweed bread to the needy, and it tasted like it was made from fine wheat. Only the bread given with the blessing of St. Prokhorus was edible, and even pure and light in appearance. If anyone tried to prepare this bread himself, or take it without the Saint's blessing, it was not fit for consumption. This became known to the Abbot and the brethren, and the fame of Prokhorus spread far and wide.
After a certain while there was no salt at Kiev, and the people suffered because of this. Then the Saint gathered ashes from all the cells, and began to distribute it to the needy. Through his prayers, the ashes became pure salt. The merchants, who hoped to take advantage of this shortage of salt for their own profit, became angry with St. Prokhorus for distributing free salt to the people.
Prince Svyatopolk confiscated the salt from Prokhorus. When they transported it to the Prince's Court, everyone saw that it was just ordinary ashes. After three days, Svyatopolk gave orders to discard it. St. Prokhorus blessed the people to take the discarded ashes, and they were again changed into salt.
This miracle reformed the fierce Prince. He began to pray zealously, made peace with the Abbot of the Monastery of the Caves, and highly esteemed St. Prokho-rus. When the last hour of the Saint approached, the Prince left his army and hastened to him, even though he was at war.
He received his blessing and with his own hands, carried the body of the Saint to the cave and buried him. Returning to his army, Svyatopolk easily gained victory over the Polvetsians, turning them to flight and capturing their supply carts. Such was the great power of the prayer of St. Prokhorus.
The righteous one died in the year 1107, and was buried in the Near Caves. He is also commemorated on September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Longinus of Obnora Monastery (+ 1540)
He initially functioned in the St. Paul of Obnora Monastery (+ 1429, comm. 10 January). He came to the Monastery when he was very young, and passed through a long series of Monastery obediences and lived up to the age that had blanched his hair and gained a wide experience in cenobitic life. Everybody started to treat him with a particular admiration, but Reverend Longinus, as living in a populous place and the honors shown by the dwellers were burdensome to him, wished to retire into the wilderness.
On receiving the Father's Superior blessing, he jointly with his spiritual brother Simon, cenobite at the Kornilievski Monastery, set out in search of a secluded spot. Having voyaged down by water from Vologda to Ustyug, the travelers then reached Solvychegodsk on foot and stopped over at the Boris-and-Gleb Monastery in that locality. Still further, their road went along the left bank of the river Vychegda. On reaching the estuary of the river Koriazhemka, they halted in a primeval forest fifteen miles away from the town. After praying to God, the two friends started to cut down the woods to make a clearing where they built a log cell and a Chapel.
When the laborious work was completed, Reverend Simon (+ 1562; comm. 24 November) retired to a bank of the river Soiga and there founded a Hermitage on his own. Reverend Longuin remained alone and directed his mind towards thoughts of God, spending days and nights in unremitting prayers and singing psalms.
When the fame about the reverend spread around the neighboring communities, people that sought salvation in seclusion and silence started coming to him. The Saint warned them about the hardships of living in wilderness and told them of his wish to live in solitude, but people continued to come and settle down in the localities. At first, the comers lived as recluses, but later on, by their common wish, they elected Reverend Longinus Abbot of the cenoby, and he gave them by-laws required for their communal life. A new Church was raised in honor of concecrator Nicholas as well as a refectory and other amenities necessary for their habitation. That was how the Koriazhemski cenoby came into being (1535).
Having assumed leadership over the community, Reverend Longinus surpassed everybody in his ascetic exploits. Despite his declining years, he was always the first to turn up to Monastery obediences and worked harder than the others for his desolate cenoby. The reverend dug out a well near the Church all by himself.
Reverend Longinus passed away on February 10, 1540. He expressed the wish that his body be buried at the foot of the Church staircase so that those attending a service tread on his remains. The brethren did not dare disobey the will of the Elder.
In 1557, when Prince Vladimir, governor of Ustyug, lapsed into illness, the Elder appeared before the Prince in the latter's dream and told the Prince where his, the Koriazhemski Monastery founder's, body lay and where it be removed to. Prince Vladimir who had never been to the cenoby went there and found unerringly the place of Reverend Longinus' burial, following the words of the Elder that came to the governor in his dream.
The Saint's body was brought at the northern side of the Church, after which the Ustyug governor recovered from his illness. Many other miraculous healings were accomplished by Reverend Longinus. In the 17th c., Alexander, Bishop of Viatka, composed a mass to be said for the Saint's soul.
In 1665, while the Church was being rebuilt, the coffin with the Reverend Longinus’ body was found inside it. A sepulcher was made over the coffin that was decorated with gilded carving and covered with a shroud that had the reverend's image and a narrative of the transfer of his Relics embroidered on it. Reverend Longinus is also commemorated on 16 October.

Synaxis of the Novgorod Holy Hierarchs
It is also celebrated on October 4 and on the third Sunday after Pentecost.
On October 4, 1439, St. John (Comm. September 7) appeared to the presiding Hierarch St. Euthymius (comm. March 11) and ordered him to serve a special panikhida in memory of those buried at the Sophia Cathedral (the Russian Princes and Archbishops of Novgorod, and all Orthodox Christians) on the Feast of the Hieromartyr Hierotheus, first Bishop of Athens.
Then the incorrupt Relics of St. John (comm. September 7) were uncovered. Afterwards, the Synaxis was established to mark the glorification of the Novgorod Hierarchs. E. E. Golubinsky says that because these Hierarchs remained unknown at the time of their glorification, he determined this date for their common celebration was established in the period between the time of the Moscow Council of 1549 and the time of the formation of the Holy Synod (E. E. Golubinsky, History of the Canonization of Saints in the Russian Church. Moscow, 1903, p. 157).
Included in the Synaxis of Novgorod Hierarchs are: St. Joachim of Korsun, first Bishop of Novgorod (988-1030); St. Luke the Jew, Bishop (October 15, 1060); St. Germanus, Bishop (1078-1096); St. Arkadius, Bishop (comm. September 18); St. Gregory, Archbishop (May 24, 1193); St. Martyrius, Archbishop (August 24, 1199); St. Anthony, Archbishop (October 8, 1231); St. Basil the Lame, Archbishop (July 3, 1352); St. Symeon, Archbishop (June 15, 1421); St. Gennadius, Archbishop (comm. December 4); St. Pimen, Archbishop (1553-1571); Aphthonius, Metropolitan (April 6, 1653).
The Relics of these Saints were buried or transferred to Novgorod's Sophia Cathedral (except for St. Germanus, St. Gennadius and St. Pimen) therefore, in some sources their names are not included in the Synaxis.
The October 4 celebration was established in connection with the memory of the Holy Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich of Novgorod (+ 1052), and the February 10 Synaxis of the Novgorod Hierarchs is celebrated in connection with the Holy Princess Anna of Novgorod (+ 1056).
Besides those mentioned, Hierarchs who have separate commemorations are: St. Niketas the Hermit, Bishop (comm. January 31); St. Niphon, Bishop (comm. April 8); St. John, Archbishop (comm. September 7); St. Theoktistus, Archbishop (comm. December 23); St. Moses, Archbishop (comm. January 25); St. Euthymius, Arch-bishop (comm. March 11); St. Jonah, Archbishop (comm. November 5); St. Serapion, Archbishop (comm. March 16).

February 11
St. Vsevolod - Gabriel Prince of Pskov (+ 1138)
A grandson of Vladimir Monomakh, he was born at Novgorod, where in the years 1088-1093 and 1095-1117 his father ruled as Prince. His father was the Holy Prince St. Mstislav - Theodore the Great. In the year 1117, when Great Prince Vladimir Monomakh gave Mstislav Kievan Belgorod as his "udel" (land-holding), practically making him co-ruler, young Vsevolod remained as his father's vicar in the Novgorod principality.
Holy Prince Vsevolod did much good for Novgorod. Together with the Archbishop of Novgorod St. Niphon, he raised up many Churches, among which were the Cathedral of the Great Martyr George at the Yuriev Monastery, and the Church of St. John the Forerunner at Opokakh, built in honor of the "Angel" (i.e. patron Saint) of his first-born son John, who had died in infancy (+ 1128).
In his Ustav (Law code) the Prince granted a special charter of lands and privileges to the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom and other Churches. During a terrible famine, he exhausted his entire treasury to save people from perishing. Prince Vsevolod was a valiant warrior, he marched victoriously against the Yam and Chud peoples, but he never took up the sword for lucre or power.
In 1132, upon the death of Holy Great Prince Mstislav, Vsevolod's uncle Prince Yaropolk of Kiev fulfilled the last wishes of his brother and transferred Vsevolod to Pereyaslavl, then regarded as the eldest city after Kiev itself. But the younger sons of Monomakh, Yuri Dolgoruky and Andrew Dobry, were apprehensive lest Yaropolk make Vsevolod his successor at Kiev, and so they marched out against their nephew. Hoping to avoid internecine strife, St. Vsevolod returned to Novgorod, but was received there with disaffection. The Novgorodians felt that the Prince had been "raised" by them and should not have left them earlier. "Vsevolod went to Rus, to Pereslavl," noted the Novgorod Chronicler, "and kissed the cross against the Novgorodians, saying, 'I will kill you.'"
Striving to restore good relations with Novgorod, the Prince undertook a victorious campaign against the Chud people in 1133, and he annexed Yuriev to the Novgorod domain. But a harsh winter campaign in 1135-1136 against Suzdal was unsuccessful. The stubborn people of Novgorod would not heed their chastisement by God, and they could not forgive the prince for their defeat. The assembly decided to summon a Prince from the hostile Monomakh line of the Olgovichi, and they condemned St. Vsevolod to banishment.
"You suffered exile at the hands of your own people," we sing in the troparion to the Saint. For a month and a half they held the Prince and his family under guard at the Archbishop's Palace. When Prince Svyatoslav Olgovich arrived on July 15, 1136, Vsevolod was released from his captivity.
Vsevolod went again to Kiev, and his uncle Yaropolk gave him the Vyshgorod district near Kiev, the place where St. Olga had lived in the 10th c. during the rule of her son Svyatoslav, "preferring the cities of Kiev and Pskov." St. Olga came to the defense of her descendant in 1137 when the people of Pskov, recalling the campaigns of the Novgorod-Pskov army led by the Prince, invited him to the Pskov principality, the native region of St. Olga. He was the first Pskov Prince, chosen by the will of the Pskov people.
Among the glorious works of St. Vsevolod-Gabriel at Pskov was the construction of the first stone Church dedicated to the Life-Creating Trinity, replacing a wooden Church from the time of St. Olga. On the icons of the Saint, he is often depicted holding the Church of the Holy Trinity.
St. Vsevolod ruled as Prince at Pskov for only a year. He reposed on February 11, 1138 at the age of forty-six. All of Pskov gathered at the funeral of the beloved Prince, and the chanting of the choir could scarcely be heard over the people's wailing.
The people of Novgorod sent an Archpriest from the Sophia Cathedral to take his Holy Relics back to Novgorod. The Prince, however, did not want his body to rest in Novgorod. He would not allow Novgorod to be deprived of his Relics by the people of Pskov, who had driven him out, and the coffin would not move from the spot. The Novgorod people wept bitterly and repented in their misfortune. Then they asked to be given just a small piece of his Relics "for the protection of their city." Through their prayers a fingernail fell from the Saint's hand. The Pskov people put St. Vsevolod into the Church of the Holy Great Martyr Dimitrios. Beside the grave they placed the military armaments of the Prince, a shield and sword, in the shape of a cross, with the Latin inscription, "I will yield my honor to no one."
On November 27, 1192, the Relics of holy Prince Vsevolod were uncovered and transferred into the Trinity Cathedral, in which a Chapel was consecrated in his honor.
The deep spiritual bond of the city of St. Olga with the holy Prince Vsevolod was never broken. He always remained a Pskov wonderworker. At the siege of Pskov by Stephen Bathory in 1581, when the walls of the fortress were already breached and the Poles were ready to rush into the city, they brought the Holy Relics of Prince Vsevolod from the Trinity Cathedral to the place of battle, and the enemy withdrew.
On April 22, 1834, on the first day of Pascha, the Saint's Holy Relics were solemnly transferred to a new shrine in the main Church of the Cathedral.
At the appearance of the wonderworking Pskov-Protection Icon, Holy Prince Vsevolod - Gabriel stood among the heavenly defenders of Pskov.

St. Dimitry Prilutskii of Vologda (+ 1392)
St. Dimitry, taught to read in his childhood, read the Holy Scripture and Patristic teachings with great diligence. While being young, he made his profession in Nagorny Monastery of Sts. Boris and Gleb, in Pereyaslavl. The brethren came to love Dimitry for his particular righteousness, chastity and devotion.
In 1354, he first met St. Sergius of Radonezh, who had founded a coenobitic Monastery dedicated to the Holy Trinity near Radonezh, not far from Pereyaslavl. As a result of that meeting with St. Sergius and further encounters with the Saint, monk Dimitry felt a fervent wish to set up a Monastery on the banks of Lake Pereyaslav-skoe, with a Church in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Having become Abbot of the new Monastery, the Saint established a strict coenobitic rule there.
The deep veneration of St Dimitry contributed to a quick increase in the number of monastics, as monks from other monasteries and laymen who wished to devote themselves to God began to join the brethren. St. Dimitry professed those laymen as monks.
His fame among people grew more and more and reached the Court of Moscow's Grand Duke Dimitry Ioannovich (Donskoy). The Duke offered the Holy Abbot to act as a godparent of his children, and the latter accepted his offer.
Since the righteous man began to feel uneasy about his fame, he decided to leave Pereyaslavl and to seek solitude somewhere in the North. Looking for such a secluded place together with his disciple Pachomius, he finally found it not far from the town of Vologda, near the luka (the bend) of the Vologda River. In 1371, St Dimitry set up a coenobitic Spaso-Prilutskii Monastery there with a cathedral in the name of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Having learnt of the Saint's whereabouts, the brethren of Pereyaslavsky Monastery started to move to the new Monastery, and the Grand Duke began to patronize it. Once, as he was engaged in manual labor with the fellow monks, the Saint said, "Brethren! We are creating earthly and perishable things, yet Grand Duke Dimitry Ioannovich will not care for this vain life from now on!". It turned out that Grand Duke Dimitry passed away exactly on that day and hour (May 9, 1389).
The Saint's exploits and virtues set an excellent example to those gathered in his Monastery. He cared much for the food and clothes of the brethren, yet he himself subsisted on communion bread and warm water alone. He wore a sheepskin coat both in winter and in summer. The holy Abbot performed monastic chores on a par with the brethren till the old age.
The Saint liked to pray in solitude. A wooden annex to the Church was constructed for him so as nobody could see his tears during the prayers.
The local people treated St. Dimitry with a great reverence and love, getting every kind of help from God by his prayers. Because of the Saint's high spiritual perfection, the Lord granted him the ability to prophesy and to work wonders.
St. Dimitry passed away on February 11, 1392, being a very old man. His body was buried in the Church of the Savior, built by the Saint. Soon miracles and healings began to occur over the coffin of the Saint, which contributed to the all-Russian veneration of St. Dimitry. The hagiography of the Saint was composed by monk Macarius of Prilutskii Monastery based on the stories by the former's disciple, Abbot Pachomius.

February 12
St. Alexis, Metropolitan of All Russia (+ 1378)
An outstanding figure of the Russian Church and society. He was born at the turn of the 14th c., around 1300. It was the time of the Tatar yoke -- a tough time for the Russian people, who had been suffering from the Tatar bondage for 150 years. Predatory invaders frequently raided their land, slaughtered Russians, took them prisoner, and destroyed and burned down everything on their way.
The situation was aggravated further by the unceasing internecine feuds between the appanage Princes. The Russian land was divided into separate quarrelling Principalities. The lack of unity made it impossible to wage a war against the common enemy.
At that difficult time, the Holy Orthodox Church was the only unifying force for the Russian people. It gave birth to some outstanding religious figures, people who led a saintly life blessed by the Holy Spirit, thus setting an example for their compatriots, giving them hope for liberation, and encouraging them to struggle against the cruel invaders.
Among these figures were Hierarch Peter, the first Metropolitan of Moscow, his successor Hierarch Alexis, as well as the holy monk St. Sergius of Radonezh, referred to as "the Abbot of the Russian land."
St. Alexis was born into a noble boyar family of the Kolychevs, from the town of Chernigov. His father Theodore (nicknamed Byakont) and mother Maria, fleeing from the Tatars, had moved to Moscow, which became his birthplace. The boy was baptized under the name of Eleutherius, with Prince John, son of the Holy and Right-believing Prince Daniel Alexandrovich of Moscow, acting as his Godfather. Later, in 1328-1340, John would become Moscow's Grand Duke nicknamed Kalita (i.e., "Money-bag") for giving generous alms to the poor.
According to tradition, when Eleutherius was still young, the Lord revealed his high destination to him. Seeking seclusion, young Eleutherius used to fowl with traps in the vicinity of the town. One day, watching his traps, he dozed off and heard a voice in his dream, "Alexis, why are you laboring in vain? You shall be a catcher of men." The voice was so clear that the boy woke up at once, to find nobody around.
Since that time, young Eleutherius engaged in an in-depth study of the Holy Scripture in a more active pursuit of spiritual life. In a few years he asked his parents' blessing to enter a monastery.
In 1320, Eleutherius made his profession in Moscow's Monastery of the Epiphany with the name of Alexis, prophesied to him in his dream.
St. Alexis lived in this Monastery for more than twenty years, humbly working for obedience's sake under the guidance of Elder Gerontius, an experienced spiritual director. He also developed close spiritual ties with monk Stephen, elder brother of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
A son of an eminent boyar, St. Alexis received the best education available at the time. While in the Monastery, he studied Greek; later he corrected the Slavonic translation of the New Testament books, checking it against the Greek originals.
Monk Alexis' devoutness and keen intellect attracted the attention of Metropolitan St. Theognostus, Moscow's Hierarch (d. 1359; commemorated on March 14), who put him in charge of the judicial affairs of the Church. St. Alexis held that position for twelve years, in the rank of the Metropolitan's Vicar. In late 1350, Theognostus ordained him Bishop of Vladimir, intending to make him his successor in the future. Since the Grand Duke and the Boyars held St. Alexis in high esteem for his ability to wisely manage both ecclesiastical and civil affairs, the Duke together with Hierarch Theognostus petitioned the Patriarch of Constantinople in his behalf.
In the spring of 1353, Metropolitan Theognostus and Grand Duke Simeon the Proud died of plague. But their petition was granted, and St. Alexis succeeded the late Hierarch as the Metropolitan of Moscow.
In 1354, he traveled by sea to Constantinople, where he received Patriarch Philotheus' blessing and permission to assume the Metropolitan See of Kiev (in fact, of Moscow) and all Rus.
On the way home, a severe storm hit St. Alexis' ship. However, thanks to his prayers the journey ended safely. St. Alexis vowed to build a Church in the name of the Saint whose name day would fall on the date of their safe return. In 1361, in accordance with the vow, St. Alexis built a Church in honor of the Image Not-Made-By-Hands of our Savior (venerated on August 16). A new Monastery - known as Novospasskii Monastery -- was founded nearby. St. Andronicus, a disciple of St. Sergius, assumed its abbacy.
Upon his return to Moscow, which had been the seat of All-Russian Metropolitans from the time of Hierarch Peter, Alexis took over the supervision of the Russian Church. He tirelessly served in this capacity for twenty-four years.
The Russian Primate appointed Bishops, took measures to regularize monastic life and to set up coenobitic monasteries according to the pattern of the Laura of the Holy and Life-giving Trinity, founded by St. Sergius.
The wisdom and prayerful spirit of the Hierarch became known well beyond Russia. In 1357, Khan Jani-Beg (Chanibek) demanded that Moscow's Grand Duke Ioann Ioannovich (1353-1359) send St. Alexis to the Horde to cure his blind wife Taidula, threatening to devastate the Russian land in case of refusal. The message of the Khan to the Duke was: "If my wife is healed by that man's prayers, there will be peace between us; if you don't let him go, I will ravage your land with fire and sword."
The humble Hierarch did not consider himself worthy to perform a miracle of healing. However, trusting fully in God for Whom nothing is impossible, he obeyed the Khan's order for the sake of peace and security of Russia and its people. Moreover, he was prepared to become a Martyr for his people's sake. "This task and labor is beyond my power," St. Alexis said, "but I am confident that He Who opened the eyes of the blind will heed the prayers of a believer."
Before leaving for the Horde, St. Alexis together with the clergy served a moleben over the Relics of Holy Hierarch Peter in the Dormition Cathedral. During the service, the Lord gave an encouraging sign that strengthened the Saint's spirit: a candle near the shrine lit up by itself! St. Alexis took a piece of it and left for the Horde.
Even before his coming, Taidula had a vision of St. Alexis dressed in pontifical clothes in her dream. Seeing the Saint approaching, Jani-Beg came out to meet him and led him into the inner chamber. The Hierarch began praying and asked to light up the piece of the candle that he had brought along. After prolonged praying, he sprinkled Taidula with the blessed water and she immediately recovered her sight. Khan Jani-Beg and all those present, astonished at the miraculous healing, praised God. Jani-Beg saw off the Metropolitan with great honor and gifts. Taidula granted a plot in the Kremlin to the Saint, where, in 1365, he built Chudov Monastery (Monastery of the Miracle) to commemorate the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae. St. Alexis bequeathed to make the Monastery his burial place.
After Jani-Beg's death, St. Alexis had to go to the Horde once again to intercede for the Russian land with Berdi-Beg, a cruel Khan who had slaughtered his twelve brothers and threatened to completely devastate Russia. A true patron of Russia, Holy Hierarch Alexis did not hesitate to go to the Horde, where he would face imminent death. Keeping Christ's words that "the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep" (John 10:11) deep in his heart, he went to visit the Khan and managed to subdue his fury with God-inspired words and to get assurances of peace for the Christians.
After the death of Grand Duke Ioann Ioannovich (1359), St. Alexis acted as a spiritual director of the Right-believing Prince Demetrius, a ten-year-old successor to the Grand Duke's Throne.
Thanks to the sound policy of St. Alexis, the Horde Khan passed the yarlyk (Tatar charter of privileges) for Grand Duchy to young Demetrius. The Saint was the first to instruct, inspire and help the Grand Duke as the latter strived for the consolidation of the Russian State. Thanks to the heroic efforts of such eminent Russian figures as Hierarch Alexis, St. Sergius of Radonezh, and the Right-believing Prince Demetrius Donskoy, the majority of Russian Principalities pledged their allegiance to Moscow. In fact, this solidarity paved the way to the great victory over the Horde's troops on the Kulikovo Field, in 1380.
One of the aspects of the multifaceted activities of the Primate was his permanent focus on the well-being and spiritual enlightenment of the Russian flock. To this end he restored a number of former monasteries in Moscow and set up new ones, including Alexeevskii and Zachatievskii Convents, where his two sisters, Abbess Juliana and nun Euphrasia, took the veil. In addition, the Saint founded the Monastery of the Annunciation in Nizhny Novgorod and a monastery in honor of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine and Helen in Vladimir.
St. Alexis reposed near the age of 80. Feeling his death drawing near, he offered his spiritual friend St. Sergius, Abbot of Radonezh, to succeed him as the All-Russian Metropolitan. However, St. Sergius, an extremely humble person, declined the honor. The Hierarch did not insist, as he was able to foresee the great role of St. Sergius for the Russian Church as "the Abbot of the whole Russian land."
He passed away on 12 February 1378 and was buried in Chudov Monastery, according to his will.
The outstanding Primate of the Russian Church left as his most precious treasure the handwritten Gospel that he had translated from Greek. The Gospel was carefully preserved in Chudov Monastery for several centuries. (Published as The New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ. Prepared by St Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia. Phototype edition by Leontius, Metropolitan of Moscow. Moscow University Press, 1892.)
St. Alexis' Holy Relics were found incorrupt more than 50 years after his death. During Divine Liturgy in the wooden Church where the Saint was buried, the roof of the building collapsed, yet nobody was hurt. When the works to lay down a foundation of a new stone Church started, the Saint's Relics were discovered incorrupt. Later they were translated to the Annunciation side-altar of the new Church.
The glorification of St. Alexis took place on 20 November 1431.
Throughout the History of Russia, St. Alexis has been venerated as a great patron and intercessor for the Russian land. Grateful descendants always took care of decorating his shrine. A Church in honor of the Hierarch was built in Chudov Monastery. The Holy Relics were solemnly translated there in 1485.
Today the Relics of St. Alexis rest in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Epiphany in Moscow. Every Sunday the Cathedral's clergy reads the Akathist to the Holy Hierarch.
In late 16th c., under Tzar Theodore Ioannovich, a feast in honor of Moscow's Holy Hierarchs Peter, Alexis, and Jonah (5 October) was established. Later, acting on the presentation of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, the Holy Synod added St. Philip to the list of those venerated on that date. In 1913, Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, also was added to the list.

St. Bassian of Uglich (+ 1509)
He was a disciple of St. Paisius of Uglich (comm. June 6). He was born in the village of Rozhalov, in the Kesov district of the city of Bezhetsk Verkha. He was descended from the Shestikhin Princes, whose ancestor was the Prince St. Theodore of Smolensk (comm. September 19).
St. Bassian came to the Protection Monastery when he was thirty-three years of age, and was soon tonsured by St. Paisius. He fulfilled his obediences without complaint and lived in great abstinence. In 1482, St. Bassian discovered the Protection Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. Having spent twenty years at the monastery of St. Paisius, St. Bassian then asked a blessing to live in silence. His teacher blessed him saying, "Go my child, be guided by Christ with the blessed yoke of the Lord as it pleases Him. Soon you yourself shall form your own monastery and gather a monastic flock to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity."
In 1492 St. Bassian left the monastery and, after spending time at the Nikolo-Uleimsk Monastery, he went to a remote place thirty versts south of Uglich and began to live as a hermit. Soon people learned of his solitary habitation and began to come for advice and guidance.
In 1492, he built a wooden Church dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, and soon those wishing to live the monastic life came to be guided by him. St. Bassian did not cease his relationship with his teacher until the latter's death, at which he was present together with other disciples.
Having dwelt at the Trinity Monastery for 17 years, he reposed in peace on February 12, 1509. Three years later, a man named Gerasimos received healing from unclean spirits at his grave, and another fellow named Valerian was healed of palsy.
St. Bassian was glorified in 1548 at the uncovering of his incorrupt Relics, over which a stone crypt was built.
St. Bassian is commemorated twice during the year: on the day of his repose, February 12, and on June 6 with his spiritual teacher St. Paisius of Uglich.

February 14
St. Isaac of Kiev Caves, the Fool for Christ (+ 1090)
He was the first person in Northern Lands to live as a fool for Christ. His name in the world was Chern. Before becoming a monk, he was a rich merchant in the city of Toropets in the Pskov lands. Having distributed all his substance to the poor, he went to Kiev and received the monastic tonsure from St. Anthony.
He led a very strict life of reclusion, eating only a single prosphora and a little water at the end of the day. After seven years as a hermit, he was subjected to a fierce temptation by the devil. Having mistaken the Evil One for Christ, he worshipped him, after which he fell down terribly crippled. Sts. Anthony and Theodosius took care of him and nursed him. Only after three years did he begin to walk and to speak. He did not wish to attend Church, but he was brought there by force.
Upon his return to health he took upon himself the exploit of holy foolishness, enduring beatings, nakedness and cold. Before his death he went into seclusion, where again he was subjected to an onslaught of demons, from which he was delivered by the Sign of the Cross and by prayer.
After his healing he spent about twenty years in asceticism. He reposed in peace in 1090. His Relics rest in the Caves of St. Anthony, and part of them were transferred to Toropets by the Abbot of the Kudin Monastery, in 1711.
The Life of the Blessed Isaac was recorded by St. Nestor in the Chronicles (under the year 1074). The account in the Kiev Caves Paterikon differs somewhat from that of St. Nestor. In the Great Reading Menaion under April 27 is the "Account of St. Isaac and his Deception by the Devil."

February 17
Hieromartyr Hermogen Patriarch of Moscow (+ 1612)
He was born in Kazan around 1530, and was descended from the Don Cossacks. According to the Patriarch's own testimony, he served as Priest in Kazan in a Church dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, near the Kazan bazaar. Soon he became a monk, and from 1582 was Archimandrite of the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery at Kazan. On May 13, 1589 he was consecrated Bishop and became the first Metropolitan of Kazan.
While he was the Priest at St. Nicholas, the wonderworking Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was discovered in Kazan, in 1579. With the blessing of Archbishop of Kazan St. Gurias, he carried the newly-appeared Icon from the place of its discovery to the Church of St. Nicholas. Having remarkable literary talent, in 1594 he compiled an account describing the appearance of the Wonderworking Icon and the miracles accomplished through it. In 1591 he gathered newly-baptized Tatars into the Cathedral Church and for several days he instructed them in the Faith.
With the blessing of Patriarch of Moscow St. Job (1589-1605), St. Hermogen transferred the Relics of St. Germanus - the second archbishop of Kazan (comm. September 25, November 6, and June 23), who reposed at Moscow on November 6, 1567 during a plague - and buried them in St. Nicholas Church, in 1592. Later he reburied the Relics at the Sviyazhsk Dormition Monastery.
On January 9, 1592 St. Hermogen addressed a letter to Patriarch St. Job, in which he asked for permission to commemorate in his See of Kazan those Orthodox soldiers who gave their lives for the Faith and the nation in a battle against the Tatars. In the past, it was customary to enter into the diptychs the names of all Orthodox warriors who had fallen in battle, and to commemorate them.
At the same time he mentioned three Martyrs who had suffered at Kazan for their faith in Christ, one of whom was a Russian named John (comm. January 24) born at Nizhny Novgorod and captured by the Tatars. The other two, Stephen and Peter (comm. March 24), were newly-converted Tatars.
He expressed regret that these Martyrs were not inserted into the diptychs read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and that "Memory Eternal" was not sung for them. In answer to St. Hermogen, the Patriarch issued a decree on February 25, which said: “To celebrate at Kazan and throughout all the Kazan Metropolitanate a panikhida for all the Orthodox soldiers killed at Kazan and the environs of Kazan, on the Saturday following the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, and to inscribe them in the great Synodikon read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy," and also ordered that the three Kazan Martyrs be inscribed in the Synodikon, leaving it to St. Hermogen to set the day of their memory. St. Hermogen circulated the Patriarchal decree throu-ghout his Diocese, and required all the Churches and Monasteries to serve Liturgies, Panikhidas and Lityas for the three Kazan Martyrs on January 24.
St. Hermogen displayed zeal in the faith and firmness in the observance of Church traditions, and he devoted himself to the enlightenment of Kazan Tatars with the faith of Christ.
In 1595, with the active participation of the St. Hermogenes, the Relics of the Kazan Wonderworkers St. Gurias, the first archbishop of Kazan (comm. October 4, December 5, June 20), and St. Barsanouphius Bishop of Tver (comm.October 4, April 11) were discovered. Tsar Theodore Ivannovich (1584-1598) had given orders to erect at the Kazan Savior-Transfiguration Monastery a new stone Church on the site of the first one, where the Saints were buried.
When the graves of the Saints were discovered, St. Hermogen came with a gathering of clergy. He commanded the graves to be opened and, when he saw the incorrupt Relics and clothing of the Saints, he notified the Patriarch and the Tsar. With the blessing of Patriarch and by order of the Tsar, the Relics of the newly-appeared Wonderworkers were placed in the new Church. St. Hermogen himself compiled the Lives of Holy Hierarchs Gurias and Barsanouphius.
Having been found worthy of the Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Hermogen was elected to the Primatial See, and on July 3, 1606 he was installed as Patriarch by the assembly of the Holy Hierarchs at Moscow's Dormition Cathedral. Metropolitan Isidore handed the Patriarch the staff of the Holy Hierarch Peter of Moscow the Wonderworker (comm.October 5, December 21, August 24), and the Tsar gave as a gift to the new Patriarch a panagia, embellished with precious stones, a white klobuk and staff. In the ancient manner, Patriarch Hermogen made his entrance riding upon a donkey.
The activity of Patriarch Hermogen coincided with a difficult period for the Russian state: the appearance of the false Tsarevich Dimitrios and the Polish King Sigismund III. The first Hierarch devoted all his powers to the service of the Church and the nation.
Patriarch Hermogenes was not alone in this exploit: his self-sacrificing fellow-countrymen followed his example and assisted him. With special inspiration His Holiness the Patriarch stood up against the traitors and enemies of the nation, who wanted to spread Uniatism and Western Catholicism throughout Russia and to wipe out Orthodoxy, while enslaving the Russian nation.
When the imposter arrived at Moscow and settled himself at Tushino, Patriarch Hermogen sent two letters to the Russian traitors. In one of them he wrote: "...You have forgotten the vows of our Orthodox Faith, in which we are born, baptized, nourished and raised. You have violated your oath and the kissing of the Cross to stand to the death for the house of the Most Holy Theotokos and for the Moscow realm, but have fallen for your false would-be Tsarevich ... My soul aches, my heart is sickened, all within me agonizes, and all my frame shudders; I weep and with sobbing I lament: Have mercy, have mercy, brethren and children, on your own souls and your parents departed and living ... Consider, how our nation is devastated and plundered by foreigners, who offer insult to the Holy Icons and Churches, and how innocent blood is spilled, crying out to God. Think! Against whom do you take up arms: is it not against God, Who has created you? Is it not against your own brothers? Do you not devastate your own country?... I adjure you in the name of God, give up your undertaking, there is yet time, so that you do not perish in the end." In the second document the Saint appeals: "For the sake of God, come to your senses and turn around, gladden your parents, your wives and children; and we stand to pray God for you..."
Soon the righteous judgement of God fell upon the "Brigand of Tushino”: he was killed by his own close associates on December 11, 1610. But Moscow continued to remain in peril, since the Poles and traitors, loyal to Sigismund III remained in the city. The documents sent by Patriarch Hermogen throughout the cities and villages, exhorted the Russian nation to liberate Moscow from the enemies and to choose a lawful Russian Tsar.
The Muscovites rose up in rebellion, and the Poles burned the city, shutting themselves up in the Kremlin. Together with Russian traitors they forcefully seized Patriarch Hermogen from the Patriarchal Throne and imprisoned him in the Chudov Monastery. On Bright Monday in 1611, the Russian militia approached Moscow and began the seige of the Kremlin, which continued for several months. Besieged within the Kremlin, the Poles often sent messengers to the Patriarch with the demand that he order the Russian militia to leave the city, threatening him with execution if he refused. The Saint firmly replied, "What are your threats to me? I fear only God. If all our enemies leave Moscow, I shall bless the Russian militia to withdraw from Moscow; but if you remain here, I shall bless all to stand against you and to die for the Orthodox Faith."
While still in prison, the Hieromartyr Hermogenes sent a final epistle to the Russian nation, blessing the liberating army to fight the invaders. The Russian commanders could not come to an agreement over a way to take the Kremlin and free the Patriarch. He languished more than nine months in dreadful confinement, and on February 17, 1612 he died a Martyr's death from starvation.
The liberation of Russia, for which St. Hermogen stood with such indestru-ctible valor, was successfully achieved. The body of the Hieromartyr was buried in the Chudov Monastery, but in 1654 it was transferred incorrupted to the Moscow Dormition Cathedral.
His glorification occurred on May 12, 1913.

St. Theodore the Silent of the Kiev Caves (13th c.)
A monk of Kiev Caves, he chose the exploit of silence, in order to dwell constantly in remembrance of God, and to safeguard himself from temptation even by a word. He was glorified by the Lord with the gift of wonderworking. His memory is celebrated also on August 28.

February 18
St. Cosmas of Yakhrom (+ 1492)
In the world he was the servant of a certain nobleman, whom he comforted during his prolonged illness by reading him books. And so, travelling from city to city, they happened to stop at the River Yakhroma. Here in the woods an Icon of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to Cosmas, and he heard a voice commanding him to become a monk and to build a monastery. His sick master then received healing from the Icon, and Cosmas went to Kiev, where he was tonsured in the Monastery of the Caves. Then with the Icon of the Mother of God, and on an inspiration from above, he again went to Yakhrom, 40 versts from the city of Vladimir, constructing a Church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, with the help of some good Christians. When brethren began to gather around the monk and a monastery was formed, St. Cosmas was chosen as Abbot. During this time, word of the monk's ascetic struggles reached even the Great Prince.
He reposed in peace at an advanced old age, on February 18, 1492, and was buried in the monastery he founded. His memory is celebrated also on October 14, the day that the Yakhrom Icon of the Mother of God is commemorated.

February 20
Hieromartyr Cornelius of the Pskov Caves (+ 1570)
He was born in the year 1501 at Pskov into the noble family of Stephen and Maria. In order to give their son an education, his parents sent him to the Pskov Mirozh Monastery, where he worked under the guidance of an Elder. He made candles, chopped wood, studied his letters, transcribed and adorned books, and also painted Icons. Having finished his studies, Cornelius returned to his parental home with the resolve to become a monk.
Once, the government clerk Misiur Munekhin took Cornelius with him to the Pskov Caves Monastery in the woods, which then was in the worst condition of any Church in Pskov. The beauty of nature, and the solemnity of services in the cave- Church produced such a strong impression on Cornelius that he left his parental home forever and received monastic tonsure at the Pskov Caves Monastery.
In 1529, at the age of twenty-eight, St. Cornelius was elected Abbot and became head of the monastery. While he was Abbot, the Pskov Caves Monastery reached its prime. The number of brethren increased from 15 to 200 men. This number of monks was not surpassed under any subsequent head of the monastery.
The activity of St. Cornelius extended far beyond the bounds of the monastery. He spread Orthodoxy among the Esti [Aesti]) and Saeti people living around the monastery, he built Churches, hospices, homes for orphans and those in need. During a terrible plague in the Pskov region St. Cornelius walked through the plague-infested villages to give Communion to the living and to sing burial services for the dead.
During the Livonian war St. Cornelius preached Christianity in the occupied cities, built Churches, and distributed generous aid from the monastery storerooms to the Esti and Livonians suffering from the war. At the monastery he selflessly doctored and fed the injured and the maimed, preserved the dead in the caves, and inscribed their names in the monastery Synodikon for eternal remembrance.
In the year 1560, on the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, St. Cornelius sent a prosphora and holy water as blessing for the Russian armies besieging the city of Thellin. On that very day the Germans surrendered the city.
In 1570 when a See was established in Livonian Yuriev, a certain Abbot Cornelius was appointed as Bishop of Yuriev and Velyansk (i.e., Thellin). Some have identified him with St. Cornelius, but this does not correspond with actual events.
St. Cornelius was a great lover of books, and at the monastery there was quite a collection of books. In 1531 his work entitled, "An Account of the Origin of the Pechersk Monastery" appeared. In the mid-16th c. the Pskov Caves Monastery took over the tradition of writing Chronicles from the Spaso-Eleaszar Monastery.
At the start of the Chronicles were accounts of the first two Pskov Chronicles from 1547 to 1567. Besides this, Abbot Cornelius left behind a great monastery Synodikon for remembering the deceased brothers and benefactors of the monastery, and from the year 1588 he began to maintain the "Stern Book" ["Kormovaya kniga." Since the rear of a ship is called the stern, the sense of the title is "looking back in remembrance"]. He also compiled a "Description of the Monastery" and a "Description of the Miracles of the Pechersk Icon of the Mother of God."
St. Cornelius expanded and beautified the monastery, he further enlarged the monastery caves, he moved the wooden Church of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste beyond the monastery enclosure to the monastery gate, and on its site he built a Church in the name of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos in the year 1541. In 1559, he constructed a Church dedicated to the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Caves Monastery, on the frontier of the Russian state, was not only a beacon of Orthodoxy, but also a bulwark against the external enemies of Russia. In 1558-1565, St. Cornelius built a massive stone wall around the monastery, and over the holy gates, he built a stone Church dedicated to St. Nicholas, entrusting the protection of the monastery to him. In the Church was a sculpted wooden icon of "Nicholas the Warrior."
In the Chronicle compiled by the Hierodeacon Pitirim, the martyric death of St. Cornelius was recorded: "This blessed Abbot Cornelius ... was Abbot forty-one years and two months. Not only as a monk, but also by his fasting and holy life, he was an image of salvation ... in these times there was much unrest in the Russian land. Finally, the earthly Tsar (Ivan the Terrible) sent him from this corruptible life to the Heavenly King in the eternal habitations, on February 20, 1570, in his 69th year." (This information is on a ceramic plate, from the ceramics covering the mouth of the tomb of St. Cornelius).
In the ancient manuscripts of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra it was written that Abot Cornelius came out from the monastery gates with a cross to meet the Tsar. Ivan the Terrible, angered by a false slander, beheaded him with his own hands, but then immediately repented of his deed, and carried the body to the monastery. The pathway made scarlet by the blood of St. Cornelius, along which the Tsar carried his body to the Dormition Church, became known as the "Bloody Path." Evidence of the Tsar's repentance was the generous recompense he made to the Pskov Caves Monastery after the death of St. Cornelius. The name of the Abbot Cornelius was inscribed in the Tsar's Synodikon.
The body of St. Cornelius was set into the wall of "the cave formed by God," where it remained for 120 years without corruption. In the year 1690, Metropolitan Marcellus of Pskov and Izborsk, had the Relics transferred from the cave to the Dormition Cathedral Church and placed in a new crypt in the wall.
On December 17, 1872 the Relics of St. Cornelius were transferred from the former tomb into a copper-silver Reliquary. They were placed into a new Reliquary in 1892.
It is presumed that the service to the Monk Martyr was composed for the Uncovering of the Relics, 1690.

St. Agathon of the Kiev Caves
He was a great ascetic, brother of the Kiev Caves Lavra, and he healed the sick by a laying his hands upon them. He also possessed the gift of prophecy and foretold the time of his own death. His memory is celebrated also at the Synaxis of the Monks of the Far Caves on August 28.

February 23
St. Polycarp of Bryansk (+ 1620 or 1621)
In the world he was Prince Peter Ivanovich Boryatinsky, a descendant of St. Michael, Prince of Chernigov. This supposition has been put forward because Boryatinsky is connected with the destiny of the Bryansk Savior Transfiguration Monastery.
The name of Prince Peter Boryatinsky is often encountered in documents of the 16th c. Thus, he was among those sent off to wage war against the Swedish King at the river Sestra. In 1576, he was named Voevod at Tula. In 1580, Boryatinsky, having been appointed Voevod at Kholm, was captured by the Lithuanians under a siege headed by Panin. Upon his release from captivity under Boris Godinov, Boryatinsky returned home in disgrace.
In 1591 he was named Voevod at Tiumen, but after several years he left the world, settled at Bryansk and received monastic tonsure with the name Polycarp. From his means the monk built a Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord and established in it a Rule of strict ascetical life. St. Polycarp was the first Superior of this monastery. He reposed in peace and was buried there in 1620 or 1621.

St. Moses of White Lake (15th – 16th c.)
He was an ascetic at the Holy Trinity Monastery at White Lake at the end of the 15th c., and the beginning of the 16th. The Trinity Ustishekhansk in which St. Moses practised asceticism, was transferred by him from the mouth of the river Sheksna to the environs of White Lake in about the year 1480. He was distinguished by the gift of clairvoyance.

February 24
St. Erasmus of the Kiev Caves
St. Simon, Bishop of Vladimir (comm. May 10), wrote about St. Erasmus to his friend St. Polycarp (comm. July 24): "At the Caves was Erasmus the black-robed. He acquired a legacy of fame because he used everything he possessed for the adornment of the monastery church. He donated many Icons, which even now may be seen over the altar.
He experienced great temptations after he had given away his wealth. The Evil One began to suggest to him that he should have given the money to the poor, rather than spend it on the beautification of the Church. He did not understand such thoughts, so he fell into despondency and began to live in a careless manner. Because of his former virtue the gracious and merciful God saved him. He sent him a grievous illness, and the monk lay near death.
In this sickness Erasmus lay for seven days, unable to see or speak, and hardly breathing. On the eighth day the brethren came to him and, seeing the difficulty of his approaching death, said,"Woe to the soul of this brother, for he lived in idleness and in sin. Now his soul beholds something and tarries, not having the strenght to leave the body."
Erasmus suddenly got up, as though he had not been ill, and said to the monks, "Fathers and brethren! It is true that I am a sinner, and have not repented, as you said. Today, however, our monastic Fathers Anthony and Theodosius have appeared to me, and said: 'We have prayed for you, and the Lord has given you time for repentance.' Then I saw the All-Pure Mother of God with Christ in Her arms, and She said to me, 'Erasmus, since you adorned My Church with Icons, I will also adorn you and exalt you in the Kingdom of my Son! Arise, repent, take the angelic schema, and on the third day you will be taken from this life.'
Having said this, Erasmus began to confess his sins before all without shame, then went to Church and was clothed in the schema, and on the third day he died."
St. Erasmus was buried in the Near Caves. His memory is also celebrated on September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

February 27
St. Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn, New York (+ 1915)
He was born in Syria in 1860 to pious Orthodox parents, Michael Hawaweeny and his second wife Mariam, the daughter of a Priest of Damascus. The exact date of his birth is not known, but he estimated it to be on or near his Name Day, the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven (November 8 ).
Due to the violent persecution of Christians, at which time their parish Priest, St. Joseph of Damascus (comm. July 10) and his companions were martyred, the Hawaweeny family was forced to flee to Beirut for their safety. It was here that the future Saint first saw the light of day, and not in the city of his parents. Indeed, as the child's life unfolded, it was evident that he would have no continuing city in this world, but would seek the city which is to come (Heb 13:14).
On the Feast of Theophany in 1861, he was baptized with the name Raphael, and later that spring the family was able to return to Damascus. The child attended elementary school, where he did very well, but in 1874 it appeared that Michael Hawaweeny would no longer be able to afford his son's tuition. Fortunately, help came from Deacon Athanasios Atallah (later Metropolitan of Homs), who recom-mended to Patriarch Hierotheus of Antioch that Rafla be accepted as a student of the Patriarchate in preparation for the Priesthood.
He was such a good student that he was selected to be a substitute teaching assistant in 1877. The following year he was appointed as a teacher of Arabic and Turkish. On March 28, 1879 he was tonsured as a monk by Patriarch Hierotheus, and served as His Beatitude's personal attendant.
Since the Balamand Seminary had been closed in 1840, Patriarch Joachim III of Constantinople invited the Patriarch of Antioch to send at least one deserving student to study on scholarship at the School of Theology at Halki, and the young Raphael was the one who was selected to go.
On December 8, 1885 he was ordained to the Diaconate at the School Chapel. In July of 1886 the young Deacon received his Certificate of Theology, and returned to his homeland in the hope of serving the Church there. Patriarch Gerasimus of Antioch was impressed with him, and often took him along on his pastoral visitations of his parishes. When His Beatitude could not be present, Deacon Raphael was asked to preach the Word of God to the people.
He was not satisfied with the extent of his knowledge, and thirsted to learn even more. This did not stem from personal pride or ambition, but came from his fervent desire to benefit others. Truly, the words of King Solomon could be applied to him: "Give an opportunity to a wise man, and he will be wiser; instruct a just man, and he will receive more instruction" (Proverbs 9:9). Therefore, he asked Patriarch Gerasimus to permit him to do graduate studies at a school in Russia, promising to return and serve as the Patriarch's Russian-language secretary. The Patriarch gave his blessing, and he was accepted as a student at the Theological Academy of Kiev.
In 1889 Patriarch Gerasimus ordered the young Deacon to take over as Head of the Antiochian Representation Church in Moscow. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop Sylvester, the Rector of the Academy, at the request of Patria-rch Gerasimus. A month later, he was raised to the rank of Archimandrite by Metro-politan Ioannicius of Moscow, and was confirmed as Head of the Antiochian Representation Church. After two years, he was able to reduce the Representation's 65,000 ruble debt by 15,000 rubles. He also arranged for twenty-four Syrian students to come to Russia to further their education, hoping that they would return to Syria and teach others.
When Patriarch Gerasimus resigned in order to accept the See of Jerusalem, Archimandrite Raphael regarded this as an opportunity to free the Church of Antioch from its domination by foreign Hierarchs. Burning with love for the Church of Antioch, and wishing to restore the administration of the Church to its own native clergy and people, he began a campaign of writing letters to some Antiochian Bishops and influential laymen. He also wrote articles in the Russian press, drawing attention to the plight of Antioch. His courageous efforts did not meet with success, however, and there was a price to pay for his outspoken criticism.
In November of 1891 Metropolitan Spyridon, a Greek Cypriot, was elected as Patriarch of Antioch. Many Arabs believed that he had purchased the election by distributing 10,000 lira to several notable people in Damascus. Archimandrite Raphael refused to commemorate the new Patriarch during services at the Represe-ntation Church. As a result, he was suspended from his priestly functions by Patriarch Spyridon. He accepted his suspension, but continued to write articles in Russian newspapers in defense of the Antiochian cause. The Patriarchs of Antioch, Consta-ntinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem successfully petitioned the Tsar to forbid Russian newspapers from publishing his articles. With this door closed to him, began to publish his writings in book form.
Eventually, Patriarch Spyridon wrote to the Assistant Overprocurator of Russia, a friend of St. Raphael's, asking him to persuade him to ask for the Patriarch's forgiveness. He did so, and the suspension was lifted. He was allowed to transfer from the jurisdiction of Antioch to the Church of Russia, and to remain there. He went to Kazan, taking a position as instructor in Arabic studies at the Theological Academy. He remained there until 1895 when he was invited by the Syrian Orthodox Benevo-lent Society of New York to come to that city to be the pastor of the Arab Orthodox community.
When the Holy Apostle Paul had a vision of a man entreating him to come to Macedonia to help them (Acts 16:10), he set off on a great missionary journey. When St. Raphael heard of the needs of his countrymen who were scattered in a strange land, he crossed the ocean to labor in yet another foreign country.
He arrived in New York on November 2, 1895, and was welcomed by a delegation of Arab Christians who were awaiting their leader from Russia. On Nove-mber 5, his first Sunday in America, he assisted Bishop Nicholas in serving the Divine Liturgy at the Russian Church in New York city. Less than two weeks after his arrival, Archimandrite Raphael found a suitable place in lower Manhattan to set up a Chapel, and furnished it with ecclesiastical items that he had brought with him from Russia. Bishop Nicholas blessed the new Chapel, which was dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra.
This zealous pastor remained in New York teaching, preaching, and celebrating the divine services for his parishioners. It was not long, however, before he heard of smaller communities of Arab Christians scattered throughout the length and breadth of North America. Since these Arab immigrants had no pastor to care for them, it was not surprising that some should turn to other denominations, or completely neglect their religious duties. This was an ongoing concern for St. Raphael throughout the course of his ministry. Although he was not opposed to dialogue with non-Orthodox Christians, nor to friendly relations based on shared beliefs, St. Raphael never lost sight of the clear line of distinction that exists between the Orthodox and the heterodox. He always insisted that any Church unity must be based on the teachings of the seven Ecumenical Councils.
The Orthodoxy of St. Raphael's life and teaching was demonstrated over and over again by his words and his actions. He always upheld and defended the spotless Faith which was "delivered to the Saints" (Jude 3). Although at first he did not understand the teachings of the heterodox, he later discovered how far removed they were from Orthodox doctrine. When he realized this, he took steps to protect his flock from harmful influences. He directed his people not to attend heterodox services lest they become confused by "divers and strange doctrines" (Heb 13:9). He believed it would be preferable for the head of the household to read the Hours at home from the Service Book when it was not possible to attend an Orthodox Church.
In the summer of 1896, he undertook the first of several pastoral journeys across the continent. He visited thirty cities between New York and San Francisco, seeking out the Master's lost sheep in cities, towns, and on isolated farms. He fed the spiritually hungry people with the Word of God in each place where he stopped. He performed marriages, baptisms, heard confessions, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the homes of the faithful where there was no church building. In other words, he zealously fulfilled his ministry as a preacher of the Gospel, enduring many hardships and afflictions, and he was watchful in all things concerning the care of his flock (2 Tim 4:5).
In 1898, with the blessing of Bishop Nicholas, produced his first book in the New World -- an Arabic language Service Book called The Book of True Consolation in the Divine Prayers. This book of liturgical services and prayers was very useful to Priests in celebrating the divine services, and also to the people in their personal prayer life. The English version published by Archimandrite Seraphim Nassar is still being used today.
Between May-November 1898, he set off on his second pastoral tour. During this trip he became convinced of the need for Arabic-speaking Priests to serve in the new Churches he had established. When he returned to New York, he made a report to Bishop Nicholas expressing these concerns. With Bishop Nichola's blessing he was able to bring qualified Priests from Syria. He also sought out educated laymen whom he could recommend for ordination. Both as an Archimandrite and later as Bishop, he would appoint pastors only after obtaining the blessing of the Russian Hierarch who headed the American Mission.
This was the normal state of affairs in America at the time. Archimandrite Raphael welcomed Bishop Tikhon (after Patriarch of Moscow), when the latter replaced Bishop Nicholas as the ruling Bishop in America. On December 15, St. Tikhon came to serve the Liturgy at the Syrian Church of St. Nicholas. St. Raphael told his people that their new Archpastor was one who "has been sent here to tend the flock of Christ -- Russians, Slavs, Syro-Arabs, and Greeks -- which is scattered across the entire North American continent." At that time, of course, there were no parallel jurisdictions based on nationality. The Church united those of diverse backgrounds under the omophorion of the Russian Archbishop. This was the norm until the Russian Revolution disrupted Church life in Russia, and also in America.
In March of 1899, he received permission from Bishop Tikhon to start collecting funds for a cemetery, and for building a new Church to replace the Chapel which was located in an old building on a dirty street. In the spring he left on another pastoral tour of forty-three cities and towns. Traveling by land and sea, and undeterred by the obstacles and difficulties before him, he spent seven months in the northeastern, southern, and midwestern regions of the United States. He ministered to Greeks and Russians as well as Arabs, performing weddings and baptisms, and regularizing the weddings of Orthodox people who had been married by non-Orthodox clergy. He also chrismated some children who had been baptized by Catholic Priests.
In Johnstown, PA, he reconciled those whose personal enmity threatened to divide the Arabic community. Although civil courts had been unable to make peace, he restored calm and put an end to the bitter feud. While in Johnstown, he received a telegram informing him that Metropolitan Meletius (Doumani), had been elected Patriarch of Antioch. With great joy he told his people that for the first time in 168 years, a native Arab had been chosen as Primate of the Antiochian Church.
After the new Patriarch had been installed, Archimandrite Raphael was proposed to succeed Meletius as Metropolitan of Latakia. The Patriarch, however, stated that the Holy Synod could not elect him, because of his important work in America. In 1901, Metropolitan Gabriel of Beirut wrote to Archimandrite Raphael asking him to be his auxiliary Bishop, but he declined, saying that he could not leave his American flock. First, he wanted to build a permanent Church, and to acquire a parish cemetery. The latter goal was achieved in August of 1901 when Ft. Raphael purchased a section of Mt. Olivet Cemetery on Long Island.
In December of 1901 Archimandrite Raphael was elected as Bishop of Zahleh. Patriarch Meletius sent a telegram congratulating him and asking him to return. Ft. Raphael thanked the Patriarch, but again declined higher office. He said that he wished to complete the project of building a Church for the Syrian community in New York. The following year, he bought an existing Church building on Pacific St. in Brooklyn, and had it remodeled for Orthodox worship. Bishop Tikhon consecrated the Church to the great joy of the faithful in attendance. Thus, St. Raphael's second major project was finished.
Since the number of parishes within the Diocese of North America was growing, Bishop Tikhon found it impossible to visit all of them. The Diocese had to be reorganized in order to administer it more efficiently. Therefore, Bishop Tikhon submitted a plan to the Russian Holy Synod which would transfer the See from San Francisco to New York, because most parishes and individuals were concentrated in the east. Since various ethnic groups required special attention and pastoral leadership, Bishop Tikhon proposed that Archimandrite Raphael be made his second vicar Bishop (the Bishop of Alaska would be his first).
In 1903, the Holy Synod of Russia unanimously elected Archimandrite Raphael to be the Bishop of Brooklyn, while retaining him as Head of the Syro-Arab Orthodox Mission in North America. The Holy Synod announced the election to Patriarch Meletius of Antioch, who was pleased by their decision. Bishop Tikhon wrote to St. Raphael to inform him of his election, and Ft. Raphael sent him a letter of acceptance. Meanwhile, Fr. Innocent Pustynsky was consecrated as Tikhon’s first auxiliary Bishop at St. Petersburg's Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan.
On the third Sunday of Lent in 1904, St. Raphael became the first Orthodox Bishop to be consecrated on American soil. Bishop Tikhon and Bishop Innocent performed the service at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn. The new Bishop's vestments were a gift from Tsar Nicholas II.
Following his consecration, Bishop Raphael continued his pastoral labors, ordaining Priests and assigning them to parishes, and helping Bishop Tikhon in the administration of the Diocese.
At the end of 1904, Bishop Raphael announced his intention to publish a magazine called Al-Kalimat (The Word) as the official publication of the Syro-Arab Mission. This would help to link the people and parishes of his Diocese more closely together. Bishop Raphael knew that he could not visit all Orthodox Christians across North America in person, but through the ministry of the printed word, he could preach the word of salvation even to people he would never meet. The content was to be spiritual, moral, and churchly so that the magazine could reinforce people in their Faith. The Word would focus on five primary topics: dogmatic truths, ethical teaching, historical and contemporary ecclesiastical subjects, a chronicle of baptisms, weddings, etc., and official pronouncements. The first issue was printed in January 1905, and St. Raphael considered this milestone as one equal in importance to the acquisition of St. Nicholas Cathedral and the parish cemetery.
In July of 1905 Bishop Raphael consecrated the grounds for St. Tikhon's Monastery and blessed the orphanage at South Canaan, PA. Three days later, he presided at a conference of diocesan clergy at Old Forge, PA, because Archbishop Tikhon was in San Francisco. Among the clergy in attendance were three who would also be numbered among the Saints: Fr. Alexis Toth, Fr. Alexander Hotovitzky, and Fr. John Kochurov (the last two would die as martyrs in Russia).
For the next ten years Bishop Raphael tended his growing flock. With the growth of his New York community came an increase in the number of children, and he was concerned about their future. He wanted to establish an evening school to educate them in a Christian atmosphere, because the future of the Church in this country depended upon the instruction of the youth. Children who did not speak Arabic were already going to non-Orthodox Churches where Sunday school classes were conducted in English. Bishop Raphael saw the absolute necessity for using English in worship and in education for the future progress of the Syro-Arab Mission.
Taking heed of St. Paul's words to pray in a language that people understood (1 Cor 14:15-19), St. Raphael recommended the use of the Service Book of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church (translated by Isabel Hapgood) in all of his parishes.
In March of 1907 St. Tikhon returned to Russia and was replaced by Archbishop Platon. Once again St. Raphael was considered for episcopal office in Syria, being nominated to succeed Patriarch Gregory of Antioch as Metropolitan of Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1908. The Holy Synod of the Antiochian Patriarchate removed Bishop Raphael's name from the list of candidates, citing various Canons which forbid a Bishop being transferred from one city to another.
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1911, Bishop Raphael was honored for his fifteen years of pastoral ministry in America. Archbishop Platon presented him with a silver-covered Icon of Christ and praised him for his work. In his humility, Bishop Raphael could not understand why he should be honored merely for doing his duty (Lk 17:10). He considered himself an "unworthy servant," yet he did perfectly the work that fell to him (St Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Ephesians).
Toward the end of 1912, Bishop Raphael became ill while working in his office. Doctors diagnosed him with a heart ailment that eventually caused his death. After two weeks he felt strong enough to celebrate the Liturgy in his Cathedral.
In 1913-1914 this missionary Bishop continued to make pastoral visitations to various cities. In 1915 he fell ill again and spent two months at home, bearing his illness with patience. At 12:40 AM on February 14/27 he rested from his labors. They called him, but he did not answer. They shook him, but he was gone.
From his youth, St. Raphael's greatest joy was to serve the Church. When he came to America, he found his people scattered abroad, and he called them to unity. He never neglected his flock, but traveled throughout America, Canada, and Mexico in search of them so that he might care for them. He kept them from straying into strange pastures, and he protected them from spiritual harm. During twenty years of faithful ministry he nurtured them and helped them to grow. At the time of his death, the Syro-Arab Mission had 30 parishes with 25,000 faithful.
He was also a scholar, and the author of several books. He wrote many, if not most, of the articles that appeared in The Word. He served his own Arabic commu-nity, and also reached out to Greeks and Russians, speaking to them in their own language. He became fluent in English, and encouraged its use in Church services and educational programs.
St. Raphael came into contact with all sorts of people, and was a gentle father to them. He gained their love and respect by first loving them, and also through his charming personality and excellent character. He was always kind, merciful, and condescending with others, but was strict with himself. He accomplished many good things during his earthly life, and now he joins the holy angels in offering ceaseless prayer and praise to God.
His Relics are situated at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA, U.S.A.

St. Titus, Presbyter of the Kiev Caves (+ 1190)
He lived in great friendship with the Deacon Evagrius, which later turned into a strong dislike and hostility. Although Hieromonk Titus tried several times to make peace with his former friend, the Deacon Evagrius refused to be reconciled (Compare the story of the Martyr Nikephorus on February 9).
When St. Titus fell ill with a grievous illness and began to prepare himself for death, he asked for Evagrius to be brought to him in order to ask his forgiveness. The brethren brought Evagrius to the sickbed by force. St. Titus tearfully begged him for forgiveness, but Evagrius remained obstinate. He declared that he would not forgive Titus in this world, nor in the world to come. As he said this, he fell dead, struck down by an Angel. At that very instant, St. Titus was healed, and got up out of bed. He revealed that the demons were all around him until he forgave Evagrius. When he had done so, the demons left him and attacked Evagrius, while radiant Angels surrounded St. Titus.
After this, St. Titus increased his ascetic struggles, and received from God the gift of working miracles. He was also known for his great humility.
St. Titus reposed in peace around 1190. His memory is celebrated also on September 28 at the Synaxis of the Fathers of the Near Caves.

February 28
St. Nicholas of Pskov, the Fool for Christ (+ 1576)
He lived the life of a holy fool for more than three decades. Long before his death he acquired the grace of the Holy Spirit and was granted the gifts of wonderworking and of prophecy. The Pskov people of his time called him Mikula [Mikola, Nikola] the Fool. Even during his lifetime they revered him as a Saint, even calling him “Mikula the saintly”.
In February 1570, after a devastating campaign against Novgorod, Tsar Ivan the Terrible moved against Pskov, suspecting the inhabitants of treason. As the Pskov Chronicler relates, "the Tsar came ... with great fierceness, like a roaring lion, to tear apart innocent people and to shed much blood."
On the first Saturday of Great Lent, the whole city prayed to be delivered from the Tsar's wrath. Hearing the peal of the bell for Matins in Pskov, the Tsar's heart was softened when he read the inscription on the 15th c. Wonderworking Liubyatov Tenderness Icon of the Mother of God (comm. March 19), in the Monastery of St. Nicholas (the Tsar's army was at Liubatov). "Be tender of heart," he said to his soldiers. "Blunt your swords upon the stones, and let there be an end to killing."
All the inhabitants of Pskov came out upon the streets, and each family knelt at the gate of their house, bearing bread and salt to the meet the Tsar. On one of the streets Blessed Nicholas ran toward the Tsar astride a stick as though riding a horse, and cried out: "Ivanushko, Ivanushko, eat our bread and salt, and not Christian blood." The Tsar gave orders to capture the Holy Fool, but he disappeared.
Though he had forbidden his men to kill, Ivan still intended to sack the city. The Tsar attended a Molieben at the Trinity Cathedral, and he venerated the Relics of Holy Prince Vsevolod-Gabriel (comm. February 11), and expressed his wish to receive the blessing of the Holy Fool Nicholas. The Saint instructed the Tsar "by many terrible sayings," to stop the killing and not to plunder the Holy Churches of God. But Ivan did not heed him and gave orders to remove the bells from the Trinity Cathedral. Then, as the Saint prophesied, the Tsar's finest horse fell dead.
The Blessed one invited the Tsar to visit his cell under the belltower. When the Tsar arrived at the cell of the Saint, he said, "Hush, come in and have a drink of water from us, there is no reason you should shun it." Then the Holy Fool offered the Tsar a piece of raw meat.
"I am a Christian and do not eat meat during Lent", said Ivan to him.
"But you drink human blood," the Saint replied.
Frightened by the fulfillment of the Saint's prophecy and denounced for his wicked deeds, Ivan the Terrible ordered a stop to the looting and fled from the city. The Oprichniki, witnessing this, wrote: "The mighty tyrant ... departed beaten and shamed, driven off as though by an enemy. Thus did a worthless beggar terrify and drive off the Tsar with his multitude of a thousand soldiers."
Blessed Nicholas reposed on February 28, 1576 and was buried in the Trinity Cathedral of the city he had saved. Such honors were granted only to the Pskov Princes, and later on, to Bishops.
The local veneration of the Saint began five years after his death. In the year 1581, during a siege of Pskov by the soldiers of the Polish King Stephen Bathory, the Mother of God appeared to the blacksmith Dorotheos together with a number of Pskov Saints praying for the city. Among these was Blessed Nicholas!
At the Trinity Cathedral they still venerate the his Relics, who was "a holy fool in the flesh, and by assuming this holy folly he became a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem" (Troparion). He also "transformed the Tsar's wild thoughts into mercy" (Kontakion).

February 29
St. Meletius Archbishop of Kharkov and Akhtyr (+ 1840)
In the world Michael Ivanovich Leontovich, he was born November 6, 1784 in the village of Stara Stanzhara in the Poltava district. In 1808 Michael Leontovich successfully completed the Ekaterinoslav Seminary. As the best student, he was sent by Archbishop Platon of Ekterinoslav to Peterburg, to the St. Alexander Nevsky Spiritual Academy [in Russia, "spiritual academy" is higher level of religious training beyond Seminary]. Finishing the spiritual academy in 1814 with the degree of "magister" ["teacher"], he was appointed adjunct-professor of Greek.
On March 11, 1817 Michael Leontovich was appointed to the office of secretary of the Academy Building committee. On July 30, 1817 they transferred him to the Kiev Seminary, to serve as inspector and professor of Church History and Greek. When the Kiev Spiritual Academy opened on September 28, 1819, Michael Leontovich became its first Inspector.
On February 11, 1820, on the eve of the Feast of St. Meletius of Antioch, in the Cathedral Church of the Kiev-Bratsk Monastery, he was tonsured into monasticism with the name Meletius. The tonsure was done by Metropolitan Eugene (Bolkhovitnikov) of Kiev. On February 22, 1820 St. Meletius was ordained Deacon by Metropolitan Eugene, and to the Priesthood on February 25.
On August 9, 1821 Hieromonk Meletius was appointed Rector of the Mogilev Seminary and Head of the Kutein Orshansk Monastery with the rank of Archiman-drite. In August 1823 he was made Rector of the Pskov Seminary, and on January 24, 1824 he was appointed Rector of the Kiev Spiritual Academy.
In October 1826 the Holy Synod decided to appoint Archimandrite Meletius as Bishop of Chigirinsk, a Vicar of the Kiev Diocese and Head of the Zlatoverkh Michaelov Monastery. He was elected as Bishop on October 19, 1826, and was consecrated on October 21, 1826 at Kiev's St. Sophia Cathedral.
With a fatherly love the Saint looked after young foster-children, raising them in a spirit of devotion to the Church of Christ. The Saint particularly cared for the needy, widows and orphans. He often visited the imprisoned and provided them the consolation of religious services in the prison Churches. The Saint also was concerned for the spiritual nourishment of the brethren of the Michaelov Monastery. With edifying discourses and by personal example he inspired in the monks a spirit of true asceticism. St. Meletius said, "Humility is the guarding sword, with which we pass over earth and Hades to reach Heaven."
In April 1828 St. Meletius was appointed to the See of Perm. Strict with himself, the Saint was also strict towards others. To prepare chosen candidates for ordination, St. Meletius himself wrote the so-called "Ordinand's Catechism" for them. In August 1831 he was transferred to the See of Irkutsk, with the rank of Archbishop.
The Saint devoted great attention to the enlightenment of the lesser nations of Russia with the light of the Gospel teaching. He founded Churches in the north of Kamchatka, in the northeast parts of the Irkutsk Diocese and along the Aldan River, on the tract from Yakutsk to Okhotsk.
He often reviewed his extensive Diocese, going to the shores of the Okhotsk and Arctic Seas, to the borders of North America, where the reknowned Apostle of Siberia, the Priest John Veniaminov, later known as St. Innocent the Apostle to America (comm. October 6 and March 31) then labored. Journeying through Siberia and along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, St. Meletius frequently interacted with the native peoples who professed Lamaism. He urged them to abandon their errors and he explained the Gospel truths to these pagan peoples: the Tungus, the Buryats, the Kamchadali, and also the inhabitants of the Kurile and Aleutian Islands.
Because of his untiring labors, the Saint's health began to deteriorate, and they transferred him in 1835 to the See of Slobodsk-Ukrainsk (afterwards the See of Kharkov and Akhtyr). Here he devoted his attention to the institutions of spiritual learning, and concerned himself with the life and education of the clergy. He raised questions about restoring those Monasteries and spiritual schools which Empress Catherine II had closed. He was also concerned with combating schismatics.
On July 2, 1839 he led the celebrations in the city of Akhtyr for the tenth anniversary of the appearance of the Wonderworking Akhtyr Icon of the Mother of God (comm. July 2).
The blessed repose of the Saint occurred on the night of February 29, 1840. After Communion, with the words "Now lettest Thou Thy Servant depart in peace," the Saint signed himself with the Sign of the Cross and, after asking forgiveness of everyone, he departed to the Lord.
On March 4, 1840 St. Meletius was consigned to the earth by the Bishop of Kursk Heliodorus in a crypt beneath the Church of the Cross at the Protection Monastery.
From the first days after his death, believing people firmly trusted in the his intercession before God, and they received help: healing in sicknesses, comfort in sorrows and deliverance from difficult circumstances. Believers in Kharkov put special trust in St. Meletius during the terrible days of the "Great War for the Fatherland" (World War II). The Saint predicted the impending deliverance of the city from the enemy.
In 1948, the coffin with the Relics of St. Meletius was transferred to the Annunciation Cathedral Church, where they remain to the present day, providing spiritual recourse and prayerful comfort for believers.






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