Δευτέρα, 12 Οκτωβρίου 2009

SAINTS OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH
January

Compelled by Antonios Markou

This text is under constraction.

January 1
Hieromartyr Plato Bishop of Revel Estonia and with him Priests Michael and Nicholas, New Martyrs (+ 1919).
Bishop Plato of Revel, Estonia, suffered under the Communists, together with Priests Michael and Nicholas, in 1919.

January 2
St. Sylvester of the Kiev Caves (12th c.)
He lived during the 12th c. and was Abbot of the Mikhailovsk Vydubitsk Monastery at Kiev. He continued the work of St. Nestor the Chronicler and he wrote nine Lives of Saints of the Kiev Caves. In the Service to the Holy Fathers venerated in the Near Caves, he is called “blessed and endowed with a miraculous gift to ward off demonic suggestions” (Ode 9 of the Canon). St. Sylvester was buried in the Near Caves, and his memory is also celebrated on 28 September and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Juliana of Lazarevo and Murom (+ 1604)
St. Juliana presents an astonishing example of a self-denying Russian Christian woman. She was the daughter of the nobleman Justin Nediurev. From her early years she lived piously, kept the fasts strictly and set aside much time for prayer. Early on having become orphaned, she was given over into the care of relatives, who did not take to her and laughed at her. She bore everything with patience and without complaint. Her love for people was expressed by nursing the sick and sewing clothing for the poor.
The pious and virtuous life of the maiden attracted the attention of the Lazarevo village owner, Yurii Osoryin, who soon married her. The husband's parents loved their gentle daughter-in-law and left the running of the household in her hands. Domestic concerns did not disrupt her spiritual efforts. She always found time for prayer and she was always prepared to feed the orphaned and clothe the poor. During the time of an harsh famine, she herself remained without food, having given away her last morsel to someone begging. When an epidemic started after the famine, she devoted herself completely to the nursing of the sick.
Righteous Juliana had six sons and a daughter. After the death of two of her sons she decided to withdraw to a monastery, but her husband persuaded her to remain in the world, and to continue to raise their children. On the testimony of Juliana's son, Kallistrat Osoryin, who wrote her Life, at this time she became all the more demanding towards herself: she intensified her fasting and prayer, slept not more than two hours at night, and then laying her head upon a board.
Upon the death of her husband, she distributed to the poor her portion of the inheritance. Living in extreme poverty, she was none the less vivacious, cordial, and in everything she thanked the Lord. She was vouchsafed a visitation by St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and guidance by the Mother of God in Church.
When Righteous Juliana fell asleep in the Lord, she was then buried beside her husband at the Church of St. Lazarus. Here also her daughter, the Schemanun Theodosia was buried. In 1614 her Relics were uncovered, exuding a fragrant myrrh, from which many received healing.

St. Seraphim of Sarov (+ 1833)
A great ascetic and well known Saint of Russian Orthodoxy. He was born in Kursk in 1754, in a family of merchants. At the age of 17 he became a monk at the famous Monastery of Sarov, under the spiritual guidance of blessed Elders. There, he became a Priest and took the Great Schema. He exercized all the forms of Orthodox Monasticism (coenobitic monk, hermit in the forest, recluse in his cell, worker of silence). He was counted worthy of twelve miraculous visits by the Mother of God and the divine gifts of prophecy, the teaching of people, miracles and healings.
His particular characteristics were his love for all the creatures of God, his relationship with the animals of forest and his continuous living of the Resurrection; for this reason he always dressed in white and greeted his visitors with the words “Christ is Risen”.
His most important offering to humanity is his wonderful transfiguration in front of his disciple, Nicholas Motovilov. Meanwhile, he delivered his saving teaching on “the acquisition of the Holy Spirit”, which was gathered from the whole of the mystical experience of the Church’s Holy Fathers. By the mercy of God, the Saint shone as the sun, the polar cold was suppressed and a heavenly scent flowed around him. Thus was made manifest the presence of the Holy Spirit in the man of God. He prophesied the revolution of 1917, the destruction of “Holy Russia”, the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family and other historical events which came to pass.
He reposed peacefully in 1833. The Saint himself had marked the place where finally they would bury him, near the altar of the Dormition Cathedral.
His Relics were transferred during his canonization on 19 July, 1903, in the presence of Tsar Nicholas II. After the destruction of Sarov and Diveyevo Monasteries (1928), his relics were lost. They were found again in 1988, after the fall of the communist government, in the Museum of Atheism in Leningrad and today they are found in the Convent of Diveyevo.
St. Seraphim has promised to intercede for those who remember his parents, Isidore and Agathia. The Translation of his Relics is celebrated on July 19.

January 4
St. Aquila, Deacon of the Kiev Caves (14th c.)
He became famous as a great faster, having spent a long while as a hermit. He ate neither vareny (pirogi) nor sweet food, but he ate vegetables seldom and only in small quantities. During fasting periods, he ate only one prosphora.Those thirsting for deliverance from "the enslavement of stomach passions," and those wishing to learn temperance flee to St. Aquila entreating his help (Third Ode of the Canon to the Saints venerated in the Far Caves).
He is also commemorated on 28 August and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

January 6
St. Theophan the Recluse, Bishop of Tambov (+ 1894)
He was born in 1815, in a village in the heart of Russia. His father was a Priest and thus, from the first impressions of his youth, he lived with the Church. The difficult and even severe conditions of the Orel Seminary where he studied, developed in him a strong mental temper. He continued his education in the Kiev Theological Academy. One may surmise that during this time the young student often went to the justly renowned Kiev Caves Lavra where there could have been formed in him the resolution to leave the world. Even be fore finishing the Seminary course, he was tonsured a monk. On this occasion he went to the Lavra to the well-known Elder, Hieromonk Parthenius, who told him: "Remember that on e thing is most necessary of all: to pray and to pray unceasingly in your mind and heart to God."
This counsel made a lasting impression on the newly tonsured monk and he spent the rest of his life striving to attain this "one thing needful."
Having finished the course with a Master's degree, Hieromonk Theophan was assigned as temporary rector of the Kiev-Sofia Theological School. In the years that followed, he held various administrative and teaching positions in different Semina-ries and Academies, but such scholarly work did not satisfy him and he petitioned to be discharged from academic service.
In 1859 he was consecrated Bishop for Tambov. Here he established a Dioce-san School for girls. During his stay in the Tambov See, he came to love the isolated Vysha Hermitage. In the summer of 1863 he was transferred to Vladimir, where he served for three years. Here too, he opened a Diocesan School for girls. He often served in Church, traveled much throughout the Diocese, preached constantly, restored Churches, and wholeheartedly lived with his flock, sharing with them both joy and sorrow.
In 1866 Bishop Theophan petitioned to be relieved as Bishop of Vladimir and was appointed Head of the Vysha Hermitage, and soon, at a new petition of his, he was freed even from this duty.
What reasons induced Bishop Theophan, full of strength, to leave his Diocese and retire into solitude? Various are the characters and gifts of men. It was difficult for him in the midst of the world and those demands to which one must yield as a consequence of human corruption. His unlimited goodness of heart, a meekness like that of a dove, his trust of people and indulgence of them-all this indicated that it was not for him to live amidst the irreconcilable quarrels of vain worldly life. It was very difficult for him to be a leader, especially in such an important position as that of bishop. His trust could be abused; he could never give necessary reprimands. Besides this, he felt the call to devote all his energies to spiritual writing. As for himself personally, he wished to give up all his thoughts to God alone, Whom he loved so absolutely. He de sired that nothing might disturb the complete communion with God that was so dear to him. And he left the world to be alone with God.
In reclusion, invisible to people, he became a public figure of enormous magnitude. He sought only the Kingdom of God, and his great significance for the world was added to him.
The first six years he went to all services and to the early Liturgy. In Church he stood without moving, without leaning, with eyes closed so as not to be distracted On feast days he usually officiated.
Beginning in 1872, however, he discontinued all intercourse with people except for the chief Priest and his confessor. He went no longer to the Monastery Church, but built with his own hands in his chambers a small Chapel dedicated to the Baptism of the Lord. For the first 10 years he served the Liturgy in this Church every Sunday and feast day, and for the next 11 years everyday. He served completely alone, sometimes in silence, but sometimes singing.
He seemed to be no longer a man, but an Angel with a childlike meekness and gentle ness. When people came to him on business, he said what was necessary and plunged back into prayer. He ate only enough so as not to ruin his health. Everything that he received he sent by mail to the poor, leaving himself only enough to buy necessary books. From his publications, which were quickly distributed, he received nothing, hoping only that they might be sold as cheaply as possible.
In the rare moments when he was free from prayer, reading, or writing, he occupied himself with manual labor. He painted excellent icons and was skilled in woodcarving and the locksmith's trade.
Every day he received from 20-40 letters, and he answered them all. With extraordinary sensitivity he penetrated to the spiritual situation of the writer and warmly, clearly, and in detail replied to this confession of a distressed soul.
In addition to this enormous flow of correspondence, the years of reclusion also produced a wealth of books. These include works on moral theology-The Path to Salvation, What the Spiritual Life is and How to Attune Oneself to it; commentaries on Holy Scripture, and translations, among which is to be found the spiritual classic Unseen Warfare.
The life of Bishop Theophan passed unseen by the world, and death too came to him in solitude. Beginning January 1, 1891, there were several irregularities in his schedule. On the afternoon of January 6, his cell-attendant noticed that the Bishop was weak and looking into his room, he found the Bishop lying on the bed lifeless. His left arm rested on his breast and his right arm was folded as if for a Bishop's blessing. He had died on the very day of his most beloved Feast, to which his Chapel was dedicated.
For three days the body remained in the small Chapel in his cell, and for three days it was in the Cathedral-and there was no corruption. When he was vested in his Bishop's vestmenets, the face of the dead man was brightened by a joyful smile.
In Bishop Theophan's cell everything was extremely simple, even meager. The walls were bare, the furniture old. There was a trunk with instruments for lathe-work, carpentry, book-binding; photographic equipment, a bench for sawing, a joiner's bench. And then the books-books without number, without end, in Russian, Slavonic, Greek, French, German, and English. Among them were: a complete collection of the Holy Fathers; a theological encyclopedia in French in 150 volumes, the works of the philosophers Hegel, Fichte, Jacobi, and others; works on natural history by Humboldt, Darwin, Fichte, and others. One calls to mind his words: "It is good to understand the structure of plants, of animals, especially of man, and the laws of life; in them is revealed the wisdom of God, which is great in everything."

January 8
St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Kiev Caves (+ 1093)
He was tonsured at the Kiev Caves Monastery during the time of St. Theodosius. The Saint devoted much time to reading books, which were his sole possession. He had the ability to bring thieves to their senses. Several times robbers broke in on him in his cell or in the garden, but the saint reasoned with them, the thieves repented, and began to lead honest lives.
Once, when the monk went to the Dnieper River for water, some servants of Prince Rostislav caught sight of the Elder and rudely began making fun of him. The Saint answered them, "Children, when you should be asking for everyone's prayers, you are displeasing God. Weep, for disaster approaches. Repent and ask God to be merciful to you on the Day of Judgement. All you will find death in the water with your prince." By orders of the enraged Prince Rostislav, the monk was bound hand and foot, and he was drowned in the Dnieper with a stone around his neck. Still, his prediction came true. Rostislav did not return from the campaign. In that same year of 1093 the twenty-year-old Prince drowned in sight of his brother, Vladimir Monomakh, trying to save himself as he fled from the Polovetsians.
Several sources identify St. Gregory with St. Gregory, a composer of Canons in honor of the Holy Prince Vladimir, St. Theodosius, and the Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb. But St. Gregory, compiler of canons, lived later and died in about the year 1120.
St. Gregory the Wonderworker died in 1093 and was buried in the Near Caves. His memory is celebrated also on 28 September and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Gregory, Hermit of the Kiev Caves (14th c.)
In the "Lives of the Saints Whose Relics lie in the Cave of St. Theodosius," it says that uncooked grass served as St. Gregory's food all his life. He gave this grass to those coming to him, and the sick were healed.
He is also commemorated on 28 August and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

Hieromartyr Isidore of Yuriev and with him 72 Martyrs (+ 1643)
He was Priest of St. Nicholas Church in the city of Yuriev (Derpto, at present Taru in Estonia). According to the terms of a treaty concluded in 1463 between the Moscow Great Prince Ivan III and the Livonian knights, the latter were obligated to extend every protection to the Orthodox at Derpto. But the Livonian knights (who were German Catholics) broke the treaty and tried to force the Orthodox to become Roman Catholics.
The Priest Isidore bravely stood forth in defense of Orthodoxy, preferring to accept a Martyr's crown rather than submit to the Catholics. The Latin Bishop and the Roman Catholic nobles of Yuriev had been told that St. Isidore and the Orthodox population of the city had spoken against the faith and customs of the Germans.
When St. Isidore and 72 of his parishioners went to bless the waters of the River Omovzha (or Emaiyga, now Emajogi) for the Feast of Theophany, they were arrested and brought before the Latin Bishop Andrew and the civil judges of the city. Pressure was brought on them to convert to Catholicism, but the Saint and his flock refused to renounce Christ or the Orthodox Faith. Enraged by this, the authorities had them thrown into prison.
St. Isidore encouraged his flock to prepare themselves for death, and not to fear torture. He partook of the reserved Gifts he carried with him, then communed all the men, women, and children with the Holy and Life-Giving Mysteries of Christ.
Then the Bishop and the judges summoned the Orthodox to appear before them once more, demanding that they convert to Catholicism. When they refused to do so, they were dragged back to the river and pushed through the hole in the ice that they had cut to bless the water. So they all suffered and died for Christ, Who bestowed on them crowns of unfading glory.
During the spring floods, the incorrupt bodies of the Holy Martyrs, including the fully-vested body of the Hieromartyr Isidore, were found by Russian merchants journeying along the river bank. They buried the Saints around the Church of St. Nicholas.
Although people began to venerate these Saints shortly after their death, they were not officially glorified by the Church until 1897.

January 9
Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow (+ 1569)
In the world Theodore, he was descended from the illustrious noble lineage of the Kolichevi, occupying a prominent place in the Boyar Duma at the court of the Moscow sovereigns. He was born in the year 1507. His father, Stephen Ivanovich, "a man enlightened and filled with military spirit," attentively prepared his son for government service. Theodore's pious mother Barbara, who ended her days in monasticism with the name Barsanouphia, implanted in the soul of her son a sincere faith and deep piety. Young Theodore Kolichev applied himself diligently to the Holy Scripture and to the writings of the Holy Fathers. The Moscow Great Prince Basil III, the father of Ivan the Terrible, brought young Theodore into the Court, but he was not attracted to Court life. Conscious of its vanity and sinfulness, Theodore all the more deeply immersed himself in the reading of books and visiting the Churches of God. Life in Moscow repelled the young ascetic. The young Prince Ivan's sincere devotion to him, promising him a great future in government service, could not deter him from seeking the Heavenly City.
On Sunday, June 5, 1537, in Church for Divine Liturgy, Theodore felt intensely in his soul the words of the Savior: "No man can serve two masters" (Mt 6:24), which determined his ultimate destiny. Praying fervently to the Moscow wonderworkers, and without bidding farewell to his relatives, he secretly left Moscow in the attire of a peasant, and for a while he hid himself away from the world in the village of Khizna, near Lake Onega, earning his livelihood as a shepherd.
His thirst for ascetic deeds led him to the reknowned Solovki Monastery on the White Sea. There he fulfilled very difficult obediences: he chopped firewood, dug the ground, and worked in the mill. After a year and a half of testing, the Abbot Alexei tonsured him, giving him the monastic name Philip and entrusting him in obedience to the Elder Jonah Shamina, a converser with St. Alexander of Svir.
Under the guidance of experienced elders Philip grew spiritually, and progressed in fasting and prayer. Abbot Alexei sent him to work at the monastery forge, where St. Philip combined the activity of unceasing prayer with his work with a heavy hammer.
He was always the first one in Church for the services, and was the last to leave. He toiled also in the bakery, where the humble ascetic was comforted with a heavenly sign. In the monastery afterwards they displayed the "Bakery" image of the Mother of God, through which the heavenly Mediatrix bestowed Her blessing upon the humble baker Philip. With the blessing of the Abbot, St. Philip spent a certain while in wilderness solitude, attending to himself and to God.
In 1546 at Novgorod the Great, Archbishop Theodosius made Philip Abbot of the Solovki Monastery. The new Abbot strove with all his might to exalt the spiritual significance of the monastery and its founders, Sts. Sabbatios and Zosimas of Solovki. He searched for the Hodigitria Icon of the Mother of God brought to the island by the first head of Solovki, St. Sabbatios. He located the stone cross which once stood before the Saint's cell. The Psalter belonging to St. Zosimas (+1478), the first Abbot of Solovki, was also found. His robe, in which Abbots would vest during the service on the days when St. Zosimas was commemorated, was also discovered.
The monastery experienced a spiritual revival. A new monastic Rule was adopted to regulate life at the monastery. St. Philip built majestic temples: a Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, consecrated in the year 1557, and a Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Abbot himself worked as a simple laborer, helping to build the walls of the Transfiguration Church. Beneath the north portico he dug himself a grave beside that of his guide, the Elder Jonah. Spiritual life in these years flourished at the monastery: struggling with the brethren with the disciples of Igumen Philip were Sts. John and Longinus of Yarenga and Bassian and Jonah of Pertominsk.
St. Philip often withdrew to a desolate wilderness spot for quiet prayer, two versts from the monastery, which was later known as the Philippov wilderness.
But the Lord was preparing the Saint for other work. In Moscow, Tsar Ivan the Terrible fondly remembered the Solovki hermit from his childhood. The Tsar hoped to find in St. Philip a true companion, confessor and counsellor, who in his exalted monastic life had nothing in common with the sedition of the nobles. The Metropolitan of Moscow, in Ivan's opinion, ought to have a certain spiritual meekness to quell the treachery and malice within the Boyar soul. The choice of St. Philip as Archpastor of the Russian Church seemed to him the best possible.
For a long time the Saint refused to assume the great burden of the primacy of the Russian Church. He did not sense any spiritual affinity with Ivan. He attempted to get the Tsar to abolish the Oprichniki [secret police]. Ivan the Terrible attempted to argue its civil necessity. Finally, the dread Tsar and the Holy Metropolitan came to an agreement: St. Philip would not meddle in the affairs of the Oprichniki and the running of the government, he would not resign as Metropolitan in case the Tsar could not fulfill his wishes, and that he would be a support and counsellor of the Tsar, just as former Metropolitans supported the Moscow sovereigns. On July 25, 1566 St. Philip was consecrated for the Cathedra of Moscow's Hierarch Saints, whose number he was soon to join.
Ivan the Terrible, one of the greatest and most contradictory figures in Russian history, lived an intensely busy life. He was a talented writer and bibliophile, he was involved in compiling the Chronicles (and himself suddenly cut the thread of the Moscow chronicle writing), he examined the intricacies of the monastic Rule, and more than once he thought about abdicating the throne for the monastic life.
Every aspect of governmental service, all the measures undertaken to restructure civil and social life, Ivan the Terrible tried to rationalize as a manifestation of Divine Providence, as God acting in history. His beloved spiritual heroes were St. Michael of Chernigov and St. Theodore the Black , military men active with complex contradictory destinies, moving toward their ends through whatever the obstacles before them, and fulfilling their duties to the nation and to the Church.
The more the darkness thickened around Ivan, the more resolutely he demanded cleansing and redemption of his soul. Journeying on pilgrimage to the St. Cyril of White Lake Monastery, he declared his wish to become a monk to the Abbot and the brethren. The haughty autocrat fell on his knees before the Abbot, who blessed his intent. Ivan wrote, "it seems to me, an accursed sinner, that I am already robed in black."
Ivan imagined the Oprichnina in the form of a monastic brotherhood, serving God with weapons and military deeds. The Oprichniki were required to dress in monastic garb and attend long and tiring church services, lasting from 4 to 10 o'clock in the morning. "Brethren" not in church at 4 o'clock in the morning, were given a penance by the Tsar. Ivan and his sons fervently wished to pray and sing in the church choir. From church they went to the trapeza, and while the Oprichniki ate, the Tsar stood beside them. The Oprichniki gathered leftover food from the table and distributed it to the poor at the doorway of the trapeza.
Ivan, with tears of repentance and wanting to be an esteemer of the holy ascetics, the teachers of repentance, he wanted to wash and burn away his own sins and those of his companions, cherishing the assurance that even his terribly cruel actions would prove to be for the welfare of Russia and the triumph of Orthodoxy. The most clearly spiritual action and monastic sobriety of Ivan the Terrible is revealed in his "Synodikon." Shortly before his death, he ordered full lists compiled of the people murdered by him and his Oprichniki. These were then distributed to all the Russian monasteries. Ivan acknowledged all his sins against the nation, and besought the holy monks to pray to God for the forgiveness of his tormented soul.
The pseudo-monasticism of Ivan the Terrible, a dark most grievous oppression over Russia, tormented St. Philip, who considered it impossible to mix the earthly and the heavenly, serving the Cross and serving the sword. St. Philip saw how much unrepentant malice and envy was concealed beneath the black cowls of the Oprichniki. There were outright murderers among them, hardened in lawless bloodletting, and profiteers seeking gain, rooted in sin and transgressions. By the sufferance of God, history is often made by the hands of the impious, and Ivan the Terrible wanted to whiten his black brotherhood before God. The blood spilled by its thugs and fanatics cried out to Heaven.
St. Philip decided to oppose Ivan. This was prompted by a new wave of executions in the years 1567-1568. In the autumn of 1567, just as the Tsar was setting out on a campaign against Livonia, he learned about a boyar conspiracy. The plotters intended to seize the Tsar and deliver him to the Polish King, who already was on the move with an army towards Russian territory.
Ivan dealt severely with the conspirators, and again he shed much blood. It was bitter for St. Philip, and the conscience of the Saint compelled him boldly to enter into defense of the executed. The final rift occurred in the spring of 1568. On the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, March 2, 1568, when the Tsar with his Oprichniki entered the Dormition Cathedral in monastic garb, as was their custom, St. Philip refused to bless him, and began openly to denounce the lawless acts committed by the Oprichniki. The accusations of the Hierarch shattered the harmony of the church service. In a rage Ivan retorted, "Would you oppose us? We shall see your firmness! I have been too soft on you."
The Tsar began to show ever greater cruelty in persecuting all those who opposed him. Executions followed one after the other. The fate of the saintly confessor was sealed. But Ivan wanted to preserve a semblance of canonical propriety. The Boyar Duma obediently carried out his decision to place the Primate of the Russian Church on trial. A cathedral court was set up to try Metropolitan Philip in the presence of a diminished Boyar Duma, and false witnesses were found. To the deep sorrow of the Saint, these were monks of the Solovki Monastery, his former disciples and novices whom he loved. They accused St. Philip of a multitude of transgressions, including sorcery.
"Like all my ancestors," the Saint declared, "I came into this world prepared to suffer for truth." Having refuted all the accusations, the holy sufferer attempted to halt the trial by volunteering to resign his office. His resignation was not accepted, however, and new abuse awaited the Martyr.
Even after a sentence of life imprisonment had been handed down, they compelled St. Philip to serve Liturgy in the Dormition Cathedral. This was on Nove-mber 8, 1568. In the middle of the service, the Oprichniki burst into the temple, they publicly read the council's sentence of condemnation, and then abused the Saint. Tearing his vestments off, they dressed him in rags, dragged him out of the Church and drove him off to the Theophany Monastery on a simple peasant's sledge.
For a long while they held the Martyr in the cellars of the Moscow monasteries. They placed his feet into stocks, they held him in chains, and put a heavy chain around his neck. Finally, they drove him off to the Tver Otroch Monastery. And there a year later, on December 23,1569, the Saint was put to death at the hands of Maliuta Skuratov. Only three days before this the Saint foresaw the end of his earthly life and received the Holy Mysteries. At first, his Relics were committed to earth there at the monastery, beyond the Church altar. Later, they were transferred to the Solovki Monastery (August 11, 1591) and from there to Moscow ( July 3, 1652).
Initially, the memory of St. Philip was celebrated by the Russian Church on December 23, the day of his martyric death. In 1660, the celebration was transferred to January 9.

January 10
St. Paul of Obnora (+ 1429)
A famed disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh, he was born at Moscow in the year 1317. From his youth he distinguished himself by his piety and kindliness towards the poor and suffering. His rich parents prepared him for a secular life, but at twenty-two years of age he secretly left his parental home and received tonsure at the Nativity Monastery on the Volga (in the Yaroslav Diocese).
From there Paul transferred to the Holy Trinity Monastery to St. Sergius of Radonezh, spending several years with him as his disciple, obeying the Holy Elder in all things. With the blessing of St. Sergius, he settled a short distance from the monastery in a separate cell, where he spent fifteen years as a hermit. Having asked the blessing of St. Sergius to go off into the wilderness for a quiet and solitary life, St. Paul wandered about for a long while, seeking a place of solitude. He wandered a great deal in the wilderness. He spent time with St. Abraham of Chukhloma and finally, he remained in the Komel forest.
At the Gryazovitsa River, in the hollow of an old linden tree, the monk built a small cell and dwelt there for three years in complete silence, "not giving his body rest, that he might receive future rest." Then he moved on to the River Nurma, where he built a hut and dug a well, spending his days in vigil and prayer.
Five days out of the week he went without food, and only on Saturday and Sunday did he partake of some bread and water. The news about the hermit spread abroad, and those wishing spiritual guidance began coming to him. Despite his love for the solitary life, St. Paul never refused anyone spiritual consolation and guidance. He was also visited by St. Sergius of Nurma, who sought solitude with the blessing of St. Sergius of Radonezh, and who also spent his ascetic life in these places.
With the blessing of St. Sergius and the agreement of Metropolitan Photius, St. Paul built the Holy Trinity Church in 1414, around which a Monastery sprang up (later called the Monastery of St. Paul of Obnora). Having written a strict monastic Rule for the brethren, St. Paul entrusted the guidance of the new monastery to his disciple Alexei, while he himself continued as before to live in a solitary cell on a hill. He remained a responsive and good counsellor for anyone needing his help.
St. Paul died at 112 years of age. His final words were, "Brethren, have love one for another and keep to the rule of the monastic community."
The Life of the Saint was written in about the year 1546, and his glorification occurred in 1547.

St. Makarius of Pisema and Kostroma (14th c.)
He was a fellow ascetic of St. Paul of Obnora. In the second half of the 14th c., he founded the Makariev Transfiguration Monastery at the River Pisma on the outskirts of Kostroma.

January 11
St. Michael of Klops, Fool for Christ (+ 1453)
He was of noble lineage, and he was a relative of Great Prince Demitrius Donskoi (1363-1389). He took upon himself the exploit of foolishness for Christ to avoid the praise of men. Leaving Moscow dressed in rags, he arrived at the Klops Monastery, near Novgorod.
No one knew how he got into the locked cell of the hieromonk Makarios, who was going round the cell censing during the Ninth Ode of the Canon. A man in monastic garb sat there beneath a candle, copying out the Acts of the Holy Apostles. After the end of Matins the igumen came with some of the brethren and asked the stranger who he was, and what his name was. But he responded only by repeating the questions, and did not reveal his origin.
In Church the stranger sang in the choir and read the Epistle, and he also read the Lives of the Saints at meals. All who listened were moved by the beauty and spirituality of his reading. On the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Klops Monastery was visited by Prince Constantine Dimitrievich (son of Great Prince Demitrius Donskoi).
After Communion he was in the trapeza with the Princess, during which time the unknown stranger read from the Book of Job. Hearing the reading, the Prince approached the reader and looked him over. Then he bowed down to him, calling his kinsman Michael Maximovich by name. The fool remarked, "Only the Creator knows me, and who I am," but he confirmed that his name was Michael.
St. Michael soon set an example for the brethren in all the monastic efforts. He lived at the Klops Monastery for forty-four years, exhausting his body in work, vigils and various deprivations, and he received from the Lord the gift of clairvoyance.
He denounced the vices of people, not fearing the powerful of this world. He predicted the birth of Great Prince Ivan III on January 22, 1440, and his capture of Novgorod. He denounced Prince Demitrius Shemyaka for blinding his brother the Great Prince Basil the Dark (1425-1462).
On a sandy spot St. Michael summoned forth a spring of water, having written upon the earth: "I will take the cup of salvation (Ps. 115/116:13), let the well-spring show forth on this spot." And during a time of famine, the supplies of bread at the monastery granary did not diminish, though they distributed grain abundantly to the hungry.
Having indicated beforehand the place of his burial, the Saint died on January 11, 1453. He is also commemorated on June 23.

January 12
Sts. Martinian (+ 1483) of White Lake and Galaction his disciple
In the world Michael, he was born in the year 1370 in the village of Berezniko, not far from the Cyrilov Monastery. At age thirteen he left his parents and went secretly to St. Cyril of White Lake, whom many described as a great ascetic.
The young Martinian began zealously to imitate his teacher, with whom he dwelt in complete obedience. At the monastery he studied reading and writing, and with the blessing of St. Cyril, he occupied himself with the copying of books. In time Martinian was ordained Deacon and then Hieromonk.
After the death of St. Cyril (+ 1427), Martinian withdrew to a deserted island on Lake Vozha. Several monks gradually gathered around him. St. Martinian establis-hed for them the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord and introduced a general Rule for the inhabitants. Yielding to the persistent requests of the brethren of Therapon Monastery, he consented to become igumen of the monastery and brought it into an improved condition.
St. Martinian gave spiritual support to Great Prince Basil in the difficulties of his time, when his first-cousin Demitrius Shemyaka illicitly sought the Moscow Throne. He was always an advocate of truth and justice. Afterwards, upon the entreaty of the Great Prince, the Saint accepted the governance of the Monastery of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
In 1455, St. Martinian returned to the Therapon Monastery. In his last years he was grievously ill and not able to walk, so the brethren carried him to Church. He died at age 85. His Relics were uncovered in the year 1514. He is also commemorated on October 7.

January 13
St. Irinarchus of Rostov (+ 1616)
He was born into a peasant family in the village of Kondakovo in the Rostov district. In Baptism he received the name Elias. In his thirtieth year, he was tonsured a monk at the Rostov Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery. There he began fervently to labor at monastic tasks, he attended Church services, and by night he prayed and slept on the ground. Once, taking pity on a vagrant who did not have shoes, he gave him his own boots, and from that time he began to go barefoot through the snow.
The Abbot did not care for such behavior, and he began to humiliate him, compelling him to stand for an hour or nearly two in the snow opposite his cell, or to ring the bells for a long time. The Saint endured everything with patience but he did not change his conduct. The Abbot continued to be hardhearted, and the monk was obliged to transfer to the Abramiev Theophany Monastery, where he was accepted into the number of the brethren and he was soon chosen as steward.
The Saint fulfilled his monastic obediences with zeal, but grieved that the brethren and servants did not look after the property of the monastery, but imprudently wasted it. Once in a dream he saw St. Abraham of Rostov (comm. October 29), who comforted him and blessed him to distribute necessities to all without trouble. Later, St. Irinarchus sobbed loudly during the singing of the Cherubimic Hymn. The Archimandrite asked him why he wept, and he answered, "My mother has died!"
Leaving Abramiev Monastery, St. Irinarchos transferred to the Rostov Monastery of St. Lazarus, settled into a solitary cell and lived for three years in privation and hunger. Here he was visited by Blessed John the Fool, nicknamed "the Big Simpleton." The Saints encouraged each other by spiritual conversation. The Elder, however, had a desire to return to the Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery. He was accepted back with love by the strict Varlaam, and he began to pursue even greater ascetic deeds at the monastery.
Having withdrawn into solitude, St. Irinarchus chained himself to a wooden chair, and he placed on himself heavy chains and crosses. For this he endured the mockery and sneers of the brethren. During this time he was visited by his old friend, Blessed John the Fool, who predicted the Lithuanian invasion of Moscow.
St. Irinarchus spent twenty-five years shackled in chains and in arduous tasks. His ascetic deeds were a silent reproach to those living carelessly at the monastery, and they lied to the Abbot about him. They said that the Elder taught that they should not do monastic work, but rather pursue asceticism as he did. The Abbot believed the slander and he banished the holy Elder from the monastery. Humbly submitting, St. Irinarchus again went to Rostov and lived in the Monastery of St. Lazarus for one year.
Meanwhile the Abbot of Sts. Boris and Gleb regretted his conduct and sent monks after St. Irinarchus. He returned, blaming himself that he did not live like the brethren who engaged in righteous works, in which he was lacking. The monk continued to bear his own heavy fetters. He made clothes for the needy, and he knitted hairshirts and klobuks. He slept at night for only an hour or two, the rest of the time he prayed and beat his body with an iron rod.
St. Irinarchus had a vision that Lithuania would invade Moscow, and that Churches there would be destroyed. He began to weep bitterly about the impending disaster, and the Abbot ordered him to go to Moscow and warn Tsar Basil Shuisky (1606-1610) about the terrible misfortune. St. Irinarchus carried out the order. He refused the gifts offered him and when he returned, he began to pray fervently that the Lord would show mercy on the Russian land.
Enemies appeared against Russia, they began the conquest of the city, beat the inhabitants, and robbed Churches and Monasteries. The False Dimitrios and a second Pretender sought to conquer Russia for the Polish King. Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery was also overrun by the enemy, who came to the holy hermit and were amazed at the direct and bold words of the Elder, predicting catastrophe for them.
Sapega, remaining at the Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery, wanted to see the Elder sitting in chains, and he was amazed at such an ascetic exploit. When the Polish nobles with Sapega told him that the Elder prayed for Shuisky, the monk boldly said, "I am born and baptized in Russia, and I pray to God for the Russian Tsar." Sapega answered, "Grandfather speaks truly; in whatever land one lives, there one also serves." After this St. Irinarchus began to urge Sapega to leave Russia, predicting death for him if he did not do so.
St. Irinarchus followed the course of the war and sent his blessings and a prosphora to Prince Dimitrios Pozharsky. He told him to come to Moscow, predicting, "You shall see the glory of God." To assist Pozharsky and Minin, the Saint handed over his cross. With the help of God the Russians vanquished the Lithuanians, Prince Pozharsky took possession of the Kremlin, and peace gradually began to return to the Russian land. St. Irinarchus incessantly prayed God with tears for the deliverance of Russia from enemies and, with the power to work miracles, he healed the sick and demoniacs.
The day of his death was revealed to him, and summoning his disciples Alexa-nder and Cornelius, he gave them his final instructions. After taking leave of all he quietly fell asleep in the Lord. The Holy Elder left behind 142 copper crosses, seven shoulder chains, other chains which he wore on his neck, iron foot shackles, eighteen hand fetters, heavy "bonds" which he wore on his belt, and iron rods with which he thrashed his body to drive away demons.
In these works, as the Elder called them, he spent thirty-eight years, and having lived in the world for thirty years, he died in his sixty-eighth year. After the death of St. Irinarchus, many miracles took place at his grave, especially the healing of the sick and the demoniacs by laying the holy ascetic's crosses and chains upon them.

St. Eleazar of Anzersk (+ 1656)
He was born in the city of Kozelsk into the merchant family Severiukov. With the blessing of his parents he went off to the Solovki Monastery, where he received monastic tonsure from the Abbot St. Irinarchus (comm. July 17).
At the Monastery he displayed an astonishing artistic gift: he learned woodcarving and he took part in the embellishment of the Transfiguration Cathedral. With the blessing of the Abbot, he went to the island of Anzersk in 1612, where he became a hermit, devoting himself to constant prayer and meditation on God.
In order to obtain subsistence for himself on the island wilderness, St. Eleazar carved wooden cups, which he left at the dock. On the cups he wrote a message requesting food. Fishermen left bread and other supplies for the ascetic, and they were rewarded with a great catch of fish.
In the year 1616 St. Eleazar was elevated to Schemamonk. Disciples gathered around the Saint wishing to live near him and benefit from his instruction. He organized a Skete with a strict rule of monastic life following the ancient form. Monastic cells were built far away from one another, and the hermits gathered together only for Saturday and Sunday services.
Among the disciples of St. Eleazar was the Hieromonk Niketas, the future Patriarch Nikon. Tsar Michael (1613-1645), learning of the Saint's ascetic life, sum-moned him to Moscow. St. Eleazar predicted the birth of a son, and in return the Tsar generously gave him help to build a stone Church on the island dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and also a Monastery.
St. Eleazar loved books. He compiled three books, "Flower gardens," collecting edifying sayings and examples from various sources. He also wrote a commentary on the Rule for monastic cell life.
St. Eleazar died in great old age, forseeing the time of his death. It is not known how old he was, but he lived at Ansersk for forty years, and he was at Solovki for some time before that.

January 16
St. Maximus of Totma, Fool for Christ (+ 1650)
He was for a certain time, a Priest in the city of Totma, in the Vologda Diocese. For forty years he undertook the difficult exploit of foolishness for Christ, constantly in fasting and in prayer. He reposed in great old age on January 16, 1650 and was buried at the Resurrection Church, in which he served. The local veneration of the Saint began in 1715, because of the numerous miracles occurring at his grave.

January 17
St. Anthony the Roman (+ 1147)
He was born in Rome in 1067 of wealthy parents, who adhered to the Orthodox Confession of Faith, and was brought up by them in piety. Having been deprived of his parents at seventeen years of age, he took up the study of the writings of the Fathers in the Greek language. Then he distributed part of his inheritance to the destitute, while he put the other part into a wooden barrel and released it into the sea. He himself accepted the tonsure in one of the desert scetes, where he lived for twenty years. Persecution on the part of the Latins against the Orthodox forced the brethren to disperse. Venerable Anthony wandered about, passing from place to place, until he found a large rock on a deserted seashore, on which he lived for a whole year in fasting and prayer. A terrible storm, which broke on 5 September 1105, tore off the rock on which Venerable Anthony was, and carried it into the sea. On the eve of the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, the rock stopped three versts [two miles] from Novgorod on the bank of the river Volkhov near the Volkhov village. This event is testified to in the Novgorod chronicles. On this site, the venerable one, with the blessing of Hierarch Nikita the Recluse (+1109, commemorated on the 14th of May), founded a monastery in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. The next year, fishermen fished out the barrel with Venerable Anthony's inheritance that had been released into the sea many years before. Having pointed out what was in the barrel, the Venerable one took the barrel and bought land for the monastery. Spiritual asceticism was joined to intense physical labor.
Venerable Anthony took care that help be rendered to the poor, to orphans and widows from the monastery's revenues. In 1117, the saint began stone construction in the monastery. The catholicon in honor of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, built during the life of the venerable one from 1117-1119, has been preserved till our days. In 1131, Hierarch Niphont of Novgorod appointed Venerable Anthony as hegoumen of the monastery. He died on 3 August 1147 and was buried by Hierarch Niphont. Venerable Anthony was glorified in 1597.

St. Anthony of Dymsk (+ 1224)
He was born at Novgorod in about the year 1157. Once in Church he heard the words of Christ: "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" (Mt 16:24), the Saint resolved to leave the world and receive monastic tonsure under St. Varlaam of Khutyn (comm. November 6), at his monastery.
When he was dying, St. Barlaam appointed St. Anthony as Abbot in his place; but Anthony, shunning glory, left the monastery and settled at the shores of Lake Dyma, on the outskirts of the city of Tikhvin. Here he founded a monastery and struggled there until the end of his own life.
According to Tradition, St. Anthony made a journey to Constantinople, and returned to his monastery on the day that the Abbot Barlaam reposed. St. Anthony fell asleep in the Lord in 1224 (comm. June 24).
In the year 1330 his Relics were found incorrupt, and from that time they were glorified by many miracles.

St. Anthony of Krasny Kholm (+ 1481)
He was initially a wilderness-dweller in the vicinity of White Lake. The Hieromonk arrived in the region of Tver and settled near "Pretty Hillock" ["Krasny kholm"], at the bank of the River Mologa, building a Chapel and cell there. After the discovery of an Icon of St. Nicholas, a stone Church was built and a Monastery founded, headed by the Saint, who taught the brethren both by word and by example throughout his life.

St. Anthony of Black Lake (16th c.)
He founded the Mother of God Monastery at Black Lake [Chernoezero] in the Novgorod area, not far from the city of Chernopovets. The Monastery was on an island of the Schirsk countryside. The Monastery twice suffered complete destruction: in 1581, from the Lithuanians; and in 1682, from the Swedes. The Monastery was closed in 1764.

January 18
St. Athanasius of Synadem and Vologda (+ 1550)

He was a disciple of St. Alexander of Svir (comm. August 30). After the death of his mentor, he established the Dormition Hermitage in the forests of Karelia, not far from the city of Olonets, on an island of Lake Synadem.
The slander and pettiness of the local inhabitants compelled St. Athanasius to move back to the Svir Monastery, where they chose him as Abbot. Later returning to the Dormition Hermitage. St. Athanasios reposed in about the year 1550 in great old age, and was buried on one of the promontories of Roschinsk island. Afterwards, a Church was built over his grave, named for Sts. Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria. The incorrupt Relics of St. Athanasius were placed in this Church, in 1720.

St. Athanasius of Navolotsk (16th – 17th c.)
He went at the end of the 16th c. from the Kargopol region to the Olonets land, where he founded a Monastery, 78 versts from what later became the city of Petrozavodsk. He reposeded at a Verkholedsk suburb, not far from Shenkursk.

January 19
Sts. Makarius the Faster (12th c.) and Makarius the Deacon (13th – 14th c.) of the Kiev Caves
They were both Deacons. Their memory is celebrated on January 19 because of their namesake, St. Makarius of Egypt.
St. Makarius of the Far Caves lived in the 13th -14th c, and was distinguished by his lack of covetousness. He possessed great fervor for the temple of God and he continuously exerted himself in the reading of Holy Scripture and in fasting. According to Tradition, he was frequently ill as a child, and his parents vowed that they would offer their son to the Monastery of the Caves if he were made healthy. By his mildness and humility he earned the love of the brethren, who taught him to read and to write. For his piety of life he was raised to the dignity of Deacon, and during his life he possessed a gift of wonderworking.
In addition to this commemoration, St. Makarius of the Near Caves (12th c.) is also celebrated on September 28, and St. Makarius of the Far Caves on August 28. The general commemoration of all the wonderworkers of the Kiev Caves is on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Theodore of Novgorod, Fool for Christ ( + 1392)
He was the son of pious parents, wealthy citizens of Novgorod. Having been raised in strict Christian piety, and having reached the age of maturity, he took on himself the ascetic deed of foolishness for Christ's sake. He gave all his possessions to the poor, and he lived in great poverty until the end of his life, not even having a roof over his head, nor warm clothes on cold days.
When he discovered a mutual enmity between the Novgorod citizens of the Torgov quarter and the inhabitants of the Sophia quarter, Blessed Theodore pretended to be feuding with Blessed Nicholas Kochanov (comm. July 27) who lived in asceticism on the opposite Sophia side. When Blessed Theodore happened to cross over the Volkhov Bridge to the Sophia side, then Blessed Nicholas pushed him over to the Torgov side. Theodore did the same thing when Nicholas chanced upon on the Torgov side. The Blessed ones, spiritually in agreement with each other, by their unusual behavior reminded the people of Novgorod of their own internecine strife, which often ended in bloody skirmishes.
The Blessed one possessed the gift of clairvoyance. By warning people to see to their bread, he was actually predicting an impending famine. Another time he said, "This will be bare, it will be fine for sowing turnips." This was his prediction of a fire that devastated the streets of the Torgov quarter. Blessed Theodore foresaw his own end and said to the Novgorod people, "Farewell, I'm going far away."
During his life, the citizens of Novgorod saw him as a Saint pleasing to God, and had a high regard for him. After his death in the year 1392, the Holy Fool was buried, at his request, in the Torgov quarter, at Lubyanitsa in the Church of the Holy Great Martyr George, at the porch where the saint usually loved to spend his time in unceasing prayer. A Chapel was built over his Holy Relics. His memory is also celebrated on February 13.

St. Macarius the Roman (+ 1550) -Commemorated also in August 15
Nearly five hundred years after St. Anthony quit the shores of his native Italy, a fellow countryman providentially followed closely in his footsteps.
St. Macarius was born in Rome, into a wealthy and renowned Italian family. He received a superior education and a brilliant future lay before him. But this is not what concerned him. This was the time of the Reformation, a schism which shook Western Christendom; meanwhile, Rome was drowning in luxury and licentiousness. This situation grieved the youth who could think of nothing but how to save his soul. He sought answers to his tormenting perplexities in the Holy Scriptures and patristic writings. And the Lord indicated to him the way of salvation through the Eastern Orthodox Church. So, secretly, one night, dressed as a pilgrim, a staff in his hand, the youth left his native land. He gave away his money to the poor and became himself a poor man, leaving behind his family and close ones.
His journey to northern Russia, a land altogether foreign to him, was difficult, but at last he reached Novgorod. The newcomer found the city very much to his liking, with its numerous churches and monasteries, the strict life of the monks and the patriarchal way of life. He visited all its holy shrines and eventually came to the shores of the river Svir, where St. Alexander had founded the Holy Trinity Monastery. There he was warmly received. St. Alexander united the newcomer to the Orthodox Church, accepted him into the brotherhood and, finally, tonsured him, giving him the name Macarius.
The new monk, however, longed for the eremitic life. He again made a pilgrimage to Novgorod and then secluded himself on a small island on the marshy banks of the river Lezna, an area surrounded by dense forest, located some 45 miles from Novgorod and 53 miles from Petersburg. There he gave himself to ceaseless prayer and monastic labors.
Such a life could not have been easy for the native of sunny Italy: the winters there were severe, the summers hot and humid, with clouds of mosquitoes. The hermit nourished himself with forest berries, grasses and roots. Bears came, and he would feed and pet them. Once there was a knock on the door of his cell: some exhausted travelers had lost their way. "If it weren't for your prayers, O man of God, we would never have found your cell and would have perished in the marshes where we were hunting!" "It was not my sinful prayers," replied the saint, "but God's grace that led you here." He gave them to eat of his humble fare and, after a brief Conversation, prayed with them and showed them a safe route out of the marsh. The hunters looked upon the holy hermit as an angel. They were struck by his humility and especially by
his patient endurance of the ascetic life.
In this way St. Macarius became known. People began coming to him for counsel, for blessing and prayer. He never denied anyone spiritual aid, but his solitude was disturbed, and the glory was burdensome. He went deeper into the forest and, on the banks of the same river, built himself another cell. Here, however, God's will manifest itself clear ly. Above his new cell appeared sometimes a fiery pillar, sometimes a fragrant cloud, rising toward heaven. And people again discovered his whereabouts. Many began asking his blessing to settle there with him. "May God's will be done," said the saint. A church was built, dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God, and cells for the brethren.
Archbishop Macarius of Novgorod ordained the Saint and, about the year 1540, appointed him abbot of the new monastery. St. Macarius was granted the blessed gifts of clairvoyance and wonderworking. After his repose he frequently appeared in visions to sick people, blessed them to drink water from the spring he had dug, and they were healed.
Before he died, St. Macarius returned to his first skete and there, on the feast of Dormition, August 15, 1550, he gave his soul to the Lord. The brethren buried him near the Dormition church and built another, dedicated to St. Sabbatius of Solovki. In his testament, St. Macarius enjoined the monks to adhere strictly to the monastic rule, to spread the Gospel and take care for the spiritual enlightenment and the needs of the local people. His testament was fulfilled.
St. Macarius' Hermitage was always poor and small in number. Over the years it suffered many misfortunes and by the mid-19th century there remained little but ruins. Local inhabitants, however, piously recalled its holy founder. They continued to take holy water from the spring and, on the days of his commemoration, gathered by the thousand. Finally, in 1894, the hermitage was restored by a missionary abbot, Arsenius, and became a missionary monastery with a strict Athonite typicon. It belonged to those numerous but little-known, small monasteries which had such a great influence on their surrounding populations.

January 20
St. Euthymius of the Kiev Caves (14th c.)
He imposed upon himself a vow of silence, opening his mouth only for Church services and for prayer. The silent Schemamonk ate only herbs. He was buried in the Far Theodosiev Cave of the Kiev Caves Monastery. His memory is also celebrated on August 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Euthymius of Syanzhemsk and Vologda (+ 1465)
He waas born in Vologda, and received monastic tonsure at the Savior-Stone Monastery at Lake Kuben. For some time he lived in a solitary cell on the River Kuben, and then gave up the place to St. Alexander of Kushta (comm. June 9) and moved to Syanzhem, where he founded the Ascension Monastery and became its Abbot.
St. Euthymios died around the year 1465, after appointing St. Chariton (comm. September 28) as his successor. The story of the appearance of his Relics was recorded in the 16th c. by Bishop Ioasaph of Vologda, a noted hagiographer of his time.

January 21
St. Maximus the Greek (+ 1556)
He was the son of a rich Greek dignitary in the city of Arta, and he received a splendid education. In his youth he travelled widely and he studied languages and sciences (i.e. intellectual disciplines) in Europe, spending time in Paris, Florence, and Venice.
Upon returning to his native land, he went to Athos and became a monk at the Vatopedi Monastery. And with enthusiasm he studied ancient manuscripts left on Athos by the Byzantine Emperors Andronikus Paleologus and John Kantakuzenus (who both became monks).
During this period the Moscow Great Prince Basil III (1505-1533) wanted to make an inventory of the Greek manuscripts and books of his mother, Sophia Paleologina, and he asked the General Abbot of the Holy Mountain, Ft. Symeon, to send him a translator. St. Maximus was chosen to go to Moscow, for he had been brought up on secular and ecclesiastical books from his youth. Upon his arrival, he was asked to translate patristic and liturgical books into Slavonic, starting with the Annotated Psalter.
St. Maximus tried to fulfill his task, but since Slavonic was not his native language, there were certain imprecisions in the translations.
Metropolitan Barlaam of Moscow highly valued the work of St. Maximus, but when the See of Moscow was occupied by Metropolitan Daniel, the situation changed. The new Metropolitan ordered St. Maximus to translate the Church History of Theodoritus of Cyrhus into Slavonic. St. Maximus absolutely refused this commission, pointing out that "in this history are included letters of the heretic Arius, and this might present danger for the semi-literate." This refusal caused a rift between Maximus and the Metropolitan. Despite their differences, St. Maximus continued to labor for the spiritual enlightenment of Russians. He wrote letters against Moslems, Roman Catholics, and pagans. He translated St. John Chrysostom's Commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and John, and he also wrote several works of his own.
When the Great Prince wished to divorce his wife Solomonia because of her infertility, the dauntless confessor Maximus sent the Prince his "Instructive Chapters on Initiating Right Belief," in which he persuasively demonstrated that the Prince was obliged not to yield to bestial passions. The Prine never forgave Maximus for his audacity, and locked St. Maximus in prison. From that moment a new period began in the life of the monk, filled with much suffering.
Mistakes in his translations were regarded as deliberate and intentional corruptions of the text by St. Maximus. It was difficult for him in prison, but in his sufferings the saint also gained the great mercy of God. An angel appeared to him and said, "Endure, Abba! Through this temporary pain you will be delivered from eternal torments."
In prison the Elder wrote a Canon to the Holy Spirit in charcoal upon a wall, which even at present is read in the Church: "Just as Israel was nourished with manna in the wilderness of old, so Master, fill my soul with the All-Holy Spirit, that through Him I may serve Thee always...."
After six years, St. Maximus was set free from prison and sent to Tver. There he lived under the supervision of the good-natured Bishop Akakios, who dealt kindly with guiltless sufferer. The Saint then wrote in his autobiography: "While I was locked in prison and grieving, I consoled and strengthened myself with patience." Here are some more words from this vivid text: "Neither grieve, nor be sad, beloved soul, that you have suffered unjustly, for it behooves you to accept all for your benefit."
Only after twenty years at Tver did they decide to let Maximus live freely, and remove the Church excommunication. St. Maximus, now about seventy years of age, spent the final years of his life at the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Oppression and work took their toil on his health, but his spirit remained vigorous, and he continued with his work. Together with his cell-attendant and disciple Neilos, the Saint translated the Psalter from Greek into Slavonic.
St. Maximus reposed on January 21, 1556. He was buried at the northwest wall of the Holy Spirit Church of the Trinity-Sergiev Lavra. Many manifestations of grace took place at the grave of St. Maximus, and a Troparion and Kontakion were composed in his honor. St. Maximus is depicted on the Icon of the Synaxis of the Saints of Radonezh (comm. July 6).

January 22
Monk Martyr Anastasius the Deacon of the Kiev Caves
He lived an ascetical life in the Near Caves. The Hieromonk Athanasiοs the Sooty calls him brother of St. Titus the Presbyter (comm. February 27). In the manuscripts of the Saints he is called a Deacon. In the Service to the Synaxis of the Fathers of the Near Caves, it says that the Monk Martyr Anastasios possessed such steadfastness in God, that he received everything he asked for. His memory is celebrated also on September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Makarius of Zhabyn, Wonderworker of Belev (+ 1623)
He was born in the year 1539. In his early years he was tonsured with the name Onuphrius, and in the year 1585 he founded Zhabyn's Monastery of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple near the River Oka, not far from the city of Belev. In 1615 the Monastery was completely destroyed by Polish soldiers under the command of Lisovski. Returning to the charred remains, the monk began to restore the Monastery. He again gathered the brethren, and in place of the wooden Church a stone Church, with a bell-tower at the gates.
The Saint spent his life in austere monastic struggles, suffering cold, heat, hunger and thirst, as the monastery accounts relate. He often went deep into the forest, where he prayed to God in solitude. Once, when he was following a path in the forest, he heard a faint moaning. He looked around and saw a weary Polish man reclining against a tree trunk, with his sabre beside him. He had strayed from his regiment and had become lost in the forest. In a barely audible voice this enemy, who might have been one of the destroyers of the Monastery, asked for a drink of water. Love and sympathy surged up within the monk. With a prayer to the Lord, he plunged his staff into the ground. At once, a fresh spring of water gushed forth, and he gave the dying man a drink.
When both the external and internal life of the Monastery had been restored, St. Onuphrius withdrew from the general monastic life, and having entrusted the guidance of the brethren to one of his disciples, he took the schema with the name Makarius. For the place of his solitude, he choose a spot along the upper tributary of the River Zhabynka. About one verst separated the mouth of the tributary and the banks of the River Oka.
The ascetical struggles of St. Makarius were concealed not only from the world, but also from his beloved brethren. He reposed in 1623 at the age of eighty-four, at the hour when the roosters start to crow. He was buried opposite the gates of the Monastery on January 22, the commemoration of St. Timothy, where a Church was later built and named for him.
The Iconographic Originals has preserved a description of St. Makarius in his last years: he had gray hair with a small beard, and over his monastic riassa he wore the schema.
Veneration of St. Makarius was established at the end of the 17th c, or the beginning of the 18th. According to Tradition, his Relics remained uncovered, but by 1721 they were interred in a crypt.
In the 18th c. the Monastery became deserted. The memory of his deeds and miracles was so completely forgotten, that when the incorrupt Relics of the monastery's founder were uncovered during the construction of the Church of St. Nicholas in 1816, a general panikhida was served over them.
The restoration of the liturgical commemoration of St. Makarius of Belev is credited to Abbot Jonah (who was born on January 22 - the Feast of St. Makarius - and who began his own monastic journey at the Optina Monastery not far from the Zhabyn Monastery). In 1875 Abbot Jonah became head of the Zhabyn Monastery. His request to re-establish the Feast of St. Makarius was strengthened by the petition of the people of Belev, who through the centuries had preserved their faith in the Saint. On January 22, 1888, the annual commemoration of St. Makarius of Zhabyn was resumed.
In 1889, a Church dedicated to St. Makarius was built at his tomb. Abbot Jonah, who lived at the monastery and actually participated in the construction, decided that in addition to the building project, the Holy Relics of St. Makarius would also be uncovered. When everything was on the point of readiness, St. Makarius appeared to the participants and sternly warned them that they should not proceed with their intention, or they would be punished. The memory of this appearance was reverently preserved among the monks of the monastery.
His memory is also commemorated on September 22.

January 23
St. Gennadius of Kostroma and Liubimograd (+ 1565)
In the world Gregory, he was born in the city of Mogilev into a rich family. He early displayed love for the Church, and his frequent visits to Monasteries evoked the dismay of his parents. Gregory, however, was firmly resolved to devote himself to God, and changing into tattered clothing, he secretly left his parental home and journeyed to Moscow.
He visited the Holy Places in Moscow, but he did not find it suitable in spirit and so set out to the Novgorod region. The destiny of the future ascetic was decided by an encounter with St. Alexander of Svir (comm. August 30). With his blessing, Gregory went to the Vologda forest to St. Cornelius of Komel (comm. May 19), and was tonsured by him with the name Gennadius. Together with St. Cornelius, Gennadius moved on to the Kostroma forest. Here, on the shores of Lake Sura, in about the year 1529, there emerged the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, afterwards called "the Gennadiev monastery". Having become Abbot, St. Gennadius did not slacken his monastic efforts, and together with the brethren he went out to the Monastery tasks: he chopped wood, carried firewood, made candles and baked prosphora. He also wore heavy chains. One of his favorite tasks was the painting of Icons, with which he adorned his new Monastery.
For his holy life St. Gennadius received from the Lord the gift of clairvoyance and wonderworking. Journeying to Moscow on monastic affairs, at the house of the nobleman Roman Zakharin, the Saint predicted to his daughter Anastasia that she would become Tsaritsa. Indeed, Tsar Ivan the Terrible chose her as his wife.
The Life of St. Gennadius was written by his disciple, Abbot Alexei, between the years 1584-1587. In it was inserted his spiritual testament, dictated by St. Gennadius himself. In it he commands the monks to observe the monastery Rule, to toil constantly, to be at peace with everyone, and to preserve the books collected at the Monastery, while striving to understand their meaning. He said, "strive towards the light, and shun the darkness."
He was glorified by the Russian Church on August 19, 1646.

January 24
St. Gerasimus, Bishop of Great Perm and Ust'Vymsk (+ 1467)
He was the third bishop of the newly-enlightened Zyryani people, and he was a worthy successor to St. Stephen, the Enlightener of Perm (comm. April 26). He was elevated to the See of Perm sometime after 1416, and participated in many Church Councils: one in 1438 to condemn the Unia and Metropolitan Isidore, and one in 1441, which defined the selection of the Metropolitan of All Rus by a Council of Russian pastors.
The Saint assiduously cared for his newly-established flock, which suffered raids from Novgorodians, particularly from the pagan Vogulians. He went to their camps urging them to cease the pillaging of villages of the defenseless Christians of Perm. He was murdered by a Vogulian servant during one of his journeys through Perm in 1441 (according to Tradition, he was strangled with his omophorion). He was buried in the Cathedral Church of the first Bishops of Perm, which later became the Annunciation Church in the village of Ust'Vyma, northeast of the city of Yarensk, at the River Vychegda.
The celebration of his memory was established in 1607.
On January 29 there is a general commemoration of the three Perm Hierarchs: Gerasimus, Pitirim, and Jonah.

Martyr John of Kazan (+ 1529)
He suffered for Christ in the city of Kazan on January 24, 1529. During the reign of Great Prince Basil the Tatars swooped down upon Nizhni Novgorod. Many of the inhabitants were taken into captivity and brought to Kazan. Also among their number was the fearless John.
When the captives were distributed to their new owners, he was given to Alei-Shnura, who was related to the Khan. By day John honestly served his master, but at night he went without sleep and prayed, patiently enduring insults and abuse. The master resolved to force his servant to become a Moslem, but John firmly declared that he worshiped Jesus Christ as God.
In the winter the Tatars tied him up and led him to a Russian cemetery, mortally wounded him with swords, and threw him into the snow. That night, St. John reached the door of some Russians living in Kazan, and he asked them to summon a Priest. He received the Holy Mysteries and prayed all night, then reposed the following morning.

St. Xenia of Petersburg, the Fool for Christ (18th c.)
She was the wife of Colonel Andrew Theodorovich Petrov, who served as a Court chanter. At 26 years of age she was widowed and took upon herself the difficult practice of foolishness for Christ's sake. She distributed her possessions to the poor, clothed herself in the clothes of her reposed husband, and, as if having forgotten her own name, called herself by the his name, Andrew Theodorovich.
Not having a refuge, she would wander among the paupers of Petersburg, while at night she would go out to a field, where she spent the time in ardent prayer. When they began to build a Church in the Smolensk Cemetery, she, after the onset of darkness, would secretly carry bricks to the top of the construction, and thereby helped the masons erect the walls of the Church. She was granted the gifts of healing and prophecy by God. The inhabitants of Petersburg loved her because she despised the earthly for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
She reposed in peace at the end of the 18th c. and was buried in the Smolensk Cemetery. She works wonders, mainly for those with problems connected with work, residence and alcoholism.
Saint Xenia was the wife of Colonel Andrew Theodorovich Petrov, who served as a court chanter. At twenty­six years of age, Xenia was widowed and, it seemed, lost her mind from grief. She distributed her possessions to the poor, clothed herself in the clothes of her reposed husband, and, as if having forgotten her own name, called herself by the name of her reposed husband ­ Andrew Theodorovich.
These eccentricities were not tied to the loss of reason, but only signified a complete disdain for earthly good things and human opinion, which places these good things at the center of existence. Thus, Xenia of Petersburg took upon herself the difficult ascesis of foolishness for Christ's sake.
Having come to know, through the death of her beloved husband, all the inconstancy and illusoriness of earthly happiness, Xenia strove toward God with all her heart and sought protection and comfort only in Him. Earthly, transitory good things ceased to have any value for her. Xenia had a house; but she gave it over to an acquaintance under the condition that she give shelter in it to paupers. But Xenia herself, not having a refuge, would wander among the paupers of Petersburg, while at night she would go out to a field, where she spent the time in ardent prayer.
When they began to build a church in the Smolensk Cemetery, Xenia, after the onset of darkness, would secretly carry bricks to the top of the construction, and thereby helped the masons erect the walls of the church.
Some of Xenia's relatives wanted to take her in and provide her with all necessities, but the blessed one replied to them: "I do not need anything".
She was glad of her indigence, and when passing by somewhere, would at times remark: "I am all here". When her reposed husband's clothing decayed, Xenia clothed herself in the poorest clothing, and on her feet wore torn shoes without stockings. She did not wear a warm dress and forced her body to suffer from the severe cold.
Sensing the greatness of Blessed Xenia's soul, the inhabitants of Petersburg loved her, because she despised the earthly for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. If Xenia would enter into anyone's home, this was considered a good sign. Mothers rejoiced if she kissed their children. Cab drivers would ask permission of the blessed one to drive her a little, since after this the earnings would be guaranteed for the whole day. Merchants in the bazaars would try to give here kalach [a fancy bread ­ translator] or some food. And if Blessed Xenia took something from what was offered, then all the wares of the seller would quickly be bought up.
Xenia had the gift of clairvoyance. On the eve of the Nativity of Christ in the year 1762, she walked about Petersburg and said: "Bake pancakes; tomorrow all Russia will bake pancakes" [for memorial meals ­ translator].
The next day, the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, suddenly died. A few days before the murder of the royal youth, John VI (Antonovich, the great­great­grandson of Tsar Alexis Michailovich), who in infancy had been proclaimed the Russian Emperor, the blessed one wept and repeated: "Blood, blood, blood". Within a few days after Mirovicha's unsuccessful conspiracy, the young John was killed.
Once, Xenia came to a home where there was a grown­up daughter. Turning to the girl, she said: "Here you are drinking coffee, while your husband is burying his wife at Okhta". After a certain time, this girl really did enter into marriage with a widower who at that moment was burying his first wife at the Okhta Cemetery.
Blessed Xenia died at the end of the 18th century, but tradition has not preserved either the year or the day of her decease. They buried her in the Smolensk Cemetery, where she had helped to build the church.
Pilgrimages to her grave began shortly after her decease. Blessed Xenia often appeared in visions to people in difficult circumstances, forewarned of dangers and saved from calamities. The righteous one has not ceased to show compassionate love toward all who with faith have called upon her, and many instances of her help for the suffering and those in desperate situations are known.
A Grodno civil servant, Nicholas Selivanovich Golovin, lived in Grodno approximately until the year 1907 and often experienced unpleasantness at work. He came to Petersburg to put his affairs in order, but they became even more entangled. Golovin was very poor, and in his care were his elderly mother and two sisters. In despair, he walked along the streets of Petersburg, and although he was a believing man, the thought to throw himself into the Neva stole into his soul. At this moment, in front of him stood some unknown woman, who struck him by her appearance and was partly reminiscent of a poor nun. "Why are you so sad?", she asked. "Go to the Smolensk Cemetery, serve a panichida for Xenia, and everything will settle down".
After these words, the unknown woman became invisible. Golovin fulfilled the advice of the mysterious nun, and his affairs unexpectedly were settled in the best manner possible. He returned home to Grodno joyful.
Emperor Alexander III, when he was the heir, became ill with a serious form of typhus. The Grand Duchess Maria Theodorovna was very alarmed by her spouse's illness. One of the valets, seeing her in the corridor, related to her how Blessed Xenia helps the sick, gave her sand from the cherished grave and added that he himself had been healed from illness by the prayer of the righteous one. The Grand Duchess placed the sand under the pillow of the patient, and in that same night, she, while sitting at the head of the bed, had a vision of Blessed Xenia, who told her that the patient would recover and in their family a daughter would be born. She should be called Xenia. The prediction of the blessed one was fulfilled exactly.
In the Pskov province, a relative from Petersburg came to stay for a while with a landowner and recounted how they revere Blessed Xenia in the capital. Under the influence of this account, the pious landowner prayed before sleep for the repose of her soul. At night, she dreamed that Xenia was walking round her house and pouring water on it. In the morning, the hay barn on the country estate caught on fire, but the fire did not spread further and the home remained whole.
A colonel's widow arrived in Petersburg to enroll her two sons into the Cadet Corps. She did not succeed in this. The money borrowed for the trip had come to an end, and the widow walked along the street and bitterly wept. Suddenly, some woman of the common people came up to her and said:
"Serve a panichida for Xenia, she helps in sorrows". "Who is this Xenia?", asked the colonel's widow. "The tongue [that asks the way] will lead to Kiev", answered the woman of the common people and quickly vanished.
Indeed, the colonel's widow easily learned who this Xenia was, served a panichida for her at her grave in the Smolensk Cemetery, and shortly after unexpectedly received news that both her sons were accepted into the Corps.
A multitude of similar instances of Blessed Xenia's help are known also in our days.

January 25
St. Moses, Archbishop of Novgorod (+ 1362)
In the world Metrophanes, he was born at Novgorod. In his youth he secretly left his home and entered Tver's Otroch Monastery, where he became a monk. His parents found him, and at their insistence he transferred to a Monastery near Novgorod. At this Monastery he was ordained as a Hieromonk, and later he was appointed Archimandrite of the Yuriev Monastery.
After the death of Archbishop David of Novgorod, the Metropolitan of Russia St. Peter (comm. December 21) consecrated Moses as Archbishop of Novgorod, in 1325. This was the first episcopal consecration to be performed in Moscow. St. Moses did not guide his Novgorod flock for long, however. The quarrels and contentious factions, the conflagrations and other misfortunes weighed heavily on his soul, which sought monastic solitude. After four years, he petitioned to be allowed to retire and live in asceticism. He was succeeded by St. Basil.
In 1330 the Saint withdrew to the Kolmov Monastery for tranquillity. He did not remain here very long, either. He found a desolate spot at Derevyanitsa, where he built the stone Church of the Resurrection of Christ. At this place the monk spent more than twenty years at monastic deeds. After Basil's death, St. Moses yielded to the requests of the Novgorod people to be their archpastor once again. The ancient Chronicler describes St. Moses in this way: "He shepherded his flock as a good pastor; he defended the downtrodden, and protected destitute widows; he employed a company of copyists, and because of him many books were written, and he confirmed many in piety by his guidance."
In the year 1354 Patriarch Philotheus of Constantinople (1354-1355, 1362-1376), as a token of his deep respect for St. Moses gave him permission to wear polystavrion vestments ("many crosses"), and even sent him a set. He also permitted St. Moses to deal directly with the Patriarch of Constantinople without intermediaries.
Archbishop Moses continued as Hierarch for seven years, a period marked by the building of many Churches in Novgorod and its environs. In 1352 the Saint built a stone church in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos at Volotova; in 1355 a Monastery was built in a place named Skovorodka, with a stone Church in honor of the Holy Archangel Michael. In 1357, Churches were also built at three Monasteries: at Radogovitsa near the Volotov Dormition Church, and at the Holy Spirit Monastery and at a women's Monastery, Churches named for St. John the Theologian (the first and third of these Monasteries were founded by St. Moses).
In 1359, feeling weak and sick, the Saint withdrew into the Monastery of the Archangel Michael in Skovorodsk which he had founded. St. Moses labored here in asceticism until his death on January 25, 1362. He was buried at the Cathedral Church.
Archbishop Sergius of Novgorod, who came there from Moscow in 1484, ordered to a Priest to open the grave of St. Moses. "I dare not be so bold as to open up the Relics of the Hierarch. It is your task as Hierarch to open the grave of a Hierarch," he answered. "Look what is on this corpse," said the infuriated Archbi-shop, but he was soon punished. He went insane, and was not able to govern the Diocese and did not become well until he took the schema at the Khutyn Monastery. (He died in 1504 at the Trinity-Sergiev Monastery).
The Feast of St. Moses on April 19 commemorates the uncovering of his incorrupt Relics in 1686.

Hieromartyr Vladimir Metropolitan of Kiev (+ 1918) and with him Synaxis of the Russian New Martyrs.
The first Russian New Martyr of Hierarchichal rank. He was born in 1848 into the family of a Priest. He was educated at the Tambov Seminary and then at the Kiev Theological Academy. In 1874, he was appointed Teacher of Homiletics at his old Seminary. In 1888 he was ordained to the Priesthood. In 1889 he was elevated to the rank of Bishop of Starorussa. In 1892 he became Exarch to Georgia and member of the Holy Synod. In 1898 he became Metropolitan of Moscow, in 1912 Metropolitan of Petrograd and in 1915 Metropolitan of Kiev. In 1918, Bolshevik forces entered the Kiev Caves Lavra and Metropolitan Vladimir was executed.
The first Russian new martyr of hierarchichal rank was the Very Most-Reverend Vladimir, who in the world had been Basil Nikiforovitch Bogoyavlensky. He was born on January 2, 1848 into the family of a priest in Little Morshanka, Morshansk district, Tambov province. He was educated at the Tambov seminary, and then at the Kiev Theological Academy. Upon graduation in 1874, he was first appointed a teacher of homiletics at his old seminary. In 1888, he discontinued his work at the seminary, and was ordained to the priesthood, for service at the Holy Protection Cathedral Church in the city of Kozlov, Tambov Province, where he carried out pastoral duties, not limited only to his parish, but also fulfilling the duties of deputy at diocesan meetings and as the dean of the churches in Kozlov. A severe illness brought on the death of his matushka, and his family sorrow woke the young priest into beginning a new path of service to the Church and to the people. In February 1886, at the Tambov Kazan cathedral, he was tonsured a monk, and was elevated to the rank of archimandrite. On May 21, 1889, archimandrite Vladimir was elevated to the kathedra as bishop of Starorussk. In 1892, he became exarch to Georgia, and a member of the Holy Synod. In 1898 he became metropolitan of Moscow, in 1912 metropolitan of Petrograd, and in 1915, metropolitan of Kiev.
Kozlov, Novgorod, Samara, Georgia, Moscow, Petrograd, Kiev: Such were the successive steps along Metropolitan Vladimir’s arduous path of service. At every step, Metropolitan Vladimir kept uppermost the need to keep the people within the protection of the Church, to preserve them from sectarian influences and from socialist propaganda, to liberate them from the awful and age-old yoke of drunkenness, and to give them the light of true Christian learning.
Metropolitan Vladimir used to say to the students at the Moscow seminary, “Perhaps you would say that in our time the bread of the Church has become so stale that it sometimes is like unto the dry crust that even young teeth cannot chew. But one must thing first of all not about what comes from the people, but about what we ourselves can do for the people. Our people are poor, their life is rent by the awful yoke of drunkenness. And we must first of all apply all our efforts to raising up the people, to sobering them up, to bringing into their midst the light of true Christian teaching.
The family and the school, the factory and business - all of these and other branches of societal and government life should absorb into themselves, as the basic dominant tenet of their activity, the spirit of Christ’s teaching through the Church, its pastors, and the faithful people. In his spiritual struggle in furtherance of that goal, Vladika Vladimir spared neither his strength nor his health. He was constantly on guard, ready for spiritual struggle and for battle as a faithful warrior of Christ. He strove to raise the educational level of pastors and other clergy; he established many cadres of missionaries to the people, organized theological classes for women, inspired strugglers for abstinence in their work, arranged courses to prepare pastors for service in distant Siberia, waged war against the approaching disease of atheistic socialism, a disease whose danger to Russia was always clear to him. In all of these paths of action, he maintained himself as a pastor of peace and love, unshakable steadfastness, absolute honesty, and eternal dedication to Christ and His Church.
On the night of January 26, 1918, Bolshevik forces entered the Kiev Caves Lavra. Shortly thereafter, some anonymous persons, having found out that Metropolitan Vladimir was in charge of the Lavra, went to his quarters. After completing a search and taking away 100 rubles - for he had no more - they proceeded to take him to the commandant for interrogation. On the way, they decided to be rid of him, and carried out their mad idea. The body of the hieromartyr was found, pierced by two fatal bullet wounds and three stab wounds. During that most difficult of times in our history, and at the hands of criminals, the thread of life of this holy hierarch who had so labored in the vineyard of the Russian Orthodox Church, was severed. His lifelong spiritual struggle was crowned with the crown of martyrdom. The Church piously and with thanksgiving keeps the prayerful memory of the archpastor, who in his lofty service gave himself unstintingly to service to the faithful, courageously leading them out of the age-old sickness of drunkenness, away from their unhealthy leanings towards schism and sectarianism, away from the ruinous socialist morass, and to the constant light of the Resurrection of Christ.

January 26
Hieromartyr Arcadius, Bishop οf Lubny (+ 1937)
Bishop Arcadius, in the world Andrew Iosifovich Ostalsky, was born in January, 1888 in the village of Yanovets, Volhynia province (according to another source, in Zhitomir). His father was a priest who was arrested in 1919, contracted typhus and died soon after his release. His mother, Sophia Pavlovna, was a pious woman who supported Arcadius spiritually to the end of her life. There were three children in the family, two boys and a girl (who died at the age of three). They lived in Zhitomir in a small three-roomed house with a straw roof.
From his youth Arcadius had a calling to monasticism, but following the desire of his parents he married and became a priest, having finished his studies at the Volhynia theological seminary. From September 14, 1911 (according to another source, 1910) he was pastor of the church in the town of Old Konstantinovo, Volhynia province. During the war he was a regimental priest, and then, in 1917 (according to another source, 1920), he received a small church in the centre of Zhitomir. He was also superior of the yedinovertsy church of St. Nicholas in Poltava. When his wife left him and married a Bolshevik officer, Fr. Arcadius quietly gave her a divorce and moved in with his mother, but continued to pray for both his former wife and her husband.
He served every morning and evening, first in the Seraphimovskaya church, and then in the Nikolaevskaya church, which was not far from the Transfiguration cathedral. Fr. Arcadius was noted for his fiery sermons in defence of the Orthodox Faith, which attracted large numbers of the faithful. There were no conversations or moving about in the church; everyone prayed with concentration. Often everyone would fall to their knees spontaneously. Everyone would sing.
Women knew the strictness of Fr. Arcadius. They knew, for example, that he did not like them coming into the church in hats and with an important air - these he often drove out of the church. Everybody knew that, and for that reason they came to the church in scarves (including eminent ladies).
When one woman was bold enough to enter the church in a dress with short sleeves, Fr. Arcadius immediately asked:
"What - are you intending to wash the floor?"
Fr. Arcadius organized a lay brotherhood on the model of St. John of Kronstadt's house of labour. It was situated in Vilenskaya street, where there was a house church. The brotherhood carried out charitable activities and buried poor people. There were no paupers in the brotherhood - everyone was given the help they needed. Fr. Arcadius personally took a very active part in the work of the brotherhood.
Fr. Arcadius was an exceptionally kind, responsive person. His kindness was touching, and sometimes had an element of humour. Thus when he was still a married protopriest, he could give a pauper clothes from his wife's wardrobe. And that was not all he gave away.
Once in Zhitomir some people who were close to him decided to have a fur coat made for him. Fr. Arcadius put this coat on twice in all, then it suddenly disappeared. It turned out that he had given it to a poor widow with two tubercular children. He told the mother that the coat was hanging in the altar. And when they asked in the church where the coat was hanging, he replied:
"It's hanging where it should hang."
His mother, Sophia Pavlovna, used to say that there was nothing in her son's room. Once Fr. Arcadius came into his mother's room, saw a carpet on the wall and asked carefully:
"Is this our carpet?"
"It's ours, not yours," replied his mother, feeling that he wanted to give it to one of the needy.
Once Fr. Arcadius went from Zhitomir to Kiev in bast shoes. It turned out that on the way a pauper had asked him for boots, and they had exchanged footwear.
Once they sewed a beautiful cassock for Fr. Arcadius. Some drunkard asked him for it. A short time later, this drunkard was seen selling the cassock. Perhaps they bought it from the drunkard and returned it to Fr. Arcadius.
On seeing a pauper on a cold night with his trousers ripped, Arcadius would not hesitate to give him his own. And since he always wore his ryasa and cassock, he could get away with it without being detected. His mother, however, would discover his philanthropy when doing his laundry and would jokingly tell her neighbours:
"Last night Arkasha again came home without his trousers."
But after the revolution Fr. Arcadius' charitable activity aroused the violent displeasure of the new local authorities, and he was put in prison, where he remained for two years. At about the same time his father was also arrested, and it happened that father and son were sitting in neighbouring cells. But they did not realize it: they were taken out of the cells at different times.
On being released from prison, Fr. Arcadius threw himself into the work of the brotherhood. Those who wanted to join the brotherhood were solemnly received by giving their vow to carry out the aims of the brotherhood, which required, first of all, devotion to the purity of Orthodoxy - never to renounce it, even under threat of death; secondly, the wearing of modest attire; then fasting, and so on. The acceptance into the brotherhood was conducted very solemnly. Everyone had to make the necessary preparation for Confession and the reception of Holy Communion. Then everyone would remain in church, and before the reading of the Gospel they had to repeat the words spoken by Fr. Arcadius - the rules of the brotherhood - and to confirm them with a vow. We were then given large lighted candles, which we were to treasure until death. Afterwards we would receive Holy Communion.
In the St. Nicholas Brotherhood there were several groups: one was a missionary group, conducted by Fr. Arcadius himself, whose aim was to fight sectarians, atheists and the Living Church; then there was a group of singers; a group which visited hospitals, taking care of the lonely and sick and those poor people who had many children; then a burial group, whose duties were not only to bury the faithful and see that they received the Church's burial service, but also to obtain and deliver coffins to the grave; and since the times were very hard, often they had to drag the coffins on little carts or sleighs to the cemetery, and even dig the grave. Then there was also a philanthropical group. And to some of his novices in the brotherhood Fr. Arcadius entrusted the copying of the appeals of the bishops, including the letters from exile of Metropolitan Peter.
At that time Archimandrite Arcadius served not only in Zhitomir, but often also in Moscow and Kiev. In Moscow he loved to serve in the Pimenovsky church, and there he delivered his sermons. In the Kiev Nikolsky monastery, which used to stand next to what is now the Arsenalnaya metro station, he sometimes delivered four sermons a day. These sermons were out of the ordinary, and when he delivered them people in the crowd would shout:
"You're a Chrysostom".
His confessions were also unusual, lasting until two o'clock in the morning.
At this time the Church entered into battle with the renovationists. Archimandrite Arcadius completely shared the point of view of Patriarch Tikhon, but did not express his views openly. Fr. Boris, who was at that time serving in the Vvedensky monastery, asked Archimandrite Arcadius to lead the Tikhonite Church in Kiev, but Arcadius refused, saying: "I have no blessing for this. We are following church events very carefully. The apostolic canons have not been broken yet. If we declare ourselves too early, we could be thrown out of the Church."
However, at times this restraint was punctuated by active resistance to the enemies of the Church. Thus he was once called to the authorities and asked what his attitude was to those clergy who did not pray for the civil authorities during the services. On this score Archimandrite Arcadius expressed his position clearly and openly:
"You issue a decree that you are turning to God and are asking people to pray for you. But if you try to annihilate the Church, that means that we have to introduce a new petition into the litany: 'For our self-annihilation, let us pray to the Lord'."
In 1922 Patriarch Tikhon gave the order forbidding the giving of church vessels into the hands of unbelievers, especially the holy chalices which had been blessed by the grace of God. Fr. Arcadius, as a devoted son of the Church, obeyed the patriarch's instructions and would not give over the Church's valuables. And so, one day in Bright Week, immediately after the Divine Liturgy, he was arrested by the Cheka, the Secret Police. When the chekists took him, the whole mass of people moved together with the arrested Fr. Arcadius to the Cheka building. Then the chekist soldiers took rifles and yelled with hatred:
"Everyone go home or we will start shooting!"
Everyone was silent, clinging to one another and holding their breath. And then out stepped a nun by the name of Seraphima and bravely said:
"No! We will not leave until you release our Fr. Arcadius or arrest us all together with him."
Then the soldiers put down their rifles and did not push them away, and the people formed a wall which began to push into the Cheka building. But since the crowd was enormous, they began to close the doors, and thus they arrested 35 women and 17 men. They put them in the basement of the building. The choir leader was there, so instantly the dark building was filled with paschal singing. Then they took them out and pushed them into the yard near the garage, and began to conduct them, one by one, to be interrogated; and then they were pushed out into the street. They were given a statement to sign which said that Fr. Arcadius had started a riot, but not one person signed it. Then a note was added to the statement, saying that the people themselves had refused to leave their spiritual father. And this every single person signed individually, as if by mutual consent. Among those imprisoned were young girls about 16 years old, who also signed.
The news of Fr. Arcadius's arrest instantly spread through the city, and the Cheka building was besieged by an endless amount of food parcels for the arrested ones. Thus all the arrested ones, as well as the guards, were fed on these parcels.
Fr. Arcadius was put on trial both for the uprising and for resisting the requisitioning of church valuables. Many witnesses were called. They all said the same thing, speaking of Fr. Arcadius as a fine man, an unmercenary, a priest who devoted his whole life solely to the service of God and men. Many examples were brought forward of his goodness and exceptional self-sacrifice. There was no evidence against him at all. But the judge, who was very young, proud and self-assured, with cynical frankness declared that the whole description of Fr. Arcadius given by the witnesses was not a justification of him, but rather added to the accusations against him; for the ideas which he so warmly preached and put into practice contradicted the ideals of the Soviet regime, and such people were not merely unnecessary to the Soviet government, but even extremely harmful to it.
During the trial Fr. Arcadius fell asleep. They sentenced him to execution by shooting - and he was still asleep. They woke him up and told him that he had been sentenced to death. He replied:
"Thanks be to God for all things. For me death is gain, I am passing to another world!"
However, members of the brotherhood went to Moscow to petition on his behalf, and one of them succeeded in changing the course of events. His sentence was changed to ten years in prison.
For five years he was imprisoned in Zhitomir, which made his lot somewhat easier, since there was constant contact between him and the St. Nicholas Brotherhood. In prison he gained the love not only of the prisoners, but also of the jailors and guards, and thanks to this he managed several times to give Holy Communion to the condemned, who were then led out to be shot. He saved many souls. And, of course, the food given him by the brotherhood helped his fellow prisoners.
On being released from prison, Fr. Arcadius went on pilgrimage to Sarov and Diveyevo. There he met the eldress Maria Ivanovna, who prophesied:
"You will become a bishop, but you will not get out of prison."
Then, in 1925, he received the monastic tonsure with the name Arcadius in the Sarov Dormition desert, and was raised to the rank of archimandrite (according to another account, this took place after his divorce from his wife).
There exist different accounts as to how Fr. Arcadius was made a bishop and sent to Solovki. According to one account, it was Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd who consecrated him bishop of Lubny, a vicariate of the Poltava diocese, on September 15, 1926. According to this account, he was arrested in October and exiled to Kharkov, and then, in February, 1927 - to Tuapse. In April, 1927 he was arrested again, and on May 9 - yet again in Moscow. On August 23, 1928 he was sentenced to five years in the camps by the GPU, who later extended the sentence for another five years, so that he was on Solovki until January, 1937.
According to another source, however, on the way to his new flock, having arrived in the city of Lubin, he was arrested and sent to Kazan in April, 1927, from where he managed to escape, living in hiding for a long time in Petrograd, secretly celebrating Divine services at the Kiev-Caves metochion and inspiring Catacomb brotherhoods. Then he left for Moscow, where he was arrested and thrown into the infamous Butyrki prison, being later exiled to the Solovki concentration camp.
But according to a different account, in 1926 he went to Moscow, where, on September 15/28, Metropolitan Sergius consecrated him bishop of Lubny. Bishop Arcadius knew that he would not be allowed to serve in Lubny. Nevertheless, in 1927 he decided to serve Pascha in his own diocese. He arrived secretly in Lubny and at 11.30, before the beginning of Mattins, he went into the church altar. He was wearing a coat and blue goggles. In this guise he did not, of course, look like a bishop, and it was not surprising that the deacon immediately threw out the stranger - we're waiting for the bishop, he said, but you get out. But the stranger insistently asked for the priest to be called, and when he appeared, Bishop Arcadius revealed himself to him.
Immediately the bishop vested himself and started the service. But he did not succeed in completing it before representatives of the authorities appeared in the church, and he was forced to hide.
This was his only service in the diocese he had been appointed to.
According to one witness, Bishop Arcadius did serve some paschal services that year in Zhitomir.
But soon he set off for the Caucasus, where he wandered in the mountains and talked with the hermits. But while there he came to understand the danger of his situation, and that he could be killed at any moment. And so he concealed his photograph in the lining of his boot, so that in the event of his death people would be able to learn about his fate.
After two years in the Caucasus, two weeks before Pascha in the year 1928, Bishop Arcadius unexpectedly turned up at the podvorye of the Kiev Caves Lavra in Petrograd, where the future Archbishop Leontius of Chile gave him lodging and accompanied him on trips round the city. But the position of Bishop Arcadius was complicated by the fact that according to the existing legislation an unregistered clergyman could not serve, and if the authorities found out about it they would tear up their agreement with the community where he served and transfer the building in which they prayed to another community, usually a renovationist one. But, to the amazement of all, the president of the community succeeded in obtaining permission for Bishop Arcadius, "who has come as a guest", to serve at the podvorye for the space of two weeks.
"On Paschal night," writes Archimandrite Benjamin (Voznyuk), our majestic church, which could hold about 2000 people, together with the embankment, was so full of people that Fr. Justin had to serve on the street, too, since it was impossible to squeeze oneself into the church because of the crowd. All the candelabras and candles were lit, and the whole numerous throng of clergy, vested in paschal vestments and headed by Vladyka Arcadius, went out of the altar chanting: 'Thy Resurrection, Christ our Saviour'; while, as a subdeacon standing near Vladyka, saw the tears streaming down his face. And I came to understand that there are moments in life for the sake of which one could sacrifice the rest of one's life, whatever lies ahead. And it was difficult to expect anything good ahead, but at that grace-filled hour he, as the leader of this spiritual festivity, was happy. For this moment at any rate he and the people, who were tormented as he was, could pray and glorify Christ the Life-Giver risen from the dead."
In 1928 Bishop Arcadius expressed his agreement with the decisions of the so-called "Nomadic Council" of the Catacomb Church, but refused to sign them.
In the same year he wrote a letter to a novice in Kiev in which he asked her to buy some icons for him in the Lavra. The novice set off for the book stall, where books and icons were being sold by Hieromonk Jeremiah. As if quite casually, Fr. Jeremiah asked the novice whether she knew where Bishop Arcadius was. At that very moment Bishop Arcadius was standing hiding in the book stall, and he heard this conversation between the hieromonk and the novice.
Suddenly she heard someone quietly calling her by name. Looking round, she unexpectedly saw Bishop Arcadius in front of her. At that moment he had come out of hiding.
Bishop Arcadius looked very ill. And in fact he had pleurisy. And his legs were very swollen. He had to be treated straightaway; so the novice suggested he stay in her flat, where she lived with her mother. The house was on the territory of the Lavra, which was convenient for Bishop Arcadius. So as not to constrain Vladyka, the novice left her flat to live with a friend of hers. In daytime, however, she visited the sick man, and together with her mother gave him the necessary medical treatment.
Bishop Arcadius lay for three weeks in this house; and here, thanks to the care of the two pious women, he recovered from his illnesses.
However, he decided against staying in Kiev. He knew that they were looking for him and would perhaps find him soon. And he decided to go to Moscow and ask Metropolitan Sergius to plead before the authorities that his previous convictions be expunged. Metropolitan Sergius did not advise him to present himself to the authorities, but Bishop Arcadius, not being conscious of any wrong-doing, went to E.A. Tuchkov at the Lubyanka.
Tuchkov immediately arrested (on May 9, 1928) and on August 23 he was sentenced to five years in the camps of Solovki. A group of armed soldiers conducted him to the prison car fenced with barbed wire. As the train pulled out he thrice blessed the group of women who had gathered to see him off.
Many years later, Bishop Arcadius related that they were taken out of Moscow in a livestock carriage filled to overflowing with prisoners. It was so crowded that it was even difficult to stand. Sometimes at stops the guards pulled back the bolts of the carriage and threw out those who had died.
For many years Bishop Arcadius was employed in difficult physical work digging out drainage canals on Solovki. It goes without saying that they were very badly fed. Besides, there were frequent searches to see whether they had forbidden paper or pencils on them.
His mother, Sophia Pavlovna, and the president of the St. Nicholas Brotherhood, Natalia Ivanovna Orzheskaya, went to Solovki to see him. But they were not allowed even to receive a blessing from him. Two rows of tables were placed in a large room. At one row the visitors were seated, at the other - the prisoners. Between them a whole crowd of guards were constantly walking back and forth, making such a noise that one had to scream to be heard. And, of course, they were not allowed to approach for a blessing because of the "danger of infection". Years later, Bishop Arcadius related that they proposed that he remain voluntarily at Solovki as a cashier, and that they even promised to stop spying on him - provided he renounced his priesthood. But he preferred life in total deprivation, keeping the Lord God in his heart.
Bishop Arcadius lived in a barracks with criminals. His influence on those around him was always great, and here, in the camp, he also had an influence on those next to him. Many hardened criminals, after meeting Bishop Arcadius, rethought their lives, and from wolves were turned into sheep.
Once, he decided to serve a Paschal Mattins with them (he could not serve the Liturgy - there was no antimins). During the service the criminals sang, as far as they were able helping the bishop to carry out the festive service. However, this incident was not allowed to pass without punishment for the bishop. On April 7, 1931 he was arrested, and on August 14 he was given an extra 5 years imprisonment and transferred to Pole-axe Mountain in the company of 37 Catholic priests who were also in prison.
Bishop Arcadius was released after ten years in camp, on January 26, 1937. He was an almost unrecognizable, grey-haired old man. He was forbidden to return to the Ukraine and to 15 major cities. He was also deprived of the usual Soviet identity permit, without which one's very existence becomes illegal. Finally, he was allowed to settle in the town of Klin (Tver), near Moscow (according to another source, in Kasimova, near Moscow), but under the following conditions: no one was to visit him, he was forbidden to enter the altar of the local church, and every two weeks he had to appear before the local authorities. Once he was seen by Zinaida, the daughter of the Kiev priest Sabbas Petrunevich. She wanted to come up to receive his blessing, but Bishop Arcadius made a warning gesture - he did not want to be seen talking with anyone.
And yet, in spite of these restrictions, Bishop Arcadius did go to Kiev and Zhitomir. In Kiev he stayed with Vera Vladimirovna Skachkova, a very pious woman who worked as a music teacher. She had a house in Zhitomir which was at the disposal of the brotherhood, and when Kievans went to Zhitomir on the affairs of the brotherhood they stayed there.
From Kiev Bishop Arcadius went to Zhitomir. Before his departure he asked Vera Vladimirovna to warn the novice whom he knew and her mother that he would visit them on his return. In Zhitomir he visited the graves of his father and mother, who had also died by that time. Although the last church used by the brotherhood had been closed in 1937, the members would still gather secretly in the cemetery chapel. They were served by two secret priests, Fr. Julian Krasitsky and Fr. John Sirov.
On returning to Kiev, Bishop Arcadius did not forget his promise to visit the two women who had looked after him in his illness. As the novice recalled, one winter evening he appeared in their doorway in blue goggles and with the collar of his coat turned up to hide his face. He had decided to come and congratulate her on her namesday. He sat down, ate a pie and drank some tea. That was all. He refused to drink the home-made wine:
"My heart is weak," he said, "I get drunk on kvas."
He did not stay long in Kiev, he had to return to Klin. The authorities did not notice his absence. But he could not stay in Klin and continued his wandering life.
Once, when his strength was undermined from this constant loneliness, homelessness and fear of the next day, being secretly in Moscow, he was tempted to visit Metropolitan Sergius. In order to see the metropolitan, one had to go through great difficulties and dangers. And when he finally saw him and told him about his situation, the metropolitan, without listening to him, asked abruptly:
"Have you registered with the GPU? Until you are registered there, I will not speak with you."
As Vladyka Arcadius was leaving the metropolitan's office, he noted that both the metropolitan and all his clergy were well fed and wore clean clothing. And when he looked around at the miserable, destitute people who were waiting outside his office in the hope of seeing the metropolitan and receiving some help from him, he understood that his path was different, and that he had to return to his wandering...
According to one account, in 1937 he was appointed Bishop of Bezhetsk, but refused to accept the appointment.
He was secretly tonsured into the schema with the name Anthony.
Two accounts exist of his final arrest. According to one, he was spotted in the city of Kostroma on the Volga in 1938, was arrested, and never heard of again. According to another, he had bought a ticket for a train leaving Klin. However, his intention was in some way known to the authorities, probably from his landlady. They rang the station and stopped the train. Together with the landlady they searched the train and found Bishop Arcadius in the first carriage from the locomotive.
On the same day they wanted to catch his cell-attendant, too, but he escaped through a window into the garden. Nobody knew his name, so it is unlikely that they caught him at that time.
In the same year of 1938, according to one source, Bishop Arcadius was seen walking with a knapsack on his back out of Butyrki prison. And according to another, he died in the 1940s.
However, it is now known that he was shot on December 29, 1937 in Butovo field, near Moscow.
According to one source, Bishop Arcadius took the schema with the name Anthony.
Bishop Arcadius wrote a series of works. Here are the names of three of them:
1. "On the existence of God". 2. "Is it true that scientists do not believe in God?" (In this work the opinions of 140 scientists affirming the existence of God were cited.) 3. "Is it true that religion hinders culture and the development and establishment of the life of a free people?"
He also wrote a guide for preachers and a work on church oratory.

January 28
St. Ephraim of Novy Torg (+ 1053)
The founder of the Sts. Boris and Gleb Monastery in the city of Novy Torg, was a native of Hungary. Together with his brothers, St. Moses the Hungarian (comm. July 26) and St. George (in Hungarian "Sandor," pronounced "Shandor"), he quit his native land, possibly because he was Orthodox.
Having come to Russia, all three brothers entered into the service of the Rostov Prince St. Boris, son of St. Vladimir the Great. St. Ephraim's brother George also perished in the year 1015 at the River Alta, with Holy Prince Boris. The murderers cut off his head, and took the gold medallion which he had received from St. Boris. Moses managed to save himself by flight, and became a monk at the Kiev Caves Monastery.
St. Ephraim, evidently in Rostov at this time, and arriving at the place of the murder, found the head of his brother and took it with him. Forsaking service at the Princely Court, St. Ephraim withdrew to the River Tvertsa in order to lead a solitary monastic life.
After several other monks settled near him, he founded a Monastery in honor of the Holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb, in the year 1038. The brethren chose him to lead them. Near the Monastery, not far from a merchant's road to Novgorod, a wanderer's home was built, where the poor and travelers stayed for free.
St. Ephraim reposed in old age. His body was buried at the Monastery he founded. The head of his brother, St. George was also placed in the grave, in accordance with his last wishes. The Relics of St. Ephraim were uncovered in the year 1572. His memory is also celebrated on June 11.

St. Ephraim of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Pereslavl (+ 1098)
Before his tonsure into monasticism, he was treasurer and steward of household affairs at the Court of the Kiev Great Prince Izyaslav (Dimitrios) Yaroslavich (1054-1068). Weighed down by this noisy and bustling life and wishng to become a monk, he was accepted by St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves and was tonsured by the Abbot St. Nikon.
The enraged Prince demanded that Ephraim return, threatening to lock him up in prison and to destroy the Monastery of the Caves. St. Anthony and the brethren left the Monastery and decided to go to another place. Izyaslav, however, feared the wrath of God. He took his wife's advice and withdrew his forces from the Monastery in disgrace.
St. Ephraim wished to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Places abroad. With the blessing of St. Anthony, he journeyed to Constantinople and settled there in one of the monasteries. While in Constantinople, St. Ephraim made a copy of the Studite Monastic Rule, and took it to Kiev at the request of St. Theodosius. As soon as he received the Rule, St. Theodosius implemented it in his Monastery.
After the year 1072 Ephraim was consecrated Bishop of Pereslavl. He adorned Pereslavl with many beautiful Churches and public buildings, and he erected stone walls around the city in the Greek manner. He built free hospices for the poor and travelers, and constructed several public bath-houses.
In the year 1091, St. Ephraim participated in the opening and solemn transfer of the Relics of St. Theodosius. A Life of St. Ephraim existed in former times, but it has not survived. We find an account of him both in the Life of St. Theodosius, and in the Russian Chronicles. To St. Ephraim is ascribed a tale and encomium for St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.
St. Ephraim reposed in the year 1098. He was buried in the Antoniev Caves of the Kiev Caves Monastery.
His memory is also celebrated on September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Theodosius of Totma (+ 1568)
He was born at Vologda about the year 1530. In his youth he was raised in a spirit of Christian piety and the fear of God. At the insistence of his parents he married, but family life did not turn him away from God. He went fervently to Church and prayed at home, particularly at night. After the death of his parents and his wife, he withdrew to the Priluki Monastery not far from Vologda.
At the Monastery Theodosius passed through the various obediences: he carried water, chopped firewood, milled flour and baked bread. He went to Totma on the Abbot's orders to search for a salt-works for the Monastery. He sought the permission of Tsar Ivan Vasilevich and the blessing of Archbishop Nikandrus to found a Monastery at Totma. Theodosius was appointed head of this newly-formed Totma Monastery, which in a grant of 1554 was declared free of taxation.
The Saint founded the Totma - Ephraimov wilderness Monastery and brought brethren into it. Eventually becoming the head of two monasteries, Theodosius continued to lead an ascetic life. He wore down his body by wearing chains and a hairshirt, and beneath his monastic cowl he wore an iron cap. Fond of spiritual reading, he acquired many books for the Monastery.
He reposed in the year 1568 and was buried in the Monastery he founded, and miracles occurred at his grave.
On September 2, 1796 during the reconstruction of the Ascension Church, his relics were found incorrupt, and their glorification took place on January 28, 1798, on the day of his repose. His memory is also celebrated on March 23.

January 27
St. Lawrence of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Turov, (+ 1194)
At first he lived as a hermit at the Monastery of the Great Martyr Demitrius, built by Great Prince Izyaslav at Kiev near the Monastery of the Caves. Later, he transferred to the Kiev Caves Monastery, and was glorified by a gift of healing.
He was elevated to the See of Turov in 1182 (Turov is a city in the Minsk region), and was a successor of St. Cyril of Turov (comm. April 28). He reposed in 1194, and was buried in the Near Caves. His memory is celebrated also on September 28 and on the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Ignatius the Wonderworker, Bishop of Smolensk (+ ca. 1210)
By some accounts, St. Ignatius was the first Bishop of Smolensk. He was a friend of St. Abraham (comm. August 21), whom he ordained to the priesthood. Bishop Ignatius was a kindly and pious Elder, heading the trial instigated by St. Abraham's enemies, at which the monk was acquitted.
He founded a Monastery in honor of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God. To him is ascribed the construction of the most ancient Avraamiev Monastery in which he spent the remainder of his days, after resigning as bishop. At the death of St. Ignatius a miracle occurred: "A great light came down from heaven upon him, and all were filled with fear."
The Relics of the Saint rest in the Smolensk Cathedral Church.

Sts. Gerasimus, Pitirim and Jonah Bishops of Perm and Ustiug
They were Bishops of Great Perm and Ustiug.
Hieromartyr St. Gerasimus was the third bishop of the Zyryan people, and a worthy successor of St. Stephen, Enlightener of Perm. He was elevated to the See of Perm sometime after the year 1416, when only part of the Zyryani had been converted to Christianity. He was concerned for his flock, which suffered incessant incursions from the Novgorodians and pagan Vogulians. He went into the Vogul camps, urging them to stop plundering the defenseless Christians of Perm. On one of these journeys in 1441, he was murdered by his Vogul servant (according to tradition he was strangled with his omophorion). He was buried in the Annunciation Church of the village of Ust-Vym not far from the city of Yarensk, at the River Vychegda. He is commemorated also in January 24.
The successor of St. Gerasimus was his disciple, Archimandrite Pitirim. Even during his time the Voguli had not ceased attacking the peaceful Zyryani, the settlers of Perm. Bishop Pitirim, just like his predecessor, stood up for his flock. In 1447 he personally appealed to the Great Prince to help the Zyryani. The Saint often visited his flock, which was spread out over a wide territory, instructing them in the Word of God and assisting them in their misfortunes. He undertook long journeys to enlighten the pagan Voguli, during which his life was frequently in danger, and he had to endure all sorts of privation. The saint did not slacken his efforts, he enlightened and instructed people in their homes, in churches, and in the open places.
By his preaching he converted many of the Voguli who lived along the tributaries of the River Pechora, to Christianity. Because of this he aroused the terrible wrath of the leader of the Voguli, Asyk, who murdered the Saint in a field as he was serving a Molieben. This occurred not far from Ust-Vym on August 19, 1455. St. Pitirim compiled the Life of St. Alexei and the Canon for the uncovering of his Relics.
After St. Pitirim, St. Jonah ascended the throne of Perm. He converted to Christianity the remaining part of Great Perm, i.e. the pagan tribes living along the Rivers Vishera, Kama, Chusova and others. By his efforts the idols were eradicated and in their place Churches were built. Experienced pastors were sent to teach the new converts at the church-run schools of Us-Vym. He reposed on June 6, 1470. His Relics rest together with the Relics of Sts. Gerasimus and Pitirim in the Annunciation Curch in Ust-Vym (in Vologda district).
The commemoration in common of these three Saints acknowledges their apostolic activity in this Eastern expanse of Russia.

St. Zeno the Faster, of the Kiev Caves (14th c.)
In the Third Ode of the Canon to the Monks of the Far Caves, he is acclaimed as "resplendant in fasting." His memory is celebrated also on August 28 and the second Sunday of Great Lent.

St. Niketas Bishop of Novgorod (+ 1108)
In his youth he entered the Kiev Caves Monastery and soon wished to become a hermit. The Abbot cautioned him that such an exploit was premature for a young monk, but he, trusting in his own strength, would not listen.
In the hermitage St. Niketas fell into temptation. The devil appeared to him in the guise of an Angel, and the inexperienced ascetic bowed down to him. The devil gave him advice, speaking as if to one who had attained perfection: "Don't bother to pray, just read and study other things, and I shall pray in your place." He stood near the hermit, giving the appearance of praying. The deceived monk Niketas came to surpass everyone in his knowledge of the Books of the Old Testament, but he would not speak about the Gospel, nor did he wish to hear it read.
The Elders of the Kiev Caves went to the monk, and after they had prayed, they expelled the devil from him. After this St. Niketas remained a hermit with the blessing of the Elders, and lived in strict fasting and prayer, surpassing everyone in obedience and humility.
Through the prayer of the Holy Elders, the merciful Lord brought him up from the depths of his fall to a high degree of spiritual perfection. Afterwards, he was consecrated Bishop of Novgorod, and for his holy life God granted him the gift of wonderworking. Once, during a time of drought, he brought rain from the heavens by his prayers. Another time, he stopped a fire in the city.
St. Niketas guided the Novgorod flock for thirteen years, and then peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in 1109. In 1558, during the time of Tsar Ivan Vasilievich, Bishop Niketas was glorified as a Saint. His Relics now rest in the church of the Holy Apostle Philip in Novgorod. He is also commemorated on May 14.
St. Niketas is invoked for protection against lightning and fire. His memory is also commemorated on April 30 and May 14.

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